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  1. #1
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Default And the M-16/M-4 haunts the Grunt again.......After 40 years

    Robert McNamara's folly continues to endanger our men and women in combat. Seems the military is finally listening to the men and women on the front lines. Only took 40+ years.

    http://www.military.com/NewsContent/...ESRC=marine.nl


    Army Won't Field Rifle Deemed Superior to M4
    Military.com | By Christian Lowe | April 06, 2007
    It's a debate that's gone on for years - and now it's finally coming to a head.
    The compact M4 carbine - a shortened version of the M16 - that is now standard issue for most Army troops, some Marines and other specialized units is facing increased criticism because of its tendency to malfunction with even the minutest exposure to the elements.

    Some ground communities, including special operations forces, have begun to sideline the M4 in favor of newer, gas-piston operated variants such as the Heckler & Koch-manufactured 416 and the FNH-built Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR

    In a routine acquisition notice March 23, a U.S. Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 upper receiver assemblies for the HK416 to modify their M4 carbines. The M4 fires using a system that redirects gas from the expended round to eject it and reload another. The 416 and SCAR use a gas-operated piston that physically pushes the bolt back to eject the round and load another.

    Carbon buildup from the M4's gas system has plagued the rifle for years, resulting in some close calls with Soldiers in combat whose rifles jammed at critical moments.

    According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 "allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon's interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent."

    The 416 is used by the Army's elite Delta Force, and a recent Army Times investigation showed the service's top equipment buyers ignored data from the spec ops community showing the M4 had fundamental flaws. Enamored by the development of futuristic weapons such as the XM29 and, later, XM8 - neither of which were ever fielded - the M4 stayed in the hands of Soldiers deploying to hot, dusty, austere environments like Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The Army would prefer to wait for the development of a new rifle firing an airburst, round - essentially leaping ahead of today's technology. But that innovation has been hard to find in the right weight class.

    An Army spokeswoman for Program Executive Office Soldier, based at Fort Belvoir, Va., said in a statement the Army isn't buying into SOF's argument.

    "At this time PEO Soldier is not procuring and does not have plans to procure the 416," said Army spokeswoman, Erin Thomas, in an email statement.

    But special operations forces sometimes work outside the "Big Army" procurement system, so they can grab the best gear quickly.

    "The elimination of the gas tube ... means that the M4 will function normally even if the weapon is fired full of water without first being drained," the justification for the 416 assembly buy states. "There isn't another company that offers these features in their products. It is a practical, versatile system."

    Army weapons experts have been tinkering with new weapons designs, such as the HK-built XM8. Its modular design, rugged construction and accuracy intrigued many in the Army - and other services. But in 2005, the Army abandoned the XM8 after spending $33 million - though the Natick Soldier Systems Center has been looking at a shortened version of the XM8 as a personal defense weapon for officers and armored vehicle crews.

    So far, however, the Army is unwilling to buy what the special operations community believes is a clearly superior system and is still spending money looking for another technology while Soldiers use what many say is an inferior weapon in harsh combat conditions.

    "The Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia is currently conducting a Capabilities Based Assessment to determine future Army needs," Thomas said in the statement, declining to elaborate.
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    7.62mm. Nothing else to say.
    "Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary

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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    In his novel "About Face" Col. David Hackworth (R.I.P.) stated the M-16 was the greatest hoax ever put upon the US soldier.

    McNamara's folly is right just like the original F-111 was supposed to replace both AF and Navy fighters. Of course the fact that it was being built in LBJ's home state had nothing to do with it being forced upon the AF. The Navy and USMC had the sense to reject the design immediately.

    To its credit the F-111 did go on to be an effective medium bomber and EW platform.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    In his novel "About Face" Col. David Hackworth (R.I.P.) stated the M-16 was the greatest hoax ever put upon the US soldier.
    Not even a hoax SC, since it was/is a garbage weapon and with its continued malfunctions it has cost many men and women their lives by crapping out in combat - precisely when it is supposed to work and is most needed.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Okay, I do have something else to say.

