M4 carbine waxed in dust tests by pistons

First the results (click for better view):

sandstorm test m4 scar hk416

Then the story: Newer carbines outperform M4 in dust test

Matthew Cox in Army Times:

Weapons officials at the Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., exposed Colt Defense LLC’s M4, along with the Heckler & Koch XM8, FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle and the H&K 416 to sandstorm conditions from late September to late November, firing 6,000 rounds through each test weapon.

When the test was completed, ATEC officials found that the M4 performed –significantly worse” than the other three weapons, sources told Army Times.

Officials tested 10 each of the four carbine models, firing a total of 60,000 rounds per model. Here’s how they ranked, according to the total number of times each model stopped firing:

  • XM8: 127 stoppages.
  • MK16 SCAR Light: 226 stoppages.
  • 416: 233 stoppages.
  • M4: 882 stoppages.

The results of the test were –a wake-up call,” but Army officials continue to stand by the current carbine, said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, the command that is responsible for equipping soldiers.

I don’t know that anyone is really surprised to learn that the M4, the only direct-gas weapon in the bunch, finished last. But so far back might surprise many, even those who have long criticized the M16/M4’s reliability. The three challengers suffered stoppages a combined total of 586 times, or 296 times LESS than the M4 alone.

The three challengers failed an average of 195 times each, or 22% as often as the M4.

Discuss.

UPDATE: Meant to mention that the M4 fared far worse in this test than in a similar test conducted on the M4s alone earlier this year. 60,000 rounds this summer yielded only 307 stoppages (still more than any of the challengers this time around) in what is described in the article as an identical dust chamber test.

Don’t think that won’t have some conspiracy theorists, um, theorizing.

UPDATE 2: Defense Tech is on this already.

UPDATE 3: Probably worth mentioning the big XM8 post again. Time was when MO was “XM8 Central”. Ah, the glory days…