US Army Proceeding With M4 and M249 Replacement Program in 6.8mm

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US army m4 rifle replacement 6.8 mm cartridge
courtesy wikimedia commons

Reader John Dingell III writes:

The U.S. Army appears to be moving full steam ahead with the replacement of the M4 Carbine and its 5.56mm cartridges with the Next-Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW). It will be chambered in some version of the 6.8mm caliber cartridge that will replace both the 5.56 M4 and the M249 SAW.

Nick Adde posted a long form article on the status of this program in the January 2019 issue of National Defense magazine, the house organ of the National Defense Industrial Association:

The new weapon would fire a 6.8 mm round, which both the service and representatives from industry who are vying for the contract to build it are embracing. The round, they say, would provide the right balance of lethality required in both close- and long-range fights. Proponents say it is both lighter and deadlier than the 5.56 mm NATO round, the ammunition it would replace.

“Ninety percent of our casualties are coming from 4 per-cent of our force,” said Daryl Easlick, small arms deputy at the lethality branch of the maneuver capabilities and integration directorate, at Fort Benning, Georgia. “This means those close-combat [military occupational specialties] that close with and destroy the enemy are the most likely to be injured. Those are the ones we’re concentrating on the most when looking at these modernization efforts.”

Adde also posted an article specifically on the 6.8mm caliber cartridge selection.

Mark Cancian, a senior international security advisor with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a retired Marine Corps officer, said the Army “is trying to fix a tension that has existed in small arms for a century.”

Cancian noted the institutional desire on the Army’s part to improve the lethality of small arms, with the focus on ammunition. When the service published a semi-formal request for ideas on FedBiz-Opps last October, it specifically mentioned the intent to move to the higher caliber from the current 5.56 NATO round now in use with the M4 carbine and M249 squad automatic weapon.

In the announcement, contractors were told to submit their ideas under an other transaction agreements authority, which is used specifically to solicit prototype ideas. The service would then review the proposals after 27 months, and then award a follow-on production contract.

The plan to adopt the higher caliber represents a “compromise” on the Army’s part, Cancian said, but not one without inherent challenges.

“It’s very expensive and very hard to change calibers,” he said “Improving the ammunition is by far an easier way to improve lethality.”

The “tension” exists between proponents of ammunition suitable for short-range and longer-range fights. This, he said, is what the lethality team is coming to terms with today as it seeks to develop the new round and its corresponding weapon.

Not much new, but taken together it does appear that the U.S. Army is very serious about adopting a new shoulder arm this time around. The top brass are demonstrating real commitment to the program.

army textron 6.8mm squad weapon

The belt-fed 6.8mm plastic cartridge Textron squad automatic seems fairly well-developed and meets the program goals, but doesn’t translate into a carbine well. I don’t know much about the other contenders which presumably are still contenders.

As for how soon the change will happen, that depends on the vagaries of the military procurement process.

Factor in the current political and budgetary climate, and any visions of a closing date for the project become even murkier. In essence, if the money is there, testing would be completed sooner. If not, that date would slide to the right accordingly.

“Budget cycles are painful at best,” Easlick said. “We try to read the tea leaves and make sure we have some sort of plan. It’s dependent upon our senior leaders going back to lawmakers, and making sure they’re dotting I’s and crossing T’s.”

Translation: don’t look for the new weapons in the field any time soon.

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      • OK, this “6.8 SPC CTA (Cased Telescoped Ammunition)” has a *huge* downside, in my book.

        It appears to be 100 percent *non* re-loadable.

        It’s factory ammo, or go home.

        The Leftists would *love* to have a hard lock on ammunition manufacture. All the easier to ‘control’…

        • I don’t think consumer 3D printers are capable to forming thin enough walls. I suppose you can whip up a crude approximation. Note that the bottom is still metal. So you have to come with a way to attach one to the other. In addition, you need to use an alternative to most common thermoplastic process. Anything thermoplastic isn’t going to last after a magazine or two. I can’t even tell if an SLA process can produce the desired material. All in all, I suspect it may be easier to find a binary polymer with suitable characteristics and rely on home injection molding.

        • Look at the bright side to plastic cases….it would mean all brass shooting firearms are no longer “Military Grade”.

          This may or may not happen. M16 “replacement” has been going on for fifty years.

        • Yeah but leftists also hate plastic. Think of the big deal they made about lead on military ranges, now imagine the issues of disposal for millions of rounds of plastic cases.

        • I would think the Poor SAW Gunner “Schlepping Around” an Ironman Ammunition Pack of ~575-rounds and nearly 60-pounds not including the SAW would find the ~21-pound weight reduction a “Blessing In Disguise”…

  1. But, but, but…

    Didn’t Josh or Sam recently rather authoritatively declare “6.8mm will *never* be adopted by the US DOD…” blah, blah, blah?

