Iraq/Afghan vets, report on the M16/M4.


March 5, 2009, 12:25 AM
Hey guys and gals. I wanted to get a poll and report going about your experiences with the M16 or M4 in Iraq or Afghanistan. I have always said that I have never met a veteran who has said their rifle failed them. But I hear a lot of stories in the gunshops and on the internet from people who have heard from others that it has.

So, whatever your vote is, give a reason please.

PS. This poll is only open to veterans who have used the modern M16 or M4. Please no Vietnam experiences from the poor guys who had the rifles that the military decided to vary from Mr. Stoners parameters.

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March 5, 2009, 12:28 AM
Ill go first. I said very good as it never let me down.

March 5, 2009, 12:34 AM
the vets i know all say the same 3 words. = its Americas gun, and they love and swear by it. just a Army brats 2 cents. im not a vet so i wont vote

March 5, 2009, 12:38 AM
It serves me and my Platoon very well. We've had no issues this deployment. In fact, the IA units we work with are starting to fill their arms rooms rooms with, and issue to their soldiers, M16 and M4 rifles.

March 5, 2009, 12:40 AM
Mine never failed me from 93-2003. Most issues were operator or magazine induced.

March 5, 2009, 12:50 AM
not voting air force brat here

i have been around military my entire life and if i join will be 10th generation(not likely due to some injuries) my cousin had 1 failure in 2 tours in iraq and 1 in afghanistan and it just happened to be at the worst time they were doing check point in i believe 06 he had an iraqi run at him with a machete and when he went to fire the m4 jammed(due to a damaged mag the follower was screwed up so he says) and he had to go for his side arm and emptied the mag into the guy who kept running luckily the man behind him put a load of 00 buck into him which finally stopped him

he doesnt blame the gun or the mags he said it was his fault for using a mag he knew was damaged

ive talked to 4 other vets from iraq and afghanistan and they all like the m16/m4 a fwe things they dont like but they all say that if you take care of it it will take care of you

a good friend of mine is a marine vet with 3 tours in iraq and 2 in afghanistan 2 purple hearts, the navy cross and a bronze star he personally loves the m16 he said it has saved his life more times than he can recall

ive only met vets from vietnam that dislike the m16/m4 ive met more than a couple that dont like the 5.56 they wish it was a larger round but all in all like the m16

March 5, 2009, 12:51 AM
I've done two tours in IRAQ and carried both an M4A1 and a M16A4 and they never let me done once...

Coal Dragger
March 5, 2009, 01:52 AM
Former USMC 0351 (assault-man), spent one tour in Al Anbar in 2004. I have mixed feelings on the M16 (carried/issued an M16A4). The last rifle I was issued was an FN contract M16A4, I had no reliability issues with it but in fairness I was systematic about frequent cleaning. I have had issues with the weapon system jamming when very dirty in training environments, so I made sure to clean the rifle like a nut every chance I got. Even if it was just breaking it down shotgun style and brushing off the bolt/carrier group and the inside of the upper. Quick down and dirty and takes maybe 45 seconds.

I don't hold it against the rifle that it wont ingest huge amounts of mud or sand and not run right, not many rifles will and those that do are not exactly known for useful accuracy. I do think that a rifle more tolerant of crud and grime would be better, I would still clean it as mentioned when time allowed but higher tolerance for muck/dust would be nice.

Although I did not have an issue with this (I had optics mounted) some Marines had to dummy cord their rear sights onto the flat tops as the securing knobs would get banged around and come loose. There has to be a better more secure way to mount the rear sight/carry handle than those stupid ass knobs that stick out 3/4" to catch on everything. Same for some of the optics mounts, for example the mount for the ACOG has the same issue. I think they would stay tight if they were not sticking out so far that they caught on everything.

Then of course we get to talk about magazines, which although not the rifle itself are still part of the system. I will come right out and say that M16 magazines are too delicate for hard infantry use. Most feeding problems are magazine related and M16 magazines suck.

My other major gripe is with the 5.56mm round and it's poor performance. Not everyone will agree with me, but the 5.56mm ball round is not exactly a DRT (dead right there) kind of bullet, and it is also not terribly effective on mud brick, engine blocks, or things like that. I am not saying we should all start humping around 7.62NATO (although every squad should have an M240 and plenty of ammo) but we need something in between that has more power. Unfortunately a round that would meet the needs won't fit in the above mentioned crappy M16 magazines or M16 magazine well.

March 5, 2009, 06:24 AM
A few failures to feed. Chalked it up to weak magazine springs. A whack on the bottom of the mag fixed it when it happened. Try to "accidentally" step on these while they're on the edge of a sidewalk while you're out. You get new mags when you bring one back that got bent into a right angle due to action. :evil:

March 5, 2009, 08:13 AM
Just got back from Afghanistan last month, and was issued M4 for most of my "trip", and carried an AK-74 (polish variant) for the last month or so (working with OGA). Same response as Altitude_19... I think the few feed problems I had were due to the mags. I did have a couple mags that just would not stay seated also. The rifle itsself never gave me any issues (M4). I never had any issues with the M16 either though, so I may be a bit partial to them. AKs are nice, but I prefer the M16/M4.

