Battlefield Ops: My Weapons Of Choice


September 25, 2003, 06:52 AM

Battlefield Ops: My Weapons Of Choice
By Sheriff Mike Cook

I was approached by a person the other day who asked me if I had such a big dislike for the Colt M-16 issued by the military, what weapons did I like? Well after a quick answer and some reflection I believe I have the answer.
First let me say that when the U. S. Navy sent me into combat on the river patrol boats in Vietnam, they issued me what I consider the greatest military rifle ever made. It was the M-14 in 7.62 MM NATO (.308 Caliber) with four magazines and ammo. This rifle had a selector switch that would cause it to fire full automatic if need be, however it controlled much better in the semi-automatic state. I still believe that this rifle is the best ever. I would like to see a down-sized version in the 5.56 MM (.223 Caliber) also built for the military. They could also put the synthetic stocks on it for keeping the weight down. Then our troops would have a great weapon for combat that would work and keep them alive and well defended.

Now let me say as a Gunners Mate most of my patrol time was setting behind the forward twin 50's. These were the .50 Caliber Browning Machine Guns mounted on the bow of the boat with the old air craft mount used in the bombers from WW II. I just can't say enough about this great weapon. From all the reports we are getting from our current conflict this is still one of the greatest weapons used by our military. Mr. John Browning was indeed a genius of weapons design. His military and civilian weapons are still some of the best ones over 100 years after he built them.

Another weapons system that we had favor for during my time in combat was the M-79 40 MM grenade launchers. They worked very well from our delivery vehicles in the water. We also got a Honeywell belt fed grenade launcher for these rounds after we were in country for some time and they were great. At our top speed we could put a grenade about every 40 feet on the land with them. We made good use of these weapons also.

As our job was to stop and search boats during the daylight hours we were also issued side arms and shotguns. Some had Smith & Wesson model 10's in .38 caliber and some had the 1911A1 .45 caliber semi-automatic sidearm's. I liked the 1911A1's the best. The shotguns were the old military pump action Ithica's in 12 Gauge. They were great shotguns and held up real well.

The other weapon we had on board that everyone liked was the M-60 Machine gun. What a great weapon. We learned that if you put a C-Ration Can on the belt feed side so the belt would feed over the can that this weapon would just keep working and working. It punched out those 7.62 MM NATO rounds with no problem, and was very devastating to the enemy. This weapon could be held like a rifle or fired from a mount and was very versatile for use on the boat. We all agreed it was one of the best we had.

Now I should say that we were also issued three Colt M-16 rifles with each boat. They were there and we used them for warning shots more than anything. They were kept real clean and worked most of the time. We learned that you could only put about 17 or 18 rounds in the 20 round magazines to keep them working good. Most others and I were not impressed with them.

So that kind of gives you a run down of why I still have strong feelings about what we are sending out troops into combat with. I know that some people got upset when I run down the M-16's and they have that right. My opinion is not just mine and is shared by many people today. I feel that our military made a mistake when they were forced into accepting this as the primary weapons system for our troops. Perhaps in the future we can get something that will be much better. Like I said I think the M-14 down sized to handle the .223 round something like the Ruger Mini-14 with a better barrel would be just the ticket.

God Bless America.
God Bless our Troops still in Harms Way.

Michael E. Cook, Coos County Sheriff, Retired.

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September 25, 2003, 08:07 AM
The other weapon we had on board that everyone liked was the M-60 Machine gun.

Well, at least the guy ain't afraid of controversy... :uhoh:

Mark Tyson
September 25, 2003, 09:00 AM
The M-60 packs a wallop and was favored by a Ranger buddy of mine, but it's heavy as heck when you're a little guy road marching 30k+. Course ususally I got the SINCGARS radio, not the 60 so I was screwed anyway. I also experienced some technical problems with the 60 - enough to turn me off to it.

