MacBride: Future Military and Civilian Guns Will Be “More Lethal”

future guns more lethal forbes

courtesy Forbes

Now with extra “lethal”…

The near-term future machine gun of the U.S. military is lighter, more lethal at longer distances, equipped with artificial intelligence and able to integrate apps, according to an interview with two senior military leaders.

As I was listening to the men describe what the military is up to, I couldn’t help but imagine the next evolution of civilian guns, too. On one hand, weapons equipped with artificial intelligence might be easier for law enforcement to track, or even control; on the other, the idea of more accurate, more lethal weapons in criminals’ hands is scary.

– Elizabeth MacBride for Forbes, Coming Soon to a Store Near You?

comments

  1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    if they hurry we can keep our less lethal stuff. whew.

    1. avatar Madcapp says:

      I just want the pistol from “Looker”. God love you if you know what I’m talking about.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        “Looker” is truly a guilty pleasure.

        1. avatar Rick3 says:

          Had to look that up…it’s on my list now.

        2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

          Not shamed to say that is a great grade B flick.

      2. avatar DrDKW says:

        The ‘blackout gun’, and views of Susan Dey you never saw on the ‘Partridge Family’!

      3. avatar Lost Down South says:

        Vivaldi on a Friday?!?

  2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

    So computer controlled personal weapons in the hands of grunts……… yup looks fine to me.

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      It’s okay. They’ll all no doubt be running off of Chicom processors and connected to an infrastructure running off of Chicom hardware.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Private rigged “fixes” in 3, 2, 1

        1. avatar Moltar says:

          that’s ok. The privates will eventually figure out how to turn off all the computer goodies and or totally brick the damn thing within 2 months. That’s the problem with military equipment testing rarely do they ever hand it to E1 dumbass and tell him to go try to break it.

    2. avatar 16V says:

      Windproof, waterproof, fireproof, explosionproof….

      Nothing is soldierproof.

      1. avatar Sian says:

        Some things can be made Soldierproof. However even the highest durability-rated gear is only Marine-Resistant.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      ….till the russians and chinese learn to hack them…..

  3. avatar Bob Jones says:

    Exactly what is the Artificial Intelligence going to do ? Tell you when the gun needs cleaning ? Verify targets ? Insure that only “authorized” persons operate it ? Tell you when the battery is about to fail ? Keep track of hits and misses ?

    My old mechanical timer microwave oven lasted for 26 years. It’s three first electronic replacement lasted about 2- 3 years each. The fourth replacement is a year old. Some products do better without electronics. The mechanical timer was also faster to operate.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      Yup. My in-laws gave us an Amana Radarange in ’75 (wedding gift)…mechanical controls…it finally crapped out in 2003. It was big, heavy, not terribly efficient (the local electric utility had to spin up another generator whenever we used it) and simply did its job for 28 years. The replacement Panasonic lasted 12 years (electronic model)…have another Panasonic will see how long it lasts.

      As far as electronically controlled firearms…I ascribe to the KISS principle….last thing I want when I need my firearm is a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) software failure.*

      * of course Democrats will consider this a feature rather than a bug.

    2. avatar Shik says:

      The only thing I can think of is predictive maintenance but that makes a lot less sense for a machine gun than a fighter jet. I am guessing that officer has no clue what he is talking about (shocker!).

    3. avatar Jross says:

      You could have said the exact same thing about apps on phones 20 years ago. What I expect is that it will be a bunch of things none if us would even have considered.

  4. avatar Ransom says:

    Apps!?! There definitely won’t be any problems with that!

    1. avatar Jon says:

      It wouldn’t be the first time someone played candy crush in a guard tower.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Mix of fun run and original pokemon was the bane of our nco’s

      2. avatar M1Lou says:

        That wasn’t Candy Crush. Dont touch the walls.

  5. avatar napresto says:

    “Able to integrate apps.”

    I wonder what this means? I work in a CS-oriented field, and I’ve been thinking a lot, perhaps not creatively enough, about what might make for a good “killer app” (no pun intended… well maybe a little) to combine smart phone with firearm. Outside of competition – shot timers, score trackers, etc., all of which exist – I’ve been struggling to think of sensible use cases that don’t feel like gimmicks or couldn’t be better done with technology other than a phone. The whole AI thing seems more intriguing to me – perhaps for video game style “aim assist” applications, etc.

