WERE TROOPS STUCK WITH A BAD RIFLE?
Did Army Know About M4 Carbine Flaws?
By Harold Hutchison
Could flaws in the M4 carbine have been corrected before American troops went into battle during the War on Terror? One retired general is claiming that the M4 is “virtually useless.”
In an article by the Washington Times, Robert Scales, a retired major general who received the Silver Star during the Vietnam War, slammed the carbine. “Frankly, this whole thing is scandalous,” he told the newspaper. “We send soldiers into close combat with lousy weapons and we’ve done it since World War II and nobody complains. It’s a national outrage.
“It has no penetrating power. It’s ineffective against vehicles, against bunkers. It’s ineffective against virtually anything except a man in the open. Put a flak jacket on the enemy and it’s virtually useless,” he went on to say.
Those using the M4, including special operations troops, have a different perspective. “Between the M16 and M4, I’ve carried weapons from that family for nearly 30 years and would not trade them for any other fielded families of assault rifles,” one Green Beret told the Washington Times.
A Marine also praised the M4, but noted that it still requires attention to maintenance, saying, “The first thing you do back at camp is clean the gun.”
At least one gunmaker claimed to have developed a fix over a decade ago. Scott Traudt, who works for Green Mountain Defense Industries, told the Washington Times, “The M4s were substandard. The Army paid us to find a way to improve them, improve them cheaply with a little bit of extra engineering and metallurgical changes to make a gun that was markedly more reliable than the Colt weapon. The Army took our advice and did nothing with it.”
Should there be an investigation into the issues with the M4?