XM8 Again


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Spieler
November 11, 2003, 07:42 AM
From the Army Times

www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=0-ARMYPAPER-2349045.php

XM8 prototypes surpass M16, Army experts say

By Matthew Cox
Times staff writer

It looks like the first prototypes of what could be the Army’s next rifle already outclass anything in the M16 family.
At least that’s the analysis of Army weapons experts who recently traveled to Germany to check out the XM8.

“The performance was truly remarkable,” said Col. Michael Smith, the head of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, after a recent trip to Heckler & Koch Inc. to inspect the first prototypes of the 5.56mm assault weapon intended to give soldiers a more reliable alternative to the current M16A2 and M16A4 rifles and M4 carbine.

The 30 prototypes have been shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where they are slated to undergo testing under laboratory conditions in mid-November.

Soldiers are scheduled to lay their hands on the weapon some time in December, when the Army expects to receive another 170 prototypes.

If all goes well, the XM8 could be ready for fielding by late summer 2005.

The XM8, the Army experts say, is a true family of weapons with different barrel lengths designed to address all the needs of an infantry squad.

The standard model is expected to be lighter than the M4 carbine and no larger in size. There’s also a sharpshooter version for increased range; a compact version for cramped quarters; and an auto-rifle version for a squad-automatic weapon.

While months of testing lie ahead, Smith and his colleagues were pleased to find that one prototype has fired 15,000 rounds without a jam and without being cleaned.

While the XM8 was not exposed to battlefield conditions, it’s still a feat the current service rifle hasn’t come close to rivaling, said Rich Audette, deputy project manager for PM Soldier Weapons. “I was around for the M16A2 and M4 carbine [development], and I have never seen anything coming out of the box firing like this,” he said.

During their Oct. 20-23 trip to Germany, the weapons experts said they were impressed after watching Heckler & Koch engineers “fire four high-capacity magazines, with 100 rounds a piece, in less than five minutes,” Smith said. “It fired beautifully.”

Difference in weapons

This improved reliability can be credited to differences in the XM8’s operating system from the one in the M16, the Army officials said.

For instance, a thin gas tube runs almost the entire length of the barrel in all of the M16 variants. When the weapon is fired, the gases travel back down the tube into the chamber and push the bolt back to eject the shell casing and chamber a new round.

The XM8’s gas system instead is connected to a mechanical operating rod, which pushes back the bolt to eject the casing and chamber the new round each time the weapon is fired. So there’s no carbon residue constantly being blown back into the chamber, reducing the need to clean the weapon as often .

“What happens is you don’t get gases blowing back into the chamber that have contaminates in them,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Clarke, the head of Product Manager Individual Weapons.

The XM8 also has a much tighter seal between the bolt and the ejection port, which should cut down on the amount of debris that can blow into the weapon when the ejection port’s dust cover is open, Smith said.

The XM8 is part of the Army's effort to perfect an over-and-under style weapon, known as the XM29, developed by Alliant Techsystems and H&K. It fires special air-bursting projectiles and standard 5.56mm ammunition. But the XM29 still is too heavy and unwieldy for Army requirements.

Instead of scrapping the XM29, the Army decided to perfect each of XM29's components separately, so soldiers can take advantage of new technology sooner. The parts would be brought back together when lighter materials become available. The XM8 is one of those components.

Testing the equipment

From December through late May, soldiers will get a chance to fire the prototypes in desert, tropical and arctic environments.

A limited-user test then will be conducted, possibly at Fort Campbell, Ky., where soldiers will test the prototypes for about three weeks while training in offensive and defensive scenarios.

Improvements will be made based on soldier and test feedback before the final three-months of operational tests, which are scheduled to begin in fall 2004.

The final decision will be up to the Army’s senior leadership, but weapons officials said they were confident the XM8 weapon system will be adopted.

“With the introduction of any new weapon system, you have people that like it and people that don’t like it,” Smith said.

“What we have to do is demonstrate a capability that is better than the current weapon system, and we think we can do that.”

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MaterDei
November 11, 2003, 08:40 AM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=597493

MaterDei
November 11, 2003, 08:46 AM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=597501

natedog
November 11, 2003, 12:29 PM
(Holding breath, crossing fingers) What's the barrel lenght on the standard version?

Kaylee
November 11, 2003, 12:38 PM
(Holding breath, crossing fingers) What's the barrel lenght on the standard version?

If I recall correctly, in the neighborhood of 14" I remember for certain that the "sharpshooter" variant is 20" :rolleyes:

Might that not be so bad if they rechamber it to that 6.8-whatever they're working on for SOCOM?

-K

Kharn
November 11, 2003, 12:42 PM
Uhh, where's the bayonet going to attach?

Kharn

gun-fucious
November 11, 2003, 12:43 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=505505

Bigjake
November 11, 2003, 12:51 PM
thats one ugly-??? weapon... tell me , whatever was wrong with the good ol m-14??

Onslaught
November 11, 2003, 01:23 PM
I imagine that, barring catastrophic incident, this is all but a "done deal". I mean, H&K didn't just decide after all this time "Hey, lets build a manufacturing plant in the US" without some serious confidence that there would be profit in doing so...

The new plant (here in my hometown, right next door to Ft. Benning) has already broken ground and begun construction. The plant is supposed to be finished before June of next year.

Gosh I wish my work experience extended to computer assisted machining...! They are supposed to be hiring around 200 people with "specialized, highly technical, manufacturing experience".

Jeff White
November 11, 2003, 02:40 PM
Onslaught,
Sorry to disappoint you, but this is far from a done deal. The XM8 does nothing that the M16?M4 series doesn't already do. It gives us no additional capability at a huge cost.

Small arms development has reached a plateou. Until we come up with a breakthrough on the order of smokeless powder or fixed ammuniton there is no need to change. In fact to buy the XM8 would be foolish because it will take resources away from making the next big breakthrough.

There is a move throught the Army and in DOD to kill the XM8. I predict it will succeed.

Jeff

Willard
November 11, 2003, 03:07 PM
So basicaly they are going to adopt the G-36 with STANAG 5.56 (M-16) magazines. Hope they add a decent folding stock, although it looks like a retractable one, which would be smarter. Being able to adjust the length of pull for body armor/no body armor/ruck/no ruck shooting will be appreciated.

The darned thing better have a bolt hold open.

Of course they could just add gas pistons to the existing M-16's...remember the old "Rhino" gas system from the 1980's?

Blain
November 11, 2003, 07:58 PM
thats one ugly-??? weapon... tell me , whatever was wrong with the good ol m-14??


Amen to that, brother.


I mean they better at LEAST change the caliber from .223....

MAKOwner
November 11, 2003, 08:20 PM
Acutally I think the newest prototype looks fairly decent, looks better than a regular G36 IMO... From what I understand it's all G36 underneath though, I do question how big an improvement over the M16 family that is. Not sure it's worth that kind of dough just to ditch the direct impingment gas system on the M16 family, I mean it doesn't offer anything else does it?

Mark Tyson
November 11, 2003, 08:29 PM
Ye Gods - they should have adopted the FAL when they had the chance. There's some great FALs out there . . . And what's with remaining with the 5.56mm NATO when half of NATO is telling us to go get bent and the other half is ex Com-bloc nations who are on 5.45x39?

Destructo6
November 11, 2003, 09:47 PM
Well, how much are they spending on these? per unit?

If they're intent on replacing vast numbers of M16/M4s, and the price is similar/less why not switch?

Owen
November 11, 2003, 10:29 PM
Because the dual logistics problem to support two weapon systems over a multiyear changeover program will be a disaster.

owen

Destructo6
November 12, 2003, 12:06 AM
Because the dual logistics problem to support two weapon systems over a multiyear changeover program will be a disaster.
Like the M1903 to M1 transition? or the M1 to M14? or M14 to M16? They even use the same mags and ammo.

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 12:20 AM
Regardless of how you feel about the M16/M4 you need to write your congresscritter and ask them not to spend any more of your tax dollars on the XM8. The XM 8 really doesn't do anything for us that we're not already doing satisfactorily with the M16/M4. If you as an individual shooter decide you no longer like your AR15 and decide to replace it with an HK SL8 that's fine...it's your money. And for most people, it's not a big financial strain to make that change. It's a very different thing for an Army to change. By the time you figure HK's R&D costs, plus spare parts, training for armorers and support personnel, training aids, the costs of maintaing two completely different weapons systems with all the attendant logistics headaches for maybe 10 years while they field the XM8 throughout the entire force. (Owen already mentioned this but it's a good point) And yes I do mean 10 years or maybe longer. The Army adopted the M16A2 as ERC-A standard in 1985. We still have units in the reserve components that have M16A1s. So we're already past the 10 year mark and moving up on 20.

So what do we get with this large investment of scarce defense money? We get a rifle that does the same thing the current one does. Fires the same cartridge, Weighs about the same and is somewhat less ergonomic with the AK type mag release.

It's better to spend the money we would on fielding the XM8 on R&D for a weapon that truly gives us a greater capability then we already have. If it ain't broke, don't fix it means a lot right now.

Jeff

ShaiVong
November 12, 2003, 01:33 AM
Isnt the army allowed to catch "Iwannacoolgun" virus from time to time? :D

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 01:41 AM
Isnt the army allowed to catch "Iwannacoolgun" virus from time to time?:D

Sure, but we all pay for it everytime they do. Personally I have enough trouble paying for my own bouts with the Iwanncoolgun virus. I can't afford to let them have this cool gun, then ther won't be any money for the really cool gun when they make the big breakthrough...

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 12, 2003, 01:58 AM
Jeff:

The G36/M8 is the big breakthrough. There ain't gonna be anything else big for a LONG LONG time. I'd like the air-burst grenades to come on line, but that's not a rifle and never will be one. It's expensive, complex, delicate, and probably will remain that way for years to come. When you settle for what you got and hope for some great leap in technology, you are destined to relive the past and the many trials over the years to improve on the battle rifle. Let's not look for a quantum leap, let's look for a big step. The Glock was a big step and I believe that the M8 is also a big evolutionary step that sure as heck needs to be taken.

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 02:14 AM
The G36/M8 is the big breakthrough.

If that's the big breakthrough then we're in trouble. The XM8 is at least 50 year old technology. Just how long have we been building autos operated by gas pistons and operating rods? Heck the roller locked stuff that HK is abandoning is newer then the XM8s technology.

I think you are letting your personal distaste for our current weapons cloud your judgement. Just what is the big evolutionary step we're taking with the XM8? The use of polymers? The M16 pioneered that in the military.

I think the XM8 is a dead end on the road to a new family of weapons. Look back at all the money we put into the ACR program in the early 90s. What did we get out of that? The SOCOM stock for the M4 came from there. Seems like an awful lot of money for a buttstock. At least the ACR program played with different ideas (not good ones but different). All the XM8 is, is a G36 with plastic furniture to make it look like a ray gun of some type. It shoots the same 5.56mm ammuntion we currently use and it's AK style mag release is less ergonomic then what we have. Think of what we could do in the training side with the money we're spending on the XM8.

Until we get into energy weapons, the big breakthrough in military small arms is most likely going to be in targeting and sighting. The XM8 will very likely eat into money for those programs as we field it. It's happened every time.

Jeff

Lancel
November 12, 2003, 02:57 AM
Lessons learned but forgotten:
The open slots of the flash suppressor will catch on the bushes like the original M-16's.

Ideally the flash suppressor will get replaced when the bayonet lug is installed.

Larry

Badger Arms
November 12, 2003, 03:03 AM
The XM8 is at least 50 year old technology.Actually, the XM-8 is newer than that. The bolt and gas system are borrowed from the AR-18 (actually, an Armalite patent not used in the AR-18) with a little innovation in the expending of waste gas through the front and through the use of AR-15 style gas rings in the piston. Combine that with a Glock style utilization of polymer in the receiver, modern optics, and advanced construction materials and techniques, and a truly innovative charging handle. What you end up with is a gun that is STATE OF THE ART!

You mention roller locking? While it's an alternative, it was abandoned not because HK was stupid, but because it is inferior to their new gas system on many fronts. There were a few other 'advanced technology' locking systems that still fell by the wayside. Let's see, there's the funky G11 caseless system, the Ross Rudd delayed blowback system, the FAMAS lever delayed blowback system, and the piston-around-the-barrel Czech system. Calling those advanced is true, but that's like saying you've built a better mousetrap. Prove it!

HK took some very good ideas, some of them new, and assembled them into quite the carbine. Jeff, it's the best thing going. That's my opinion and no, I'm not tainted by my dislike of the AR-15. I own a few AR types and love them, I just don’t think it’s the best thing going. Heck, I own a 1911 also, but I'd probably not arm the Infantry with it these days.

The ACR trials were the latest in a long line of programs with grandiose ideas that fizzled. They fizzled because they presumed that some great leap in technology was just around the corner. It wasn't. Infantry rifles needed to evolve, they didn't need to be conjured up in some boiling cauldron. Let's list a few of the programs: SCHV, AGILE, SAWS, SPIW, ACR, etc. Did I miss any? You brought the ACR up, but that proves my point... there's not going to be any revolution in firearms design in the foreseeable future?

The question here is a philosophical one. True, most of the XM8 technology is tested, proven, and sound. So what's the problem with that? What is there better on the market? Where's the golden gun? We bought the M-16 on a 'One-Time Buy' when we were SURE that some wonderful magical ray gun was just around the corner. Two weapons (Armalite AR-18 and Stoner 63) appeared on the scene at about the same time that WERE better but since we were already invested in the M-16, it was too costly to rearm. Bah! That was 1968 and 35 years later, we've already replaced the M-16 TWICE OVER. Yet some still stand by their position that the ray gun is just around the corner. Well, history says that there ain't no ray gun and there ain't gonna be no ray gun. There are major advances still to come, but when you show me a ray gun, I'll buy it. I don't see it and I don't plan on seeing it for a while. I don't replace my 1978 Accord with another new 1978 Accord because I have a few air filters lying around and it fits in my garage. I look for the best and most reliable technology made today. The Army is driving 1957 Chevy's around. Why not buy a 2004 Model?

In the end, there is the argument of 'if it works, don't fix it.' While some say that I have an "IWANNACOOLGUN" virus or that I hate the M-16, they are ignoring the flaws in their own logic that prevent them from seeing a gun that might be 25% better because they are waiting for one that's 200% better. Keep waiting, I'd like to move on myself.

Lancel
November 12, 2003, 03:05 AM
How might a change-over effect the Civilian Marksmanship Program?

After all, the weapons that would become surplus aren't really fully automatic. They just have a little three round burst.
;)
Larry

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 03:58 AM
Blain said;
I mean they better at LEAST change the caliber from .223....

The caliber never was .223. :D

Badger Arms;
So it's state of the art. What does it do different or better then the weapons we already have? Face it, you're talking about change for the sake of change. As I said in my earlier post, that's fine for an individual. It can have great and unforeseen consequences when you change the army for the sake of change.

HK brags that it has gone 24K rounds without cleaning. Do you think that the army is going to tell soldiers not to clean their weapons? No, they tried that once when they rushed the M16 into service in Vietnam without cleaning kits. Let the 24K rounds between cleaning thing get started among the troops and you'll have problems of the magnitude you had in the mid '60s with the XM16E1.

You're right we have invested in the M16 series twice over maybe more then that. And our 40 year investment has given us a small arms system that meets all of our needs. The M4 and M16 A2 and A4 will meet the needs of the service with as big a commonality of parts that the XM8 proponents are claiming the XM8 gives us.

We already have institutional knowledge of the system. We have a logistics system in place to support it. We have millions of MILES transmitters that may or may not work with the XM8.

I'm sure it's a fine weapon, but I don't think it would be a prudent way to spend our defense dollars.

Have you seen this thread in the Infantry School forum on the XM8?
http://www.infantry.army.mil/infforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=456

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 12, 2003, 04:31 AM
Let's say we want a million of the guns. What is the cost, really? Well, let's say that it costs about $2,000 for each gun when you include accessories, spares, training aids, racks, tooling, and armory support changes. What we end up with is $2 billion for a million of the things and the infrastructure. Training? Well, we already spend the money on training so it's just different training.

Jeff:

It seems you misinterpret the point of the argument when they say the gun will go tens of thousands of rounds without cleaning. The point is, if you are Jessical Lynch's buddy and you actually have the chance to fire a weapon, you might want that weapon to go off. If it can go that long without cleaning, you might think it would be more likely to get through a magazine without jamming. It's not that they don't want the troops to clean their weapons, just that their lives won't depend on whether or not the enemy has let them clean them!

Two billion dollars is a drop in the bucket in the overall federal budget. It compares to me forking out twenty bucks for a nice meal at a nice eat-in joint. Let's see, that's ten F/A-22 Raptors.

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 05:10 AM
It seems you misinterpret the point of the argument when they say the gun will go tens of thousands of rounds without cleaning. The point is, if you are Jessical Lynch's buddy and you actually have the chance to fire a weapon, you might want that weapon to go off. If it can go that long without cleaning, you might think it would be more likely to get through a magazine without jamming.

So because the NCOs in one CSS unit in the Army are unable to enforce the standards you think we need to spend 2 billion dollars to fix the problem? Can you guarantee the XM8 would have functioned? No, because we don't know what the conditions were. But based on the fact that the AARs from that ill fated action say that all of the small arms in the 507th malfunctioned. Should we replace all of them?

Can you show me some documented M16/M4 failures from the combat arms units?

Put enough talcum powder sand into any weapon including an XM8 and it will malfunction. If I were in that firefight, my weapon would have worked because it would have been clean and wrapped in something to keep all that fine sand out of it.

I think your cost per weapon estimate is low. I think we'll be close to $2000 for the basic weapon and maybe twice that amount for all the add ons, at least for the first couple contracts. 2 billion may only be 10 unneeded F22s, but that's big money to Army aquisition. What would you cancel to pay for the new rifles? The A3 Bradley upgrade? Digital communications throughout the rest of the Army? AFATADS fire control system throughout the artillery community? Intercepter body armor and the TC2000 MICH helmet throughout the force? Wouldn't it be more prudent to spend the 2 billion on some of these programs and not fix rifles that aren't broken?

It's not that the XM8 isn't a good rifle. It probably is, but the Army has more pressing needs.

Jeff

Destructo6
November 12, 2003, 12:53 PM
Just how long have we been building autos operated by gas pistons and operating rods?
While true, an Aston Martin DB7 is quite an advance over a Ford Model A.

Badger Arms
November 12, 2003, 01:21 PM
Just how long have we been building autos operated by gas pistons and operating rods?Didn't catch that statement earlier, Jeff. Why do we build cars the way we do? We build cars with, get this, gas pistons which have gas rings and exhaust not into the crankcase but through a separate exhaust away from the operating mechanism. Cars are NOT built with gas rods that carry and cool gasses from the cylinder off to operate the crankshaft venting their excess gasses somewhere into the inner workings of the car.It's not that the XM8 isn't a good rifle. It probably is, but the Army has more pressing needs.You fell into two fallacy's here. The first is the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" one that I even warned you about earlier. The second is one we keep hearing from Congress. That in order to pay for one thing, they have to cut another. Well, let's see, why not cut funding to unnecessary organizations like HHS and the Judicial branch! Truth is, we don't have to cut the budget from the Army and never have had to. They give 50,000 to kids to join, why not give them 42,000 and buy them all a proper gun?

Bartholomew Roberts
November 12, 2003, 01:44 PM
Quick question - where are the rails? Everything in NATO attaches via rails these days including pretty much all of our current night vision, vertical grips, etc.

Are we going to replace all of that as well in order to reap the benefits of a 30rd 5.56mm assault rifle (I mean the NEW 5.56mm assault rifle)?

Zak Smith
November 12, 2003, 01:56 PM
Is the XM8 modular enough?

So many of the rifles I see pictures of from Iraq have al sorts of "stuff" hanging off them, from the rails on the float tube. Optics mounting like you see on the SPR does not seem possible with the upper receiver configuration (and charging handle) on the XM8.

Bart Noir
November 12, 2003, 04:05 PM
Agree, the AK-47 release is less ergonomic. But the actual photo of the XM-8 has an M-16 magazine and no sign of the AK style mag release. After all, how can you use M-16 mags in a gun that has the AK release. Only the models shown have the AK release, and they appear to have the G36 magazine. And nobody has commented on that nice pinky color.

Bart Noir
If it's pink will they lick it clean?

