While the M16 has been produced by a variety of manufacturers over the last five decades, the M4 Carbine had until now been a Colt monopoly, with the exception of a few made by Bushmaster in the early 1990s.
That has changed with a contract issued to Remington, which will make as many as 120,000 M4 and M4A1 carbines at its factory in Ilion, N.Y. Interestingly, Freedom Group, which owns both Remington and Bushmaster, closed the latter's Maine factory last year and moved Bushmaster production to Ilion.
According to Military Times, Remington will provide the carbines at a cost of $673.10 each, compared to $1,221 for the last of the Colt production. The first order is for 24,000, with 2,000 a month to be produced through 2014.
The Army had been operating under a 10-year exclusive agreement with Colt starting in 1999, but at its completion acquired rights to the technical data package for the M4, enabling it to contract other makers to produce the carbine.
Maximum potential value of the contract is $180 million, so this is certainly a big get for Remington. Don't shed too many tears for Colt, however. It has gotten a contract to make M240B and M240L machine guns, formerly a monopoly of archrival FN.