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Osprey Publishing
01 June 2021
Series: Weapon
The M4 carbine has become one of the defining military firearms of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Developed as a fusion of the XM177E2 Colt Commando and the M16A2 assault rifle, the M4 offered a more convenient battlefield firearm than the full-length M16 variants, and the US Army adopted it as the standard infantry weapon in the 1990s. Today, military and law-enforcement personnel of more than 60 countries have adopted either the M4 or the M4A1 variant, both of which have been tested and proven in major combat operations worldwide.

This study describes the development process in detail, from production of the first XM4 prototypes in 1984 through numerous modified types until it emerged into official use as the M4 in 1994. The M4 offered a weapon that was 1lb lighter and 6in shorter than the standard M16A2, yet could still deliver precision semi-auto and full-auto firepower up to an effective range of 500m. Over time, its capabilities have been enhanced by the M4A1 modifications plus an extensive range of tactical accessories, including optical day/night sights, laser/infrared designators, under-barrel grenade launchers and shotgun modules, foregrips, furniture options, mounting rails, and sound suppressors. Numerous M4/M4A1 combat operations are investigated to reveal why the weapon has received such high levels of approval by front-line combat troops, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the M4/M4A1 has been intensively combat-tested, but also in contexts such as Colombia, India, Israel, and the Philippines. Profusely illustrated with photographs and artworks, and drawing its research from the latest declassified documents, this is a complete guide to one of the most important and widely distributed tactical infantry weapons of the last quarter-century.
By:   Chris McNab
Illustrated by:   Johnny Shumate (Illustrator), Alan Gilliland (B.E.V. illustrator)
Imprint:   Osprey Publishing
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 248mm,  Width: 184mm, 
Weight:   278g
ISBN:   9781472842275
ISBN 10:   1472842278
Series:   Weapon
Pages:   80
Publication Date:   01 June 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Introduction Development Use Impact Conclusion Bibliography Index

Chris McNab is an author and editor specializing in military history and military technology. To date he has published more than 100 books, including A History of the World in 100 Weapons (2011), Deadly Force (2009) and Tools of Violence (2008). Chris has also written extensively for major encyclopedia series, magazines, and newspapers. Johnny Shumate began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University, and now works as a freelance illustrator. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor. His greatest influences are Angus McBride, Don Troiani and Edouard Detaille. Born in Malaya in 1949, Alan Gilliland spent 18 years as the graphics editor of the Daily Telegraph, winning 19 awards in that time. He now writes, illustrates and publishes fiction (www.ravensquill.com), as well as illustrating for a variety of publishers (alangillilandillustration.blogspot.com).

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