I also had no optics...just ironsights. The crappy Red Dot went out on me about a month in. It looked pretty tore up, and when I made it back to Bagram to refit I was told that I would have to wait on a new sight & was given a hand recipt. Basically had to wait because I was not Active Duty any more and the "Joes" needed them more than me as the influx into country from the guys in Iraq was just starting to kick off.

BTW- this last trip over was as a civilian...Uncle Sam doesn't own me any more, he just hands us rifles & IBA and sends us where he needs us (usually s%$# holes with lots of trigger time & indirect). Come to think about it, he still does kinda own us. Oh well....

Float Pilot
March 5, 2009, 01:07 PM
Carried various versions from 1977 until 2006. When my unit was issued FN made A2s we initially had problems because they had too much metal coating inside the receivers. So we had to wire wheel the insides and then have the whole unit shoot a flat bed of ammo before we deployed. We had a few magazine related issues after that but nothing that could not be fixed.

Later when they issued us M4s they were again FN made. We had similar problems with the new carbines out of the box but worked our way through those with a good armory team. In general the qualification scores went down after the M4s were issued. The short barrels and electro-optic system was not a smooth transition for the more experienced troops.

Magazine issues continued as in all M16 variants.
As did the continued need for excessive compulsive cleaning.
Plus we had the new issue of batteries for the aim points. 80 guys who keep leaving on or accidentally turning on their danged aim points go through a bunch of batteries. And of course some young guy would always have dead batteries or no batteries at the worst time...

Nothing is GI proof.

March 5, 2009, 01:57 PM
USMC combat engineer. I have one of the dirtiest jobs in the core and carried an A2 from feb to sep 2005 and 2006 while based out of Al Taquddam air base Iraq. No problems with my rifle But I took the time to clean it when it needed it. During training befor deployment I went through prob a dozen mags befor I was down to seven that worked well enough that I would carry them. Had to clean them to. The M16 platform aint perfect but its not hard to keep it in good working order.
I agree with coal dragger the 5.56 just isn't all that impressive against targets bigger than coyotes. But a good 240 gunner can weed the bad guys out real quick.

Coal Dragger
March 5, 2009, 03:14 PM
^ Our battalion was headquartered out of Al Taqaddum in 2004. Small world huh?

So do they still have guys living in tents over there with sandbags all around them, or have they gotten trailers set up?

March 5, 2009, 03:57 PM
To all, thanks for your service and for my freedom it protects.

I've always been curious about which manufacturers are being issued to you guys. Anyone care to share?

March 5, 2009, 04:35 PM
i have spent over 5 years in the army, and the infantry at that, in that time i have spent over 26 months in Iraq and i am scheduled to go again, and i have neevr had an issue with my rifle, and i have no complaints. when i needed it to run it did.

March 5, 2009, 05:26 PM
CoRoMo... my unit had FN M16s and Colt M4s.

March 5, 2009, 07:58 PM
I've carried the A1, A2, M4 and the HK G-3 during my time in the service and with the "proper maintenance" never experienced any problems that could not be attributed to operator head space. I did break a stock on the A2 during a jump. I blame that on gravity and Newton!

March 5, 2009, 08:11 PM
My dad says normal sand was never a problem; the clay filled sand in Somalia would actually keep the bolts from completely closing on a lot of weapons, not just the M-16.

jim in Anchorage
March 5, 2009, 08:19 PM
"never experienced any problems that could not be attributed to operator head space.":) I like that one. Will use it at the range and see how long it takes to sink in.

March 5, 2009, 09:41 PM
Shot old GM Hydramatic refurbs, FN's, and Colts M16/A2/A4/M4
Did one of my deployments as an armorer. Other than the occasional shot out or out of spec factory part the rifles themselves performed as advertised. Mags were 99% of the problems

March 6, 2009, 09:20 AM
Thanks guys!

What about optics? What brands are issued?

March 6, 2009, 10:42 AM
I'm going to vote for the cable guy who came to my house. He was in fallujah, and said the M4 never let him down. He used an eotech.<<- Not making this up

March 7, 2009, 12:06 AM
Never had an issue with mine in SW Asia nor did anyone else I was with(M4s). The Aimpoint was generally issued (CompM2 I believe) and weren't very durable(some broke from low impact drops) not to mention most people didn't care for their massive dots that sort of blurred(reticle not very crisp) and had parallax issues defeating their purpose. I guess that's what the government gets for buying foreign.:neener:

Many of us bought various aftermarkets including Leupolds, EOtechs, and ACOGs. My personaly EOtech never failed me(despite the abuse it received), got on target faster, had a smaller and crisper reticle making it much more useful for longer ranges, and was parallax free much to the amazement of others. The Leupolds and ACOGs faired well except for the Docter optics on the ACOGs which proved quite fragile.