Rupestris
November 12, 2003, 04:12 PM
at least they got rid of that hogs foot grip. It fits the pink one though:D

Destructo6
November 12, 2003, 04:58 PM
After all, how can you use M-16 mags in a gun that has the AK release.
The HK G3/MP5/HK33 have an M16-like push-button and an AK-like paddle. The paddle operates the push-button. IMO, something like that would be a great improvement.

CleverNickname
November 12, 2003, 07:51 PM
After all, the weapons that would become surplus aren't really fully automatic. They just have a little three round burst.

Legally, 3rd burst is the same as fully-auto.

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 08:27 PM
Badger Arms,
IIRC your military background is Air Force. The Army has never had the funding the Air Force gets. And it never will. I hate to tell you this, but I think you're living in dreamland if you really believe that congress will cut social programs to buy us a cool new HK rifle. It won't happen and I think you know that it won't happen. Even the Bush administraion is proposing more, not less doemstic spending.


I don't see how if it ain't broke, don't fix it is a fallacy. To me change for the sake of change is the fallacy. You have yet to tell me one thing the XM8 gives us that we don't already have.

To make a significant investment in a new rifle now, almost guarantees that we will have a hard time getting congress to buy us a new one when the big breakthrough occurs.

Haven't you wondered about the timing of the XM8? Is it a coincidence that all of a sudden the XM8 existed as soon as the XM29 OICW was shelved? Could it be because HK has been unsuccessful selling the G36 to any Army but the German army? The whole XM8 idea is nothing more then HK attempting to make up for the loss of the contract for the kinetic energy portion of the XM29.

BTW, our soldiers have had a proper weapon for the past 40 years. Is that the bias you say you don't have against the M16 showing through ;)

Jeff

Destructo6
November 12, 2003, 08:46 PM
Haven't you wondered about the timing of the XM8? Is it a coincidence that all of a sudden the XM8 existed as soon as the XM29 OICW was shelved? Could it be because HK has been unsuccessful selling the G36 to any Army but the German army?
Spain and Portugal also use the G36. Perhaps the UK will follow suite as they look for something to replace the L85.

No coincidence. My understanding is that the XM8 will be adopted so that there would be parts compatibility between the standard issue rifle and the XM29, since the lower part is actually a modified G36. It's not that HK is pushing it becuse of lost revenue. And I hadn't heard that the XM29 had been yanked entirely.

Jeff White
November 12, 2003, 09:16 PM
Destructo6,
The XM29 is dead. It's back to the drawing board for the program. I have that direct from a source in the small arms branch of Directorate of Combat Developments at the Infantry School. No one ever heard of the XM8 until after the XM29 was killed.

The Brits are sticking with the L85A2. I'm not sure that's a good idea, but I'm only concerned that our army makes the right decision. There may have been a case for the XM8 to complement the XM29 but it was a weak one at best. With the XM29 a dead issue, there is no need to consider the XM8. We have a couple million in SEP (Soldier Enhancement Program) Funds already programmed in the 2004 budget that just passed to further enhance the M16/M4 system. We already field the rifle/carbine that is the standard for the rest of the world. The XM8 is a step backwards. Spain and Portugal aren't exactly world powers. Guatemala bought the Galil several years ago, but that didn't make it the premier military rifle in the world.

Rumor has it that the Royal Australian Army has signed a contract with Bushmaster for 30,000 M4 type (they can't be M4s because Colts has patented some of the M4 features) carbines. Diamaco is selling C7 and C8 rifles all over the world.

No XM8 proponent has yet told me exactly what we gain by adopting it. Convince me that it is better then what we have. The fact that the M16 design is still outselling the G36 speaks for itself...

Jeff

Number 6
November 12, 2003, 10:46 PM
Military and public financing are immensely complex issues. It is not only the cost and the need for a particular weapon system that drive the development of some weapon systems. When I did my undergraduate work in more than one of my classes we spent a considerable amount of time discussing military financing. A lot of the time the military is given funding that they do not need or want. Take for instance the Sea Wolf submarine. What possible use is this in a world where only one nation can feasibly field a modern fleet of submarines? Essentially there is no use for this submarine other than providing jobs for those who build them. The reason for this is partly because of the political nature of the federal budget. Congressmen democrat and republican alike fight for funding on projects that benefit their constituency. Also there are times when funding is given due to those who are developing the project since those developers have political sway. There are also times when projects are funded only so that those in power can say they support defense. I am not that aware of the development of the XM8 but it very well might be the case that such political motivations are driving its development. In some economic circles these military projects are seen as a form of subsidy. Just something to keep in mind when considering the financing of military projects.

Secondly the way it looks to me is what we are seeing are prototypes and are not the final product. There are many refinements in looks, ergonomics, and functionality that could be made if it’s approved for fielding. Remember how funky the G11 or the CAWS look or how about the Steyr ACR?

gun-fucious
November 13, 2003, 12:36 AM
with their new blue camo uniforms and XM-8s
the airforce is ready for Starship Troopers!

heres the proposed XM-8 family:

natedog
November 13, 2003, 12:42 AM
"THe army is considering a wide array of colors..."

The XM8 is like, totally FABulous!

Lancel
November 13, 2003, 12:45 AM
CleverNickname
Legally, 3rd burst is the same as fully-auto.
:)I was joking but thanks for clarifying for those who don't know.

However if the XM-8 does get approved, it would be nice if all those surplus M-16's and M-4's were disposed of in non-destructive manner.

Maybe we could convince congress that it's cost effective to de-mil only the burst mechanism or perhaps at least to sell the uppers through CMP or DRMO.

Larry

Jeff White
November 13, 2003, 01:37 AM
Number 6,
You are absolutely correct in how procurement works. HK knows it too, hence the Columbus GA plant well in advance of any contract. The Army neither wants or needs the XM8. But throw some medium paying jobs in an economically depressed area and you're sure to get local politicians and the Georgia congressional delegation behind you. That's exactly what's going on here. the needs of the soldier don't figure into it at all.

Jeff

PeteyPete
November 13, 2003, 01:41 AM
I'm surprised they aren't going w/ some bullpup design..that seems to be the way many militaries are going today.

Badger Arms
November 13, 2003, 01:49 AM
No XM8 proponent has yet told me exactly what we gain by adopting it.We gain a more reliable weapon that requires less maintenance. It's potentially less expensive (but we don't get a price tag without an invitation to bid!) and soldiers that have handled it LIKE IT. It also lacks the M-16's four major weaknesses: the buffer system which telescopes far to the rear of the operating mechanism, the gas system which deposits carbon all over the working parts of the gun, the close fit of the bolt in the receiver, and the expensive aluminum receiver.

Nobody who is a proponent of the M-16 can tell me what we'd lose if we went with the XM-8. Don't feed me the money line, you know we're already in the process of replacing the M-16 for a second time... third time in some cases. The fact is we already replace the M-16 and any weapon system not designed by John Browning :D periodically. The Garands wore out, the M-14's would have worn out, the M-16 and M-16A1's wore out, and now the M-16A2's are wearing out. The question is, since we're footing the bill anyways, do we really want the M-16A451E15 or can we buy something that will potentially work better?

Let's back up a little. What's wrong with buying, say 200 of them and sending them to Aberdeen. Then we'll let the Army abuse team beat the living crap out of them side-by-side with the M-4, the M-16A3, and anybody else who wants their guns tested for free. Wait... we're already doing that! Cool. Let the best weapon win.

Jeff White
November 13, 2003, 04:01 AM
It also lacks the M-16's four major weaknesses: the buffer system which telescopes far to the rear of the operating mechanism, the gas system which deposits carbon all over the working parts of the gun, the close fit of the bolt in the receiver, and the expensive aluminum receiver.

This is all a matter of perception. Funny how those four major weaknesses haven't stopped those soldiers who can have any weapon they choose (the Special Operations Forces of the world) from choosing the M16/M4 over everything else out there. Of course what would those highly trained operators know? :rolleyes:

Nobody who is a proponent of the M-16 can tell me what we'd lose if we went with the XM-8.

What about the 40 years of institutional knowledge we have with the M16. I suppose HK is going to provide that as an add on to the contract :rolleyes: . No new weapon (or any other piece of equipment for that matter) is fielded without a lot of growing pains. How many changes were made to the M1? The M14 was never perfected. The M16 had it's growing pains. But the M16 is now at the height of it's development. The XM8 is just starting out on that road and it doesn't give us anything we don't already have. So why go there? Why trade a proven system for one that is unproven, but even if it is all they say it is, does the exact same job with the exact same cartridge? What have we gained. You haven't proven to me that the M16 in it's current form is unreliable. I have just a little bit of experience with them after nearly 29 years in the Army. 22 of that in the Infantry.

Don't feed me the money line, you know we're already in the process of replacing the M-16 for a second time...

I wasn't aware of that. We may have upgraded the M16, more then once but we hardly wore them out. Small arms are gaged semi-annually in the regular army and bi-annually in the reserve components and before any overseas deployment. There are 10s of thousands of M16A1s ion the inventory that are still serviceable and that I'd carry into battle any time. You don't really think we just wear them out and throw them away do you?

The fact that we are fielding the M16A4 in some units while others still have the M16A1 should be a reason right there to stop this XM8 nonsense. We'll end up with as many service weapons in the system as we used to have handguns. You'll have units with the XM8, units with different versions of the M16 to include A1s that require the stocking of M193 and M196 ammunition. What a logistal nightmare. The army isn't a big special forces unit that can use the arms room concept at company level in line units. The logistic system has to be able to support the equipment we have. Adding another rifle that doesn't give us any more capability then we already have into the mix is just stupid. What it does, is it guarantees that some units will be non-deployable because we won't have upgraded them yet.

I'm sorry, but HK claims of increased reliability don't impress me. The weapons we have are plenty reliable. Give me a new rifle that does more then the current one and I'll beg congress to fund it. I have already written my representatives asking them to kill funding of this program. I have a meeting with my congressman scheduled during the holiday recess to discuss this very issue.

I have to feed you the money line, because that's what it's all about. Selection of military small arms isn't in the relm of hobbyists, it's serious business. As a taxpayer you should understand that. Perhaps you like the XM8 so much you'd be willing to raise your taxes a percent or two to pay for it? Me, I pay too much in taxes now, and I like to see value for my money whenever possible.

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 13, 2003, 04:48 AM
Jeff, we'll just have to disagree on this and I'll say Uncle. You seem to save a hatred for H&K that I cannot overcome and perhaps I have a hatred for the M-16 design that cannot be overcome. I don't think that we've had 40 years of consatant improvement, we've had 40 years of bandaids to an essentially flawed design. Design hard enough and you'd surely be able to make a brick into a serviceable rifle, but that doesn't mean a brick should be a rifle. Case-in-point is the simple fact that Stoner himself questioned why no further development was given to his round and rifle. He wasn't selling a refined weapon, he was selling a design. He'd wholeheartedly expected the Army to spend a few years developing it as they had with the Garand and SHOULD HAVE DONE with the outstanding M-14.

Deadman
November 13, 2003, 06:54 AM
Rumor has it that the Royal Australian Army has signed a contract with Bushmaster for 30,000 M4 type (they can't be M4s because Colts has patented some of the M4 features) carbines.


As an Australian Army Reservist, I'd like to ask you to please elaborate on that statement.

Jeff White
November 13, 2003, 12:34 PM
Badger Arms,
We can agree to disagree. ;) I don't hate the HK, just don't see where it's an imrovement over what we have. I do have a lot of personal experience with the M16 though. I have no problems with taking it into harms way.

Don't even get me started on the M14 :D, Dr. Carten and some luddites in the Ordnance Dept. took the free world down a 20 year dead end road with the M14. We can debate small arms procurement all day and no one will change the other's mind.

Deadman, I heard about the Bushmaster deal here:
http://lightfighter.net/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=7336015661&f=7206084761&m=6396097073

Jeff

George Hill
November 14, 2003, 01:50 AM
I'll take one in .300 Whisper, thanks.

Schuey2002
November 14, 2003, 02:06 AM
Put me down for one in .308 Winny..

My SL8 needs something else plastic to keep it company in my safe.. :uhoh:

Andrew Wyatt
November 14, 2003, 02:29 AM
We gain a more reliable weapon that requires less maintenance. It's potentially less expensive (but we don't get a price tag without an invitation to bid!) and soldiers that have handled it LIKE IT. It also lacks the M-16's four major weaknesses: the buffer system which telescopes far to the rear of the operating mechanism, the gas system which deposits carbon all over the working parts of the gun, the close fit of the bolt in the receiver, and the expensive aluminum receiver.

1. the reliability has yet to be proven in any combat zone.

2. the m-16 has already been paid for, and it's not less expensive than a PIP kit.

3. the buffer is not a discernable weakness and is in fact an asset, as there are no springs flying all over the place when the gun is dissassembled.

4. real dang fixable, and not much of a problem anyway.

5. a looser fitting bolt would cause functioning problems (I think) and allow cases to get stuck in odd places.

6. the reciever's already paid for.

Badger Arms
November 14, 2003, 03:22 AM
3. the buffer is not a discernable weakness and is in fact an asset, as there are no springs flying all over the place when the gun is dissassembled.Well, I'll have to put my statement in context. The buffer IS a liability only for the reason the Army WILL buy the XM-8. The Buffer prevents the rifle from mounting underneath a magazine-fed semi-automatic grenade launcher. That, my fellow gun nut, is the the only reason that the XM-8 will have a chance in the face of arguments put forth in this thread. Most of them are legitemate arguments... strange how the placement of the buffer in the stock might doom the M-16...

Remember, the whole reason for adoption of the XM-8 is not the replacement of the M-16. That's just a side benefit! ;) The stated reason for its adoption is to develop and improve the separate components of the XM-29 CONCEPT piece by piece. I'd imagine that a separate, stand-alone grenade launcher will be put out for bid and H&K will jump in with their own improved version of the XM-29 development grenade launcher. I seriously doubt they'll just mark time while the XM-8 is tested and procured.

mattd
November 14, 2003, 06:22 AM
Do soldiers deserve to die because they don't clean their weapon everyday? No doubt there will be lives saved if we had a better weapon.

To be a almost very good weapon it needs to have picatinny rails and a m-16 style mag release.

max popenker
November 14, 2003, 08:14 AM
To be a almost very good weapon it needs to have picatinny rails and a m-16 style mag release.

honestly, i see no advantages in M16 (actually MP40 :cool: ) style mag release, other than increasing chances of magazine losing when gun is bumped sideways against something...

i grew up with AK-style mag release, and it is natural and quite positive. As far as i know, it is unwise to use M16 magazine as a support when shooting... with AK-47 you can use magazine as a support no problem; you can even use a magazine to hit enemy in hand-to-hand combat (crowd control, for example) and it still be able to fedd your gun. It's just a matter of what you used to... and i strongly believe that magazine unit is not a strongest point of a whole AR15/M16 family

Jeff White
November 14, 2003, 09:43 AM
Actually, I don't think you'll see another over/under weapon like the M16/M203 or it's ill fated would be successor, the XM29. They are currently looking at a stand alone grenade launcher. Development is moving towards munitions (probably not 40mm) that will give the grenadier a close in capability.

I'd imagine that a separate, stand-alone grenade launcher will be put out for bid and H&K will jump in with their own improved version of the XM-29 development grenade launcher. I seriously doubt they'll just mark time while the XM-8 is tested and procured.

HK had nothing to do with the grenade launcher portion of the XM29. If we develop and field a stand alone grenade launcher, there will be no reason to mess with the XM8. The rifle we use won't be a component of anything. Another nail in the XM8's coffin lid. :D HK can head on back to Oberndorf (SP?) and dream of the days when they made a weapon that was a commercial success. Too bad 5.56mm carbines are replacing submachine guns...Oh well maybe someday they will produce a weapon they can get an army to adopt ;)

Max, you can use the M16 magazine as a monopod. It works fine. It's an od wives tale about it causing malfunctions. As for using the magazine as a riot control weapon, we have much better things for that.

There is no way the flapper type mag release that's on an AK is as ergonomic as the pushbutton on an M16. It's one motion to insert/extract the magazine from an M16, you don't have to rock it like an AK. Speed and tac reloads are much easier to do with an M16.

max popenker
November 14, 2003, 10:06 AM
HK had nothing to do with the grenade launcher portion of the XM29.
yeah? as far as i know, the H-K develops BOTH kinetic (5.56) and HE (GL) parts of XM29, so, the new 25mm XM25 will be just a scale-up of the HK's XM29 KE component plus separate stock. The ATK is responsible for fire controls, ammunition and overall integration. The new single-shot 40mm GL, which is planned to go along with XM8, the XM320, also is no more than a product improved HK AG36...

let's face it - US small arms industry lost this round. see how it will be in the future...

Jeff White
November 14, 2003, 11:40 AM
Max,
Funny how the only people who think the US firearms industry lost this round are people with a vested interest in it losing and some American hobbyists.

The US Army Infantry School, who will ultimately make the decision has already killed the XM29 and will kill the XM8 for the reasons we've discussed here. there is no love for wither of these weapons among real soldiers.

Jeff

Destructo6
November 14, 2003, 01:04 PM
the US firearms industry lost this round
FN Manufacturing?

The G36 can mount the AG36 grenade launcher, which can be removed and used separately. IIRC, the AG36 can be mounted on the M16 series.

I'd have to agree with Max regarding the magazine release. I find the paddle style to be quick and easy on the magazines. Again, the G3 style paddle and button would be great, since you could do it either way.

Badger Arms
November 14, 2003, 02:33 PM
there is no love for wither of these weapons among real soldiersOf course you know I'm going to ask you to defend this statement. I have no doubt that you're a real soldier. Arthritis has grounded me, but I still know a good thing when I see it. You mean to tell me that my 13-year-old son woundn't like a weapon he can point at a target, adjust some little buttons, and then shoot beside and behind a barricaded enemy to kill him? Heck, I've known computer geeks that spend weeks trying to write code to allow their shoot-em-up games to cheat that way! We're not talking Rambo here, Dexter is more likely to join the Army and he's kicking butt in Iraq right now! (well, maybe I spent too long recruiting in Seattle)

Other evidence that the XM-8 is not a pipe dream: H&K is BUILDING a plant in Georgia. Well, GOOoooOOOOl, you think they'll put Georgians out of work? True, I'd love to personally put the death-nail in the M-16's coffin. Even you must know that the XM-8 probably has what it takes to do this.

It's interesting to follow the logic both here and on the thread you linked me to, Jeff. The logic is old and I've heard it before. It was the same logic that proponents of the M-14 (or something better) used to say they didn't want the XM-16. Well, I agree that the XM-16 could have matured into a fine weapon had it not been standardized in prototype form.

One final note while I'm up on this soapbox. Why did the guns in Kelly Flynn, uh, I mean Jessica Lynch's unit jam? Dust? What did the dust do? It got into the action of the gun I'd imagine. How? Well, maybe the ejectioni port cover was open, maybe between receiver halves, up through the trigger opening, through the gas tube hole, from the magazine well, who knows! How much room is there for that 'byproduct of combat' to move around inside the confines of an M-16 rifle? Not much. While I don't think that the AK is the best thing since sliced bread, I do think that clearance is an important thing in a combat arm.

I'll say it so you don't have to... This is IN SPITE of the fact that thousands of soldiers have had no problem whatsoever with the Black Rifle.

Andrew Wyatt
November 14, 2003, 03:58 PM
badger: check out the lightfighter forums and the army infantry school forums. Neither one of those places have any love for the XM29. I've heard reports about the G36 not being all it's cracked up to be, as well. mostly stuff like the optics fogging and the busttstock cracking.

Destructo6
November 14, 2003, 05:23 PM
I've heard reports about the G36 not being all it's cracked up to be, as well. mostly stuff like the optics fogging and the busttstock cracking.
The fogging can be addressed either by using impoved optics in the carry handle or replacing the carry handle with a rail and using SOPMOD optics.

The XM8 appears to use a completely different buttstock assembly. Perhaps they could duplicate the G36 version, but solid rather than skeletonized.

Anyway, these are minor problems that would and should be addressed during trials.

Andrew Wyatt
November 14, 2003, 06:09 PM
Anyway, these are minor problems that would and should be addressed during trials.

problems the m-16 doesn't have.

TX65
November 14, 2003, 06:35 PM
H&K is building a plant in Georgia for multiple reasons.

1. While we often hear politicians complain that companies are taking manufacturering jobs and moving them to Mexico and Asia. H&K is another example of a european company building a plant in the USA to achieve labor and benefit cost savings (how would you like to pay for employees getting 6-8 weeks paid time off). Other european companies that have taken this step include BMW and Mercedes.

