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 issues[change | change source]
The M4 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. However, other manufacturers offer M4-like firearms. Colt previously held a U.S. trademark on the term "M4".
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", a portmanteau word from "M4" and "forgery". Colt had maintained that it retains sole rights to the M4 name and design. Other manufacturers had long said that Colt had been overstating its rights, and that "M4" had now become 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.
References[change | change source]
- US Trademark serial number 76335060 registration number 2734001
- "m4gery". Urban Dictionary. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=m4gery. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- "OpenJurist synopsis of denial of Colt's appeal to 08 Dec 2005 ruling". Openjurist.org. http://openjurist.org/486/f3d/701/colt-defense-llc-v-bushmaster-firearms-inc. Retrieved 2010-08-30.