Skip to comments.Troops left to fend for themselves after Army was warned of flaws in rifle
Posted on 02/21/2014 3:26:13 AM PST by Timber Rattler
Army Senior Warrant Officer Russton B. Kramer, a 20-year Green Beret, has learned that if you want to improve your chances to survive, its best to personally make modifications to the Armys primary rifle the M4 carbine.
Warrant Officer Kramer has been dropped into some of the most ferocious battles in the war on terrorism, from hunting Islamists in the mountains of northern Iraq to disrupting Taliban opium dealers in dusty southern Afghanistan. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in Operation Viking Hammer to crush the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam in Iraq.
The warrant officer said he and fellow Special Forces soldiers have a trick to maintain the M4A1 the commando version: They break the rules and buy off-the-shelf triggers and other components and overhaul the weapon themselves.
The reliability is not there, Warrant Officer Kramer said of the standard-issue model. I would prefer to use something else. If I could grab something else, I would.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Standard rifle for China QBZ-95 uses 5.8x42mm cartridge. The AK-74M replaced the AK-47 and uses a 5.45x39mm round.
The applications are different in combat and hunting. If you had multiple hostile deer wearing body armor trying to shoot back at you, 30 round magazines of high-velocity, low profile rounds might just be exactly what you need.
This sort of military incompetence has been going on since the Civil War.
BUT LOOK AT ALL THE AMMUNITION THEY WOULD HAVE WASTED! /s
Sorry, I couldn't resist making a 19th century point. Something about things being the way they are sometimes just because of people and institutions being set in their ways and not much else.
Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan... I my own self never served, so I don't speak from experience. All I can say is it seems like the first time I read something like this was in 1974 in American Rifleman magazine in the library at the place where I was going to school.
Sometimes history only rhymes, and sometimes it seems like it downright repeats itself.
Again, just observation on my part and not experience except a little time at the shooting range.
I am a VN vet and remember all the problems with the M16. If I recall, the principle stockholder in the company that won the contract to supply the M16 to the Army in those days ILO the M14 was owned by Lady Bird Johnson.
Well, no kidding. How much have you spent in combat? As far as the Chinese and Russians adopting itty bitty calibers - swell - I don't mind it all if our adversaries adopt bad ideas. But close range "pray and spray" isn't effective in most fights. It's those rare folks who aim their fire carefully that win battles.
The M-16 family is NOT robust: it's aluminum and plastic and the breech is deeply enclosed and inaccessible. It gas system fountains carbon into the bolt and breech and the whole thing bends with very little effort. It is and was an inexpensive weapon to produce and field and the army is loathe to look at anything else, no matter what the field experience shows. During the height of the Iraq War we had requests from commanders in direct combat for M-14s because of the ineffectiveness/imprecision of the 5.56 round at longer ranges/penetrating brick and earth walls/lethality but those requests were turned down because stateside clowns with zero combat experience were determined to keep going with M-16s only.
There are many excellent designs out there and much better calibers yet the army establishment is perfectly happy to keep the status quo - or offer idiotic alternatives like that XM-25 - a beast in no way suited for the realities of infantry combat.
It's time to put veterans with combat experience into weapon development programs over the civilian developers at Picatinny.
ping for a little bit of perspective
And yeah, he (okay, Lady Byrd Johnson, no conflict of interest that way /s) profited big time from the war, just as he profited from JFK being assassinated in Dallas by whomever...
(Okay, way off topic, I better drop it before someone rightly accuses me of hijacking the thread.)
Which is why the 5.56 vs 7.62 argument is invalid. When our forces have gone toe-to-toe with the AK, they've won with the "inferior" caliber. They bad guys wouldn't be more dead with a larger bullet.
During the height of the Iraq War we had requests from commanders in direct combat for M-14s because of the ineffectiveness/imprecision of the 5.56 round at longer ranges/penetrating brick and earth walls/lethality
Great for an engagement at range, but not the weapons platform you necessarily want for house clearing, like Fallujah.
Don’t let this ‘redirect’ keep you from laying the blame where it’s primarily due - there should have been no firefight in the first place - they were staked out like Judas Goats by US.
I challenge all of you to find ONE incidence in the history of warfare where commanders deliberately stationed their troops in a ‘fishbowl’, surrounded by high ground.
That little firebase was set up on low land with hills around it 380 - for the Tallban, it was like a kids game of shooting fish in a barrel.
In addition, there was no reason not to have spotted the hundred+ tallies coming over the mountain AND the soldiers were DENIED air cover the entire day!
Those in command were just as responsible for those deaths as the Taliban.
Orders from the top turned those little valleys, one by one, deliberately - back to the TAllies, many with caches of ammo/weapons and gas and without a fight, our guys just ordered to pull out - you really do not want to know...
Don’t get me started -
the 5.56 was adopted on the premise that small bullet high velocity max kinetic would be a massive game-changer - and that "every man has a machinegun" would overcome enemies through "dominance". Didn't work that way. Hosing rounds rarely connects and hot barrels fail. The 5.56 in action didn't cause the catastrophic wounds in most cases and more often was easily deflected by obstacles, wind, and at longer ranges lost all meaningful energy to become a hardball .22LR.
Combat takes place up close and at 300m and all places in between. An optimized weapon for infantry combat has to be effective (a fancy word meaning to kill or disable with each shot) at a wide span of ranges, not just house calls. If all you're doing is clearing houses, bring a shotgun.
