Oops. US Army Camo Makes Grunts Easier to See, Shoot

Attention mall ninjas: that misurp camo you’re so fond of may make you look and feel like a real operator, but it may also make you an easier target. “Over the next year, America’s largest fighting force is swapping its camouflage pattern. The move is a quiet admission that the last uniform — a pixelated design that debuted in 2004 at a cost of $5 billion — was a colossal mistake,” reports thedaily.com. Turns out the Army’s universal camouflage pattern (UCP) is actually easier to spot than Lady Gaga in a monastery. Which kinda defeats the purpose, no? “Soldiers have roundly criticized the gray-green uniform for standing out almost everywhere it’s been worn. Industry insiders have called the financial mess surrounding the pattern a ‘fiasco.'” But cost obviously isn’t the worst part of the screw-up . . .

No, the worst part are the soldiers that became easier targets thanks to being issued conspicuous camo. There’s probably no way to quantify the number of killed and wounded that resulted.

“Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment,” said an Army specialist who served two tours in Iraq, wearing UCP in Baghdad and the deserts outside Basra.  “The only time I have ever seen it work well was in a gravel pit.”

This being a government run bureaucracy there’s an excellent reason for the camo design choice. And you don’t have to look too far for the people who chose the poorly performing pattern. They’re easy to spot since they’re all wearing shiny brass. From theweek.com:

Apparently, Army commanders were “envious” of the dust-colored pixelated camouflage being developed for the Marine Corps, and rushed to demand a similar pattern in their own colors, instead of playing it safe with the classic cloudy globs traditionally used for Army camouflage. Things went haywire when officials insisted on using the Army’s traditional grey-green color scheme, which, when paired with the pixels — not to mention darker gear — turned soldiers into walking targets. “Brand identity trumped camouflage utility,” says military journalist Eric Graves. “That’s what this really comes down to.”

After taking eight years to address the problem, the army’s now working furiously to test and deploy a new pattern that, you know, works. But that will take another year to complete. Until then, soldiers most immediately in harm’s way in Afghanistan have been issued green MultiCam. But the rest of the force is still stuck wearing the current pattern until a new one’s chosen and distributed.

It’s worth noting that, flawed as it was, the universal pattern did solve the problem of mismatched gear, said Eric Graves, editor of the military gear publication Soldier Systems Daily, adding that the pattern also gave soldiers a new-looking uniform that clearly identified the Army brand.

“Brand identity trumped camouflage utility,” Graves said. “That’s what this really comes down to: ‘We can’t allow the Marine Corps to look more cool than the Army.’ ”

comments

  1. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    our government make a mistake ….come on….

    1. avatar SD3 says:

      So what does this mean for the Navy’s version of this disaster? I mean, the thing is *BLUE*, fer Christ’s sake.

      Take my wife. Please.

      1. avatar cmd says:

        What was wrong with the blueberries? The Navy needed cami uniforms while inport, right? While on shore duty? Never mind.

        I hated trading my wash Khakis for those uniforms. Every Chief I knew hated those damn things.

        1. avatar Wiregrass says:

          I never understood the rationale for the Navy version either. Why would you want someone working onboard a ship to blend in with the water? Seems to me you would want the opposite.

      2. avatar Jeff O. says:

        The blue version was never intended as camo.
        It was to designed to become standard work gear and hide stains well. As an added bonus, to look cool.

        Plus I believe it was the first uniform that didn’t have to be pressed.

        1. avatar Hawke says:

          The original BDU uniform was made to be wash and wear but that didn’t last.

  2. avatar ST says:

    Come on Air Force. If the Army realizes their uniform sucks, you guys can admit the ABU was a bigger mistake than Obama’s election.

  3. avatar Roll says:

    The first time I saw the new ACU back in early to mid 2000’s, I was like “WTF?” A little research shows the Army purposly picked the pattern that did the WORST in the tests they conducted of several patterns.

    The Marines got it right issuing two patterns, there most likely isnt any one “Universal” pattern for every environment. My Army buddy maintains the ACU did ok in Iraq b/c it was an urban environemnt.

  4. avatar Scot says:

    Sorry, but the Marines’ uniforms will ALWAYS look cooler than the Amry’s. From their BDU’s to their dress blues, no fighting force in the world looks as sharp as US Marines. I have two of them for sons, so I may be a little biased.

    1. avatar Phil Pistol says:

      I have 2 brothers and a few Marine friends. I must admit though as a history buff. The baddest uni was the German SS and Gestapo black uniforms with the death head on the cover.

    2. avatar LongPurple says:

      You are not biased — merely perceptive.
      All that aside, as one who served in both branches, I was surprised to see the Marines to continue to roll up the sleeves of the camoflage utilities, showing the lighter color of the underside. The Army required the more complex folding of sleeves on the BDU to keep the outward side as the only visible color scheme.

      1. avatar mikeinidaho says:

        It looked different, so you knew they were Marines. Objective obtained.

        1. avatar LongPurple says:

          Good point.
          I was willing to charge it off to “tradition”.

      2. avatar jsallison says:

        As I recall that funky sleeve fold was supposed to allow one to rapidly deploy one’s sleeves in the event of a chemical attack. Which sounded bone stupid to most of us as the things were worthless sponges in that environment.

