Bashing of the M4

Diamondback 2/2

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I think its funny how GI Joe can say "yeah we like it, it's a good piece of kit" but all the people working for there weapon companies or people who stand to gain from a big fat Gov contract. Can say "oh no, lets do harder tests, lets prove that we can make the good kt suck"! The fucking people pulling the trigger want the M4!!!!:doh:


By Richard Lardner, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — No weapon is more important to tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than the carbine rifle. And for well over a decade, the military has relied on one company, Colt Defense of Hartford, Conn., to make the M4s they trust with their lives.
Now, as Congress considers spending millions more on the guns, this exclusive arrangement is being criticized as a bad deal for American forces as well as taxpayers, according to interviews and research conducted by The Associated Press.

"What we have is a fat contractor in Colt who's gotten very rich off our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

The M4, which can fire at a rate of 700 to 950 bullets a minute, is a shorter and lighter version of the company's M16 rifle first used 40 years ago during the Vietnam War. It normally carries a 30-round magazine. At about $1,500 apiece, the M4 is overpriced, according to Coburn. It jams too often in sandy environments like Iraq, he adds, and requires far more maintenance than more durable carbines.

"And if you tend to have the problem at the wrong time, you're putting your life on the line," says Coburn, who began examining the M4's performance last year after receiving complaints from soldiers. "The fact is, the American GI today doesn't have the best weapon. And they ought to."

U.S. military officials don't agree. They call the M4 an excellent carbine. When the time comes to replace the M4, they want a combat rifle that is leaps and bounds beyond what's currently available.

"There's not a weapon out there that's significantly better than the M4," says Col. Robert Radcliffe, director of combat developments at the Army Infantry Center in Fort Benning, Ga. "To replace it with something that has essentially the same capabilities as we have today doesn't make good sense."

Colt's exclusive production agreement ends in June 2009. At that point, the Army, in its role as the military's principal buyer of firearms, may have other gunmakers compete along with Colt for continued M4 production. Or, it might begin looking for a totally new weapon.

"We haven't made up our mind yet," Radcliffe says.

William Keys, Colt's chief executive officer, says the M4 gets impressive reviews from the battlefield. And he worries that bashing the carbine will undermine the confidence the troops have in it.

"The guy killing the enemy with this gun loves it," says Keys, a former Marine Corps general who was awarded the Navy Cross for battlefield valor in Vietnam. "I'm not going to stand here and disparage the senator, but I think he's wrong."

In 2006, a non-profit research group surveyed 2,600 soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and found 89% were satisfied with the M4. While Colt and the Army have trumpeted that finding, detractors say the survey also revealed that 19% of these soldiers had their weapon jam during a firefight.

And the relationship between the Army and Colt has been frosty at times. Concerned over the steadily rising cost of the M4, the Army forced Colt to lower its prices two years ago by threatening to buy rifles from another supplier. Prior to the warning, Colt "had not demonstrated any incentive to consider a price reduction," then-Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, an Army acquisition official, wrote in a November 2006 report.

Coburn is the M4's harshest and most vocal critic. But his concern is shared by others, who point to the "SCAR," made by Belgian armorer FN Herstal, and the HK416, produced by Germany's Heckler & Koch, as possible contenders. Both weapons cost about the same as the M4, their manufacturers say.

The SCAR is being purchased by U.S. special operations forces, who have their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't.

Or won't.

"All I know is, we're not having the competition, and the technology that is out there is not in the hands of our troops," says Jack Keane, a former Army general who pushed unsuccessfully for an M4 replacement before retiring four years ago.

The dispute over the M4 has been overshadowed by larger but not necessarily more important concerns. When the public's attention is focused on the annual defense budget, it tends to be captured by bigger-ticket items, like the Air Force's F-22 Raptors that cost $160 million each.

The Raptor, a radar-evading jet fighter, has never been used in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the troops who patrol Baghdad's still-dangerous neighborhoods or track insurgents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, there's no piece of gear more critical than the rifles on their shoulders. They go everywhere with them, even to the bathroom and the chow hall.

Yet the military has a poor track record for getting high-quality firearms to warfighters. Since the Revolutionary War, mountains of red tape, oversize egos and never-ending arguments over bullet size and gunpowder have delayed or doomed promising efforts.

The M16, designed by the visionary gunsmith Eugene Stoner, had such a rough entry into military service in the mid-1960s that a congressional oversight committee assailed the Army for behavior that bordered on criminal negligence.

Stoner's lighter, more accurate rifle was competing against a heavier, more powerful gun the Army had heavily invested in. To accept the M16 would be to acknowledge a huge mistake, and ordnance officials did as much as they could to keep from buying the new automatic weapon. They continually fooled with Stoner's design.

"The Army, if anything, was trying to sideline and sabotage it," said Richard Colton, a historian with the Springfield Armory Museum in Massachusetts.

Despite the hurdles, the M16 would become the military's main battlefield rifle. And Colt, a company founded nearly 170 years ago by Hartford native Samuel Colt, was the primary manufacturer. Hundreds of thousands of M16s have been produced over the years for the U.S. military and foreign customers. Along with Colt, FNMI, an FN Herstal subsidiary in South Carolina, has also produced M16s.

Development of the carbine was driven by a need for a condensed weapon that could be used in tight spaces but still had plenty of punch. Colt's answer was the 7½-pound M4. The design allowed the company to leverage the tooling used for the M16.

In 1994, Colt was awarded a no-bid contract to make the weapons. Since then, it has sold more than 400,000 to the U.S. military.

