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M-16 Rifle May Be on Way Out of U.S. Army
AP, Yahoo! ^ | 11-22-03 | Slobodan Lekic

Posted on 11/22/2003 1:50:36 PM PST by Ex-Dem

BAGHDAD, Iraq - After nearly 40 years of battlefield service around the globe, the M-16 may be on its way out as the standard Army assault rifle because of flaws highlighted during the invasion and occupation of Iraq (news - web sites).

U.S. officers in Iraq say the M-16A2 — the latest incarnation of the 5.56 mm firearm — is quietly being phased out of front-line service because it has proven too bulky for use inside the Humvees and armored vehicles that have emerged as the principal mode of conducting patrols since the end of major fighting on May 1.

The M-16, at nearly 40 inches, is widely considered too long to aim quickly within the confines of a vehicle during a firefights, when reaction time is a matter of life and death.

"It's a little too big for getting in and out of vehicles," said Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division, which controls Baghdad. "I can tell you that as a result of this experience, the Army will look very carefully at how it performed."

Instead of the M-16, which also is prone to jamming in Iraq's dusty environment, M-4 carbines are now widely issued to American troops.

The M-4 is essentially a shortened M-16A2, with a clipped barrel, partially retractable stock and a trigger mechanism modified to fire full-auto instead of three-shots bursts. It was first introduced as a personal defense weapon for clerks, drivers and other non-combat troops.

"Then it was adopted by the Special Forces and Rangers, mainly because of its shorter length," said Col. Kurt Fuller, a battalion commander in Iraq and an authority on firearms.

Fuller said studies showed that most of the combat in Iraq has been in urban environments and that 95 percent of all engagements have occurred at ranges shorter than 100 yards, where the M-4, at just over 30 inches long, works best.

Still, experience has shown the carbines also have deficiencies. The cut-down barrel results in lower bullet velocities, decreasing its range. It also tends to rapidly overheat and the firing system, which works under greater pressures created by the gases of detonating ammunition, puts more stress on moving parts, hurting its reliability.

Consequently, the M-4 is an unlikely candidate for the rearming of the U.S. Army. It is now viewed as an interim solution until the introduction of a more advanced design known as the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, or OICW.

There is no date set for the entry into service of the OICW, but officers in Iraq say they expect its arrival sooner than previously expected because of the problems with the M-16 and the M-4.

"Iraq is the final nail in the coffin for the M-16," said a commander who asked not to be identified.

The current version of the M-16 is a far cry from the original, which troops during the Vietnam War criticized as fragile, lacking power and range, and only moderately accurate. At the time, a leading U.S. weapons expert even recommended that American soldiers discard their M-16s and arm themselves with the Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle used by their Vietcong enemy.

Although the M16A1 — introduced in the early 1980s — has been heavily modernized, experts say it still isn't as reliable as the AK-47 or its younger cousin, the AK-74. Both are said to have better "knockdown" power and can take more of a beating on the battlefield.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bang; banglist; infantrylist; m16; m4; oicw; willieandjoeslist
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Let the debating begin...
1 posted on 11/22/2003 1:50:37 PM PST by Ex-Dem
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To: archy
Hey archy - I like the M16. Carried one for years.

But if I were in Iraq, I would aquire an AK74S.

2 posted on 11/22/2003 1:54:29 PM PST by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: Ex-Dem
I doubt if it means the end. Iraq is a particular environment, where most patrols can be done in vehicles. It's relatively level and open. That isn't true everywhere.
3 posted on 11/22/2003 1:56:48 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Ex-Dem
Bring back the M14!
4 posted on 11/22/2003 1:57:05 PM PST by Thane_Banquo
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To: Ex-Dem
...the firing system, which works under greater pressures created by the gases of detonating ammunition, puts more stress on moving parts, hurting its reliability.

Greater than what? It's the same ammo and the same action as its larger cousin. What are they talking about here?

