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Old February 16, 2011, 07:21 PM   #1
BGutzman
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Vaunted M4 & the 5.56mm need new Weapon & larger rounds 20% of Troops say.

I know I have said that 5.56 is a poor battlefield round and I tried to tell about some of my experiences in combat without going into graphic detail.

Now the Army itself says its looking for something better and bigger.

http://www.military.com/news/article...ESRC=army-a.nl

What do you think in light of this new Army provided insight to the battlefield performance of the M4 and the 5.56mm round?

Please Im not trying to hurt anyones feelings because they bought a 5.56 AR and spent a lot of time and money on it. I am trying to share what I feel could be a life saving point so lets not get too worked up about it.

(In the end if your happy with your weapons performance what else matters?)


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Old February 16, 2011, 07:29 PM   #2
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This same "news" article and topic pops up every few months. Nothing new and I strongly doubt anything will change any time soon.
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Old February 16, 2011, 07:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up, I dont go to there site often.
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Old February 16, 2011, 07:47 PM   #4
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IF(<--That's a BIG if) the military decided to change calibers, wouldn't it be easier to just go with a .308 WIN/7.62 mm AR?

The weapons training would all be the same that way.
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Old February 16, 2011, 07:54 PM   #5
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I agree.. But given the uhhh concerns that all troops must be able to shoot it maybe a 6.8mm would be better. Im sure 99% of all troops could handle the 308. but then you get politics involved and you you end up with 5.56mm
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Old February 16, 2011, 07:58 PM   #6
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The logistics really don't support a shift. The DoD has billions invested in the 5.56. Most troops do OK with it, and they do issue larger caliber arms to Designated Marksmen, snipers, and many machine-gunners.

Would something like 6.8mm be better? Probably...however, the DoD isn't about to spend billions upon billions to gain ballistic performance on the margins of most troops capabilities.
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Old February 16, 2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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The military may have billions invested in widgets, it doesnt matter if the troops on the ground say it sucks, that message eventually gets home to there familys and friends who may well also be voters.

If money was the only concern we would still be out there in the dirt with no body armor, no up armored Hummers etc, etc.

Some generals do actually care and will put the welfare of troops over promotion.

I once remember a 4 star general who stopped a whole bunch (at least 20) of contractors and made them wait so he could spend 15 minutes being wth "his guys". I will never forget the man.

His guys were my troops and he talked with us as if he knew us his whole life.
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Old February 16, 2011, 08:20 PM   #8
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Sure, the dollar isn't the only factor. What I am saying is the costs would be great and the benefits would be low to moderate. I don't think the military would go to such lengths to gain the advantages a 6.8 rifle would provide.
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Old February 16, 2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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What I am saying is the costs would be great and the benefits would be low to moderate.
The same could be said of body armor since it has little protective value against IED's and VBIED's and yet we have it.

Further I would say from a armchair it might not seem like a big difference but on the route from one place to another place or sweeping buildings it makes a big difference to morale when you get pinned down because your 5.56 bullets disappear into mud walls with little if any effect, even when you know the BG was directly behind the piece of mud wall you shot.

The value is in the morale boost and hopefully in the ability of the round to penetrate a trival obstacle and still have the desired effect.

If you loose confidence in your weapons ability to kill due to several real world battle experiences it makes you want to toss the crap in the dirt.

Yes, I didnt say that 5.56 cant kill, what I am saying it is far from the best and a new round of a larger cal would be welcome and a moral booster to many.
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Old February 16, 2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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The U.S. military has been looking at alternate calibers for the M16/M4 platform for several years. Most of the action seems to have been in the 6.5mm to 6.8mm range.

One of these days they'll make a decision.

opcorn:
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Old February 16, 2011, 09:21 PM   #11
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1. Both of your links are the exact same article, written by the same person.

2. No new news in the article. The M4 replacement trials have been planned since 2009. The M4 upgrade started a bit earlier. M855A1 is also old news as is Mk317 SOST (which wasn't mentioned)

3. 5.56 is the STANAG caliber. That isn't going to change short of a major advantage. No traditional brass cased ammo is offering that kind of advantage. LSAT is probably the only real chance to change caliber and it isn't ready for the main stage yet.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:24 PM   #12
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First, the latest Army and Marine studies show that a large majority of combat riflemen have no problem with the M16/M4 rifles as currently issued.
This from the people actually doing the shooting and getting shot at.