2. Given some of the US firearms laws that have been passed, H&K has been at a disadvantage trying to sell products in US. Think of how many H&K products can no longer be sold in the US after the 1994 Crime Bill. It is ok for some US maker to make H&K clones, but not for the real manufacturer to import them. As such, H&K, building a US manufacturing plant, will be able to make and sell products that cannot be imported.

3. The USA is the largest single firearms market in the world. Yes, the military is largest single user of firearms, but us civilians buy large numbers of firearms for hunting and target shooting. H&K would be foolish not to better position themselves for this market.

4. Of course, then there is the opportunity presented by possible military contracts whether it be for USP handguns, the XM8 or whatever may come down the road.

Jeff White
November 14, 2003, 09:25 PM
Badger Arms said,

It's interesting to follow the logic both here and on the thread you linked me to, Jeff. The logic is old and I've heard it before. It was the same logic that proponents of the M-14 (or something better) used to say they didn't want the XM-16. Well, I agree that the XM-16 could have matured into a fine weapon had it not been standardized in prototype form.

The big difference is that the AR15 (wasn't XM16 till the XM16E1) was many things that the M14 wasn't. The AR15 gave us controllable selective fire, something that no so called main battle rifle is capable of. The AR15 gave us a lighter weapon that allowed our soldiers to carry more ammunition and other gear. The AR15 gave us a round that has better terminal effects on the enemy then M80 ball does. The better terminal effects were a fortunate accident, as no one knew much about wound ballistics then.

The XM8 gives us none of these. The XM8 gives us everything we already have in a different package. That's why those arguments are valid when we stack the XM8 up against the M16.

Why did the guns in Kelly Flynn, uh, I mean Jessica Lynch's unit jam? Dust? What did the dust do? It got into the action of the gun I'd imagine. How? Well, maybe the ejectioni port cover was open, maybe between receiver halves, up through the trigger opening, through the gas tube hole, from the magazine well, who knows! How much room is there for that 'byproduct of combat' to move around inside the confines of an M-16 rifle? Not much. While I don't think that the AK is the best thing since sliced bread, I do think that clearance is an important thing in a combat arm.

Well where did the dust get into the M249s, M60s and M2s that jammed from? The 507th Maintence Company experienced failure in all of their small arms. The thing is no weapon, be it an M16, AKM, Galil, G36, M2, M1911, M1 etc. will function when its packed full of dust. The army issues a nice plastic bag to keep weapons in in those conditions, plus there are plenty of field expediants out there. Take a look at the history books. You'll find pistures of our soldiers with their M1s wrapped up in North Africa in WWII.

Do you expect me to believe that the XM8 would have stood up to those same conditions and continued to function?

I'm saving the best for last ;)

You mean to tell me that my 13-year-old son woundn't like a weapon he can point at a target, adjust some little buttons, and then shoot beside and behind a barricaded enemy to kill him? Heck, I've known computer geeks that spend weeks trying to write code to allow their shoot-em-up games to cheat that way!

That's where we are going. But the technology is not there yet. Do you really think that if we buy the XM8 now, we'll have the money to re-equip the force when this new technology is perfected? Small arms are a 20 year or better program in todays military. One of the reasons the M16 replaced the M14 so easily is that the M14 was having severe production problems. The M14 is probably the only modern rifle we have ever fielded that we were not able to produce in sufficient quantity to equip the entire force with. Many units went right from the M1 to the M16A1.

That's why for the most part the professional soldiers are not supporting the XM8. I think you'd find a lot of support for it, if it gave us something we didn't already have with the M16, but it doesn't. Those of us who have been around a while and have witnessed our procurement system in action know that if we buy the XM8 in the near term that there won't be money to buy the XM whatever, when the big breakthrough finally occurs.

The bugs have been worked out of the M16 for a very long time. We have been in the product improvement phase for 20 years. Yet other XM8 proponents (destructo 6) admit some things about the XM8 with this:

quote:I've heard reports about the G36 not being all it's cracked up to be, as well. mostly stuff like the optics fogging and the busttstock cracking.
The fogging can be addressed either by using impoved optics in the carry handle or replacing the carry handle with a rail and using SOPMOD optics.

The XM8 appears to use a completely different buttstock assembly. Perhaps they could duplicate the G36 version, but solid rather than skeletonized.

Anyway, these are minor problems that would and should be addressed during trials.

Every penny we put into fixing these problems is another penny we don't have to develop the big breakthrough.

Jeff

natedog
November 14, 2003, 09:29 PM
Doesn't anyone see a problem with a 5.56mm rifle and a 12" barrel? :uhoh:

Andrew Wyatt
November 14, 2003, 10:12 PM
the HK polygonal barrel increases velocity enough that you can get 20 inch barrel velocity in a 12 inch barrel. really. The peters-stallish lockup helps too.

natedog
November 14, 2003, 10:17 PM
Is this applicable with pistols as well? I mean, you normally get like 800fps out of a 1911, could you get like +1000 out of a USP?

Andrew Wyatt
November 14, 2003, 10:33 PM
well, you'd only get 1000 FPS out of a 1911 if it was an HK. power of the logo and all.

keederdag
November 14, 2003, 10:47 PM
Poly-whatever =increased velocity over 200fps? Thats a new on on me!:confused:

Destructo6
November 14, 2003, 10:54 PM
Actually, I wasn't admitting to anything. I was addressing problems brought up by Andrew Wayatt. Solutions to which, appear to already exist: little to no additional money needed.

And if no money is spent on the subsystems, how can the complete system succeed?
The bugs have been worked out of the M16 for a very long time.
That's akin to polishing a turd.

Andrew Wyatt
November 15, 2003, 02:38 AM
I'd appreciate it if you spelled my name properly next time.


The SWAT match has been won nearly every year by a person with an ar-15. Every year it's been in the mojave desert.

The thing i don't think people appreciate about HK weapons is they're not open source. There will be no XM8 improvements unless HK makes them.

The Ar-15, on the other hand, can be improved and produced by ANYBODY.

Jeff White
November 15, 2003, 03:26 AM
Destructo6 said;
Actually, I wasn't admitting to anything. I was addressing problems brought up by Andrew wyatt. Solutions to which, appear to already exist: little to no additional money needed.

And if no money is spent on the subsystems, how can the complete system succeed?

You don't really believe that we will solve those problems without spending money do you? I know HK is such a patriotic American company that they will bear the development costs out of pocket so the taxpayer gets a good deal
:rolleyes: .

HK isn't spending any of their money on the XM8 now. Every penny we are spending on testing it is coming out of yours and my pockets. So I ask again, is it financially prudent to re-invent the wheel?

Eventually, technology will give us a weapon that does more then the one we have. Sooner or later we will get a system that is advanced enough that anyone can pick it up and be effective with it, with little or no training. Like it or not, that's where we're trying to go. When the breakthrough comes, I'd like to be ready to exploit it. We won't be if we squander scarce resources on the XM8.

I can't think of any other nation in the world where the selection of small arms for the military is as frought with emotion and controversy as it is in the U.S.

Our unique American culture seems to have most males convinced that they left the womb with the firearms design genius of John Browning and a natural ability to handle firearms.

I really do believe that there are people out there who would arm our military with High Pointe Carbines if it were up to them. Everyone thinks that their own personal favorite weapon is the best. In this debate we have those who hate the M16 and would do anything to replace it. Facts have little to do with their thoughts on the matter. In their mind, Stoner's little black rifle was the reason that the finest rifle ever to be carried by any soldier anywhere, the legendary M14 :rolleyes: was relegated to the scrap heap. Then we have the Heckler und Koch devotees who believe in their heart of hearts that if it comes from Oberndorf, it automatically represents the zenith of modern small arms development. Never mind that HK has produced one commercially successful weapon, the MP5. The G3 was a moderate success, but it certainly wasn't as successful as it's contemporary competition, the FAL.

If you put aside the fact you'd rather see American soldiers and Marines carry Hi-Pointe Carbines into battle then the M16, or that you love to see H und K finally sell one of their designs to a major army, because they are so good and it's only been some sort of bias that has kept the free world from only using H und K weapons you'll have to agree that changing to the XM8 is the same as the guy who has a tried and true Remington 1100 in his safe, but he just really wants a nice Beretta to duck hunt with this year. The Remington 1100 has served him well, it may have been his father's duck hunting gun, but it's not a sexy new Beretta. This is fine for the hunter who has his finances in order and won't have to miss a mortgage payment to change. But it's not fine for our military. The military will miss mortgage payments by adopting the XM8. We will spend money that we should be spending on development of the next generation of rifles. All for a shiny new bauble that does exactly the same thing our current rifle does. All for change for the sake of changing.

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 15, 2003, 04:30 AM
I'm frankly very happy that the subject of our service rifle brings about so much discussion, however the emotion seems to have clouded the facts here. Maybe I'm wrong, but:

The M-16 is a VERY accurate weapon that relies on an engineering marvel (the fact that they get the thing to work most of the time is a testament to the stubornness of the US Army and Marines). It is also VERY finicky as to what ammo you feed it, what powder you use, and requires a chrome chamber and constant meticulous maintenance to operate reliably. Every darned discussion we get into about the M-16 deteriorates into some proponent of the gun saying that it's been 100% reliable in their 10,000 years of experience with the weapon.*

* if it is kept super-clean, if you feed it only approved powders, if you keep the ejection port clean, if you ... etc. etc.

The polished turd analogy is correct. The Chauchaut (sp?) automatic rifle would have been an excellent weapon had we maintained them and kept them out of the mud and used the strictest ammunition specifications in the HISTORY OF SMALL ARMS to feed it. Sure, we can add chrome chambers and put a heavier buffer on, etc, and make the Reising work also. We've band-aided the HELL out of an intrinsically inferior design. Just replacing the Gas system was an improvement that Bob McNamarra was unwilling to accept because that put him and his "Twit Trust" two beans over their 5 billion bean count for that fiscal year. Hell, we replaced the gas system on the Garand REALLY quick when we found something that worked better. We did it again when we standardized the M-14. Sure worked then. To punish Army Ordnance for their nepotism and bad management, they jammed the AR-15 down our collective throats. Haha. And don't DARE try to improve it any because if it needed improvement, GOD WOULD HAVE IMPROVED IT before he gave it to us. Some bullheadedness out there seems to supporr the worship Gene Stoner and his 'IWANNACOOLGUN' creation and call us realists heretics for suggesting that the Emperor wears no clothes. How dare we!

No, I won't quote statistics and I haven't done a scientific survey of the fine, upstanding firearms experts the Army hires out of High School, however I can tell you from an engineering standpoint it's a polished turd. State of the Art for 1957, but obsolescent now. The XM-8 is state-of-the-art in terms of design, manufacturing, and ergonomics. If you don't think it's an improvement, I'm convinced you can't be pleased.

One question, though. How would you feel if the XM-8 passed the upcoming trials with flying colors and is found to be superior? What quantifiable level of improvement do you want to see? How much cheaper, more reliable, more accurate, more controllable, etc. would this weapon need to be before Heckler & Kochophobes will accept it?

Are we listening to the opinions of Yellow-Dog Democrats, or is there a chance we can lure you to the dark side? I'm sensing that this really isn't an argument of money. I'm not ignorant to the money issue, I just find it dubious that we'd buy 50 more Strykers and keep buying the M-4 Carbine. I'm not buying into this "Starving Children" debate trickery either. If the Army wants the XM-8, they'll get it and they AIN'T gonna skimp on school lunches to do it. Speaking as a bona-fide Zoomie, I can tell you I'd rather have the Grunts armed and equiped with the best that modern technology has to offer and that includes their rifles. I've got a deep, almost religious belief that the XM-8 is up to the task of becoming the M-8, politics and economics aside. I truly believe that its adoption is the right thing to do. It's a matter of faith at this point, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.

I'm sure I'll start repeating myself so I'll just rest my case at this. I wouldn't have kept debating if I didn't have a religious belief that this is the right gun and the right time. Nuff said.

Jeff White
November 15, 2003, 05:34 AM
Badger Arms asked?

One question, though. How would you feel if the XM-8 passed the upcoming trials with flying colors and is found to be superior? What quantifiable level of improvement do you want to see? How much cheaper, more reliable, more accurate, more controllable, etc. would this weapon need to be before Heckler & Kochophobes will accept it?

All it has to be is different. It has to give us a capability we don't currently have. It doesn't and that's the fact of the matter. The XM8 does not give us one meter more effective range. In fact the 12.5 inch barrel will actually cut into the effective range of both M855 and MK262 Mod 1 ammunition. It employs an open flash hider that anyone who has been around the military knows will have to be modified. We had to modify the one on the M1D and on the M16. State of the art, but the designers hadn't learned from history that foilage gets caught in open flash hiders?? :uhoh: One of the test XM8s has gone 24K rounds without a malfunction. Several years ago Shooting Times of all people fired a Colt AR15 more then 10K rounds without cleaning or a malfunction. You and I both know that no military weapon in the American army is going to see near that level of abuse. Torture testing aside, practical reliability between the two weapons is about the same.


The XM-8 is state-of-the-art in terms of design, manufacturing, and ergonomics. If you don't think it's an improvement, I'm convinced you can't be pleased.

I have never seen an XM8 and neither have you. We're both making judgements based on the information that is available in the press. I am convinced that the flapper magazine release is less ergonomic then the pushbutton on the M16. I do know that there are many police departments that purchased the G36 which is the XM8's father, and are less then happy with it. The G36 also failed in some head to head competitions for contracts with a couple major federal law enforcement agencies.

The M-16 is a VERY accurate weapon that relies on an engineering marvel (the fact that they get the thing to work most of the time is a testament to the stubornness of the US Army and Marines). It is also VERY finicky as to what ammo you feed it, what powder you use, and requires a chrome chamber and constant meticulous maintenance to operate reliably. Every darned discussion we get into about the M-16 deteriorates into some proponent of the gun saying that it's been 100% reliable in their 10,000 years of experience with the weapon.*

I take it your major problem with the M16 is the direct impingment gas system. So you are a member of the if it doesn't have a gas piston and operating rod it only works by black magic school of firearms engineering. The fact that it works most of the time is do to it being a good reliable design. The fact that there is no gas piston, operating rod and other large moving parts also contributes to it's accuracy. It's not finicky about what ammo you feed it. In most cases it even works with that Wolf stuff. I guess you can say all automatic firearms are finicky about ammunition because all of them are designed to work with ammunition loaded to certain pressure ranges. I don't see how that's a fault of the design. Load an XM8 up with ammunition that doesn't meet the design parameters for pressure and see how well it works. Try it with an M14, FAL or M1 or an AKM for that matter.

The M16 is not the first service rifle we ever had that needed a chrome chamber. Does the XM8 have a chrome chamber and bore?

The M16 does not, I repeat does not require constant meticulus maintenance. It requires no more maintenance then we've asked our soldiers to do on any weapon we've ever issued. Send me a PM. I'm going to copy a video I have of a WWII training film on how much meticulus maintenance the legendary dive into the foxhole, pop up with my barrel plugged and action jammed with mud and stay in the fight M1 required.

I've seen plenty of M16 malfunctions. I've also seen just about every other weapon from AKMs to FALs and M14s malfunction. Most of them are either attempting to operate the weapon when it's plugged up with dirt and dust and mud or operator induced. You can't make a fool proof weapon. Believe me the GI will figure out a way to break the XM8.

Some bullheadedness out there seems to supporr the worship Gene Stoner and his 'IWANNACOOLGUN' creation and call us realists heretics for suggesting that the Emperor wears no clothes. How dare we!

As a realist how much actual experience do you have with the M16 or any other military small arm? What did you do in the Air Force, PJ? CTT? Did you spend weeks in the mud with the M16 as your constant companion? Or did you get one out of the armory a couple times a year and qualify with it? The reason I ask is that in my experience most of the heretics out there are basing thier opinions on things they've read, anecdotal stories they've heard from people and very limited actual experience. In fact I know some heretics who have made real value judments on the M16s performance with blanks, because that's what most of their actual experience with the weapon consists of.

I'm sure I'll start repeating myself so I'll just rest my case at this. I wouldn't have kept debating if I didn't have a religious belief that this is the right gun and the right time. Nuff said.

And I am as opposed to the XM8 as you are for it. I don't feel it's the right weapon at the right time. It is fun debating though. I'm serious PM me your address and I'll make a copy of the M1 tape for you.

Jeff

Destructo6
November 15, 2003, 03:46 PM
No Jeff, I believe the, slightly improved over the M1, M14 is the reason why we now use the M16. Had we adopted a FAL derrivative, who knows: maybe the AR design would be a curiosity like the Johnson rifle.

As for money, the core design has already been developed: the G36. If you'd read, the two complaints brought up about the G36 are a fragile stock and fogging optics. Since the carry handle can be replaced with a rail, which already exists, ACOGs, which we already own, could be mounted on them instead. The fragile stock is another matter since it appears that the Army wants a telescopic version for some reason (similarity with AR?). I'm aware of no information about it's durability. A solid G36 stock would, IMO, be a better idea.

BTW, didn't the aluminium telescopic AR stocks have a problem with cracking/shattering when dropped, hence the switch to plastic?

Andrew Wyatt
November 15, 2003, 04:37 PM
*shrug* you can't change buttstocks and PGs on an XM8. you can on the ar-15.

the only maker of parts for the XM8 is HK.

the XM8 will cost lots of money to field, and will cost more money to improve, and still won't be where the ar-15 is at, because it's not open source.

Badger Arms
November 15, 2003, 06:04 PM
*shrug* you can't change buttstocks and PGs on an XM8. you can on the ar-15.True only of the artists conceptions and mockups. Of course, it's a model, silly. I don't think there is anything preventing one from changing the buttstock on the XM8. We need a TELESCOPING buttstock because the guy might be handled by a 6'3' ape-armed monster like myself wearing a T-Shirt one day, and a body-armor clad pipsqueak wearing a winter coat the next day.

the only maker of parts for the XM8 is HK.Let's rewrite that. "The only maker of parts for the AR-15 is Colt!" Well, of course, if they developed and patented the gun, they will be making parts for it. Strange you should say that about H&K, however, because they are and always have been the world leader in license-production of their guns. Virtually any piddly country that asked for and paid for the tooling and engineering support got it. They're building a plant in the US and the Army will force them to bid the rifle out anyhow just like they did with the AR-15.

the XM8 will cost lots of money to field, and will cost more money to improve, and still won't be where the ar-15 is at, because it's not open source.Who says it will cost anythign more than the M-4? I, for one, haven't heard any numbers. Besides, the manufacturing techniques are cheaper. Colt owned all of the initial patents for the M-16A1 and everybody in Washington DC bitched and moaned to no end that the gun was costing too much, blah, blah, blah. When they FORCED Colt to release its technical package to, what was it, Hydromatic, H&R, something like that, the other company couldn't build it as cheap as Colt. If you bid for, say 400,000 rifles, you can really drop the price knowing that there doesn't need to be a follow-on contract, you can buy in bulk, set long-term production schedules, and really go to town on production.

Not open source? We're not talking copywrites here, we're talking patents. The patents have expired on all but a few of the XM8's features. The Miller/Armalite patent for the bolt system, gas rod system, etc. The H&K patents for the trigger group, the Johnson/Stoner patents for the bolt, etc. The patents for the Gas system and for the bolt handle are the only that are still active that I'm aware of. Gas systerm is 5,824,934 and cocking lever is 5,214,233 I think. Those were developed for the G36 and will expire within about 10 years IIRC.

Andrew Wyatt
November 15, 2003, 06:48 PM
The XM8 buttstock is part of the reciever.


bushmaster, dpms, armalite, colt, RRA, wilson, crane, olympic, vltor, and lots of others make parts for the ar series, of wildly different configurations.

The only parts available for the g36/XM8 are the ones HK designed.

The rifles in the inventory effectively cost nothing, and a g36 for darn sure costs more than an m4 upper.

Badger Arms
November 15, 2003, 07:01 PM
Confused? So, the buttstock is considered everything to the rear of the pistol grip? Even the mockup has a telescoping buttstock. How many XM-8's have you handled? I didn't know there were published pictures of a real prototype!

You list a lot of companies that make parts for the AR-15 series, however how many made those parts in 1965?

The rifles in the inventory do not cost nothing. They are constantly repaired and maintained and will be replaced on an continuing basis. We are already purchasing M-4's at a fairly steady rate.