Along the way, Colt's hold has been threatened but not broken.

In 1996, a Navy office improperly released Colt's M4 blueprints, giving nearly two dozen contractors a look at the carbine's inner workings. Colt was ready to sue the U.S. government for the breach. The company wanted between $50 million and $70 million in damages.

Cooler heads prevailed. The Defense Department didn't want to lose its only source for the M4, and Colt didn't want to stop selling to its best customer.

The result was an agreement that made Colt the sole player in the U.S. military carbine market. FNMI challenged the deal in federal court but lost.

And since the Sept. 11 attacks, sales have skyrocketed.

The Army, the carbine's heaviest user, is outfitting all its front-line combat units with M4s. The Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and special operations forces also carry M4s. So do U.S. law enforcement agencies and militaries in many NATO countries.

More than $300 million has been spent on 221,000 of the carbines over the past two years alone. And the Defense Department is asking Congress to provide another $230 million for 136,000 more.

Keane, the retired Army general, knows how difficult it is to develop and deliver a brand-new rifle to the troops. As vice chief of staff, the Army's second highest-ranking officer, Keane pushed for the acquisition of a carbine called the XM8.

The futuristic-looking rifle was designed by Heckler & Koch. According to Keane, the XM8 represented the gains made in firearms technology over the past 40 years.

The XM8 would cost less and operate far longer without being lubricated or cleaned than the M4 could, Heckler & Koch promised. The project became bogged down by bureaucracy, however. In 2005, after $33 million had been invested, the XM8 was shelved. A subsequent audit by the Pentagon inspector general concluded the program didn't follow the military's strict acquisition rules.

Keane blames a bloated and risk-averse bureaucracy for the XM8's demise.

"This is all about people not wanting to move out and do something different," Keane says. "Why are they afraid of the competition?"

As Colt pumps out 800 new M4s every day to meet U.S. and overseas demand, the company is remodeling its aging 270,000-square-foot facility in a hardscrabble section of Connecticut's capital city. New tooling and metal cutting machines have been installed as part of a $10 million plant improvement.

Many of the old ways remain, however. Brick-lined pit furnaces dating back to the 1960s are still used to temper steel rifle barrels.

"Modernizing the plant while trying to maintain quality and meet deliveries has been a challenge," says James Battaglini, Colt's chief operating officer.

Within military circles there are M4 defectors. U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, was one of the carbine's first customers. But the elite commando units using the M4 soured on it; the rifle had to be cleaned too often and couldn't hold up under the heavy use by Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs.

When the M16 was condensed into an M4, the barrel and other key parts had to be shortened. That changed the way the gun operated and not for the better, concluded an internal report written seven years ago by special operations officials but never published. Dangerous problems ranged from broken bolt assemblies, loose and ruptured barrels, and cartridges stuck in the firing chamber.

"Jamming can and will occur for a variety of reasons," the report said. "Several types of jams, however, are 'catastrophic' jams; because one of our operators could die in a firefight while trying to clear them."

Pointing to the report's unpublished status, Colt has disputed its findings. The M4 has been continually improved over the years, says Keys, the company's chief executive. The M4 may not meet the exacting standards of U.S. commando forces, he adds, but it fills the requirements spelled out by the regular Army.

Special Operations Command is replacing the M4s and several other rifles in its arsenal with FN Herstal's SCAR, which comes in two models: one shoots the same 5.56 mm round as the M4; the other a larger 7.62 mm bullet and costs several hundred dollars more. Both SCARs can accommodate different-size barrels allowing the weapons to be fired at multiple ranges.

The SCARs are more accurate, more reliable and expected to last far longer than their predecessors, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Marc Boyd, a command spokesman.

"SOCOM likes to be different," says Keys of Colt, using the acronym for the command. "They wanted something unique."

With the SCAR not yet in full-scale production, Heckler & Koch's HK416 is being used by elite units like Delta Force, the secretive anti-terrorism unit. The command would not comment on the HK416 other than to say there are "a small number" of the carbines in its inventory.

A key difference between the Colt carbine and the competitors is the way the rounds are fed through the rifle at lightning speed.

The SCAR and HK416 use a gas piston system to cycle the bullets automatically. The M4 uses "gas impingement," a method that pushes hot carbon-fouled gas through critical parts of the gun, according to detractors. Without frequent and careful maintenance, they say, the M4 is prone to jamming and will wear out more quickly than its gas-piston competitors.

"A gas piston system runs a little bit smoother and a lot cleaner," says Dale Bohner, a retired Air Force commando who now works for Heckler & Koch. "If the U.S. military opened up a competition for all manufacturers, I see the 416 being a major player in that."

The top half of the Heckler & Koch gun — a section known as the upper receiver that includes the barrel and the gas piston — fits on the lower half of the M4. So if the military wanted a low-cost replacement option, it could buy HK416 upper receivers and mate them with the lower part of the M4 for about $900 a conversion, according to Bohner.

Yet outside of Special Operations Command, there seems to be no rush to replace the M4.

Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, head of the Army office that buys M4s and other combat gear, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan last summer to get feedback from soldiers on Colt's carbine.

"I didn't hear one single negative comment," Brown says. "Now, I know I'm a general, and when I go up and talk to a private, they're going to say everything's OK, everything's fine. I said, 'No, no, son. I flew 14,000 miles out here to see you on the border of Afghanistan. The reason I did that was to find out what's happening."'

