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Discovery of hybridization between M4 Carbine and M16A1 in Ukraine

On July 20, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, a tweet from Historical Firearms caught attention with a peculiar discovery, an M4 Carbine with a unique configuration. The photo showcased an M4 upper receiver combined with an M16A1 lower receiver, hinting at a possible hybrid prototype. According to the tweet, the weapon's serial number suggests a production date around 1974-1975.
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Hybride between M4 and M16A1 (Picture source: Twitter account Historical Firearms )

Hybridization is common during conflict, and we have seen plenty during the Russo-Ukrainian war. Countless articles on Army Recognition have highlighted the latest ideas from Ukrainian and Russian tinkerers. Nevertheless, this hybridization gives us a chance to delve into these iconic firearms - the M4 and M16A1.

The M4 is a versatile assault rifle and carbine originating from the United States. Since its introduction into service in 1994, it has been extensively used in numerous conflicts worldwide and remains a vital asset in the US military and other countries armed forces. Its design process started in 1982 and was finalized in 1993, after which various manufacturers produced and improved it.

The M4 weighs 6.43 pounds (about 2.92 kg) when empty and 7.75 pounds (about 3.52 kg) with a 30-round magazine and sling. Its overall length is 33 inches (about 838 mm) with the stock extended, and 29.75 inches (about 756 mm) with the stock retracted, making it a compact and easily maneuverable weapon.

Chambered for 5.56 mm (.223 inches) NATO ammunition, the M4 operates on a gas-operated, closed rotating bolt mechanism, known as the "Stoner expanding gas." This grants it a high level of reliability even in challenging conditions. Its cyclic rate of fire in automatic mode ranges from 700 to 950 rounds per minute, allowing the user to adjust their firing according to the situation. The effective firing range of the M4 extends up to 500 meters (about 550 yards), making it suitable for medium-range combat. The firearm is equipped with iron sights, but it can also be fitted with various optics to enhance accuracy and performance according to the shooter's needs.

The M16A1 is an iconic assault rifle that has significantly impacted US and global military history. It has been widely used by armed forces since its introduction in 1991.

The M16A1 is chambered for 5.56 x 45 mm NATO ammunition, known for its velocity and precision, making it an ideal choice for military operations. The rifle measures 1,000 mm in length and weighs 5.78 kg. Its barrel length is 510 mm, contributing to its accuracy and range. The M16A1 is equipped with a 30-round magazine and has a firing rate of 700 rounds per minute.

The M16A1 can be easily identified by its distinctive markings: "COLT M16A2 PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVT CAL 5.56 MM." The serial number is engraved on the left side, just above the magazine well, providing precise tracking in military arsenals.

The rifle features a three-position safety selector located on the left side above the pistol grip. The three positions are Safety, Semi-automatic, and Automatic. This configuration allows soldiers to choose the appropriate firing mode based on the situation while always maintaining complete control over the weapon.

These two firearms, iconic symbols of the US arsenal, are now combined in this unique hybridization. The pertinence of this fusion remains to be seen, and it opens up the opportunity for a new nickname to describe this novel creation. As Ukraine and Russia continue to vie for ingenuity on the battlefield, this hybrid M4-M16A1 serves as another testament to their resourcefulness and adaptability.

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