Issue Date: September 13, 2004
Rifle of the future?
The Army has already zeroed in on the XM8 as its next weapon. Now, the Corps is taking a closer look
By Laura Bailey and Matthew Cox
Times staff writers
The Army is about to enter the final round of testing on what is well on its way to becoming its next weapon — and perhaps the Marine Corps’ in years to come.
Although Marines can expect to keep their M16s into the next decade, Corps leaders are closely watching the Army’s development of the Heckler & Koch XM8, now in its second generation. If the Army adopts it in 2005, as is expected, the weapon could be a contender for the Corps’ next service rifle.
With that in mind, the curious Corps is having a look at the weapon, and on Aug. 12, its top weapons advisers test-drove the machine and logged their preliminary likes and dislikes.
On that day, Marine gunners from as far afield as Okinawa, Japan, and Fallujah, Iraq, fired several variants of the weapon during the annual Gunner Symposium at Quantico, Va.
More than two dozen gunners fired off more than 5,000 rounds from several variations of the XM8, including the 12.5-inch barrel standard carbine, the short 9-inch barrel compact carbine and the 20-inch barrel sharpshooter version.
“Last year, the Army said it’s going to pursue this thing. We said, ‘Hey we need to look at it,’” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Patrick Woellhof, the gunners’ occupational field manager and symposium organizer.
“Conceptually it’s what we’re looking for,” he said.
As the Corps’ top weapons experts, the gunners carry a big stick in the weapons development community.
“People take what they have to say very seriously,” said Gunnery Sgt. Martin Custer, the infantry weapons chief at Systems Command’s Warfighting Lab at Quantico. “It’s a very important group of people to impress if you’re looking to get a weapon into the Marine Corps.”
The feedback gunners gave after the demonstration was very positive, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump on board just yet, Custer said.
“Right now, there’s a big wait and see what the Army’s gonna do with this. [The gunners] say, OK, it’s a pretty good rifle, but when you start talking about replacing hundreds of thousands of M16s, that racks up a big price tag pretty quick,” he said.
At the range, the weapons, which manufacturers tout as highly reliable, fired off thousands of rounds without the need to clean them. They performed “extremely well” without a single malfunction the entire day, Woellhof said.
“The design is as reliable as heck,” he said. “As many rounds as I’ve seen put through it, I’d be comfortable going into combat with it. I’m not sure about giving it to my Marines yet, but I’d be comfortable. Its reliability is unquestionable.”
Modularity is key
Gunners praised the weapon for being flexible and simple to operate.
Due to its modular system, the weapon can be tailored to fit different missions and different roles within the fire team. Interchangeable barrel sizes and other modules and collapsible butt stocks make it easy to configure for the mission at hand.
“What the gunners are interested in is true modularity,” Woellhof said.
The M16A4 and the M4 are also considered modular because components, such as the grenade launcher, can be added. But they aren’t as flexible as the XM8, Woellhof said.
“A true modular weapons system is where you can take it, make it a short gun, make it a long gun. It fits the mission you need it for. When you’ve got a long gun, it’s always going to be a long gun. Being able to make it a submachine gun and an automatic rifle, that’s the modularity we’re looking for.”
Gunners said they also liked the fact that the weapon is easy to clean. Because the weapon doesn’t use a gas-operating design, the metal on the XM8s doesn’t suck up carbon composites like metal on another rifle would. Therefore, XM8s take less than half as long to clean as M16s.
Custer said he was able to clean one in 15 minutes with no scrubbing involved. “You just dip it in a solvent tank and it’s done,” he said.
However, gunners said they aren’t sold on the weapon’s accuracy.
Gunners said the XM8 wasn’t more accurate than the M16, adding that their test drive was only a demonstration and they didn’t have a chance to run the weapons through their normal paces.
“It seems good to go, but to shoot it one time doesn’t really tell you everything you need to know,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gene Bridgeman, gunner for the School of Infantry West, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“The good point is you can do many things with it. We’re all for that,” he said.
Bridgeman said the gunners are waiting to see how the weapon does with the Army before giving the weapon their solid endorsement.
“We’re waiting to see what comes down the pike. We’re keeping an open mind. If it works out, we’re all for it.” Bridgeman said.
But for now, gunners remain content with the M4 and M16, and Marine Corps Systems Command officials remain committed to buying the latest versions of those weapons through at least 2008.
