Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said Thursday she wants a replacement for the Army and Marine Corps’ M4 and M4A1 standard-issue rifles.

“I will continue down this warpath of trying to get the individual soldier and marine a better weapon, especially with some of the studies that I’ve seen,” Sanchez said during a House Armed Services (HASC) tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing. Sanchez is the subcommittee’s ranking member.

A soldier carries a M4 Carbine rifle. Photo: Army.
A soldier carries a M4 Carbine rifle. Photo: Army.

Sanchez said she’s fielding calls from soldiers and Marines, claiming the two weapons are jamming. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, Lt. Gen. Anthony Ierardi defended the Army’s use of the M4, saying it is the service’s strategy to continue to enhance the M4 Carbine and that it is a capable weapon.

“Our strategy is to continue to improve what we have while we look to procure new M4A1s,” Ierardi said.

Marine Corps Systems Command Commanding General Brig. Gen. Joe Shrader said the Marines are evaluating “downstreaming” their service pistol options, the M9 and the M45A1. Shrader said the Marines are “observing and collaborating” with the Army on their effort to their modular handgun system program. The M9 is developed by Beretta while the M45A1 is developed by Colt. The Marine Corps also intends to stick with the M4 and the M16A4 rifle, Shrader said.

The M4 and M4A1 5.56mm Carbine, also developed by Colt, are lightweight, gas operated, air cooled, magazine-fed, selective rate, shoulder fired weapons with a collapsible stock. Ierardi called it a compact, easy-to-maintain weapon. The M4A1 is a fully automatic variant that features a flat-top rail for mounting day or night sensors and a detachable carrying handle.

The Army on March 13 began market research to find if anyone was capable of producing M4A1+ components as non-developmental items (NDI) for improvements to the M4A1 Carbine. The Army said in Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) notice the M4A1+ components will seamlessly integrate with the current M4A1 Carbine (to include, but not limited to, the barrel, gas tube, upper receiver, bolt and bolt carrier) without negatively impacting or affecting the performance or operation of the weapon.

The Army was unable to respond to a request for comment Monday.