Skip to comments.HK creates new and improved M4
Posted on 02/18/2004 9:23:07 AM PST by heckler
THE HKM4 SYSTEM
Inspired by the resounding success of the midlife improvement program of the British SA80 (L85/L86) Weapons System, Heckler & Koch began a detailed assessment of the technical deficiencies of the standard US-issue M4 Carbine in early 2002.
Combining the lessons learned from this program to the already world renowned design, testing and manufacturing capabilities of HK an internally funded project was launched to improve the reliability, safety and durability as well as the salient features of the baseline weapon system. Working with current users from around the globe HK set out to produce an M4-type Carbine that would outperform the baseline weapon and provide the high degree of performance required by the user community, particularly those within the special operations arena who demand more and expect no compromise when lives are at stake.
High-speed video assessment and extensive live-fire testing in extreme operational environments such as the U.S. Army Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona revealed multiple areas for immediate improvement. Improvements have been made to the internal operating system and miscellaneous component parts to improve reliability in best and worse case scenarios, with all types of ammunition, with all barrel lengths and with and without sound suppressors attached.
A unique user removable gas system can be factory retrofitted to existing weapons and fits within modified hand guards or a modified Rail Interface System (RIS) allowing all current standard accessories and sights to be fitted to the HKM4 as normal.
The HK-proprietary gas system does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapons interior. This radically reduces operator cleaning time, increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages.
The elimination of the gas tube typical of the Stoner AR15/M16/M4 direct gas operating system means that the HKM4 will function normally even if the weapon is fired full of water without first being drained.
To improve reliability, service life and operator safety during obstructed bore occurrences or after extreme extended firing sessions (>300 rounds) HK has produced its famous cold hammer forged barrel for the HKM4 in various lengths to include 10, 14.5, 16.5, and 20 inches.
The highest quality European steel is used in this unique manufacturing process producing a barrel that provides superior accuracy for greater than 20,000 rounds with minimal degradation. The goal of the program to offer an M4-style carbine that will fire 20,000 rounds without cleaning, lubrication, stoppages, or parts replacement has been realized in the development of the HKM4 Enhanced Carbine.
In addition to the improvements in the baseline weapon HK has produced a high reliability magazine and a proprietary buffer to improve functional reliability as well as an add-on single shot 40 x 46mm AG-C grenade launcher for quick attachment to the RIS without tools.
HK has applied its proven and fielded Safety Blank Firing Attachment and Live Round Excluder Magazine technology to the HKM4 Carbine to eliminate the possibility of live rounds being loaded into and fired through a standard issue weapon outfitted for blank firing only.
While development and validation testing of the HKM4 is still ongoing, it is anticipated that HK will offer retrofit services for existing M4-style weapons to the HKM4 standard for U.S. and foreign military and law enforcement users. A drop in HKM4 upper receiver module and a complete carbine are also nearing completion.
The HKM4 has been developed by HK for use by military and law enforcement personnel as an interim performance upgrade to existing US M4 carbines to improve solider survivability in combat until the XM8 design is completed, fully tested and available for fielding. The HKM4 is not expected to be available for military or law enforcement deliveries until late 2004. No definitive decision has been as yet made to offer the HKM4 or its components for commercial or retail purchase.
The full potential of the M4 carbine has now been realized with the introduction of the HKM4.
Better late than never. The US military needs to end its love affair with the M-16 and the 5.56mm round.
Yup, after 40 years in service, and greater distribution worldwide than any other small arm besides the pot metal AKM, somebody would've figured out how much the M16 series sucks.
You have your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I have experiences that formed my opinion. Just Keep your (?) M-16 very, very clean.
Actually, that aspect of Stoners design is the least appealing. The M16 series is certainly one of the most difficult rifles on the planet to clean properly, and it does get funky.
In my experience, though, the M16/AR will shoot fine dirty - but it has to be in good shape - especially the extractor/ejector and associated springs - running clean (minimal fouling) ammo.
Blanks are particulary notorious, I've never met an M16 that ran well for long on blank ammo.
This is just speculation, but it doesn't look like any of these parts would be affected by any current federal gun control regulations.
The trigger group, flash hider, pistol grip and collapsible stock make the M4 LEO/military only, but adding the HK retrofit to an otherwise legal AR might (should) be a non-issue, should HK decide to sell it to civilians.
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