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What makes an ideal combat rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by briansmithwins, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    Ran across an interesting paper on human factors for combat rifle design.

    TLDR version: Most combat shooting is pointed rather than aimed and occurs close in. 5.56 has plenty of power at typical ranges. Open sights can be better than peep sights in combat.

    Whole paper is here: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B09fZpC9S7gDNGJmYTcyZGEtZjNjMy00ZGE0LWJjYTMtZWIxMWJlZWQ3NmFk

    This doesn't sound a awful lot like a M16 to me.

  2. Abel

    Abel Well-Known Member

    I had several M16 config rifles in the infantry. I shot them all left handed. They worked very well, especially with live ammo. They didn't jam, because we cleaned them like it was religion. We probably had the cleanest weapons systems of any squad in the entire army.
  3. jehu

    jehu Well-Known Member

    AK47 ,so easy even a Cave Man can do it!!:neener:
  4. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    There are a couple of developments that have changed the paradigm since that study was written. Primarily, the development of reliable 1x illuminated optics (e.g. Aimpoint/Eotech) that make fast, accurate sighted fire feasible under all lighting conditions and at pretty much all distances. As a result, iron sights---whether V-notch or aperture---are gradually being relegated to backup status, since dots are faster than iron sights under most conditions (particularly in bad lighting or nonstandard shooting positions) and are far more accurate than point shooting, particularly beyond across-the-room distances. Aimed fire using fast optics will dominate unaimed fire at anything beyond close quarters, as has been demonstrated in Iraq against mostly-point-shooting adversaries.

    I also note that the increase in vehicle-mounted operations in recent wars has driven a trend toward weapons of shorter overall length, e.g. the wider adoption of the M4 vs. the 20" M16.
  5. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Well-Known Member

    I imagine a lot of fighting in Vietnam was at very close range or at night, thus aiming wasn't so important as throwing a lot of lead in the general direction of the enemy.

    Do some new surveys with Iraq and Afghanistan vets and see what they say, I'm betting they liked having the Aimpoints and Eotechs and used them.
  6. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    The paper I quoted was written in '82 and had this to say about reflex sights:

    I think technology has provided optics that are as tough if not tougher than the rifles on which they are mounted. Personally, I think the current reflex sights have shown themselves to be a improvement on irons.

  7. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus Well-Known Member

    Did the paper also mention that less than 20% of all casualties were from direct fire? Casualties from rifle fire have been under 20% ever since the civil war. In Vietnam they were under 10% In the second Iraq war they were under 5% and currently in Afganistan they're under 3%.

    Indirect fire (artillery, mortar's, RPGs, aerial bombardment, etc) and area denial weapons (mines, IEDs etc) have been the cause of well over 90% of all casualties on both sides since WWI.

    Obviously you have to have rifles. But the M16 does indeed meet the vast majority of those old out-dated studies.

    And the other poster is correct, the move is away from iron sights as a primary sighting system for the infantry rifle. Additionally if you watch any of the Irag war footage where American soldiers are engaging the enemy you will see that the vast majority of their fire is indeed aimed fire. The Iraqis on the other hand seldom took the time to expose themselves long enough to aim.

    Even in the European theater of WWII the average rifle engagement was 100yds or less. In WWI the vast majority of casualties were from machine gun fire across vast open spaces. In the same theater in WWII the majority of bullet wounds also came from.....machine guns.
  8. 303tom

    303tom member

  9. JustinJ

    JustinJ Well-Known Member

    The most important quality of a combat weapon is reliability, IMO. And there should be no caveats such as "if you keep it clean" or "don't shoot it too much".
  10. Wapato

    Wapato Well-Known Member

    Is that true even in the "insurgency" stage of things? That sort of a number makes sense for anything resembling a pitched battle.

    But my impression now was that restrictive rules of engagement we leading to a lot of engagements where precision and highly discriminatory rifle fire was needed at long range, and engagements indoors.

    Or did you mean fatalities on our side, where body armor and improved medical care seem to be doing a great job of keeping our boys alive or even in the action after being shot.
  11. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Well-Known Member

    My semi auto rifle of choice has a large apature ghost ring rear and a front sight that I painted with fluorescent orange model paint. For out to 100 yards it works very well. I'd be hard pressed to shoot as well as quickly with a notch rear sight. I have the same set up on a dangerous game rifle.

    For my "normal" hunting rifle, I use fixed low power optics 2.5x or 4x and that is more than adequate for my ethical hunting distances.
  12. crazy4milsurps

    crazy4milsurps Well-Known Member

    I love to read about how the M16/AR15 is perfect as long as it is maintained properly. Which is simple, just press the pause button during the battle and clean it. If there is a chance of the rifle not out lasting the battle, what good is it?
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    The selector that has a setting marked "AUTO" [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
  14. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    Um what? There is always a chance that something will happen that will take a rifle out of the fight. There is no way around that. But, a well trained solider will have kept their weapon clean prior to the battle. Stop for more than 5 mins, and run a patch down the barrel if you are able. Or just squirt some more oil on the vital parts and keep on rocking.

    I did not clean my rifle all summer, somewhere in the area of 1000-1200 rounds, and had no dirty rifle issues. The idea that the AR, M16 or M4, will fail if not kept spotless is even older than the study in the op. Don't believe me, check out Pat Rodgers and Filthy 14. And for the record I am not a soldier, just a competition shooter.
  15. T.R.

    T.R. Well-Known Member

    After WWII Russians interviewed combat veterans and examined actual battle scenerios. They determined that a compact semi-auto was best for overall infantry use. Cartridge power should be halfway between a pistol round and high powered rifle round. Hence the SKS carbine firing 7.62 X 39 cartridge and later on, the AK-47.

    I'm no fan of commies but their research and logic has merit.

  16. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Well-Known Member

    I can count on one hand with fingers to spare how many times I heard of a buddies rifle going down while in Afghanistan. Mine never did. The current M4 is an awesome weapon, and people who keep dragging out the "you need to keep in immaculate or it doesn't work" nonsense need to pull themselves out of the 1970s and join us in the 21st century.
  17. crazy4milsurps

    crazy4milsurps Well-Known Member

    I've tried 3 times, all 3 failed after a minimum 300 rounds. I refuse to trust a platform as picky as the AR.
  18. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    3 times with three separate rifles or just one rifle? If it was 3 different rifles what were the makers of the 3 rifles? What were the failures? Could it have been a bad mag or an ammo issue? A bad parts build? 300 rounds is not really dirty enough to cause something to fail. There are numerous other places I would look first.
  19. crazy4milsurps

    crazy4milsurps Well-Known Member

    bushy, delton and dpms. it was one of those trveling carbine courses. fte , ftf, ftf, bolt lock up all of the classic symptoms. ammo was mixture of wolf, pmc and LC
  20. crazy4milsurps

    crazy4milsurps Well-Known Member

    having to buy only certain ammo is bs a good rifle will eat anything. my ARs weren't very hungry i guess. i gave up. i'll take any other rifle!

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