    Anyway, I’m wondering if some of what is in the article is more about buzzwords than about reality… or if maybe there’s something really clever but well-hidden here? Having trouble deciding.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Ballistic drop calculator for DMR range and beyond, start simple and add variables and input devices as distance increases and the firing position becomes more stationary. Beyond that trigger time is the best app

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I don’t know why you’d want your phone involved, but a scope that measured elevation, wind direction and speed, distance and angle to target, humidity, barometer and direction (to compensate for the rotation of the earth) etc. and compensated for all the variables and put the cross hairs on target would make for a great long range sniping weapon.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          I can only imagine two possible software applications that would improve the utility of a firearm in a military setting:
          (1) Long distance shooting as Gov. Le Petomane described.
          (2) Instant identification of “friend vs. foe” to eliminate friendly fire mistakes.

          Both software enhancements would have to be integrated to an optical device which was mounted to the rifle and operated free-standing without assistance from some detached computing platform.

          While that first feature would make firearms “more lethal” (so to speak) in the hands of non-military people, the second feature would NOT make firearms more lethal in the hands of non-military people.

          Note that the first feature would only be important if a spree killer decided to use sniper tactics to rack up a body count from extremely long distances (e.g. beyond 400 yards and more like 800 yards) which has never happened in recorded history. Also note that a sniper trying to rack up a body count from 800 yards away would fail miserably since those shots take a LONG time and people would be running or out of view within seconds — vastly limiting the possible body count.

        2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Ideally no phone (though they have developed much of what you described as apps a while ago) but a more function focused plug in device with actual battery life would be what I would hope for otherwise you just spelled out my shopping list

        3. avatar James W Crawford says:

          Think about James Paddock shooting from the Mandalay Bay hotel at people in the concert venue from a range of 400 to 500 yards. An optical sight that incorporates night vision, a lsser rantge finder, automatic and adjustment for bullet drop would have enable more accuracy. Then again, the bump stock and very high capacity magazines virtually ensured that he would just spray and pray.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          For the psychopath who wants to rack up a large body count this kind of technology would be pretty useless, but it might, for instance, make the Secret Service’s job of protecting the president a whole lot more difficult. Although, in a case like the Vegas shooter, the wind meter would be pretty useless when firing from inside a hotel room, and even if the shooter were situated out in the open where the meter would be useful, there’s still likely to be variations in wind over the 800 yards or whatever to the target that could push the bullet off course by a foot or two. A first shot kill would still be the domain of expert marksmen.

        5. avatar Anymouse says:

          TrackingPoint already pretty much has that, if you’re willing to spend $10k+, and it even decides when to fire to compensate for your wobble. Burris Eliminator and Sig BDX system have most of that functionality now, but won’t compensate for movement or crosswind.

          Other uses I could think of for AI would be target designation so that fire is spread among the enemy platoon instead of multiple riflemen aiming at the same enemy. There’s also guided munitions, where bullets act as mini-cruise missile and can change course in mid-flight, or smart grenades that air burst above an entrenched enemy.

        6. avatar LarryinTX says:

          In a shooting war, iron sights will ALWAYS be king.

    2. avatar Jon says:

      It means that someone will figure out how to put pokemon on the tablet attached to his rifle and will be trying to capture picachu in the middle of a firefight.

    3. avatar HP says:

      Maybe the gun could have a screen and a Tinder-like app. Opposing militaries could use it as well. Swipe right on a person you think you might like to go to war against.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        If it has a screen at all, and is issued to the military, its main use will forever be playing porn. Are there any questions?

        1. avatar Southern Cross says:

          According to “Three Dead Trolls And a Baggie”, the purpose of the internet was to ensure the delivery of porn even during a nuclear war.

  6. avatar Craig in IA says:

    Damn- I always thought dead was dead…

    1. avatar MyName says:

      So you are unfamiliar with the concept “mostly-dead”?