Andrew: Where is your limit? When do you propose replacing the M-16? What level of improvement and in what areas do you want to see before we make the decision to replace it? Don't worry, I'm not putting you on the spot, nobody else will answer my question either.

I'll answer my own question. For most XM8 nay-sayers, there is NO level of improvement because the M-16 is the perfect gun. They'll refuse and refute any argument because they don't have the capacity to believe that the weapon they loved MIGHT not be 'all that'. I'm worried, because this is the same mentality which kept us from adopting the M-16 in the first place and could keep us from adopting ANYTHING because what we've got works just fine, sometimes, thank you very much.

Jeff White
November 15, 2003, 08:31 PM
Badger Arms said:
Andrew: Where is your limit? When do you propose replacing the M-16? What level of improvement and in what areas do you want to see before we make the decision to replace it? Don't worry, I'm not putting you on the spot, nobody else will answer my question either.

I'm not Andrew, but I'll answer. Give me increased lethality at longer range. Give me an all weather day/night sighting system.

The XM8 is neither of these things nor will it ever be. The XM8 is the same as the weapon we have. It fires the same ammunition, the 12.5 inch barrel version will give us less range for maximum lethality with M855 then we have with the M4.

We seem to be at an impass here. You are not able to tell us one advantage to the XM8. It's a newer design...big deal. It's not an improvement on what we have. I don't see how you think it is fiscally responsible to spend scarce tax dollars on a new rifle that does nothing different the one we have.

I have told you and Andrew has told you that we'd be happy to support it if it gave us any more capability then we have. But it doesn't. It's still a 5.56x45mm assault rifle. It does the same thing the ones we already have do. It's not a step up. It's change for the sake of change.

They'll refuse and refute any argument because they don't have the capacity to believe that the weapon they loved MIGHT not be 'all that'. I'm worried, because this is the same mentality which kept us from adopting the M-16 in the first place and could keep us from adopting ANYTHING because what we've got works just fine, sometimes, thank you very much.

First of all, the M14 wasn't popular with the troops. Most of the Army still had the M1 when the M16 made it's debut. The ordnance department never did succeed in building enough M14s to equip the force. The M16 was very popular with the troops until the Army rushed it to Vietnam in large quantities without cleaning kits and patches, then lied to the troops to cover for the loggies by telling them it was self cleaning. Prior to that everyone who handled the M16 wanted one. It was the commanders in the field clamoring to get the lightweight, fast firing M16 into the hands of their troops in Vietnam that got it adopted. No one was saying the M14 worked just fine, thank you...everyone knew that the M14 was a failure. The M16 on the other hand does work just fine. Show it the same about of care you would expect a soldier to give to any weapon and it works just fine.

Give me a new rifle that has it's maximum lethality out to 300 meters, weighs 7 pounds or less, is controllable in full auto and has an intergrated sight unit that doesn't require the soldier to carry 10 pounds of batteries and coolant bottles that ranges the target and gives the soldier a signal (lighted reticule etc.) when he's on target for a first round hit and I'll be singing it's praises everywhere. No matter who makes it. But as I said before, the XM8 does none of those things. It's simply a different manufacturer's model of the same rifle. HK vs. Colt = Ford vs. Chevy. We can have this argument forever. I personally don't want to see my tax dollars spent on change for sake of change. My congressman, John Shimkus sits on the comitteee and is a West Point and Ranger School graduate. Still a LTC in the USAR. I'm quite certain I can sell him on killing the XM8.

Destructo6 said;

No Jeff, I believe the, slightly improved over the M1, M14 is the reason why we now use the M16. Had we adopted a FAL derrivative, who knows: maybe the AR design would be a curiosity like the Johnson rifle.

You may be right. The M14 was an abomination. It's main selling point over the FAL, that it was able to be produced on the existing M1 machinery was an out and out lie. But it didn't happen that way. Dr. Carten pushed the M14 and the 7.62x51 mm cartridge down everyone's throat. Only the Eastern Block learned the lessons of WWII that maneuver warfare demanded a rifle chambered in a mid range cartridge which is capable of both semi-automatic and full automatic fire. I somehow doubt there was a big 7.62x54 vs. 7.62.39 debate in the old Soviet Union.

I think the M16 may have replaced the FAL in it's present form of a 7.62x51 caliber weapon. It is no more controllable in full atuomatic then the M14 is. If we had adopted the FAL in the mid range caliber it was designed for we probably wouldn't be having this discussion now.

Jeff

mattd
November 15, 2003, 08:43 PM
http://dboy.cpgl.net/USA/oicw/xm8.htm

Badger Arms
November 15, 2003, 09:03 PM
Switching back to the old 55 gr ammo gives you increased lethality. Why not just put a 20.5" barrel on the M-16... hmmm, that's more velocity hence more lethality!

I don't think that more lethality is going to be had from ANY .223 weapon enough to justify a switch solely on that metric. Give me a grenade launcher that can detonate grenades beside and behind the enemy in the air and I'd be happy. Hmmmm, but then you can't mount it to the Stoner weapon because that weapon has a buffer system which telescopes into the stock. Hence, you must have the XM8 or another weapon which lacks that buffer system in order to field a weapon with both the grenade launcher and the kinetic weapon in the same platform. You ain't gonna get to keep the M16 if you want your cool grenade launcher that WILL give us the increase in lethality and effectiveness!

It isn't change for the sake of change, it's change for the sake of progression. It isn't Ford vs. Chevy, it's a Ford Festiva vs. a BMW! Hehehe, now I like that analogy! :evil:

BTW, did you get my email?

Jeff White
November 15, 2003, 09:32 PM
Badger Arms,
Yep got your e-mail. I haven't looked through all the attachments yet.

Switching back to the old 55 gr ammo gives you increased lethality. Why not just put a 20.5" barrel on the M-16... hmmm, that's more velocity hence more lethality!

Have you seen the data on the MK 262 mod 0 and Mod 1? Let me know if you want to see it. The new 6.8x43 also shows a lot of promise. I can't release any of that data yet, but I think you'll be impressed. We already have a 20" M16 in the system. The M4 was never meant to replace all the M16s in the system. The Marines just adopted the M16A4 as standard and it's replacing the M16A2 in most Army Infantry units that don't have the M4.

Give me a grenade launcher that can detonate grenades beside and behind the enemy in the air and I'd be happy. Hmmmm, but then you can't mount it to the Stoner weapon because that weapon has a buffer system which telescopes into the stock. Hence, you must have the XM8 or another weapon which lacks that buffer system in order to field a weapon with both the grenade launcher and the kinetic weapon in the same platform. You ain't gonna get to keep the M16 if you want your cool grenade launcher that WILL give us the increase in lethality and effectiveness!

I like the grenade launcher idea. Maybe another 10 years and it'll be workable, buy which timew your XM8 will need to be replaced or modified to accept whatever the grenade launcher ends up looking like. Maybe you aren't aware of it, but Directorate of Combat Developments is looking at a stand alone grenade launcher. Near term it may be a 40mm, the HK grenade launcher is figuring prominately in this, with a carbine (M4) issued along with it. Long term they are looking at a smaller caliber grenade launcher (one that would allow the grenadier to carry a realistic load of ammunition) and developing close in grenades that negate the need for a dual weapon like the XM29 or M16/M203.

So a buffer system behind the receiver is immaterial. I'd bet a case of ammo that we go totally away from the dual rifle/grenade launcher combo.

It isn't change for the sake of change, it's change for the sake of progression. It isn't Ford vs. Chevy, it's a Ford Festiva vs. a BMW! Hehehe, now I like that analogy! :evil:

Well how come nobody is buying the BMW then? Are the FBI and DEA and Customs Dept. (all agencies that chose the M4 over the G36 after extensive testing) all a bunch of bumpkins who aren't sophistcated enough to appreciate a BMW?

BTW, have you seen this:
http://www.eps.gov/spg/ODA/USSOCOM/SOAL-KB/H92222-04-R-0001A/listing.html

Doesn't look like USSOCOM is ready to buy the XM8 off the shelf either.

Jeff

CaesarI
November 15, 2003, 10:35 PM
If they switch to the XM8 they'll do it because they anticipate future desert wars where the M-16 series isn't performing well. I'd like to see them switch to the new 6.8mm cartridge too, but I don't think this is likely across the board. On the other hand... given our new propensity to "go it alone" having allies still on 5.56X45mm wouldn't be such a big deal.

-Morgan

Daedalus
November 15, 2003, 11:26 PM
I think before they adopt it as the new military rifle of choice they had better give the stockholders (taxpayers) a sample of each to decide for themselves. :D
In all seriousness, I kind of like the look of it but I would not want my friends to catch me shooting it. "Oh this? I was...uh holding this for my girlfriend while she shoots my FAL...yeah I need my FAL back right now sweetie."

Spark
November 16, 2003, 12:02 AM
I think you guys are missing a couple points.

1. Regarding money spent / not spent / not needing to be spent. We piss away more money on vehicle systems that go nowhere than we'll ever spend on an infantry weapons system. How much money has been pissed away on the variants of the F22 before it was finalized? On the Crusader? On submarines? A piddly amount of money spent on improving the weapons systems of the guys who actually have to take and hold ground is money well spent comparatively.

2. IIRC XM8 is being designed primarily as a modular weapons system, something the M16 family is NOT. Yes, the uppers can be switched out, but the lower receiver / trigger group / buttstock are not "plug and play". The idea is to make things so simple that any GI can rapidly switch out parts - or a unit can take delivery of the latest upgrade.

What does this mean? Everything should be user replacable; EVERYTHING. Buttstock. Trigger group. Mag well. Barrel assembly. Optics / Sights. Grenade launcher. Replacement of any major group should require nothing more than a cartridge or punch / rod / pen.

When a new breakthrough comes through in cartridge capability, you just replace the magwell and / or barrel. New sighting system comes online? Swap out the rail / whatever. SF wants to do battlefield pickups of AK mags when clearing caves? Send in the Mod 5 SOPMOD kit barrels & magwells.

"Oh," you say "but the M16 already does that!" Wrong. It does that [i]after a fashion[/]. Everything so far is an adaption or improvement to a system that is already fundamentally flawed. Instead of trying to put lipstick on a pig, the idea should be to eliminate the major flaws (gas system, mag well, trigger group), and, as stated above, make future upgrades easy to implement.

Let's look at the A1 to A2 transition - instead of forcing all of the rifles to go to depot level maintenance for eithe lower reciever replacement or remachining (yes, some had to be milled out in order to get enough made), you just ship a batch of new trigger groups to the units. The unit armorer makes the change in an afternoon, no complicated swapouts. So, if there is another major doctrine change that finds that everyone should only have semi-auto instead of 3 round burst; or full auto instead of 3 round; or single, two-round and full auto, whatever - it's plug and play.

New buttstock comes into the supply chain that can hold batteries & such? Or is made of a new, stronger polymer? Same situation.

Sometimes you have to start over to move forward.

Jeff White
November 16, 2003, 12:35 AM
Spark said;

"Oh," you say "but the M16 already does that!" Wrong. It does that after a fashion. Everything so far is an adaption or improvement to a system that is already fundamentally flawed. Instead of trying to put lipstick on a pig, the idea should be to eliminate the major flaws (gas system, mag well, trigger group), and, as stated above, make future upgrades easy to implement.

Another member of the He-Man M16 haters out of the closet :D If you really believe that the system is funamentally flawed then you naturally want to replace it with anything, even the High Pointe Carbine....The fact of the matter is, the M16 is the choice of the free world. Not bad for a fundamentally flawed design. :rolleyes: Seriously we can never make any headway if people honestly believe that the M16 is a 40 year mistake. The facts prove otherwise.

1. Regarding money spent / not spent / not needing to be spent. We piss away more money on vehicle systems that go nowhere than we'll ever spend on an infantry weapons system. How much money has been pissed away on the variants of the F22 before it was finalized? On the Crusader? On submarines? A piddly amount of money spent on improving the weapons systems of the guys who actually have to take and hold ground is money well spent comparatively.

I won't disagree with you. But the big Army will. Rifles are a big deal to those of us on this board, but they don't figure very big in the whole picture. Which is exactly why buying the XM8 now will leave us hard pressed to buy the big breakthrough when it comes. Digitalization is the big fish in the pond now. Which is another reason why I don't feel the XM8 will be adopted.

While your idea of a totally modular weapon system is great, the army would never buy something like that. No way are they going to let PFC Snuffy in a leg line unit configure his rifle any way he wants.

Jeff

Spark
November 16, 2003, 04:19 AM
Oh horse pucky. Do you *honestly* believe that if the geniuses at MIT (or some guy working in his garage) comes out with a working man portable plasma weapon (or something else), do you *truly* believe that the government won't fork over money hand over fist to get it built in a timely manner? Truly? If there is a breakthrough, it will be fielded so fast it will make your head spin. Breakthroughs are like that.

Look, the Model T was the *standard* for many many years. It was the best thing out there. It's what everyone bought and used. That doesn't mean that there weren't better cars waiting to be built using the same gasoline to power them.

The 14.4K modem was the standard for many many years. It was the best thing out there. Blah blah blah.

Broadcast airwaves were the standard for many many years. People bought Rabbit ears or better antennas. Now we've got DSS & XM Radio.

Like it or not, the M16 system is flawed in very basic ways: Gas system. Magazine well. Butt stock. You can side step the issue, but changing any of them is not easy - and fundamentally would change the entire system itself. The money spent to fix each part winds up costing us more than starting over.

Starting over to make a truly modular, upgradable weapons system that can initially use the same NATO standard ammo and magazines (until the next wonder ammo comes through) makes sense. It gives us a new foundation upon which to build the bedrock of our weapons family. The benefits FAR outweigh the short term. It's less expensive than to continually try to shoehorn parts & remachine receivers. It's less expensive than to buy new barrels, and detachable geegaws & all the rest of the crap the service rifles have been put through.

Put it another way. Would you buy a house that dumped the sewage into your kitchen when you flushed the toilet? Or would you prefer one that dumped the sewage where it belonged, and used the action of that sewage to help keep your kitchen running?

Would you buy a house that forced you to rip out the basement in order to allow larger or shorter people to enter and exit? Or would you want a house that could fit anyone, and could be tailored for any of them with a minimum of fuss?

Would you prefer to be fix or modify your house yourself in 5 minutes, or have to send it to contractors for a few weeks?

Would you continue to reinvest in this house after 40 years when a better house will be available?

If there is a choice between living in this house and sleeping in the worst Motel 6 out there, yeah, there isn't a choice.

Yes, the M16 system is the best thing we have, right now - I don't disagree. But don't be so hidebound waiting for the next big thing that you can't see what *is* the next big thing. People said the Glock sucked at first too. "Oh, it's a 9mm, we already have those. Oh it's made of plastic, ewww. Oh, it doesn't have a safety." Now look at it.

Andrew Wyatt
November 16, 2003, 04:49 AM
Starting over to make a truly modular, upgradable weapons system that can initially use the same NATO standard ammo and magazines (until the next wonder ammo comes through) makes sense. It gives us a new foundation upon which to build the bedrock of our weapons family. The benefits FAR outweigh the short term. It's less expensive than to continually try to shoehorn parts & remachine receivers. It's less expensive than to buy new barrels, and detachable geegaws & all the rest of the crap the service rifles have been put through.


I'm going to have to call you on that one. The m-16 is modular, and ther a re a far wider array of acessories available for it than the XM8. one of the benefits of the ar-15 is it CAN be remachined. plastic guns cannot.

Show me a verifiable increase in lethality, range, or shootability over an m-16 configured similarly and i'll pay for the system myself.

Badger Arms
November 16, 2003, 05:20 AM
Show me a verifiable increase in lethality, range, or shootability over an m-16 configured similarly and i'll pay for the system myself.

Wow, thanks. That's the answer. You overlooked the fact that there is no way to do that without changing ammo. That's a different argument. Why argue against the weapon when you should criticize the ammo? You can argue that a bullpup configured with a 22" Barrel would do the job, gut bullpups have their own problems. I still want to handle an XM-8 myself.

Andrew Wyatt
November 16, 2003, 02:31 PM
So you're saying that the XM8 doesn't show an increase in lethality, shootability or range over the m-16?

Badger Arms
November 16, 2003, 02:45 PM
Actually, No, I didn't say that although I can see how you could construct that by means of exclusion from my poorly worded reply.

First, define shootability. Next, explain how we can quantify it. Finally, let me shoot both. I like the ergonomics of the G36 and that has outstanding shootability by my definition. I've also got extensive experience with the AR-15... but not quite enough with the M-16 on full-auto to compare.

Jeff White
November 16, 2003, 02:57 PM
Spark said;
Like it or not, the M16 system is flawed in very basic ways: Gas system. Magazine well. Butt stock. You can side step the issue, but changing any of them is not easy - and fundamentally would change the entire system itself. The money spent to fix each part winds up costing us more than starting over.

Like it or not your bias is showing through again. How are these areas flawed? It's a pretty subjective judgement. The gas system works fine and is a big contributor to the rifle's inherent accuracy. The A2 buttstock is too long. the original wasn't and the M4 stock is adjustable. There are plenty of aftermarket stocks that give us storage in the stock. The Canucks issue different length stocks sized to fit the soldier on the C7. The collapsible stock has become the standard. Look at the USSOCM specs in the link I posted.

But don't be so hidebound waiting for the next big thing that you can't see what *is* the next big thing. People said the Glock sucked at first too. "Oh, it's a 9mm, we already have those. Oh it's made of plastic, ewww. Oh, it doesn't have a safety." Now look at it.

You want a plastic lower, go buy a Cav Arms...it's in production. Beat the XM8 by a few years. The XM8 is another 5.56mm assault rifle. It does the same thing we are already doing with the M16. With the XM8 we get a rifle with the same range, the same modularity and ability to accept the SOPMOD accessories (we think, no one has proven that yet), and a big bill to develop and refine it into a weapon that we will surely replace before the end of it's service life. No I can't see any advantage. All I see is my tax dollars getting pissed away and the possiblity the soldier will have to do without something he really needs. The big break will be a rifle that has optimum lethality out to 300 meters, weighs under 7 pounds loaded, can accept the SOPMOD accessories and has an integrated sight unit that will make all of our shooters into effective marksmen. The XM8 isn't it.

Jeff

Chindo18Z
November 16, 2003, 03:32 PM
This is a reply I posted in the old TFL about 3 years ago when we were having an almost identical discussion. Interesting to note that Badgerarms was cheerleading for the G36 even back then :D:

"There is an epidemic of Tuetonic Madness loose in this post. Germany produces some nice firearms (I own an HK USPC 40). However, they are not the be-all end-all in combat weapons design. To wit:
The G-3 (and all its variants) is an OK battle rifle. It never set the world on fire except by virtue of discounted pricing to a lot of third world customers. Accuracy is so-so. Sights are merely adequate. Trigger sux. Selector ergonomics blow. My M21 shot rings around any HK G3 made when I attended the Bundeswehr Sniper Instructor Course. Ditto for the stock M14. Effective full-auto? In 7.62? Pullleeeze....The folding stock is great for Panzer Grenadier Dismounts but causes accuracy to suffer.
G36? Crappy iron sights. Fragile day optic (leaks, condensation, and fogging). Non-captive take-down pins (try and find one in the dark, in the snow, in the mud...Yeah, I have used the cute little pin storage holes).
Accuracy is good but no better than M4. M4 is a way better CQB weapon. Balance is overly front end heavy (like the G3). Bundeswehr was having some serious problems with magazine reliability and forbade their troops to fire the weapon for some months after issue. BTW, did I mention the preset factory optic zero, which, if changed by the shooter, voided the warranty and broke the gas seal on the scope. Day optic subject to fogging and freezing-up in cold or wet weather. Herr Feldwebel, Ich kann nicht meinen treffpunkt gesehen...
Now the US Army wants to buy a G36/20mm WunderGranatenWerfer combo that is as big as a SAW and weighs about as much as a BAR...Oh Boy! The weapon relies on electronics to fuze the round for detonation at appropriate ranges. A test weapon decided to arm a 20mm at muzzle distance (airburst) and damn near killed the firer and two others (including a German SGM involved in the OCIW project). To be fair, the round caused crippling wounds for all three (but wasn't actually lethal).
I can hardly wait...Make mine Colt M4, followed by the AK74 (as most recently tweaked by the Russians to accept modern combat accessories). I wouldn't feel badly armed with the G36, but it is not all it's cracked up to be (unless a new BMW is included as a carrying case!)." - End TFL Quote

I'm with Jeff white on this one...what advantages do I reap on the day that I am handed my new G36/XM8 (other than my choice of hot pink furniture to match the pink Kel-Tec P32 I don't own)? I ask this as a professional user. Am I able to hit any better at any useful ranges? No. Does the weapon provide better mechanical accuracy? Definitely Not. Is the weapon easier to carry? No. Is it an ergonomic improvement over the M16/M4 series? No. Does it offer better ballistics out of the 5.56? No. Does it provide increased lethality? No. Does it have 40+ Years of R&D to work out the bugs that ALL new weapons have? Sorry...check back with HK in 40 years.