“The concept of an XM8-like weapon, with a true modular design, is the way ahead and the future replacement for the M16 family of weapons. The technology just isn’t quite there yet,” Woellhof said.
How the Army changed it
In the meantime, the second-generation XM8s sport more than a dozen soldier-inspired refinements that manufacturers hope will help them persuade Army leaders to adopt the new family of weapons in early 2005.
Until then the new prototypes — 17 carbines, 15 compacts and 14 designated marksman versions — are slated for more Army evaluation through the fall and winter.
The new prototypes include changes that make the XM8 more reliable, easier to operate and lighter, said Army Col. Michael Smith, head of Project Manager Soldier Weapons.
The Army developed the XM8 in late 2003 as part of a longer-range effort to perfect an over-and-under style weapon, known as the XM29, developed by Alliant Techsystems and Heckler & Koch.
The XM29 fires special air-bursting projectiles and standard 5.56mm ammunition. But it is still too heavy and unwieldy to meet Army requirements.
The Army decided to perfect each of XM29’s components separately so soldiers can take advantage of new technology sooner. The parts would be brought back together when lighter materials became available. The XM8 is one of those components.
One of the more challenging changes in the second-generation XM8s involved redesigning backup iron sights.
The XM8 relies on special optics for its primary aiming system. There’s a short-range version with a red aiming dot and a long-range version for use by marksmen.
The backup sights fold down into the hand guard and carrying handle when not being used.; The original design was trashed, Smith said, because it called for the backup sight to be built into the optic.
“What if it is smashed? That’s why [soldiers] wanted it to be separate.”
The battery life for both optics has increased from 110 hours to 400. And the new designs feature a lever-style clamping mechanism for attaching the optics to the weapon instead of the screws that soldiers tended to strip during testing.
Both the short-range and long-range optics have a built-in infrared pointer and illuminator, which now have more range. Plus, there’s more range on the pointer and illuminator — designers upped it from 600 meters to 800 on both optics. Soldiers can focus the pointer and illuminator on the long range or 4x optic while the same infrared features on the short-range or unity optic remain fixed.
“The sights on the XM8 are what the Army likes,” Woellhof said.
“It’s adequate, but the optics we’re using now are the best that are made right now,” he said, referring to the Trijicon Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight.
Woellhof said he didn’t like that the XM8 sights are battery operated and don’t include the magnification that the ACOG provides.
Other gunners and weapons experts were concerned that the Corps’ current optics might not be compatible with the XM8s, most of which don’t have Picatinny Rails.
“The bottom line is the Marine Corps has and is spending a large amount of money on our optics and it’s all designed to go on Picatinny Rails,” said Custer back at the Warfighting lab.
Developers are currently working to get rails on all the variants of the weapon, and currently they have added them to two variants, said Peter Simon, president of Heckler & Koch Defense.
Developers said the full-auto capability should be more reliable now that they have increased the rate of fire by 25 to 50 rounds per minute. The change makes the XM8 capable of firing 850 rpm.
“We did the change to give us better a capability in nasty environments like the desert,” Smith said, explaining that the higher rate should help push more sand and grit out of the chamber when firing. “You get a little more force blowing that stuff out of there.”
Unlike the first generation, the designated marksman and automatic rifle models are now the same weapon, except that the automatic rifle will be fielded with a special 100-round, drum magazine. The designated marksman variant will use the 30-round magazine used on the standard carbine.
The high-capacity magazine, which can be used in all the XM8 models, is intended to give commanders the option of beefing up a squad’s volume of fire beyond the current M249 squad automatic weapon, which is belt-fed and equipped with quick-changing barrels.
Woellhof, the Marine gunner, said the XM8’s automatic rifle variant could open a path for the weapon into the Marine Corps. As the M249 SAW nears the end of its lifespan, the Corps is looking for its replacement, which could be an automatic rifle instead of a light machine gun.
“The XM8 would be a good replacement for that because it has an automatic rifle variant … But that just opens the door. It could even become the service rifle. But that won’t be for 15 years,” he said.
The second-generation XM8s include several ergonomic improvements, such as new ridges or knurls added to the cocking lever for a better grip. They also are about 15 percent lighter than the first prototypes, Smith said. That’s about a pound less on the carbine model, which now weighs in at 7.14 pounds with optic and a loaded 30-round magazine. An M4 carbine with its standard attachments and a 30-round magazine weighs about 8.5 pounds, he said.