      1. avatar Craig in IA says:

        The Walking Dead?* “Brain Dead”?

        *Remember those freaks clawing at the doors to SCOTUS following the Kavanaugh hearings? They looked like something out of The Walking Dead…

  7. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Well, DUH! Advances in weaponry (and everything else) has only been on-going for about 10,000 years. I guess Liz hasn’t figured that out yet.

    1. avatar binder says:

      I guess that why TAG was pushing 9mm 1911s as the idea carry gun. The tech just keeps advancing.

  8. avatar JMR says:

    Something more lethal than a 50BMG, I’m intrigued.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      I mean obviously lots of stuff is more lethal but something more portable and able to be fired while moving and having anything close to 50BMG lethality would be incredible

  9. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

    I find it funny, anti-gunners claim they don’t want to ban all guns, just certain one…

    Gun too small, weak and concealable (Saturday night special)? – BANNED
    Gun too heavy and big (AR-pistol or unloaded weight over 50oz)? – BANNED
    Non-smart gun (New Jersey)? – BANNED
    Gun that is too smart and too accurate (this article) – BANNED

    I could go on, but they seem to find a problem with every gun. They are too weak, too powerful, not accurate enough, too accurate, fire too fast, hold too many rounds, use a locking or operating system that is too fast, too fast to reload.. etc…

    When will they just admit, they want to ban all guns and can and will find a problem with every one and write hyperbolic articles about each.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      There is one (only one!) gun we should all oppose, never allow anyone to possess, and that is the dreaded “no gun”.

    1. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

      What Alex said… 😉

  10. avatar DaveL says:

    Remember to reboot your fire base every few hours, and for God’s sake disable Solitaire on the sentries’ weapons.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      At least it wasn’t minesweeper

  11. avatar HP says:

    “…able to integrate apps”

    What could go wrong? Looking forward to stories of mass weapon failures because the .gov decided to go with the lowest bidder.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      In most cases, the government is required to go with the lowest bidder.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I sure hope so! The lowest bidder will deliver a dumb gun with iron sights. Which will always be what we need on the front. Smart shit should be in the bombers flying overhead and the artillery 20 miles back.

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Phased plasma rifle?!? Ray gun? Gremlin operated? What could go wrong?!?😄😊😏

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Don’t we already have gremlin operated weapons (junior enlisted)

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        …and here I wuz thinking of a green 2nd Lt with a map, binoculars and a radio as the most dangerous “weapon” in the arsenal.

        1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          My oops…substitute Gremlin for weapon in quotes…where’s the d**m EDIT button?

        2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Absolutely the most dangerous but not the most destructive

  13. avatar Warlocc says:

    You can tell a lot about how old the average TTAG commenter is by the meltdown in the comments anytime something more advanced than a steam engine is suggested…

    1. avatar Rynex says:

      I’m 19 and I think this stuff is dumb.

      1. avatar Moltar says:

        I’m 30 and I know anytime you mix joes and anything more technologically advanced than a rock the nice shiny pretty new tech will be destroyed in minutes by a gaggle of joes who think they’re code monkeys trying to “fix” it. I know I was once that joes trying to pimp out my Blue Force Tracker….. Got the awesome map of our area but it still said I was an attack helicopter in Iran.

        1. avatar Jon says:

          That wasnt you. That was a feature of BFT saving the war. If BFT made you disappear, the enemy knew you werent there and they could relax.

        2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Wait so you actually identify as an attack helicopter? Bunch of joke around this somewhere

        3. avatar Moltar says:

          no my 1151 did though. It identified as a Kiowa even started demanding JP5 but we just lied to it and fed it JP8 then it started demanding reassignment surgery and well have you ever tried to tell a Humvee that you just ain’t got enough welding rods to convert it from a ground vehicle and give it a sleek airframe of a small attack helicopter? Man it don’t get no uglier than that! I still have nightmares about its screams and the look of utter devastation on its grille.

    2. avatar Shire-man says:

      I’m willing to be on average Luddites experience fewer glitches than early adopters. Probably have fewer people spying on them too.