        1. avatar Sid says:

          Actually, it does work. Blister agents are easily repelled by heavy clothing. The sleeve roll allowed the sleeve to be quickly pulled down in case of chemical attack.

    3. avatar Dex says:

      not only does MARPAT look better, it also works better.

      1. avatar Vermin says:

        Just like Marines.

        1. avatar matt says:

          The Marines are too dumb to come up with their own camo. They stole MARPAT from the Canadian’s CADPAT. All they did was change the colors and throw a logo in to the pattern.

        2. avatar Dex says:

          ill argue that. army airborne infantry are hard nuts to crack. ive even seen national guard light infantry units that impressed me as well.

    4. avatar Tiger says:

      But the Marines still fell for the Army fail by adopting “universal” dark coyote-colored plate carriers etc. Don’t cover up a perfectly good MARPAT you guys!

  5. avatar Rabbi says:

    The .gov screwed up everything from the post office to the CIA and everything in-between. That’s why we should trust them with our lives and healthcare.

  6. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

    Hopefully the Air Force will follow in a few years. There was nothing wrong with the old DCU/BDU combo and they were a hell of a lot cooler in the desert.

  7. avatar Vermin says:

    Still not as stupid as the Navy’s blue camo. Really stupid though. That pattern is bad everywhere.

    1. avatar Joe Grine says:

      The Navy uniform at least helps conceal any dirt and grime that you will get on the uniform – some stains just don’t wash out easily. It makes sense to have the sailors be able to get longer service life out of their uniforms.

      1. avatar Vermin says:

        I just can’t get past the idea of camouflage that doesn’t blend into anything (except water, which is generally not something a shipboard sailor wants to blend into). Why couldn’t they at least use green camo? That way they would be able to hide the stains and still have a uniform that’s useful ashore.

        The last time I was around the blue Navy for any length of time, we were in a desert in Peru. They looked ridiculous and got laughed at the whole time.

      2. avatar cmd says:

        @ Joe Grine- I disagree. The tops were too hot to wear while working in the summer and pants would look dingy compared to the tops. Oil and paint still stood out. Wearing them while on watch in Bahrain and other such places really sucked. The no ball cap rule is stupid. Though I remember wearing dungarees and white hat back in the day.

        1. avatar Dex says:

          cmd, i was thinking of that. Very few things could be worse than wearing a blue, grey and black uniform in Bahrain 🙁

  8. avatar mike marriam says:

    I wonder if the gov ever thought to consult any of the companies that make money developing camo?

    1. avatar Thomas Paine says:

      +1

    2. avatar Edward Teach says:

      Because they’re just as bad. They tend to design patterns that look good to hunter’s egos when they’re hanging on the rack in the hunting store, but aren’t necessarily effective.

      My camo pattern of choice is ASAT. It doesn’t look like it would work, but it’s effective. Take a lesson from Creation. Do predator animals have green leafy patterns on their bodies? Hmmmmm…

      1. avatar Buzzy243 says:

        “Do predator animals have green leafy patterns on their bodies?”

        Some of the scariest predators on earth wear the exact pattern that the Army is issuing to cover their mistake, Crye Precision multicam. Officially they don’t exist, but we all know them by names like the Unit, or Delta force. According to sofrep.com even the SAS adopted the Crye multicam while operating alongside the Unit in Iraq.

        Funny how half the stuff that gets used by our special operations forces end up in the big army 5 – 10 years later.

      2. avatar Dex says:

        edward, youre exactly right! animals are not colored green…and that is for a good damned reason.

        The best camo is different shades of browns, the best example being the all over brush desert pattern the army prototyped alongside the UCP, Scorpion (multicam), and others. That pattern is the one that proved most effective, though UCP was adopted.

  9. avatar Joe Grine says:

    Nick Leghorn and I were standing around in a gravel parking lot for the range briefing at NDIA. Standing next to us were some Army officers and NCOs in their ACUs. Turning to Nick, I said “I finally figured an environment where the UCP pattern actually works: gravel parking lots! To this day, it is literally the ONLY environment where I have seen that pattern work effectively. Sad.

    1. avatar g says:

      Well, if our country ever goes to war to fight for parking spaces… WE’RE READY TO WIN.

  10. avatar Sanchanim says:

    The government can’t balance it checkbook or pick decent camo, but we want them to run our healthcare???
    The need to cut our government by 50%. Then we might wind up with something to work with.

    1. avatar Phil Pistol says:

      +1000 We need to get rid of some of the alphabet soup dept. Hey right now we are probably on a terror list for saying this. I am Sparticus!

      1. avatar Paul says:

        No I am Spartacus!

    2. avatar Bryan says:

      But how would you decide which 50%…….? Oh I know, 45% from the left and 5% from the right. I need to be bi-partisan you know!

    3. avatar Dex says:

      cutting 3 trillion to 1.5 trillion actually sounds like a marvelous idea.

    4. avatar Accur81 says:

      I’ve stated the same many times. The government is universally known as being slow and inefficient. So we added healthcare to the list. Fantastic.