    The modifications of weapons (such as the m-16A1, A2) occurred because of soldier feedback from experiences with the weapons in the field of combat.

    Does anyone besides me feel that fighting active combat is not the ideal time or place to be discovering these drawbacks? I know it is nice to have combat feedback, but much more can be done before a prototype weapon even leaves the drawing board.

    It seems simple to me (but not to the Government, of course): Manufacturers should put the design through a serious torture test (drop it in the mud, run over it with a truck, throw it in a flashover simulator) before they hand it to some grunt and have it jam when a grain of sand gets in the chamber.

    Every piece of equipment to be used by the combat soldier needs to go through a thorough trial before it ever gets shipped.

    Anyone ever see the test track for the M1 tanks? Why not have an equivalent for rifles?
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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie View Post
    Not even a hoax SC, since it was/is a garbage weapon and with its continued malfunctions it has cost many men and women their lives by crapping out in combat - precisely when it is supposed to work and is most needed.
    I've never fired one outside of a KD range. But that was the term Hackworth used describing the same situations. He hated the thing. He said the only worse than an M-16 was its CAR-15 derivative. Soldiers wanted them cuz they looked cool. But weren't worth a damn when needed.

    And the VC/NVA had an AK-47. One munitions guy told me the M-16 was like a swiss watch. Drop it, it breaks and you need a new one. The AK-47 was like a Mickey Mouse clock. Drop it, it breaks, shake it around and it works again.

    Which one would you want?
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    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodSendRain View Post

    Anyone ever see the test track for the M1 tanks? Why not have an equivalent for rifles?
    1 tank costs millions, 1 grunt costs pennies...which is nothing to the Gov't. Grunts can be replaced by the thousands....tanks....not so fast.

    I wish the fat azzhats in DC would pull thier heads out of the sand, forget about how much their cousins will make from the contracts, and give a Friggin Combat rifle that works when I need it too. The IDF has a new weapon they designed...called the Tibour (I think)....5.56 cal, accuracy of the M-1A match rifle, and reliability of the Ak-47 varients. Its PERFECT for urban warfare, but can still be used in the field well.
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    I've never field stripped an M-16, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I can't evaluate these guys statements...

    But they seemed to be impressed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXZMepn3SI

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    While I certainly don't give the bean counters in R&D any credit, something has to be said for a grunts ability to F up the best tested scenario or weapon. I have the experience.


    But I am glad to see there is some work being done. The platform is 40 years old, with many of the original flaws, and there is a hell of a lot of battlefield experience now. Any grunt who had to clean the damn things can tell you that gas recirculation is a less than ideal idea.


    And as for the 7.62 comment, I started back with the FN C1 (FN FAL), and while I still have a soft spot for that weapon, it was not at all nice to lug around, use in CQC, and/or tight spaces.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 04-11-2007 at 10:33 PM.
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    I never had a major malfunction with my M-16A2 but I also cleaned it like a person with OCD. Most of the major problems myself and many of my unit members experienced were from worn magazines that would double feed rounds and they weren't always easy to clear. I often kept an extra cleaning rod in my flak jacket to clear them.

    I got to fire the HK416. It is a kick *** weapon. I've always loved the MP-5 for close quarters and would have loved to carry the 416.

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    "I dont need no beauty queen.... I just need my M-14"


    Compare the M-16 which is now entering its era of being close to 50 years old... Eugene Stoner and the AR-10 Program dated the Actual M-16 by like ten years and the first Ar-15 was completed in 1958.


    Now... how many other armies out there issue weapons that are based off a 50 year old design?

    The Ak-74, while being based off the AK-47... is a little bit updated but... England has the Enfield... Germany and Spain have the G-36. Canada still uses a modified M-16 Design... but who counts them anyway

    The HK-416 design is in itself a very good design and most likely should be used... but who knows.

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    Canada still uses a modified M-16 Design... but who counts them anyway

    Hey, we took the M-16, fixed most of your inherant problems, and made it good.


