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How Reliable Is the M-16 Rifle? Part I
Ny Times ^ | 11/2/2009 | C.J. Chivers

Posted on 11/03/2009 4:58:22 AM PST by Saije

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To: mbynack
Allow me to step into this discussion. Lightly, and from a civilians POV-one who has NEVER seen combat BTW.

I wonder if part of the problem is due to the way the weapon is used. I know my AR-14 is a fine, well functioning rifle, but, OTOH, my rate of fire is no where NEAR the rate of fire the battefield version is subjected to.

I shoot one round, maybe two, in 30 seconds. It sounds as if problems develop when soldiers are shooting/returning fire in an automatic mode, high rates of fire, several hundreds of rounds at a time.

Each M-14 magazine contains what? 30 rounds? In a firefight, I would imagine a soldier could go through several magazines in a very short time.

I wonder what the venerable M1A's rate of fire was?

Did the soldiers of WWII fire such high rates of fire with the M1A Garand? Wasn't the M1 the "standard military issue" battle rifle of the WWII GI? How did we win the war (on both fronts, BTW) with such a heavy, cumbersome, slow-rate-of-fire weapon? Could it POSSIBLY be the operator or technique, and how the weapon was used, and NOT the weapon itself?

I have seen many old WWII teaching films, and they spent lots and lots of time on some basics of shooting stances, aiming, trigger control, etc. How much is taught now-a-days? It seems, from a civilian point of view, that these automatic weapons are used to throw a lot of lead down range in a major hurry, and I don't know of many weapons who could stand up to such high rates of fire, consistently, in ANY AO, much less over in the conditions they are in now.

I guess, in summary, what I am wondering is it the weapons' fault, or is there other areas we should be looking at before we blame the weapon.

51 posted on 11/03/2009 7:50:59 AM PST by China Clipper (My favorite animals usually are found next to the rice on my plate.)
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To: razzle

Whether you admire it or not doesn’t matter. That’s the plain reality of arms manufacturing.

In addition to the aforementioned AT-4, Marines are also using the LAV (a derivative of the European MOWAG Piranha), the Bandvagn 206 all-terrain vehicle and the Bofors gun (both also from Sweden).


52 posted on 11/03/2009 7:55:20 AM PST by 12Gauge687 (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice)
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To: Saije
Simply put, the M-16 is not an AK-47. You actually have to regularly clean the M-16 to achieve reliable function. With the AK, cleaning is not such a priority.

It's all about fitting and tolerances. The M-16 is a precision tool, the AK is a hammer and anvil.

Both will reliably do what they are designed to do if the shooter understands the weapons basic maintenance requirements.

53 posted on 11/03/2009 8:04:35 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg (Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always engaged. Failure to recognize this may lead to misunderstandings.)
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To: China Clipper
don't know of many weapons who could stand up to such high rates of fire, consistently, in ANY AO, much less over in the conditions they are in now.

The AK-47 can do it because of the loose tolerances. They aren't the most accurate weapon, but they're reliable. There aren't a lot of times when you can take deliberate aim before firing in a gun fight without exposing your cranium to enemy fire. In addition, the bad guys just refuse to stand out in the open and not move. They're usually hiding behind something or moving, so you end up shooting in the direction where you think they're firing from. As long as you keep firing, they can't maneuver or take careful aim either. That means the guy with the reliable rifle is usually going to prevail.

54 posted on 11/03/2009 8:16:02 AM PST by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
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To: Perdogg; Saije; Allegra; big'ol_freeper; Lil'freeper; TrueKnightGalahad; blackie; Larry Lucido; ...
When the AR-15 went to war in Vietnam it was a wonder as the weapon was a terror to the Cong. However, when the Army decided to make it issue and started tinkering it up to their 'standards,' mainly changing up the powder and such, it took some time to work out the kinks.

However, after that the M-16 and the numerous variations became a damn good weapon but it should never be considered the only one.

It lacks the ability to really reach out and touch the hell out of someone at 500 plus yards like the old Garand or M-14 can. It requires a cleaner touch than the AR-47 and the standard M-16 round does not have the punch of the AK's 7.62 at close range.

Having fooled around and fired just about all the issue small arms from World War One up to Iraq, I'd rate the M-16 family of rifles as an excellent choice within its designed envelope of use.