Is ithe XM8/G36 t more mechanically reliable? I don't believe so. Time and testing would tell. Refer to the 40 year comments. I've fired the G36 side-by-side against the M4A1 and listended closely to the gripes & bitches that KSK (German Special Forces) and Gebirgsjaegers (Mountain Troops) have about their new weapon. It's not that the G36 is a bad rifle; it is good weapon and a significant improvement over the G-3. It's that the Germans haven't actually fought anyone in over 50 years and their weapon does not yet reflect the M16's hard won design improvements. These improvements will eventually occur as a result of user feedback from places like Afghanistan & Albania. I don't feel like using the US Military as the R&D platform for the current G36/XM8 until more significant user experience is gained. I don't see the XM8/G36 as being any more immune to fine sand than the M4. Hell, I've seen jammed AKs under like conditions. Today, I would not hesitate to choose an M4 over an equivalently configured G36.

Modularity / Configuration Quick-change? Spark is actually on to something here except for a consideration having nothing to do with the XM8 (or any other small arm for that matter). Current military regulations limit the POL (small arms parts) allowed to be held at Company/Battalion level arms rooms due to the problem uncovered by a TV network expose back in the 80's. If you recall, 60 Minutes or 48 Hours uncovered the absolute lack of accountability in Reserve/Guard arms rooms which allowed gun shows to be flooded with stolen small arms parts. The military promptly decreed that units would no longer be able to keep these parts stockpiled for repairs and configuration changes. If you wanted to (for instance) change your XM8 barrel length, your armorer would still be required to send the weapon up the maintenance support chain to your local Three Shop. Unless you want to issue each and every weapon as a complete modular kit and drive the price thru the ceiling. Not a bad idea; just horrendously expensive.

I like all-steel & wood-stocked craftmanship. I love the Garand. I love the M14. I would never consider equipping a modern military with either. The AK is a superb weapon. Wouldn't issue that one out either (except to the indig force or to SR/DA teams gone deep). Someday I expect to fondly caress my AR and remember when it was the ticket. Then I will place it back in the safe (maybe along side an HK rifle) and check out the real deal on The History of the Gun (Directed Energy Rifles) on the History Channel.

When lightweight airburst grenade launcher technology catches up, it will be mountable to whatever configuration rifle is currently dominant in military circles. Simple economics will ensure this.

The XM8 offers nothing new to hang my hat on that the M4A1 doesn't already do. It has crappy features that are not yet fixed and offers no significant IMPROVEMENTS over what we already have.

Don't try to sell me a better rotary dial phone...at twice the price.

Kaylee
November 16, 2003, 03:51 PM
I tend to agree the XM8 is a dead end. As already said, the G36 is a good gun... but not worth the changeover cost.

Now, what would REALLY rock is if the DoD looks at making whatever wins the SCAR process general issue. THERE is some innovation.

-K

.45FMJoe
November 16, 2003, 04:36 PM
He'd wholeheartedly expected the Army to spend a few years developing it as they had with the Garand and SHOULD HAVE DONE with the outstanding M-14.



+1 for The M1/M14 platform. True, I was not around during the time (I'm only 22) But I like my new Springfield Garand over my Bushmaster M4. I'm saving a couple of beans for a new Springfield M1A.

Glock Glockler
November 16, 2003, 06:04 PM
Kaylee,

What, pray tell, is the SCAR process?

Kaylee
November 16, 2003, 06:35 PM
What, pray tell, is the SCAR process?

Special operations forces Combat Assault Rifle (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45881)

What few details of submissions in process I know, I can't talk about.
But (barring politics) whichever rifle wins this will blow the G36/XM8 out of the water.

-K

Spark
November 16, 2003, 06:47 PM
from Andrew Wyatt I'm going to have to call you on that one. The m-16 is modular, and ther a re a far wider array of acessories available for it than the XM8. one of the benefits of the ar-15 is it CAN be remachined. plastic guns cannot.

BUZZZZZZZZZZ. Wrong answer. You've mixed a variety of issues trying to prove the M16's modularity.

1. The M16 is depot-level modular, but not user level. The end user cannot, without tools, change out anything but the upper receiver. The XM8 (or whatever our next weapon system may be) is being designed to be enterly user changeable. That means you can change the barrel assembly without having to change the upper. You can change the magwell without having to change the trigger group. You can change the buttstock (if broken), in the field, in the middle of Afghanistan, without problems. THAT is the core of a modular weapon system, not "oh, we're changing over from three round to full auto - everyone send their weapons to the depot. Hey, let's switch stocks - oh wait, we can quite collapse the stock any further because of the buffer tube! Gee, 1SG, have the the troops assemble by squad and switch them out here in the firebase."

2. "The AR-15 has more accessories" - means nothing. See the Model T argument - accessories are not the reason you keep a system in place when there are improvements. Furthermore, any true lethality enhacing accessories should be portable over to new platforms - grips, sights, grenade launchers. The fact that there are 40 different AR stocks doesn't mean a thing when the end user can't change them without tools.

3. "The AR-15 can be remachined" - again, wrong. Short of drilling new holes for new trigger groups, you can't add a rail into aluminum. You can't change out the magwell at all - not if you want keep the front mounting holes. Even if you do keep the front mounting holes in place, it still can't be easily switched out for the existing one.

Jeff White wrote Like it or not your bias is showing through again. How are these areas flawed? It's a pretty subjective judgement. The gas system works fine and is a big contributor to the rifle's inherent accuracy. The A2 buttstock is too long. the original wasn't and the M4 stock is adjustable. There are plenty of aftermarket stocks that give us storage in the stock. The Canucks issue different length stocks sized to fit the soldier on the C7. The collapsible stock has become the standard. Look at the USSOCM specs in the link I posted.

My bias? I'm not the one saying that any new system is a waste of money, and the current one is perfect for everything. Pot, this is kettle.

As for having to explain the obvious about the gas system & such... Jeff - is fouling into the chamber area a good or bad thing? Using your logic, is that a requirement for accuracy or not? Looks like a red herring to me.

Can the barrel (and just the barrel) be switched out by the end user for different missions? Can the buttstock? Heck, how many positions does the collapsable stock have? 3 or 4. The new Crane stocks have a lot more, but even they aren't truly modular.

You want a plastic lower, go buy a Cav Arms...it's in production. Beat the XM8 by a few years. The XM8 is another 5.56mm assault rifle. It does the same thing we are already doing with the M16. With the XM8 we get a rifle with the same range, the same modularity and ability to accept the SOPMOD accessories (we think, no one has proven that yet), and a big bill to develop and refine it into a weapon that we will surely replace before the end of it's service life. No I can't see any advantage. All I see is my tax dollars getting pissed away and the possiblity the soldier will have to do without something he really needs. The big break will be a rifle that has optimum lethality out to 300 meters, weighs under 7 pounds loaded, can accept the SOPMOD accessories and has an integrated sight unit that will make all of our shooters into effective marksmen. The XM8 isn't it.

I never said the lower had to be plastic - you misinterpreted my example as such. Second, it doesn't do the "same thing" as the M16 because the M16 isn't user level modular other than upper & lower receiver assemblies.

Per your link - "The SCAR H shall possess the ability for caliber modularity (open architecture platform), while still designed around the baseline caliber of 7.62x51mm (alternate calibers are known to be 7.62x39mm). Future enhanced calibers will also be considered" - In other words, one size does not fit all.

The SCAR L has a 5.56mm specification - but you know what they say about specifications. Per the document "3.2.2.1 Modularity: The SCAR L shall be adaptable to three separate barrel lengths for varying mission requirements. The standard barrel shall have the length necessary to effectively address target engagements to 500 meters, the CQC barrel shall be effective engaging targets from point-blank to 200 meters. The Sniper Variant (SV) shall have a barrel length optimized for precision shooting to ranges of 800 meters and beyond. Barrel length change shall be accomplished either by upper receiver or barrel change at the unit level (T), by the operator (O), with tools as necessary. Barrel modularity shall be accomplished in such a way as to meet 5.56mm headspace requirements without operator adjustment or measurement. Barrel modularity shall be accomplished in such a way as to meet bore sight and zero requirements with minimal operator adjustment /measurement. The SCAR L barrel shall be mounted in such a way that accessory mounting causes no point of impact shift to the zeroed weapon (T). Barrel/module change shall be accomplished within 20 minutes (T), 5minutes (O)."

While the XM8 may note be what doctor ordered - the M16 certainly isn't. Sorry, Jeff - the nice thing about prototypes is that they are subject to change. It's a lot more difficult to shoehorn changes into existing systems already in service.

Glock Glockler
November 16, 2003, 07:43 PM
Why is the AR gas system necessary for good accuracy? There are plenty of piston designs that have excellent accuracy.

Andrew Wyatt
November 16, 2003, 08:53 PM
*shrug* so what? you change PG's with nothing more complicated than a leatherman, and having the whole sight/barrel unit user changeable is a far better thing (cause it stays zeroed) than just changing the barrel.

"The AR-15 can be remachined" - again, wrong. Short of drilling new holes for new trigger groups, you can't add a rail into aluminum. You can't change out the magwell at all - not if you want keep the front mounting holes. Even if you do keep the front mounting holes in place, it still can't be easily switched out for the existing one.

As for the remachining thing, it'd be a relatively easy task to make a two piece lower for the AR. if you did that, you could make an ar-15 that could be converted quite quickly to .308. my whole point about aluminum is it's quite easily machineable. (which i can appreciate, being a machining student) as an aside, that quoted portion is somewhat incoherent; what were you trying to say?

Spark
November 17, 2003, 01:18 AM
*shrug* so what? you change PG's with nothing more complicated than a leatherman, and having the whole sight/barrel unit user changeable is a far better thing (cause it stays zeroed) than just changing the barrel.

So, because someone hasn't come up with a quick change barrel that means that no one ever will? There are some remarkably clever engineers out there - no reason to believe that no one will ever come out with a quick change barrel that will retain >=1 MOA zero (which is good enough for a combat rifle). Oh wait, I forgot - the gas system prevents exactly that. Not to mention having to completely redesigning the upper receiver *again*. How many redesigns does it take before it's cheaper to start over again?

As for the remachining thing, it'd be a relatively easy task to make a two piece lower for the AR. if you did that, you could make an ar-15 that could be converted quite quickly to .308. my whole point about aluminum is it's quite easily machineable. (which i can appreciate, being a machining student) as an aside, that quoted portion is somewhat incoherent; what were you trying to say?

Your logic is inconsistant: you can machine a two part lower? Not if you want to retain the front push pins. And since that's a major point on the system, changing the position on it would involve a complete system redesign, requiring, guess what, more money. Modular systems allow for this - and continued upgrades. So, if you get a new ammo standard, you don't have to change out the entire lower... or remachine at all. If a new stock comes online, it's a quick change. If a new sighting system comes in, you don't have to replace the entire upper - just the attaching system. New barrel? 5 minute switch by the user.

The entire argument for keeping the M16 is that it's in place in a recognizable configuration. You start switching the gas system, mag well, buffer placement, etc - it's no longer a M16. It's something else. And add up all the changes, and you've spent more money than on a redesign - and you have to keep spending more and more to achieve the same results of using a properly modular-designed system.

At what point do you say "Enough, we're spending too much money on upgrades / redesigns"? When the charging handle has to be redesigned because new body armor requires an even shorter stock, that coincidentally requires a new buffer system? When you have new ammo that completely screws up the ballistic charts and renders the conventional iron sights inaccurate? When each and every rifle has had to be remachined for new ammo? When each and every rifle has to be remachined to put picatinny rails on board, and a BUIS system has to be installed? When each and every rifle has to be remachined again for a new doctrine requiring two round bursts?

When is it cheaper to move on to a new system?

mrming
November 17, 2003, 01:44 AM
Just some random thoughts.


Remachining aluminum means you've got to reanodize. If you don't, and its a bearing surface your going to get alot of wear quickly.

Mr White clearly has strong feelings for the M16 series, and doesn't want tax money going to a successor system. M16 gas system may work, but its not a good solution. The system also lacks a modern level of interchangability. IE, its not like a 350 crate engine. I don't have the option of slapping a set of edlebrock headers on it, aftermarket 3" exhaust or even bigger injectors. My only choice is what to use for spark plugs (titanium or steel firing pin). Your stuck with a weapon with components that cannot be discretely seperated. You can't redesign the trigger group without having to do modifications to the bolt.. and probably have to retap the reciever to fit the new trigger group.


Thats were the next major advance probably is, at least in part. The ability for the armourer to take a stack of parts, and using the same reciever turn it into a P90, a M4, a FAL, or a ray gun. No more re-investment in totally new weapon systems , at least until the reciever are so outdated as to require replacement.. Even then, you probably won't have to throw out the entire system. Great, the mk iv trigger groups can't work anymore in the new receiver, but the mag well/stock/etc can.

This is what is probably meant by the term, 'modularity'. Hanging gadgets off a M16 isn't modularity. M16 modularity is limited to a very limited selection of buttstocks, and long vs short barreled uppers. Can't change it over to use 7.62x39 out of a ak47 mag. Would that ever be a useful feature? Better accuracy, one base weapon platform you train with, able to use ammo and mags from the enemy would probably be useful to some units.

Not every upgrade is about making a more effective way to kill people, sometimes it can be just a cheaper, or more convient way of doing things.


Electronics on a firearm is a bad idea. This coming from a computer science freak. We haven't fought against anyone who liked technology. We have yet to deal with anyone smart enough to jam GPS. Its probably not a great idea to go bouncing signals off of things to get range for use against infantry. Can we say, radar detector? Or broad spectrum RF noise transmissions in say... 5-10 watt range? Your next gen targeting system just became a USGI early warning system at worest, unuseable complexity at best. Same goes for transmitting your location to a base command. Lighting yourself up like a christmas tree with electronic signals is not going to be a improvement.


M16 was force-fed for better or worse. Don't tease yourself that it was a system that was ready for common line combat. No chrome lining, no supporting equipment, issues with the mag design, bad powder selection in the ammunition etc etc. It had questionable benifits (didn't cut through cover as well, but you could carry more ammo), wasn't as reliable in its initial stages. etc. Plenty of old soliders still swear by the M1/M14 systems. Hence why those who have carried the current system need to step aside until something is ready for for field testing.

I don't claim to know if the XM8 will be the next great thing. However, its time to earn some ire. This thread has ran on for 5 pages, and most of it looks like a flame war. People aren't recognizing each others points, are harping on the same issues and no one here can speak authoritatively on this topic.

Before anyone protests. Unless you have actively engaged in all of the following as your profession....

1. small arms design
2. military finance
3. front line infantry
4. member of a small arms selection committe

Then you haven't the experience to speak authoritatively on any of this. To those who claim to have done some of the above, then you lack the moderation the other jobs would provide. As a computer science person, only valid input I've got is that electronics + firearms are not a good combination right now.

To those who claim to have an inside track on the small arms selection, I do not believe you. I would be very surprised if government contract selection of this nature was not closely guarded.. this isn't france, afterall. If you do have a inside track, your probably violating a rather hefty NDA and I both do not want to know, and have no respect for your lack of professionalism.

Can't we just let this thread die? If we want to kick around future system ideas, lets do it someplace else and leave the small arms selection to the people who's job it actually is? I know its a novel concept that leaving professionals without politicians breathing on them might actually produce something worthwhile.

Andrew Wyatt
November 17, 2003, 01:55 AM
Your logic is inconsistant: you can machine a two part lower? Not if you want to retain the front push pins.
You put the front push pin section in the front section of the two piece lower.

there are oodles of aftermarket fire control units for the ar, from set triggers to safe/semi/burst ones. all are drop in, to my knowledge.

can any of you guys show me a g36 with a 7 inch barrel and collapsable stock? how about a g36 with a 24 inch heavy barrel and six way adjustable stock? what about one in .50?

Destructo6
November 17, 2003, 04:25 AM
~9" barrel, but another two could probably be chopped if needed. Oh yeah, no buffer 4" buffer tube to deal with:
http://www.hkpro.com/g36cwht.jpg

There's no reason why a 24" heavy barrel can't be installed.
all are drop in, to my knowledge
"Drop-in" as in no machining necessary. That's not "drop-in" as in no disassembly required past standard field stripping to replace a trigger group. Two spring-loaded push pins and the entire gripframe and trigger pack come out as a unit (module):
http://www.hkpro.com/image/G36STRIP.jpg

Andrew Wyatt
November 17, 2003, 02:47 PM
That's the point i'm trying to make. you're limited in how much you can modify the g36, because the upper reciever is the gun. i don't see a .308 PIP kit for the g36 being feaseable, since the upper won't handle it, and you can't change it.


with the ar, they have all kinds of wierd and wonderful things like magazine fed .50 uppers, and beltfed mg-42 uppers.

also, why is the ability to change out trigger groups by the troops all that useful? it's not like the troops are going to be allowed to do that, anyway.

make the pishpins captured, and prove the gun and maybe i'll consider it.

Spark
November 17, 2003, 03:24 PM
XM8 != G36

Jeff White
November 17, 2003, 05:15 PM
mrming said,
Mr White clearly has strong feelings for the M16 series, and doesn't want tax money going to a successor system.

Sir, you have misread the several posts where I have stated that I have no problem with a successor system. I just don't feel that the XM8 is the right system.

M16 gas system may work, but its not a good solution.

And you learned this from your admitted extensive experience in electronics? :rolleyes: What is posted about the M16 gas system has been nothing but peoples subjective personal preferences for a more conventional gas piston/operating rod system. The fact that the direct impingment gas system has worked well for 40 years doesn't figure into this.

My only choice is what to use for spark plugs (titanium or steel firing pin).

And just what do you mean by this? Titanium firing pins have been a known useless gimmick for years and definately aren't suitable for use on a military rifle because their lighter weight could cause them not to strike hard enough to reliably fire the weapon.

You can't redesign the trigger group without having to do modifications to the bolt.. and probably have to retap the reciever to fit the new trigger group.

I'm sure that the manufacturers of all the aftermarket triggers out there would be interested in knowing this. Imagine that, they have been doing this wrong for all these years.

Not every upgrade is about making a more effective way to kill people, sometimes it can be just a cheaper, or more convient way of doing things.

Since when is a more convenient way of doing something a reason to make a large capitol investment in a rifle that offers no other imporvements and some steps backward? Would you buy a new home because it had some features that made it more convient, yet it would end up costing you even more money (in development) before you reached the same level of sevice your old home provided? That's what you get with the XM8, a rifle that may or may not be more convenient but would do no more then our existing rifles do. How much are you willing to pay for convenience? And is that convenience worth the money considering you get no increase in capabilities?

This is what is probably meant by the term, 'modularity'. Hanging gadgets off a M16 isn't modularity. M16 modularity is limited to a very limited selection of buttstocks, and long vs short barreled uppers. Can't change it over to use 7.62x39 out of a ak47 mag. Would that ever be a useful feature? Better accuracy, one base weapon platform you train with, able to use ammo and mags from the enemy would probably be useful to some units.

Which is why USSOCOM is developing the SCAR. You notice it is a totally new weapon, not the G36 with sleek fiberglass furniture on it. I have nothing against developing an entirely new system that actually gives us improved capabilities over the weapons we currently have. I am dead set against buying the XM8 just because the XM29 failed and HK would like to sell the G36 to anyone.

Electronics on a firearm is a bad idea. This coming from a computer science freak. We haven't fought against anyone who liked technology. We have yet to deal with anyone smart enough to jam GPS. Its probably not a great idea to go bouncing signals off of things to get range for use against infantry. Can we say, radar detector? Or broad spectrum RF noise transmissions in say... 5-10 watt range? Your next gen targeting system just became a USGI early warning system at worest, unuseable complexity at best. Same goes for transmitting your location to a base command. Lighting yourself up like a christmas tree with electronic signals is not going to be a improvement.

