Quote from Gear Scout:
Sources inside the Marine Corps indicate that the Corps has bucked the other branches of the service and plans to continue and further the use of rifle length M16 family firearms. The M16A5 ACMR (Armorer Conversion Marksman Rifle) will be manufactured using components provided primarily by VLTOR Weapons System of Tuscon, Arizona, and this will be the largest contract ever taken on by the firm. VLTOR has previously been contracted to provide adjustable stock kits for the exist M16A4, and these kits have been well liked and highly sought after. The ACMR will feature a monolithic rifle length VIS upper receiver and a VLTOR M16A5 adjustable stock kit, which provides a buffer tube with seven, as opposed to the usual six, choices of length of pull and uses the existing rifle length buffer and springs. All VLTOR parts will be provided in a Flat Dark Earth finish, per USMC request. The M16A5 eschews the carry handle rear sight but retains a fixed sight in the form of a Lewis Machine and Tool sight that replicates the sight common the M16 family of firearms and has been used previously by forces within the Navy Department on the Mk 18 CQBR. As the name suggests, upgrading an M16A4 to M16A5 spec will be a task simple enough for an armorer in country, as the M16A5 retains the barrel, front sight, lower receiver, fire control group, bolt, bolt carrier group, gas tube, buffer and springs of the M16A4. As it lacks a heavy barrel, the ACMR cannot be considered a true precision rifle, but the newly free floated barrel coupled with either a Trijicon TA31 4×32 optic (first employed by the Marines on the new M27 IAR) or Schmidt and Bender 3-12×50 rifle scope increases accuracy by up to 35% on average in the hands of trained sharpshooter. Additionally, the monolithic upper substantially increases the accuracy and return-to-zero capability of night vision and laser aiming devices. The M16A5 kit, sans optics, costs the taxpayer $1200 per rifle. The Marine Corps goal is to upgrade 100% of the M16A4s assigned to special operations capable units by 2014 and 50% of all M16A4s in their inventory by late 2015.
Military Times/Gear Scout has pulled the article, so we don’t know if it was incorrect or a leak.
A couple notes and thoughts on the above statement:
- The VLTOR A5 stock uses a new buffer and a rifle spring, the opposite of what is said above.
- I am disappointed that the Corps chose to use the LMT rear sight. Just like the carry handle that preceded it, it will have to be completely removed from the rifle when a magnified optic is used. So the individual has to make sure not to lose it, and would have to remount it in the field should their optic break.
- It is nice to see the USMC adopt a free floating barrel. I do hope that we will stop mounting slings to the sling loop on the front sight when this upgrade is adopted.
- The above incorrect statement says the TA31 ACOG was first used on the IAR. The USMC fielded the TA31F and the TA31RCO models on the M4 and M16, and fielded TA11MGO models on the M249 and M27 IAR.
- I think the VLTOR A5 stock system will be a great choice for the rifle length AR, however with the total cost of $1200 per rifle, I think there are plenty of other rail systems that could have been used that would be cheaper and just as good. Hell, for $1200 the USMC could have bought new M4 carbines.
We will post an update when more information is available.