All these soldiers with 14 and 16" M4's...I'd ask my CO for a 20" or an AR-10


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WonderNine
April 3, 2003, 05:54 AM
What is the deal with all these short barreled primary weapons? A plastic 20" M-16 is plenty short and light enough for me to wield quickly and effectively, plus it has a greater sight radius and more power. Is this just the "average" 5' 9" 160-170lb. soldiers weapon? If I was in Iraq I would ask my CO for something other than an 14" M4 :rolleyes: :barf:

But I'm a little under 6' and over 200lbs, perhaps bigger soldiers get heavier, higher caliber primary weapons still, as the assault infantry with their .30-06 automatic BAR's of the past did? Yes the Garand's caliber was also .30-06, but it was not fully auto. I know this was how it worked in the past....

If any current or recent military men know the answer to this please let me know.

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Double Naught Spy
April 3, 2003, 08:11 AM
What is the deal with all the short barreled weapons? Simple, they work much better for CQB fighting. If you note the types of battles they are having, you will be able to see that for the most part that the soldiers you see are associated with vehicles. The vehicles have heavier caliber machines guns or bigger. Those will take care of longer range issues for the most part. The shorter weapons will work out to 400 yards just fine.

In open country, the bigger guns are great, plus they options of calling in artilery or air support also come into play fairly easily (assuming the know where they are - ie lost convoy issues).

So the longer range shooting is mostly covered by heavier gear, but in shorter range CQB situations, the shorter guns have a real advantage. Much of the heavy fighting was anticipated to be and has been in urban/town situations. In many of these situations, artillery and air support cannot be used becasue of our policies of trying to keep the infrastructure intact. So the short barreled guns are better for working interiors of structures, corners, etc.

As for the greater sight radius, that is nice and all, but a huge number of those folks are using dot optics and dot scopes. Sight radius isn't much of an issue.

While it is great you would ask your CO for something bigger and you referenced things like BARS of the 'assault infantry,' not that many of the infantry had BARS and those have been replaced today by the SAW and/or M60.

The Garands of the past sucked for CQB work in door to door fighting in towns and cities, although they were much better for a bayonet than modern short guns. Garands sucked for deployment from vehicles unless they were big troop trucks or jeeps.

Blackhawk 6
April 3, 2003, 08:28 AM
Currently, most conventional light infantry forces are using the M-4 carbine and SOF is using the M-4A1. Some mechanized infantry units have been issued the M-4 as well. The M-16A2 is still in use, primarily with combat support and combat service support units and other units who are awaiting the feilding of the M-4.

There is not really an option to provide larger soldiers in an infantry unit with larger caliber weapon systems. There are heavier weapons in terms of weight, notably the M203 grenade launcher, M-249 squad automatic weapon and the M-240 machine gun. I have consistently discouraged the practice of assigning these weapons based upon the size of the individual soldier, substituting experience as the criteria to determine who carries what weapon. For example, in my opinion the M-249 gunner should be the second most experienced individual in the fire team (next to the team leader) because he is employing the team's most casualty producing weapon. His experieince as a soldier will allow him to employ it more effectively.

I do not wish to open a debate over the virtues of the M-4 vs. the M-16A2. Suffice it to say, the shorter sight radius does not significantly detract from its utility when engaging targets at longer ranges (training is obviously a factor) and its shorter overall length is always appreciated in the tight spaces found in urban environments or when clearing caves as well as in the close confines of a helicopter or the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle.

I hope this answers your question.

Kevin

rock jock
April 3, 2003, 10:25 AM
Excellent answer, Blackhawk 6. I would also imagine that for long reconnaisance patrols the reduced weight is appreciated.

Al Thompson
April 3, 2003, 10:29 AM
Yep. If you have a good SAW gunner, he stays a SAW gunner. I actually had team leaders with SAWs, but then we were somewhat undermanned.

WonderNine, it's not a democracy. :) You'd get what your chain of command wanted you to have. I had a bunch of guys who loved the M60, but it went to the best shots. Same/same all weapon systems.

My personal fav was the M203. Good for C+C, SD and was pretty accurate. Hopefully they've got a better sight than that plastic quadrant sight and better training ammo.

Onslaught
April 3, 2003, 10:29 AM
This looks like a decent thread to share the e-mail I just received from the "rangemaster". Our closest outdoor range is on Ft. Benning, so obviously, a lot of soldiers shoot there too. One has been e-mailing "Jim", and Jim shared part of that e-mail with us.

It seems that the M4 is in short supply with some units, short enough that some guys still only have the 20" available. But in Tanks, Bradleys, and other vehicles, those weapons are too big, so a lot of those guys only have pistols!!!!!

Here's an excerpt:

"They have taken to using captured AK-47's as crew protection weapons on tanks and Bradleys.
Guys were literally shooting enemy with 9mm from turrets in the dust storm."

So while we armchair the benefits of "longer sight radius" and "better ballistics", the guys in action want the shortest, lightest individual weapon (besides a pistol) they can get their hands on.

If you watch one of the firefight videos, with all that exploding artillery just coming from the short barrelled, belt fed weapon on some of the armoured vehicles, (MK19?) you'd see how unimportant the extra 5" of barrel is on a 5.56! Now, if that extra 5" made the ammo explode on impact, THAT would be something. :D Heck, if our next big war is another 10 years or more away, all the troups could be carrying fully automatic airburst weapons.

Sir Galahad
April 3, 2003, 07:05 PM
In the army I remember, the arms room wasn't an a la carte buffet. It was more like McDonald's. You got issued McRifle and that was it, kind of like a Happy Meal. A few guys who showed skill with them and could handle the weight got issued M-60 McMachinegun, kind of like a Quarter Pounder with cheese. We had a couple Mc50s, the Big Macs of machine guns. Everyone knew the weapon with the longest range was a field radio.

SodaPop
April 3, 2003, 07:56 PM
I'd still take the 20.

Andrew Wyatt
April 4, 2003, 01:49 AM
the m4 is kinda neat, actually.


If i didn't get issued an acog for mine, i'd for darn sure acquire an ACOG for it.

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