      1. avatar Dex says:

        there’s nothing “government” about ACA. That program only serves to enrich private healthcare industries that thrive on inefficiency and sick patients to make a profit. Preventative medicine? not a priority.

  11. avatar MotoJB says:

    I always thought the same when I first saw that pattern…to think that possibly even one ranger was killed becuase his camo was too detectable at range, totally irkes me. Another mistake by the gov that costs the lives of good men.

    1. avatar matt says:

      Dont blame the government for this, blame the US Army and Brigadier General James Moran. This was the Army selling each other out so they could look cool and piss away more tax payer money, welfare queens extraordinaire. Check out what the Army says about PEO Soldier

      “…Program Executive Office Soldier, arguably, no other Army organization has done more to add to the lethality, comfort and safety of the American service member… [Moran] said on my retirement these three things PEO Soldier would do: save Soldiers’ lives”
      http://www.army.mil/article/79353

      1. avatar matt says:

        Wow that article is full of shit “The M4A1 comes in three inches shorter than the M16A2”. Really, only 3 inches shorter? I wish my job required no previous experience, came with a 5 figure sign on bonus, and subsidized my shooting hobby. Welfare queens extraordinaire.

      2. avatar Charles5 says:

        Upper military Brass is all about politics and believe me, it is just as much a poorly run, bureaucratic big government as any other government organization.

  12. avatar Dukester says:

    What was wrong with the woodland camo we wore when I was in? It actually looked like camo.

    1. It obviously wasn’t nearly fly enough.

      1. avatar Skids says:

        It may look a little strange, but the Marine Corps got it right with their patterns. Even the desert utilities can blend into a woodland environment pretty well. I’ve worn both the new and the old and I would much rather go into combat in the current issue than what we had a decade ago.

    2. avatar matt says:

      too 80s, the only people who still wore in the 2000s were people like me and Osama Bin Laden.

    3. avatar Dex says:

      because woodland was also a shitty pattern.

      If you want a lesson on good camouflage, look at the Soviet and Russian patterns.

      MARPAT is also outstanding.

  13. avatar Tarrou (Joshua Grabow) says:

    I was always glad I PCSed just before the new camo came in. I was on the last deployment to use the old BDU/DCU patterns. The new shit was just terrible. I’m all for strong defense, but I point to things like this when Republicans tell me we can’t cut a dime from the DoD. Really? This retarded camo? The XM8 bullshit weapon? Everything that teh Air Force and Navy have done in the past 30 years? It’s time for officers to stop choosing the new gear. An officer has the same relationship with combat that a mayor has with street cleaning, they are vaguely aware of something like that happening, but they have absolutely no clue how it is actually done. Fire the officers, let some hardass old senior NCOs do the work. Same as any other important job.

    1. avatar Vermin says:

      In my experience most senior NCO’s are as bad as the senior officers.

      I don’t think anyone thinks nothing can be cut, it’s just that we’re sure we’ll do what we always do and grow the fat while we cut muscle.

      1. avatar Combat wombat says:

        The blueberries and wanna be marine enlisted uniforms are the fault of a former MCPON. He now consults with his own company….

      2. avatar JSC says:

        Unfortunately the UCP/ACU was the brainchild of the SMA, enlisted last time I checked. So your logic fails immediately. Enlisted Soldiers and NCOs are the backbone of our Army. But I promise you officers are not the root of the army’s problems. In 11 years of service I’ve seen my share of jacked up senior NCOs, I dare say they are every bit as prevalent as out of touch officers. And with the current state of our NCO professional development program, and the speed of promotion over the past decade, I also believe the NCO corps is in need of serious reform. Just my opinion.

    1. avatar Vermin says:

      I had an argument with a guy who swore that was a good idea because it would help you hide in the water after your ship sunk.

      1. avatar cmd says:

        Wow! I don’t know what to say to that guy. I hope he doesn’t breed.

        1. avatar Vermin says:

          I pointed out that the last thing you want is to stay in the shark-infested, oil-slicked, on-fire water. He responded that that was like saying “Army guys” should wear bright colors in case they get lost in the forest. I slammed my head into a tree to clear it and walk away from the conversation.

    2. avatar RKflorida says:

      I just threw up a little. These are the most clown looking uniforms I’ve ever seen. I would retire before wearing those. Oh! that’s right, I did.
      I guess they couldn’t hack the discipline to clean up the sailors, so they issued uniforms that make everyone look like a bag of rags so the dirt bags won’t stand out.

    3. avatar PANTERA VAZQUEZ says:

      with the exception of the men in ’em, the difference between the two uniforms is pretty much non-existant. pockets, covers, blousing or not name n rank color-so what….. both guys look just as shootable. our men in uniform are screwed. Wonder how much the CO’s made on risking our troops lives with these boondoggles. how soon will they be available as surplus for pennies on the dollar of their original cost to the taxpayers?

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    a pixelated design that debuted in 2004 at a cost of $5 billion

    Pixelated? Yeah, I’ve been pixelated once or twice, usually when I drank on an empty stomach.

    For a couple of billion less than it spent, the Army could have outfitted every soldier in a nice Hugo Boss suit, Johnston & Murphy shoes, Joseph Abboud dress shirts and Salvatore Ferragamo foulards. Now that would not only look cool, but it also wouldn’t be any more visible than the current uniform. And since Hugo Boss designed and supplied the SS with unis, they certainly know how to fulfill military contracts, even without slave labor.