However, as Bob Heinlein taught me at a very early age, "There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men."

I keep that in mind even while holding... my old, out of date Thompson.

But I still keep my K-Bar on the nightstand.

55 posted on 11/03/2009 9:35:20 AM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: Bender2

Even today, one is STILL well armed with ANY properly functioning Thompson variant. The M1928A1 with the Lyman sight makes the most of the admittedly limited range of the .45ACP round. I know because I (ahem) “liberated” one in Vietnam and was VERY impressed with it’s capabilities and that 50 round drum.

Couldn’t agree more with your comments on the AR/M16 familiy of rifles. It IS an excellent rifle as long as it’s design/ammunition parameters are kept in mind

Have you read the excellent “Tommy Gun” by Bill Yenne? It is a most enjoyable military and social history of the Thompson Gun. I highly recommend it to any one interested in firearms history.


56 posted on 11/03/2009 9:53:37 AM PST by DMZFrank
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To: DMZFrank
Re: Have you read the excellent “Tommy Gun” by Bill Yenne?

No. But will take your advice... Photobucket when this drum is empty--

Just ordered one from Amazon for $14.25... a real savings from the $26.99 retail!

57 posted on 11/03/2009 10:06:49 AM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: China Clipper

Soldiers in WWII actually had to be RETRAINED from the standard “basic rifle marksmanship” they received in the pre-war Army.

Upon arriving at the battlefield, they found that maneuver was critical and that large volumes of suppressive fire were required. New soldiers were practicing what they were taught in the states, taking their time to aim and place single shots.

While the M-1 garand (M1A is the civvy M-14 nomenclature) only had an eight-round en bloc clip, it was much better than the German bolt-action mausers. Once the American soldiers learned the art of maneuver and the accompanying suppressive fire, the Germans were at an even worse disadvantage.

And, really, it wasn’t a rifle that won the European war.
It was the artillery.


58 posted on 11/03/2009 10:12:35 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: Pilsner

What a great site...I’m LMAO!!


59 posted on 11/03/2009 10:33:56 AM PST by Mamba56 (The masses are stupid. --Goethe)
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To: SJSAMPLE
Re: ...really, it wasn’t a rifle that won the European war. It was the artillery...

Gadzooks! You mean... Obama didn't win World War Duce and awarded the Nobel peace Prize for doing it????

BTW When the Texas National Guard was federalized in 1940 as the 36th Infantry Divison, my dear old Pappy was in the 132nd Field Artillery Battalion out of Kerens, Texas.

Yet he disagreed with Eisenhower who once said the two pieces of equipment that were most influential in winning the war were the jeep and the C-47. Dad said Ike forgot the "Duce and a half" truck, the LST, the M-1 Garand and M114 155 mm howitzer.

60 posted on 11/03/2009 10:39:05 AM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: Bender2
"I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know, the artillery did."

As a former artilleryman myself, I tend to agree with General Patton.
61 posted on 11/03/2009 10:46:03 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: Bender2
Sometime in the last few years a gentleman in Joliet IL was doing some home remodeling and tore into an old plaster wall. There behind it was a brand spanking new 1919 A1 Thompson.

The guy called the cops to have them come pick it up....

62 posted on 11/03/2009 10:54:14 AM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Lurker
You run into a fascinating group of folks dealing in military collectibles and weapons, especially Class 3 fully automatic ones. Most are pretty good Joes & Janes but occasionally you come upon one or two that makes you wonder how in nObama’s name they got through the background check.

One claimed he was making up new Stens from parts and new receivers he made himself, but the ATF found it funny the newly manufactured receivers, he claimed to have made from scratch, had the British proof marks & serial numbers under the parkarizing. I believe he is still serving time for selling as new those off paper Stens. He got 25 to life in 1974 but knowing Ross even as liitle as I did, he would never be able to keep his nose clean for long.

The first time I saw him at a Houston Gun Show in 1971 or 2, if I recall correctly, he was wearing ragged Levis tucked into mirror bright shinned Aggies Senior knee-high riding boots (Yet he never went to A&M nor rode a horse), a yellow Ban-lon golf shirt under a Waffen SS Standartenführer tunic and a coonskin Davy Crockett hat cocked sideways where the tail hung down the right side of his heavily bearded face.

Hey, my old Pappy always said clothes make the man... And those sure did mark Ross as someone you'd never forget!