5 posted on 11/22/2003 1:58:18 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Travis McGee; Squantos
Over here, guys.
6 posted on 11/22/2003 1:58:44 PM PST by ConservativeLawyer
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To: Billthedrill
Gas tap not as far down the barrel perhaps?
7 posted on 11/22/2003 2:01:23 PM PST by Dinsdale
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To: Dinsdale
Must be. I hate it when reporters do this.
8 posted on 11/22/2003 2:02:41 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Thane_Banquo
"Bring back the M14!"

Roger that!

9 posted on 11/22/2003 2:02:44 PM PST by CWOJackson (Wal-Mart was behind the JFK assassination...)
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To: Billthedrill
Dunno - I'll stick with my FALs and NM Garand.

Call me old fashioned. Call the enemy out there at 400 yards dead.
10 posted on 11/22/2003 2:03:10 PM PST by Noumenon (I don't have enough guns and ammo to start a war - but I do have enough to finish one.)
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To: Ex-Dem
There's just so much stupidity here, we'll just pick one example:

The M-16, at nearly 40 inches, is widely considered too long to aim quickly within the confines of a vehicle during a firefights, when reaction time is a matter of life and death.
.
.
Instead of the M-16, which also is prone to jamming in Iraq's dusty environment, M-4 carbines are now widely issued to American troops.
.
.
It (the M4) is now viewed as an interim solution until the introduction of a more advanced design known as the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, or OICW.
So the M16 is too long and bulky, so we're going to use M4s for a while, and then switch to something that's nearly as long as, and bulkier than, an M16. Riiiight.

Great idea! More of that!

Just damn.

11 posted on 11/22/2003 2:04:04 PM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Billthedrill
the firing system, which works under greater pressures..

?????

With less barrel length, and thereby less time for gas pressure buildupm why not lower pressures????

Me thinks article author does not know XXXX from Shinola.

Had XM-177 (with bolt fwd assist) in RVN. Loved it.
12 posted on 11/22/2003 2:04:58 PM PST by MindBender26 (For more news as it happens, stay tuned to your local FReeper Network station)
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To: Ex-Dem
Well, if the M16A2 is considered too big, what about the OICW? That thing's a bohemoth with the ergonomics of a 4x4 fencepost.

Maybe it's time for a complete redesign using established technology and not a lot of Buck Rogers stuff like on the OICW. The new rifle should be modular and ergonomic like the M16, reliable like the AK, and fire a cartridge larger than the 5.56x45 but smaller than the 7.62x51. The Korean K1/K2, Swiss STGW90, German G36 and Swedish AK5 are all excellent designs to build on.

13 posted on 11/22/2003 2:07:18 PM PST by elmer fudd
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To: CWOJackson; Thane_Banquo
I've heard that from a lot of people actually. (That they preferred the M-14) Performance + the fact that it didn't look/feel like a plastic toy gun, I think it was.
14 posted on 11/22/2003 2:08:29 PM PST by Ex-Dem (not just another brick in the wall)
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To: Ex-Dem
Although I would never treat one that way, I swear you could bury an M-14 for a week, dig it up, run an oiled patch through the barrel and it would fire.

They're reliable in all conditions and accurate.

15 posted on 11/22/2003 2:10:32 PM PST by CWOJackson (Wal-Mart was behind the JFK assassination...)
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To: Noumenon
Garand...yeah, the Garand...you know, it's funny - I'd always heard that one of the reasons that the M-16 was preferred to the .308/30-06s was that its lower recoil was less punishing to the uninitiated, but when I finally got to fire a Garand on a regular basis I really started to question that. I consider myself pretty chicken when it comes to recoil but the Garand is a sweetheart in that respect. Maybe Patton knew what he was talking about...
16 posted on 11/22/2003 2:11:47 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: MindBender26
With a shorter barrel you have to place the gas port closer to the chamber where pressures are higher. I'd never heard of this being a problem before though.

