American assault rifle M4 rifle: technical characteristics, history of creation
Personnel of military, professional mercenaries and ordinary weapons lovers have always been interested not only in the products of the Kalashnikov Concern, Tula Arms and TsNIIochtomash. Since the days of the Cold War, the Russian man has remained in the habit of following what is being done across the ocean. Fortunately, today information about the main types of weapons that are in service with the US Army is quite accessible. Our article tells about the M4 rifle. The presented information will certainly be of interest to those who want to learn more about the main competitor of the native AK.
The Russian-speaking fighter will never call the SVD machine gun, nor will he say a “rifle” about “Kalash”. But it is rather a matter of habit.
But speaking of foreign-made weapons, it is difficult to define clear boundaries.Any rifle that has an automatic shooting function is called abroad by word.rifle. Therefore, the model of the M4 weapon can be called both a rifle and a machine gun. But for the Russian language, the use of the first option is much more familiar. M4, like its predecessor M16, it is customary to magnify a rifle.
The history of the M4
At one time, the M16A2 rifle occupied the leading positions in the US armed forces. But for all its merits, it has one huge drawback - its dimensions are simply huge. The long barrel made it possible to conduct aimed fire at great distances, but, for example, for fighting in the thickets of the forest, this weapon was simply unsuitable because of its awkwardness. A lot of censures were also caused by the butt - awkward, bulky, fragile. The rifle in the literal sense could not be dropped, and the fact that the enemy could be hit with a rifle butt was out of the question.
As a result, the Americans got tired of putting up with the shortcomings of the M16 and they took up the new development. The first result was the "Colt-177", but he did not stay long in the ranks of the Armed Forces - in the early 80s of the last century a large batch of all available samples was sold to Israel (where, by the way, it is still used today).
Since then, America has not participated in large-scale wars.But even in urban settings, the old machine gun was inconvenient. Not only the special forces complained about him, but also the infantry. If the infantryman could still adapt himself to the long barrel, then the armament of the crews of combat vehicles, artillery crews, auxiliary troops and convoys clearly required more maneuverable weapons. M4 rifle was developed specifically for these units.
I liked the new model of weapons with relatively small dimensions and a shortened barrel and the command of special forces. Initially, the M4 was put into service only in some troops: special forces, intelligence. Later, this weapon became more widespread, having won the glory of the best American-made assault rifle.
At present, when the US Armed Forces mainly use combat vehicles, marines and special forces, it is these weapons that can be seen in the hands of the vast majority of military personnel.
Design features of the M4 rifle
What are the advantages of a new weapon compared to the prototype? The first thing it was decided to shorten a giant trunk. This, of course, did not affect the effective range of fire in the best way.But the special forces fighters leading the battle within the city are not required to shoot at targets located within a few hundred meters. In favor of ease of use it was quite possible to compromise this parameter.
The sights were modified: the fly was moved closer to the rear sight and the arrow.
The bulky butt was replaced by a telescopic with adjustable length. Handguard, too, has become shorter.
This is the main difference between the new model and the M16A2 rifle. But what remained unchanged is the whims. Like its predecessor, the M4 is afraid of sand and dust. Careless handling can lead not only to breakdowns and misfires, but also to complete failure. The rifle needs regular cleaning and lubrication. In desert conditions, this lack is felt especially. Places with high humidity armed with this rifle soldier should also be avoided.
The press and cinema immediately responded to the novelty, however, in the opinion of many soldiers who have experience with various types of weapons, the loud glory of the M4 is somewhat exaggerated.
But do not consider this development a failure.In order to visually evaluate the advantages of this weapon, let’s look at its performance characteristics.
M4 weighs only 2.7 kg - this is very little for a full-fledged combat machine. According to this indicator, “American” is clearly ahead of the absolute majority of foreign analogues. Together with the fully folded butt, the length is 840 mm.
This calculated value, as the number of shots per minute, is also impressive: it can reach 700-950 pcs. The speed at which the bullet leaves the barrel is 920 m / s.