March 7, 2009, 12:19 AM
Looking at the Jessica Lynch a THR member by chance?


March 7, 2009, 12:33 AM
Interesting that you say the Aimpoint is less durable then the EOTech. I was always under the impression that it was the other way aorund.

Does anyone know whether the Aimpoint Micro T-1 is any better or worse than the regular M2's & M3's?

March 7, 2009, 02:20 AM
I dont remember my unti having any problems with the Aimpoints. The only one that I can vivdly remember breaking got shot off a guys rifle. That will make you pee yourself...

So someone voted that their rifle almost got them killed, but wont tell about it.......

March 10, 2009, 05:31 PM
I have not deployed for combat, but I have never experienced a stoppage with any M-16 family weapon using live ammo. The only problems I have had were with blanks, and even then I usually found that if I switched out magazines, to find the newest-looking one with the best feed lips and mag release hole, it worked a lot better.

I just had a discussion at WLC with a guy who insisted that we should switch to a rifle with a piston system, because it would be more reliable. He had never fired one, but wouldn't be convinced otherwise. So I started, I told about when I had fired 500 straight rounds from a Bushmaster M-4 without a single stoppage, and went all around the room, asking guys who were various flavors of infantry, cavalry, and other combat MOSs, (Including a former Marine who had been deployed,) not one of them had ever had a stoppage with an M-16. Keep it reasonably clean, shut the dust cover, it will do what you need it to, when you need it to do it.

Coal Dragger
March 10, 2009, 06:42 PM
It is true that blanks suck. There is no reason in the world they should be used any more. Live ammo or nothing. Do other training with simunitions.

March 10, 2009, 08:19 PM
I prefer rubber duckies and saying "BANG!" to blanks and miles gear.

Coal Dragger
March 10, 2009, 08:33 PM
I agree, it results in far less cleaning and is just as effective.

March 10, 2009, 09:53 PM
I was in Saudi, Kuwait, and Iraq the first time. In my 8 years in the Corps, I had one ftf out of countless thousands of rounds fired through my issued M16a2's in both training and combat. That includes in the jungle, and in the desert. Granted, after growing up hearing the never ending number of complaints about it from all of my fathers cronies, I kept my rifle as clean as I could at all times. I always have thought that the 5.56 is an underpowered round, and should have never replaced the 7.62.And if I had a choice, I'd rather carry one of the new piston driven uppers, than the standard gas system, but if I ever have to carry a rifle again, if they hand me an M16 of any sort, I'll do my best to keep it clean and keep her shooting straight.

March 10, 2009, 10:17 PM
I've got a little different take, I was in Iraq from kick off to the end of 03', got as far north as Tikrit. My company was split up and attached to "the wing" and did FARP and convoy security the majority of the time. I can't say that I trusted my A2 to fire a second shot, ever. But I should say that it usually did. The handicap for us was that all our CLP was shipped in CONNEX boxes, well guess what never showed up. That left us with whatever CLP we had in the butt stock of the rifle, which we needed to divvy up with our crew serves to keep them up. I know that a lot of you will say that's not the rifles fault, and that's a fair observation that I wont dispute, but I question if a rifle should have to be lubed regularly to function. Wars don't necessarily lend themselves to regular weapons maintenance. When the rifle is properly lubed, it's a sand magnet, and sand isn't a friend of that bolt carrier and upper receiver/chamber. Since we were rolling in the back of the pick-up style hummers we ate A LOT of sand, especially in that big sand storm at the beginning of the war, and that sand was really fine like baby powder; it got in everything. I had 3 of the Marines in my squad cleaning their rifles at all times to keep them functional. I really didn't care for the A2 unless I was on the rifle range. I did absolutly love my ACOG though, best piece of gear i ever purchased.

Coal Dragger
March 10, 2009, 10:48 PM
We also ran short on CLP and cleaning supplies, but knew we would. By the time I got over in 2004 I was on the reserve side of the house, and we knew something was up when we were issued brand new unfired M16A4's in the summer of 2003, but got no new cleaning gear for the company.

So all the Marines went out and bought our own cleaning supplies. My folks and wife would send me care packets with Miltech lube, and TW25b along with patches and Q-Tips. Kept my squad in functional weapons at the very least, but pisses a guy off that that gear was not provided.

In a pinch we would use motor oil, and ATF to lube weapons. It actually works pretty well in fact.

March 10, 2009, 11:18 PM
They didn't have the mail up and running all that smooth for a while, about a month or two to get letters, packages who knows. So what we packed on our person or in our seabags was all we got. Everything was so fluid there was no good way for them to get the mail to us. Crew serves didn't like motor oil all that much, ATF not a lot better. but better than nothing. We kept our cleaning gear on us, but were ASSURED that the CLP would be plentiful and waiting when we stepped off the bird. I can't believe that I fell for that one! They couldn't get us the right gear to train half the time, why would it change going across the globe.