    1. avatar matt says:

      And those uniforms still look great today, some 70+ years later.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Nah. They’re very out of date, the jackboots are uncomfortable (just ask ATF), and the black color shows off every flake of dandruff.

        On the other hand, the wide cut armholes made surrendering much easier. Which was especially important on the Eastern Front.

        1. avatar sdog says:

          +1

        2. avatar Dex says:

          holy shit… (laughter)

        3. avatar Phil says:

          Nazis would never voluntarily choose to surrender on the Eastern front. That was a death sentence anyways.

    2. avatar virtualjohn says:

      Cabela’s carries camo for almost every background in a wide variety of clothing for any environment. If DOD watched the sales they could almost. always get free shipping. Wow, and with the Cabela’s Club Rewards $5 billion they could get an aircraft carrier every once in a while or some neat cabin decor items.

  15. avatar Cliff says:

    Once upon a time most armies were outfitted in uniforms that were designed to stand out. If you really are concerned with urban warfare in this day and age, either issue Arabic robes or hoodies and jeans. That would be real camo…

  16. avatar Mark N. says:

    Being an outsider to all this stuff, how is the current Army camo different than the Marine camo? No pictures! Heck, the last camo I remember was from Gulf I, and now I see they’ve changed it atleast twice since, plus multicam, plus whatever comes next. What was wrong with the old stuff that they needed new stuff?

    1. avatar Vermin says:

      The Marine Corps was the first service to go to one of the digitalized patterns. They currently have two, one is green and one is desert. They’re both pretty effective. They’re also supposed to have advantages over the old uniforms in terms of their visibility to night vision googles, etc. I was pretty satisfied with them.

      The Wiki has some pics.

    2. avatar matt says:

      The Marine’s camo is in the background in the picture.

    3. avatar elnonio says:

      The Army wanted a single uniform that could do it all. Even after changing the hue to a browner tint, they failed.

      We Marines, being slow and dim witted and all, figured that there is no such thing as one size fits all. So, we decided to get two uniforms, a desert pattern and a green pattern (still somehow referred to as woodland marpat). The result is two uniforms that work well in their intended environments: arrid environments on one end, and most other environments on the other.

      As for the Navy, they issue a green pixelated uniforms for those actually needing to be camouflaged. For everything/everyone else, their new blue uniform is not meant to camouflage. It’s a working uniform. It handles shipboard stains well. It requires less maintenance than prior uniforms. That’s the purpose, and it does it well. Whether or not it is an eyesore, that’s another topic!

      Yut.

  17. avatar Mark N. says:

    The only dress uniforms in the military are Navy and Marines. The Army uniform is low rent, and the Air Force Uniform (which my brother wore for 20 years) looks like an airline pilot.

  18. avatar IdahoPete says:

    There is no “universal” camo pattern that is equally effective in all environments. Any “generalized” pattern will not work in most specific backgrounds. That’s why hunting camo comes in so many varieties – are you hunting in a marsh? woodland? fall? winter? pine forest? sagebrush? hardwoods in the spring? fall hardwoods? All of these situations have different patterns designed for them by civilian hunting clothes manufacturers. A “universal” pattern is a poor idea.

    And yeah, several different camo patterns for different environments will be expensive. So how much does it cost the military to replace a trained soldier?

    I won’t pretend that the government gives a rat’s butt about the immorality of providing our soldiers with ineffective camo, but they surely could give some thought to the cost of replacing the dead or wounded soldiers that their camo pattern is failing.

  19. avatar Martin Albright says:

    OMG, don’t even get me started on the Army uniform board. I think their official motto is “fixing what isn’t broken since 1945.”

    The story behind the ACU is this: From about 1981 to roughly 2001 all armed services wore the woodland BDU. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines all wore the same basic uniform with specific service differences (and yes, the Navy did wear the BDU, when they were on some types of shore duty or attached to other services. When I was in Haiti we had a Navy Master-at-Arms [Military Policeman] who was attached to my unit as an interpreter and he wore the same BDU we did.)

    For those deployed to desert environments we had the DCU, basically the same thing as the BDU but in a 3-color desert pattern that blends very well into the Arabian Gulf area deserts. Again, all services wore the same basic uniform.

    Then around 2001 the Marines decided they wanted a “distinctive” uniform that was more practical for wear with body armor, so they adopted their new uniform in 2 different color schemes (woodland and desert.) That immediately set off “uniform envy” among the other services and pretty soon all the services had to have their own unique uniforms. The whole notion that when it comes to a combat/duty uniform it makes sense to have standardization rather than uniqueness having been completely and totally lost.

    And of course it doesn’t hurt that there are uniform suppliers out there with cartoon-like dollar signs in their eyes thinking this will be an easy way to get a bucketload of sweet, sweet taxpayer cash.

    In reality, it seems a futile effort to develop a “universal” pattern. Seems to me it would make more sense (and cost less money) to go back to a basic olive green or khaki/tan solid color uniform which, while not perfect, blends in “well enough” with most environments. But since there’s no real money to be made there, and since the brass still want to be able to strut around in a uniform that looks “cool”, it will never happen.

