The M4 carbine rifle lies in the family linage of earlier carbine versions of the M16. All these riffles pick their developments from the original AR-15 designed by Stoner Eugene and produced by Armo Lite Company. Compared to earlier versions, the M4 is lighter than the M16 assault riffle, though it is 80% compatible with the M16 parts.
The M4 is gas-operated, magazine fed, shoulder fired, air-cooled with a telescoping stock. It is a shorter modification of the M16A2 rifle as it contains 370 mm barrel, letting its user to better work in close quarters warfare. The user of the M4 riffle has selective fire alternatives including semi-automatic and three-round burst (similar with the M16A4). However, the M4A1 can fire fully automatic as a replacement for of three-round burst. The carbine is also capable of increasing an M203 grenade launcher. ( Parsaei and Williams 40)
The M4 riffle has mainly gained popularity, in the US, especially among its military staff. Therefore, it has replaced the M16 in many of the military departments in the US. This is because of its characteristics that make it easy to use and efficient in combat and urban areas. Most of these units have chosen to replace the pistol with the M4 riffle. However, it has not just come handy with out its shortcomings the earlier versions of the M4 riffle were deemed to be ineffective in Afghanistan and Iraq as they were easy affected by sand and mud. Thus, the riffle could not fire for a long time without jamming. This led to its modification thus improving is workability. ( Parsaei and Williams 40)
As a result of this entire shortcoming, the US government turned to Heckler & Koch for a fix to the persistent problem. This fix only required Heckler & Koch to make improvements on the riffle but maintained it as the original M4.( Walter 52) The problem that were to be solved included the heat build up that melted and dried lubricant from the riffle opening the way to dust and mud damage. Gas tube systems were replaced with the stroke piston system that reduced the chances of carbon blowing up in the chamber. Moreover, they reduced the heating problem caused by the excessively hot gases used in the M4 working mechanisms. Variants of the M4 carbine from varied manufacturers are in service with foreign, Special Forces. Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) uses rifles done same pattern as those done by Colt for export. British SAS and Colt Canada use an M4 variant. M4A1 is a fully automatic rifle intended to be used in exceptional operations. It is favored for its carbine compactness and firepower. Its maximum range is about 500 to 600 meters. Other variants include, Mark 18 CQBR equipped with a 10.3 inch barrel, PMOD Block I, SOPMOD Block II and SOPMOD Block III. (Rosso 60)
Sale of full automatic M4s is restricted to law enforcement agencies and the military. Only under exceptionally special circumstance a private citizen in possession of an M4 fully automatic rifle or select fire rifle. Machine guns registered or made in the U.S. after 19th May 1986, are not transferable to private citizens. Therefore, M4 carbine is for military and law enforcement agencies strictly. (Rosso 90)
In accordance with the NATO program, all companies developing weapons should consider the regulations set by the world organization. All weapons that are produced should meet the required standards. NATO has directed that all weapon producing companies should put in mind the human rights. In the production of the m4, the colt company has considered all these conditions set by NATO. The weapon does not violate human rights as it is not considered highly lethal. (Walter 20)
Because of these problems, companies developing the M4 series of riffles put on the necessary developments and modifications to allow easy serviceability and maintenance, as well as the working conditions of the riffle. If all these changes are made and the necessary modifications put in place then the M4 riffle will definitely be one of the best and the most efficient riffle after the M16.