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Special Operations Peculiar MODifications Kit is essentially a goodie bag of equipment that special operations forces, and later conventional forces, used to upgrade their rifles to get them mission capable.
Remember that original M4’s, like M16’s, had carry handle sights and plastic heat shielded handguards. They were simply shorter M16’s.
Rails, optics, lights, and laser aiming solutions were all specialty equipment and a bunch off commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions made it into the kits, especially during the Global War on Terror.
It was GWOT that also convinced the military that force multiplicative equipment, like optics, were necessary throughout the force and not just for SOCOM high-speed low-drag types.
Knight’s Rails, ACOGs, and Aimpoints for all!
Now featuring LPVO’s!
The later upgrades into the generation known as Block II was the first the popularized free-floating of the M4’s barrel and all the benefits thereof. The distinctive Daniel Defense Rails, both with front sight posts and low profile gas blocks, in the FDE coloration are the aesthetic of the Block II. They were the first and most radical departure between SOCOM’s M4A1’s and the general forces’ M4’s, which were sporting rails and optics and many of the SOPMOD goodies.
The latest and greatest is the URG-I, colloquially known as Block III, which integrates the latest we know in gassing, negative space M-LOK rails, LPVO’s, smaller lighter IR and aiming solutions, and the like, but all of these just smooth the Block II improvements. They are not major changes like the SOPMOD and Block II major improvements, they are refinements. 1-6’s are the next major add option but they’ve been around.