    As for dress uniforms, it really, really galls me to say this, but I have to admit that the only services that have a decent one anymore are the Marines and the Navy, and the reason their uniforms look good is that they don’t f*ck with them every other month like the Army does. The new Army blue uniform is an abomination and I’m soooo glad I retired in 2005. The dress greens were not perfect but they were a damn sight better than the abortion of a dress blue uniform that soldiers are currently forced to wear.

    Sadly, the last Army dress uniform that looked decent was the WWII- through-Korea uniform with the OD green jacket for enlisted men and the “pinks and greens” for officers.

    1. avatar jkp says:

      So…when did the Army start going to the tailor who does the Air Force uniforms?

      http://www.army.mil/asu/

      1. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

        Right after the canned the idea that wearing a beret meant something.

    2. avatar matt says:

      Then around 2001 the Marines decided they wanted a “distinctive” uniform that was more practical for wear with body armor, so they adopted their new uniform in 2 different color schemes (woodland and desert.) That immediately set off “uniform envy” among the other services and pretty soon all the services had to have their own unique uniforms.

      The Marines had uniform envy when they saw the Canadian’s CADPAT. They stole the idea, changed the colors and threw their own logo into the pattern.

      1. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

        As always, blame Canada!

  20. avatar jwm says:

    hey’ at least they’re addressing the problem. 40 years on and they still claim the m16 is a good weapon.

    1. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

      It’s great on a shooting range…

    2. avatar Dex says:

      it is a good weapon, if you have two neurons rubbing together.

      1. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

        Never had one that did not have a malfunction in the field. We have come a very long way since 1963…. it’s time to move on, there are much more advanced and reliable battle rifles available now.

        1. avatar Vermin says:

          What!? You’re saying there have been advances in rifle design in the past 60 years?

          AR fanboys are retards. Direct impingement is stupid, and 5.56 is a bad cartridge. It’s time to move on.

        2. avatar matt says:

          The M16/M4 isnt a battle rifle, it isnt chambered in a full sized cartridge.

        3. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

          It’s the one we all carry into battle….

        4. avatar matt says:

          I thought M14s were still issued to some troops

        5. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

          Very, Very rarely

        6. avatar Dex says:

          “Never had one that did not have a malfunction in the field. We have come a very long way since 1963…. it’s time to move on, there are much more advanced and reliable battle rifles available now.”

          hmmm, sounds like operator error to me or your armorer not doing his job. When adequately lubricated, and the springs replaced when they’re supposed to be, the M16 is utterly reliable. http://www.defensereview.com/the-big-m4-myth-fouling-caused-by-the-direct-impingement-gas-system-makes-the-m4-unreliable/

          http://www.defensereview.com/m4m4a1-carbine-reliability-issues-why-they-occur-and-why-theyre-our-fault/

          What progress have we made since the 60s? even the newer rifles use rotating bolts and block shaped bolt carrier groups, which is 1960s technology (from the AR18). long stroke technology is nearly a century old and short stroke (gas tappet) 50 years old. All of the newer rifles, such as the SCAR, G36, etc use existing technologies that are just as old as the M16/M4.

          I have a collection of direct impingement AR15s from BCM, Colt, Lewis Machine & Tool, and Noveske. They are utterly reliable. The M16 platform, with its longer gas system, is even more reliable than the M4, which is still a reliable weapon that continues to be used by Special Operations Forces. In fact, the SCAR L, which is a superb weapon at its own right, is not deemed enough of a game changer to warrant mass replacement.

          “AR fanboys are retards. Direct impingement is stupid, and 5.56 is a bad cartridge. It’s time to move on.”

          Objectively comparing the platforms does not make one a AR15 fanboy. Direct impingement’s biggest advantage is lower number of parts; they are simple. Ill gladly pit a M4 carbine against any other weapon of its type.

          The 5.56 is more than adequate for stopping two legged predators. The M855 green tip was not designed to be fired through the shorter barrels of the M4 and Mk 18, being designed for optimal performance from 20″ barrels. The Mk 262, Mk 318 and M855A1, however, effectively bridge the gap between 5.56 and 7.62. open tip match 5.56 is extremely effective against human targets.

        7. avatar Vermin says:

          “Objectively comparing the platforms does not make one a AR15 fanboy. Direct impingement’s biggest advantage is lower number of parts; they are simple. Ill gladly pit a M4 carbine against any other weapon of its type.”

          Well, if you aren’t a fanboy then my comment wouldn’t apply to you, would it? But if you were to pit the M4 against similar carbines, it would lose decisively, just like it always does.

          http://www.armytimes.com/prime/2007/12/army_carbine_dusttest_071217/

          It’s a bad rifle, and it always has been. Your own article describes frequent failures of well maintained rifles.

        8. avatar Dex says:

          “Well, if you aren’t a fanboy then my comment wouldn’t apply to you, would it?”

          actually it would, especially since i provided links that debunk your contention that “Direct impingement is stupid, and 5.56 is a bad cartridge. It’s time to move on.”

