New Generation of Assault Rifles....Yeah Right


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amprecon
July 12, 2010, 01:52 PM
We've all witnessed the recent introduction of the new generation of assault rifles, Sig 556, SCAR, ACR, HK 416 etc, etc.
I don't believe its much of an enhancement when you basically have the same tube throwing the same .223 bullet with fancy looking furniture surrounding it. Sure, some may throw in a piston to claim enhanced reliability.
Do they think the military is an easy push-over, willing to jump on the neatest looking toy rather than on something really new offering actual tangible benefits?
The .223 is still a .223 no matter how different it looks from the AR platform, who are they fooling?
Ammunition is where the real difference will come from, perhaps it's the military searching for someone to build a gun around the .223 that'll somehow make it a more effective round, who knows, but it all seems like a bunch of over-hyped bull pucky over nothing.
Oh well, I guess they have to spend the money some way, what the heck, why not spend it looking for the end of the rainbow? Typical government waste.

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Robert
July 12, 2010, 02:16 PM
perhaps it's the military searching for someone to build a gun around the .223 that'll somehow make it a more effective round
Because as everyone know 5.56 is a totally worthless round that will only stop some one if you jam the muzzle in their eye.

The ACR does allow for a quick, less than a min I think, swap from 5.56 to 6.8 but I mean yeah that is the same as a current AR so no improvement there.

willing to jump on the neatest looking toy rather than on something really new offering actual tangible benefits
Good thing the military has tests and standards, rather than just buying on a whim.

The .223 is still a .223 no matter how different it looks from the AR platform, who are they fooling?
Ahh I see this is just another .223/ AR bashing thread... Guess we should be using AKs or Mosins? What would you recommend?

Cosmoline
July 12, 2010, 02:21 PM
The point is valid. There are several rounds superior to the 5.56 in many respects without adding the bulk of the 7.62 NATO. When diameter is increased to the 6.5-7mm range the performance both in terms of BC and SD increases substantially. It's not about bashing the 5.56, it's about asking when we're going to update from a round that's been in service for so long.

Until the cartridge is changed, you really are just changing barrel lengths and styles.

unit91
July 12, 2010, 02:24 PM
This is the beautiful thing about capitalism. Buy what you want when you want it -- or don't, it's up to you. As to gov't acquisitions, at some point the guy on the ground has to have faith in the chain of command. Is there a better way? Maybe. The fact that we, the gun nuts, are still debating the issue should tell you something.

Justin
July 12, 2010, 02:27 PM
The basics of firearms technology matured long ago. Short of jumping to some sort of railgun or energy-based system, you're not going to see some sort of massive jump in technological development.

But you overstate your case. I'm a dyed in the wool AR adherent (at least until something comes along that's demonstrably better at the same or less cost of running the AR platform), and have handled examples of the civilian-legal versions of most of the new-style .223 rifles.

I agree to a certain extent that the internal technology hasn't changed that much, but I don't think there's really that much of a need to. Most of the developments with these rifles have been refinements in ergonomics, ease of field stripping and maintenance, and the ability to for the rifles to accept modular enhancements.

None of these are world-changing or revolutionary developments, but they all have their place. The ACR, in particular, is a rifle that I think is quite impressive. The ergonomics are outstanding, even to the point of improving on the AR system's already well-executed controls, the gun is light and easy to carry, points well, and the quick change barrel really is just that.

The guy that I know who owns an ACR demonstrated this for me, pulling the barrel off and re-attaching it in very short order (a minute or two) before we threw our gear in a vehicle and headed off to a local 3gun match where he proceeded to shoot the rifle to good effect.

Part of human development is always looking for an edge somewhere. This involves engineers sitting around dreaming up better ways of doing things than we currently have, and even if those improvements are incremental, over time they will add up. Heck, even the development of rifles that may not go anywhere long term is worth it, simply for the knowledge gained from them.

