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Carbine Rifle with Special Forces Modification Kit

United States | 1993

"SOPMOD kits - adding specialized accessories to the base M4A1 - evolve the M4 Carbine family of automatic weapons to new levels."

Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Colt M4A1 SOPMOD. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
2,900 ft/sec
884 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
The physical qualities of the Colt M4A1 SOPMOD. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
838 mm
32.99 in
O/A Length
5.95 lb
2.70 kg
Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt
5.56x45 NATO
30-round detachable box
Adjustable Iron; Optional Optics
Notable series variants as part of the Colt M4A1 SOPMOD Carbine Rifle with Special Forces Modification Kit family line.
M4 Carbine - Base M4 automatic rifle based on the full-length barrel M16A2 assault rifle.
M4A1 - Improved M4 Carbine
CQBR (Close Quarters Battle Receiver) - Replacement Upper Receiver for M4A1 series; upgrade similar to Colt Commando.
M4A1 SOPMOD - M4A1 Carbine with SOPMOD modification kit components made possible through installation of accessories rail system; available in Block I and Block II kits.
Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 04/20/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

The M4A1 SOPMOD is a derivative model of the base M4 Carbine of the United States military. The M4 Carbine itself is a compact version of the ubiquitous M16 assault rifle of the 1950s and 1960s, intended for precision close engagement, primarily in urban warfare environments. The SOPMOD designation stands for Special OPerations Peculiar MODification and is an accessories system designed to customize the base M4 Carbine in-the-field with low-cost off-the-shelf components. The SOPMOD program was initialized through the original SOPMOD Block I kit and has since evolved into the SOPMOD Block II offering.

The SOPMOD initiative was born in the late 1980s through the Modular Close Combat Carbine Project. As its name suggests, the project's goal was to customize a weapon through the introduction of supported non-standard issue elements. The program gained steam throughout the early 1990s to which it was fully realized in 1993 under the banner of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane).

Beginning with the SOPMOD Block I, the M4 Carbine could be modified by installation of a rail interface system along the various receiver and handguard surfaces of the M4A1 (in some cases the M16-style carrying handle is removed). From this, the operator could then install various components based on mission parameters. The kit included the requisite rail interface system, night vision sight mountings, combat-minded sling loops, the ECOS-N optical sighting devise, the Trijicon 4x32mm Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, a Knights Armament Company iron sight assembly and a Knights Armament Company vertical hand grip.

Additionally, the kit provided components to slightly modify three more M4 Carbines in an assault squad through the installation of the Knights Armament Company sound suppressor (2), the Trijicon reflex sighting device, an Insight Technology Visible Light Illuminator and an Insight Technology AN/PEQ-2 IR aiming laser device. Beyond these fittings, the kit also provided single examples of various M203 40mm grenade launcher supporting devices - the M203 barrel assembly itself, the requisite mounting system to connect said barrel under the hand guard, the M203 sighting system, the AN/PEQ-5 series laser aimer, a pair of night sighting devices and a carrying case.

In all, the SOPMOD provisions broadened the tactical capabilities of the basic M4 Carbine family. This proved an exceptional quality in the many engagements across Iraq during the height of American involvement following the 2003 invasion. Operators could storm houses in daylight or low-light level situations with the appropriate gear and engage enemy fighters at close ranges with the required accuracy. The compact nature of the M4 Carbine was a tremendous asset as well, its qualities only heightened by the modular nature of the M4 design through the SOPMOD kit. Assault squads could also share unused portions of their kits with other squads to form customized weapons as required. Within time, other non-standard accessories were added to the system including shotgun mounts and cheekpieces.

The SOPMOD Block I kit was eventually evolved into the more modern Block II kit offering. This brought about different optics, illuminators, sighting devices and the like to further strengthen the M4A1 Carbine SOPMOD line.

The SOPMOD kits are also compatible with the Fabrique-Nationale FN SCAR Mk 16 and Mk 17 assault weapons operated by US SOCOM, offering the same breadth of tactical flexibility to the line. The SCAR line represents a fully-modern modular automatic weapons system offering and is fielded in limited numbers with the United States military - attempting to overtake the M4 Carbine as the standard-issue carbine of the American military.

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April 2022 - The MCX-SPEAR has been selected by the U.S. Army for further development as the XM5 to succeed its aging line of M4A1 assault carbines through the Next Generation Squad Weapons Program. Similarly, the LMG-6.8 in the SIG lineup will become the XM250, succeeding the M249 SAW.

Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Colt M4A1 SOPMOD. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Colt's Manufacturing Company / Knights Armament Company - USA
National flag of Australia National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Canada National flag of Czechia National flag of Egypt National flag of France National flag of modern Germany National flag of Greece National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Israel National flag of Italy National flag of Malaysia National flag of South Korea National flag of Turkey National flag of Ukraine National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ Australia; Bangladesh; Canada; Czech Republic; Egypt; France; Germany; Greece; India; Indonesia; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Malaysia; South Korea; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States ]
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Image of the Colt M4A1 SOPMOD
Image from the United States Department of Defense.

Going Further...
The Colt M4A1 SOPMOD Carbine Rifle with Special Forces Modification Kit appears in the following collections:
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