63 posted on 11/03/2009 11:17:23 AM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: Bender2
he was wearing ragged Levis tucked into mirror bright shinned Aggies Senior knee-high riding boots (Yet he never went to A&M nor rode a horse), a yellow Ban-lon golf shirt under a Waffen SS Standartenführer tunic and a coonskin Davy Crockett hat cocked sideways where the tail hung down the right side of his heavily bearded face.

So you're saying he got l*** a lot then. I mean how could ANY lady resist a package that complete?

I nearly weep when I think about that Thompson behind that wall for all those years and what it would bring on the open market if it weren't for the 1968 GCA.

64 posted on 11/03/2009 11:20:41 AM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: ctdonath2
The culprit is federal law 922(o): prohibition of civilians owning/building any machineguns made after 1986.

What - and Belgian civilians get to purchase these? It has to be more than just that. The past 30 years have seen American firms in nearly every industry from machine tools to consumer electronics either collapse entirely or become shells of what they once were. Either way domestic innovation has stopped.

65 posted on 11/03/2009 11:33:08 AM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: Favor Center
If I remember correctly, the other problem was that the M-16 was designed to use gun cotton (nitrocellulose). This prevented any type of fouling in the weapon and was strong enough to clear dirt from the barrel on the first shot.
66 posted on 11/03/2009 12:53:39 PM PST by wbarmy (Hard core, extremist, and right-wing is a little too mild for my tastes.)
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To: Last Dakotan

What to expect when domestic manufacture is either exported for significant cost savings, or prohibited outright?


67 posted on 11/03/2009 1:47:52 PM PST by ctdonath2 (End the coup!)
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To: SJSAMPLE

“Good enough for me, unless you want to go for lesser, American-designed options.”

It’s bad enough that we have laws that limit development to large companies, now we have to deal with the contempt of our fellow citizens - that American designs are inferior. Geez. Is it any wonder that so few want to go into engineering? Law and business is so much easier and more profitable.....

Especially when trying to compete with state-owned companies.


68 posted on 11/03/2009 3:57:39 PM PST by Favor Center (Targets up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: wbarmy

“If I remember correctly, the other problem was that the M-16 was designed to use gun cotton (nitrocellulose). “

I think you’re thinking of the extruded vs ball powder issue. The ball powder that was the problem was also made from nitrocellulose, of course. I understand it was one of the additives that was the problem with that particular ball powder. Modern ball powder is fine.


69 posted on 11/03/2009 4:06:15 PM PST by Favor Center (Targets up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: puppypusher
Great point. I use dry lube on my M4 Panther and it has always fired without a hiccup.
Same with my Kimber ultra. The best invention for firearms is dry teflon lube.
70 posted on 11/03/2009 4:11:26 PM PST by MaxMax (Obama can't play in the Olympic reindeer games)
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To: canucksvt
I am going to take my AR out for some exercise later today after I vote.

I notice that some states close the bars during voting hours, but I have
yet to hear of gun ranges being closed. Hmmm. /grin

71 posted on 11/03/2009 4:14:56 PM PST by MaxMax (Obama can't play in the Olympic reindeer games)
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To: nathanbedford

Do you think the Army would hand out a couple thousand M-16’s and M-4’s so we can test them for ourselves? ;-)


72 posted on 11/03/2009 4:16:09 PM PST by Stonewall Jackson (Put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry. - Oliver Cromwell)
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To: Saije

Always keep in mind that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.


73 posted on 11/03/2009 4:58:43 PM PST by smokingfrog (No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: Saije

I don’t think there’s a problem. Just issue ammo like WWII Garands. Issue eight round magazines and only forty rounds of ammo.

That will cure any jamming problem.

[s]


74 posted on 11/03/2009 6:58:15 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA /Patron - TSRA- IDPA)
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To: razzle

I have a Saiga 12 which has, to date, never worked. It’s a single shot.


75 posted on 11/03/2009 7:04:17 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA /Patron - TSRA- IDPA)
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To: Lurker
if it weren't for the 1968 GCA.

You can blame the American gunmakers for that brand of protectionism.

76 posted on 11/03/2009 7:11:19 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA /Patron - TSRA- IDPA)
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To: Favor Center

That “contempt” comes from knowlege of the designs, not any particular derision of American companies or designers.

