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Earning Its Keep: The HK416 Within the US Military - Dangerous Magazine

Soldier Military Army Airsoft Design

After a typically exhaustive five-year process, the Army may be ready to issue a new rifle to infantrymen for the first time in 50 years. Through what’s called the individual carbine competition, the Army is evaluating five rifles for widespread service as a replacement for the M4. The final product of that selection process will likely mean the end of the M16 family of weapons’ streak as the longest-running standard US infantry rifle.

Of the five rifles submitted to the Army as a replacement for the M4/M16, the Heckler & Koch HK416 is a strong candidate, though many think not likely the end winner. In its own right, the HK416 is amassing a strong reputation in the US military. At the top of its resume is that it’s credited with delivering the rounds that killed Osama bin Laden. Next on the list is that the Marine Corps adopted it as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle to replace—not fully, but in large part—the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, which has been in service with the Marines since 1985.

“Early on, the 416 got an almost mythical reputation,” says Larry Vickers, who spent 20 years with the Army’s Delta Force and was instrumental in putting the 416 into the hands of the special operations community. “As far as a CQB gas-piston weapon, it’s about as good as you can get. Very reliable.”

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