So you were against the laser rangefinder on the XM29? Of course the laser rangefinders on the M1 Abrams, the M2 and M3 Bradleys, the AH64 Apaches, OH58D Kiowa Warriors and all the GLLDS and GLPS the artillery community uses have caused the enemy to attrit these systems in combat to the point we now shoot iron sights using kentucky windage? :rolleyes: Of course we haven't even touched the ground surveillance radars, the personal role radios and the digital links between all levels of command in the 4th Infantry Division. Do you think that an American rifleman is a big enough threat that a foreign power will develop detection and countermeasures for a hand held laser rangefinder similar to what Bushnell and Nikon sells to hunters? You really think that that's a possibility considering all the other emissions we're blasting the battlefield with?

M16 was force-fed for better or worse. Don't tease yourself that it was a system that was ready for common line combat. No chrome lining, no supporting equipment, issues with the mag design, bad powder selection in the ammunition etc etc. It had questionable benifits (didn't cut through cover as well, but you could carry more ammo), wasn't as reliable in its initial stages. etc. Plenty of old soliders still swear by the M1/M14 systems. Hence why those who have carried the current system need to step aside until something is ready for for field testing.

The M14 was already a failure. The decision had already been made to work on SPIW and other projects and not place anymore development into the M14. The M16 was not force fed. The commanders on the ground who were using it in combat were screaming for them. The Army Ordnance Department made a fateful and wrong decision to load M193 and M196 ammunition will ball type powder instead of the extruded powder that the weapon was designed around. That decision, made against the recommendation of the manufacturer was the cause of 99% of the fielding problems of the M16. That is hardly a reflection of the design. I bet you put the manufacturer's recommended fuel and oil in your car.

I don't claim to know if the XM8 will be the next great thing. However, its time to earn some ire. This thread has ran on for 5 pages, and most of it looks like a flame war. People aren't recognizing each others points, are harping on the same issues and no one here can speak authoritatively on this topic.

Before anyone protests. Unless you have actively engaged in all of the following as your profession....

1. small arms design
2. military finance
3. front line infantry
4. member of a small arms selection committe

Flame war? Since when is polite discussion of an issue become a flame war? I don't think anyone participating here has taken anything personally. I have yet to see the first personal attack or insult.

I disagree that you need to have experience in any of these matters to participate in a discussion. I do have experience as a front line Infantryman. Spark was a Combat Engineer, does that mean he sould recuse himself..I hardly think so. I have worked on budgetary matters. Had to make hard choices in how units spent the money that Congress appropriated them. But that doesn't necessarily make my opinion any more valid then yours. Perhaps we should censor all the trade magazines, military professional journals and gun rags, because this same issue is being discussed there too, by all kinds of people.

To those who claim to have an inside track on the small arms selection, I do not believe you. I would be very surprised if government contract selection of this nature was not closely guarded.. this isn't france, afterall. If you do have a inside track, your probably violating a rather hefty NDA and I both do not want to know, and have no respect for your lack of professionalism.

I don't think anyone here claimed to have an inside track on firearms selection. I do know some people at Ft Benning, and I even have a friend who is working for HK on the XM8. I did say I was going to express my thoughts on the matter to my US Congressman. That is the right of any citizen. There are no violations of non-disclosure agreements in this thread.

Can't we just let this thread die? If we want to kick around future system ideas, lets do it someplace else and leave the small arms selection to the people who's job it actually is? I know its a novel concept that leaving professionals without politicians breathing on them might actually produce something worthwhile.

This is an internet discussion board. People are enjoying themselves discussing an issue that is important to them. So are you saying that my experience as an end user of the product is invalid here. We should step back and let the professionals (people with experience in all the areas you say we have to have to make these decisions) handle it. No my friend we aren't the old Soviet Union here. We don't procure things by design bureau. And how many people in the US Defense establishment have experience in all the areas you say are necessary to have a valid opinion on this issue? And more importantly; Why are you afraid of the input of Infantrymen? Why should users of the present system recuse themselves.

What a novel concept, let the guys who will take the new weapon into harms way have some input. You are afraid of that. Why?

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 17, 2003, 06:29 PM
Jeff Said:The fact that the direct impingment gas system has worked well for 40 years doesn't figure into this.Well, the gas system HASN'T worked for 40 years. In fact, development problems with the gas system plagued the rifle for years and, to this day, very strict guidelines must be followed to make .223 ammo that will shoot reliably in our military's arsenal. This would not have been true had virtually ANY piston design of the time been utilized instead of the gas pipe. In fact, the AR-15 system is inherintly ammo sensative and always has and will be because of the FLAWED design of the tube. Rather than hot gases operating the mechanism, the gas that operates the AR-15 action has been allowed to move, cool, condense, and precipitate. all of that foreign matter gets clogged up and choked in the piston and cylinder (bolt and carrier) and must be constantly scraped off. This was SUCH a problem that for several years, ammo manufacturers refused to bid on the military contracts because the specifications were necessarily tight and impossible to meet. Tell me that a Stoner 63 or AR-18 would have been that ammo sensative!Since when is a more convenient way of doing something a reason to make a large capitol investment in a rifle that offers no other imporvements and some steps backward?What steps backwards? Demonstrate one item (okay, other than the flash suppressor being open in the front) that is a step backwards in the G36/XM-8? Gas system? Actually, the patent for the gas system was filed 16 April 1997. Try another one... where's the step backwards. Let's see, user-level modularity in barrel length, new gas system, modular magazine well, rugged telescoping stock, use of advanced materials, Johnson/Stoner Bolt system, Newly patented cocking handle with integrated forward assist... hmmmm, where's the beef? Is it the paddle magazine release? Are you entirely sure the XM-8 has a paddle release? My guess is that they will stick with the FLAWED magazine design of the M-16 which prevents a SUPERIOR fully curved feed system that prevents many types of misfeeds inherint in the current Fremont/Yang designed magazines.

Funny, Stoner himself complained that had the Army specified a requirement for a fully-curved magazine, it would have been a cinch to enlarge the magazine well SLIGHTLY. The Army could have done it by simply removing a bit of material from the front of the magazine well but that would have required.... Drum roll please... MODIFICATION OF THE RECEIVER which the Army was AND IS dead-set against. Thankfully, another band-aid sorta fixed the stoppage problems with the magazine thanks to some Korean ingenuity. Once again, band-aid a design flaw so it works most of the time. Wow, there's a theme here.

Again, Jeff or any other XM-8ers, please tell me what steps backwards the prototype has taken?

Kaylee
November 17, 2003, 08:18 PM
Tell me that a Stoner 63 or AR-18 would have been that ammo sensative!

Actually Badger, I think in a roundabout way you're making the other side's point here. It was early adoption of the AR-15 design and its subsequnt logistical commitment that kept us from going to the Stoner or AR-18, yes?

We jumped too soon.
We were thus committed to an adequate, even good -- but not excellent -- system for two generations.

If we go with the XM-8, we will again jump too soon.


There are **significantly** better designs coming down the pipeline, and they can be online and in mass production within the decade. If we commit to the XM-8 now, I fear we will again be fielding an adequate but lackluster weapon for another 40 years.

And no mrming, I don't claim to have an inside track on any selection process. I've just been lucky enough to see some early private contractor work and participate in some of the "what if" bull sessions. And that's with ONE contractor among many vying for the project -- I have no doubt that from what I've seen, the winner of that process, WHOEVER it is, will make the XM-8 look like a purtied up super soaker.

-K

note that nothing in this post violates my NDA. :)

Jeff White
November 17, 2003, 09:03 PM
Badger Arms said;

Well, the gas system HASN'T worked for 40 years. In fact, development problems with the gas system plagued the rifle for years and, to this day, very strict guidelines must be followed to make .223 ammo that will shoot reliably in our military's arsenal.

Again you are making a subjective judgement based on your personal preference for a piston/operating rod system. According to The Black Rifle the original prototypes were designed around the commercial Remington .222 cartridge. The Infantry Board increased penetration and trajectory requirements from 300-500 yards. this forced Armalite to modify the .222 Remington cartridge. I quote from the page 60 of The Black Rifle which in turn quotes from Gene Stoner's personal historical summary of the early development of the M16:

"The cartridge development for the .223 was started by myself in 1957 after a trip to Ft. Benning to get the desired military charactoristics. I calculated the needed bullet weight and muzzle velocity. I then designed the bullet and had it manufactured by by the Sierra Bullet Co. in Whittier, California. This bullet was a 55-grain boattail design with a jacket thickness of .018 inches. The powder finally selected was a standard commercial type.

The chamber pressures for this round in the standard .222 case were a little excessive. The obvious conclusion was to increase the case capacity and to use a different powder. I contracted Winchester and Remington about loading the necessary rounds for the test program...The Armalite rounds [were] loaded by Remington, with the bullets furnished..[and] were designated the ".222 Special". "

There were no problems with the direct impingment gas system with this ammunition. Again from The Black Rifle page 66 discussing the modifications Stoner made to the first 17 prototype AR15s after the March 1958 Infantry Board field test at Ft. Benning.

"In three clean starts through the sand-and-mud simulated combat trials at Kyle range, for example, whose ruggedness Stoner himself has already described, the AR15s had fired 3,578 semi-auto shots with an overall malfunction rate of 6.1 per 1,000 rounds. The handpicked Springfield Armory T44E4s had fired only 2,337 rounds, but turned in an overall malfunction rate of 16/1,000; nearly three times that of the developmental AR15s."

No reliabilty problems were noted during the Advanced Research Projects Agency Report of Task 13A, Test of Armalite Rifle, AR15 conducted in combat in South Vietnam during 1962. You can find this report on pages 101 through 107 in The Black Rifle.

It's true that there we problems meeting the design specifications of M193 ball ammunition, because you had to pick and choose the lot of IMR4473 to meet velocity and chamber specs. But you neglected to mention that the solution the Army chose, to allow the use of ball powder WC846 created a whole new set of problems that caused the M16 to finally stumble in combat. The final acceptance of WC846 instead of Remington's CR8136 (which Remington created to deal with the IMR4473 problems) is what cause the intial fielding to be a disaster. WC846 raised the cyclic rate sometimes above 900 rpm and greatly increased port pressure. Take any design and run it way above it's design specs and see what you get. Of course we continued to test the rifle with stockpiled ammunition loaded with IMR4473, so the problems with WC846 didn't manifest themselves until the rifle was fielded in quantity in combat. Once problems started appearing, we revisited the propellent issue and DuPont came up with EX8208 which solved the ball powder problems. It was approved and available in the supply system as of June 1966, well before the M16 was arriving in quantity. But the Army didn't withdraw stocks of M193/M196 ammunition loaded with WC846. So we fielded a rifle with ammunition we knew wouldn't work in it. How is this the fault of the design?

Tell me that a Stoner 63 or AR-18 would have been that ammo sensative!

Again speculation on your part. Was either the Stoner 63 or AR-18 tested with M193 loaded with WC846?

What steps backwards? Demonstrate one item (okay, other than the flash suppressor being open in the front) that is a step backwards in the G36/XM-8? Gas system? Actually, the patent for the gas system was filed 16 April 1997. Try another one... where's the step backwards. Let's see, user-level modularity in barrel length, new gas system, modular magazine well, rugged telescoping stock, use of advanced materials, Johnson/Stoner Bolt system, Newly patented cocking handle with integrated forward assist... hmmmm, where's the beef? Is it the paddle magazine release? Are you entirely sure the XM-8 has a paddle release? My guess is that they will stick with the FLAWED magazine design of the M-16 which prevents a SUPERIOR fully curved feed system that prevents many types of misfeeds inherint in the current Fremont/Yang designed magazines.

Ok you conceded the suppressor. I'm taking the following from HKs brochure on the XM8.

We lose lethality with the M855 round. HK shows muzzle velocity from the 20" barrel at 2850 fps and 2545 fps out of the 12.5" barrel. There is no 14.5" barrel like the M4. So we lose range that M855 has it's maximum lethality at in both versions.

Special integral flush mounted attachment points are located on the handguard and receiver to allow for the quick attachment of tageting devices. Unlike MIL STD 1913 rails the XM8 attachment points do not add additional weight, bulk and cost to the host weapon and will accept MIL STD 1913 adapters.

So this means we have to modify every AN/PEQ-4, AN/PEQ-2, AN/PEQ-5, M68 CCO and every other accsessory the Army owns that uses MIL STD 1913 mounts. Or buy adapters for them all. I dont know about you, but I seem to recall an Army supply system that's not real good at having the adapter you need when you need it. It adds more small parts to the entire system.

It only accepts the HK XM320 grenade launcher. That means we have to replace all the M203s in the inventory.

Sorry the XM8 is an expensive step backwards. It's less lethal, less ergonomic and more expensive by the time we buy adapters to make all the other systems we use with a rifle work.

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 17, 2003, 10:52 PM
So we fielded a rifle with ammunition we knew wouldn't work in it. How is this the fault of the design?It's the fault of a design that only one type of powder would power the system reliably. The fact that so much of a fuss was made over the powder was not minor and the book you qoute (which I read too) details the hoops that engineers, chemists, and soldiers had to jump through to get a rifle that wasn't more dangerous to them than it was to the enemy. That is the fault of the rifle and the speculation you say I'm making is not, it is clearly stated in the book and a logical conclusion of simple engineering, fluid dynamics, and kinetics which make the gas-tube INHERINTLY sensative to ammo. Sure, modern propellants are available which diminish, but do not eliminate the problems the AR-15 will ALWAYS have due to its design.

Hate to use the Automobile analogy again, but the Mazda rotary engines are great engines. They have a few BIG flaws but are still workable engines. The major flaw is that they do not seal very well and must be rebuilt sooner than a more conventional engine. While I won't say this about my wife, Some people I'm sure have flawed wives. I just think you are afraid of divorcing Roseanne Barr until you can get somebody of the caliber of, say, Anna Kournikova to replace her. That's reasonable, but you can't pick apart any gun that doesn't measure up to your ideal because you love Roseanne.Again speculation on your part. Was either the Stoner 63 or AR-18 tested with M193 loaded with WC846?You don't need to worry, I doubt anybody would give me odds on this bet. Howsabout I just declare myself the winner. You know darned well that the later Stoners would digest virtually anything and beg for more. I don't have either gun, right now, so I can't help you. Tried to order the Aberdeen Stoner 63 tests (the same tests that you refer to in your previous post but with different rifle) but the interlibrary loan system won't let me get it. I'm afraid research from Alaska is a bit difficult.

Jeff White
November 17, 2003, 11:58 PM
Declare you the winner..for fanatically defending an inferior rifle? :D

Are you saying that gas piston weapons will function within any pressure curve? You know that you aren't. Many of them have adjustable gas regulators that permit them to function as the gas system dirties up.

Saying that it's the fault of the design that it doesn't function with chamber and port pressure outside of it's design perameters is the same as saying your BMW should run fine with 3 in 1 oil in the crank case.

Sure, modern propellants are available which diminish, but do not eliminate the problems the AR-15 will ALWAYS have due to its design.

Could you provide some documented examples of AR15/M16 failures that can be attributed to the AR15/M16 gas system. Don't they continue to function with about any .223/5.56x45 ammunition you can buy? Examples newer then about 1967 please. The fact is the AR15 does not have those problems now.

You failed to address the DECREASE in lethality with M855 ammunition the XM8 gives us and the necessity to purchase adapters to use out current family of accessories on it, or the fact that we have to buy HK's propietary 40mm grenade launcher to maintain the same capability that we have. It's becoming a little bit bigger of a deal then buying a new rifle. Buy HK's own admission we have to buy adapters for our accessories and new grenade launchers. Given all that if you can still say that buying a rifle that gives us shorter lethal range and requires us to spend millions on rail adapters and new grenade launchers just to stay even with where we are now, I can only conclude that you would replace the M16 with anything you could get past Congress....High Pointe Carbines maybe :cool: (just kidding, seriously I think your desire to get the G36 into the system is over riding common sense here.)

The facts of the matter are that small arms are expected to last 20 years or more. Adopting the XM8 will actually give us a less capable weapon in terms of the range in which M855 achieves it's greatest lethality at and in ergonomics with it's AK type magazine release. The fact that someone saw a dual mag release notwithstanding. Has anyone who thinks the dual mag release is a good idea ever handled a Galil? If so then you know that the force required to move the safety above the pistol grip takes so much force that it's actually easier to use the very unergonomic AK type safety. The XM8 dual type release will probably be the same, with the pushbutton probably requiing enough force to move the flapper type release.

So you are ready to give up everything we have to include all the SOPMOD accessories and the M203 for an all HK system that will surely be old technology in a few years when the big breakthrough occurs?

As I've proven with the XM8s own literature, it is a step backwords. Kill the thing and see what kind of neat weapon the SCAR trials produce...

Jeff

Destructo6
November 18, 2003, 12:25 AM
Saying that it's the fault of the design that it doesn't function with chamber and port pressure outside of it's design perameters is the same as saying your BMW should run fine with 3 in 1 oil in the crank case.
It is a design deficiency when it requires such tight parameters.

max popenker
November 18, 2003, 02:45 AM
or the fact that we have to buy HK's propietary 40mm grenade launcher to maintain the same capability that we have

the key reason behind the interest in the AG36 is that it have side-swinging barrel instead of the front-sliding; this allows the AG36/XM320 to load much longer ammunition, with FAE or less-lethal warheads, which simply will not fit into M203.

Jeff White
November 18, 2003, 03:14 AM
the key reason behind the interest in the AG36 is that it have side-swinging barrel instead of the front-sliding; this allows the AG36/XM320 to load much longer ammunition, with FAE or less-lethal warheads, which simply will not fit into M203.

I am aware of that. But it's still a 40mm system that greatly limits the load a soldier can carry. Think stand alone grenade launcher of 20-30mm firing a round that gives the grenadier a close in capability without having to depend on the additional weight of a rifle. Thats where we're going.

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 18, 2003, 03:32 AM
So you are ready to give up everything we have to include all the SOPMOD accessories and the M203 for an all HK system that will surely be old technology in a few years when the big breakthrough occurs?Are you in Knight's pocket now? Do you have any idea how much Knight is getting paid for these proprietary items? People get paid when something gets bought. Frankly, I'm all for dumping payments to Knights and paying somebody for something that's a step-up. They've got the patent, they've convinced the Gov'mnt to buy them, and they're the sole source. Modular fleecing if you ask me.

Jeff White
November 18, 2003, 04:33 AM
Are you in Knight's pocket now? Do you have any idea how much Knight is getting paid for these proprietary items? People get paid when something gets bought. Frankly, I'm all for dumping payments to Knights and paying somebody for something that's a step-up. They've got the patent, they've convinced the Gov'mnt to buy them, and they're the sole source. Modular fleecing if you ask me.

Better to pay HK for their proprietary items??? :rolleyes:

Knights is not the sole source for MIL STD 1913 rail. I don't know where got that idea, but it's not true. MIL STD 1913 rail was developed at Picatinney Arsenal. It seems that everyone who makes accessories makes then for MIL STD 1913 rail. Last I checked Knight's didn't own SureFire or any of the other companies that produes our accessories for MIL STD 1913 rail. I'm sure A.R.M.S. and G.G.G. would be upset to know their products using MIL STD 1913 rail are infringing on Knight's patent :confused:.

The fact of the matter is you'd rather see your tax dollars paying H und K, currently owned by German firms for a proprietary system. Perhaps you'd like to see large amounts of your tax dollars benefitting a German company. After all they have proved such reliable allies in the past year or so. :uhoh:

The XM8 with it's proprietary rail system and it's propietary XM 320 grenade launcher is not a step up in anyone but a die hard HK fanatics dreams. It's simply replacing our tried and true systems with a system that gives us less lethality and is totally unproven.

In an earlier post you alluded to the gas system change that was made in the M1s service life. I just finished reading Bruce Canfield's excellent article in the current American Rifleman. I was unaware as to how many changes and modifications the M1 had during it's service life. So unless you can convince me that the XM8 is a system that is ready today I'm more convinced then ever that it is of the utmost folly to spend any tax dollars on developing another conventional 5.56x45mm assault rifle. If we can't do without a longer 40mm round, it surely would be cheaper to PIP the M203 to accept a longer round then it would be to buy a new grenade launcher.

As I told Max, the next grenade launcher will be a stand alone one that is in the 20-30mm range and allows the grenadier to carry a reasonable load of ammunition.