    And I don't suspect I will get a chance to play with the new HK anytime soon, but I have seen a lot of coverage on it, and I agree it is a slick looking unit.
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    Just remember your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.








    Ak's run circles around the M-16's. Besides is .223 enough gun?
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    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    the current AK round uses a 5.54 x 39 if remember off the top of my head. Not much bigger than the .223 BUT it has like 150grain bullet... compare that to the, whats the standard now, 62g for the 223. but I have heard of Special forces using the 72g bullet with a positive outcome.


    But, you shoot them in the head and that isnt a problem...

    but, its just hard to beat the 7.62

    now... there is the .224 round out there.... which is nothing but a .223 shell with a 80 or 100g .243 bullet. It would require the changing of like 1/2 parts of the current m-16 buts it has been said that the reciever couldnt handle the pressure.

    Just go back to Garands

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    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Funny you should mention the M-14s.

    The Marine Corps has started pulling several of them from the old armory warehouses to distribute to selected marksmen.

    The 7.62 is a proven and effective round. The M-14 is a proven and effective weapon.

    The M-16 is old, has WAY too many parts for a good effective field strip and cleaning in combat zones, under fire.

    As for the AK-47, the manufacturing tolerances in them is what made them so effective. But many were not the most accurate weapons (probably why they had fully automativ - "Accuracy By Volume.")
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    I was trained on the M-14 and never even saw an M-16 until I arrived in country (RVN). I had heard so much about the problems that existed with the weapon in the previous couple of years. When I was assigned my weapon, it was the newer design and to tell you the truth, I spent 16 months with that weapon and I didn't have any problems with it. I never suffered a jam and it never failed to fire when needed. Although when guys decided to used the 30 round banana clip it did tend to jam as it did with a full clip of 20 rounds so we would only put 18 rounds in the clip. They liked the idea of 30 rounds rather than 18. The correction I was taught by short timers was to tape 2 regular clips (18 rounds in each) together, then just drop the clip, flip it and reinsert and it saved time trying to get that damn clip out of the belt. It also solved the jamming problem from the larger clips and putting 20 in the regular clips. I know the horror stories from guys in country who had used the earlier version and almost all I talked to didn't have the same complaints with the redesign. All in all for it's time, it really wasn't a bad weapon. The M-14 was far superior to me but it was a heavy little sucker and would have been a pain while humping in the bush. This is just my take.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 04-12-2007 at 08:14 AM.

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    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLt1951 View Post
    I was trained on the M-14 and never even saw an M-16 until I arrived in country (RVN). I had heard so much about the problems that existed with the weapon in the previous couple of years. When I was assigned my weapon, it was the newer design and to tell you the truth, I spent 16 months with that weapon and I didn't have any problems with it. I never suffered a jam and it never failed to fire when needed. Although when used with a 30 round banana clip it did tend to jam. The correction we made was to tape 2 regular clips together, then just drop the clip, flip it and reinsert and it saved time trying to get that damn clip out of the belt. It also solved the jamming problem from the larger clips. I know the horror stories from guys in country who had used the earlier version and almost all I talked to didn't have the same complaints with the redesign. All in all for it's time, it really wasn't a bad weapon. The M-14 was far superior to me but it was a heavy little sucker and would have been a pain while humping in the bush. This is just my take.
    And if anyone's opinion means anything, it is truly the combat veteran's from being under fire.

    But it is also the fact that 5.56mm round does not have the knockdown power. From many assessments I have read in Iraq, the hyped-up-on-khat-and-amphetamines scumbag terrorists just are not phased all that much by the 5.56, but with a round or two of 7.62 from designated marksmen this has changed. As has the same situation with folks using a .45 instead of the garbage 9mm Beretta.
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    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie View Post
    And if anyone's opinion means anything, it is truly the combat veteran's from being under fire.

