From the "poops where it eats" crowd, we learn that Spec Ops has gone against the grain and ordered the HK416 gas-piston upper for their M4 carbines.
The Army has gone on record as stating they won't purchase the conversion for regular troops. Not because it doesn't work better or increase reliability. Nope. They don't want to buy it because they're holding out for the next generation of issue weapons that fire airburst rounds.
The futuristic XM29 and XM8 didn't make the cut. I wonder how long they will hold out before M4 stoppages wake them up to the reality that is the HK416?
I understand the HK416 isn't cheap. It's also a German idea, but damnit, so was the Mauser 93, which was product-improved into the Springfield 1903, lest we forget.
If the GSA bean counters are so adament, let our defense contractors use the HK416 as a starting point for a homegrown gas-piston upper, change the design by at least 10% to avoid patent problems, and call it our own. Then get it to the guys in the sandbox who need it.