          “But if you were to pit the M4 against similar carbines, it would lose decisively, just like it always does.”

          you provided links to a dust test that has been discredited because well worn M4s were placed in competition against brand new XM8s, SCARs, and HK416s.

          It is well known that a properly lubed M4 is just as reliable and effective as its foreign competitors.

          “It’s a bad rifle, and it always has been. Your own article describes frequent failures of well maintained rifles.”

          ? not so much. My links debunked the myth of the M4’s reliability and what happens to improperly maintained rifles.

          The fact is that the M4 is a fine weapon and its continued use by US Special Forces is testament to its modularity, accuracy, and effectiveness, even with the introduction of the HK416 and SCAR.

          When equipped with modern ammunition, and not the 1980s era M855 intended for Soviet troops wearing body armor, the 5.56 does its job.

        9. avatar Vermin says:

          You’re bad at thinking. By your own terms not everyone with a positive assessment of the M4 is a fanboy.

          The links you posted do not address the problems associated with direct impingement in any meaningful way, nor do they “debunk” my statement about the effectiveness of 5.56. They do, on the other hand, provide support for the fact that the M4 is unreliable. That is, in fact, the topic of both articles.

        10. avatar Vermin says:

          http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-m4-carbine-controversy-03289/

          “A December 2006 survey, conducted on behalf of the Army by CNA Corp., conducted over 2,600 interviews with Soldiers returning from combat duty. The M4 received a number of strong requests from M-16 users, who liked its smaller profile. Among M4 users, however, 19% of said they experienced stoppages in combat – and almost 20% of those said they were “unable to engage the target with that weapon during a significant portion of or the entire firefight after performing immediate or remedial action to clear the stoppage.” The report adds that “Those who attached accessories to their weapon were more likely to experience stoppages, regardless of how the accessories were attached [including via official means like rail mounts].” Since “accessories” can include items like night sights, flashlights, etc., their use is not expected to go away any time soon.

          US Army Ranger Capt. Nate Self, whose M4 jammed into uselessness during a 2002 firefight after their MH-47 Chinook was shot down in Afghanistan’s Shah-i-kot Mountains, offers another case. He won a Silver Star that day – with another soldier’s gun – and his comments in the Army Times article appear to agree that there is a problem with the current M4 design and specifications.”

          Yep. Utterly reliable.

        11. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

          Post all the articles and studies you want, personal experience in the desert, even with cleaning daily (sometimes twice a day) it is a turd. I would rather have an beat to crap, heavy AK on my next rotation if I had a choice.

        12. avatar Dex says:

          “You’re bad at thinking. By your own terms not everyone with a positive assessment of the M4 is a fanboy.”

          your bad at reading. Im not going to do the homework for you, but read the links i provided.

          “For years I have been told, and heard others repeat, incessantly, that the direct-gas-impingement M16/M4 family of weapons is flawed because they deposit gas and powder residue in the upper receiver, and thereby are inherently unreliable with hard use. That sounds good in theory. However, in practice, I have not seen nor experienced it with my guns as a special operations soldier or civilian instructor. Why is that? Why don’t I have said commonly referred-to fouling problem with even excessive use and minimum maintenance?”

          “Fouling in the M4 is not the problem. The problem is weak springs (buffer and extractor), as well as light buffer weights (H vs. H2 or H3). With the abovementioned drop-in parts, the M4 is as reliable as any weapon I have ever fired, and I have fired probably every military-issue assault rifle fielded worldwide in the last 60 years as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B)”

          hmmm, interesting isn’t it.

          “The links you posted do not address the problems associated with direct impingement in any meaningful way,”

          actually they do address the mythological “problem” of direct impingement, as i have quoted above.

          “nor do they “debunk” my statement about the effectiveness of 5.56. They do, on the other hand, provide support for the fact that the M4 is unreliable.”

          not remotely, read the links i have posted. and you need to do more research on the Mk262, Mk318, and M855A1 before you respond back. Those rounds make the 5.56 profoundly more effective than the armor piercing M855 green tip that was optimal in the 20″ M16A2 with a 1 in 7 twist.

          “Yep. Utterly reliable.”

          “A December 2005 study conducted by the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), for example, which evaluated the HK416 and Colt’s Close Quarters Battle-Receiver (CQB-R), concluded that CQB-R “out performed the HK416 in mechanical reliability.” Source: MSGT Kevin M. O’Connor, USA, AAR HK 416 Operations Testing and Assessment (Memorandum for Record), Department of the Army, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, CO, p. 4″

          oops…

          I suggest you read about a infamous little carbine called “filthy 14”. It certainly blows away the myth of the DI’s unreliability.

          Also, technically, the AR15/M4/M16 is not direct impingement, http://www.armalite.com/images/Tech%20Notes%5CTech%20Note%2054,%20Gas%20vs%20Op%20Rod%20Drive,%20020815.pdf

          “Post all the articles and studies you want, personal experience in the desert, even with cleaning daily (sometimes twice a day) it is a turd. I would rather have an beat to crap, heavy AK on my next rotation if I had a choice.”

          hmmm, the experience of that and my boys from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the M4 is a utterly reliable platform, even more so when it is lubricated with synthetic motor oil and fed by PMAGs. Dry lube has worked profoundly well also.

          here’s another article, which debunks the dust tests and recognizes the failures of the M4 are due to other factors besides the rifle. http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2010-07/what-really-happened-wanat

          here’s another http://www.defensereview.com/m4m4a1-carbine-reliability-issues-why-they-occur-and-why-theyre-our-fault/

        13. avatar Vermin says:

          Yep.

