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Marines might replace M-16A2 with M-4
Pacific Edition, Stars and Stripes ^ | Sunday, August 4, 2002 | Mark Oliva

Posted on 08/04/2002 11:34:22 AM PDT by demlosers

It’s smaller, lighter and better suited for modern battles. And it might be headed into the hands of U.S. Marines.

Marine Corps officials wrapped up testing two new rifles as a possible replacement to the M-16A2 in stock now: the short M-4 carbine and the M-16A4, an upgraded model of the rifle Marines use now.

The jury’s still out, but a decision is expected soon. So far, though, the M-4 is garnering praise from the Marines and looks to be a front-runner.

However, some soldiers who fought in Afghanistan have expressed concerns about the M-4, which also is standard issue for U.S. Army infantry troops. Their chief complaints, though, appear to center on the ammunition used, not the weapon itself — and officials have said ammunition types are undergoing review.

The M-4 is hardly new to the Corps. Marine Force Reconnaissance units, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams and Military Police Special Response Teams have been using the weapon since 1999 as a replacement for the MP-5 submachine gun.

Corps officials tested the two rifles for more than 18 months. The latest test, held at Camp Lejeune, N.C., wrapped up in July. The rifles were put through the wringer, including shooting at known-distance ranges, live-fire field trials and force-on-force scenarios, said Capt. John Douglas, project officer at Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va.

Douglas said the M-16A4 looks and feels much like the M-16A2 but, like the M-4, has component parts. The Corps can buy either weapon of the existing Army contract, Douglas said.

“Both weapons have flat-top upper receivers with 1913 Military Standard rails for mounting optics as well as forward rail hand guards,” Douglas said.

“All accessories from lasers, lights, scopes, etc., mount to the 1913 rails as a standard mounting platform, allowing tailoring of the weapon to mission, billet, or individual ergonomic preferences,” he said.

But even if a new rifle comes, Douglas said, not every Marine will get one. They’ll be fielded only for ground infantry units.

The maneuverability, adaptability and ease of operation cause some to favor the M-4 for tomorrow’s Marines.

Mike Reissig, a sales representative with Colt Manufacturing, declined to answer questions before test results are released but forwarded a point paper provided by the Marine Corps to Colt Manufacturing. It says the rifle simply is a better fit for the way Marines will be fighting in the future.

The weapon, the paper said, is based on a proven design familiar to all Marines, and is equally well-suited for operations in all types of terrain, including use in urban environments.

The M-4 has interchangeable sighting systems, add-on vertical forward grips and even a detachable short version of the M-203 grenade launcher. The rifle itself is one full pound lighter than the M-16A2 and 10 inches shorter. The collapsible buttstock is designed to make it more adaptable to individual shooters, a benefit especially in tight-packed urban areas.

“This allows the Marine to rapidly shoulder the weapon from a proper fighting stance with combat gear,” the review said. “The reduced barrel length allows the weapon to be more easily maneuvered in restrictive terrain, urban areas, vehicles and aircraft.”

There are some drawbacks to the M-4, though. A shorter barrel means reduced velocity and accuracy at long ranges. But it’s unlikely, the Marine review said, that battles would be waged at more than 200 meters. At that distance, the M-16A2’s and M-4’s performance are nearly identical.

The M-4, the review concluded, “provides our infantry unit leaders with the ability to rapidly prepare for combat under varying situations, while allowing them to employ the latest in target acquisition technology. Its modular nature allows us to upgrade components as improvements become available.”


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; m16a2; m16a4; m4; marines
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Military buffs what do you think?
1 posted on 08/04/2002 11:34:22 AM PDT by demlosers
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To: demlosers
I'm for the M-4. The only advantage that the M-16 has is range, however battles are never fought at distances where that range matters. The M-4 is much easier to handle, and is lighter.
2 posted on 08/04/2002 11:37:18 AM PDT by Rodney King
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To: demlosers
M-4 hands down. If you need to hit something at a distance you call in a sniper squad. If you're in a fire fight at over 1000 yards, that's what Cobras and Apaches are on the phone for.
3 posted on 08/04/2002 11:43:38 AM PDT by Nuke'm Glowing
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To: demlosers
"...but, like the M-4, has component parts.."

Really? I was hoping that it was one piece.

4 posted on 08/04/2002 11:57:18 AM PDT by FreePaul
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: demlosers
It's been my opinion for years that the U.S. Military needs a NEW rifle and cartridge, not just a souped-up M16. The 16 has been around now for 40 years! Has NO newer, more effective system been developed? I realize that transitioning to new weapons is expensive, but so is continuing to "update" old ones ad infinitum.

