U.S. Military Small Arms Maintenance Capability


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brekneb
January 5, 2006, 06:06 AM
So like the subject line reads. I'm wondering just how well the U.S. military is trained in terms of cleaning personal weapons/small arms.

I am under the impression that U.S. military cleaning techniques once were not all too adequate (even as late as the ‘70’s and ‘80’s.)--Could be wrong--probably is . . . .

But what of the current day? Are the techniques, procedures, equipment used, etc. quite adequate or not?
I.e.; are they cautious of nicking rifling/crowns, etc. and assuring no solvent seeps into where it should not etc. (All of the subtle, yet important aspects such as that).
Basically, if you compare the U.S. military’s techniques to your own technique or the quote-en-quote “best” technique or the quote-en-quote “safest” technique or the quote-en-quote “most-thorough” technique would the U.S. military rival this? (Lots of quote-en-quote.)

Would their regimen even stir envy within a match/bench shooter ? Or does their doctrine only delve in so far as to simply maintain, and keep weapons functioning on a superficial level? (So long as it functions reliably as it should then it’s clean enough mindset.) Yes I’m aware that the general grunt’s circumstances does not find him shooting bench level accuracy and such. But still. :evil:

I ask mainly due to the fact that I am interested in joining the military and have no experience in weapons maintenance and cleaning and am hopeful that the training (in this regard) received in the service would be quite well appropriate and safe/adequate. Plus I’d be curious regardless. ;)

Anyway.

Thanks for any input.

P.S. I hope this was written clearly and is legible. :D I wouldn't know because it's late over here! Sorry if-so.

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Fred Fuller
January 5, 2006, 06:47 AM
If you join the military for that, you are going to be sorely disappointed... the military is looking for ways to automate the process so servicemembers don't have to do it by hand.

http://www.wmrc.uiuc.edu/main_sections/tech_assist/il_dod_env_part_case_studes.cfm

lpl/nc

brekneb
January 5, 2006, 07:05 AM
If you join the military for that, you are going to be sorely disappointed... the military is looking for ways to automate the process so servicemembers don't have to do it by hand.
While certainly I can believe that would be the case for raw recruits in a non war time environment (non combat zone) I don't think it would be the case for ANYONE in combat. The facilities would not be present and plus there's the need for the individual to be able to do-so themselves. It would be plainly too dangerous otherwise.

And particularly I wouldn't feel this to be the case with Special Ops forces or snipers or Spec Ops snipers for that matter, or any of the other individualized/specialized light/small units. (Which is the direction I'm going as my test scores are proving)---yay! :D

But anyway.

Thanks again. Hope to hear more input.

Lebben-B
January 5, 2006, 07:10 AM
Operator-level maintenance/cleaning is dependent on two people - you and your team leader/immediate supervisor. In OSUT/BCT/Boot you will be given instruction in assembly/disassembly, cleaning and lubrication of your individual weapon. How deeply you take these lessons to heart is all up to you.

Once you arrive at your first regular unit, the standards for weapon cleanliness and maintenance will be dictated by your Platoon Sergeant and enforced by the Squad Leaders/Team Leaders.

A technique I used on my platoon while I was deployed was detailed cleaning/maintenance once a week. Weapons wiped down prior to going to chow. After a mission, nobody is released until weapons are cleaned and checked, whether we made contact or not.

Mike

bogie
January 5, 2006, 09:10 AM
Your average grunt would rather have an iPod than a new rifle.

entropy
January 5, 2006, 02:23 PM
The techniques we used (86-89 Army) were fine, it was getting the dumb SOB's to do it!:banghead: I'd send the same idiots back to reclean after showing them the correct technique, (which they were shown in Basic, repeatedly!:fire: ) I'd have my M16A1 spotless and six of our seven M1911A1's done before some of these REMF's (yes, we were a REMF unit, but that is no excuse for poor weapons maintenance) would bring theirs up for first rejection. ( I only had one person besides me that was issued a 16 that knew how to clean it right. His was the only one that would be acceptable first time presented, and no, I don't think I was too tough on judging a clean rifle.)