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., says the troops may not be aware of the alternatives. He wants the Pentagon to study the options and make a decision before Congress does.

"Sen. Coburn has raised a good question: 'Do we have the best personal weapon?' And I don't know that we do," Sessions said. "We're not comfortable now. Let's give this a rigorous examination."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


And then you have the "TEST" who the fuck fire's tens of thousands of rounds in the middle of a dust storm???

M4 FALLS SHORT IN TEST

HARTFORD, Conn. — When the dust finally settled, Army officials sought to put the best face on a sandstorm test that humbled Colt Defense's vaunted M4 carbine.

The tests were conducted at an Army laboratory in Maryland last fall. Ten M4s and 10 copies each of three other carbines the SCAR from Belgium's FN Herstal, and the HK416 and the XM8 from Germany's Heckler & Koch were coated in heavy layers of talcum-fine dust to simulate a sandstorm. Tens of thousands of rounds were fired through the rifles.

The M4s malfunctioned 882 times. Bullets that didn't feed through the rifles properly or became lodged in the firing chamber were the biggest problems.

The other carbines had far fewer hitches. The carbine with highest marks was the XM8, a gun with a Star Wars look that the Army considered buying just a few years ago but didn't. The program collapsed due to bureaucratic infighting and questionable acquisition methods.

Despite the testing troubles, the Army and Colt are defending the M4, the rifle U.S. forces rely on in combat. The tests, they stressed, were only meant for research purposes and didn't represent actual conditions.

Dust and dirt are constant obstacles in Iraq, but no properly trained soldier would ever let his weapon become so clogged that it misfired.

"This is not what soldiers encounter on the battlefield," says Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, the officer who runs the Army acquisition office that buys rifles and other battlefield gear. "It doesn't matter if you're firing a flintlock from the Revolutionary War or you're firing the M4, you've got to clean your weapon."

The XM8, Brown adds, had 10 cartridges break apart during testing a flaw that can injure the shooter. The M4 only had one ruptured cartridge.

In overall scoring, the M4 finished the sandstorm test with a 98.6 roughly 1 percentage point behind the others, according to Col. Robert Radcliffe, director of combat developments at the Army Infantry Center in Fort Benning, Ga.

"That is good performance," Radcliffe says.

But the M4's chief critic wasn't buying the Army explanation spelled out in Power Point charts.

"What it shows is out of the four weapons tested, the M4 is the worst," says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "If it's your son that's the 1% that takes a bullet in the head (from the enemy) because his gun jammed, that 1% is pretty meaningful."

Colt executives can't account for the M4's poor showing. And they hinted that the M4s sent from Colt's plant in Hartford may have been mishandled after being delivered to the lab.

"There's no way they left the factory like that," says Phillip Hinckley, Colt's executive director of quality and engineering. "It does leave a major question mark in your head."

— The Associated Press


After months of heated debate, the Army will conduct a side-by-side test shoot next month with its standard-issued carbine to see how well it can withstand extreme dust and sand environments.

The tests, which will be conducted at the Army's Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland, will include three other rifles some say are better constructed to withstand the grueling environmental conditions often found in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The service yielded to critics - particularly lawmakers in Congress - who recently ratcheted up the debate over whether the current M4 carbine, manufactured by Colt Defense, is more susceptible to jamming in dusty conditions than other weapons used by Soldiers and special operators.

"The Army agreed to conduct testing of four carbine designs in an extreme dust environment," said Lt. Col. Timothy Chyma, product manager for individual weapons with Program Executive Office Soldier, in an email to Military.com.

"The test results will inform the U.S. Army Infantry Center in the development of a potential new carbine requirement as part of their ongoing capabilities based assessment."

In April, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) insisted in a letter to then-acting Army Secretary Pete Geren that better weapons technology is available that can guard against stoppages stemming from dust and sand interfering with the firing mechanism of the M4.

The Army's carbine uses a gas system that evidence shows is susceptible to stoppages unless it is frequently cleaned.

The shoot off will test the capabilities of the M4/M16 operating system against three other rifles: the Heckler and Koch-built HK416, the FNH USA-designed Mk16 SOCOM Combat Assault Rifle and the previously-shelved, H&K-manufactured XM8 carbine.

All three competitors use a gas-piston operating system that requires less maintenance and has demonstrated in some tests that it can fire accurately even if completely fouled with sand, dust and mud.

"Considering the long standing reliability and lethality problems with the M16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon," Coburn wrote in April. "A number of manufacturers have researched, tested and fielded weapons which, by all accounts, appear to provide significantly improved reliability."

A December 2005 Center for Naval Analyses study commissioned by the Army indicated the M4 - when properly cleaned - exhibited few stoppages. But 20 percent of those who had complications with their M4s said they experienced bad enough jams that they had to pull out of the fight.

Many special operations units favor the HK416, due in part to its increased reliability. This month, Special Operations Command began operational tests on the Mk16 and the heavier-caliber Mk17 to eventually replace its M4 and HK416 stocks.

The sand tests will include 10 samples of each weapon through which engineers will fire 6,000 rounds. Each weapon and loaded magazine will be exposed to "extreme dust" for 30 minutes then test fired with 120 rounds, Chyma said.

"Each weapon will be wiped down and lubricated every 600 rounds with a full cleaning every 1,200 rounds," Chyma added. "The firing, collection of data and analysis of data is expected to take approximately five months."