    • Well, honestly, I see the military pouring millions of dollars and a decade of work into this, only to decide the cheaper and easier solution is to stick with 5.56.

      • They are looking at how much it will would cost them if they stick with a caliber that isn’t good in shorter guns, which leads to more men getting injured or killed in firefights. Is it cheaper to take the casualties or to switch to another caliber? Do we want our men to get injured or killed for us to save some money on ammunition? How much money is a U.S. trained soldier worth?

        Maybe if we pulled back our presence in the world we can save enough money to modernize our small arms instead of using our old tech to fight wars the U.S. doesn’t need to be in. A day or two ago at least 4 troops were blown up by a suicide bomber when they were outside talking to the locals. Maybe we should worry about our military first…

        • “Maybe we should worry about our military first…”

          We need to understand why more militarily primitive nations keep fighting us to a standstill. The Japanese lost their Pacific empire, using soldiers that were totally out gunned and out supplied, but the US paid a huge price to defeat starving, half-naked opponents. The Norks and Chicoms were outgunned and out supplied, but sheer numbers allowed them to hold onto North Korea. Vietnam showed us we were too heavy to fight lightweight infantry (and too lacking in willpower to win, rather than send messages). Now a bunch of desert rats, not carrying 100lbs of fighting gear, run us ragged all over the middle east. The every rifleman equipped for a platoon idea needs a re-think.

    • I’m still skeptical. Logistics chains are not easy to change and 5.56 has been in the pipeline for decades.

      • Plus it’s still NATO standard.

        I can see the 6.8 as frontline/fighting infantry standard, but the 5.56 for special duty situations, maybe a DMR, and for non frontline troops and reservists.

    • I said it was a maybe for small units but unlikely for the larger military’s needs. I seriously doubt that anything major will happen in the next decade as the infrastructure for it is just not in place. The draw to 6.5 or 6.8 is well informed on paper, but is just not practical as far as cost and availability. As I said in a comment recently, the military can’t even meet recruitment standards right now and the government is shut down. Things move slow, if at all in these circles. This is well intentioned, but is just not likely. Even if it does happen, there will be years of bugs, ammo problems, and other concerns to work out that make the switch even more costly. Even then, it will probably not replace 5.56 entirely.

      • “Even if it does happen, there will be years of bugs, ammo problems, and other concerns to work out that make the switch even more costly.”

        Ironically, the US Army (thus the USG) forced 7.62 on NAT0, precisely to end logistics problems such as found in the Korean war – mulit-nation munitions supply chain of different calibers and cartridges. The US, being the big dog of WW2 had standardized on 30 caliber for decades, so it was natural (being the only country with the military and economic power to impose its will) the US wanted NATO, and any other military allies, to standardize on 30 caliber. The idea of a multi-nation standard for ammunition was quite logical given the attempt to engage the entire free world in the containment (and possible war) with the Soviet Union.

        Then, the US decided it needed a 22 caliber bullet, thus complicating our own supply chain. So, it is quite unsurprising the US Army would want even more diversity in ammunition because, well, because whatever. The 30-06 round was quite efficient, made big holes, and had a significant “energy dump” (whatever that means). Somewhere it was decided that lighter cartridges meant more ammo carried by the infantry rifleman (rifleperson? rifle-X?). The weight differential was elegantly offset by the higher number of rounds required to actually stop the threat.

        One of the interesting urban legends of the Vietnam era was that the Aussie long range patrols entered the jungle with 100rds per soldier, patrolled for a month, and came back with ammo to spare. Whereas, the US soldier would go through 100rds of ammo in an afternoon.

    • Actually, what they said was that WIDE SCALE replacement of the 5.56 would not be happening in the foreseeable future. But that does not seem to be what is going on here:
      “Ninety percent of our casualties are coming from 4 per-cent of our force … Those are the ones we’re concentrating on the most when looking at these modernization efforts.”
      That sounds like the “new” caliber will probably be only for that 4%. The Special Forces. Even if the project is adopted.

        • Kevin, you said, “I think the other 96% dam well better learn to shoot better ??”
          The 4% referred to the 4% of the U.S. armed forces who are taking 90% of the casualties, doing the most dying. Do you mean you want the other 96% to suffer more casualties too?

          (The quote from Daryl Easlick, small arms deputy at the lethality branch of the maneuver capabilities and integration directorate, at Fort Benning, Georgia, was, “Ninety percent of our casualties are coming from 4 per-cent of our force. This means those close-combat [military occupational specialties] that close with and destroy the enemy are the most likely to be injured.”)

          I don’t think he’s talking about the Special Forces (who are pretty good at making sure the enemy are the ones dying for their country). I think he’s talking about combat arms MOS’s, such as 11B (Infantry), the guys carrying the M4 and finding their puny 5.56mm bullets ineffective when shot from a 14″ barrel.