The Army’s senior leadership is scheduled to make a decision on replacing the M16 with the XM8 in February, Smith said.
There were plans to possibly field the XM8 to two infantry brigades in 2005, but Congress chose not to provide the roughly $27 million needed for the purchase in the fiscal 2005 budget or in supplemental funding, Smith said. The Army could still begin fielding in 2005, but the money would have to come from existing programs, he said.
Before those decisions are made, however, the second-generation XM8s are slated to go through desert testing in Arizona in September, tropical testing in Panama in October and arctic testing in Alaska in December. A limited user test, involving an undisclosed, active infantry division, is also scheduled for October, Smith said.
The Corps has yet to run the weapon through its own formal tests, but H & K’s Simon said the Corps has requested a number of XM8s for testing later this year.
That could happen this fall or winter, said Custer. The Corps will get the rifles from the Army weapons lab’s Project Executive Office Soldier, which will provide several XM8s for Systems Command to test, Custer said, but stressed they are only doing preliminary information gathering.
“If it’s going well for Army, maybe they’ll say we’ll take a look at it officially, but at this moment I haven’t heard of any plans to jump on board,” he said. “We’re interested spectators at the moment.”
But even if they do well, the weapons are only in their second generation. It could take several more revisions before the Corps sees a version it wants, Woellhof said.
Woellhof warned it’s not the brand gunners are impressed with, it’s the concept.
“XM8 isn’t going to be the only boy to play. … It’s not H&K. It’s the concept that gunners said ‘this is the way we want to go. Once you’ve seen XM8 has broken the code on this, you’re going to see everyone follow the concept because it just makes too much sense.
“Everyone would have to compete for that. A competitor could throw their hat in the ring and they could win.”
Until then, the Corps is content to let the Army spend its resources on further development, Lt. Gen. Jan Huly, head of Marine Corps plans, policies and operations, said Aug. 11.
“We’re not putting any money down on that right now … That’s one of the good things about having the United States Army close by. They’re bigger, they’re more capable of testing some things like that,” said Huly, who sits on the board that would ultimately help decide the issue.
“They’ve got more finances to look into that and I think we’re going to just kind of coattail off of them and slipstream them for a bit and see where they go with this.”
See the XM8 in action.
The mere fact that the thing had to be RE-designed to include backup iron sights is enough to make me wonder... If the designers have ever actually shot what they design they'd have thought of it themselves. Probably have some Hollywood types coming up with ideas.
I still don't get why a Shorter barrel is being considered for the 5.56 rifle.
Why the short barrel? That is STUPID!
I was about to say the same exact thing. Also what is the battery life of the aimpoint? Isn't much longer than 400hrs?
A BIG +1 there.
I'm no expert on the XM-8, but some possibilities for improvements in modularity:
-- Could the XM-8 have fewer parts that would have to be changed out to make it a different config?
The lower on an AR is essentially the stock, trigger mechanism, and recoil tube. That's a very small part of the weapon. An AR-15 with two uppers isn't too much less expensive than two complete AR's. Maybe they've designed the XM-8 to require fewer parts be changed?
-- Perhaps the MX-8 has more modular componants?
The AR is only easily divisible into three sections - upper, lower, and optics. Perhaps the XM-8 is easily divided into more parts, such as receiver, stock, barrel & handguards, and optics. That would increase flexibility if, say, a different length barrel could just be slapped on in a minute without having to change anything else about the weapon. You need a gunsmith to do that with an AR. Looking at the pic below, it seems that the XM8 just has a receiver, not an upper and lower receiver. Plus, it seems to have clear deliniations at the stock, forearm, and optics, suggesting each part can more easily be mixed-and-matched.
But, as I said, I'm no expert, so I may be wrong.
And I'd seriously look into larger caliber ammo too, especially if you're going to be using short barrels a lot.
Well, my ML2 has been left on 2 clicks below full brightness since February and shows no signs of weakening, so I'd say, yeah, its a helluva lot longer than 400 hours
And very sensible the Marines are too!! Stay with the 20" barrel Marines!
And if you DO need a HK weapon why not buy the already developed, off the shelf G36 (and the XM-8 is just a G36 in a new plastic case)
The Army ain’t zeroed in on the XM-8 yet. The program is on shaky ground.
Funding for the XM-8 was cut from next years budget… this sound like an attempt to save the program.
Same HK propaganda.