For example, the issue of the M16's reliability problems, which seem to be inherent to its design, have never been addressed. Nor, for that matter, has its fragility. Furthermore, while the effectiveness of the 5.56mm NATO round is quite good, it too has been around for quite some time. Personally, I'd like to see someone come up with something between it and the 7.62x51mm NATO.

Or, we could just admit once and for all that a single weapon is unlikely to do all things well, and develop specialized ones. It worked during WWII, when the typical squad would have a mix of M-1 Garands, BAR's, and Thompsons and carbines. Seems to me it worked pretty well, considering the results.

Besides, not all the services have the same requirements. My own, the Navy, still keeps M-14 rifles in its inventory, for example. H&K MP-5s as well.

Just one Sailor's opinion.


6 posted on 08/04/2002 12:06:04 PM PDT by Long Cut
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To: demlosers
Could someone post the obligatory pics of these weapons?

:^)

7 posted on 08/04/2002 12:07:52 PM PDT by Momaw Nadon
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To: Momaw Nadon

M-4 carbine with M-203 Grenade launcher
8 posted on 08/04/2002 12:11:43 PM PDT by demlosers
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: demlosers
It's a better solution for MOUT, and also for shipboard
defense. If you look at engagement ranges over the last
thirty years, they've been getting shorter. There's less
a need these days to bow to the cult of the long range
target shooters that have dominated rifle acquistion in
the past.

One thing the Marines should look out for is
the tendency to hang every available accessory on the
rails.
10 posted on 08/04/2002 12:14:09 PM PDT by cryptical
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To: demlosers
I think they would be better off with AKs or M-14s. Or a mix, 3 AKs and 1 M-14 per fire team.
11 posted on 08/04/2002 12:14:10 PM PDT by LibKill
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To: Momaw Nadon
Another pic:

M16A2 rifle
12 posted on 08/04/2002 12:15:17 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: demlosers
Thanks!

If only we could have a picture of Ann Coulter holding one of these, that would be awesome.

;-)

13 posted on 08/04/2002 12:18:29 PM PDT by Momaw Nadon
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To: LibKill
I will sit at 500 meters with a 16 and you can have your vaunted AK. You need luck I just need to squeeze the trigger
14 posted on 08/04/2002 12:20:04 PM PDT by Nov3
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To: LibKill
I think they would be better off with AKs or M-14s. Or a mix, 3 AKs and 1 M-14 per fire team.

U.S. Military using foreign made AKs as standard equipment-gasp! An old commie rifle at that. Most likely to be met with whole lotta political derision.

15 posted on 08/04/2002 12:22:47 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: demlosers
The m4a1 carbine


16 posted on 08/04/2002 12:23:30 PM PDT by pittsburgh gop guy
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To: demlosers
I'm not sure why they say we're not likely to engage any targets at the 200-400 meter range. Looks to me like most of the fighting we have in store for us in the near future will be in the Middle East- I'm thinking lots of open ground. Personally, I'd like to be able to shoot at a bad guy when he was at 300-400 meters. That gives me 200 meters to nail his butt before he gets down to the 200 meter range. That's just me though. I never minded the extra pound of the M16A2 and it felt more like shooting the rifles I had grown up with.

One thing I saw with the M16A2 was a lot of people had problems zeroing the weapon for some reason. I mean most guys could get theirs zeroed but still quite a few did have problems with it. Being a Mortar Platoon in the Headquarters Company, you often have to run the shooting ranges for the rest of the company- cooks, mechanics, medics, commo- with the exception of the Scouts and Support all these guys were non-combat arms. That might have had something to do with it but my own personal theory was a lot of individuals had a problem aquiring proper sight picture and alignment with the M16A2. I don't know if the M4 has a different sight system than the M16 (personally, I liked the M16's system).

I think overall, I agree with someone else that perhaps having one weapon that solves all problems is not really practical- perhaps a mixture of different weapons that accomplish different tasks being brought to bear on the enemy as part of a fire team as opposed to an individual. I think there's still place for a shotgun in an infantry platoon in the right environments and I know it's expensive but I think an infantry unit should have a variety of tools in their armory that they could choose from- choose the right tool for the task at hand as opposed to trying to make one tool do every task.

The one thing about the M16A2 was it had a nice sturdy plastic stock that you could butt stroke someone with. Can you do that with the M4 and how does the M4 hold up if you have to fix bayonets?