March 10, 2009, 11:23 PM
Did one of my deployments as an armorer... Mags were 99% of the problems

1. Would moving to something like the PMAG reduce the magazine-related failures? What if they used thicker metal?

2. In an old promotion video ( for the AR-10 (when it was squaring off against the M14), Armalite advertised the magazines as being thrown away while in combat. That seems like it would reduce the mag-feeding problems, the expensive of cost and logistics.

LongRifles, Inc.
March 11, 2009, 12:12 AM
7 months in Somalia in 1992 as a Marine (1371)

2 years, 9 months in Iraq as a Security Contractor.

M-4's take care of you if you take care of them. Run em wet and they'll shoot all day. 9-10 problems are magazine related or shooter induced due to poor maintenance/carelessness. They don't lend themselves to dirt all that well but does anything <non THR content removed>?

The major components don't break. I've been a competitive service rifle shooter since 1991 in addition to this other stuff. I've seen catastrophic failures 3 times and all were on very very old rifles. (two were recruits at Edson in 93 and any Marine will attest to the age of a Boot Camp rifle)



Coal Dragger
March 11, 2009, 12:31 AM
^ I can only imagine the time those poor recruits had to spend in the "pit" or on the quarterdeck for blowing up their rifles....

I remember the one I had issued was so old and worn out the hand guards would pop off, and the ejection port cover would not stay closed. It did shoot strait though, so the barrel must have been somewhat fresh.

March 11, 2009, 12:34 AM
I experienced multiple malfunctions with my FN M16A4 ("Emily") when attempting to use after getting sand in the receiver while on the range at Benning.

The M4 I took to Afghanistan liked to be run dripping wet. I do have an AR15 carbine for home defense, but that's mostly because I've now put more rounds through the M16 family than through all other weapons I've fired combined.


March 11, 2009, 01:41 AM
My M16A2 wouldn't chamber a round if it got too hot. I kept it clean (I cleaned it every night) and dry. Kept it dry so sand wouldn't stick as bad. On one convoy up to Baghdad, I went to chamber a round and it only got half way in. That said, it was 120+ outside, and 140+ under our vests (guy I was driving with had a thermometer on his watch, I think it was a gshok). That was the only time I ever had a problem, and it was about 8 hours into the convoy so there could have been dust in the chamber from a sandstorm we had driven through. I voted bad, because if it really was heat related, then that could have killed me if I needed that rifle.

I also hated how hot the hand guards would get on escort duty in the summer. They really need to make them from a polymer that doesn't absorb as much heat in my opinion.

Coal Dragger
March 11, 2009, 01:52 AM
^ M16's do not like to run dry at all. If you had been using lube I doubt you would have had chamber issues as even CLP will help displace the grit so the rifle can function. Also cleaning once a day, especially a day spent in the vehicle is not nearly enough.

Under the same circumstances I would clean the bolt/carrier group and chamber area several times per day. Just as any crew served or belt fed weapon would get the feed pawls and chamber area cleaned too. On belt fed weapons we even made it a point to brush off dust and sand from the ammo/belt.

Heat had nothing to do with your malfunction, poor maintenance did.

March 11, 2009, 03:49 AM
Coal, how exactly do you clean a weapon while in a convoy? I am honestly interested as we only stopped to fuel once and there were no other stops. There was only I and the driver in the vehicle, so I didn't see much sense in disassembly of the only weapon the could be used in a hurry. I had cleaned it just before we left and everything was running smooth then. We were told to keep our weapons dry and no clp was made available. That could be chocked up to not being combat arms or having leadership that had actual combat experience. I had a small supply of my own, but I only used it while cleaning.

March 11, 2009, 03:53 AM
Never an issue. I even was issued a 6.8SPC when my unit got 2 of em in from LWRC. Perks of bein the "gun guy" I guess.

Coal Dragger
March 11, 2009, 04:31 AM

Typically any time we stopped the squad would take turns cleaning weapons, if no stops were in the cards we would still take a moment to scrub them down in turns.

Of course a muzzle cap and keeping the ejection port cover closed were also a big help, keeping a magazine inserted also helped.

It is a pain in the ass I'll grant, but just something we made a point to do. If you were the A-driver then you could have the driver's weapon assembled while you cleaned yours, or vice versa. I'm not talking a detailed cleaning here, just 30-45 seconds to take an AP brush and knock the dirt out of the upper, bolt, chamber area then apply lube if needed.

I know you were following orders, but they weren't good ones in my opinion.