Since when did Marines worry about time spent cleaning their rifles? LOL. Good grief, they'd be required to clean them constantly anyway, since that's how Marines do things. So how is this an issue?
I can think of two possible advantages the XM-8 might have. Slight increase in reliabilty and the ability to change barrels quickly. Otherwise I think the M-4/M-16 owns it. So instead of spending all that money on a rifle that doesn't really do anything different (both shoot 5.56mm ammo and use 30 rd mags), why don't they just correct the few issues remaining with the M-16 and leave it at that. We simply don't need a new weapon system.
The more I think about this, the more I see a gimmick and lame excuses for pushing it. Somewhere guys, someone or a group of someone's are in a position of authority and are getting ready to make a shitload of money through an H&K kick-back if this weapon is adopted. It's as simple as that. Therefore I hope it gets shit-canned.
M16 already does all that. Switch barrels, use great optics, etc. Also they're spending money basically testing a G36. If they want a G36, then buy the G36. Want a short barrel? Get a Commando upper. Want a sniper rifle, get a SPR upper. Want an "automatic rifle", they make that too.
And if they want to change the gas system, then look at the HKM4 or the other piston uppers.
It does nothing that the M16 doesn't already do. No point in switching to a system.
If HK made it for civilians, I'd buy one though. But the military is just wasting money on it.
The mentioning that the Army would divert money from other programs throws up alot of flags. Much of the funding from Congress cannot be diverted, it is specifically funded for a specific programs to prevent brass from funding pet projects or side stepping Congress. Divertion of certain "Colors" of money will land you in Prison. The GAO audits the money trails too.
IT'S A JOHNNY 7, OMA!
I spoke to some the the gentlemen at Quantico who are heading up this program.
I was not impressed.
My company staff were all there. We are ALL gun nuts.
So he starts talking about the short barrel...
"How can the rifle possibly have an adequate muzzle velocity and power, with such a short barrel??"
"The barrels are lined with a special coating that makes the rounds go faster..."
"AHHHH GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!" -we all holler, and begin laughing at him...
So suffice to say, I'm skeptical.
Didn't the Marines want the Stoner rifle back in the 60s when they were forced to adopt the M16? What makes anyone think this would be different?
There are already at least 2 M16 uppers that allow barrel changing.
The MGI QCB upper allows barrel changes in under a minute, with no tools, in a field environment by the soldier. Returns to zero accurately and predictaably.
This allows the "modularity" of short, medium, and long barrels, submachine gun barrels, light machine gun barrels, sniper barrels, other caliber barrels, or any thing else you can get in a barrel.
Within this year, MGI will have modular interchangeable mag well lower receivers for the M16 to allow the use of any available magazine for the particular caliber you are using with your interchangeable barrels and bolts. We have working prototypes.
The rail systems are already on the M16 guns.
The barrels are already in the inventory.
The training and familiarity is already in place with the M16.
The gas piston system is a cure for a non-existant problem, and creates accuracy problems, as they alluded to in the article, saying the XM8 lacked the accuracy of the M16.
The ACOG and Aimpoint are already better than what comes in the XM8 optics package.
So the M16 already has more "modularity" than the XM8, and with some judicious carbon fiber parts, will weigh in just as low, and it is more accurate.
This whole XM8 thing is a political animal that has nothing to do with getting better weapons for the soldiers. It is to put some icing on the political cake of some top brass looking for "brownie points".
Who wrote this?
Not only has the Army not "zeroed in" on the XM-8 as the "rifle of the future" its been cancelelled. All money for it has been cut from the 05 appropriation.
This is fiction.
It hasn't been cancelled, it has been "shelved", although the US Army is going to do one more evauation of the XM8.
Correct, the 05 funding has been cut.
The difference between cancelling and defunding is?
And how do you do a evalutation with no money?
Look dude, I respect you and your opinion, but when you post shit like this.....
I have posted a few articles about the XM8.
I am not talking shit.
Posted on Sat, Jul. 24, 2004
H&K still on track to build Army rifle
Much-anticipated weapon undergoing extensive testing
BY TONY ADAMS
A headline on A1 in Friday's paper was misleading. Heckler & Koch's bid to build assault rifles for the U.S. Army is ongoing. H&K is waiting for final approval from the Army for production of the XM8.
The U.S. Army's pursuit of a weapon to replace the aging M-16 rifle is still on track despite a failed congressional attempt to pump nearly $26 million into the federal budget for manufacturing the weapon in 2005.