17 posted on 08/04/2002 12:29:05 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Prodigal Son
I'll stick with my FAL and Benelli M1 Super 90. The kids have CARs for close-in defensive work.
18 posted on 08/04/2002 12:33:20 PM PDT by Noumenon
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To: demlosers
U.S. Military using foreign made AKs as standard equipment-gasp! An old commie rifle at that. Most likely to be met with whole lotta political derision.

Politics be damned. Give them something reliable.

Wars are fought with rifles, not politcal correctness.

19 posted on 08/04/2002 12:35:50 PM PDT by LibKill
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To: Nov3
I will sit at 500 meters with a 16 and you can have your vaunted AK. You need luck I just need to squeeze the trigger

Yes, I have fired the M16 A1 at 500 meters. Yes you can hit things with it that far out.

And a pinch of sand will jam that P.O.S. so tight that you will need an armorer to clear it.

If range is a consideration the old M-14 is good to 1,000 meters.

20 posted on 08/04/2002 12:40:01 PM PDT by LibKill
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To: demlosers
How about a four pound version?

http://www.proord.com/news_ff.html
21 posted on 08/04/2002 12:41:26 PM PDT by decimon
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To: VaBthang4
Marines replacing M-16A2 with M-4 PING!!!!!!!!
22 posted on 08/04/2002 12:42:33 PM PDT by spetznaz
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To: LibKill
If range is a consideration the old M-14 is good to 1,000 meters.

I like my old M-1 at 1000 meters... now if that empty clip just didn't make that distinctive sound.....

23 posted on 08/04/2002 12:46:54 PM PDT by Beenliedto
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To: Prodigal Son
Many good points. I'm with you being to engage targets out as far as I can. There will be a time the Marines get into a fire fight with their M-4s in the open and they find the enemy has a longer reach than they do.

Zeroing the M16 wasn't hard for me either, easy as 1 2 3.

I think overall, I agree with someone else that perhaps having one weapon that solves all problems is not really practical- perhaps a mixture of different weapons that accomplish different tasks being brought to bear on the enemy as part of a fire team as opposed to an individual.

Yes I tend to agree, until the military does get the "perfect rifle" thats seems the way to go.

24 posted on 08/04/2002 12:47:00 PM PDT by demlosers
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: Long Cut
. Furthermore, while the effectiveness of the 5.56mm NATO round is quite good, it too has been around for quite some time. Personally, I'd like to see someone come up with something between it and the 7.62x51mm NATO.

They did. Its called .243 Winchester. A high performance cartridge--100grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 2900fps. It is a necked down .308/7.62 case with a 6mm bullet. Short maximum length of 2.7-in.--ideal for automatic weapons. Light recoil. Women and children have been knocking off white tail deer with this for years.

26 posted on 08/04/2002 12:49:13 PM PDT by J Jay
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: demlosers
At first glance I dont like the decision one bit...

The one total and complete advantage the M-16 has over the Ak-47 is range.

We were able to drop Iraqis from ranges they couldnt concieve of. All their infantry troops could do was run for cover as they tried to elevate their AKs in a vain attempt to reach us.

Individual Marines were able to snipe Iraqis at standoff distances. I understand the Amry using the M-4....Army soldiers already cant engage from great distances, so giving them a rifle with a shorter range only seems appropriate....but taking an advantage away from Marines is not something I like at all.

Sounds like some jealous geek Marine decision to me. The M-4 looks cooler.

28 posted on 08/04/2002 1:01:09 PM PDT by VaBthang4
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To: demlosers
A few threads up ahead, there was a report from Afghanistan -based troops, suggesting the M4 was unreliable, because it was almost impossible to keep clean.There were also problems with the SAW (squad automatic weapon).

Time to break out the "old" 7.62 mm M-14's, and come up with a 7.62 BAR.

Re-organize the squad into 3 four man fire teams-one BAR un each team.

29 posted on 08/04/2002 1:04:04 PM PDT by genefromjersey
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To: demlosers
Am I missing something? With the exception of the usual upgrades common to the system, don't we still have a CAR15?
Great for patrolling in thick vegetation, great balance with a 20 round magazine, sight radius about as useful as your standard .45 M1A1. Should be great for support or rear troops.

As for line troops, I'd like to see us adopt the 7X57 Mauser, or similar, fired by a caliber-scaled M14 action. Not the sissy loading that the ammo manufacturers produce as a safety measure, but a hotter military specific loading.
30 posted on 08/04/2002 1:10:00 PM PDT by x1stcav
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To: Prodigal Son
I distinctly recall an account of a firefight where a grunt said words to the effect "We were nervous until we saw our marksmanship was better than their's."