March 11, 2009, 10:12 AM
I had the better part of my squad in the BACK of a hummer, how much sand do you think we ate? like Coal Dragger said, its just repetitive. You clean yours, then you clean the drivers. Adapt. Overcome. Sometimes you need to know when not to listen to "orders". It isn't their hind end behind that rifle, and it's likely that your entire time in the service you were instructed to keep that weapon lubed.

March 11, 2009, 10:24 AM
6 years Army and one tour in the sandbox.

I have only two problems with the M16 that everyone here mentioned, you gotta keep cleaning it and it shoots a varmint round. I could keep my M2 on top of a vehicle in a sandstorm for 2 days without cleaning it and it would work perfectly. Get a little sand in the M16 and your gonna have some issues. I also still don't get the point of the 5.56

March 11, 2009, 10:06 PM
i carried an M4 with an Aimpoint then switched off onto an ACOG, and it never let me down once. i would swear by it in any firefight

March 12, 2009, 12:58 AM

Pipe Burn
March 12, 2009, 01:07 AM
Loved the M4. Hated the Aimpoint. ACOG is much better. No problems with the M4 over the years. Seen others have problems. Usually maintenance or mag related. Got a brand new one assigned to me for our next trip over in July.

March 12, 2009, 04:26 PM
Looking at the Jessica Lynch a THR member by chance?
For some reason, the importance of regular and effective cleaning has to be relearned at the beginning of every generation

March 12, 2009, 04:38 PM
Just wondering for anyone over there, did you guys ever pick up and carry any ak variants?

When my buddy was there, he also carried a romanian dragunov psl

March 12, 2009, 05:57 PM
I didn't vote, but here's my experience from my tour in Iraq:

I was never in a firefight, but I did go to the range a couple times. My weapon was fairly clean and functioned without much issue. However, my friends M4 was also clean and his went down a few times at the RANGE! :what: I did personally see two M2 .50 caliber vehicle mounted weapons on one of my patrols entirely fail to function. :what: Completely inoperable!

The sand and grit there requires a religious regiment of cleaning. There is a layer of dust on everything, all of the time! It was nearly impossible to keep anything 'clean.' Therefore it would be imperitive to have a weapon that works in the harshest of circumstances.

I have enough experience with the standard AR15 to know that it would probably not be my go-to weapon of choice in harsh environments, but it depends on a lot of factors. I would probably chose something more reliable.

But there are pluses and minuses. After carrying all of that gear, you definately appreciate how relatively light the weapon and ammo are. Every pound of weight counts and larger calibers require bigger magazines, heavier bullets, and typically heavier guns. Even adding 10 pounds to your gear could be a dealbreaker for those already carrying 50-60-70 lbs for any duration.

I do like the platform of the M4 series, but would like to see more reliability based on the accounts of others. If the pistol uppers work, then I suggest implementing those.

Polar Express
March 12, 2009, 07:59 PM
I wish to thank all of you veterans for serving, and helping to preserve my freedoms. At 34, that is one thing I wish I had done differently, I wish I had served in the armed forces. I currently serve all of you domestically as a fireman, and I am proud to do so.

I'm new to the military-type weapons world. I cut my teeth on a 1911, and that is my very good friend. I'm own a bushmaster, and I have a flat-top 16" bbl on the way. (drive faster FEDEX!) It seems to me the common concept is they will work well, for long periods, as long as you are very careful about keeping them clean. That is good to know, and thanks for sharing. I can't help but wonder if it is good common sense to ask a military to take a primary weapon into combat that requires constant attention to keep it running. I respect the platform, and even like it. It just seems to be a bit contrary to common sense since hot-zone conditions are not maintenance or repair friendly to anything.

Thanks again to all of you who have served.

March 12, 2009, 09:12 PM
15 months in Iraq not a single problem. I cleaned it after firing or once a week whichever came first.

LongRifles, Inc.
March 13, 2009, 11:57 AM
Just wondering for anyone over there, did you guys ever pick up and carry any ak variants?

When my buddy was there, he also carried a romanian dragunov


I've plinked with em. . .

March 13, 2009, 01:41 PM
I delt with the m16a2 from 98 to 02 with 3/5 kilo then went to brc and got and m4 for iraq. I had the same serial number rifle the whole time in 3/5 then a couple diff m4's they were mostly trouble free. my only complaint is penetration of walls in mout situations in theater. accuracy/reliability were grade a.

March 26, 2009, 01:04 PM
lots of awesome info. thanks troops. you guys are awesome.

March 26, 2009, 05:00 PM
I think this is an awesome thread.

March 26, 2009, 07:13 PM
If you have heard me here and on several other gun Forums in the last 10 years, I AM NOT A FAN OF THE AR15/M16-4 FAMILY of weapons for our troops.

I no longer march to the guns. I now fight the VA not the NVA.

