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Assault Rifles / Carbines

M4 Carbine

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US Special Forces M4 SOPMOD

The one of most popular assault rifles, and for many special forces operator, a first pick. The M4 carbine is a family of firearms tracing its lineage back to earlier carbine versions of the M16, all based on the original AR-15 designed by Eugene Stoner and made by ArmaLite. It is a shorter and lighter version of the M16A2 assault rifle, with 80% parts commonality. The M4 has selective fire options including semi-automatic and three-round burst (like the M16A2) while the M4A1 has a “full auto” option along with three-round burst.

US Special Forces SOPMOD BLOCK II

The M4 and variants fire 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition (or .223 Remington ammunition) and are gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed, selective fire firearms with a multi-position telescoping stock. Original M4 models had a flat-ended telescoping stock, but newer models are now equipped with a redesigned telescoping stock that is slightly larger with curvature at the end. The M4 is similar to much earlier compact M16 versions, such as the 1960s-era XM177 family. Some of those visual designs are obvious in both weapons, however, most of the similarities are not very noticeable.

As with many carbines, the M4 is handy and more convenient to carry than a full-length rifle. The price is slightly inferior ballistic performance compared to the full-size M16, with its nearly 6″ (15 cm) longer barrel. This becomes most apparent at ranges of 300 yards and beyond. Statistically, however, most small-arms engagements occur within 100 yards.[citation needed] This means that the M4 is very much an adequate weapon for the majority of troops. The marginal sacrifice in terminal ballistics and range, in exchange for greatly improved handling characteristics, is usually thought to be a worthwhile compromise.

M4 Carbine

While the M4′s maneuverability makes it a candidate for non-infantry troops (vehicle crews, clerks, and staff officers), it also makes it ideal for close quarters battle (CQB). The M4 was developed and produced for the United States government by Colt Firearms, which had an exclusive contract to produce the M4 family of weapons through 2009;[citation needed] however, a number of other manufacturers offer M4-like firearms. The M4A1, along with the M16A4, have mostly replaced the M16A2; the U.S. Air Force, for example, plans to transition completely to the M4. The M4 is also the standard rifle for U.S. Air Force Security Forces members whether at home station or deployed abroad. They maintain a yearly qualification on it.

The United States Marine Corps has ordered its officers (up to the rank of lieutenant colonel) and Staff Non-commissioned officers to carry the M4A1 carbine instead of the M9 handgun. This is in keeping with the Marine Corps motto, “Every Marine is a rifleman.” United States Navy corpsmen will also be issued M4A1s instead of the M9.

VARIANTS OF THE M4

M4A1

The M4A1 carbine is a fully-automatic variant of the basic M4 carbine intended for special operationsuse. The M4A1 has an “S-1-3-F” (safe/semi-automatic/3-round burst/fully automatic) trigger group while the M4 has an “S-1-3″ (safe/semi-automatic/3-round burst) trigger group. The M4A1 is used by almost all U.S special operation units. The M4A1 is especially favored by counter-terrorist and special forces units for close quarters combat because of the carbine’s compactness and firepower. These features are also very useful in urban warfare. Although the M4 has less effective range than the longer M16, many military analysts consider engagement with a non-specialized small arm above a range of 300 meters (330 yds) to be unnecessary. It is effective at ranges of 150 meters (160 yds) or less and has a maximum effective range of about 500 to 600 meters (550–660 yd).

M4 Carbine

In the last few years, M4A1 carbines have been refit or received straight from the factory with barrels with a thicker profile under the handguard. This is for a variety of reasons such as heat dissipation, which is useful due to the complaints of high-heat production from test soldiers, which occurs during full-auto and accuracy as a byproduct of barrel weight. These heavier barrel weapons are also fitted with a heavier buffer known as the H2. Out of three sliding weights inside the buffer, the H2 possesses two tungsten weights and one steel weight, versus the standard H buffer, which uses one tungsten weight and two steel weights. These weapons, known by Colt as the Model 921HB (for Heavy Barrel), have also been designated M4A1, and as far as the government is concerned the M4A1 represents both the 921 and 921HB.

SOPMOD BLOCK I

USSOCOM developed the Special Operations Peculiar Modification (SOPMOD) Block I kit for the carbines used by units under its jurisdiction. The kit features an M4A1, a Rail Interface System (RIS) handguard developed by Knight’s Armament Company, a shortened quick-detachable M203 grenade launcher and leaf sight, a KAC sound suppressor, a KAC back-up rear sight, an Insight Technologies AN/PEQ-2A visible laser/infrared designator, along with Trijicon’s ACOG and Reflex sights, and a night vision sight. This kit was designed to be configurable (modular) for various missions, and the kit is currently in service with special operations units.

SOPMOD BLOCK II

A second-generation SOPMOD kit (now known as SOPMOD II) is currently under development, with many different manufacturers competing for the contract. Notable bidders include Knight’s Armament Company, Atlantic Research Marketing Systems (ARMS), and Lewis Machine & Tools. Daniel Defense has won the contract for the RIS-II, the next generation of rail handguards.

SOPMOD Block II

SOPMOD Block II

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Assault Rifles / Carbines

AICW

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The AICW (Advanced Infantry Combat Weapon) is a joint development of the Australian DSTO (Government operated Defense Science and Technology Organization), and private companies Metal Storm and Tenix Defense. This development has been carried out since the turn of 21st century, closely following the concept of the American XM29 OICW system.