That doesn't sound like there were toe to toe. Range and accuracy may matter. OTOH, that was a SpecOps unit, and may have had snipers along.

31 posted on 08/04/2002 1:10:37 PM PDT by eno_
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: genefromjersey
A few threads up ahead, there was a report from Afghanistan -based troops, suggesting the M4 was unreliable, because it was almost impossible to keep clean.There were also problems with the SAW (squad automatic weapon).

Yeah I know, that's my post also. It did rate a 89% confidence level wil the troops who were asked to assess the weapon. But, as one soldier pointed out, “If I did not have so many opportunities to clean [my M-4] I’m not sure how reliable it would have been.”

33 posted on 08/04/2002 1:14:52 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: Beenliedto
"I like my old M-1 at 1000 meters... "

I'll second that. Over 2500fps & 150 + grns.

"now if that empty clip just didn't make that distinctive sound.....

Not to worry.....at a 1000 meters yards.

34 posted on 08/04/2002 1:16:50 PM PDT by G.Mason
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To: x1stcav
The 7mm-08 would be a very good choice. If it will knock over the 500 meter sheep silhouettes,it's plenty powerful. Also,I can attest from experience,it won't beat you to death with recoil. Fired offhand,from a bolt action rifle,it can be comfortably managed by just about anyone-and "anyone" includes the 80 pound young lady,age 16,who won the last match I was at. If chambered in a gas operated self loader,it ought to be just about perfect.
35 posted on 08/04/2002 1:21:34 PM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: demlosers
Two recent articles are of interest. In last month's SOF there was a story about the M4 that claimed a great many long range kills during Anaconda. Most recenly in USNI Proceedings Maj. Anthony Milavic, USMC(ret)attacks the decision to go to the M4 because of his belief in the inadequacy of the 5.56 cartridge. He includes anecdotals from Nam, the Gulf, Somalia, and Afghanistan testifying to the inability of the 5.56 to put down a target.

Two contradictory articles. As a buff and not a vet I leave it to the experienced to make a judgement.

36 posted on 08/04/2002 1:21:48 PM PDT by xkaydet65
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: demlosers
If you insist on a poodle shooter at least get one with a 18" or 20" barrel...slightly
greater velocity & range shooting heavier bullets (>than 55 gr FMJ)...Personally after a year in Vietnam as a grunt and medic (with the 9th Inf Div/ Mobile Riverine Force) ...I'd like to see our guys at least have the option of something more powerfull...more reliable (in blowing sand) shooting at least a 150 gr FMJ ...imo
38 posted on 08/04/2002 1:29:24 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: *bang_list
Ill Advised switch to carbines?? BUMP
39 posted on 08/04/2002 1:32:58 PM PDT by xsrdx
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To: J Jay
Didn't Armalite chamber one version of their AR-10 in that caliber? It does sound like the correct path, at least. Hopefully more serious work will be done on the problem. At the least, we should try some different actions besides the direct-gas system of the M16.

I would like to see what American arms designers could do with such things as gas-pistons(AK, M14,), or delayed-recoil(Browning M2, Thompson) and a cartridge such as the .243.

BTW, I also don't think we need all the geegaws we seem to hang or attach to the rifle. What we need is something which follows the concept of RAM-D(Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Dependability) first and only then play with the toys. Weapons following this concept well are much liked. Witness the affection of older vets for the M-1/M-14 rifles. It's near universal. The M16 has been "controversial" for 40 years, and is still viewed with suspicion by a great many who use it.

This alone should tell us something about what to replace it with.


40 posted on 08/04/2002 1:49:44 PM PDT by Long Cut
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To: demlosers; archy
A shorter barrel means reduced velocity and accuracy at long ranges

The only substantive difference between the M4 and M16A4 is the barrel length (14.5" vs 20") and the buttstock (collapsible vs. fixed).

The M4 is proving wildly popular everywhere, especially with law enforcement, as it's easy to tote around and still offers much of the lethality of a rifle.

Problem is, it's not a rifle -it's a carbine. The short barrel cuts the velocity of the issue M855 considerably, and reduces not only it's effective range but also its terminal performance. Yup, they're bitching about the ammunition - ammunition which, by the way, works just fine from a standard 20" barrel. And while were on the subject, the 11 and 14.5in barreled M4s remain statistically somewhat less reliable than 20" rifles, due to reduced gas system length.