Every penny that we spend on the XM8 and XM230 is another penny we won't spend developing the next generation. In case you hadn't noticed, no one starts a project like this without military funding. Not anymore. the days of Armalite building a rifle to try to get in the game are over. The XM8 exists solely because HK has it left over from money we gave them on the XM29. They certainly wouldn't have come up with it on their own. They already have the G36 (which no one wants). I find it strange that no one wants to buy their designs. Royal Ordnance hired them to rework the L85, I understand that the Royal Austrailian Army considered hiring them to re-engineer their version of the AUG (L88?) but bought Bushmaster M4s instead.

You still haven't told me why the HK proprietary rails and buying adapters is better. Just muttered something about being on KACs payroll. What's up with that? Even if MIL STD 1913 rail wasn't developed at Picatinney Arsenal and in the public domain, what is the difference between one companies proprietary system of another ones? Especially since everything we've got mounts on MIL STD 1913 rail. :confused:

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 18, 2003, 05:31 AM
Of course you know I didn't mean Weaver Rail cross-section as specified in Mil Std 1913.

http://www.quarterbore.com/library/pdf_files/mil-std-1913-n1.pdf

Clever that you should divert attention by pointing out a mil-spec for Weaver Rail! Knights owns the patent to the accessory rail mounting system that is the heart of this 'modularity' you claim for the newer AR-15 guns. Check out patent 5,826,363 which means that ONLY Knights can build the rail system for the M-4, M-16A3/4, etc. They own the Darned Patent... not to the rail profile but to the rail system.

And if truth be known, they also build a system with Mil-Std-1913 rails for the G-36. So if the modularity of the M-16 family is due solely to the Knights system, looks like that line of debate is a dead-end.

http://www.knightarmco.com/comersus/store/catalog/lfrontclose.jpg

tac17
November 18, 2003, 07:14 AM
To Jeff or anyone else that might know. What were the problems with the G36's in the recent government tests?

It would seem like if the G36 was really the best thing since sliced bread it would have beaten out Colt, RRA, and SIG.

Another thought, why is so important to have the modularity of the XM-8? It's nifty and all but why exactly do you need to change out your magwell and do we really need the average GI to be able to do that?

Spark
November 18, 2003, 12:32 PM
The importance of modularity includes several factors: battle damage, upgrades, mission specific special equipment, etc.

Glock Glockler
November 18, 2003, 01:54 PM
If these SCAR guns are so nifty, when will we be seeing them, when are the SCAR trials?

Destructo6
November 18, 2003, 02:00 PM
Another advantage of the modularity is if they ever decide to ditch the M16 magazine. Today, there are magwells for the G36 and M16 mag. In the future, the military may develop a perfect 5.56NATO magazine and all that would be required to convert current versions is a different magazine well.

tac17
November 18, 2003, 02:00 PM
The importance of modularity includes several factors: battle damage, upgrades, mission specific special equipment, etc.
Battle damage.... So how many trigger groups and magwells are going to be issued to every soldier? If a soldier isn't issued a spare everything I can't see how that's going to help.

Andrew Wyatt
November 18, 2003, 02:09 PM
Clever that you should divert attention by pointing out a mil-spec for Weaver Rail! Knights owns the patent to the accessory rail mounting system that is the heart of this 'modularity' you claim for the newer AR-15 guns. Check out patent 5,826,363 which means that ONLY Knights can build the rail system for the M-4, M-16A3/4, etc. They own the Darned Patent... not to the rail profile but to the rail system.


I guess i should go file suit on behalf of knights against bushmaster and ARMS (makers of two of the blistering array of rail systems for the AR) , then.

Spark
November 18, 2003, 02:25 PM
Battle damage.... So how many trigger groups and magwells are going to be issued to every soldier? If a soldier isn't issued a spare everything I can't see how that's going to help.

I take it you've never seen a weapon hit or broken in the field then? You can't see the advantage of being able to replace parts in the field, without tools? Soldiers don't have to be issued spares of everything but the S4 for the company or battalion can easily keep a few magwell's, stocks, etc on hand - just like they keep spare weapons on hand in the combat zone. Take a round through the lower during combat? Do a battlefield pickup off one of your buddies or somesuch.

Next? I guess i should go file suit on behalf of knights against bushmaster and ARMS (makers of two of the blistering array of rail systems for the AR) , then. You don't see the SIRS system as part of the M4 official issue, do you? Though it does have the same function, it's not issued because Knight's has the contract. There goes your "wide range of alternatives in suppliers" reason for that - if you can't get exactly the same item from other suppliers, it makes that same item just a proprietary as the XM8 parts people are complaining about.

tac17
November 18, 2003, 03:02 PM
I take it you've never seen a weapon hit or broken in the field then? You can't see the advantage of being able to replace parts in the field, without tools? Soldiers don't have to be issued spares of everything but the S4 for the company or battalion can easily keep a few magwell's, stocks, etc on hand - just like they keep spare weapons on hand in the combat zone. Take a round through the lower during combat? Do a battlefield pickup off one of your buddies or somesuch.
If the soldiers aren't going to be issued the parts then where is the difference between this new system and the old system?

I just can't see any real benefit from spending the money when there are so many other things that money needs to go towards.

Andrew Wyatt
November 18, 2003, 03:09 PM
You don't see the SIRS system as part of the M4 official issue, do you?

I don't know, but it is readily available if folks want to shell out the cash for it, and as unit purchase items. The army isgoing to an all m16a4/m4a1 force, so the presence or absense of thes rail adaptors is moot, since everyone who'll need them will have them.

why not battlefield pickup someone's whole gun? it takes even fewer tools to do that.


the m-16 is far more amendable by its design to modification then the g36, due to the upper reciever being a separate piece than the buttstock and firecontrol unit. this means we can keep it in inventory with a reasonably small expendeture in cost and training time untill the next big thing comes along. the g36 is not the next big thing. heck, with the design of the m-16, i wouldn't be surprised it it were modified to take advantage of the next big thing in small arms development.

mrming
November 18, 2003, 04:59 PM
So you were against the laser rangefinder on the XM29? Of course the laser rangefinders on the M1 Abrams, the M2 and M3 Bradleys, the AH64 Apaches, OH58D Kiowa Warriors and all the GLLDS and GLPS the artillery community uses have caused the enemy to attrit these systems in combat to the point we now shoot iron sights using kentucky windage? Of course we haven't even touched the ground surveillance radars, the personal role radios and the digital links between all levels of command in the 4th Infantry Division. Do you think that an American rifleman is a big enough threat that a foreign power will develop detection and countermeasures for a hand held laser rangefinder similar to what Bushnell and Nikon sells to hunters? You really think that that's a possibility considering all the other emissions we're blasting the battlefield with?

First, I had the impression that what you desired was a wee bit more complex. The units deployed in military vechiles are significantly more complex than 'what Bushnell and Nikon sells to hunters'. Some with multiple redudnancys, balistic computers, hold over estimation based on target velocity etc.

Really bad logic here. APC's, traditional heavy armor, and aircraft all have significantly easier ways to be identified. Uniform profiles, massive heat signatures, noise, radar profiles, etc. Why bother trying to find their laser designator when a simple thermal sight will reviel them? Vechiles also have this wonderful thing called horsepower, in which all engines are typically rated. Oddly, people don't generate much of it, so we can't just lift and reprogram the electronisc from a vechile. Is it feasible to expect to take a multipound unit including a balistics computer, reduce it to a few ounces, attach it to a rifle and expect it to work well?

People are hard to spot eletronicly. Small body heat which can be masked, no set optical/radar/etc profile. Equip everyone with a flashlight (laser, in this case) on their rifles, don't spend the training time on traditional iron marksmenship (why should we? They've got a fancy set of optics now! Or are you saying we'll train in both, so the solider now has an additional skillset they have to stay up to speed with?) What, make it pulsed so you only send out a signal when aiming? But then you don't have the data to figure out inertia to lead. Do you really want to wait that half second for the computer to come up with a target leading solution, or just pull the trigger and walk the fire into them? How is this sighting technology going to be a signficant improvement?

Of what benifit is this in a urban enviroment? At under a hundred yards? 200? Even if a method to indentify humans based on a limited sensor (laser, whatever) is devised, people don't have the intertia of a vechile. Duck, jump, dodge, side step all are possible and non-predictable events. It'll be possible to fool the leading retiticle, and it'll take a large fraction of a second to generate.

Ok, say we drop the leading functionality. Lets just do a hold over. line up on target, send out one pulse to get range.. imbed sensors to pickup on humidity, air pressure, wind speed, munitions type and generate a hold-over reticle. That could be useful, but only at range. If someone wants to try it out, we don't need a new rifle for it... just pull the carry handle off a A4 and attach. Now it doesn't give away your position, or require a new weapon.. but I doubt we are talking about anything revolutionary, as it'd have to be tuned to each individual rifle and munition combination, and it won't be capable of reading wind anywhere except at the point of the sight.. Traditional marksmenship should be able to win out.

When is the last time we fought against a foe who valued their infantry? Were the bulk of the army wasn't forced conscripts, or even had a home grown electronics industry of their own? I'm not worried about the brush wars, the police actions, or the occasional dictator with cold war left overs. I'm worried about the guy who shows up capable of defeating the electronic gizmo's leaving the USGI with a compass, iron sights and his feet. God forbid any consideration be given to the day that someone brings a working EMP bomb to the party.

Badger Arms
November 18, 2003, 05:52 PM
I guess i should go file suit on behalf of knights against bushmaster and ARMS (makers of two of the blistering array of rail systems for the AR) , then.Okay, maybe I should be more specific. Knights patented their rail system which involves a removeable lower portion so that the M-203 grenade launcher can be attached to the barrel. Since special forces want that option, they can only get it from Knights.the m-16 is far more amendable by its design to modification then the g36, due to the upper reciever being a separate piece than the buttstock and firecontrol unit. this means we can keep it in inventory with a reasonably small expendeture in cost and training time untill the next big thing comes along. the g36 is not the next big thing. heck, with the design of the m-16, i wouldn't be surprised it it were modified to take advantage of the next big thing in small arms development.Wait a second, your logic eludes me. The Mag well, trigger group, buttstock, sighting system, handguards, and barrel are all user replaceable in the field on the G-36. You are saying that an M-16 which lacks user interchangeable trigger groups, mag wells, barrels, and buttstock is more interchageable? You're using Sarah Brady math to come up with that one. No, the G36/XM8 does NOT have a two-piece receiver, but what advantage is there in that? That's the point of modularity. The receiver on a G36 serves essentially the same purpose as that of the Upper receiver on an M-16. With the German gun, you get the modularity of being able to attach a separate buttstock, trigger group, and mag well.

Let's say the Army is disappointed in their magazines becasue the Aluminum ones are flimsy and cause jams because of some weird half-curved, half-straight idea. Well, all they'd have to do is change out the mag wells and there they have it, they can now fit a fully-curved 30-rounder to each gun out there. We went through this VERY early in the development of the AR-15 but because it (and pretty much everything at that time) wasn't modular, no dice. So we were stuck with the fully curved magazine and compromise green followers to band-aid a design flaw. Sure, the brick flies most of the time... wait, I said that before!Is it feasible to expect to take a multipound unit including a balistics computer, reduce it to a few ounces, attach it to a rifle and expect it to work well?Looking at my cell phone with Built-in GPS that came free with a 1-year contract... I'd have to say YES, it's possible in a few years. The problem is, we won't be able to use the darned thing because the M-16 won't adapt to it. Part of the philosophy of the XM-8 is that it's lighter and has the potential to shed even more weight as the system matures. That will allow it to integrate with the automatic grenade launcher that IS THE NEXT BIG THING when it, too, sees results from its diet and exercise program. Andrew, Jeff, that's also the reason why we get an anemic 12" barrel. When it comes time to attach the XM-8 to a grenade launcher, I don't want that long of a barrel on what becomes a secondary system to the primary weapon. I'll also want the other guys in the squad to be using 20" barreled rifles of the same design to support me.

The next best thing is asking for a new weapon. Either you don't think the "grandson of OICW" is the next best thing, or you are too prejudiced to accept that anything short of a Phaser will be good enough to replace the M-16. Being conservative is just fine, but there comes a point when we must move on to newer technology, newer ideas, and newer concepts that have the potential to get us to the next step. Had the grenade laucher and sight on the XM-29 had passed the test, would we be having this argument? Well, it didn't but it's descendants will someday. Either jump on the bandwagon or get out of the way. ;)

Kaylee
November 18, 2003, 06:11 PM
The next best thing is asking for a new weapon. Either you don't think the "grandson of OICW" is the next best thing, or you are too prejudiced to accept that anything short of a Phaser will be good enough to replace the M-16.

Hunh? That's rather a false dichotomy, don't you think?

I don't think there's anyone here saying that the M16 is perfect, or that it shouldn't be replaced in the not-too-distant future.

Don't mean the XM-8 is the way to go though. :)

-K

tac17
November 18, 2003, 06:40 PM
Wait a second, your logic eludes me. The Mag well, trigger group, buttstock, sighting system, handguards, and barrel are all user replaceable in the field on the G-36.
Ok there it is again. Why is it important to be able to change the mag well, trigger group and buttstock in the field unless you are sending the soldiers out with a parts kit?

I can change out the sighting system on my A3 upper in the field already.

You can change the handguards for the current system in the field as well.

At least when you change the upper on an AR you don't have to rezero it.

Badger Arms
November 18, 2003, 07:24 PM
I wasn't attempting to make a case that this modularity was good or bad, only the fact that the XM-8 is more flexible in that regard than is the M-16. How often do upper receivers get swapped out on the M-16 system anyhow? Modularity means that units can configure their weapons easily based on the expected mission. House clearing might call for short barrels, laser designators, etc. Desert fighting might call for longer barrels with scopes. Again, I'm observing here, not passing judgement. My main reason for wanting the M-8 to become a reality lies with reliability and adaptability in the future, not in whether or not the grunts can or cannot change out their trigger groups in a foxhole.

tac17
November 18, 2003, 07:37 PM
How often do upper receivers get swapped out on the M-16 system anyhow? Modularity means that units can configure their weapons easily based on the expected mission.
About as often as I suspect the barrel would be changed on the XM-8.
My main reason for wanting the M-8 to become a reality lies with reliability and adaptability in the future, not in whether or not the grunts can or cannot change out their trigger groups in a foxhole.
But as already brought up the M-16 series has proven to be a reliable weapon system.

As far as adaptability in the future goes....No one knows what the future is going to hold in order to claim the XM-8 will even be able to be adapted to it. Why not want until that new thing is here and issue it then?

mattd
November 18, 2003, 07:40 PM
The only 2 optics I ever see the American Army using on the m4 or m-16 is the Acog scope and the Aimpoint, the Aimpoint mount isn't permanent I don't know of the Acog, but I'm sure those companys will have no problems making a new mount for it to fit on the XM8.

Or just use the 1913 rail and be done with it.

Destructo6
November 18, 2003, 08:33 PM
I don't think there's anyone here saying that the M16 is perfect
Some have come really close.
At least when you change the upper on an AR you don't have to rezero it.
What are you getting at here? What on the G36/XM8 would you change that would require re-zero? Can you change the magwell at all on the AR? You seem to conclude that in order to take advantage of modularity in the field, each soldier would need to be equipped with every spare part (ie another rifle). A battallion armorer could carry spare trigger groups, buttstocks, magwells, and strip pins which could quickly replace damaged bits, in the field. Wheras with the AR, in order to replace the same parts, he'd have a fair bit of wrenching to do, or carry entire pre-assembled lowers around.

tac17
November 18, 2003, 08:37 PM
What are you getting at here? What on the G36/XM8 would you change that would require re-zero?
The barrel. :scrutiny:
You seem to conclude that in order to take advantage of modularity in the field, each soldier would need to be equipped with every spare part (ie another rifle). A battallion armorer could carry spare trigger groups, buttstocks, magwells, and strip pins which could quickly replace damaged bits, in the field. Wheras with the AR, in order to replace the same parts, he'd have a fair bit of wrenching to do, or carry entire pre-assembled lowers around.
It's a nifty concept. I just don't think it is that drastic of an improvement to re-equip all our forces with them. Those funds might be better spent on things like body armor and such.

mrming
November 18, 2003, 08:40 PM
Looking at my cell phone with Built-in GPS that came free with a 1-year contract... I'd have to say YES, it's possible in a few years. The problem is, we won't be able to use the darned thing because the M-16 won't adapt to it. Part of the philosophy of the XM-8 is that it's lighter and has the potential to shed even more weight as the system matures. That will allow it to integrate with

Badger, IF we are talking just a aimpoint with some sort of zoom ability that can figure hold over, sure, its doable now.

If we are talking like White was sounding, a aiming device that gives drift on moving targets ala modern armour targeting systems your out of your mind.

I have to agree overall, modular so you don't have to reinvest in a new platform to upgrade the component technologies sounds good. Presuming there isn't something better behind the curtain that does it, too. So the question is.. how long is long enough to wait for the curtain to be pulled back?

Jeff White
November 18, 2003, 08:59 PM
mrming said,

Is it feasible to expect to take a multipound unit including a balistics computer, reduce it to a few ounces, attach it to a rifle and expect it to work well?

Ever hear of a program called Land Warrior? We're not there yet, but we're getting there. The processing capability to figure trajectory of a bullet going out to 300 meters is much less then computing the trajectory of a 120mm SABOT roind out to 3000 meters from a platform that's moving 25 mph. The sight I envision is well within our current technology.

People are hard to spot eletronicly. Small body heat which can be masked, no set optical/radar/etc profile.

Ever looked through the ISU of an M2 Bradley? Yes, you can mask body heat with something as simple as a sheet of acetate. But once you move all bets are off.

Equip everyone with a flashlight (laser, in this case) on their rifles, don't spend the training time on traditional iron marksmenship (why should we?

We already do. Ever hear of AN/PAC-4Cs, AN/PEQ-2s and 5? Most troops have the M68 CCO (Aimpoint Comp M in civilian terms). I don't think we'll ever stop spending training time on traditional iron sight marksmanship, because you still have to have a foundation in the basics. But better aiming devices are where we're going. Barring a breakthrough in ammunition technology, it's where all the near term improvements are coming from. The XM8 all the HundKphobes are promoting has very rudimentary iron sights and a proprietary sight that is totally unacceptable for military use. Even the German soldiers who have it on their G36s complain about it.

They've got a fancy set of optics now! Or are you saying we'll train in both, so the solider now has an additional skillset they have to stay up to speed with?)

That is exactly what we are doing now. One of the missions of the small arms master marksmen programs in the light divisions is to provide subject matter experts in use of all the new aiming devices we already have in the system. Units routinely qualify with both iron sights and their M68 CCOs. As a matter of fact they even qual with both in Infantry OSUT now.

What, make it pulsed so you only send out a signal when aiming? But then you don't have the data to figure out inertia to lead. Do you really want to wait that half second for the computer to come up with a target leading solution, or just pull the trigger and walk the fire into them? How is this sighting technology going to be a signficant improvement?

We already do this with the infrared laser aiming lights in the system. A half second to wait for a processor to work is not bad at all. How long do you think the engagement sequence is now with iron sights? Soldier aquires the target, IDs it as hostile, estimates range, aims, lining up both front and rear sights, presses trigger. Probably takes anywhere from a second and a half to 3 seconds depending on the skill of the shooter.

Range estimation is the phase where the most errors occur. If we ranged the target as well as illuminated it with our laser, we could eliminate this error. Imagine a combat sight that was slaved to to the laser aimer we use to engage in the dark. Soldier sees the target through either his AN/PVS14 at night or his day combat optic. Illuminates it with the laser. The laser gives the CPU the range and the CPU computes the right angle to hold the weapon to make the hit, turning the reticule red/green (color really doesn't matter). The reticule could be in his day sight mounted on the weapon or in the eyepiece of his helmet mounted NOD. This is a significant improvement over what we have. The technology exists to make this a reality now.

Of what benifit is this in a urban enviroment? At under a hundred yards? 200? Even if a method to indentify humans based on a limited sensor (laser, whatever) is devised, people don't have the intertia of a vechile. Duck, jump, dodge, side step all are possible and non-predictable events. It'll be possible to fool the leading retiticle, and it'll take a large fraction of a second to generate.

It's still going to be faster in a urban environment. Put the entire thing into a thermal sight and you've taken a lot of concealment from the enemy. We haven't quite gotten to where thermal rifle sights are small and light enough to be practical yet, but we will. Look at the difference between the AN/PVS2 of Vietnam days and the current AN/PVS14.