Coburn said in his April letter to Geren that even though the M4 works, better weapons exist. He was so insistent that the Army compete new M4 contracts to outfit its expanded brigade combat teams that he placed a hold on the Geren nomination to become Army secretary until the service relented, a Coburn staffer confirmed.

The Army's willingness to hold the limited "sandstorm shoot-off" released the nomination, and Geren was confirmed by the Senate July 13.

The side-by-side sand tests "will be part of the ongoing Army assessment and requirements process - with the ultimate goal of continuing to provide the best possible weapons and equipment to our Soldiers," said Army spokesman, Lt. Col. William Wiggins.


by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com

December 17, 2007

This article was updated on 12/19/07.

Ya' know that Colt M4 Carbine vs. Heckler & Koch (HK) HK416 vs. FN MK16 SCAR-Light (SCAR-L) vs. HK XM8 LAR extreme dust conditions reliability test that the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Center (ATEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Md. was conducting? No? Well, we’ll tell ya’. The U.S. Army just got done conducting a test on all four weapons, and the results are in. Before we go through them, we’ll cut right to the chase: The Colt M4 Carbine came in dead last, with 882 stoppages over 60,000 rounds between ten (10) guns. Not great. But, more on that in a minute.

First, the purpose of this test was to expose the weapons to the same extreme dust and sand conditions/environment to which both the Colt M4/M4A1 Carbine and FN M16 rifle were exposed by U.S. Army weapons testers during a “systems assessment” test at Aberdeen last year and in the summer of this year. Here’s how the four 5.56x45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO)/.223 Rem. infantry rifle / carbines were tested:...



The ATEC team tested ten (10) sample guns of each weapon system (make/model), so 40 guns total were tested. Each (individual) gun/weapon got a heavy dose of lubricant, the muzzle was capped, and the ejection port cover was closed. Then, each weapon was exposed to heavy dust environment (i.e. a dust chamber) for 30 minutes. Then a tester fired 120 rounds through each weapon. Then, back in the dust chamber they went for another 30 minutes of dust bathing, before having to fire another 120 rounds. This process/sequence was repeated until each weapon had fired 600 rounds. Then, all the weapons were wiped down and lubed up again (heavy lubrication), and put back in the dust bath (dust chamber) for 30 minutes, 120 rounds fired through it, up to 600 rounds again.
You get the picture. Well this kept goin’ until each gun (i.e. individual rifle/carbine) had 6,000 rounds through it. 10 guns (individual weapon type) x 6,000 rounds = 60,000 rounds through each weapon type. And, here’s how the test fleshed out, best to worst (most reliable to least reliable):

XM8: 127 stoppages/malfunctions

Mk16 SCAR-L: 226 stoppages/malfunctions

HK416: 233 stoppages/malfunctions

M4 Carbine: 882 stoppages/malfunctions

What’s curious about the M4 Carbine's performance in this test is the fact that the ten (10) M4 Carbines that were tested to 60,000 (again, 6,000 rounds a piece) during the summer only experienced 307 total malfunctions/stoppages. In the Fall '07 test, 643 of the stoppages/malfunctions were weapon-related, and 239 were magazine-related. According to Brig. Gen. Mark Brown of U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier), “test conditions for test two [summer] and three [latest] were ostensibly the same.” So, what was different? Different test officials, and different time of year. That’s pretty much it.

So, what’s the Army planning to do? Well, they sure aren’t planning to ditch the M4 for any one of its three conquerors. According to Col. Robert Radcliffe, Director, Combats, U.S. Army Infantry Center, Ft. Benning, GA, the Army’s going to stick with the M4 Carbine because soldier surveys from the Sandbox (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan) show that U.S. Army combat troops like the weapon (compared to the M16). And, according to Brig. Gen. Brown, the Army’s looking for “leap ahead” / next-generation (a.k.a. next-gen) infantry small arms technology for a replacement weapon, not just minor, incremental improvements/capabilities like the HK 416, FN MK16 SCAR-Light, and HK XM8.

So, you want some (unconfirmed/unverified) inside skinny i.e. rumor on the latest test, something you most likely won’t find anywhere else, even when everyone else starts reporting about this test? Here ya’ go, direct from one of our U.S. military contacts—and we're quoting:

"1. Because the HK416 and M4 were the only production weapons, the ten HK416 and M4 carbines were all borrowed 'sight unseen' and the manufacturers had no idea that they were for a test. The 10 SCARs and 10 XM-8s were all 'handmade' and delivered to Aberdeen with pretty much full knowledge of a test. (The SCAR even got some addition help with 'extra' lubrication)

2. With the HK416, 117 of the 233 malfunctions were from just one of the 10 weapons.

3. The 'survey' that BG Brown and COL Radcliffe are referring to in the article where they cite that the 'M4 is very popular amongst the soldiers deployed forward in combat,' was based on the soldiers just getting their M16s replaced by M4s. They were asked if they liked it [compared to the M16] and of course the answer is going to be yes. It is lighter and smaller with all these cool optics and lasers on them. Not to mention that average soldiers have no frame of reference when it comes to small arms, they're not really weapons experts."

But that’s not all. The real inside skinny is that proposals and design concepts for true “leap-ahead”/next-gen infantry small arms were submitted to the Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP)-ARDEC / Picatinny Arsenal back in 2001 and 2002 by Arm West, LLC, which is headed up by lengendary small arms engineer/designer/developer Jim Sullivan (a.k.a. L. James Sullivan). I have personal knowledge of this, and I was personally involved in Arm West’s proposal for Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) 0400 for “Component Technologies” for the Lightweight Family of Weapons and Ammunition (LFWA) program in late 2002.