    3. avatar GS650G says:

      The beauty of firearms is their reliance on mechanical engineering not “code”.

    4. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

      “…by the meltdown in the comments anytime something more advanced than a steam engine is suggested…”

      It’s simple – A ‘networked’ battle rifle *will* be hacked by the likes of Huawei and the rest of the Chi-Coms.

      Mechanical only on the fire control group of a battle rifle…

    5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Warlocc,

      I do not despise electronic hardware and software enhancements to firearms because of my age, I despise them because I fully understand the inherent vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and flaws of electronic hardware and software enhancements IN THE REAL WORLD.

      Here are but a few such vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and flaws of electronic hardware and software:
      (1) Electronics do not operate across as wide a temperature range as traditional firearms.
      (2) Electronics do not tolerate the same vibration/impact as traditional firearms.
      (3) Electronics batteries can and do fail for several reasons.
      (4) Electronic hardware is FAR more complex than a firearm and therefore FAR more prone to failures and design flaws.
      (5) Software is HUGELY more complex than a firearm and therefore HUGELY more prone to design flaws.
      (6) Electronic hardware is susceptible to electronic countermeasures.
      (7) Software is susceptible to hacking.

      None of those factors impact the operation of a traditional firearm. You can leave your rifle sitting on a rock, in the desert, in the sun, on a 120 degree day and know for certain that it will go bang when you pull the trigger. And the same applies when your rifle is -45 degrees Fahrenheit in arctic cold conditions. I would not trust electronics — especially their displays — under those conditions.

      Your rifle was exposed to rain or ocean spray for 20 hours or you dropped it into a river? It will still go bang. Will the electronics still work? I would not stake my life on it.

      The enemy just detonated a nuclear warhead 100 miles away which generated a ginormous electromagnetic pulse. Or the enemy simply generates a huge radio-frequency level which tends to interfere with everything electronic. Will that electronic enhancement still work on your rifle? Don’t stake you life on it. But I can guarantee that your traditional rifle will still go bang no matter how much radio energy is in the environment around you.

      Is it possible to design an electronic hardware and software enhancement to a rifle that will not significantly reduce reliability? Not at a cost that anyone would ever be able to justify.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        I fully agree. When your life is on the line you want things to work when they need to.

        I’ve worked for 25 years in IT and I still think in many cases simple and reliable options are better. Design elegance is achieved when there’s nothing more to add and no less to take away.

        I still use iron sights for most shooting and my optics are unpowered. My TV is a 8 year old dumb TV. It still does 1080p and at 42″ is big enough for the room. The panel is 2″ thick and has a 1″ border but are not noticeable when viewing. I use the TV most times through a Western Digital TVlive media player that uses files stored on the PC.

  14. avatar Bearacuda says:

    “On one hand, weapons equipped with artificial intelligence might be easier for law enforcement to track, or even control;…”

    Sounds like she just made the case for not trusting that tech.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Features not bugs, likely to link to Facebook/Amazon/everything else and serve as a backup tracking/listening device to your phone. That aside the amount of engineering to make the.electronics robust enough for that will be impressive….. and expensive…….and llikely required

  15. avatar GS650G says:

    Ideally the left wants a button on a liberal politicians desk marked “disarm everyone” that can be pressed at will. Smart guns are a step in that direction. Imagine guns running on 5G that are interactive with our benevolent government agencies.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Funny enough we are doing that with streetlights up here in Albany, not sure the locals would be in any hurry to upgrade thier pistols though

  16. avatar Ogre says:

    Make a weapon too advanced and the troops will use the Marine Corps principle: If it doesn’t work, force it. If it breaks, it needed fixing anyway. Kind of reminds me of the machine gun/missile weapon system the Gary Oldman character tried to sell the bad aliens in “The Fifth Element” movie. In my military career, I found that the K.I.S.S. principal worked best. Troops are certainly intelligent enough (most of them) to operate high-tech weapons systems, navigation systems, targeting systems, &c. But when a system fails (navigation, for example), are they going to be trained to go back to the older methods (paper map and compass) to get the job done? So the new tech has an app that allows a troop to pick the flea off a fly’s arse at 500 meters. But if the app fails, will the troop know how to use his sights to do it the old way? IMHO, all these advanced apps are just the Pentagon’s way of supporting defense industry. The enemies we’re fighting out there are using 1950’s technology and we still can’t neutralize them with all our high tech weapons.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Watch the movie “Pentagon Wars”. You realize the defense procurement process is corporate welfare for defense contractors.