          Unless you get one of the magical utterly reliable ones.

        14. avatar v.mccann says:

          Your article haphazardly addresses the issue of fouling caused by direct impingement. It does not address the problems with direct impingement as a whole. Further, you keep highlighting parts of your articles that discuss the M4’s lack of reliability. If you’re trying to support the conclusion that it’s not unreliable, you should stop doing that.

          Additionally, the fact that one study has results that conflict with another does not “debunk” the other study. It just means that neither result should be considered conclusive.

          Finally, you can attack my ability to read when you’ve learned to spell.

        15. avatar v.mccann says:

          I would also point out that your declaration that your rifles are “utterly reliable” indicates your unwillingness or inability to think rationally about the issue, as does your refusal to accept the fact that someone has an opinion that differs from yours. Your rifles are not “utterly” reliable; if they were, they would be the only such machines in history.

        16. avatar Dex says:

          yup keep spinning. My AR15s work fine, even when ran dry and when heavily used. Sent a email to one of my best friends in afghanistan right now (who i hear from about once every two months if im lucky) asking about his M4. With SLIP2000 gun lube and PMAGS, it has been utterly reliable too just like mine.

          If your weapons are malfunctioning, get out a notebook, document it, and talk to a armorer. its most likely (in order of probability):

          1.) the magazine
          2.) improper lubrication
          3.) ammunition
          4.) weak buffer spring
          5.) weak extractor spring/extractor
          6.) gas rings

          Its fascinating though how the AR unreliability mythological beast, despite having multiple swords lunged into it, refuses to die. Primarily because inexperienced operators choose to blame the weapon instead of their own misplaced set of priorities.

      2. avatar Dex says:

        “Unless you get one of the magical utterly reliable ones.”

        Which are typical of the weapon system. so much, in fact, that SOCOM stopped acquiring larger numbers of the outstanding SCAR L carbine (save for the ones Navy SOCOM bought to replace worn ones) because it wasn’t a measurable improvement over the M4.

        “Your article haphazardly addresses the issue of fouling caused by direct impingement.”

        Did you read the fucking article? It addresses the entire “fouling” problem or lack thereof. If there are disadvantages of the gas operated design of the M4/M16, its that the heat has a propensity to dry out CLP; a problem easily solved by using other lubricants besides CLP.

        “It does not address the problems with direct impingement as a whole. Further, you keep highlighting parts of your articles that discuss the M4′s lack of reliability. If you’re trying to support the conclusion that it’s not unreliable, you should stop doing that.”

        Again, read the links i have provided. It is obvious that you didnt. The links discuss a improperly maintained M4’s unreliability and that a properly maintained one is comparable to other weapons in its class (imagine that!).

        “Additionally, the fact that one study has results that conflict with another does not “debunk” the other study. It just means that neither result should be considered conclusive.”

        They don’t conflict with one another. It is a common assertion among professional shooting schools, USSOCOM, and any other credible experts that the M4 is a reliable, adequate fighting rifle comparable to other weapons of its class. That is my original point and it still stands.

        And the myths that the M4 is “unreliable” and direct impingement “stupid” have been effectively debunked by anyone with two neurons rubbing together. Debunked…done for…finished. What other word do you want?

        “Finally, you can attack my ability to read when you’ve learned to spell.”

        Oh please. Reading is important, and it is obviously something you are not doing. This is not, however, a goddamned spelling bee (I recall only spelling “your” wrong for “you’re”). When you are unable to refute any points I have made, you resort to attacking my spelling. Classic.

        “I would also point out that your declaration that your rifles are “utterly reliable” indicates your unwillingness or inability to think rationally about the issue”

        Save the bullshit. I have dealt with M4s that were unreliable, failure to feeds, failure to ejects, etc etc. Machines are imperfect, they are only as smart and effective as the person behind them (which in many cases, is not very smart and effective at all).

        “as does your refusal to accept the fact that someone has an opinion that differs from yours.”

        I have a refusal to accept bullshit. See links above.

        “Your rifles are not “utterly” reliable; if they were, they would be the only such machines in history.”

        ? When a rifle platform chews through tens of thousands of rounds with literally a handful of malfunctions, caused by ammunition, then it is, without restriction, utterly reliable.

        In the case of my Colt M4-clone, i have chewed through 5,000 rounds without a malfunction (using synthetic motor oil and brownells aluminum mags). Cleaning? every 1000 rounds, i wiped it down, ran a bore snake through the barrel, and properly lubed it. Reliable. Imagine that. I havent conducted a similar test with my LMT or Noveske, but i imagine they will perform even better.

        Like I said before, read about filthy 14, the BCM rifle.

        Here’s a prerequisite for responding back to me. Read the links I have provided and read about filthy 14.

  21. avatar Aharon says:

    If they are going to screw up and make soldiers more of an easy target then why not simply dress them in classic high quality khaki shirts and slacks, and fine leather boots?