I won’t discuss the specifics of the various compenent technologies that were submitted by Arm West. However, they were all viable, i.e. capable of being successfully developed, by the Arm West team (Sullivan and his design/development partner), and most likely far superior to anything any of the competing large small arms manufacturers and defense companies could have possibly come up with and submitted, since none of them (FN Herstal (FNH), Heckler & Koch, Colt Defense, LLC, AAI Corp., ATK, GDATP, etc.) have small arms designers/engineers that can touch Sullivan and/or his partner with regard to skill, knowledge, experience, inventiveness, and downright genius. How do I know this? I just know. Am I biased towards Arm West? Yeah, ‘cause I know they’re, hands down, the best in the world.

But Arm West isn’t a large "established" small arms/firearms company, they're not a manufacturer, and they’re not in the system, i.e. one of the U.S. Army’s preferred contractors/suppliers, and they're not a small arms manufacturer. They're a small infantry small arms design and development firm. So, they get no play, i.e. no government/military funding (awards, etc.), even though they have the best, most experienced, and most prolific small arms designers/developers in-house, the best small arms design concepts, and the most capability of turning those designs into reality, i.e. working prototypes, in the shortest possible amount of time.

Yeah, the U.S. Army is interested in "leap ahead" small arms technology for Big Green / Big Army, provided it comes from one of the inside companies / preferred contractors like FNH USA, Heckler & Koch, AAI Corp., Alliant Techsystems (ATK) etc. If it comes from a small, outside company like Arm West, well, good luck. That's just how it is. Messed up as it is, that's the U.S. military infantry small arms acquisition/procurement system for ya', folks. It is cabal-like/closed-group, it is fascistic, and it is unforgiving--so you might as well get used to it. No one's successfully fought this broken small arms procurement/adoption system since Picatinny Arsenal and JSSAP were established. The U.S. Army Infantry Board at Fort Benning isn't innocent, either, and they're certainly not helping the situation.

Why the U.S. military can't award Arm West a small arms development contract and then contract the actual manufacturing of Arm West's superior infantry assault rifle and machine gun designs to a large, "proven" firearms manufacturer for weapon production is a mystery. That would be the logical solution, and the best solution for our infantry warfighters, but what's actually best for our infantry warfighters doesn't always appear to be DoD's and Army brass's top priority. The solution I've proffered here even addresses the money issue, where FNH USA, Heckler & Koch, AAI Corp. GDATP, or any large, established company of DoD/Army's choosing could make money off the production, even though they didn't actually design the weapons in-house. This happens all the time, where an inventor or small company licenses manufacturing/production rights to a large company. Very common.

Bottom line, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. It would take drastic measures to fix the system like it needs to be fixed, and neither the President nor Congress seems to want to fix it, nor do they seem to understand just how broken and corrupt it is. And the wheels keep turnin'.


Sound slightly similar to the U.S. Army body armor acquisition/procurement situation, perhaps?

Getting back to the recent small arms test and the competing weapons, rumor has it that Heckler & Koch (HK) will be manufacturing the HK 416 5.56mm carbine/subcarbine/SBR (Short-Barreled Rifle)--and possibly also the HK417 (a.k.a. HK 417) 7.62mm carbine/subcarbine/SBR--domestically in the U.S., soon (unconfirmed/unverified). We’ll try to get confirmation on this. That’s good news if it's true, but it doesn’t look like that’s really going to matter to Big Army. Guess we’ll see. Regardless, elements (i.e. specific units) of the various Armed Forces, including the Army, will most likely continue to procure the HK416 in small numbers.

Editor's Note: If any of our readers have any more inside knowledge of any of the small arms testing that's been conducted by the Army, or previous small arms solicitations and procurement programs, we'd be interested in hearing from you. Please contact us at defrev at gmail.com. Thanks.

Addendum (1/04/08): DefenseReview has received a PowerPoint brief on the M4 Carbine Extreme Dust Test.
 
A

arizonaguide

Guest
Thanks JAB!
Excellent information, and it will come in very handy when I get the call back from McCain's office. Good post, and very good timing.
:)

JAB, to your knowlege are the troops in Afghanistan as happy with the M4 as the troops in Iraq? I have to wonder if the longer typical distances are resulting in less satisfaction.
Do you from your experiences feel that a longer barrel should be installed for Afghanistan?
Also, if so, do you feel that we should go back to a (more effective?) 1:12 twist?
I've heard figures of loss of 40% effectiveness when we "stabilized" the bullet more with the faster spin barrels...but maybe "stable" is what you want at longer ranges of Afghanistan.

PM me if you think this is too much of an Operational Security question, or if that's info that I shouldn't be privy to anyway. I can accept that if that's the case.

I just want to have the proper info for the McCain call (they will be calling soon)...to make it as productive as possible to get you guys the training and equipment that you need and want.

I will also keep you informed as to the answers I get (and anyone else vetted who wants to be included in the loop..just PM me). But, I'm also fine just sticking to the topics we've already submitted in the letter.
But if we can do more, hey that's good too.

JAB, do you want me to have the Senator contact you, or just stay annonymus?
I don't mind taking the "heat"...but whatever is more comfortable for you, and more productive in the end. I'm sure I could have him contact you in confidence also.
Just let me know.

Boon, does that sound about right for Opssec? Let me know if treading close to the line here.
Especially with any info I get back from the Senator. Should that be vetted only?
 