Characteristics of M4 allow you to hit targets located at a distance of up to six hundred meters from the shooter.
Used ammunition caliber 5.56. (Patron 5.56x45 .223 Remington).
It is worth mentioning one more feature. The photo shows the location of the base of the butt relative to the axis of the bore. These parts lie on one straight line, which significantly increases the accuracy, by minimizing the jump of the weapon at the time of the shot. Of course, much depends on the skill of the shooter, but also the peculiarity of the weapon influences the result.
An assault rifle can be retrofitted depending on the task. The following additional equipment is compatible with the M4:
- grenade launcher grenade M203 caliber 40 mm;
- Laser illumination and target designation device AN / PEQ-2;
- tactical handle;
The bayonet is not provided. There are also no devices for cleaning weapons (as, for example, on AKs of most modifications).
Optics and sights
In the ranks of the US Armed Forces, the practice of shooting with the help of standard aiming devices (pillar and front sight) is rarely used. This option is used only in the event of a breakdown or loss of optical devices.
The M4 rifle is usually manned with an ACOG telescopic sight. Compatible with these weapons and other sights, including night vision.
Another popular option is the collimator sight Aimpoint CompM2.
According to professionals, additional optics help improve accuracy. But the effective range of fire, of course, does not affect.
M4 rifle is in service not only in the US Armed Forces. Today, this weapon is used for the army, police and special forces in at least forty countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Australia, Portugal, Poland, Georgia, Serbia, Kazakhstan and others.
The developers have provided for the M4 machine two options stores.They are absolutely identical, but have different capacities. Depending on the tasks, the fighter can choose a magazine for 20 or 30 rounds.
However, nothing new in this regard was developed specifically for the new rifle. The same stores were used for the M16. It is worth noting, they have a relatively small weight and an excellent margin of safety. Damage to the store is not easy. After falling or hitting, he continues to feed the cartridges as if nothing had happened. The springs are powerful, but it does not interfere with charging. In the slot shop is mounted easily, having a weapon possession skills, the fighter will deal with the task intuitively, even if he picks up this weapon for the first time.
Comparison with a competitor
The American M4 rifle simply could not avoid comparisons with the Russian Kalashnikov machine gun. True, creating reviews, both sides show some bias, comparing their new development with the old models of a competitor.
For the sake of objectivity, it is worth noting that each of these types of weapons has its own advantages. For example, the weight of the new AK-12 (without a store) is 3.2 kg, the old modifications are even heavier.
Gas automatics on these types of weapons is different.AK has a bolt carrier with a gas piston, on the M4 it is not - powder gases are discharged directly into the receiver, and then the stem of the bolt under their influence is sent back, turns the body of the bolt, unlocking the barrel.
The one who got used to "Kalash", will quickly adapt to the American small round rod switching fire modes. But according to the opposite side, the flag on the AK is huge. In principle, for a professional it is not difficult to adapt.
The Russian 5.45 caliber cartridge is comparable to US 5.56 ammunition. The cartridge used for the AK-47 and AK-12, 7.62, naturally, has other characteristics: greater mass, destructive force, penetrating ability. In the world of 5.45 and 5.56 ammo cartridges are equally common.
On the Kalashnikov assault rifles of various modifications, one can detect various types of buttstock: folding to the right, folding forward, and retractable. Optionally, "Kalash" can be equipped with a five-step. American rifle has a telescopic butt.
The obvious advantage of the Russian machine is its harsh simplicity. Jokes that AK can perfectly shoot after being immersed in water,mud, snow and sand are quite reasonable (however, this does not mean at all that weapons can be handled carelessly).
Like the new AK-12, the M4 is equipped with a standard Pikatini strap.
The M4 is not a finish line at all. An improved model M4A1 has already been developed and tested. Especially for it was created a set of SOPMOD M4. The rifle is equipped with GP, target designators, optics of various types and multiplicities, quick-release silencer. Currently, these weapons are in service with some US special forces.