Military and legislative officials said Friday that development and testing of the new XM8 assault rifle will resume later this month and run through December. It will be the second round of tests for the highly anticipated rifle, with evaluations taking place in the hot, gritty desert near Yuma, Ariz., the tropical jungles of Panama and the arctic climate in Alaska, said Col. Mike Smith, who oversees the XM8 testing program at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.
"After this round of testing, we will present our findings and our ability to meet the requirements, which are developed at Fort Benning, to the Army leadership, which should be in the late February time frame," Smith said. "Then they'll make a decision on how to go forward on the program, and how fast to go forward on the program."
German gunmaker Heckler & Koch, which has a U.S. headquarters in Sterling, Va., is working with the military to come up with a prototype rifle. It would be mass produced by H&K at a 150,000-square-foot plant the company plans to build in Muscogee Technology Park on the east side of Columbus.
H&K spokeswoman Jimmi Clifton said initial work could mean about 200 jobs, although more could be added as production ramps up. The company has said a contract with the government could be very lucrative, perhaps worth up to $1 billion over 10 years.
Clifton said the company remains in a testing mode and is hoping to begin plant construction soon and have at least part of the facility up and running by early 2005. But it's unlikely the entire factory will be built until H&K receives some signal that federal funding for mass production of the XM8 is forthcoming, she said.
"There's no way I can put a time on that," Clifton said of a production contract. "It could be tomorrow. It could be a year away."
It appeared funding was on the way Thursday night when U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey's office released information saying $25.9 million had been tucked into a $417.5 billion House appropriations bill for the XM8. The Georgia Republican, whose district includes a portion of Columbus, backed off that assertion after learning the money had been squeezed out of the budget to make room for additional funding for the war on terrorism.
The next chance for the XM8 program to receive money for manufacturing and procurement of the rifle will be when Congress reconvenes Sept. 7, said Brian Robinson, communications director for Gingrey.
"We're going to do everything we can to get this into the next supplemental budget," Robinson said. "We understand what happened and we want to fix it as soon as we can."
Should funding come through this year, Smith, the XM8 project manager at Picatinny Arsenal, said the XM8 could be in soldiers' hands as soon as summer 2005. If not, the weapon would definitely be in the 2006 budget and make its way into the ranks by that spring.
The $26 million in funding that was shot down by Congress this week would have outfitted about two combat brigades, or about 8,000 soldiers, Smith said.
Although Army leadership could decide in February to put the final approved version of the XM8 assault rifle out for competitive bidding, Smith said it's highly unlikely.
"I can't make promises for senior Army leadership," he said. "But assuming H&K is successful testing against the requirements, it would be unusual" to take the production contract away from the company.
Title: An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2005 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Services, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Warner, John W. [VA] (introduced 5/11/2004) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.4200, S.2401, S.2402, S.2403
Latest Major Action: 6/23/2004 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Passed Senate with amendments by Yea-Nay Vote. 97 - 0. Record Vote Number: 146.
Senate Reports: 108-260
Note: After passage, the Senate incorporated S. 2400 in H.R. 4200 as an amendment. See H.R. 4200 for further action.
XM-8 assault weapon
The budget request included $500,000 in Procurement of Weapons and Tracked Combat Vehicles, Army (WTCV-A), for 100 XM-8 assault weapons for production qualification testing. The XM-8 will provide a more capable weapon to soldiers. The committee notes that the Chief of Staff, Army, has identified a fiscal year 2005 unfunded requirement to acquire XM-8 weapons for two brigade combat teams. While the committee supports this requirement, the committee does not believe that a full rate production decision will be made in time for the Army to procure 7,000 weapons in fiscal year 2005. The committee recommends an increase of $13.0 million in WTCV-A, for 3,500 XM-8 assault weapons, for a total authorization of $13.5 million.
The need to put it in the 6.8 or something larger the 5.56 just does not cut it and I'll say this also if we do get it in the next 20 years or so we should still go with a 20 inch barrel. It's a nice looking rifle thou
The zombies will flip when they get thumped with the brand spankin' new XM8 !!
Hopefully HK will make us civies one for the next "of the Dead" movie.
if this thing makes it out of the gate, it's because of pure pork barrel politics
It's just more H&K propaganda. The same company that owns the Marine Corps Times owns the Army Times - and the Army times has been extremely non-critical of the damn things since day one. Somebody is influencing somebody, and that is obvious.