BLACKMags

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Makes you wonder sometimes if all these contractors have our best interests at heart.
 

AssadUSMC

Ruining hajis' days
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Hey JAB - I hear you loud and clear about the troops liking the M4, but you guys would be in for a treat if you could 416s. EVERYTHING handles like an M4 - no retraining required other than the maintenance piece. It has a smoother recoil impulse and shoots much cleaner. All the same optics, grips, etc. work on it. Uses the same mags, etc.

I've put tons of rounds through 416s (and M4s) and I've never had anything close to a hiccup with the operation. The only issue we saw was one gun had a broken disconnector, so every time you'd fire a round on semi, when you release the trigger, it'd fire another round. Not good, but an easy fix.

Given a choice, I'd take the 416 over an M4. But I'd take an M4 over most everything else.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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JAB, to your knowlege are the troops in Afghanistan as happy with the M4 as the troops in Iraq? I have to wonder if the longer typical distances are resulting in less satisfaction.
Do you from your experiences feel that a longer barrel should be installed for Afghanistan?
Also, if so, do you feel that we should go back to a (more effective?) 1:12 twist?
I've heard figures of loss of 40% effectiveness when we "stabilized" the bullet more with the faster spin barrels...but maybe "stable" is what you want at longer ranges of Afghanistan.

I have not seen any official reports and I do not have any current lessons learned, or AAR’s regarding performance of M16/ M4 rifle in Afghanistan. OEF (Afghanistan) as a whole was put on the back burner for a majority of reasons, especially when it came to the hard need to know facts. I would imagine a lot of data will begin flowing here over the next 18 to 24 months.

Now what I do know is that a majority of the fighting is happening on in the mountain range areas of Afghanistan. Not to say that it’s all happening there, but the majority to my understanding it. When considering the ballistic effects of the bullet at distance vs. the actual affects of wind and gravity. You have to keep in mind the shot angle…

For example: The target may be 500 meters away, but due to the angle “ballisticlly” it is only 300 meters away. <~~~ Not actual numbers…. Thus the bullet would perform as it would at 300 meters vs. the expected performance at 500 meters.

The 1/12 twist can only fire the M193 (55gr) bullet, if you run M855 (62gr) in it the bullet tumbels past 90 meters. Losing all effectiveness and accuracy. 1/9 twist is actually the better way to go for the M855, but b/c the M856 (tracer) can not be stabilized with anything slower then a 1/7 twist, the army opted for the ability to have ball and tracer.

Personally I would prefer a 1/8 twist, 7 degree target crown and MK262 (77gr) ammo. Giving me the ability to stay sub MOA out to 600 meters.



Hey JAB - I hear you loud and clear about the troops liking the M4, but you guys would be in for a treat if you could 416s. EVERYTHING handles like an M4 - no retraining required other than the maintenance piece. It has a smoother recoil impulse and shoots much cleaner. All the same optics, grips, etc. work on it. Uses the same mags, etc.

I am all about the 416 upper as well... My old unit tested a few of them and they will run DIIIRRRRRRRTTTTYYYY! Good upper!

My only issue, is that we have the M4, why not put one of these new gas piston kits in all of them and call it a day? Do we really need to buy all new uppers???:2c:
 

DA SWO

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For the life of me; why can't we just buy conversion kits? Why does it have to be a new rifle?

Guess $400.00 (or less) per rifle isn't as good a deal as $1700.00 per rifle.
 

rv808

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I've always liked the M4. I have it here with the ACOG. While I clean it just as much as I did with the M16, I will always love the M16 better. Just personal preference.
 
A

arizonaguide

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Good stuff JAB. Thanks. The more I learn, the more knowlegable I can be when the phone call comes in (without violating OPSEC, of course).
Do you have any other (non-classified)articles/links I should come up to speed on in the meantime.
The above info was EXCELLENT and very informative, when combined with your expertise.

It usually takes a week or two before I get something back from the McCain folks, so if there's anything else I should become aware of, let me know. I'm cramming as fast as I can!
PM me if you think that's advisable.
 

parallel

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Good to know!

The only issue we saw was one gun had a broken disconnector, so every time you'd fire a round on semi, when you release the trigger, it'd fire another round. Not good, but an easy fix.
Amazing how the right information just seems to flow from this forum. I had an issue with my AK-101 on Saturday that sounds very much like the same issue. Any thoughts on whether or not that could also cause FTF on nearly every other round?
 

AssadUSMC

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It could - depends on how the AK trigger works. I know how to break 'em down, but not as familiar with the guts as I am with an AR type. Depends on the feed cycle I guess - if it fires but short-strokes, then it would fail to fire every other round...
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Some more food for thought:

The standard of accuracy for the M16/ M4 rifle with the use of M855 (green tip) is a 3 MOA requirement. This basically means that at a bare bone’s minimum the rifle/ ammo combination must be able to perform at 3 MOA accuracy at the affective range.

M16 A2: Max affective range on point target is 550 meters.
(3MOA @ 550yd would give the ability to shoot a 16.5 inch shot group)

Max Affective range on area target is 800 meters.
(3MOA @ 800yd would give the ability to shoot a 24 inch shot group)

M4: Max affective range on a point target is 450 meters.
(3MOA @ 450yd would give the ability to shoot a 13.5 inch shot group)

Max affective range on an area target is 600 meters.
(3MOA @ 600yd would give the ability to shoot an 18 inch shot group)

Now there is no standard of accuracy with the M16/ M4 with the use of MK262 (open tip). However, through personal experience it is normally a 1 MOA average. Meaning at the longest distance M16 A2 (800meters) you could hold an 8 inch shot group!