Get over it. FN makes a great product (as does Colt).

Our soldiers deserve THE BEST equipment, not equipment that you find politically expedient. If an American company (Magpul, for one) can step in and make a weapon that competes with the SCAR, the HK 416, and others, FINE. If not, that’s just the way it is.


77 posted on 11/04/2009 5:03:38 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: Saije
Short answer. the Army in it's wisdom allowed the use of powder that was different than the M-16 was designed for. In addition there were no cleaning kits or instructions supplied to troops early on. <p. The NYT writing a story about Military weapons is like Joe Biden talking to Toastmasters - stupid.
78 posted on 11/04/2009 5:07:30 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. V for victory)
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To: razzle
No we can buy Barrett.
79 posted on 11/04/2009 5:09:27 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. V for victory)
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To: razzle
Oh BTW the M-4 is made by Beretta.
80 posted on 11/04/2009 5:11:56 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. V for victory)
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To: SJSAMPLE

“That “contempt” comes from knowlege of the designs, not any particular derision of American companies or designers.”

FN’s M16 is an American design. The M2 is another one of those “inferior” designs. THe G36 (what the vaunted, but no better than the M16, XM8, was based on) is a knockoff of another Stoner design. I could go on. FN makes good products, but the are a foreign entity. Relying on foreign countries for the basics of our defense is foolhardy.

“If an American company (Magpul, for one) can step in and make a weapon that competes with the SCAR, the HK 416, and others, FINE. If not, that’s just the way it is.”

At one point in our history, we thought it critical to not only have the production of our defense material be located in the US, but that it also be under our control. Now, many US contenders are removed from competition early in the review process regardless of “design” or are restricted by the ATF from competing.


81 posted on 11/04/2009 5:17:37 AM PST by Favor Center (Targets up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: mad_as_he$$

“Oh BTW the M-4 is made by Beretta.”

Don’t you mean the M9?


82 posted on 11/04/2009 5:18:30 AM PST by Favor Center (Targets up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: Favor Center

Dang yes, more coffee please.


83 posted on 11/04/2009 5:27:31 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. V for victory)
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To: Favor Center

Great job pointing out OLD designs.

I’ve worked on numerous multi-national weapons systems.
Do you have a problem with the seven-country participation and adoption of the MLRS system? How about our own adoption of British canonry and German tank guns?

In the end, the manufacturing ability for the M-16 remains in the US, or do you think Belgium will take the M-16 design back home with them? All FN small arms the US military procures are made in the USA. What more do you want?

Again, any new rifle is going to be made in America.
Sure, the ATF gets in the way of almost any new American small arms development. I cannot imagine what Magpul went through. But this is the fault of our government, not our manufacturing base.


84 posted on 11/04/2009 5:27:56 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: SJSAMPLE

“I’ve worked on numerous multi-national weapons systems.”

So have I.

“How about our own adoption of British canonry and German tank guns?”

Yes, I do, frankly.

XM8 was supposed to be “new”. What “newer” designs are we talking about? The 416 and SCAR are not particularly “new” designs either. One of the few “new” designs was the P90 and that is not exactly “new”, either.

“Again, any new rifle is going to be made in America.
Sure, the ATF gets in the way of almost any new American small arms development. I cannot imagine what Magpul went through. But this is the fault of our government, not our manufacturing base.”

This is what keeps new designs out of the market. Companies like H&K and FN have IRAD to through at problems and can do their R&D overseas.


85 posted on 11/04/2009 5:33:46 AM PST by Favor Center (Targets up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: Favor Center

The only time we’re going to see something “new” is if we move to a new form of ammunition. The metallic cartridge is constrained to the designs of the last 100 years. So, anything “new” will be an evolution of existing designs, not a revolution.

However, manufacturing technology does change, and it’s that technology that will allow for advances along the current genus of weapons. Newer, lighter, more durable metals. More use of plastics and polymers. The inclusion of a wider array of optics and accessories. The MagPul ACR (now being developed and produced by Bushmaster) was really the newest thing we’ve seen in quite a while. I hope it makes it to the civvy market, as my three ARs are starting to seem “old”.

I think we can both agree that American designs and manufacturers would benefit if the ATF(E) would get the hell out of the way.