  22. avatar Boris says:

    Best BDU ever for desert warfare was perfected by the Wehrmacht in 1941, everything since then is pointless.

  23. avatar Danny McBee says:

    I hate to sound like a cam0-clad hipster, but I pretty much said that ACUs were useless as camouflage when the Army unveiled them. ACU breaks one of the most important parts of camouflage, which is shading. The army decided that since black shows up bright on night vision, but that doesn’t change the fact that shading is one of the core principles of camouflage for nearly any environment. I can understand not using much to no shading for desert camo, as color scheme and outline breakup are more important in that environment, but for a universal camouflage to not have any form of shading is just asinine.
    The Marines had the right idea; they use a decent amount of shading for the woodland style, and no shading for the desert. The Marpat camo does everything it needs to do in both environments. The woodland uses shading to help conceal it’s wearer while in brush and other cover, breaks the outline up, and uses appropriate colors to match most forested areas. The desert forgoes shading as it’s not as important for an open desert environment, and focuses solely on breaking up the outline and using appropriate colors to match the tone of the dirt.
    I don’t know why the designers of ACU thought they could effectively git rid of two of the most important aspects of camo (shading and colors that actually match the environment) and still have an effective camouflage simply based on it’s ability to break up the body’s outline.
    Multicam will be a far better choice as a universal camo than ACU; it actually does a really good job at all 3 basic principles of camo in almost every environment I’ve seen. It breaks up the outline sufficiently, uses enough browns and greens in light shades that it matches most environments fairly well, and uses a sufficient amount of shading for forested environments; that’s the camo they should have used in the first place….Not to say I’m some kind of expert or anything, because I’m not.

  24. avatar L.Y. says:

    This pixelated camo was highly effective at NIGHT. A person is completely invisible under moon/star condition except for hands and face. On top of that, their camo is invisible to night-vision goggles. Like any camo you must use the right one in the right situation for it to be effective.!!!

    1. avatar Vermin says:

      No, it sucks at night too.

  25. avatar Lemming says:

    So, listen, whilst the army is having an epiphany on its haberdashery can they maybe rethink this whole “black beret” thing?

    1. avatar L.Y. says:

      The UPROAR that caused with the Green Berets I knew when it came into being!!! But they won’t change it. That Black Beret is responsible for a HUUUGE increase in recruits at the time.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Interesting how that was timed, huh?

        1. avatar L.Y. says:

          Yeah, pretty sure they premeditated it lol

    2. avatar Sig says:

      That went away as the daily wear uniform cover last year; it’s purely ceremonial and “official functions” now.

      1. avatar L.Y. says:

        thx for update

  26. avatar SkyMan77 says:

    Not to get too off topic but has anybody here ever had to wear the old Navy Dungarees? Very hard to look cool in those jammies…. Add a Dixie cup and that was serious birth control… I was glad to see they upgraded but if you go over board they’ll never find you in the new working uniform…

  27. avatar raincrow says:

    Damn I fill old as sit here on the porch with my Marine Corps 1969 bdu’s sitting in attic.I lost my 68’s and in 70 I wore homemade Tigers and a leather vest.Charlie must of had a harder head than Hadji or we where just tired of takeing ground and then pull back only to take it again.We rolled our own hollow points and Doobies.Hell talk about pink mist!Seems like we are doing same thing today. The uniform don’t make the man the man makes the uniform.I’m too old and crippled up to pull back anymore! I sit here with my FN scar16 and home rolled fixing’s. Oh I’m wearing my leather vest.You can’t miss me and I want pull back!!

  28. avatar LTC F says:

    The first time I saw that goofy uniform I all I could think of with the black beret and that uniform I now looked like a Soviet tanker. It isn’t just the camouflage (or lack there of) pattern. The velcro on the pockets works twice, the collar always sticks up, and the name tag and US Army tape start to curl and it looks like you have strips of bacon stuck to your chest. Thank God we can now sew on rank and nametapes (I figure I’m done being promoted and my name isn’t likely to change anytime soon.) We (as an Army) now look like a bunch of slobs. It used to make my chest hurt every time I saw the last Chief of Staff go on TV wearing it (back when he made all of the remfs in the Pentagon wear it to work every day to show that they were at war or something.)

    Having said that, I hope they wait two years until I retire to field new uniforms. I have no desire to spend hundreds of dollars on new uniforms and boots.

    1. avatar Martin Albright says:

      Ha! The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh? I joined up in 1980 when we still wore the green “pickle suits.” When they introduced the BDU in 1981 they gave the same spiel: Low maintenance, no ironing, pin-on-badges, etc. Of course, it looked like absolute crap and by 1985 (after 2 or 3 redesigns – anyone remember the “Elvis Collar” BDUs?) they had approved sew-on-badges and rank insignia and even approved ironing and starching.

      Pretty soon it got to the point where if you didn’t iron and starch, you looked like a dirtbag (the military term is “unofficial standard”.)

      One has to wonder if sooner or later the Army will abandon its quixotic quest for a “perfect” uniform and work on more important and acheivable items like a perpetual-motion-machine-powered helicopter or an MRE cracker that doesn’t shatter into a million pieces the first time you bite into it.

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