Smith & Wesson (S&W) M&P4 Enhanced/Improved M4/M4A1 Carbine-Type Tactical AR Carbine Pulled from U.S. Army Individual Carbine (IC) Competition (Photos!)

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By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com

Photos Credit: Rob Curtis, Military Times Gear Scout

November 8, 2011

The Smith & Wesson M&P4 has reportedly been pulled from the U.S. Army Individual Carbone competition. A Military Times Gear Scout piece written by Rob Curtis explained it thus: “He [S&W VP of Military Programs David Holt] explained the company’s decision not to compete in the Army’s search for a new carbine, “the Army’s strategy moving forward makes it tough for us to commit.” He cited the program’s long acquisition timeline as one of the factors that made it difficult for Smith and Wesson to assume the risk of joining the carbine fray.” At some point, however, the M&P4 enhanced/improved M4/M4A1 Carbine-type tactical AR should end up being offered to law enforcement (LE) and civilian tactical shooters (unconfirmed/unverified), although the timeline for that is anyone’s guess.

Back in June 2010, DefenseReview (DR) published a quick heads-up piece on what is now being called the Smith & Wesson (S&W) M&P4 enhanced M4/M4A1-type direct-gas-impingement (DGI) tactical AR carbine (AR-15 carbine) that we encountered at S&W's booth at the 2010 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC 2010). We weren't allowed to photograph the weapon at that time, due to the fact that the M&P4 was S&W's Individual Carbine (IC) program candidate/submission. so we had to settle for just writing about it. Here are some of the features we outlined at the time:

Adams Arms gas piston/op-rod system. S&W may also have a direct-gas
– impingement system option, but we're not sure.
– Ambi controls (ambidextrous operating controls, all controls), including bolt carrier release/stop button.
– Quick-removable (enlarged) trigger guard/receiver floor/trigger housing ceiling for easy cleaning and maintenance of trigger group (non-removable). S&W claims this feature is patent pending.
– Coated bolt carrier group and possibly other internals like hammer, barrel extension, inside upper receiver etc. Latest-version FailZero Nickel-Boron coating/finish was what they were using on bolt carrier DR saw, but they're testing additional self-lubricating coatings.
– Desert tan (anti-ir/thermal?) external coating/finish. Don't know who's.

Then, earlier this year, DR encountered the M&P4 again (possibly a later, more developed version) at NDIA Infantry Small Arms Systems Symposium 2011 in Indianapolis. Just like at SOFIC 2010, we were allowed to handle the weapon, not just photograph it.

Well, somehow, Rob Curtis over at Military Times Gear Scout was recently able to do at AUSA 2011 what we were not. Not only did he photograph the gun, but he also shot some pics of the weapon's internals, specifically the M&P4's enhanced bolt carrier group (BCG), i.e. enhanced bolt and bolt carrier. In his piece, Curtis mentioned how the S&W M&P4 tactical AR carbine had recently been pulled from the IC (Individual Carbine) competition. So, Defense Review contacted Dave Holt (David P. Holt), S&W's Vice President of Military Programs to see if Smith & Wesson would be willing to send us some in-house photos of the M&P4 since: A) with Mr. Curtis' photos being published at Military Times Gear Scout, the cat was already out of the proverbial bag, the horse had left the barn, Elvis had left the building, choose your metaphore, B) the M&P4 is no longer in the IC competition, and C) DR had been previously actively barred from photographing the weapon on two occasions where it was publicly displayed at S&W's booth at industry trade shows.

Well, once again, we were denied. Mr. Holt explained to us as politely as he could that this would not be possible. Fortunately, Mr. Curtis has given DR permission to utilize his photos, here. So, please enjoy the accompanying photos, courtesy of Mr. Curtis.

By the way, in addition to the features we first reported on, the S&W M&P4 offers:

– Improved bolt lug design – Modified muzzle design
– Other upgrades as yet unreleasable

The upshot is that the M&P4 has been designed to be a high-endurance, improved M4/M4A1-type DGI carbine. The gun looks good and feels good, and will probably do well on the market, if/when it’s offered.

Hat Tip: Military Times Gear Scout

Company Contact Info:

Smith & Wesson (S&W)
2100 Roosevelt Avenue
Springfield, MA 01104
Toll Free: 800-331-0852 (USA)
Phone: 413-781-8300 (International)
Domestic Fax: 413-747-3317
International Fax: 413-731-8980

© Copyright 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links.

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Smith & Wesson (S&W) M&P4 Enhanced/Improved M4/M4A1 Carbine-Type Tactical AR Carbine Pulled from U.S. Army Individual Carbine (IC) Competition (Photos!) by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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