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Defending America: A rigged rifle test?

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Sticking to one's guns usually is admirable. But that's not the case when the Army rigs testing to stick with the latest iteration of its M4 carbine — despite results showing there's a potentially better rifle for combat soldiers on the front lines.

A confidential military report obtained by The Washington Times says the testing showed one of eight unidentified competing rifles was more reliable, firing more rounds before common failures occurred, than the M4A1. The report also says the Army switched in midstream to ammunition “tailored” for the M4A1, then abruptly canceled the testing. An Army statement even insisted that “no competitor demonstrated a significant improvement in weapon reliability.”

The M4's rapid-fire reliability issues long have been known; soldiers who've used the M4 in intense combat say it's so prone to jamming and needs such constant cleaning that many rebuild their M4s with better parts. Such criticism from the ranks led Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and others in Congress to demand the testing.

Mr. Coburn is outraged that a Department of Defense inspector general's report said the rifle testing wasn't needed because of the M4A1's improvements over the basic M4. But the greater outrage is the Army keeping the best possible rifle out of the hands of its soldiers, who deserve the best possible equipment as they defend America.

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