Second, the military is ALWAYS testing a new rifle or pistol to see if it offers anything of major value. So far nothing is remarkably better then what we have.

Third, the military has made the decision to stay with the 5.56 M16/M4 series until a break through in weapons development happens. Simply put, no new rifle offers enough benefit to justify spending the billions to develop what is essentially the same thing we have with a few tweaks.

Every month or so, you'll continue to see these breathless reports that the military is "looking at" a new rifle or pistol, and that the troops absolutely hate what we are using.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:28 PM   #13
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I understand that our troops are running into more and more bad guys with body armor.

So, is the .223 out of a M4 barrel good against body armor?
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Old February 17, 2011, 09:03 PM   #14
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Never got to try it on any from a M4... I dont know but I would suspect poor performance, absolutely would not penetrate the ceramic plates.
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Old February 18, 2011, 10:39 AM   #15
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long time

The M16 and derivatives have been the nations rifle for some time, like 40 years, longer than any other service rifle. It makes sense that we begin searching for an upgrade. I would think the process would be ongoing at this point.

The 5.56/.223 round has been shrouded in controversy since its adoption, and faster twist rates, shorter barrel lengths and heavier bullets have not improved on its performance in terms of stopping power, if I follow things correctly. All those mods led to lower velocity and more stable bullets, not optimal.

I expect we will see a new weapon and ctg in the future, but not while still engaged in the middle east.
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Old February 18, 2011, 11:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
larger rounds 20% of Troops say
and

Quote:
the latest Army and Marine studies show that a large majority of combat riflemen have no problem with the M16/M4 rifles as currently issued.
ref the second quote, the study I read, if I remember right somewhere near 80% of the end users (that being grunts) are satisfied with the M16/M4 system.

Do the Math.

But in reality it's MOX NIX, you don't change a system or round in the middle of two wars.

Added to that, this country is broke, you have every agency (including the DOD) fighting for every dollar they can get.

All this 308 vs 223 BS is based on Internet Gossip, not really from combatants, I'm talking Infantry, not soldiers per se. This reminds me of an interesting article I've read.

Quote:
the Afghan commandos have M4s because they can appreciate marksmanship, having been practically born and bread with an AK in their hand. He also noted that the Iraqis, on the other hand, have little appreciation for marksmanship and often fought to keep their AKs
Even the Afghans, (who are not know for their marksmanship abilities) are starting to understand the value of Marksmanship, and the M4/5.56 provides that Marksmanship Abilities.

Linky:

http://kitup.military.com/2010/04/th...ksmanship.html

Internet gossip notwithstanding, I don't see the Military making any big changes in their rifles or cartridges any time soon.
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Old February 18, 2011, 11:29 AM   #17
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I was never much of a supporter for the Mattel Toy. I did like the ease of opperation but I wasnt thrilled with the weak cartridge, the plastic, and the fact that they couldnt take much abuse (compared to garrand and M14).

It has always been my belief that switching to 7.62x51 with a proper muzzle break would have made the rifle much more effective.

BTW I did use both the M14 and M16 in combat and was able to see the difference between the two ctgs.
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Old February 18, 2011, 11:57 AM   #18
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DoD is looking for a new style platform of rifle. Will they change the round? IDK. If they do I think it would be the 6.8 mm. If they did switch to that round I think it would be a nice choice.

Edit: Typo
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Old February 18, 2011, 12:12 PM   #19
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I am sure that as soon as the military can come up with a larger caliber with more power and better terminal performance that weighs less and takes up less space, they will move to it quite happily.
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Old February 18, 2011, 12:17 PM   #20
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Unless you want to go to 7.62x51mm and issue everyone a SCAR-H you'll be looking at marginal terminal performance (if any) increase over 5.56 and probably inferior external ballistics. Switching to 6.8 would not be much of an improvement if any and the idea that we should do it is, frankly, stupid. If someone had a problem putting a bad guy down with his 5.56 he'd have had the same problem with 6.8SPC - that he didn't shoot the guy in the right place or enough times.
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Old February 18, 2011, 12:30 PM   #21
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Never personally had issues with the M4 or 5.56 performance, nor do I know many guys in combat arms (and none in the SOF unit I served in from 04-08) who had complaints.