The biggest problem I was aware of with the M4 is that with the shorter barrel the 5.56 round is less effective.

17 posted on 11/22/2003 2:13:19 PM PST by elmer fudd
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To: Billthedrill
Get your hands on an M-14. It's an improved Garand...you will appreciate the improvements.
18 posted on 11/22/2003 2:13:26 PM PST by CWOJackson (Wal-Mart was behind the JFK assassination...)
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To: Ex-Dem
"It's a little too big for getting in and out of vehicles," said Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey,


"I suggested to Rumsfeld that we might consider issuing
armored Segways to the troops instead of Humvees,
But he said that might be thinking TOO far outside the box."

19 posted on 11/22/2003 2:13:37 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!)
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To: Ex-Dem
the old but very proven Thompson is perfect for 100 yd. or less. Shotguns with folding stocks are almost impossible to jamb or screwup. the carbine which fired 30 cal. would also be good. All of the above are short, reliable, effective and PROVEN. A good tool is never outdated!
20 posted on 11/22/2003 2:14:26 PM PST by duk
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To: Thane_Banquo
Bring back the M14!

I entered the US Army in 1969.

At the time the M-14 was still in the inventory and I trained with it at Ft. Campbell and qualified with it during Infantry AIT at Fort Polk.

I didn't see an M-16 until I got to VN, to the Americal Division, and that was in the hands of a Navy guy.

I carried an M-14 for most of my tour and when I left the Americal to go down south, I "willed" it to a friend, who I found out later, willed it to a friend, who, unfortunately, was KIA and the weapon was damaged beyond repair.

It was a heavy bastard, but it out-shot everthing else any one had, except for the pig.

And since the pig and my 14 used the same ammo, we stayed close to one another.

The only other weapon that could reach out and touch Charlie the same way my 14 could, was in the hands of the snipers and they wouldn't part with one of them for nothing.

I am convinced that the only reason my 14 and my old slabside .45 never jammed was because the tolerances were so much. 'Cause God knows I never had the chance to clean either one of them in the manner and with the frequency the book recommends.

In between cleanings, I just poured the CLP on and hoped for the best.

Must of worked, 'cause here I am.

21 posted on 11/22/2003 2:25:21 PM PST by OldSmaj
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To: Ex-Dem
THE OICW

This will definitely be an improvement from those bulky m-16s.


22 posted on 11/22/2003 2:26:22 PM PST by chudogg (http://chudogg.blogspot.com)
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To: Ex-Dem
Why would someone assume that the U.S. armed forces are not going to see real battlefield engagements going forward? Just because we are now primarily engaging in urban warfare, in which we are primarily responding to attacks, this will not always be the case.

M-4s, properly lubed, should get us through near-term CQB situations. As far as a "next generation" replacement, the OICW seems to be far from perfect. It is heavy, bulky, and armed with a 10" barrel firing 5.56mm that will greatly reduce range, accuracy and terminal ballistic performance. The OICW's 20mm top-exploding projectile has yet to prove its utility, particularly in urban CQB.

23 posted on 11/22/2003 2:28:16 PM PST by BushMeister
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To: Ex-Dem
Ok guys, lets have a pic of both, so we not so "all-into-guns" will have a idea what the difference are between all of these. THANKS
24 posted on 11/22/2003 2:28:27 PM PST by Phyto Chems
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To: Ex-Dem
i've fired several hundred rounds from an AR-15 and a few thousand rounds from my own SKS' and an Mk-90 and prefer the SKS hands down.(7.62>5.56)
25 posted on 11/22/2003 2:29:28 PM PST by gdc61
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To: elmer fudd
There's a 6.5mm cartridge in the works (overall length not more than the 5.56mm cartridge, but made from a shortened 7.62 case, fires a 100-grain bullet with a long ogive)that, if reports can be believed, is the answer to these problems. Watch for it in the future (might not be adopted by the U.S. military, but civilians are taking to it....)
26 posted on 11/22/2003 2:31:27 PM PST by Renfield
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To: Phyto Chems
I'll try to find some pics (probably someone else will manage to do it before I do), in the meantime, check out this site:

http://world.guns.ru/main-e.htm
27 posted on 11/22/2003 2:33:18 PM PST by Ex-Dem (not just another brick in the wall)
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To: Ex-Dem
I never had any great complaints with the M16A2. It was like a light deer rifle.
28 posted on 11/22/2003 2:33:49 PM PST by Prodigal Son ("Fundamentalist Left". It's a great meme. Spread it.)
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To: Ex-Dem

Still looks like the M-16.P

Hudson: Let's just bug out and call it even, OK?
Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. That's the only way to be sure.

29 posted on 11/22/2003 2:34:30 PM PST by SAMWolf (You might have mail, I can't recall.)
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To: Billthedrill
Sure, blame it on the reporter.
30 posted on 11/22/2003 2:34:31 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I'm a girl watcher, I'm a girl watcher. Here comes one now.)
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To: Ex-Dem
M-16A2 http://www.army.mil/fact_files_site/m16/index.html

M-4 carbine http://www.army.mil/fact_files_site/m-4_carbine/

Objective Individual Combat Weapon http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/oicw.htm

AK-47 http://kalashnikov.guns.ru/models/ka50.html

AK-74 http://world.guns.ru/assault/as02-e.htm

M14 http://world.guns.ru/assault/as15-e.htm

M1 Garand http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/m1rifle.html
31 posted on 11/22/2003 2:35:12 PM PST by Walkin Man
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To: ConservativeLawyer
AP needs to get their shit togeather.....either the Army has assult rifles or citizens in the CONUS have assult rifles.......:o)

My HBAR is havin an identity crisis !

One has to wonder if the new HK factory in the US and SIG's new 1911A1 Clone (granite series) has something to do with over the horizon contracts.........

Stay Safe !

32 posted on 11/22/2003 2:36:51 PM PST by Squantos (Support Mental Health !........or........ I"LL KILL YOU !!!!)
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To: Billthedrill
The Garand is fun & easy to shoot, but it's a pain to strip and reassamble. I can strip and reassemble a Kalashnikov blindfolded (or, at least I could when I had one.)
33 posted on 11/22/2003 2:37:13 PM PST by Renfield
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To: Phyto Chems
Here's a side by side comparison.


34 posted on 11/22/2003 2:37:28 PM PST by Ex-Dem (not just another brick in the wall)
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To: Ex-Dem
i would match my hk91 against any battle rifle.
35 posted on 11/22/2003 2:37:55 PM PST by SCARED
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To: SAMWolf; archy
:-) Loved that movie. I know caseless rounds have been experimented with before. Does anyone know if that is still a good idea? I think it would be less weight and bulk for the infantryman.
36 posted on 11/22/2003 2:38:37 PM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: Walkin Man
I'd give the HK G36, which is apparently far more reliable than the M-16A2, a tryout before giving up on the 5.56mm cartridge.

The main reason for moving away from the larger cartridges to the 5.56mm is that a soldier can carry roughly twice as many of the smaller cartridges for the same weight. This, along with the realization that most combat engagements took place within 200 yards (thus making the superior long-range performance of heavier bullets unnecessary), were the main reasons for adoption of the M-16.

The AKs are more reliable functionally, but are less accurate and have less impressive terminal ballistics, despite claims of "knockdown power".

37 posted on 11/22/2003 2:42:02 PM PST by BushMeister
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To: Prodigal Son
I was in the Artic Circle after a jump in Kotzebue. A chinook helicopter hovered near us for just a moment, when the snow settled my M-16 was completly frozen. The exhaust had melted the snow mist and at -30 zero it only took seconds for the moisture to freeze up on the rifle.