          A cheaper and easier solution to the lethality and range concerns of 5.56mm fired through 14″ barrels is to simply go back to the M16, with its 20″ barrel, which has an effective range of 600 meters using M855 62-grain green-tip ammo. (The older 55 grain ammo for the M16A1 had a range of 460 meters, but we switched over to 62-grain green-tip in the 1980s when we adopted the M16A2). Instead of spending tens of millions of dollars constantly struggling to come up with ammo that will overecome the limitations of a pistol-length (14″) barrel, just go back to carbine-length 20″ barrels like the US Army used in Vietnam, Grenada, Desert Storm, etc., it’s that simple. Or are today’s soldiers too weak to carry the extra couple ounces of a 20″ barrel like the M16A2? I don’t think so.

          Someone will say, “But what about clearing houses door-to-door?”
          Is clearing houses really supposed to be the job of the United States Army?
          I thought the U.S. Army was supposed to fight enemy infantry armies, not terrorize civilians by busting into their houses, terrifying their wife and kids, and turning the entire populace against us.
          Clearing houses is police work, so send in the Military Police to do it, not the infantry, and certainly not us U.S. Army tankers, whose motto is “Stay on the tank! Death before dismount!”

    • I’m sure they meant 6.8 SPC, which is not going to be adopted. It’s a poorly designed cartridge overall and even the military can see that. The telescopic case ammo has nothing to do with it except the projectile diameter, if that.

  2. Does this mean potentially there will be oceans of cheap 5.556 – 7.62 ammo as surplus?

  3. 6.8mm/.277 cal would not be my first choice for a military cartridge. There are very few bullets available. The case is ok, but I would put a 6.5 or 6 mm bullet in it. Either one already have bullets that are very good for close or long range in the weight range desired. a 120gr 6.5 or a 105gr 6mm would be an improvement over the 5.56mm for CQB, but would also move the max effective range out to about 800 yards.
    And the M249 never fired a 7.62 cartridge. It fires 5.56.

    • I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing if the US military adopted a .277 caliber round virtually every bullet maker on earth would be lining up to build whatever bullet they wanted.

    • The 6.8mm uses the same bullet and bore diameter as .270 Winchester and is often described as a .270 lite. The 6.8SPC is a compromise between 6.5 and 7mm while fitting within the 5.56 OAL.

      While 6.8SPC may improve long range terminal ballistics, it doesn’t really do anything for improving hit probability. Try hitting a target with a 4 second exposure at 400m only using a sling and off the elbows while prone. I managed 4 of 20 hits because of the wobbles. With a bipod, all 20 shots were hits.

  4. OK, i just don’t get it. The Army now wants a .270 caliber bullet, vs. .30. All these years I have been reading about how a .22 caliber bullet is ineffective as a military round, but somehow .270 is a huge improvement over .223 and .30. The M-4 type battle rifle is not designed to be a killer at 1500yds. If small caliber (.223 cannot get the job done at 300yds and under) is inadequate, why is a not quite so small caliber better?

    The article states that the 6.8 is lighter (lighter than a .223? really?), and more deadly. I thought we have determined that a bigger hole is better than a small hole: .762 versus 6.8? Smaller is deadlier? That means 9mm is deadlier than .45.

    No, I don’t understand this as all.

    • I guess they finally figured out that it is better to kill the enemy right now than letting them bleed out eventually while they are still in the fight. The more the bullet weighs and the longer it is will result in more stability and retained energy at longer ranges .

      • “The more the bullet weighs and the longer it is will result in more stability and retained energy at longer ranges .”

        Which is/was my inexpert understanding, bringing me back to the question of why abandon 7.62?

          • “It’s really heavy and has lots of recoil that makes follow up shots slower.”

            You bring up an interesting element. In the current infantry units, is the majority of shooting precision in nature, or suppressive fire, being satisfied if rounds actually connect with a bad guy ? If most shooting is rapid fire (spray and pray), does a focus on precision shooting for general infantry squads/platoons make any sense? That is, is the phenomenon of recoil fouling follow-up shots a real factor when TSHTF?

    • Sam I Am,

      Here is my understanding:

      (1) Many U.S. troops have reported that 5.56x45mm NATO rounds are not effective, especially at longer ranges (maybe beyond 300 yards?).

      (2) Larger bullet calibers are more effective than smaller calibers.

      (3) Larger bullet calibers are heavier and counterproductive at .30+ caliber.

      So, it looks like the U.S. military is looking for an “in-between” caliber: something with a larger caliber than 5.56x45mm NATO and something appreciably lighter than 7.62x51mm NATO.

