At last! A bit of gun news to blog about.
According to Defense Review the battle for a US Army Special Forces weapon continues- though the FN Scar has apparently been selected the rumour is that the HK M416 (previously known as the HK M4) is already in the hands of US Army Special Forces operators and they like it. As you may know the M416 is a product-improved M4 and it fixes the major bug-bear of the M4 system of weapons by utilising a gas piston. HK have also developed a high reliability magazine for the M4/M16 series of weapons- which can also be used by the British SA80 family.
The major advantage the HK weapon has is that it could be bought by the Army as an upper only- saving on some costs. They are also rumours that HK are developing a sister M418 is 7.62x51mm. Personally I'd also like to see a 7.62 Russian variant able to take AK magazines.
It's interesting to note that there seems to be some diversity in weapons procurement right now. The US Army continues to toy with the idea of going to the XM8, the Marines have just bought a bunch of M16A4s and the different Special Forces units now seem to have either the FN SCAR or the HK M416 to choose from. The one thing missing from all this of course is any mention of the "intermediate cartridge"- either the 6.8mm SPC or the 6.5mm Grendel. There's seems to be ample testimony from those on the sharp end that 5.56mm just doesn't cut it- time to move on. Given that a 6.8mm/6.5mm weapon could also be chambered in 5.56mm it seems like all that surplus 5.56mm lying around could be used in training or in non-war zones until it's all used up.
Update- As a commenter noted, the 7.62mm version of the HK M4 is now known as the HK417.