I did carry a M14 and was there when the XM-16E1's were issued. Men I knew died and were hurt because of that rifle. I was one of the few of my era that wound up fighting in built up areas or what you guys call MOUT, in Hue. I still had my M14 but most of the guys with me had M15's. The 20 round magazines only handled 15-16 rounds reliably. When I was literally forced to use an M16 I had to carry a pair of slip joint pliers to bend the magazines square, often. Cleaning was never enough.

The M14 was heavy, and could carry about one third less ammo. But it was not as sensitive to dirt/sand/carbon. The cartridge worked very well almost all the time, not every time, but nothing works 100%. A lot higher percentage than the mouse round. And of course it was a fairly accurate rifle too. But most of all it was stone reliable. I don't remember seeing any one stop working and a jam was extremely rare. IN my two 13 month tours my M14 NEVER jammed even when I used it fully automatic which was rare. I kept my M14 very clean and lubed too. Changed my springs etc. regularly on both the M14 and later when the M16 was forced on me too.

The magazines were a major issue 42 years ago. One repeated theme is they still are. How long will it take?

Not enough rifle, again a repeated theme. Need for a more powerful cartridge is no longer a question of why, but when?

All weapons need to be cleaned. Some need it more than others. The Mattey Mattel family need it more than most. Why not choose one that needs less, or at least not more cleaning?

Col. Culver tells our story much better than I can. He has a lot more facts than I do. I was not in the Col's outfit, but our experiences were similar. I was attached to 3rd Herd at the same time he was there but different Battalions and companies.

Part I

Part II

I have no doubts about you fellows. You guys have done a fine job. Some of us "old timers" bitch about the new troops. I don't. I think you have done as well if not better than we ever could have. Thank you.

God Bless


Ignition Override
March 27, 2009, 12:49 AM
If veterans can somehow exclude issues of patriotism regarding American-made rifles, would any of you guys now prefer an AK or derivitive to be deployed in places where the dust is like talcum powder etc?

From only a perspective of machine functionality, which type can you bet your life on, if you had to lived in foxholes etc, as in some WW2 campaigns (i.e. the 101st/82nd at Bastogne)?

Coal Dragger
March 27, 2009, 02:04 AM
No I wouldn't want an AK over an AR in the conditions I was in, I'll take the increased hit potential and overall effectiveness as an acceptable trade off with increased need for cleaning.

March 27, 2009, 02:52 AM
I lived in foxholes pretty much my entire first tour during the invasion. Sometimes we would hold up in a house, but most nights it was in the dirt.

Even after we took Baghdad, my company stayed in a farm field behind some berms the engineers made us.

While I do agree the AK is a more robust rifle than the M16/M4, I have seen enough of them malfunction to know they are not the "never jams no matter what" rifle that its sometimes made out to be. Plus the sites suck for anything past 150 yards. The rifle itself is accurate enough for most engagements, but most of my fighting was at ranges over 100 meters and I did engage some insurgents at, map measured, a little over 400 one time.

I really cant think of a rifle I would rather have if I went back than a good M4. But I would load it with a heavier weight round like the M262.

March 27, 2009, 07:31 AM
Nothing wrong with the magazines nowadays....the problem is they wear out or they get dirty and NO ONE checks them. You wouldn't believe the looks on faces when I pull Marines mags out and inspect them and find cracks and/or dents in the feel lips....or the mag body is full of sand. Mags cost us about $6 ea. but it takes attention to detail to actually look at them and ensure they are serviceable.

I had no trouble in 14 months in Iraq with either of my M4's. One of mine I shot at least once a week for almost the whole time and never cleaned it and ran it "dry". It had about 1,000 rnds a month (maybe more) put through it with one stoppage due to a bad mag. Chucked the bad mag put a new one in and it ran like a top.

If you take care of them they will take care of you. On a side note I saw more AKs than M16s go down one day on the its possible for the mighty AK to have a bad day as well.

March 28, 2009, 06:27 PM
Infantry basic/AIT in '76, commissioned in '83, still serving in the Infantry. M16A2 in ODS had no problems whatsoever despite eating dust and dirt every day. M16A4 first tour in OIF and M4 second tour in OIF. No problems whatsoever other than some crappy mags, just had to find the good ones and throw away the crappy ones. SLP 2000 is the best for cleaning and lube for everything in the box, and is all I use now on my stuff in the mancave.

Had an Aimpoint on my M4 along with a surefire and PEQ/2a. Aimpoint was OK but I still prefer the EOTech I have on my AR at home. The Aimpoint can give you problems setting the dials and isn't as durable as the EOTech when you are bouncing around in an HMMWV.

Having said all that, I prefer 7.62 x 51mm in an M1A platform or the new HK 417 platform. Best of both worlds!

March 28, 2009, 06:34 PM
I carried an M4 with M203 underslung. The thing is too heavy. The military does not yet issue a front handle for the M203 and it really needs one. SO I guess most of my complaints revolve around the M203 and not the M4. The M4 performed exactly as expected and there were no issues. It is interesting that more countries are switching to 5.56. All this apocryphal evidence that it is not effective is a bunch of nonsense. Under the right (wrong) set of circumstances any round can prove ineffective.