Overall, AICW represents the modular weapon system that combines the 5.56mm rifle/carbine component as a host (basic) platform with 40mm multi-shot grenade launcher (G/L) module and multi-purpose electro-optical sighting system, which can be used to fire either rifle or G/L component, and also can provide recon data to external “consumers” such as tactical computers.

The host rifle component of the AICW is the updated Australian-made F88 rifle, which is a license-built Steyr AUG. However, the basic F88 rifle has been extensively modified to accept other elements of the system – for example, the receiver has been upgraded to receive the G/L module at the top, and the butt stock has been enlarged to accommodate G/L electronic fire control module. Other changes include modification to the safety and trigger arrangements – AICW system has a single trigger for both weapon components (5.56 and 40mm) and a three position (safe – rifle – G/L) safety/selector switch at the side of the pistol grip.

The most interesting part of the AICW weapon is the multi-shot Metal Storm 40mm grenade launcher, which looks like a single 40mm G/L barrel but contains three 40mm projectiles stacked one behind the another. These projectiles are launched using the electric ignition impulses, provided by the fire control module built into the buttstock of the host rifle. Since the muzzle velocity of these projectiles is slightly more than usual for 40mm handheld G/L (95m/s instead of 75m/s), host rifle incorporates the recoil reduction buffer, that allows the Metal Storm G/L barrel to recoil against the spring, decreasing the peak recoil impulse.

The top of the receiver hosts the multi-role sights of various type and make. At the AICW VX3 live fire demonstrations that took place in the summer of 2005, AICW prototypes were displayed with ITL Viper multi-purpose rifle sight (that incorporates laser range-finder and digital compass), or with Vinghog Vingsight Fire Control System.

In late 2005 AICW prototypes have not yet fired 40mm grenades with live warheads, nor incorporated an airburst facility. However, it is stated that it is possible to easily adapt most of the existing 40mm grenade warheads to the Metal Storm technology, including air-bursting grenades that are now in development in several countries.

At the present time AICW weapons are available only as the “3rd generation technology demonstrators”, that completed first live-fire trials (as a complete system) in the summer of 2005. Australian MOD had plans to purchase AICW systems in around 2010-2012.

Technical specifications for AICW assault rifle

Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO + 40mm
Action: operated, rotating bolt + Metal Storm patented stacked-projectile case less
Overall length: 738 mm
Barrel length: n/a
Weight: : 6.48 kg unloaded, w/o sight; 7.85 kg loaded w/o sight (30 5.56mm + 3 40mm rounds); 9.9-9.9 kg loaded w. electronic sight
Rate of fire: rounds per minute (for 5.56mm barrel)
Capacity: 30 rounds (5.56mm) magazine plus 3 40mm rounds in the G/L barrel
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Assault Rifles / Carbines

Learn what keeps an AK-47 on top of the world

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The world's most popular weapon

The ultimate tool associated with almost every war in last 60 years is the AK-47, a Russian-made assault rifle. But, have you ever asked yourself why it is the world’s favorite small arms weapon? Durability, low production cost, availability and ease of use are the features, which assured the Kalashnikov AK-47’s global success.

The Avtomat Kalashnikov is legendary assault rifle which has been introduced into the Guinness Book of Records as the most widely spread weapon in the world, with 100 million AK-47 rifles currently in use.

So far, it has been manufactured in the numerous versions and the ordinary rifle has been the subject of numerous aftermarket improvements presented below.

Slide handle

The factory installed bolt support is thin and smooth. To prevent unwanted slips aftermarket designers have come up with a hefty barrel-like cylinder with notches.

Controller

The standard-issue controller/safety catch assembly could be handled with both hands. An upgraded version features an additional “spur” enabling the shooter to  unlock the safety catch and change rates of fire with one hand.

Ergonomic Grip Designs

The finger grooves with interchangeable inserts fit any hand. More so, the grip at the front of the weapon ensures excellent balance and makes the weapon easier to handle.

Butt Stock

AKs typically come with either a traditional fixed stock in wood or polymer or the various folding stocks that make the gun compact to carry. An optional telescopic butt makes it possible to adjust the weapon to its owner’s anatomical characteristics.

A cheek rest provides additional comfort and ensures better aiming.

Muzzle adaptors

There are several types of muzzle adapters. Muzzle recoil compensators help keep the weapon steady during firing. Some feature rugged tips effective during hand-to-hand combat. And there are also flash suppressors and silencers which make the shooter less visible to the enemy and keep  the noise down.

Picatinny rail

A bracket that provides a standard mounting platform consisting of rails with multiple transverse slots and designed to mount heavy sights of various kinds.

A great variety of accessories and attachments are now available and the rails are no longer confined to the rear upper surface but are either fitted to or machine milled into the upper, side and lower surfaces of all types of firearms.

Sights

The AK-47 uses a notched rear tangent iron sight calibrated in 100 m  increments from 100 to 800 m. The front sight’s post is adjustable for elevation. Some AK-type rifles have a front sight with a flip-up luminous dot that is calibrated at 50 m, for improved night fighting. Modern laser sights are also available to ensure more accurate target acquisition and fire.

For sure, it could easily last up to 100-years with certain improvements, because it will always be easier to buy a full track of AK-47 for the price of 100 M-4 assault rifles.

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