From my experience in the artic, firearms need to be as simply as possible. Bolt action, with good iron sights. Sounds like the desert conditions are just as harsh on the m-16 as the artic. keep It Simple Stupid.
38 posted on 11/22/2003 2:42:15 PM PST by duk
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To: Ex-Dem
Barring the return of the M14, in Tanker config., how about also switching to a War-fighting military sidearm, like the 1911, or a good D.A., like Sig, but in 10mm...and a handy little 10mm Thompson...which would also make a dandy machine-pistol, for those special occasions. REAL handy, IMHO.

Bullpup nice too, as long as it shoots something worth shooting, not necessarily a zillion rounds of short barrel-impeded woodchuck stuff...so we "wound" instead of obliterate, or blow chunks off of whatever they're taking cover behind...like we did in the wars we've won so conspicuously. Ignore the college-bred geniuses and politicians, and go back to what worked...hopefully with 21st. century improvements.




39 posted on 11/22/2003 2:42:22 PM PST by PoorMuttly (DO, or DO NOT. There is no TRY - Yoda)
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To: Phyto Chems
The top one's the M-4, the bottom one is the M-16. The stock on the M-4 is the dead giveaway.
40 posted on 11/22/2003 2:43:38 PM PST by Ex-Dem (not just another brick in the wall)
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To: RadioAstronomer
The Germans spent decades trying to perfect caseless cartridges and even had a working prototype rifle. They finally gave up on it in the early 90's. There are a lot of advantages to caseless ammunition, but there are some major problems too. The Ammo was fragile and the guns tended to overheat. It seems that an overlooked benefit of cased ammo is that it serves to help cool the rifle. The hot brass that is ejected contains heat energy that would otherwise overheat the rifle. The Germans had to use ceramics and some tricky chemistry to avoid cookoffs and meltdowns.
41 posted on 11/22/2003 2:45:51 PM PST by elmer fudd
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To: gdc61
i've fired several hundred rounds from an AR-15 and a few thousand rounds from my own SKS' and an Mk-90 and prefer the SKS hands down.(7.62>5.56)

I feel exactly the opposite after having done the same in reverse.

I don't think that the SKS has near the accuracy of a M16 /AR15. Also, the only jams that I have seen were with Wolf ammo.

42 posted on 11/22/2003 2:46:31 PM PST by Eaker (When the SHTF, I'll go down with a cross in one hand, and a Glock in the other.)
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To: RadioAstronomer
Caseless rounds are a good 'idea'.

If they are a good practical exercise is another question.

43 posted on 11/22/2003 2:46:42 PM PST by Dinsdale
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To: BushMeister
Silly question:

Why is it that we don't add / mix in a few dedicated M14 (or equal)and 12 ga. shotgun carriers amongst the M4's and SAW's within a platoon?

Seems to me that it would help expand long range and close-in capabilities.

44 posted on 11/22/2003 2:47:33 PM PST by AngryJawa ("The bang is great, but the shockwave is where itís at.")
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To: BushMeister
http://world.guns.ru/assault/as14-e.htm

This one?

45 posted on 11/22/2003 2:48:45 PM PST by Walkin Man
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To: elmer fudd
Thanks. :-) I knew there were a lot of folks here smarter than I am on this issue. :-)
46 posted on 11/22/2003 2:49:03 PM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: FreedomPoster
You beat me to it.

The obvious solution is a bullpup design, which allows for the longest barrel in the shortest overall weapon.
47 posted on 11/22/2003 2:49:05 PM PST by Hugin
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To: Dinsdale
If they are a good practical exercise is another question.

It looks like so far they are not.

48 posted on 11/22/2003 2:49:50 PM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: RadioAstronomer
Caseless rounds worked well enough untill the invention of case.
49 posted on 11/22/2003 2:52:14 PM PST by Dinsdale
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To: Dinsdale
That's thinking outside of the box!!
50 posted on 11/22/2003 2:52:57 PM PST by duk
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