The M-16 is indeed, in my opinion, a bad battle rifle, but many on this board disagree. I do like the M-14 and civilian varients. The .308/7.62 x 51 is a fine round! While a 5.56 can kill, a .308 leaves no doubt. The .50 cal ... what can I say? It's a big, bad momma jomma. When the fifty fires, you KNOW it. I never used an M79 - that was before my time.

Sean Smith
September 25, 2003, 09:27 AM
The guy is obviously on a firepower nostalgia trip. Not impressed.

Abominable No-Man
September 25, 2003, 09:45 AM
Oh, I don't know about him being on a nostalgia trip. Sure, he's got his opinions and like he said he's entitled to them, but he's not the only one.

We still use the M60's on Chinooks, and they work very well. Like anything else you have to clean them, but that's about it. It's still a little lighter than the M240.

I don't echo the bad trips that the Vietnam Vets have with the M16 because my experiences with it have been pretty positive: as Austin Powes would say "It's not my bag, baby", and that's more due to my childhood than anything else.

Like Mark, I never used an M79, but I DO echo all the positive comments about the .50 cal. I was once a pretty decent shot with an M203, though.

BTW, 2dogs, my dad was on PBR's too, and he talked several times to me about the Honeywell grenade launcher and the M1's they had that were rechambered for 7.62. Ever handle those?


September 25, 2003, 10:44 AM
Everybody's got one and they all stink.

September 25, 2003, 11:38 AM
Well Hell...............I'll toss in my stinking opinion.

I like ALL the weapons that Mr. Cook named in his article....why??? Cause I've used every one of them in combat......and they are effective.
There may be better weapons out there now (In Military) I don't know cause I retired from the Army in 1972. Sooooo if you want to call my post a nostalgia trip then have at it.;)

September 25, 2003, 01:42 PM
What DorGunr said.
(exception....we didn't have Ithica.)
We even retired bout the same time.;)


September 25, 2003, 01:42 PM
...donning flame suit...

People who really like the M16 just don't have any experience with other battle rifles. Nobody in that era who transitioned from the M14 to the M16 thought it was a good idea, or liked the new rifle.
It was only that next generation that came along (who had no experience with the earlier rifle) who liked the M16.

And they liked it because the army told them; "You are in the best trained army, with the best equipment and the finest rifle in the world..." And they told them that over and over again. And when the rifle failed to function they figured it was their fault because everyone had told them that this was the finest rifle in the world. And when they shot somebody who kept shooting back, they knew it was all part of the bigger plan because the anemic .22 they were shooting was only supposed to wound.

And they had no basis of comparison. Most of them had never shot a rifle, or if they had it was a bolt or lever gun that they used for deer. The older NCO's and Officers who knew better, kept their mouth shut and told them; "You are in the best trained army, with the finest rifle....". That's all they could do because it's not good for morale to tell soldiers that their rifle sucks!

People who own or shoot M14's (or FALS, G3's, etc) as well as the M16 know what they like - and almost all of them like the larger caliber rifles. They shoot a more authoritative round and they are FAR more dependable - you don't have to baby them and clean them in every moment of your spare time to know they'll shoot next time you need them.


September 25, 2003, 01:45 PM
Exception Keith.
Our M-16s were replacements for Thompsons. Not replacements for rifles.
As a close in "room broom" they worked.
Nothing exceptional bout em cept they worked.


September 25, 2003, 05:48 PM
Still the 1911 is my pistol....
I like the big battle rifles too, but getting older and having to lug that heavy iron and ammo about has made me apprieciate another classic room broom...the AK, loaded with soft points.
Ain't worth much past 250 yards but that is good enough for me! Adequate in most urban defense scenerio's.
The denied my request for a Permit for a grenade launcher...though! I am SOOOOOOO disappointed. The versatility of this tool is quite astounding.
A Ma Duece is a wonderful thing to have munted on your vehicle.
The M60....well it was nice when I was young, dumb and full of c##, but a tad too heavy for me now.
M16? Good varmit rifle I hear.

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