Average human head is 6 to 9 inches from ear lobe to ear lobe and 9 to 11 inches from chin to crown. (Possible head shot at 800 meters with M16 A2
/ MK262 and for sure head shot at 600 meters with M4/ MK262)


Average human torso is 18 to 21 inches from shoulder to shoulder and 36 to 40 inches from neck line to pelvic. (Possible body shots at 800 meters with M16 A2 M855 and for sure center chest shots with M16 A2/ MK262)
 
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arizonaguide

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Ultimate Upgrade?

So, what you ultimately prefer would be:

M16A2 (or M4?), with MK262 rounds, a gas piston upper, and realistically a 1:7 or 1:8 twist barrel?
Correct? Lay it out for me JAB. Let's finalize it for sure. Remember, the emphasis will probably shift to Afghanistan fairly soon after inaugeration, I would think from the rhetoric. Don't worry about everyone else JAB, they've got a chance to input. Just give me YOUR opinion. You seem to have as good a handle as anybody.
They can bitch/suggest/improve after we have a starting "best suggestion".
So, lay out exactly what's best (your opinion):
1.
2.
3.

I want to make sure I can include the "ultimate" (yet realistic) "prefered combination" upgrade for suggestion to McCain, along with my bitching for 3000+ rounds per soldier of proper and realistic training.

And, if anyone else wants to input/disagree/make additions to what we're suggesting, now is the time to do it.
We MAY effect history and save lives, folks.
So, let's do this right, and hammer out the exact right combination/upgrade to the M4 (M16A2?) as best we can.
The perfect upgrade/combination would be: (?).
 

Rabid Badger

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We MAY effect history and save lives, folks.
So, let's do this right, and hammer out the exact right combination/upgrade to the M4 (M16A2?) as best we can.
The perfect upgrade/combination would be: (?).

I have to ask and I'm not trying to be a smartass, trust me. Anything that can make the soldiers more effective is a plus in my book but:

1. At what level are you writing to the McCain folks?? As a concerned citizen or as a genuine dealer/R & D jockey with plans for equipping our troops with what they need?

2. Are you PMP (Project Manager Program) qualified? This would be important as it dictates the level of importance that your emails are received at the McCain camp vice as a civilian and them telling you what you want to hear.

3. Have you dealt with DOD contractors/companies at an executive level? This would be important because the R & D involved runs into the millions of dollars. This is apart from equipping a force of say, a battalion of SF dudes looking for/testing a new weapon.

HK416 or the LWRC IMHO. Same same as the M4. Check the sidebars.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHreIMu1d6M"]YouTube - LWRC PSD Future Weapons[/ame]

}:-):2c:
 

AssadUSMC

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I still say 416. Uppers, whole guns, who cares - that is the ticket. It is a fucking machine...
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Okay I can not speak for every soldier and their mission needs and or mission requirements. I would think that some of the SOF guys would have some great impute as to what they would feel would be the best rifle combination for their mission.

On a combat arms level (Infantry) the following is what I would like to see:

M4 lower, topped with a flat top upper.

ACOG 4X weapon sight with the integrated reflex sight.

10.5to 14.5 barrel length (I lean more towards the 14.5)
Shorter barrel is a huge plus for urban combat and the test's given show that the shorter barrel has minimal affect on the round at the affective range (the longer ranges).

Keep the 1/7 twist so that it can still handle the different rounds, so that I can still use the M193/ M855-M856/ MK262 and what ever NATO is carrying. I would like a target crown on the rifle to give the added accuracy.

I want MK262 as standard issue ammo, meaning that I am getting 210 rounds of MK262 to carry in combat. I get to zero and qualify with MK262 and I get to carry it to combat. I would still like to have M855 and M856 available so that if I need some extra penetration or say a magazine of tracers to mark targets.

I would love a gas piston system, however I am not fully convinced it is necessary. Yes it keeps the carbon out of the chamber and off the bolt. But you are looking at firing 600 + round with out cleaning before it really has an affect on the operation. Realistically I can not see firing more then 600 rounds with out having the ability to clean my bolt and lubercate my weapon. The combat load is 210 all though most soldiers carry 210 to 300 rounds, it still not even close to 600+ rounds...

Accuracy requirements should be 1MOA.... There is no reason why we can not give match grade accuracy to our troops! Every soldier should have the ability to tag a mortar crew at 600 to 800 meters....

As for training, I would like to see 2000- 3000 rounds of basic skill progression training (say a 10 to 15 day basic/ advanced rifle marksmanship course) and then 1000 to 1500 rounds of annual training. MARKSMANSHIP is a PARISHABLE skill!!!

But then a again that is just me.... ;)
 
A

arizonaguide

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I have to ask and I'm not trying to be a smartass, trust me. Anything that can make the soldiers more effective is a plus in my book but:

1. At what level are you writing to the McCain folks?? As a concerned citizen or as a genuine dealer/R & D jockey with plans for equipping our troops with what they need?

2. Are you PMP (Project Manager Program) qualified? This would be important as it dictates the level of importance that your emails are received at the McCain camp vice as a civilian and them telling you what you want to hear.

3. Have you dealt with DOD contractors/companies at an executive level? This would be important because the R & D involved runs into the millions of dollars. This is apart from equipping a force of say, a battalion of SF dudes looking for/testing a new weapon.