    But it is also the fact that 5.56mm round does not have the knockdown power. From many assessments I have read in Iraq, the hyped-up-on-khat-and-amphetamines scumbag terrorists just are not phased all that much by the 5.56, but with a round or two of 7.62 from designated marksmen this has changed. As has the same situation with folks using a .45 instead of the garbage 9mm Beretta.
    Sharkie,

    Your assessment of the knockdown power of the M-14 vs the M-16 is right on and I knew more than a few snipers whose preference lay with that weapon over many others. The problem was in the fact of close quarter combat in a jungle environment (we were never far apart from the enemy in the bush). The M-16 was a better weapon for that. In close quarters it was a devastating round because it had a tendency to bounce all around the body before exiting. It could do a lot of damage. Your also right about the AK-47, which was a good weapon but not the most accurate. It also was a good jungle weapon. Weapons must be designed for use in the environment the combat ops are operating in. The M-14, although a superior weapon to the M-16 wasn't jungle friendly because of it's bulkiness in size and the weight of the clips and rounds. In Iraq I think I would want a more powerful weapon with all the open areas there. In that type of situation the knockdown power is essential. Like I said, adjustments need to conform to the type of terrain and openness of where your combat ops are taking place.
    You mentioned hopped up fighters. This is nothing new, the VC and NVA used drugs on a consistent basis just for the purpose you mentioned.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 04-12-2007 at 08:54 AM.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Just a general comment regarding "labratory testing" and "field testing" vs "combat testing". We all know and likely have the same disposition towards lab testing, so I wont dwell on that.

    Field testing is commonly done by using real field troops doing what field troops do, under controlled (mostly) field conditions. While not perfect, it gives the evaluator a fairly good feel for the types of conditions that a piece of equipment is likely to be worked in.

    However, combat testing is a whole new kettle of fish. This is very much (and you "Old Guys" can speak better on this than me ) unlike any field testing or lab testing that any person can create. Personnel and equipment are "asked" to do things bigger better and faster and for far longer than at any other time in the field.

    What looked good on paper, sounded good in the Board Room, and seemed to check out well in the lab and exercise field is now CRAP under full operational situations.

    Yes, Canada uses a heavily modified version of the M16 or M4 or whatever its called down here. I've used it for nearly my entire career. I've had weapons that worked truly awesomely, and I've had others that I wouldn't use to blow darts through the barrel. Although I always wondered why the Armed Forces bought a combat weapon that was made by the Mattel Toy Company??? I was never really very accurate with the FNC1A1, but I knew that if ever I actually hit the target, it was going down for the long count. Still prefer the last weapons I had - MP5 and Sig Sauer 229.

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    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLt1951 View Post
    Sharkie,

    Your assessment of the knockdown power of the M-14 vs the M-16 is right on and I knew more than a few snipers whose preference lay with that weapon over many others. The problem was in the fact of close quarter combat in a jungle environment (we were never far apart from the enemy in the bush). The M-16 was a better weapon for that. In close quarters it was a devastating round because it had a tendency to bounce all around the body before exiting. It could do a lot of damage. Your also right about the AK-47, which was a good weapon but not the most accurate. It also was a good jungle weapon. Weapons must be designed for use in the environment the combat ops are operating in. The M-14, although a superior weapon to the M-16 wasn't jungle friendly because of it's bulkiness in size and the weight of the clips and rounds. In Iraq I think I would want a more powerful weapon with all the open areas there. In that type of situation the knockdown power is essential. Like I said, adjustments need to conform to the type of terrain and openness of where your combat ops are taking place.
    You mentioned hopped up fighters. This is nothing new, the VC and NVA used drugs on a consistent basis just for the purpose you mentioned.
    The extra weight is interesting. When you consider tha toften times you have to release more rounds into your target you have to carry more rounds. Pretty much a bogus argument - to a point. Understandable though.

    Never heard (but suspected) that Uncle Ho (may he rot in a maggot infested swamp) doped up his conscripts. When you are juiced up the body will take more damage so you need that heavier round to anihilate your aggressor.

    Interesting note though is that many of the folks that work in Spec-Ops like to carry that M-14 as well. Then again, they are more effective with that weapon than the average ground pounder and this is more appropriate. Along with my beloved 1911.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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