The Army And Marine Corps Are Checking Their M4s And M16s For A Dangerous Glitch

Military Tech
U.S. Army / 1st Lt. Ryan DeBooy.

Both the Army and Marine Corps are checking their M4 carbines and M16 rifles for a malfunction with the selector switch that causes the weapons to fire without soldiers or Marines pulling the trigger.


The Army first issued a safety message about the issue on March 29 following an incident at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where a soldier’s M4A1 carbine went off unexpectedly during troubleshooting, said R. Slade Walters, a spokesman for U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command.

The weapon initially failed to fire when the soldier pulled the trigger because the selector switch was in between “semi” and “auto,” Walters said. When the selector switch was clicked back into place, the weapon fired.

“There have been no injuries reported as a result of this issue,” Walters told Task & Purpose on Friday. “The unintended discharge occurred on an M4A1 carbine that had recently been converted as part of a Product Improvement Program. The incident was investigated and another [safety message] was released on April 18, 2018 to address all of the M4 and M16 family of weapons.  The investigation and inspections are ongoing.”

TACOM has found the malfunction in 6 percent of 52,000 weapons tested so far, Walters said. The Army will test a total of 903,000 rifles and carbines over the next 6 months and it expects repairs will take an additional 12 to 18 months.

On May 24, the Marine Corps issued its own safety message telling armorers to perform additional function checks during pre-fire inspections of M16A4 rifles and M4A1 and M4 carbines, Marine Corps Systems Command officials told Task & Purpose.

So far, no Marine Corps weapons have accidentally fired due to the selector switch malfunction, said Monique Randolph, a spokeswoman for MARCORSYSCOM.

“The additional function check is a precautionary action taken by the Marine Corps in response to the malfunction identified by the Army,” Randolph said.

WATCH NEXT:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

Read More Show Less
Saturday Night Live/screenshot

President Donald Trump said that "retribution" should be "looked into" after this week's opening skit of Saturday Night Live featured Alec Baldwin being mean to him again.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Read More Show Less
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

Read More Show Less