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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
"The M4A1 carbine is currently issued to U.S. Army combat troops worldwide. A descendant of the original M16 rifle, the M4A1 has a 14.5" barrel, is chambered for the 5.56-millimeter round, and weighs approximately nine pounds when fully equipped with optics, lasers, foregrips, and other attachments. There are concerns in Congress, however, that the M4A1 could not penetrate modern Russian body armor, which is what prompted Milley's comment."

I wonder how many IS fighters are wearing this body armor, and at what distances does the average firefight take place. Interesting to see how things are ramping up now that a new sheriff is on watch at the WH. But, with that let's address the pros/cons, shall we.


One consideration is the HK 416.

Arguments for: Unlike the M4A1, which injects the hot, dirty gunpowder gases into the gun's action, the 416 vents the gasses outward. The result is a rifle that runs much cleaner. So called "piston guns" also run much cooler, meaning it takes them longer to overheat.

Definite advantage, but does the cost tilt the benefit over the M4? The HK is $3000/per while the M4 is $1000/per.

Arguments against: The HK416 is still a 5.56-millimeter firearm, so the Army would need to focus on continuing to make the diminutive round not only capable of penetrating future armors but causing lethal injuries, an increasingly difficult task. A gas piston rifle is slightly heavier and costs three times as much as a M4A1.

As mentioned, cost is prohibitive and, IMO, does not outweigh the advantage of running the M4. I don't think the HK 416 is that much better. Plus, I'm not completely sold on the need for a bigger round to overcome body armor.


Another possible replacement is the AR-10 rifle. The AR-10 is a derivative of the civilian AR-15 rifle, which is functionally identical to the M4A1 -- minus the ability to fire fully automatic. The AR-10 is slightly larger and heavier than the AR-15 and is chambered for the 7.62-millimeter round. The Army's version would be capable of fully automatic fire.

Arguments for: The 7.62-millimeter round is larger than the current 5.56-millimeter round and more likely to both penetrate the body armor of enemy soldiers and incapacitate them. The larger round is also more effective against enemy troops in cover and vehicles. Finally, adopting an AR-10-type rifle would mean the entire infantry squad -- including machine gunners carrying the M240 medium machine gun -- would use a single type of ammunition.

This is logical; however, isn't the Marines looking for a more modular gun to be able to run multiple types of ammo for specific missions?

Arguments against: The heavier round also means more recoil, and is more difficult to control firing fully automatic. Soldiers will also be able to carry fewer rounds on them. Finally, the Army would have to get rid of billions of rounds of 5.56 rounds it has stockpiled, although it could compromise by having truck drivers and support personnel continue to carry the M4A1.

With the Army going to a modular pistol that allows smaller people (women) to grip the gun, why would they want to go to a round in a rifle that is also harder to control? Askance.


Finally, the Army could finally enter the plastic age and adopt a new carbine developed by Textron. Developed under the Army's Lightweight Small Arms Technology program, the rifle uses specially developed bullets. Unlike regular rounds, which have the bullet peeking out from the top, 6.5-millimeter bullets are fully encased in polymer and gunpowder, reducing their overall length.

Arguments for: The new 6.5-millimeter round has 300 percent more energy that the current 5.56 millimeter round, which translates into greater penetration. Like the HK416, the LSAT rifle is also a piston design, so it too will need less cleaning and more firing time to overheat.

Arguments against: The new 6.5 round is heavier and bulkier than the current 5.56 round, meaning soldiers can carry fewer rounds. Textron's rifle is also nearly pound heavier than the M4A1, although at the time it was introduced the company hadn't yet tried to optimize the weapon's weight. Finally, the Army would have to buy billions of 6.5 rounds and distribute them troops worldwide.

For me this is the least appealing solution. Aside from the fact that it is totally cost prohibitive, it is also totally unnecessary, but that has never really stopped the military from spending too much money on stuff that doesn't really work right.


If none of these arguments for a new rifle don't sound compelling enough to warrant a totally new rifle you're not alone in thinking so. Small arms development has largely plateaued, and while advances such as the new 6.5 round bring new advantages, they also bring old disadvantages -- particularly weight issues. While the Army in the Age of Trump could do something big and bold by adopting a totally new rifle and bullet, the safe money is on it doing nothing at all, except perhaps fielding a new armor penetrating 5.56 bullet.

Gee...why didn't I think of that! Thoughts?

Three Rifles That Could Replace the Army's M4A1 Carbine
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think that will be the result...more than likely, the average troop in a fire fight is going to shoot the hell out of their gun without restraint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The 5.56 is far from too small. I think that argument is in the same vein as the 9mm is too weak. Neither is true. What I think the military needs to focus on is developing a little heavier 5.56 round that will travel faster and penetrate better. That would be the most cost effective and logical solution to this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
HK416 has proven its rep over the years.....I agree that developing the proper 5.56 round should be the better option overall.
No doubt the HK416 is a fantastic rifle, and I'd be fine with equipping special units with those guns, but not for conventional forces. The cost would be too prohibitive, especially given that the M4 works just fine. A more powerful 5.56 round would make it more lethal, IMO.
 

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The problem, is "one size doesn't fit all"... something lethal at short ranges, tends to not be "stable enough" or hit hard enough for longer ranges.
The M4 itself is fine for CQB, short and compact, but what they need ammunition wise, is something with a Barnes 62 grain TAC-X, here again can it pass the scrutiny though the World Court in the Hague, of not being "inhumane"? They appear to have legitimized "Open Tip Match" ammunition...

