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U.S. Army Is Officially Ditching The M4 Rifle For Something Much More Powerful

By  Ryan Saavedra

The U.S. Army is officially ditching the M4/M4A1 carbine for a new service rifle that fires a much more powerful projectile that will be critical to the U.S. Army’s ability to outgun emerging near-peer competitors like China.

The U.S. Army announced last month a 10-year contract with Sig Sauer to manufacture two Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) variations: the XM5 Rifle, which will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine; and the XM250 Automatic Rifle, which will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

Both the M4/M4A1 carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon relied on firing the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. The new NGSW rifles will fire a new 6.8x51mm cartridge that are more accurate and are more lethal against emerging threats than both the 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm ammunition.

“Both weapons provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range and overall lethality,” the U.S. Army said in a statement. “They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction.”

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