Robert
July 12, 2010, 02:27 PM
I never said that 5.56 was a do all end all, but this belief that 5.56 is somehow totally incapable of stopping a threat is a farce. 6.8, see the ACR, is a much better round and I imagine that will will see some kind of intermediate round being introduced, but I doubt it will be anytime soon. The only time I have seen evidence of 5.56 failure is when it is employed in a role it is not suited for. In long range open country fights we need to be looking for a better round. But the fact that most of the current war fighting is being done from vehicles and on foot in urban and semi urban environs means that a short light carbine is employed and that the round used is lighter. I read this as a bashing thread because the is the feeling I got from it. If I am wrong, then so be it.

And let's not forget about the price. To change the entire military over to a new primary caliber would cost far more than we are spending now on 5.56 and R&D of new 5.56 rifles.

desidog
July 12, 2010, 02:44 PM
We've all witnessed the recent introduction of the new generation of assault rifles,
I don't think they are a "new generation," just optimizing the existing design.

The military doesn't care about looks; they care about function. Ease-of-use, ergonomics, lifespan, and modularity all play in heavily these days. Historically, the government has been very slow in making changes in the chambering of their weapons...that is probably due to the huge amounts of 5.56 they have in stock, and the set-up they have to create more if necessary.

Quentin
July 12, 2010, 03:11 PM
Well said, Justin!

armoredman
July 12, 2010, 03:21 PM
Here you go, comes in .223 for those who like that, 7.62x39mm for others, and 6.8 Rem soon for those who hate the previous two, apparently switchable in caliber by the user.

Have your cake and eat it, too.

http://www.czub.cz/en/catalog/86-armed-forces-law-enforcement/OS-AUT/CZ_805_BREN_A1.aspx

Hatterasguy
July 12, 2010, 03:23 PM
Those are not new, the SCAR is really the only 21st century design out of all of them.

The Sig556 is just the ar'd up version of the 550 which is a better rifle and has been in service since the early 80's.

Its like the Russians new AKM200, its still an AK just a more polished one. Their are no real new designs just some polishing of old ones here and their.

wally
July 12, 2010, 03:32 PM
It would seem to me that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" would apply in spades when someone is shooting back at you! Minor changes to fix problems actually observed is way safer than deciding something new & different is better.

Good as the AR is now, it didn't get off to a smooth start, its the hight of chutzpah to assume something new would be as good from the start.

james2133
July 12, 2010, 03:41 PM
Gus as to your last response on post #2 on this thread I would have to say you should get a Mosin

JR47
July 12, 2010, 04:16 PM
The military has just announced yet another round in the 5.56x45s ongoing search for adequacy in all fields. A peculiarly shaped 62 gr. round, it is said to offer increased lethality.

And let's not forget about the price. To change the entire military over to a new primary caliber would cost far more than we are spending now on 5.56 and R&D of new 5.56 rifles.

You mean like the switch from the M14 to the M16, during Vietnam? Not only an entirely new weapons system, spares, and accessories, but also new ammunition. We see how well the military handled that one. Ammo that caused problems, lack of cleaning supplies, brittle furniture, a weed-catcher flash-suppressor, non-chromed chambers and bores, and magazines so flimsy that they could be damaged by a tight grip.

Thankfully, almost 50 years, and hundreds of millions in R&D, most of those have been dealt with. Magazines are still a weak point in the current TO&E, and the ammunition isn't well-suited to the existing M4 platform.

The current 62 gr. ammo is designed to work in a 20" barrel. The M4 loses velocity and lethality with it's 14.5" barrel. Physics overrules hype.

Is the ammo and platform lethal? Why, yes. Trouble is, it's lethality is limited in range and barrier penetration. A .22 long rifle is similarly lethal, within the limits of those same two factors. Who wants to go to war with a rim-fire cartridge?

The military is committed to the 5.56, and platforms utilizing it. Accordingly, improvements must come from inside that envelope, so they will remain evolutionary instead of revolutionary.

In the meantime, the good old 7.62x51 keeps plodding along, doing it's job. Ever wonder what we'd have in the way of ammunition in that caliber had we invested those millions of R&D dollars into that cartridge?

I find it somewhat amusing to listen to the group talk about weight carried, while watching the news daily, and seeing soldiers carrying little beyond their armor, radio, helmet, sunglasses, and an M16/M4 laden down with enough equipment to qualify as a Strategic Reserve. Their other equipment appears to have been stored in their vehicle.