      Need examples? Lockheed-Martin and the F-35. Heckler und Koch and the Bundeswehr. I rest my case.

  17. avatar SoCalJack says:

    From shot show 2019:
    https://www.gunsamerica.com/digest/incredible-fully-digital-rifle-scope-by-sensight-shot-show-2019/
    I have to wonder what is the point of this Forbes article and who is the intended audience? From my Mil perspective (I work in tech and innovation projects) this is cool stuff, but just talk. I have seen alot of awesome demos for emeging tech that basically stays in the lab and doesn’t make it to our warfighters. From my 2A perspective, it appears the Forbes article is trying to instill some fear into folks that don’t understand firearms.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      It’s called Performance Optimized testing, where the product is set up to pass by giving it ideal conditions.

      Examples. The M247 DIVAD in tests had the target planes bank to maximize the radar cross section. Even then the successful hit ratios were barely in double-digit percentages.

      The M2 Bradley IFVs in testing had their fuel tanks filled with water, no ammunition loaded in the vehicles, and Romanian or Bulgarian ammunition was fired at the test vehicles instead of ammunition of Soviet origin.

  18. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Artificial intelligence is no substitute for human intelligence. Although there may be application in military weapons (target selection, tracking, sniper, weapons platforms, etc…), I am hard pressed to see how any electronics could improve on the simplicity, safety and performance of infantry or civilian weapons.

    Any doo-dads which decrease the reliability of a weapon are dangerous.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Where technology can enhance background training and not be a critical failure when it bricks out it is a wonderful thing. And you very clearly hit on a major concern for end users/a feature not a bug for their “betters”

  19. avatar jwtaylor says:

    As Moltar mentions above, we’ve been using LINUX based Apps in combat for well over a decade already. The Blue Force Tracker was regularly “hacked” by Joes, sometimes with great effect, sometimes not. And not just by our own troops, but troops of other nations as well. During my second OEF tour, almost 10 years ago, we had the Polish troops hack our BFT to give us better map overlays. They provided far more, and far better information that what was being passed on to us by the big army. Sadly, unlike Moltar, we were still just listed as our gun truck and not an attack helicopter.

    As far as apps on a machine gun, you can really tell who’s who by the comments. The first priority isn’t aiming and firing, it’s range cards. You know how to tell if you have a great gunner before he ever fires a shot? When he stops he draws a range card of the area with azimuths and distances to likely fire points as well as his field of view, and passes that info along any way he can. (I say he but one of the best gunners I ever served with was a woman.) An app that would allow the gunner to bring up a map, mark it up, and then add to and verify it with information from multiple other historical sources and real-time-sources would be invaluable. It will be even better when that map integrates into his aiming system. Think of that gun, chambered in 338NM, and you’ll get an idea of where we will be in the next 10 years.

    1. avatar Jon says:

      I never deployed to Afghanistan so i cannot speak to the importance of range cards in open areas. My first deployment was to Bagdad in 06-07, just south of the airport. My AO was heavily urban with a few open fields typically no greater than 200x200m. My outpost was on the corner of a small field (150x100m). Residential houses were across the street (40ft) on one side with a T-wall between. On another side was a highly traveled supply route (heavily patrolled and relatively calm). The other two sides across the field (150m and 100m) faced some highly volatile densely populated urban areas. All of the buildings on the other side of the field were abandoned and shot to s***. There were hundreds of locations from which someone could shoot at us from. Putting them all on a range card was useless.
      Most of the time, I never identified where someone was shooting at us from. We knew the most likely locations that they were shooting at us from. I would place a 8-11 round burst into these locations and wait to see what happened. If they returned fire immediately, I probably wasnt close. If they did not return fire immediately, I would place three of four more burst into that location and wait for a reaction again. We often did not have the manpower to maneuver on these elements so we simply played this game of fire superiority until they gave up. There were never casualties on our side of these types of firefights and we almost always never knew if there were casualties on the other side as well (again, not enough man power to defend the outpost and maneuver on the element).
      The best asset our platoon had was BRADLEY’s and we used the hell out of them. Their optics and ability to puncture buildings was incredible. If we had been taking fire for a while and could not make it stop, were unable to locate the enemy and we could not maneuver on them, we would simply park a Bradley behind the rear entrance to the outpost. That gunner would usually put a few 25mm rounds into the abandoned building where we thought they were and the shooting would suddenly stop. We almost never knew if we killed anyone but the shooting stopped.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Such a radically different experience. We were usually grossly numerically deficient, often outgunned (RPGs, DsHks, mortars, and RPKs were common, even the occasional 14mm and ZSU) and we relied heavily on our ability to maneuver. We took casualties reguarly, especially with the ANA/ANP. Our operational areas were massive, a BCT would be responsible for an area larger than some US states.

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        But Jon (and I really miss the edit function) your experience highlights the value of an AI enabled machine gun. Everyone here is really thinking about it wrong. It’s not about the firearm shooting the target. It’s about knowing the Target and prioritizing the target. Combat is a team effort.
        Imagine you are laying down fire with that Bushmaster. Often, without sustained PID, this often devolves into the Area Denial or Suppressive Fire you are describing, and not effectice Target elimination.
        Now, with the new system, the gunner on that Bushmaster can be given new information from other sources. Maybe Sniper Over-Watch in a different location can see your actual Target. Or maybe he suspects he sees your actual Target. That new Target location can be automatically located in your Gunner’s display. Or that Target can be highlighted, but deprioritized based on the sight line from Over-Watch and the Gunner could be given a higher priority Target based on information he could not see, such as a muzzle flash viewed from a UAV 180° behind him.
        We don’t need machine guns to pull triggers. But it will be useful for them to tell us where they can shoot most effectively given the other resources they are connected to.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          While I get this argument I think it will be a considerable time before such a system is refined enough to be truly useful.

          Speeding the transfer of information is fantastic but it comes with downsides. Even if the system is truly secure information overload and prioritization of incorrect information are problems that have existed for a long time and which will become noticeably more problematic if the system simply speeds up the information transfer process.

          That’s not to say this isn’t a worthy goal that should be pursued but we do need to recognize the dangers and limitations of such a system as well as where it’s useful and where it’s more of a hindrance.

        2. avatar Jon says:

          In Bagdad, we were never outgunned or in danger of being overrun. You stated that knowing the target is key; we were rarely able to know our target. Urban combat is saturated with hundreds of places for the bad guys to hide. Four months into the deployment, we started using new “tech” to identify targets. Drones, the eye of sauron (big camera on a tall tower), and Apaches became very useful. These helped us to identify targets and their hiding places. We got really good at killing the enemy or helping the Apaches kill the enemy. My platoon effectively drove them out of our AO and all was relatively peaceful for two months.

          Unfortunately, shortly after this tech came, the surge along with the “hearts and minds” strategy came. Our hands became tied. We could finally see the enemy but were no longer allowed to kill them because it was mean. During the surge we gained another platoon but they had been trained to enforce the “hearts and minds” strategy. We were finally able to maneuver more often but when we finally got close enough to kill, we were not allowed to. Some of us did anyways and paid the price (1SG John Hatley was my 1SG and I was his gunner for the first half of the deployment).

          My point is that “tech” while useful, often brings dangerous political oversight and involvement. Few people care when Joe is given an M4. Lots of folks care and try to influence warfare when you are given a multi-million dollar camera or BFT integrated helmet.

        3. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Jon, absolutely. I definitely see more oversight to the Gunner when a commander has more information. He will be second-guessed at every shot he takes or does not take because now he will be expected to know all things that the gun knows. Which is ridiculous.
          That doesn’t take anything away from the lethality of the platform as a whole. The simple inability for our leaders to accept risk is it cancer that is spread throughout the military over the last 50 years. It’s not getting any better.