86 posted on 11/04/2009 5:43:25 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: SJSAMPLE

“The only time we’re going to see something “new” is if we move to a new form of ammunition. The metallic cartridge is constrained to the designs of the last 100 years. So, anything “new” will be an evolution of existing designs, not a revolution.”

Caseless is not practical as it stands, so we’ll have cased ammunition for some time to come. Possibly polymer case, but if the military does that, it’ll put a pretty serious crimp in my reloading. ;)

“The MagPul ACR (now being developed and produced by Bushmaster) was really the newest thing we’ve seen in quite a while. I hope it makes it to the civvy market, as my three ARs are starting to seem “old”.”

Kel-Tec’s .308 bullpup looks interesting. Especially the forward eject.

I’d like to see the return of service-owned arms development as run by the Springfield Armory (the whiz kids thought better, so they closed it down). With solicitations for new designs complete with parts. The SBIR system helps in funding small designers, but weapons development is both mostly illegal thanks to the laws and expensive.

Another problem is that politics, not quality, is also a consideration for procurement from foreign sources. The M9 pistol is not really the BEST weapon in its class, is it? No.

“I think we can both agree that American designs and manufacturers would benefit if the ATF(E) would get the hell out of the way.”

Absolutely.


87 posted on 11/04/2009 5:50:32 AM PST by Favor Center (Targets up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: canucksvt
I hated the M-16. But my MOS allowed me to carry the M-24 A1. And the 16 was not well liked among my brothers.

A much superior weapon is the HK-91. the 93 is the 5.56 version. Both are vastly superior to the M-16, because they are fully gas operated in a way that guarantees reliability. They vent spent gases through the chamber through grooves between the casing and chamber. This forces the casing to release itself from the chamber before the gases drive the bolt rearward. This eliminates the need for an extractor. The ejector is also brilliantly engineered.

I have seen demonstrations of this weapon being dipped in mud, mixed with sand and salt water, fired, dipped again, fired, and then buried in dry desert sand and immediately fired on full auto. And it never missed a beat the whole time. (Try that with an M-16)

88 posted on 11/04/2009 6:06:41 AM PST by PSYCHO-FREEP
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To: PSYCHO-FREEP

they need to look hard at the FN-SCAR...in 5.56 or 6.8SPC.


89 posted on 11/04/2009 1:27:22 PM PST by Armedanddangerous (I think youre so full of inconsolable rage you don't care who you hurt)
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To: All

the FN-SCAR

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_SCAR


90 posted on 11/04/2009 1:29:37 PM PST by Armedanddangerous (I think youre so full of inconsolable rage you don't care who you hurt)
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To: mad_as_he$$

The M9A1 is made by Beretta USA.


91 posted on 11/04/2009 2:15:58 PM PST by smokingfrog (No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: smokingfrog
Yup, corrected myself in post 83. Coffee deficit.
92 posted on 11/04/2009 2:21:01 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. V for victory)
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To: mad_as_he$$
You are absolved. Now go and sin no more.


93 posted on 11/04/2009 2:39:09 PM PST by smokingfrog (No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: razzle

OH, I agree the AR is more finely built, and much more ACCURATE than the AK. Just not neary so RELIABLE.


94 posted on 11/04/2009 3:04:54 PM PST by 2harddrive
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To: smokingfrog
lol. Thank you sir. Does that cat have my grande lowfat mocha, with at touch of whipped cream - 180 degrees. if he does he better put it down and run!!!
95 posted on 11/04/2009 5:26:18 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. V for victory)
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To: Saije; MNJohnnie
I find it hysterical that the Slimes, who editorializes against Defense spending now whine when their cheap as possible weapons systems are not absolutely perfect in every possible situation.

The M-16 and it's variants works just fine if they are properly cared for. What they are not designed to do is, as they were in the attack in Afghanistan, required to fire over 3000 rounds in a sustained fire fight. We aren't geared to fight that way. We are geared to pin the enemy then destroy them with fire support. Are fights are not suppose to last this long

What happened in Afghanistan was some one in the chain of command screwed up. Those guys should not of been left hanging out on the end of a limb unspupported like that.

96 posted on 11/05/2009 11:11:32 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Note to the GOP: Do not count your votes until they are cast.)
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To: 2harddrive

The AR is just as reliable as the AK, if you perform some cleaning once in a while. Its not like having to brush your teeth or anything.


97 posted on 11/06/2009 10:14:23 AM PST by razzle
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