When I served, the M14 was issue, as was a flak-jacket, helmet, M60 ammo, claymores, smoke, and a change of socks, first aid supplies, MREs, knife, machete (at times), and often an old radio set. Our load was easily equal to the current group, but we didn't have HMMVs, etc. We walked, through a jungle.

I really think that the idea of "too much weight" is some chairborne commandos "what-if" or "worst case" scenario. Factually, the loaded M4 weighs more than an M14. That, in and of itself, should go far to dispute the weight claims.

C-grunt
July 12, 2010, 04:40 PM
These new rifles dont do anything for the military better enough than the M16/M4 to justify the cost of switching and training. SOCOM just dropped the SCAR light because they said it wasnt better than the M4.

Also I bet much of the top brass remembers the last time we switched rifles in the middle of a war. That switch didnt go so smooth.

Also, just because you only see mounted missions on the news doesnt mean thats all the soldiers do. IME, the news guys didnt want to go on a whole lot of foot patrols. Most mounted patrols just drive you to the patrol site, then its humpin it on foot from there.

-v-
July 12, 2010, 04:48 PM
New generation of rifles? Wait till 2016. I give you the LSAT:
http://world.guns.ru/machine/lsat_3.jpg

By the 2010, ATK sucessfully developed both caseless (CL) and and cased telescoped (CT) ammo, and several prototype weapons to fire it. The CT ammunition and guns currently are most developed, and show average 41% weight and 13% volume reduction when compared to the standard 5.56x45 NATO ammunition

-e-: http://world.guns.ru/machine/mg97-e.htm link to said firearm's page.

Robert
July 12, 2010, 06:02 PM
Factually, the loaded M4 weighs more than an M14.
Please cite.
Based on what I can find the M4 dry weighs 5.9 pounds, the M14 weighs 11.5 pounds.
When and or where did I ever say that the M16/ M4 was the do all end all? And I know full well what happened with the M16. Guess it is some vast conspiracy that we don't bring back the M14 or Garand as the primary rifle. And yes the M14 is being fielded in SS and other limited rolls. And yes it is a damn fine rifle.

amprecon
July 12, 2010, 06:04 PM
Hey -v-, can't see the pic in your post.
My post wasn't intended to bash the .223. The intent of my post was to expose the claims of these rifle makers that their new rifles are the supposed "new" or "next" generation of assault rifles. They appear to me to be nothing more than rebadged, modified .223 rifles in new dregs. The manufacturers claim they are supposed to offer enhanced lethality and effectiveness, I just don't buy it is all I'm sayin'.

BTW armoredman, thanks for the link to the CZ 805 Bren A1, that is an interesting looking rifle.

Jason_W
July 12, 2010, 06:20 PM
And let's not forget about the price. To change the entire military over to a new primary caliber would cost far more than we are spending now on 5.56 and R&D of new 5.56 rifles.

There is also a manufacturing cost concern. If the armed forces were to with a larger round, the increase in material needed per round would greatly increase cost when millions upon millions of rounds are considered.

Isn't the role of a general infantry rifle mostly to enable a soldier to pin the enemy while awaiting an air strike or artillery? If so, then it seems for GI duty the 5.56 is adequate while special ops teams may need something bigger at times. I could be wrong, though.

james2133
July 12, 2010, 06:24 PM
JR47 not to simply add fuel to the fire but i would have to say that your interpretation of the modern infantry is much different than how it really is. Our armor is much heavier than the good ol flack jacket and all of the other equipment that I carried was either on my IBA or in my ruck... I never had a truck to leave my stuff. Durring my time in i also carried the m16, m4, m240b and the m14. in the question of weight my m14 by its self outweighed the m4 with all the extras on it.

Dr.Rob
July 12, 2010, 08:16 PM
The Army has been kicking around the 6mm/6.8mm since the early 80's and while we've gotten closer to a change since 9/11 (some rifles have been combat tested in Afghanistan specifically) there remains a fact that such a change in caliber would require mountains of ammunition stockpiled someplace, smaller mountains stockpiled closer to the troops. It's just not cost effective at this time.