We picked up tons (literally) of AKs and even shot a few of them on the range.


I know, I know everyone on this board sings their praises like they are the second coming of JMB but they jammed plenty and and always seemed to have issues. Like any auto rifle if you don't take care of it, it won't work when you need it. Save your mud filled AK video for somebody who hasn't seen thousands of them.

I think saw just about every variant of AK there is on my last tour to include gold, chrome and silver plated ones, shortys and just about every kind of butt stock there is.

Drugunov's we had a few of those. A little better quality and much more accurate than the AK. I would not have minded bringing one home if not for the whole "breaking the law and going to prison thing".

We found lots and lots of other guns including a lot of Stens, Glocks, and dozens of types of handguns made in all the ME nations. Never used any of it on patrol, was always happy with my M4/ 203 and M9.

March 28, 2009, 09:50 PM
In 15 months I had zero issues. Magazines require attention but with TLC no issues. It performed whenever I needed it to do it's job. For the rest of my Plt members as their PLT SGT I can attest to ZERO NMC issues with M4s or our CCOs M68's not included.

March 29, 2009, 12:05 AM
It performed whenever I needed it to do it's job. For the rest of my Plt members as their PLT SGT I can attest to ZERO NMC issues with M4s or our CCOs M68's not included.

This is a confusing sentence, for me. What exactly was not included, the CCO's M68's? Please excuse my ignorance but what does "NMC" mean, what is the acronym for.

Thank you.


Dan Crocker
March 29, 2009, 12:26 AM

March 29, 2009, 01:30 AM
M16A2, M4A1. No issues. Ever. They run if lubed wet, whether clean or dirty. Clean's better, of course, and I cleaned it, depending on the situation, every day. Constantly wiping dust away from it. Part of what you have to deal with in some conditions, no matter the weapon. Bought a handful of .50 muzzlecovers, and always had one on the rifle.

March 29, 2009, 01:37 AM
I'm trying to figure out how the heck I can tell an actual veteran from an AR-15 fanatic.

All I know is that Cody H. hasn't been to pleased with his. Until he gets back, I guess I won't know why.

March 29, 2009, 09:23 AM
Thank you for your service, dedication, and protection of our freedoms.
Great info on the M4 variant

March 29, 2009, 01:13 PM
No real issues with my M16 when I hit the 'Stan in '02. Just have to be religious with maintenance.

March 29, 2009, 11:37 PM
Again, I wasn't in the Sandbox in the latest unpleasantness, but I did carry an Romy AK in Somalia. It looked a lot like the first one, barrel up in LongRiflesInc's pic. According to the ToE, as a Radio Operator riding around w/ our PltSgt, I only rated a M9. Thankfully our Armorer liked me and got me the AK, and Mags. I stretched a ChiCom SportsBra to take 2 mags per pocket, and got a rigger to sew the straps so I could carry it around one shoulder.

Jeff White
March 30, 2009, 03:26 AM
Please excuse my ignorance but what does "NMC" mean, what is the acronym for.

Not Mission Capable...Army speak for broken...

March 30, 2009, 05:31 PM
I deployed in April 03 to Iraq just in time for the sand storms. As one of the previous posters stated, a quick wipe down shotgun-break-action style did wonders.

Supply lines were not set up so we used 90 weight gear oil on all our guns. It worked great in the heat. The only problem was that it collected dirt. We had to wipe them down daily anyway.

I still use an M-16 on the civilian side and still trust my life to it. A little PM goes a long way.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 19, 2009, 11:26 PM
Hmmmm, why is there not a choice #5:

"Fail: The rifle DID get me killed!!"

May 19, 2009, 11:47 PM
Unfortunately a round that would meet the needs won't fit in the above mentioned crappy M16 magazines or M16 magazine well.

i have the solution for a bigger round that will single stack in your standard ar magazines!! all u need is the upper.. i found one on rockriverarms..

oh yeah and i have an ar with 11.5 inch barrel and it hasnever had any problems besides the magazine..the one that causes the problem is a 40 rounder and the last round wont load the bolt stays back with an extra round in the mag thats the only problem ive had it is accurate too! i shot a 3 shot group today at about 50 yrd (backyard setup)shootin rapid fire nothing slow and paced out and put them basically right on eachother they were all touching.

May 19, 2009, 11:48 PM
very good never failed

May 20, 2009, 04:54 AM
Hey my old thread. Well lets see if we can get more info in it. Still waiting for the 2 guys who were nearly killed to speak up.

May 20, 2009, 05:13 AM
Navy Individual Augmentee here presently deployed to the Sandbox. I carry a Colt M4 carbine and a Beretta 92FS.

Disclaimer: Due to my job I'm mostly a FOBbit. I have been out on patrols and supply convoys but not often. I've not had to use my weapon in anger...yet.

