I caught sight of the new Smith & Wesson carbine on display Monday at AUSA. The flat dark earth-ish M&P4 stood out from S&W’s standard black rifles, the M&P15. I talked to David Holt, S&W’s VP of Military Programs who confirmed it was S&W’s entry into the U.S. Army’s individual carbine competition. He 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.
But, that doesn’t mean the M&P4 will be abandoned. They’ve put a lot of hours into the project and are very proud of the reliability improvement’s they’ve made over the M4 design. So, the carbine will likely end up for sale on the commercial LE/Gov market, though they’ve offered no timeline for its availability.
S&W has made some improvements to their M4 platform, namely adding a tougher surface finish, an improved bolt lug design, tougher bolt and bolt carrier group finish, a newly designed muzzle, as well as a few other upgrades that they aren’t ready to talk about, yet.
Of note, though, is the bolt carrier assembly. Smith & Wesson is competing it in the Army’s contract for an improved bolt carrier assembly kit.