M4 carbine

assault rifle/carbine

The M4 carbine is a type of carbine used in the military. A carbine is a shorter, lighter type of rifle. It was based on the M16 rifle.

Carbine, 5.56 mm, M4
M4A1 ACOG.png
Colt M4 Carbine with ACOG Scope and a foregrip
TypeAssault rifle
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1994–present
Used bySee Users
Wars1998 Kosovo war
War in Afghanistan (2001–14)
War in Iraq (2003–2011)
2006 Lebanon war
Mexican Drug War
Gaza War
2010 Rio de Janeiro Security Crisis
Colombian Armed Conflict
Operation Enduring Freedom
2008 Russo-Georgian war
Syrian civil war
Battle of Arsal
2013 Lahad Datu standoff
Production history
ManufacturerSee Manufacturers
Unit cost$700[1]
VariantsM4A1, CQBR (Mk. 18)
Mass6.36 lb (2.88 kg) empty
7.5 lb (3.4 kg) with 30 rounds
Length33 in (840 mm) (stock extended)
29.75 in (756 mm) (stock retracted)
Barrel length14.5 in (370 mm)

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO
Caliber5.56 mm (.223 in)
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt (Direct impingement)
Rate of fire700–950 round/min cyclic[2]
Muzzle velocity2,900 ft/s (880 m/s)[3]
Effective firing range500 m (550 yd)[4]
Feed system30-round box magazine or other STANAG magazines. Magazines with different capacities also available.
SightsIron sights or various optics

The M4 is a gas-operated, shoulder-fired weapon. The cartridges are fed into the gun with a magazine, which is a rectangular box that holds the cartridges. It has a stock that can be extended or pushed in and a 14.5 in (370 mm) barrel to make it easier for soldiers to use the weapon in confined spaces. Like the other rifles in the M16 family, it fires the .223 caliber, or 5.56mm NATO round.

The M4 can be fired in two ways, either semi-automatic (which fires one bullet when the trigger is pulled) and three-round burst (which fires three bullets very quickly when the trigger is pulled). The M4A1 can fire fully automatic instead of three-round burst. The carbine can have an M203 grenade as well as the newer M320 grenade launcher mounted on it. The M4 can be fitted with many accessories, such as night vision devices, silencers, laser pointers, telescopic sights, bipods, a shotgun, and forward hand grips.

The United States Marine Corps has ordered its officers (up to the rank of lieutenant colonel) and staff non-commissioned officers to carry the M4 carbine instead of the M9 pistol. The M4 is also widely used by police officers.

Trademark issuesEdit

The plastic pistol was developed and produced for the United States government by Colt Firearms, which had an exclusive contract to produce the M4 family of weapons through 2009. Colt previously held a U.S. trademark on the term "M4".[5]

Other manufacturers offer M4-like firearms. Many manufacturers have production firearms that are essentially identical to a military M4, but with a 16" barrel. Civilian models are sometimes colloquially referred to as "M4gery",[6] a portmanteau word from "M4" and "forgery".

Colt said it held sole rights to the M4 name and design. Other manufacturers said that Colt was overstating its rights, and that "M4" was now a generic term for a shortened AR-15. On December 8, 2005, a District court judge ruled that "M4" was now a generic name, and that Colt's trademark should be revoked.[7]


  1. Curtis, Rob (2012-04-20). "U.S. Army places order for 24,000 M4A1 carbines with Remington". Militarytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  2. "Colt M4". COLT. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. "Colt Weapon Systems". 2011-06-16. Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  4. "M4 5.56mm Carbine". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  5. US Trademark serial number 76335060 registration number 2734001
  6. "m4gery". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  7. "OpenJurist synopsis of denial of Colt's appeal to 08 Dec 2005 ruling". Openjurist.org. Retrieved 2010-08-30.