Be thankful that we have so many rifles to choose from in the civilian market at the moment. To me, the biggest 'sea change' of the past 10 or so years has been in optics and their use by the average Joe, rather than the fielding of oddball calibers and rifles.

Tommygunn
July 12, 2010, 08:26 PM
I have a M4orgery as well as the Sig 556. I happen to like both.
The Sig 556 is derived the the European Sig Sauer 500 series with a lower changed to be more "American" and accept AR style mags (Sig has a polymer mag they use which is generally considered inferior and is the one weak point), a 1:7 barrel twist to accept the 62 grain lead pills, and a bolt carrier group basically "copied" from the AK series. This means no gas key! Also, it has a real piston.
That means it doesn't "cr@p where it eats" as the AR critics like to say.
It does make it heavier than the AR series. Plus, there aren't so many "add ons'' that AR lovers enjoy -- though it does have a rail and the forends are available with them, so you can still stick the proverbial kitchen sink on the Sig 556 if you want.
They're just different semi auto rifles, is all. Both are good rifles and both have strong points and weak points.
There's plenty of room in the market. The excess will be weeded out by the customers, so no worries . . .

JShirley
July 12, 2010, 09:32 PM
In long range, open-country fights...one uses crew-served weapons. (Crew served should ALWAYS be used when they can be brought to bear.)

The .223 works just fine. I do agree that, if a longer-ranged round with minimal increase in weight, bulk, and recoil can be found, that would be good. But, it's not a big deal.

The RFB does seem to be close to the pinnacle of current civilian-legal small arms development (though it does still have the BP challenge of slower reload time). Time and hard use will tell.

John

TexasRifleman
July 12, 2010, 10:42 PM
Given that most sources show between 50,000 to 250,000 rounds per kill in the current conflict it would seem that lethality per shot is not at the top of the requirements list for ammo or rifle in modern combat doctrine.

So, why change to another round that might have marginally better lethality per shot if only 1 out of ever quarter million rounds is a lethal shot?

If you are using the majority of your rounds for suppression, does a 5 or 10 percent increase in lethality matter?

Just wondering out loud....

atomd
July 12, 2010, 11:11 PM
There's a lot of cars out there that have 400 horsepower. That doesn't mean they are all equal. The issue becomes "If I already own a million 400 horsepower cars that run ok......why should I scrap them all and buy a million different 400 horsepower cars"? You need a seriously strong argument to make that sale. That's just the beginning though. Once you bring in the bean counters then you really make a mess of things. On top of that there's probably a hundred other factors involved that we will never know. That's government for ya.

Bigfoot
July 12, 2010, 11:57 PM
I like the piston, buffer-less rifles. I just wish they would get the weight down to 6lbs which would still be a pound heavier than my SU-16. Why does the piston feature add a pound or more to the M-4s weight? With all the computer aided designs and modern materials available now, get that weight down dangit.

JR47
July 14, 2010, 11:33 AM
Please cite.
Based on what I can find the M4 dry weighs 5.9 pounds, the M14 weighs 11.5 pounds.
When and or where did I ever say that the M16/ M4 was the do all end all? And I know full well what happened with the M16. Guess it is some vast conspiracy that we don't bring back the M14 or Garand as the primary rifle. And yes the M14 is being fielded in SS and other limited rolls. And yes it is a damn fine rifle.


The M4 weighs 5.9 pounds dry, according to FM 23-8, the M14 rifle, with a full magazine, and cleaning kit, weighs 11.75 pounds. What is the weight of a comparably outfitted M4?

The total weight of an M4, with sling and one mag is 7.5 pounds

http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics
/m4/m4-carbine.shtml

Adding to that the rails and covers at 18 0z. The issue optic, an Aimpoint M68 at 9.9 oz, plus mount. A Surefire M951 Light, at 9.9 oz. A GG&G front grip 1169 at 2.4 oz. The Kill Flash from lens cover at 1 oz. The Aimpoint 3x magnifier 11324 at 7.1 oz, and you have a loaded weight of 10.92 pounds. This doesn't include BUIS, the control modules for the Surefire, any rail covers, night vision accessories, lasers, or spare batteries carried in the various compartments. It also doesn't figure in the additional weight of magazine pouches on the weapon, or dual connected magazines. That easily puts the weight at 12#.

your interpretation of the modern infantry is much different than how it really is. Our armor is much heavier than the good ol flack jacket and all of the other equipment that I carried was either on my IBA or in my ruck... I never had a truck to leave my stuff. Durring my time in i also carried the m16, m4, m240b and the m14. in the question of weight my m14 by its self outweighed the m4 with all the extras on it.