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Strych9, it will take 10 years and the political will Jon is talking about above. The latter is a more difficult challenge than the former.

        5. avatar strych9 says:

          JWT:

          I respectfully disagree about the timeline. It will take far longer and cost far more than most are willing to admit. It will still have the limitations I mention and will for some time because the problem there is partly the human looking at the system and partly the system.

          Tech is cool and all and it enhances our lives but we have to be on guard for the foreseeable pitfalls and the unforeseen as well.

          For example, I was diagnosed with diabetes at 32. The original doctor said it was Type 2 and I was treated that way for two years even though it very clearly made no sense. Eventually I was properly diagnosed as a late onset Type 1 last October. It only took me very nearly dying and ending up in the ICU to convince the world of the obvious. Incorrect information was followed until the result was nearly catastrophic (for me at least). That’s the human issue.

          This also meant new tech in my life in the form of a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or CGM.

          Now, this tech is new to the US but it’s not really new. It’s been available elsewhere in the world for over 10 years, closer to 15. It’s also pretty simple compared to what we’re discussing here but it still has pitfalls. They’re not a big deal once you know and understand them but they’re still there. For example, when you change a sensor it sometimes, but not always, reads high. Sometimes 250 points high. When this happens it lasts for 2-6 hours before the sensor unfucks itself and reads properly.

          Now the simple solution is to check the first sensor and then let the replacement calibrate itself. If it’s reading improperly you ignore the data for a while. If it continues to read in a way you think is wrong you go back to the old school method and compare. If it turns out the sensor is bunk then you replace it.

          That’s alright for this situation. Worst case you end up overcorrecting something and having to correct the over correction. But that kind of error, especially if the person seeing it doesn’t know it’s an error, in relation to a weapons platform can be exceedingly dangerous. I don’t want to see a redux of the MARSOC 7 where there really is something terrible that happened and the real world answer is basically “Siri made a mistake and a war crime ensued”.

          Again, it’s not a reason not to pursue such advancement but we need to do so with our eyes wide open and looking for both foreseen and unforeseen issues because when we’re talking about systems designed to kill other people as effectively and efficiently as possible. Unknown errors may only become known once a complete and utter catastrophe has occured. Rapid information transfer means that incorrect information can be transferred rapidly and when incorrect information is transferred to the guy dropping a JDAM we can have a mistake that leads to a serious situation pretty damn quickly.

  20. avatar NORDNEG says:

    I Like guns, all kinds of guns, shiny guns, blues guns, black guns, big guns, small guns, loud guns, not so loud guns, long guns, shotguns, guns guns , guns….,
    YAssaaaa GUNS….!!!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 M A G A … G U N S

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Nuns’ guns?

  21. Obviously, someone shot with a more lethal firearm ends up more dead.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Yo! New guy! Get with the program, that is properly spelled “more deader”. Just sayin’.

  22. avatar RGP says:

    It will be lethaler than lethal and given modern pansy trends will probably be suited to shooting bugs by old fashioned standards.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Bugs? or maybe features!?

  23. avatar Joeblow says:

    So these new weapons will make people more dead? I thought death was a binary state.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Newsrep has covered this.

      What they’re very likely talking about is that the military is currently looking at ways to defeat body armor at ranges out to 500m with rounds that are still man portable in large quantities.

      Essentially what they’re looking at now is taking M995, upping the bullet weight a bit and increasing chamber pressure to around 90K PSI. The hoped for result is a flat shooting, relatively low recoiling round with slightly increased mass and significantly higher velocity that will consistantly punch through a SAPI style plate at range with enough mass retention to kill or incapacitate the wearer of the armor.

      Ultimately they’ll probably end up with a 6mm class round, which IIRC, is what they’re working on at this point.

  24. avatar B says:

    I just had a flashback of the 1998 sci-fi film, “Soldier”. Here, Kurt Russell and other alpha babies are selected and trained since birth as elite soldiers, and go on to fight intergalactic wars for decades while under the command of Gary Busey.

    Then they’re phased out and ruled obsolete by Jason Isaac, a Colonel who leads a team of genetically flawless soldiers. A biotech advancement in lethality. Oops.

