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Editorials

An M4 fix: Get on with giving our Army a better gun

| Friday, May 1, 2015, 8:57 p.m.

The Army is surveying gunmakers about upgrading its troops' mainstay firearm, the M4. Experts tell The Washington Times that move is “a tacit admission that (the Army) has been supplying a flawed rifle that lacks the precision of commercially available guns.”

But with the M4's propensity for rapid-fire jamming and need for frequent cleaning long known, this upgrade process is long overdue — and so is the best possible weapon for U.S. soldiers.

The Army has been so loath to admit the M4's shortcomings — which soldiers often fix themselves, breaking regulations — that a confidential military report last year said it had rigged testing when one of eight competing rifles proved more reliable.

Already converting the basic M4 into the M4A1 special-operations model with a heavier barrel, the Army now seeks to create a more accurate and reliable M4A1+ model.

Max Slowik of Guns.com welcomes the project to bring upgrades to the M4 that are already available on commercial AR-15-type rifles. But retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, a decorated Vietnam veteran, says the Army “will try to improve on a system that is terribly flawed while contesting the fact it is terribly flawed to the media.”

This new upgrade effort must not be hindered by the bureaucratic inertia and rear end-covering that have delayed an M4 solution too long. America's combat defenders deserve the best rifle, period — and without delay.

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