Perhaps you were in a different place? I do know that the urban patrols are using HMMV, and other vehicles to convey the troops, and provide a base of supply. The mounted patrols shown in Afghanistan also use mobility, and not foot pounding in the majority of Afghanistan. The fact that your particular situation didn't is interesting, but hardly representative of the entire operation.

I do know the weight of the M14 rifle, as issued, loaded with cleaning kit and full magazine. I also know the weight of an M4 loaded with a single magazine, and sling. They are taken, as you'll note, from the appropriate publications. I'll trust them above a remembered weight.

Justin
July 14, 2010, 01:28 PM
Adding to that the rails and covers at 18 0z. The issue optic, an Aimpoint M68 at 9.9 oz, plus mount. A Surefire M951 Light, at 9.9 oz. A GG&G front grip 1169 at 2.4 oz. The Kill Flash from lens cover at 1 oz. The Aimpoint 3x magnifier 11324 at 7.1 oz, and you have a loaded weight of 10.92 pounds. This doesn't include BUIS, the control modules for the Surefire, any rail covers, night vision accessories, lasers, or spare batteries carried in the various compartments. It also doesn't figure in the additional weight of magazine pouches on the weapon, or dual connected magazines. That easily puts the weight at 12#.

Last time I checked, a heavy wood stock does not impart the ability to illuminate the dark, magnify your sight picture or shoot more quickly in close quarters.

So even assuming that a soldier was required to have all of that gear bolted to his M4 at all times, thereby making the weight of the M4 equivalent to an M14, there is still the point that all of that added weight brings with it certain very clear operational advantages.

Shopping A Round
July 14, 2010, 02:47 PM
We already know that the M4 and M14 are for different purposes.

The M4 for closer engagements in an urban setting or from a vehicle.

The M14 for longer distance that require a heavier everything.

It is an interesting debate and I am glad I have this big ole' armchair to watch it from.

Jaws
July 14, 2010, 03:07 PM
SOCOM just dropped the SCAR light because they said it wasnt better than the M4.



SOCOM found the M4 to be "unable to satisfy their needs" back before the SCAR program started. The FN rifle that took part in the SCAR compertition fulfilled and exceded all SOCOM requirements back in 2004. What makes you think that, after six years of improvements and the most rigurous testing ever, made the SCAR worse then M4?

If you stil think that AR 15 is the best ever combat rifle you have to get out more. There were plenty better designs for a long time.

C-grunt
July 14, 2010, 05:01 PM
SOCOM found the M4 to be "unable to satisfy their needs" back before the SCAR program started. The FN rifle that took part in the SCAR compertition fulfilled and exceded all SOCOM requirements back in 2004. What makes you think that, after six years of improvements and the most rigurous testing ever, made the SCAR worse then M4?

If you stil think that AR 15 is the best ever combat rifle you have to get out more. There were plenty better designs for a long time.
http://kitup.military.com/2010/06/socom-cancels-mk-16-scar.html#ixzz0rtef9uMB

I never said "it was worse" than the M4. I just stated that SOCOM dropped the Mk-16 because they were not any better than the M4. They do apparently like the Mk-17 a lot though.

My old team/squad leader just got back from Afghan as a Special Forces soldier. I asked him about the SCAR, a few months ago while still in country, and he told me he hasnt even seen one in country there. He also stated that he and all his guys had nothing but praise for the M4.

C-grunt
July 14, 2010, 05:09 PM
Perhaps you were in a different place? I do know that the urban patrols are using HMMV, and other vehicles to convey the troops, and provide a base of supply. The mounted patrols shown in Afghanistan also use mobility, and not foot pounding in the majority of Afghanistan. The fact that your particular situation didn't is interesting, but hardly representative of the entire operation.

