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 ...
Or we have spent three decades or more dealing with its insufficiencies and trying to overcome its flaws.
So - do you sell those things? Is that why you keep pushing them?
What have I done? So far listen to you do the exact same thing that you accuse me of: Make pompous pronouncements.
Your experience doesn't trump other arguments. If that were the case only the dead could write obituaries.
For over 40 years the M4 and M16 platform of been part of our capabilities. You seem to think it's a severe detriment. So you're either really lousy at convincing people other than me who may actually have input or it's not part of your area making the mention of what you did for 4 decades a complete non-sequitur.
As for my part "all" I did was fix radios. So while it's true I never took a bullet or fired one in anger, someone like me assured your medevac call got through.
Yay! It’s time once again to beat that dark stain where a dead horse used to be!
First, thank for your service. Fixing radios is essential and yes, mine worked fine for my medevac.
As for what I did about the M-16 while I was in, I wrote letters to my Congressman about our losses thanks to the M-16 in Vietnam, with of course, no useful response. I was commissioned a couple years afterward and led a platoon, a Headquarters Battery, and much later a battalion. We trained with those rifles, qualified with them, inspected them, and repaired or surveyed them when they broke. The M16A2 is decent enough at least in garrison and the heavier bullet works well but it didn’t do long distance as well in Iraq and Afghanistan. After retiring, I was picked to work for a Battle Lab to develop new technologies in infantry and artillery systems - I am a mechanical engineer. Every attempt we made to experiment with new systems was stonewalled by Benning, Picatinny and Aberdeen. Almost always government civilians with no time in uniform and very few weapons enthusiasts. All they want to do was add rail systems to hang more battery-powered weight to the front of those things. (One funny was a TV camera so troops could transmit video of the scenes to higher headquarters. As I am sure you can guess, most often, they sent videos of each other’s butts).
We tried to get them interested in 6.8 and 6.5 but they always found great reasons for not changing anything. The troops in the field asked for help, but still nothing. We tested the SCAR, we tested suppressors, we tested optics, we tested calibers but nothing changed. All the imbecilic Joint Service Small Arms Program could come up with was that ridiculous 25mm pig with its $25,000 sight, 17 pound weight, and grains of sand frags from its explosive round.
Hence my negative attitude when I discuss the M16 derivatives and the army development hierarchy.
I don't have any dog in the fight when it comes to the weapon itself. I own more than a few weapons of various types and calibers. I have my favorites for different reasons.
During my time, everyone seemed to think we'd be using caseless platforms by 2000. So much for that. Is the M4 suited to the more open environment in Afghanistan? The answer appears to be a resounding no.
However, the many changes over the years have made the AR platform extremely versatile, adaptable, and effective in the proper environment. Chris Kyle even preferred it in certain situations. I have no doubts the M14 would have undergone more than a couple changes had it remained in service as the standard. In fact, one of its decendants, the SOCOM16, is on my wishlist when the budget allows.
Anyhow, while it may not necessarily reflect in my posts, I always enjoy discussion and usually have something related to it spark an interest. For instance, based upon some of the discourse, I researched the M14. I was not previously aware it was competing for the government contract in the 1950s with what would eventually become the FN FAL. So at least I learned something new.
When I was a squad leader in Nam, I was regularly screaming at my guys to lighten up on the “auto” spot on the selector lever.
The M-16 rifle was NOT designed to be a Light Machine Gun. It doesn’t have a quick change barrel and it fires from a closed bolt. There is a time and place for full auto. (Gaining initial fire superiority, suppresive fire, final few yards of an assault, and when final protective fires are ordered.) Sometimes you may be forced into continual rock and roll but most often you are not.
But much of the time full auto is used unnecessarily, and leads to an unnecessary need for resupply and undue wear on overheated barrels. The direct impingement gas system does allow more carbon fouling into the reciever, but it also helps with controllability in full auto fire. The straight line recoil and the lack of a piston slapping back and forth makes it much smoother in that mode.
In Vietnam I carried an M-16A1 with a basic load of 600 rounds plus, often went through much or most of that in a day, and had very few stoppages with my routinely maintained rifle, none of which were not easily cleared with an immediate action drill.
The AK series and the AR platform rifles are both great infantry weapons with their own strengths and weaknesses. I am extremely familiar with it and would not hesitate to select it as an infantry arm. But as I consider their aggregate virtues, I would go with the M16/M4 every time, and I served as infantry in two wars.