The right answer is to purchase quantities of both rifles, and issue the long guns to troops most likely to need them.

For a tanker, artillerymen or aviator, the M4 is a great rifle. For the infantryman, the 20" M16A4 is the superior choice.

41 posted on 08/04/2002 1:51:36 PM PDT by xsrdx
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To: dax zenos
I was reading a report on the army of Isreal. They wanted a gun like the AK that would run all the time because their FAL jammed too often. Turns out the Isreal Army men didn't clean their guns very often.

It always amazes me when soldiers don’t take care of their rifle especially in time of war. You would think they would treat their rifle better than a new born baby...If their rifle goes down its may mean their @$$ in combat.

42 posted on 08/04/2002 1:56:30 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: xsrdx
Problem is, it's not a rifle -it's a carbine. The short barrel cuts the velocity of the issue M855 considerably, and reduces not only it's effective range but also its terminal performance. Yup, they're bitching about the ammunition - ammunition which, by the way, works just fine from a standard 20" barrel.

Good points -- it's not rocket science:
shorter barrel = reduced velocity.
shorter barrel = reduced effective range.
They do seemed to be overlooking the obvious.

43 posted on 08/04/2002 2:05:19 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: Prodigal Son
The one thing about the M16A2 was it had a nice sturdy plastic stock that you could butt stroke someone with. Can you do that with the M4 and does the M4 hold up if you have to fix bayonets?

I heard a news report a couple days ago that a soldier from the 82nd in Afghanistan was given an article 15 for butt stroking a handcuffed Taliban POW. So, I guess you can still effectively use the M-4 for that purpose, but the M-16A2, with it's relatively large stock is probably a better weapon for smashing people upside the head. The M-16A2, with it's longer barrel, would also be the better rifle to attach a bayonet to. However, overall, the M-4 looks like a better, more versatile weapon than M-16A2 IMO.

44 posted on 08/04/2002 2:08:30 PM PDT by COL. FLAGG
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To: demlosers
I agree totally ... a carbine might be nice in tight quarters but limiting the riflemen in an infantry squad to 200m is insane. One reason the British Army was destoryed in Afganistan is because the Afgans could out range the British with their rifles. I personally would have liked to seen a new version of the G-11. Caseless ammo should be the way to properly save on weight and increase the performance of the ammunition.
45 posted on 08/04/2002 2:28:41 PM PDT by Yasotay
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To: demlosers
What do I think?

How many stores do we have of the M-14 in the Army and Marine inventories?

That's what I think.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

46 posted on 08/04/2002 3:03:04 PM PDT by section9
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To: Long Cut
when you take into consideration weight and all factors
i would like to see them try a mini 30 or beefed up
m-16 in 6mm ppc it gives you a lot for not any more recoil
and not much more weight i would want a 85 to 90 gr bullet
47 posted on 08/04/2002 3:04:35 PM PDT by mouser
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To: xsrdx
From my personal experiences with the M-4, it is perfectly functional and not too much different overall from the M-16A2. The only real big differences is the M-4's portability and the drop of the bullet at ranges over 250 meters. It is ideally suited for MOUT. I wasn't impressed by all the gadgets that could be added to it (reflex sight, infrared sight, pistol grip) and the stock did seem a bit flimsy. BTW, those infrared laser-pointer sights work both ways; you can see the beam through a pair of NODS (night vision gogs) and bird-dog your position very well. But then my worries were over when the Platoon Sergeant took my M-4 away and made me a SAW gunner. :p

10th Mountain BUMP!

48 posted on 08/04/2002 3:25:48 PM PDT by thescourged1
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To: x1stcav; All
Just out of curiousity, I saw a Hechler and Koch Battle Rifle mentioned favorably once upon a time.

Could any of my fellow 'gun nuts' here at FR inform as to the specs of that weapon?

Just curious...
49 posted on 08/04/2002 4:13:12 PM PDT by Mr. Thorne
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To: Mr. Thorne
H & K has many great rifles but has taken a "black-eye" with their British division and the SA-80. I personally have their HK91, USC, and SL-8 (and love them). I am an ex infantry guy (10+ years as an "E" & "O"), I grew up on the M-16A1&2 but I love the M-14. I really believe that HK's "highpoint" in design was their G-11. Had the Army & Marines been really serious they should have continued with the G-11. You can go to Google and search under H&K and get the specs.
50 posted on 08/04/2002 6:00:56 PM PDT by Yasotay
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