.

But there still is a huge force that operates out in the farm lands and other rural areas. These areas have a lot more foot patrols than say Baghdad. So therefor saying mounted patrols are the SOP isnt exactly accurate either. Depends on the area, the unit and the enemy.

In 2005 we hardly ever used the humvees as our bad guys used mostly IEDs that would demolish the trucks. So we used the Brads to take us to where we would start our foot patrols.

Girodin
July 14, 2010, 05:19 PM
We've all witnessed the recent introduction of the new generation of assault rifles, Sig 556...

Forgive me if this point has been covered (I didn't read all the posts), but I wouldn't call the sig 556 a new gen rifle. It is a variant of the sig 55X family that has been around for decades.

Robert
July 14, 2010, 05:23 PM
James2133 was not deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan. He was in the Horn of Africa in 2003-2004. And though not a member of Special Operations, he did do a great number of patrols and did take fire while training the local military. To my knowledge most of their patrols were done on foot. Ride the truck to the jumping off point and walk from there.

killchain
July 14, 2010, 06:48 PM
I find it somewhat amusing to listen to the group talk about weight carried, while watching the news daily, and seeing soldiers carrying little beyond their armor, radio, helmet, sunglasses, and an M16/M4 laden down with enough equipment to qualify as a Strategic Reserve. Their other equipment appears to have been stored in their vehicle.

I did that. I'm one of those 70% of returning veterans who have musculoskeletal problems due to the weight.

Our fighting forces DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT need more weight. AT ALL.

My vest and FLC weighed, wait for it, 76lbs!

JR47
July 14, 2010, 07:51 PM
SOCOM just dropped the SCAR light because they said it wasnt better than the M4.

I'm looking at an announcement from FNH that states that they received notification from USSOCOM Program Executive Office-SOF Warrior (PEO-SW) that the SCAR Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) was approved and signed on 4/14/2010. This decision authorizes the production and deployment of the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) MK16 and MK 17 as well as the Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module (EGLM).

Somebody needs to tell SOCOM that they "dropped" the rifle in favor of the M4, as they apparently never got THAT memo.

Last time I checked, a heavy wood stock does not impart the ability to illuminate the dark, magnify your sight picture or shoot more quickly in close quarters.

My ONLY point was that the existing M4, no matter WHY it has grown heavier, has grown heavier than the old "heavy" M14 rifle. To paraphrase you, sir. Last time I looked weight was weight.

I DO NOT feel that the military needs to revert to the days of wood and steel. Please don't try to show me in that light. If, however, the M14 is "too heavy" then the fully-laden M4 is the same. Period. They do different jobs, so the quaint comparison of CQB and Longer-range firing of the DMR are as apples to oranges as you can get.

My son-in-law just returned from Iraq, with the Marines. He is the person who related to me the use of vehicles as a base of operations while patrolling. It makes sense in the CQB areas, as the only actual speedy alternative to engage hit-and-run groups.

FYI, I was tasked with carrying the old PRC radios of the Vietnam era, along with ammo for our M60, claymores, my own gear, and an M14. That's an additional 26.4 lbs. Plus attendant gear, for the radio.

A point, there are also 20" and 18" barrels available for the M14 rifle, and various stocks, including the synthetic that was slated for Vietnam usage. All of these are currently available, reducing the length, and some weight, from the platform. It's not an M16/M4, and never will be. However, the Navy MK14 rifle is still in use in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I guess it's not too heavy after all.

In the end, the 5.56 is about tapped out in the existing platform. OAL maximum has been reached for the magazines. To get a better performance out of the rifle, changing uppers to a slightly heavier caliber actually makes sense. That IS the purpose of modularity, right? It would also reduce the cost of change-over by upwards of 50%.

SharpsDressedMan
July 14, 2010, 08:21 PM
Just wondering, after it's been fitted, how long does it take to swap a 6.8 barrel for the issue one, or back again (assuming both have been proberly headspaced) with a wrench? I'm guessing a just a couple minutes at the longest. Do we really NEED a quick change barrel designed gun? I think marketing is wonderful thing.

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