As Wedge would say:
EDIT: I stand corrected
No, it's the way that the Army Times dates their papers.
It only comes out once a week.
I agree with Adam_White.
However, a lot of the time the Army Times (all of them) has news about the services before the services have released the news to themselves.
Are you sure? That article is not even on the Centcom web page any more.
And that HK is made for Iraq, not the USA.
OK, here we go again...
1) HK Propaganda aside, the XM-8 *DOES NOT* have a quick-change barrel. It has a quick-change UPPER. Just like the AR!
Look at the post showing all the different XM8 pictures... See how the handguards are different on each rifle?
Also, read HK's info, how they say the barrel can be reconfigured by pushing ;'two pins'... Exactly like the AR...
2) The reliability point is a non-issue. As long as it can do 3,000-5,000 rounds between cleanings, it's reliable enough. The AR system can do this easily!
As for harsh environments, I wouldn't trust a polymer (er plastic) reciever in an Iraq style environment.... They would wear out a whole lot faster, and would still jam. Remember, the US military has used every gun operating system yet invented in Iraq except roller-lock, and they have ALL JAMMED at one time or another....
3) The fact is, there are far more important projcets for the Army than making US Soldiers look like they stepped off the set of Star Trek:Enterprise (between the ACU (good idea, odd looking) and the XM-8, that's exactly the efffect they get)...
Too bad, that would be a better choice than the XM8
How would the 77gr OTM do out of a 12.5" barrel?
By swapping uppers, the M16 series rifle can be anything you want it to be, including a piston upper.
The XM8 is bullshit.
Thanks for the link Lumpy196…
Yep… not guilty of the caption… just saw the pic of a marine with a G36… caption deleted.
BTW… the British Armed Forces will almost certainly ditch our SA80 for the HK G36 in 2007-12.
You know, if the US and UK are going to use a common base weapon...
It would be SOO muh better if we'd keep ours and you guys would adopt whatever-the-Canadians-calla-M16...
But someone has HK-fever in the US Army or DoD, and is persuing the near-airsoftish philosopky of HK worship....
Geeze guys, let's take M14/early Stoner (pre-AR15) technology, put it in a polymer reciever that looks like a prop from Star Trek, and call it the new service rifle... The M16 is more accurate, paid for, and easier to upgrade, but this says HK on the side... Let's buy it...
I smell pORk
(because spelling pork in pink like that makes it look like a pig rolling in mud)....
Apparently, someone who thinks the XM8 is not "gas operated"!
Our MoD bought thousands of Canadian Diemaco C7's and C8's over the last few years. Special forces (SAS and recon) won't touch an SA80 with a 10ft barge pole and only use M16's and C7 & C8's…the SBS prefer the HK MP53
The Royal Marines pack a lot of M16 & C7's and given the choice everybody would prefer the M16 over the SA80.
The reason why the G36 is the preferred choice is that until 2002 HK was 100% British owned and although it has been sold off by Royal Ordnance it is still 1/3 British.
The Corps does speak of this rifle as an inevitability.
But then that's how we speak of the Osprey, as well.
Run away! Run away!
Yup. An answer in search of a question.
I can only imagine the the complexity of changing to a new service rifle. A number of issues come up:
1. All the parts for the old weapon in the supply chain become obsolete (maybe good for us AR owners).
2. All the armorers would have to be retrained, new tools, new weapons rack (you have no idea how big of a pain this would be, most are bolted, welded, or cemented to the floor/walls).
3. A new manual of arms learned, retrain in immediate action drills, etc.
That is just the beginning. The point is, if we change to a new rifle, it had better be the right one.
The rifle's ALWAYS had BUIS. They were integrated in the optical sight initially, now they are separate, based on user feedback. That's the way product development is done.
How long did it take John Garand to perfect the design that became the M1?
Not so far from the truth tho SteyrAUG…
The British SBS use the HK53 in 5.56……
Black Rifle II says the British forces spent a HUGE amount of money on a worldwide series of several assault rifles, including the G-36, and Diemaco's M-16s came out on top.
The latest Diemaco version adopted by the British forces is the "Special Forces Weapon" (SFW), a version of the M-4 which has a 16" mid-weight barrel...
So, which unit is being issued these rifles?
Helicopter and tank crews, special ops, truck drivers, anybody who might have to shoot with one hand would benefit.