HK416 or the LWRC IMHO. Same same as the M4. Check the sidebars.


}:-):2c:



1. Nope.
2. Nope.
3. Yup. Sure have...for about 9 solid years...from the Engineering/research side of one of the largest Defense contractors.

But, I'm addressing this problem as just a concerned citizen with "friends" reportedly in need of more REAL training ammo/rangetime, and "friends" with suggestions they would like to pass along.
I'm just the concerned citizen passing along information from the "trigger pullers"...or at least ONE trigger puller that is passionate about better training.

I have effected change this way before with good results, but then again my Senator (at the time) was a ranking senator, and held the pursestrings. Now, he's a felon...and I have a different senator. We'll see if McCain's as responsive.
All I can do is try to help, instead of sitting and doing nothing about it.
Think it's a waste of time?
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Are you PMP (Project Manager Program) qualified? This would be important as it dictates the level of importance that your emails are received at the McCain camp vice as a civilian and them telling you what you want to hear.

So what is a PMP and how does someone become PMP qualified???:confused:


1. Nope.
2. Nope.
3. Yup. Sure have...for about 9 solid years...from the Engineering/research side of one of the largest Defense contractors.

But, I'm addressing this problem as just a concerned citizen with "friends" reportedly in need of more REAL training ammo/rangetime, and "friends" with suggestions they would like to pass along.
I'm just the concerned citizen passing along information from the "trigger pullers"...or at least ONE trigger puller that is passionate about better training.

I have effected change this way before with good results, but then again my Senator (at the time) was a ranking senator, and held the pursestrings. Now, he's a felon...and I have a different senator. We'll see if McCain's as responsive.
All I can do is try to help, instead of sitting and doing nothing about it.
Think it's a waste of time?

I don't think RB was trying to bust on you here, more so trying to get some background so that he could offer advice in the proper areas... He is one of those people who forgets more while taking a dump then most of us will ever retain in a life time...

I can say for every service member on this board, that we appreciate any efforts out of your own free time at helping better our training and or equipment! Thank you for taking the time to write your government representatives in regards to these issues...
 
8

8'Duece

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I'll add my :2c:

When reports first came out about the stoppages with the M4 carbine I had one question..........."Who and what units where they speaking too when they came up those conclusions?"

Thus, if your asking a bunch of 19 year PFC's from a conventional ANG unit your likely not going to here much good about the M4 platform. These are the soldiers that cannot tell you what a gas block is, nor the difference between a "buffer" and a "bolt" Not knocking the ANG but if your not asking a Special Forces soldier, a Navy SEAL or other SOF BTDT's then it's likely that your talking to soldiers that have little if any knowledge about lubricating the weapon properly, maintaining a ready full parts kit to replace bolt gas rings, inproved extractor upgrades etc, and they sport crappy mags due also to their lack of maintaining them. It's been my experience with our local Reserve engineer Brigade that they have little if any real knowledge of their weapons systems, espcially the Beretta M9. I mean really, how much sidearm training do the ANG unit soldiers really get ? Not much and then they complain when their M9 go's down. It just so happens that they have an M9 pistol that has never had a new spring kit installed, nor a new barrel and it's at it's service life when issued. Take any pistol and put 30,000 rounds through it and your going to be picking pieces of it on the deck. And, they can't hit their targets with a 9mm Luger, let alone a .45 ACP 1911 clone, which is what most seem to be asking for. Yeah, one thing at a time their cherry bomb.

I remember hearing or reading stories about ANG unit soldiers that where convinced that running their M16/M4's completley dry in Afghan and Iraq was a good thing because lubricant attracts the dust and sand. Larry Vickers will tell you all day long that he'd rather have a wet and sandy rifle than a dry and sandy rifle. Makes sense to me, how about you ?

Hell, I learned more about the M16/M4 platform AFTER I got out of the Army than I ever did while IN THE ARMY. :confused: But, that's the BIG ARMY, not the SOF side.

Do I like the gas piston system ? You betcha, but a well maintained M4 standard gas impingement system should run smoothly for up to 5,000 rounds before needing any parts replacement or real scrubbing. If your having stoppages then the likely culprit is your mags.

The BIG ARMY does not keep a decent record of round counts on their weapons systems and when something breaks or fails the PFC is yelling about his or her weapon is a POS and they need something more exotic and expensive.:rolleyes: What they need is more training, not another weapon system, at the moment. This holds true especially of the Beretta M9 9mm Luger. It's one of, if not the best 9mm Luger available, assuming it's clean, lubricated and has new springs and barrel replacments every 15,000 rounds. And, mags are the biggest culprit of failures with the M9. Factory 15 round mags are the only thing that I will slap into my Beretta. Yes, I know Mec Gar makes them, but the factory mags are much better than the Mec Gar mags that they will send you if you order directly from them.

As for the debate over caliber ? I think the 6.8 SPC is a no brainer, but if you hit your Tango 3 times with a 5.56 he's not going to be doing so well, especially if you've given him an M885 between the running lights.

I'm only speaking what I know, not what I've done, which isn't much compared to some of the guy's on this board, but I do have an opinion and you just read it.

Take it for what it's worth. :2c:
 

0699

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...when something breaks or fails the PFC is yelling about his or her weapon is a POS and they need something more exotic and expensive.:rolleyes: What they need is more training, not another weapon system...

:2c:

Good training beats out fancy gear every time. Thanks for the reminder. I'd rather the GOV spend the money on training & more ammo intead of another weapon.
 
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