Army’s 2011 “10 Greatest Inventions” Includes Machine Gun, 5.56 Round

Attention! The U.S. Army is a high-tech happening place these days, thanks to the fact that our soldiers are busy trying to defend people in two major operational theaters. Oh, and kill a bunch too. While deployment is still an issue—look out for moving glaciers—there’s no question that our troops are getting some kick ass kit. Click here for the full list of the service’s “10 greatest lobbyists”—I mean, “the most in Army technology as selected by “a panel of combat veteran soldiers.” First up [above]: M240L 7.62mm Lightweight Medium Machine Gun  . . .

The new machine gun reduces the weight of the existing M240B without compromising reliability. “The titanium M240L represents a leap in weapons technology inspired by Soldier feedback. The lessons learned from this program will undoubtedly benefit future weapons systems that will maintain our continued advantage on the battlefield,” said Col. Douglas Tamilio, Project Manager Soldier Weapons for PEO Soldier. (Source: Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center)

5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round

Since June, the Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal has fielded about 30 million new 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Rounds in Afghanistan. The bullet has been redesigned and now features a larger steel penetrator on its tip. A notable feature of the EPR is that its bullet features a copper core. (Source: Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center) . . .


  1. avatar Coyote Gray says:

    Glad to see the military hasn’t bought into the notion that the 5.56 is inherintly a bad round. They just needed to improve the ammunition.

    Hopefully the new “Huners Mentality” training, the emphasis on moving targets at the range, and this new round, will quell some of the talk about the 5.56 lacking stopping power.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      You can use the same technology on others rounds as well. Once you “enhance” the 5.56 you can take the same enhancement and put use it on a larger caliber. The 5.56 remains an inferior round.

      1. avatar Sean says:

        That’s funny!

        Like no matter how you tune a Honda Civic, lighten it, supercharge it, exhaust, engine work… you do the same to a Mustang, and the Mustang will be faster.

        1. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

          and heavier
          and larger in volume
          and more expensive to transport
          and more expensive to buy

        2. avatar 2Wheeled says:

          But what loser above the age of 16 wants to be seen in a souped up Civic?

        3. avatar Mark Lee says:


      2. avatar Coyote Gray says:

        Inferior to what?

        The military and multiple independent ballistics labs consistently show that the 5.56×45 round is more damaging to human tissue then a 7.62x39mm round.

        5.56 are also logistically superior in terms of weight and number of rounds carried. Recent studies about any complaint from troops in the field concerning 5.56 rounds, found that in a majority of situations, failure to “stop” came from poor shot placement.

        The larger steel core in this round, takes care of the complaints that had any validity, which was the in-ability of older gen 5.56 rounds to penetrate in the Afghan and Iraqi theater.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          The alternative is not the 7.62 x 39. It is the 7.62 x 51 which is a more lethal round then the 5.56. If you want to use a varmint round for an infantry weapon then the 55 grain/3850fps 243 Winchester is superor to a 5.56.

        2. avatar Coyote Gray says:

          This is a regular discussion on just about every shooters forum on the web. Lots of opinions for sure. Lots of variables too: shorter barrel m4’s, shot placement, lack of ammunition options, etc etc

          In the end, I will defer to the science of Army studies, and independent ballistics reports.

          The 7.62 x 51 is a great round. But it is also loud, (louder if they go with SB rifles), and heavy to hump. I carried that ammo during USMC combat training for my m240; and I am a big guy. It was heavy.

          But if I see some testing with a nice SBR chambered in 7.62 x 51, that doesn’t weigh a ton, won’t deafen you if fired in a small room, and with decent wound potential at short distance, I will reconsider. I have had my eye on a Bulldog rifle conversion, and waiting for them to offer a complete option!!

        3. avatar tdiinva says:

          There are tradeoffs and the bigger round requires a bigger platform to fire it. However, people seriously overestimate the rifle + ammo weight difference. The Army added a select three option ot the M-16 to improve lethality. When you are in three round burst mode the rounds are hitting the same target. I agree that three 62 grain rounds will do more damage then one 150-165 grain round but that means that you are expending about the same weight per trigger pull. So while you are able to carry three times the ammo by weight you will probably expend it three times as fast.

        4. avatar Nate says:

          The alternative to 5.56mm really isn’t 7.62x51mm. The latter is simply too heavy and too powerful for general deployment. The 6.8mm SPC was the best alternative yet developed for the 5.56mm that still fit within the mechanical confines of the AR-15/M16 system.

          A better round could be developed, and one of the guys behind 6.8 SPC is working on one, but it would require a new weapon. I forget his name, but he’s been working on a 7x46mm round that first a 120-130gr bullet at around 2,600ft/s that would be capable of replacing both 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm. I doubt it goes anywhere though.

  2. avatar outwardhound says:

    While that’s all real cool stuff on that list, I have to say the best thing the Army ever gave me for deployment was a set of off-the-shelf Polar Tech long underwear!

    1. avatar Coyote Gray says:

      It’s been years since I served in the USMC. But the thing I really liked, were the pound cakes that were added to the MRE menu.

      I used to mix up that cocoa powder/coffee/creamer icing, spread it on…;MAN! it tasted like sunshine spread on clouds. Especially on a shitty day.

      1. avatar sdog says:

        def sounds tasty ”

        it tasted like sunshine spread on clouds”

        lol great description.

  3. avatar indyeric says:

    Mmm…ranger puddin’

  4. avatar Gunner442 says:

    Beef Stew MRE and Cherry Nut cake, close runner up Ham Slice.

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