The M4's only given me one issue and that was because the magazine I was using had issues. I turned it over to the armorer immediately thereafter and was issued a new one. (I obsessively clean my weapon on a daily or even twice daily basis time permitting).

The other thing I'm not too crazy about is the M68 Aimpoint they issued us. I find it too delicate and I'm not a fan of optics that need batteries to function optimally. I'd sooner carry an ACOG or similar scope.

An old teacher of mine from High School was an NCO who had an M16A2 fail to chamber a round under fire during the 1991 Gulf War.

Personally, while the M4/16 is maintenance intensive, I find it to be a good and versatile weapon system.

June 5, 2009, 12:31 AM
USMC Infantry, 0351/0311 squad leader. Mine worked well, it was always the crew-serves that had to be cleaned constantly.

F-Body Demon
April 15, 2010, 01:52 PM
I Carried a FN M16A4 with optic, it never let me down. But I was always cleaning it, maybe once every 4 or 5 days. It wasn't because I was motivated to do so as much as I was just bored out of my mind. But the in that amount of time the rifle would develop a coat of fine sand inside of it no matter what. Still like I said, it never let me down.

Maybe the bad wrap is coming from neglegent troops who don't care to clean their weapons. You would hear it from time to time at a clearing barrel when some guy would pull the operating handle back and it sounded like his weapon had sandpaper inside of it.

Oh yeah I never left CLP on my weapon anywhere either. If you did it only gave that moon dust something else to stick too.

John Parker
April 15, 2010, 02:18 PM
Just wondering for anyone over there, did you guys ever pick up and carry any ak variants?

I had a Chicom AKM that was excellent while in Iraq, and a very nice Russian AKM while in Afghanistan.

April 15, 2010, 02:39 PM
There was nothing wrong with the M-16A2 I had. The Pave Hawks and the enemy were the main problem for me

Tim the student
April 15, 2010, 04:54 PM
I went twice, both times in Diyala province for a total of 28 months. I shot my rifle in combat, and in training in Iraq. I had no issues with the rifle due to the rifle itself. I have had some malfunctions at ranges while testing new mags I got. Getting rid of the bad mags got rid of the problem. I knew it already, but it certainly reinforced that you need to test your gear, even if it is brand new.

Too little CLP is not good, and neither is too much. Too much CLP attracted a lot of talcum powder like dust into the rifle. Diyala is a mix of jungle-like huge palm groves, and the open desert you picture when you think of Iraq. Believe me, some places look like pictures of Vietnam.

We got Militech about half into my first tour, and I used that for most of my two tours. I like it. If I had to go back again, I would probably use that. Doesn't seem to protect at all against corrosion though.

A little PM goes a long way.
Very true. You take care of the rifle, and the rifle will take care of you. There is a reason weapons get cleaned before you do.


April 15, 2010, 11:43 PM
I had an M4 with an M68 primarily as a back up for my 240B while on rolling in an 1114 during patrols, but used it exculsively on foot partols and 24-48hr LP/OPs in Baghdad. My 240B had issues with the feedtray cover pin and would jam after about 40 rounds, then I used the M4 until things cooled down enough to fix the MG while under fire.

Later I bought a TAONSN1 ACOG and had it shipped to me. I had also changed the burst kit out for a regular fullauto trigger for use with my Beta mag. Belt fed MGs were in short supply, even repair parts, at the time. During one particularly heavy engagement one of my platoon's 240B was hit in the reciever with a 7.62x54 PK MG round, totally fubaring the gun. We ended up stripping several parts off of it to repair our other 240Bs, including the feedtray cover pin I needed. When we turned over our sector and stopped patroling, we had to turn in our belt fed MGs to a central depot in Taji with the promise we would recieve new MGs at our home station at a later date.

The primary problem with weapons jamming was due to NCOs not insuring the joes cleaned their weapons regularly, even though it only took a couple of minutes every other day. It situation finally came to a stop when the PL invited a reporter imbedded with our company to fire his gunner's 240B at a range. I knew the gunner never cleaned his MG and once had to use it for a mission when the PLs gunner wasn't available. I jammed after one round due to it's filithy condition. The reporter and the gunner couldn't get the MG running and ended up using my MG, embarracing the PL.

April 16, 2010, 01:25 AM
TW25b... loved it in the sandbox.

Only problem I ever had in the box was when I was issued a replacement rifle, Gulf war era Mattel m16-a2... broken handguards and the buffer spring retention nub thingy broke. Couldn't break my weapon open to clean it for a few days. Still fired great, but it was a failure waiting to happen. Had to supplement it with an underfolder AK we picked up until I could get an american replacement.

Wesson Smith
April 16, 2010, 03:05 AM
This type of thread is my absolute favorite here at THR. I could read these for hours on end, when our military folk share their experience and insight on combat weaponry. Thanks!

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