MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — It's official — the M4 carbine has replaced the M16A4 as the universal rifle of Marine Corps infantry.
Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has signed off on the switch making the M4 the primary weapon for all infantry battalions, security forces and supporting schools no later than the end of September 2016, according to an internal memo released by Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey, deputy commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations via the Automated Message Handling System.
"We found out that the M4 actually outshoots the A4 at all ranges out to 600 meters with the new ammunition," Woodburn said, referring to the 5.56mm AB49 Special Operations Science and Technology cartridge the Corps is looking to make the standard.
The redistribution, Woodburn said, will occur in two phases.
First, each of the Marine expeditionary forces will redistribute M4s across their armories and ship excess rifles to Marine Corps Logistics Command, along with their rifle combat optics.
Any unit which is short M4s per its table of organization and equipment will then apply to LOGCOM to make up the difference.
"It's important to emphasize that no one who rates an M4 by TO is going to lose an M4," Woodburn said. "These are excess M4s that are already in units, and we have an amount at LOGCOM already."
Exceptions, he noted, will be for those units either getting ready to deploy or returning from deployment.