That 7th .45? Actually, it was an M1911, not A1, and it was our XO's issued pistol. He insisted on cleaning it himself, and it always passed inspection first time. ( He was our pistol team coach.:) )

And Scoob i e, if you seriously want to learn how to maintain a weapon, go 18D, (SF weapons Sgt. ) , 45B (Small Arms Repairer, my SMOS, or 76Y (Unit Supply Specialist, who are trained as Unit Armorers and usually are assigned the duty. This was my PMOS.)

wingnutx
January 5, 2006, 03:39 PM
Marines are very good about this, in my experience.

Other units may vary.

Fred Fuller
January 5, 2006, 03:49 PM
scoob,

I retired as a DAC out of Ft. Bragg just over a year ago having spent 13 years in USAJFKSWCS along the way. Guess where I first heard about the automated cleaning system?

That said, if you really want to do this the treesuit way, go for either Special Forces weapons sergeant or USMC, as has been said. There are lots easier ways to learn weapons maintenance, but how you learn it has to do with what you want to do with the rest of your life- and that's for you to decide.

Buena suerte,

lpl/nc

brekneb
January 5, 2006, 09:27 PM
Thanks a lot everyone.

And no, as-hard-to-believe-as-it may-be I'm not interested in joining the service purely to learn how to clean weapons. :D I see it as one more additional benefit no matter how marginal. ;)

Thanks again.

Lebben-B
January 6, 2006, 02:42 AM
if you seriously want to learn how to maintain a weapon, go 18D, (SF weapons Sgt. )

Wrong. 18D is Special Forces Medic. The Weapons Sergeant is 18B. MOS 76Y no longer exists. This MOS is now known as 92Y.

Mike

carebear
January 6, 2006, 04:42 AM
The horse, the saddle, the man.

My boys did gear and weapon maintenance prior to getting cut loose for chow or on personal hygiene.

I pre-inspected and had good Corporals so they got it done quick. Chow is a powerful motivator.

They got a "Paper Chase" style "share the load" system figured out pretty quick.

In the field, depending on time and mission constraints (in training) they'd all get at least a wipedown and function check in daily. I was always torn between the need for constant maintenance, especially in our cold weather environment and risking inducing a malfunction by a sleepy Marine forgetting something. Not sure if there's a real 100% solution.

Lebben-B
January 6, 2006, 09:34 AM
In temperate environments, a once a day check/wipe down is gtg. It really boils down to where you're operating. As the Viet Nam vets will tell you, their biggest challenge (maint-wise) was rust because of the jungle environment they were in. In Iraq, it's not rust, but dust that's the biggest challenge.

As a unit, we didn't bring any vehicles or heavy weapons with us when we deployed. We "Fell in" on a set of vehicles and equipment that was left by the unit we relieved. We set to checking everything out. One of the fifty's had a barrel that wouldn't come out. After a bottle of CLP and about a gallon of elbow grease, we finally managed to free the barrel. As near as we can figure, the M2 had been left mounted on a vehicle for some time. Dust and condensation had combined and formed mud, locking the barrel in place. The rest of the gun was no better. It became a rehab project for us. Eventually the gun was declared FMC.

That's just an example of what happens when small unit leaders - corporals and sergeants - ignore basic weapons maintenance. The old cavalry saying quoted by Carebear still applies: "The horse, the saddle, the man."

Mike

entropy
January 6, 2006, 11:10 AM
Wrong. 18D is Special Forces Medic. The Weapons Sergeant is 18B. MOS 76Y no longer exists. This MOS is now known as 92Y.
:o

Oops. You're right, Lebben-B, the S-4 CPT I worked for was a former E-6 18D, probably where that came from. I got out in '89, so I wouldn't have known of the Supply MOS reclassification.

gallon of elbow grease:p I like that one!

johnmcl
January 6, 2006, 11:52 AM
Hi all,

I can confirm that a unit's dedication to small arms maintenance is exactly proportional to the NCO's attitude to the same.

Once upon a time I had a tour as a Forward Air Controller (7502) in the Corps. I took me about 30 min to really miss my C-130 squadron. The NCO's there enforced an excruciating level of weapons cleanliness that was equally applied to even temporarily assigned FAC Officers. The rule was wipe downs and bore wipes daily and detailed cleaning following use.

The only slack I ever got was being politely informed of my weapon's cleanliness. The grunts got the same message more directly. :)

John

brekneb
January 6, 2006, 09:54 PM
Okay thanks to you, everyone once more.

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