Well, the results are in...and it doesn't look good for the M4 carbine.
You'll remember that Defense Tech and Military.com were on top of the story of worries over the M4's reliability in the dusty conditions found in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn insisted the Army conduct side-by-side testing between the M4, SCAR, 416 and XM8 in an "extreme" dust environment.
Well, the tests are complete and it seems the M4 came in dead last against its competitors. And, guess what...the Army's not budging. The M4 is still the best.
I'll have the full story posted tomorrow morning at Military.com, but here's a preview: Ten of each weapon; 6,000 rounds per weapon; 120 rounds fired per "dust cycle" (and when they say dust, they mean DUST...testers had to wear respirators and Tyvec suits); wiped and light lube every 600 rounds, fully cleaned and lubed every 1,200 rounds.
XM8: 127 Class I, II and III stoppages.
Mk16 (5.56 SCAR): 226 Class I, II and III stoppages.
HK 416: 233 Class I, II, and III stoppages.
M4: 882 Class I, II and III stoppages.
Army top gear buyer, Brig. Gen. Mark Brown: "The M4 carbine is a world-class weapon. Soldiers "have high confidence in that weapon, and that high confidence level is justified, in our view, as a result of all test data and all investigations we have made."
An "in the know" congressional staffer: "These results are stunning, and frankly they are significantly more dramatic than most weapons experts expected. It's time to stop making excuses and just conduct a competition for a new weapon."
Be sure to check out the full story tomorrow morning at Military.com.