I didn't keep it because I liked antiques - I kept it because it always worked!
I qualified expert with the M-14 in basic at Ft Leonard Wood. It was great as to the ease that you could knock down a man size pop up target at 400 yards. The semi auto recoil was not bad at all. An absolutely great battle rifle, but it was an antiaircraft gun after a 3 round burst. Too much power for the rifle’s weight.
Notwithstanding that I still preferred the M16A1 for Nam. I too kept 2 mags of 5.56 tracer to mark targets for my squad (I too deedeed the hell out of the position whenever I used them to avoid the inevitable return fire) but thats why they were paying me $125.00 plus $55.00 jump pay + combat pay extra a month as a Sgt E-5 I guess.
I gotta respect your opinions, but the M-16 worked pretty well in my company. Most of the NVA it hit were either wounded badly or dead right there.
“Unfortunately it just happened to be the day that the indians weren’t set in their ways. “
Amen to that! :)
My '14, on the other hand, would always connect when I asked it to and it could penetrate anything - even those heavy concrete gravestones. Hiding behind them didn't help them a bit.
One other plus to the '14 was the M76 grenade launcher. We had a Staff Sergeant who was a Korea vet and a master at firing those finned grenade adapters with an M26 in them - he always nailed what he fired at and we younger guys emulated him and got our own launchers, adapters and blanks. With practice, you could hit within a meter or two of what you wanted to out to 125 meters or so with a frag and it really was effective. A real virtuoso could put one of those puppies right above your target in an airburst. Just had to remember to switch the gas assembly back into action after you fired so you could go back to ball rounds.
No jump pay for me...you lucky dog!
Gotta fess up on this one. I fired expert on the range with the M-16 and did very well on the Quick Kill course. (unsighted close range reaction shooting) But when I was on point coming around a hairpin turn in a trail I saw an NVA soldier standing not more than 15 feet away. Both of us startled simultaneously and I let loose a full 20 round mag on full auto like a big dummy. He did the same thing probably with the 30 rounds in his AK. We both missed, turned around and got the hell out. A 5 minute firefight ensued with two dead NVA and no hits for them, and as usual they broke contact.
Talk about a meeting engagement!!! It taught me a great lesson about full auto and buck fever.
Hah! Love that story.. Your NVA is probably telling his grandkids about his close escape.
My radio operator and another guy turned a corner on a trail through some dense stuff and ran point blank into a VC who fired straight at them full auto. The radio operator flew backward through the air and landed on is back. We fired at the VC who got away clean - then ran over to see how bad things were with the radio operator. When we got to him, he was lying still on his back, eyes closed and we were frantically asking him how bad it was.
He slowly opened his eyes and said “is he gone yet?”. Not a scratch..
Love that story too. As we used to say “There it is.” People often fail to appreciate the often comic nature of combat because of all the horror, savagery, suffering and tragedy, but the laughs are part of it too. I guess that what kept most of us from going completely nuts.
All you have to do is keep it clean. Granted that can sometimes be a challenge, but you should still be able to pump several hundred rounds through it before getting nervous.
It's biggest weakness is the 5.56mm round. Not range, not enough shock/energy. I prefer the 6.8mm for it.
But it'll still kill you dead, and quick.
I thought the DOD would have done just as well picking the Ruger "Mini-14" platform with a heavy barrel. FAR more reliable for the slackers that won't clean their weapon...or the unfortunate few who had to run 1000 rounds through it without the opportunity to clean.
What's a couple of MOA at 100 meters in combat? Still more accurate than the AK platforms. Just as reliable too.
Nobody wants to hump a heavy rifle all day long, but they sure want one when the shooting starts! The Marines were smart to stick with the M16A4.
The choice between an M16 and an AK47 is an easy one and it does not favor the M16. The reliability of the AK is palpable, you can feel it. It must be the rarest thing that ever happens in Russia that any sort of a Kalashnikov action rifle jams or misfires, they must have reporters there from every newspaper and news service in Russia if it ever happens.
If you want to be serious about accuracy with an AK style rifle there’s always the Vepr...
If I remember correctly we were told to put only 18 rounds in a 20 round clip to keep it from jamming. As I said, if I remember correctly.
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