M16 Rifle vs. M4 Carbine

M16 Rifle
M4 Carbine

The M4 Carbine is a lighter and shorter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle. The two have roughly 80% of their parts in common. The M4 carbine family is based on earlier carbine versions of the M16, which were in turn based on the AR-15 designed by Eugene Stoner and manufactured by ArmaLite.

Comparison chart

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M16 Rifle

User Rating (226):
M16 Rifle

M4 Carbine

User Rating (164):
M4 Carbine
Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO 5.56×45mm NATO
Type Assault rifle Carbine
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt (direct impingement) Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Weight 7.18 lbs (3.26 kg) (unloaded), 8.79 lb (4.0 kg) (loaded) 6.36 lb (2.88 kg) empty, 6.9 lb (3.1 kg) with 30 rounds
Manufacturer Colt Defense, Daewoo, FN Herstal, H & R Firearms, General Motors, Hydramatic Division, Elisco, U.S. Ordnance Colt Defense
Place of origin United States United States
Variants AR-15, M16A1, M16A2, M16A3, M16A4, XM16E1, M4, Mk12 M4A1, CQBR (Mk. 18 Mod 0)
Sights Iron or various optics Iron or various optics
Wars Vietnam War, Invasion of Grenada, Gulf War, Somali Civil War, Operation Deny Flight, Operation Joint Endeavor, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan (2001–present) War in Afghanistan (2001–present), War in Iraq (2003–2010), Colombian Armed Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom, 2008 South Ossetia war
Length 39.5 in (1,000 mm) 33 in (840 mm) (stock extended), 29.75 in (756 mm) (stock retracted)
In service 1963–present 1994–present
Barrel Length 20 in (508 mm) 14.5 in (370 mm)
Effective range 550 meters (point target), 800 meters (area target) 500 m for a point target and 600 m for an area target
Muzzle velocity 3,110 ft/s (948 m/s) 2900 ft/sec (884 m/sec)
Rate of Fire 700–950 rounds/min cyclic 700–950 round/min cyclic
Feed system 20 or 30 round box magazine, Drum, Snail or other STANAG Magazines 30 round box magazine or other STANAG Magazines.

edit Comparison Video

This video compares the M4 with the M16.

edit Cost

At a price of roughly $1,000, the M4 Carbine costs less than the M16 assault rifle.

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Comments: M16 Rifle vs M4 Carbine

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Anonymous comments (4)

January 27, 2013, 1:12am

I perfer the M16A4 since I was able to engage a POINT Target at 843 yards using a T31 ACOG. For CQB and room clearing, she is a bit long, but that can be compensated for.

The M4 jams quite a lot more often than the M16A4 does. I personally never had my M16 jam on me. I took care of her though, and I've noticed that a lot of people who complain about the M16 are either talking about the OLD ones from Vietnam, are not in the military, or did not perform proper Weapon and Magazine Maintenance.

(It's not the armorers job to lube her guys, that task falls to the Marine or Soldier she is issued to. Take care of her and she will love you back.)

Using the M4A1, I experienced 7 Jams despite correct maintenance. 3 were on the Range, 4 were during other training. The Bolt Carrier does not have as far to travel, so it has less time to extract the round and chamber the next. If the mag spring is weak, it may not lift the next round high enough in time. 1 time I had the bolt lugs fail to lock and the armorer had to fix it. I'm thanking God I never had to carry the M4 into combat.

In closing, My beloved Acela (FN M16A4) brought me home and never let me down. Dear God, how I miss that rifle.

— 71.✗.✗.214

November 22, 2012, 3:47am

The M-4 and M-16 both have the same function so both suffer from the possibility of having foreign objects in the star chamber, barrel, magazine well, etc. Proper care and maintenance will prevent 99% of problems related to debris blockage of your weapon. I personally prefer the M-4 because of the shortened barrel and collapsable butt stock makes MOUT easier to conduct, increases shooter comfort, and it reduces the overall weight of the weapon.

— 70.✗.✗.112

May 27, 2013, 2:52pm

M16 is not necessarily more accurate, in fact its generally less so because the shorter barrel is stiffer. However the 20 inch m16 has greater range and about double the fragmentation range firing the m855 round. The rifle length gas system is easier on the internals which is where increased reliability comes from

— 69.✗.✗.143

October 15, 2012, 3:27pm

Even though the m16 has better accuracy i still think that the m4 is better because of all the problems that the m16 has like jaming or grime that getts into the chamber

— 165.✗.✗.32


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