You will have trouble arguing with my experience - I used an M-14 for a wide variety of situations and found that although it was weighty and long, it always fired when you pulled the trigger, almost always hit what you aimed at, at all ranges, and what you hit died. I carried an M-16 for two days, hated the flimsy little thing, got my M-14 back. (A buddy of mine who served in Vietnam in the army told me that "the M-14 is too heavy". I told him that he should have told me: I'd have detailed a big strong Marine to hold the rifle up for him..)
I spent the next 24 years after that making do with the later variations of the M-16 but it has always amazed me that a country with a history like ours of leading the world in firearms innovation couldn't or wouldn't do better.
By the way, the reasons the AK doesn't give more of an advantage to the people who carry it are that it has a short sight radius, crude sights, a short stock, a goofy safety, and the first selector position is full auto which is next to useless in that weapon. I am not sure how effective 7.62X39 is, since I'm alive after taking one through me. Probably wouldn't be here if that VC had had an M-14, right?
Most firefights in our current theatre of combat are not sustained fights that require resupply, so it seems kinda stupid to redesign our weapons platform to do something that it isn't being used to do. Considering that the average load out of ammo is 210 rounds and pretty much any AR that is even in poorly maintained condition is going to be go through the load out without problems (or even 10 times the load out), it makes me wonder where the complaints are coming from. Assuming the complaints are real (and a lot are a media/industry fabrication) then it's reasonable to assume that the carbine in question was probably so worn that something was out of spec. I've read about and seen pictures of weapons deployed to soldiers that were literally falling apart. It's well known that our supply of AR are aging but that isn't a platform issue.
There are many excellent designs out there...
In context it appears that you mean excellent designs that are better than the AR. What do you think those are?
The caliber discussion has nothing to do with the AR platform and should be a separate discussion as the AR platform can handle pretty much any caliber that any other battle rifle can.
It's time to put veterans with combat experience into weapon development programs over the civilian developers at Picatinny.
The best weapons designer the world has ever seen didn't have any combat experience. Combat experience doesn't increase knowledge of Materials science, metallurgy, engineering or machining. Troops should be used in testing programs sure but weapons design and development? To paraphrase a Japanese saying "you can either be master of making a sword or using a sword but not both".
The PS-90 is pretty good for CQB.
For something more ranged, you'd want a larger caliber and a longer gun.
As for the M-14, it was miles more effective round for round than M-16s or AKs - and supremely accurate. I always hit who I was aiming at and when I was a competitive shooter used a match M-14 to score 34 consecutive V-ring bullseyes at 600m in 1978. M-14s held the 1,000m iron sight record and may still have it, as far as I know. So much for the "simple physics".
I still haven't heard anything from you about your combat experience. What the heck do you know about ammunition loadouts, resupply options, or what works best? All I know for sure is that you never, ever run out of ammunition. If you're really lucky you only do that once and then never again.
I didn't say that a combat veteran would design a better weapon. What I did say was the combat veteran - or veterans - should be the Program Manager over the talented designers to guide their efforts towards a system that is precise, reliable, element-proof and the best possible caliber to ensure long-distance lethality/obstacle penetration. A combat veteran would better than anyone else the characteristics and therefore the specifications the design team would strive for.
Better weapons. Almost anything is better than the gas tube M-16. How about the HK G36 or the SIG 550 or the Galil/Valmet for starters?
Bottom line - our weapons must be the finest possible in all respects, price be hanged. Our kid's lives depend on them so we need the best. Not just what some comfortable DoD civilian thinks we should have.
Not really. There was a time when people with combat experience would have told you standing in tight formation with other soldiers and using discipline/volley fire was the only correct way to fight.
You're basing your argument on experience in a conflict that has nothing to do with current ones. Korea was not like WWII, Vietnam was not like Korea, Desert Storm was not like Vietnam, etc......
The absurd ROEs you had to endure cost more lives than your issued weapons ever did. Not much has changed on that front. No doubt you served with people in the 60s who pined for their Garand and thought your M14 was crap. There are always weapons platforms that are better suited for certain applications. That, in itself, does not nullify the 5.56mm. There is not one that can do everthing.
There are and have been enough combat veterans with ideas and people with investment capital out there to come up with the solution. Strangely, that's yet to occur and it's not due to the lack of people listening.
The point of the 7.62x39 vs the 7.62x51 is fallacious, at best. Wound placement, medical attention, and time are bigger factors than the caliber. A .22 killed RFK. Reagan was hit by a .22 after it richocheted off his vehicle and nearly bled out.
Good post...and as I recall, the 5.56 round was preferred in Nam because it was lighter and the troops could pack more ammo on patrol.
We had M16s on our Swift Boats and they worked fine in our environment.
Just like a Democrat - you never answer any direct questions but you are full of pompous pronouncements. You have no idea at all what I “pined for” back then or now. You also don’t know squat about warfare or the acquisition system or much else, do you?
I spent almost 40 years developing and refining our combat capabilities. What have you done?
You didn’t happen to serve alongside ‘old John Kerry, didja?
Don’t get me wrong, any cartridge has its limitations. For too many, however, the 5.56/AR15/M4/M16 is not a good round/weapon because they said so....and for no other reason.
The PS-90 is pretty nice but has limited utility like you mentioned.