    I particularly enjoyed Gary Busey’s character and his quotes towards Isaac;

    “My Daddy was in maintenance, and he always said, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    “My Daddy always said, when you need to insert a nail into a piece of wood, don’t do anything fancy or glamorous, just hammer the son of a bitch until it’s in.”

    And, “I guess you should of made them smart instead of fast”.

    I guess while all this technology is cool, when it fails, and it will, better know the basics.

    🍺

    1. avatar B says:

      Oh, I forgot to mention; I thought I saw a character with a revolver. Lol.🍺

  25. avatar Robert W says:

    The writer, McBride, is absolutely correct, the problem is that she is correct only because everything she talks about already exists in the civilian market. Some developed initially to military RFIs, some developed straight from the civilian market, but it all exists already.

    More lethal: The military is strongly considering a 6.5 grendel type round that should be more lethal at longer ranges as the standard infantryman round.

    Integrated weapon apps: Burris Eliminator scopes, ATN Thor thermal sights, Trackingpoint rifle, all include tech to improve accuracy, some include tech to stream the live feed to another device.
    AI: I highly doubt that and man portable weapon system will have on board AI, real AI not just some extra smart algorithms, in the near future. Maybe certain things like facial recognition and subject tracking, like what exists in some advanced digital cameras already, where you could program a face into it and it will do a pretty decent job of tracking that individual, even if they leave the frame and come back, or even several faces like that. My Sony A6500 can be taught 10 faces, and if it ever recognizes any of them in the frame it will prioritize focus to those areas.

    That’s the kind of tech that would be useful for a military weapon, and it all exists already on the civilian market.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      She’s attempting to demonizing the firearm with AI/tech, of which can be worn on (a tablet) the warfighter and needs to access a secured network for intel and databases. That level of tech is not available to civilians. Where as the level of tech (apps on smartphones), for setting up a shot, has been available for civilians for a few years. Her angle is to instill fear into the uninformed for more gun control.

  26. avatar Hannibal says:

    lol procurement has been trying to get gee-whiz magic rifles through the process for decades and what we ended up with was a shortened M16.

    But it makes for great press releases and budget requests.

  27. avatar DrDKW says:

    Well, they’re already building ‘self-driving’ cars. Maybe we can advance to ‘self-firing’ guns. Imagine what a computer glitch could do with that!

  28. avatar funposting says:

    “Alexa, kill the guy three hundred meters in front of me”

    “Okay, playing Despacito 10 hour version”

    “Fuck”

    1. avatar B says:

      Now that is funny 😂. 🍺

  29. avatar 22winmag says:

    Four words qualify as an “article” and get you an “author” credit on much esteemed blog?

    Where do I sign up?

  30. avatar Michael says:

    Another hundred $ hammer. More lethal? Dead is dead. Still no “2nd Place Winner”, first hit is all that counts. My money will be on the “man with one gun, because he probably knows how to use it”. -30-

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      The first hit doesn’t count for shit. I’ve seen plenty of people hit first who still killed or stopped their opponent.

  31. avatar BatPenguin says:

    “More Lethal” nothing can be more “lethal”. You are either dead or not. You can’t be more dead than the next dead guy. Well in Illinois (my home state that I am making preparations of moving out of and into Missouri) I guess you are a little less dead because you still get to vote after you are dead, but that is neither here or there. It could be more precise, more stopping power, more powerful, but not more lethal. You get killed by a .22lr you are dead, you die in a huge massive explosion you are dead. In both instances each one is lethal. One was more powerful, one was probably much more precise.

  32. avatar strych9 says:

    “…and able to integrate apps…”

    Great, so someone will turn it to H.E.M. and it will wander off and kill everyone on Tinder.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I’m not seeing the downside…….

  33. avatar CZJay says:

    It’s scary that criminals still have hands.

  34. avatar Enuf says:

    Compass heading and distance to objective placed digitally in the field of view is about all the special forces guys really want. Anything more is just visual clutter.

  35. avatar raptor jesus says:

    AI enhanced pistols? Makes me actually want a 1911.

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