Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    I've been trying to just learn a little more about battle rifles and I've come across what seem to be two very similar rifles. What are the main differences between an AR15 and an M4?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    The M4 is an AR-15 in the civilian world.

    The M4 is a 16" barrel with the retractable stock. There are SO many versions out now, that even most "M4's" are not M4's.

    In general a Standard AR15 has a fixed stock and 20" barrel. But as I said, there are hundereds of variations out there now. All of them are ARs.

    As for the military's M16...

    let me try to get this right the first time....lol.

    The original rifle was the M16 or Ar15 with a 20" barrel.

    The M16A1 was upgraded with a forward assist.

    The M16A2 got a new rear sight system and a heavier 20" barrel with round forend. The M16A2 was semi/ 3 round burst instead of full auto.

    The M16A3 is the same rifle as the A2 with the removable carry handle.

    The M4 carbine has the 16" barrel with the adjustable stock.


    Each and every damn rifle I listed has several variants and things have changed over the years. I did my best without typing for 10 hours.

    Lots of good info on the net about the AR15/M16

  3. #3
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    This is exactly the reason I want to build an Ar....Soo many different configurations and parts to choose from....I am like a kid in a candy store! Better get the GF to keep that credit card out of my hands!
    http://forum.pafoa.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3339&dateline=1300221  289

  5. #5
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    Yeah, the M4 is basically a shortened version of an M-16, it's the military only select fire version with the adjustable stock

    AR-15 is a Generalization of all of the manufacturers' semi-auto civilian versions of the M-16. It's kinda like Kleenex, nobody asks for tissues, they all ask for kleenex.

    Hope this muddies the water enough for ya


    Glock Pistols.......So simple a Caveman could fix them!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    Mark is correct. The M4s are 14.5 inch barrel select-fire carbines that the Army uses. The M16 is a 20 inch select-fire.

    Anything civilian owned is an AR-15 unless your lucky enough to have access to NFA toys.
    Freedom is paid with the blood of those who understand what being free really means. (Me)

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - 1775 Benjamin Franklin

  7. #7
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    M4 Barrel is also notched for mounting the M203 (Grenade Launcher).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    95% of those rifles calling themselves m4's....are not m4's.
    as noted above a real m4 has a 14.5" barrel and is selective fire.
    my biggest grip about so called m4's is they tend to have 16something" barrels. yeah so they have the collapsible stock, but they don't have the short barrel though.

    most people can own the 14.5" barrel, but the gun most be registered as an SBR(short barrel rifle), most people do not want to go through the hassel to do so.

    that is why alot of times you will see people calling m4's....mforgeries
    it's only metal, we can out think it....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    Thanks for reminding me that the M4 has a 14.5" barrel.

    I knew damn well before I posted that i would mess it up.

    I would have been smarter to simply say - The M4 is the carbine version of the M16 and let it go at that with a few links.

    I got out of the Infantry just as the M4's were issued. I carried a M16A2 during my service career.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: AR15 vs M4 - What's the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyd2 View Post
    M4 Barrel is also notched for mounting the M203 (Grenade Launcher).
    Some of the 16 inch barrels are notched for mounting the 203 as well.
    Freedom is paid with the blood of those who understand what being free really means. (Me)

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - 1775 Benjamin Franklin

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