Ok, say we drop the leading functionality. Lets just do a hold over. line up on target, send out one pulse to get range.. imbed sensors to pickup on humidity, air pressure, wind speed, munitions type and generate a hold-over reticle. That could be useful, but only at range. If someone wants to try it out, we don't need a new rifle for it... just pull the carry handle off a A4 and attach.

We don't need humidty, air pressure or wind speed to engage at 300 meters and closer. All we need is the range to the target. There are online ballistic computers that will figure out the holdover needed for the ammunition we use. Like I said earlier, we're shooting from point blank range out to no more then about 500 meters if we stay with 5.56x45 ammo. And that you for making my point. We don't need a new rifle to do this. In fact adoption of the XM8 will undoubtedly suck up the funding we need to develop the sight unit. So we get less capability for more money :uhoh: .

I doubt we are talking about anything revolutionary, as it'd have to be tuned to each individual rifle and munition combination, and it won't be capable of reading wind anywhere except at the point of the sight.. Traditional marksmenship should be able to win out.

No we're not talking about anything revolutionary. You wouldn't need to program the system for each individual rifle/ammunition combo. With the current 4MOA standard for mechanical accuracy (most rack grade M16s shoot 2MOA or better) a software package that covered M855 out of both a 20" and 14.5" barrel will be sufficient for what we want to do. Traditional marksmanship isn't winning out. Range scores show that soldiers equipped with the current optical systems prove their value.

When is the last time we fought against a foe who valued their infantry? Were the bulk of the army wasn't forced conscripts, or even had a home grown electronics industry of their own? I'm not worried about the brush wars, the police actions, or the occasional dictator with cold war left overs. I'm worried about the guy who shows up capable of defeating the electronic gizmo's leaving the USGI with a compass, iron sights and his feet. God forbid any consideration be given to the day that someone brings a working EMP bomb to the party.

This is always a consideration. Which is why we still need backup iron sights. and the training to use them. Warfare in the electronic spectrum is something we have to deal with. Should we not pursue anything in these areas? We seem to have neutralized the Russian made GPS jammers the Iraqis fielded during the recent war. I think it's folly not to pursue these advances because there may be countermeasures used against them. There are always countermeasures. That's what it's all about. The trick is to train soldiers well enough that they can function without all the HSLD stuff.

Badger Arms said;

Okay, maybe I should be more specific. Knights patented their rail system which involves a removeable lower portion so that the M-203 grenade launcher can be attached to the barrel. Since special forces want that option, they can only get it from Knights.

Again not true. The A.R.M.S. SIR will accept the M203. It even has an NSN. It's been in the hands of our troops for a long time. Again I ask, what is the difference between Kinights and HK when it comes to proprietary parts, except that Knights is an American company and HK is a German company?


Let's say the Army is disappointed in their magazines becasue the Aluminum ones are flimsy and cause jams because of some weird half-curved, half-straight idea. Well, all they'd have to do is change out the mag wells and there they have it, they can now fit a fully-curved 30-rounder to each gun out there. We went through this VERY early in the development of the AR-15 but because it (and pretty much everything at that time) wasn't modular, no dice. So we were stuck with the fully curved magazine and compromise green followers to band-aid a design flaw. Sure, the brick flies most of the time... wait, I said that before!

So is this capability worth the cost? You answered your own question. We already issue reliable magazines. In fact your buddies at Oberndorf already make them ...Of course 13 thousand of them that were sold to one of our elite units had to be sent back due to serious quality control problems. ...ohhh I thought if it came from Oberndorf it was infallible, you mean they do make mistakes like any other manufacturer? :what:

The problem is, we won't be able to use the darned thing because the M-16 won't adapt to it.

And you know this how? Have you seen what's being done to replace the XM29? No you haven't. No one here has. I do know that they are currently looking at a stand alone grenade launcher and developing munitions for it the grenadiier can use up close, eliminating the need for a dual weapon.

Part of the philosophy of the XM-8 is that it's lighter and has the potential to shed even more weight as the system matures. That will allow it to integrate with the automatic grenade launcher that IS THE NEXT BIG THING when it, too, sees results from its diet and exercise program.

Badger, repeat after me....The XM29 is dead... Now once again, The XM29 is dead...again...The XM29 is dead. Ok now that we've established that FACT we can continue the discussion. No one knows what the follow on to the XM29 will look like. I do know for a fact that they are looking at a STAND ALONE system. Given that they are starting over with the entire program...what guarantee can you give me that the XM29 will be compatible with the new grenade launcher? Every penny we spend on the XM29 will be a penny that isn't available to develop the new grenade launcher. The XM8 didn't exist till the XM29 was killed. There is no need for it now.

Andrew, Jeff, that's also the reason why we get an anemic 12" barrel. When it comes time to attach the XM-8 to a grenade launcher, I don't want that long of a barrel on what becomes a secondary system to the primary weapon. I'll also want the other guys in the squad to be using 20" barreled rifles of the same design to support me.

The reason we had to have the anemic 12.5" barrel was because of the XM29. Guess what, The XM29 is dead. The 12.5" barrel was one of the big reasons rank and file grunts didn't want the XM29. You limit the grenadiers range with his rifle to under 100 meters where the M855 round is at it's best. In fact according to HK own brochure on the XM8, it leaves the barrel at 45 fps above the minimum threshold for fragmentation. I don't have a ballistic calculator, but I would imagine that it will drop below 2500 fps (which is the minimum velocity for fragmentation, it's only reliable above 2700 fps which the 12.5" barrel NEVER gives us) between 50 and 70 meters from the muzzle. I don't know how much personal experience you have with grenade launchers, but you can't use them though any kind of foilage because of the speed the grenade flies. So we either develop a a close in grenade or give the grenadier a usable rifle. While we're on muzzle velocity, the piston/op rod system that you're so in love with allows a muzzle velocity 2850 fps with the 20" barrel vs. 3100 fps with the 20" M16A2/A4. So we have less range where M855 is at it's optimum velocity with both versions of the XM8. I don't see how this is a good thing. Why would we deliberatly give our soldier a weapon that had less effective terminal effects?
:what:

Even if the other members of the squad had 20" XM8s, they wouldn't have as effective weapons as we do now. I'd be interested to know why you want my son who's in B-1-29th Infantry right now to carry a less effective rifle into combat? :confused:

Had the grenade laucher and sight on the XM-29 had passed the test, would we be having this argument? Well, it didn't but it's descendants will someday. Either jump on the bandwagon or get out of the way.

Have you seen the reports on why the XM29 was scrapped? Are you sure that the XM8 part passed with flying colors? I'm not.

Far from jumping on the bandwagon, I am doing everything I can to derail the XM8 train before we are saddled with an expensive, unproven rifle that does nothing better then the ones we have and many things worse....

Jeff

Chindo18Z
November 18, 2003, 10:37 PM
Notwithstanding that this is a really entertaining thread with lots of cogent arguments for opposing opinions...

(Climbs into Nomex coveralls, tightens MICH chin strap...)

Some of the arguments here remind me of virgins talking about sex.

You can argue till the cows come home about advantages to this and that and only betray the fact that you don't really understand how things actually work in a battlefield environment. I see a lot of armchair opinion on what Joe should be forced to carry. To be honest, if you handed the average E-3 11B a sexy G-36 he would think he had won the lottery. The trouble is that the average E-3 is an apprentice when it comes to weapons. In the military we rely on more experienced hands to operate the B.S. detector. With all due modesty, I'm calling B.S. on the G36/XM8. The weapon is not ready to go to war with our troops. The M4/M16 is. If you think otherwise you probably haven't used either for extended firing under field conditions...or in combat. A day at the range doesn't count.

I want a COMPLETELY NEW RIFLE & CALIBER combination that delivers a quantum leap in LETHALITY, RELIABILITY, ERGONOMICS, and INCREASED DAY/NIGHT HIT POTENTIAL against human beings I intend to kill.

When someone shows me one I will drop the Stoner AR design like a cheap cigar.

How is an XM8/G36 BETTER than what I currently carry (or even as good)? Generating constituency jobs in Georgia doesn't count. Reconfiguring rifles in the field (with parts Joe will never have access to) is a specious argument in the infantry world. Most units don't even own spare barrels for their SAWs. It's taken over 10 years just to get our kids equipped with rails, optics, tactical lights, BUIS, PAC-4Cs, PAS-13s, PVS-14s, etc.

What I have not seen in 6 pages of this thread is even ONE good reason for pissing money away on the XM8 (unless, as previously posted, each rifle comes with a BMW as a carrying case :D).

Destructo6
November 18, 2003, 10:54 PM
the barrel
Uh, you don't have to sight in a M16 after you change the barrel? Or are you saying you can swap entire uppers without sighting in? If so, a complete upper is a lot of money and equipment laying around doing nothing.

Andrew Wyatt
November 18, 2003, 10:58 PM
it's also self contained, and can be put on any other m-16. It can be in any caliber you want, and only requires the use of two pushpins to install.

tac17
November 18, 2003, 11:11 PM
Uh, you don't have to sight in a M16 after you change the barrel? Or are you saying you can swap entire uppers without sighting in? If so, a complete upper is a lot of money and equipment laying around doing nothing.
My original comments were to the XM-8 and not the M-16. They were directed at all the talk of how easy it is to switch an XM-8 barrel and how that was an improvement over the M-16. My comment was that switching from a 12.5" barrel to a 20" barrel on an XM-8 would require a little more than just clicking this or that into place it would need to be zeroed again.

A complete upper might be a lot of money and equipment laying around doing nothing, but for all we know a barrel for the XM-8 might not be cheap either. Of course the extra XM-8 barrel will of course be laying around, doing nothing, when not in use as well.

Jeff White
November 18, 2003, 11:36 PM
Chindo18Z,
We professionals aren't supposed to have opinions...they get in the way of development. :what:

According to mrming;
Before anyone protests. Unless you have actively engaged in all of the following as your profession....

1. small arms design
2. military finance
3. front line infantry
4. member of a small arms selection committe

Then you haven't the experience to speak authoritatively on any of this.

I don't know about you, but I only qualify on numbers 2 and 3 ;) And my finance consisted of recommending how to spend training dollars to the commander.

All....There is one thing you have to understand. Chindo18Z is correct in that modularity won't mean anything below division level in a conventional unit. Spark, you should know this too. A rifle company doesn't have the organic lift to haul 150 transit cases full of the modular XM8 parts. Does anyone have any idea what an XM8 with a transit case with all it's neat little components might cost? I don't, but given the cost of other HK weapons and military weapons in general you are probably looking at $6000-$8000 per system.

Zeroing isn't even that much of an issue. We currently have laser boresighters that we use with offset targets to field zero all of our current fire control components. Zeroing the M68 CCO with the laser is even one of the tasks tested on the EIB (Expert Infantryman Badge) test this year.

The XM8 is change for the sake of change. I have repeatedly stated I would drop the M16/M4 as soon as something that gave me greater capability comes along...For all the reasons I've stated here, the XM8 doesn't. And yes, I too own an HK. I have a USP45 that I think is probably the best .45 ACP double stack made. But that's not relavant to this debate. I carried an M16 for almost 29 years in the Army. 22 of that in the Infantry in every position up to platoon sergeant. I still depend on a Colt R6920 LE Carbine as a patrol rifle. It may not be perfect, but it's proven and it works. The G36/XM8 isn't. That's the bottom line.

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 19, 2003, 01:17 AM
Some of the arguments here remind me of virgins talking about sex.ROFLMAO :D

Okay, Jeff. The XM-29 is dead but I don't recall ever saying it wasn't. In fact, it's dead, but the individual components are to be developed separately:

Army Times says:The XM8 is part of the Army's effort to perfect an over-and-under style weapon, known as the XM29, developed by Alliant Techsystems and H&K. It fires special air-bursting projectiles and standard 5.56mm ammunition. But the XM29 still is too heavy and unwieldy for Army requirements.So while the XM-29 is dead (my opinion and yours despite what the Army says) as a system, the XM-8 portion lives on and, being easiest and quickest to develop, will be fielded first. The Grenade launcher will have to be developed separately along with the sighting/fire control module. Once they are developed and fielded, they go on a diet until all parts are light enough to integrate. Now, I ain't saying that it's going to happen, but that's the plan.

So, what configuration can you imagine where the M-16 would integrate with the repeating grenade launcher?

MRMING said:If we are talking like White was sounding, a aiming device that gives drift on moving targets ala modern armour targeting systems your out of your mind.Well, I am out of my mind, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. I believe that a proper sight will posess the following capabilities at least or something near them:

1) Day, night, and possibly infrared capability-- maybe 20 years out for latter.
2) Laser rangefinder with auto-compensation for bullet drop and grenade drop.
3) Programmer for air-burst grenade fuses.
4) Camera for helmet mounted display to look around corners and relay info through land warrior system.
5) Laser units for marking in visible, infrared, and for designating targets for air-strike or other smart munitions... mortars, howitzer shells, MLRS, etc.
6) GPS integration to give exact coordinates of target.
7) Weight of around a pound.
8) Battery life of around 12 hours in regular use.

Not only do I belive this sight is possible, but it is probably possible with currently available technology with the exception of perhaps the battery life and infrared. Call me crazy. A tracking computer is also possible, but I don't think it's likely. Shooting at walking or running targets at typical ranges, the human mind does about as good a job at leading as a computer would for ALOT less money.

When I was a kid, I remember watching the TOW missile sight that was being developed then for the Army track vehicles in the San Fernando Valley. It would track them and follow them predictively through trees and buildings and under bridges picking them up on the other side. This was around 1980 or so... don't recall the exact date. It's no stretch of the capabilitys of micro-electronics and computers to produce a device which would reliably track and lead a target. Soldiers of tomorrow will use their X-Box skills to integrate smoothly with these systems.

Jeff White
November 19, 2003, 05:14 AM
Badger,

Army Times is not an official publication. It's owned by the same people who publish USA Today. The information in Army Times is NOT official information. Just because the article said the two parts of the technology are being developed separately doesn't make it so. As I've stated before, Directorate of Combat Developments is looking at a stand alone grenade launcher. There are several programs looking at all kinds of things. No one knows what we're going to end up with. The XM8 and XM320 are simply an attempt by HK to take advantage of this situation. Neither system or the combination thereof offers us anything more then we have.

I think that we will see a new grenade launcher that is a stand alone weapon, using new ammunition that will allow grenadiers to engage close in targets.

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 19, 2003, 02:21 PM
What's your source on that one? That seems like a more logical course, but I'd want to read it for myself. Everything I hear says different.

Badger Arms
November 19, 2003, 02:34 PM
On the 20mm Standalone, it's not the XM320 that they're pushing so hard as the XM25. Again, what's your source?

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=614268

Badger Arms
November 19, 2003, 02:37 PM
Forgot to add this one. Nothing really new except it shows the XM-26 shotgun everybody was talking about in a separate thread. Ohhh, ohhh, and it also shows that the lower receiver configuration is different than the G36 somewhat negating all of the arguments saying the M-16 was the cat's meow in that regard.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=614276

Andrew Wyatt
November 19, 2003, 03:30 PM
hmm. that xm25 looks actually useful.

the XM8 shown doesn't appear to have any provision for anything but the sight shown on it.

Jeff White
November 19, 2003, 08:48 PM
Badger Arms asked;
What's your source on that one? That seems like a more logical course, but I'd want to read it for myself. Everything I hear says different.

CPT Dave LaFontaine who works in the Small Arms Division at the Directorate of Combat Develpments at the US Army Infantry School said it in this thread on the Infantry School's official forum.
http://www.infantry.army.mil/infforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=455

DCD will be heavily involved in all future small arms projects. He started the thread specifically to get feedback from the field on a stand alone grenade launcher.

Who's telling you something different?

Jeff

Andrew Wyatt
November 20, 2003, 01:35 AM
just an FYI, the 100 round drum they show as part of the "system" (beta C mag) has gotten some people killed over in iraq due to functioning problems.

Badger Arms
November 20, 2003, 03:55 AM
While I've got the utmost respect for the Captain and what he said, he did NOT say that they had S#%$canned the XM-29 concept. Far from it, he elicited and got feedback as to whether or not soldiers want the kinetic backup to their primary weapon. Seems like he got mixed results. I don't have any problem with what I've said about the Grenade launcher being developed separately, that's what the Army said it was going to do. You proved my point, as the good Captain seems to be putting feelers out for support on the proposed path of integrating the weapons.

Again, how do you integrate the M-16 to an automatic grenade launcher. I'm open to ideas.

tac17
November 20, 2003, 04:44 AM
Again, how do you integrate the M-16 to an automatic grenade launcher. I'm open to ideas.
How were they planning on putting it on the XM8?

Badger Arms
November 20, 2003, 04:55 AM
Under the barrel, in front of the trigger just like on the XM-29. Can't do that with an M-16 due to the buffer system.

tac17
November 20, 2003, 05:09 AM
Under the barrel, in front of the trigger just like on the XM-29. Can't do that with an M-16 due to the buffer system.
I assume the magazine was going to be part of the stock like on the XM-29 correct?

I can think of a couple of ways to do it on the M-16 but they would all make the it rather muzzle heavy and I doubt that would be allowed. :D

mattd
November 20, 2003, 09:34 AM
just an FYI, the 100 round drum they show as part of the "system" (beta C mag) has gotten some people killed over in iraq due to functioning problems.

Was it on the m-16 when it happened? Or where can I read about it at?

Jeff White
November 20, 2003, 09:54 AM
Badger Arms said;

While I've got the utmost respect for the Captain and what he said, he did NOT say that they had S#%$canned the XM-29 concept.

If you go back and read the OICW thread in the Future Small Arms Concepts Forum you will see that the XM29 is dead. In fact the information there predated what the press had by a couple months. The XM29 is a dead program. They are totally back to square one and all of your wishful thinking won't change that. They are not maturing the technology and waiting for things to get lighter. The XM29 is dead. If they were doing as you suggested there would be no reason for HK to try to sell the XM8 to the Army. They could continue to suck up R&D money until they got the thing to work. DEAD MEANS DEAD :banghead: The program has been killed. What the staff at the Infantry School forum posts is Official US Army Information it's not from the PR dept of any manufacturer. If CPT LaFontaine, MAJ Brewster or any other staff member posts it there, it's official unless otherwise noted by a disclaimer saying it's not. Moderating the official forum is in their duty description, it's not a hobby like THR, HK Pro or any other forum.

I'd still like to know where you are hearing that it's not. Are you so in denial about the demise of the program?

Jeff

Badger Arms
November 20, 2003, 01:40 PM
Actually, you just confirmed what I had been told, that it ain't dead. The bean counters might have killed it, but the PR people still haven't put out a press release. I'd assume that the contract has expired? The contractor must have gotten notice or did the contract naturally expire? There are several components from the XM-29. Let's see, the kinetic portion is still alive; the grenades themself are probably going to be enlarged and/or redesigned but the technology will not just fade away; the sight and fire control computer were fleeting anyhow, but the software will live on; the grenade launcher itself was never singled out, so it might also just be redesigned. The only reason I know that the XM-29 is dead is because the XM8 exists and has been contracted.

Look, I know you've heard it from lots of people, but I haven't seen the fat lady yet. Your sources have titles, true, but they aren't sepaking in an official capacity. Those that ARE in an official capacity have said that the components will be developed separately. I'm sorry that I'm not an ordnance insider (apparently all of them read that infantry forum with Hardin). I don't have the inside line on anything. I have to take things on face value when I read about them just like you.They are not maturing the technology and waiting for things to get lighter. The XM29 is dead. If they were doing as you suggested there would be no reason for HK to try to sell the XM8 to the Army.You keep suggesting I implied the XM-29 alive and kicking. No, I never said or implied that. The automatic grenade launcher half of the system is not dead, but the integrated, eggs-in-basket approach to the XM-29's CONCEPT is still alive. You argue that if the Army said that they were going to develop the system separately, then there would be no reason to... and here's where you lose me... no reason to develop the kinetic portion of the weapon -- the XM8? How is it possible to develop one module of a weapon and not be developing one module of a weapon? Just because the grenade launcher, grenades, sight, and fire control computers aren't being tested, doesn't mean that they won't.

Andrew Wyatt
November 20, 2003, 03:46 PM
beta mag reliability problems can be found at :http://www.infantry.army.mil/infforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=238

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