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Posted: 11/27/2003 5:06:55 AM EDT
FWIW: The following e-mail is purported to be from someone inside the US arsenal system. I cannot confirm.

SD

This response is from someone in the US arsenal system on that AP article about the M16:

While the M16 family of weapons is not perfect, the reality is there is not much on the horizon that can really compete. Every concept that has come and gone in recent years is either too expensive, too heavy, not accurate enough or very unreliable. The OICW was not meant as a total replacement for the M16 as some would speculate, but rather as an improvement in the total force concept. The current grenadier position equipped with the M16/M203 combination is where the OICW will be employed. Also with the OICW weighing in at over 20 lbs and a sophisticated fire control device the payload and reliability issues are bound to be problems once it is in field. I predict the OICW will not have many friends at least in initial fielding.

As far as "the nail in the coffin" comment and the perceived reliability of the AK series goes - the desert environment and urban warfare is not the ideal environment for the M16 let alone most machined metal parts systems to begin with. We discovered that out in the last Gulf War and have since begun to make small improvements in the metallurgy, cleaning cycles, lubricants, etc that has made a big difference. The news that no one hears of course is that the AK is no panacea. The forces that employ the AK build in the expectation that problems will occur and they usually plan for it - extra bolts, barrels etc. Arab countries using the AK for the last 20 years have learned this lesson much the way we are now with the M16. The biggest difference between the AK and the M16 is the deployment policies in place by the US and most of the forces that use the AK. For the most part, most of these countries hand out the weapons with little regard to the effectiveness and well-being of the individual soldier - they end up as cannon fodder at the end of the day anyway! With the average cost and lifespan of the normal AK used by our enemies being about $10.00 and less than three months respectively, the ROI makes the AK sound like a more resilient system but this is misleading accounting. The AK has stamped steel components that are relatively cheap to produce which consequently results in low quality. Due to the slop in the metal parts, sand in the receiver often does not hamper actual function performance, but does impact velocity and accuracy. They get Bullets in the Bore sometimes daily! They have reliability issues that are simply different.

We are investigating the function issues with the M4 carbine which has been shown to be a factor with the shorter barrel and I will agree with the last sentence about the knock-down power, the 5.54 and the 7.62 X 39mm ammo does show an improved lethality over our 5.56 mm, but we will fix that real soon.

Link Posted: 11/27/2003 6:34:00 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 8:21:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/27/2003 8:22:10 AM EDT by HeavyMetal]
There is as much crap in that email as in thea M-16 demise article posted last weekend.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 8:23:39 PM EDT
Yeah... as full of shit as this article seems, i don't think it is too farfetched. I've seen the way they make AK's over in Pakistan-in person- they use shitty steel and they do almost EVRYTHING by hand. Something like that is defenately not gonna last very long.... though 3 months does seem a little short. Also a 10 dollar ak does seem a little cheap... but I have personally seen 50 dollar SPAS-12's, 150 dollar street sweepers, and 20 dolar Tokarev's... copies, of course, and of not-so-great quality.... but that's what I suspect this guy is talking about. Of course, in the case of Iraq, it's different- for what I understand most of those weapons were chached a looong time ago, so they probabely wern't all shitty copies.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 9:11:57 PM EDT
For the M-16 to be replaced there would have to be something significantly better. I've not seen anything better as yet.

More likely, we'll see more mixed calibers - 5.56 in the majority and 7.62X51 begininng to appear more often. (Probably already more AR-10's and SR-25's in the Middle East than we realize.)

I don't believe the 6.8 will ever move past a few Special Forces types. (Ammunition not proven, mag design, receivers not built for the added stress........ .)

The XM8 looks like a bad joke.

5sub
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 9:12:54 PM EDT
They can monkey with the M16's ammo all they want, but the moral of the story is, you cant polish a turd.

Now hold on a second, dont go nuclear yet....

For what its designed to do, the M16 is adequate. Hell, it even excels in a few areas, such as controllability and accuracy. The M16A2 is pretty damn accurate. The ergonomics are superior to the AK also.

However, its reliability is a major issue. Whether because of the gas system, or all the hard-to-clean places that crud likes to hide, the M16 is kind of a bitch to keep operational in a dusty/sandy environment. As long as you're not in the desert, it works just fine. OR, if you're going to do a lot of maintenance in the desert, AND have taught your people the right way to do so. Which the army seems to be severely lacking in. I've been to the Kuwaiti desert, and the desert of Kommiefornicate, and my SAW and M16 worked. Because I knew enough to NOT slop a ton of CLP in them. A VERY light coat is more than enough. The army needs to worry less about diversity and sensitivity training, and more about weapons training. And they also need to learn one key thing from the Corps, modify it thus, and adopt it: 'In a war, EVERY soldier is a rifleman.' Whether you're a grunt or a cook, you should be ready to engage the enemy with your rifle at any time.

BTW, I'd like some of those $10 AK's too. About a dozen ought to do it.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 9:16:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 11:32:39 AM EDT
You guys don't like the XM8?

What's your beef with it?

The new prototypes are kinda oogly, I'll admit.

The older pictures I've seen, where the G36 styling was very evident, that was a neat looking rifle.

Of course, I don't know anything of the engineering of it, why it might not be a good firearm, hence, my question.
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