5.56 x 45 mm
Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire
700 - 950 rpm
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
Range of effective fire
early 1970s the Colt Firearms company developed various carbine
versions of the AR-15. The Colt Model 720 is essentially a shortened
version of the
M16A2 assault rifle. It
has a shorter barrel and telescopic buttstock. As a result this
weapon was much more comfortable to carry and to use. The US Army
adopted this carbine in 1994 as the M4. This carbine is still in
service and being issued as a personal defense weapon for the
non-frontline troops, vehicle drivers, artillery crews, airborne
troops and special operation units. The Colt M4 is also in service
with at least 30 operators worldwide.
It is a gas
operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for the standard NATO
5.56 x 45 mm ammunition. Its internal design is similar to that of
the M16A2. In fact these weapons have 80% parts commonality. Because
of the shorter barrel this weapon has an effective range of 360 meters.
The safety /
fire mode selector switch is located on the left side of the
receiver, above the pistol grip. Trigger mechanism has semi-auto and
three round burst modes. A cocking handle is located at the rear of
the receiver and does not reciprocate when the gun is fired.
Ejection port is located on the right side. It has a deflector,
which propels spent cases away from left-handed shooters.
is fed from the standard M16 magazines, holding 30 rounds. This
weapon is also compatible with the earlier 20-round magazines of the
original M16 and other standard STANAG magazines.
adjustable iron sights of the M16 are of diopter type. Range
adjustments are made by rotating a rear knob. The M4 has a sighting
range of 600 meters. Later production models were fitted with a
Picatinny-type rail on top of the receiver for attachment of sights.
These could also mount a detachable carrying handle.
The Colt M4
has a telescopic 4-position stock, which is adjusted for length, and allows to
shorten the rifle when required. It is worth mentioning that the M16A2
rifles have solid stocks, because of internal design limitations of
this weapon, which cannot be adapted for a folding buttstock.
is compatible with all accessories, used by the M16, including
a modified M203A1 underbarrel grenade launcher, knife-bayonet,
tactical flashlights, laser pointers and silencers.
carbine. It is similar to the M16A3 assault rifle. This version is
fitted with a Picatinny-type rail instead of the carrying handle,
which accepts a variety of scopes. A detachable carrying handle can
be installed. Weapon's trigger mechanism has a
full-auto mode instead of the three shot burst;
a compact carbine, fitted with even shorter barrel. It is used in
limited numbers by the US Army special operation groups and Marine
force recon troops.
Video of the M4 carbine
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