One could argue, is the war on terrorism any different than waging war on any particular country?

As far as resurrecting 7.62 NATO, in an AR-10 style system, a select fire system in that caliber should only be a Light Machine Gun. Just as with the M14, 55 years ago, full auto fire basically wastes ammunition, as a lightweight weapon is too difficult to control accurately, and hit probability after the second round out of the barrel is almost nil.
Keep that caliber for your LMGs, but using that same Barnes bullet out of a 20" barreled rifle with more velocity will give you more range, or go with the 70 grain offering.

Not real familiar with the 6.5, but I know they have been playing with that for some time, and gave birth to both the 6.5 Grendel, and 6.8 SPC. Ammunition weight can be a major factor if a grunt has to "hump it for miles"... remember when he runs "out", unless he's using the same ammunition as his enemies, the "pucker factor" goes up, exponentially!!! Will we always have Air Superiority? Will helicopters be able to resupply our troops, or will it be up to some Drone Jockey half way around the world to keep the grunts supplied?

Until our guys can put their "Phaser Rifles on Stun" instead of destroy, we will have this dilemma.
 

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I really think a new rifle should be supplied by a US company, especially considering our current relationships with EU countries.

I find the issue of ammo weight/size to be a bit of a flyingredfish.
Much of our combat arms forces are mechanized in one way or another.
When carrying the M60 (7.62) I was never told I could carry less ammo due to the weight (same with the SAW). It was more like suck it up buttercup.
Considering the overall weight of the gear a troop carries, the additional weigh of a "heavier" round seems a bit like an after thought.
 
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No doubt the HK416 is a fantastic rifle, and I'd be fine with equipping special units with those guns, but not for conventional forces. The cost would be too prohibitive, especially given that the M4 works just fine. A more powerful 5.56 round would make it more lethal, IMO.
It's also a very heavy gun, 8.6lbs, at least the civilian version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's also a very heavy gun, 8.6lbs, at least the civilian version.


It is. I think more than anything the Army just wants to take a new president out for a spin and buy new stuff it really doesn't need.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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HK416, and make a 556 round with better capabilities..
But, if weight is an issue with a 6.8/6.5, then make our soldiers stronger.
Focus on training them to fight, not clean a bathroom, or look great in uniform.
Not saying that isnt important, but, warheads on foreheads is more important if a kids shoelaces are on right.
 

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HK416, and make a 556 round with better capabilities..
But, if weight is an issue with a 6.8/6.5, then make our soldiers stronger.
Focus on training them to fight, not clean a bathroom, or look great in uniform.
Not saying that isnt important, but, warheads on foreheads is more important if a kids shoelaces are on right.
The Army is adopting the HK MR762/G28 for dmr. Maybe they'll go that route.

That's one I would want if it weren't so dang expensive.
 

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The H&K MR is a excellent system (Lots like the H&K 91, which is my all time favorite). But the army will only use it in Designated Marksman operations. Why? Because the previous DM weapon was the M-14. That is right. Flashback to the 1950. The Sniper rifles will remain as the Kate.
 

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Alright let me start off by saying I love this topic...so I'm a Marine grunt and have used the M16a2, M16a4, M4 and the Mk12 in combat in Iraq and Afghan; I have yet to see either fail to do it's job. I'll give it, the 5.56 is a light/ small round but it enables us to carry more ammo in turn allowing us to sustain the fight longer (stretching combat power). I have seen the damage 5.56 causes first hand and I'll tell you gents, I don't want to be on the receiving end. That being said, I know there are rounds out there that are pretty devastinging but the question is, how much of it can you CARRY AND HUMP into a fight? The IAR is an awesome weapon which can dual hat as it's intended purpose or a SDM's rifle. In the end i do think every INFANTRYMAN should be issued a 416 vice the IAR.
 

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Alright let me start off by saying I love this topic...so I'm a Marine grunt and have used the M16a2, M16a4, M4 and the Mk12 in combat in Iraq and Afghan; I have yet to see either fail to do it's job. I'll give it, the 5.56 is a light/ small round but it enables us to carry more ammo in turn allowing us to sustain the fight longer (stretching combat power). I have seen the damage 5.56 causes first hand and I'll tell you gents, I don't want to be on the receiving end. That being said, I know there are rounds out there that are pretty devastinging but the question is, how much of it can you CARRY AND HUMP into a fight? The IAR is an awesome weapon which can dual hat as it's intended purpose or a SDM's rifle. In the end i do think every INFANTRYMAN should be issued a 416 vice the IAR.
I am interested in the MK12. Marcus Lattrell is marketing a civilian version. Carbon fiber reinforced SS 416R barrel etc etc. Not cheap. But its about precision and reliability.
 

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I am interested in the MK12. Marcus Lattrell is marketing a civilian version. Carbon fiber reinforced SS 416R barrel etc etc. Not cheap. But its about precision and reliability.
The Mk12 is an outstanding weapon, I have first hand experience with it as my primary weapon in Afghan in 2011. IMO it's all about the upper and glass. That opinion was based on my experience, the lower was just and old M16a1 lower with the FULL auto capability. That being said all the work was in the upper half of the gun, kinda expensive to replicate but worth it if you plan want a good accurate platform. Now ammo comes into play there too...I did zero it suppressed with Mk 262 Mod 1 ammo (black hills 77gr) and got very good results how ever that ammo wasn't available in mass so I set some aside and kept it loaded most of the time with standard M855 62gr, still good accuracy.
 
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