The Army is updating its procedure for operating the M4A1 carbine after a soldier recorded a cell phone video of a malfunction that shouldn’t have happened. The gun in question was a standard M4, which fires in semi-auto and 3-round burst, to fire in full-auto. In the video, the solider put the selector on his rifle between “semi” and “auto” and pulls the trigger. The gun does not fire. When he switches the selector to “auto,” the carbine immediately discharges a round. According to this story from AmericanMilitaryNews.com, the Army’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) first issued a warning about the problem in March and April. Inspectors were able to replicate the malfunction depicted in the soldier’s video in about 10 percent of the firearms they inspected, according to the defense industry journal Soldier Systems. In some cases, the carbines fired when the selector was switched from “safe” to “semi-auto,” the story says. The means that Army personnel must change the way they check functions on M4s, M4A1s, M16A2s, A3s, and A4 rifles and to perform immediate action drills to diagnose weapon stoppages, the story says.
The new function check should be performed every 10 days or prior to live fire exercises.
These are the new steps in the function check:
- Ensure weapon is clear by observing the chamber, the bolt face, and magazine well. The weapon should always be pointed in a safe direction.
- Charge the weapon, place selector lever on the safe position and pull the trigger. The hammer should not drop.
- Move the selector lever to the semi position, then move the selector to a position between semi and auto, and squeeze the trigger. The hammer should drop when the trigger is squeezed. If the hammer does not drop when the trigger is squeezed, this is a failure. Record this information and continue to the next step.
- If the hammer does not drop, move the selector in either direction. If the hammer drops without squeezing the trigger, this is a failure. Record this information.
- Gather information recorded from failures at steps (3) and (4) and segregate the weapon for further investigation. Contact TACOM with the weapon serial number.
- If the weapon passes steps (3) and (4), the function check is complete.
When it comes to dealing with misfires, the familiar SPORTS procedures is now CSPORTS:
- C-onfirm that the selector is set to semi, auto or burst.
- S-lap upward on the magazine to make sure it is properly seated.
- P-ull the charging handle completely to the rear and hold.
- O-bserve for ejection of case or cartridge, and ensure the cartridge or case is ejected and the chamber is clear.
- R-elease the charging handle to feed a new round.
- T-ap the forward assist to ensure the bolt is closed.
- S-queeze the trigger; the weapon should fire.