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Army Takes Control of M4 Design

Colt will no longer have an exclusive deal, and other manufacturers will be able to sell firearms to the military.  I wonder if this will end up making Colt more interested in the civilian market than it currently is.

5 Responses to “Army Takes Control of M4 Design”

  1. It is a bit of an exaggeration to say the Army has control of the TDP. As of July 1, the Army merely gained limited license rights to use the M4 TDP to second source production, as an extension of the 1967 licensing agreement for the M16. Until the end of calender year 2050, the Army will have to pay 5% in royalties to Colt for every M4 procured from second sources. The TDP will remain Colt proprietary data, and any second source M4 contractor will no doubt be required to sign non-disclosure agreements just as they do for the M16.

    This is not the end of Colt’s current .mil contract for the M4. The current contract allows new delivery orders to be placed to the end of calender year 2010. As it now stands, the current delivery orders stretch production out to Spring 2011.

  2. Mr. Smith says:

    “Civilian market? what civilian market?”

    – Colt spokesman

  3. Jim W says:

    I don’t see how this has any effect at all. Other companies have been producing “m4 profile” and “m4 pattern” AR’s for years.

    Actual M4s fall under the NFA anyway.

  4. Tam says:

    …also bear in mind that there are, in effect, two Colts: Colt Defense and Colt’s Manufacturing.

  5. One correction: Another source claims that the US Army will only have to pay royalties until December 24, 2037. That is still a mighty long time, and even after that the Army will only be able to second source for governmental purposes.

    The companies receiving second source M4 contracts will only be able to use the Colt M4 TDP to supply the US government. Whether or not the US government can then turn around and export these carbines is a matter of the 1967 license agreement and subsequent amendments. Certainly, FN-made M16 are being contracted by the US Army on behalf of the Iraqi military.

    The non-disclosure/non-use agreements for accessing the TDP will forbid the other companies from using Colt’s proprietary data for commercial sales. Once their military contract ends, the company will be required to be destroy all of the TDP information provided to them.

    The following link provides the US Army’s standard non-disclosure/non-use agreement for contractors accessing the M16 TDP:

    https://aais.ria.army.mil/AAIS/Solinfo/Standard_Attachments/Colt-M16_Non_Disclosure_Agreement.doc

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