That said, part of that may stem from realistic expectations of performance -- I don't expect my issue long gun to shoot through mud brick walls that soak up .50 cal, Dishka and even occasionally Russian 14.5mm hits. If the leadership/tactical ability wasn't there to put effective fire on those targets that's a training issue, not a tech issue.
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Old February 18, 2011, 12:34 PM   #22
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Kraig -

Quote:
I'm talking Infantry, not soldiers per se
The current Army or at least the one I was a member of 3+ years ago has more service and support troops being engaged than infantry.

Terrorist see our supply trains as a weakness, so in the end non infantry, rangers end up seeing more IEDs and combat than line troops.

You have no say over when a IED is going to go off and you are forced by the situation to do a forced entry in order to take up a better more defensible position or simply because the urban terrain and the volume of fire dictates there are no other choices.

We always tried to use speed as a defense and it works pretty well but the situation is fluid. The second thing to keep in mind is the terrorist have learned at some great cost that fighting our line units is expensive so they as a generalized statement of my experience seem to avoid them unless there trying to ambush them with some fairly well thought out trap. The exception is there are always those that want a dirt nap a little sooner because they have whatever belief that drives them to a kind of suicide by troop.

Supply convoys on the other hand still have well trained and well armed troops but life happens, vehicles break, IEDs go off, animals and children get in the way.

Lastly in regards to (80%) of the troops are not complaining. Just because 80% of the troops didnt write a letter or whatever complaining doesnt mean they arent unhappy with 5.56mm. How much of the US population overall votes on anything? Its the same thing in the military, 20% is a pretty significant number when you realize how much it takes to get some people to even take a stance.

Further not all troops ever end up under enemy fire or are even allowed ammunition to respond to fire depending on the local command. The saying we had was its better you die then end up doing something on the news but thats for a different conversation.
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Old February 18, 2011, 01:00 PM   #23
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Quote:
I understand that our troops are running into more and more bad guys with body armor.

So, is the .223 out of a M4 barrel good against body armor?
A 5.56 will penetrate any soft body armor on the market...

If the bad guys have things like Level IIIa and Level IV with rifle trauma plates then it typically requires a round larger than 7.62x51 to penetrate.

So yes, 5.56 will take down a combatant wearing standard Level IIIa and lower body armor.
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Old February 18, 2011, 01:51 PM   #24
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Lastly in regards to (80%) of the troops are not complaining. Just because 80% of the troops didnt write a letter or whatever complaining doesnt mean they arent unhappy with 5.56mm. How much of the US population overall votes on anything? Its the same thing in the military, 20% is a pretty significant number when you realize how much it takes to get some people to even take a stance.
The above is just all wrong. It has nothing to do with people writing letters or whatever.

The figure is from the CNA weapons study. Methodology for the study was to randomly draw a sample population from recently deployed soldiers in several different unit (all army components were represented) and then administer the full survey to soldiers who had been in at least one firefight on their last deployment where they employed a standard individual weapon (M16, M4, M9, SAW). About 2600 soldiers were surveyed and 20% stated they wanted greater lethality from the M4 (and 11% were unsatisfied with it -- making it the most popular weapon of the four looked at in the survey).

Saying that the other 80% really felt the same way but did not say anything is disingenuous. Every effort was made to get honest information from the participants and prevent there being any chilling effect.

One thing the survey did not assess for is if there was a correlation between calls for greater lethality with the four weapons involved and level of proficiency with the weapon. What they did determine was that better shooters (as measured by qual course performance) and prior experience using the weapon in theater or a similar environment yielded greater levels of confidence in the weapon system involved (M4 or otherwise).
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Old February 18, 2011, 02:23 PM   #25
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It has always been my belief that switching to 7.62x51 with a proper muzzle break would have made the rifle much more effective.
Really??? You want to have guys to your left and right, and your rifle firing multiple .308 rounds with a MUZZLE BRAKE and no one is wearing hearing protection???

Quote:
so in the end non infantry, rangers end up seeing more IEDs and combat than line troops.
Yes, and they are not as well trained in combat ops, so they may have questions/concerns about 5.56 that someone who is more highly trained does not.
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