      And the obvious solution in terms of lethality is something in the range of 6.2mm (like .243 Winchester) to 6.8mm (like .270 Winchester). And bigger is always better so the choice skews toward the top end of that range: 6.8mm. However, brass-cased 6.8mm cartridges would only weigh a few percent less than 7.62x51mm cartridges which is a non-starter. Hence the requirement for polymer (plastic) cases to further reduce weight.

      The end result is a cartridge that weighs 30% less than traditional 7.62x51mm NATO cartridges and has only slightly less lethality (assuming the same muzzle velocity, sectional density) than 7.62x51mm — with a marked improvement in lethality over 5.56x45mm NATO.

      To be totally honest, if I could specify any cartridge I wanted to take into battle, I would specify something VERY close to this 6.8mm cartridge. I would want a cartridge that could launch a 120 grain, .277 inch diameter bullet at 2,900 fps out of a 20 inch barrel.

      • “So, it looks like the U.S. military is looking for an “in-between” caliber: something with a larger caliber than 5.56x45mm NATO and something appreciably lighter than 7.62x51mm NATO.”

        Thanx. All this info is interesting and informative. My actual hands-on work with military weapons revolves around kiloton/megaton. Understanding light weapons is a new area.

        • As was already said the longer and “skinnier” a bullet is the more accurate it will be down range and more retained velocity and energy. As well as having sufficient mass to buck the wind and to retain enough energy at long ranges.

          Unfortunately what screws that up is the given weight and diameter of the bullet. Standard 7.62 NATO is 147 grains, it’s a short and stumpy bullet. The standard NATO round is not very aerodynamic. Bullets weighing roughly around 178 grains is about the most aerodynamic .308 Win rounds out there. But just a little longer and it sticks too far into the case reducing the amount of gunpowder and will significantly reduce velocity/energy/accuracy at long range. One reason why the 30-06 is more accurate way down range with 200+ grain bullets, there’s just more case capacity to work with.

          As someone alluded to they believe a 6.8 diameter bullet at 120 grains is ideal, I say no. You’d end up with a bullet just a tad too short. From my research a 6.5 diameter bullet at 120 grains is ideal, allows it to be just a little longer and thus more aerodynamic. Along with better retained velocity/energy and less bullet drop at longer ranges. At least for an intermediate cartridge with minimal recoil. TTAG and TFB and other knowledgeable sources have gone into a lot of detail about this in the past.

          Now, a bullets wounding potential has a ton of nuances. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. What matters most is what that bullet does after striking the intended target. From a variety of ranges, angles and any medium (including the air) the bullet travels through before hitting the target. Basically why we use specialized rounds for hunting and self defense instead of plain Jane full metal jacket.

          Now most militaries use full metal jacket cause of international laws and it’s a ton cheaper then anything else. (Plus, we don’t want to give our enemies any ideas and use more lethal ammo) So being stuck with FMJ the designers have to get “creative” and a longer skinner bullet with it’s weight towards the front is more likely to tumble, creating a larger wound channel. Also, purposely designing the bullet to break up when it tumbles creates a larger wound channel and dumps more of the energy into the target.

          And unfortunately, you absolutely need to put as many rounds down range as accurately as possible. The enemy isn’t going to wait for you to shoot them. Very rarely and almost never will you get a clean shot at the enemy. To carry a lot of rounds, they need to be lightweight. To be accurate with a high volume of fire, recoil needs to be minimal or nonexistent, again rounds will need to be lightweight. Will do you no good if you run out of ammo before the other guy. Will also do no good if the recoil in rapid fire or full auto is so bad it sends rounds 2-3 sailing way over the enemy who is trying to kill you but he can send all 30 of his rounds through the barn door. 2-3 rounds of 5.56 is going to be more lethal then one round of 7.62 all else being equal minus recoil. (And realistically there’s only a very small difference at least diameter wise between 5mm to 8mm.)

          Furthermore, up to roughly 300-400 yards most rifle rounds will be “equal.” Equal to the point of taking down the same game animal or enemy with proper bullet selection and proper bullet placement. Beyond that distance it will be more how proficient the shooter is then anything else, including once again proper bullet selection and placement. Most engagements don’t happen beyond 400 yards. With the current state of both training and recruits, the vast majority will never become proficient beyond 300-400 yards. Maybe a DMR can stretch that range a little further and with better accuracy. Beyond that range that’s what mortars, artillery and close air support are for. I’d say snipers as well but that is a very specialized skill set and different mission/objectives.

          Bad bullet selection and shot placement in 7.62 will be far worse then good bullet placement and bullet selection in 5.56 at any range. Only hits count and good hits take down the target.

          • “Bigger doesn’t always mean better.”

            That only applies to rifle rounds, right?

            As to distance shooting, how is it the primitives have better marksmanship and better ammunition than the US? Discounting M-4 carbines against special purpose sniper rifles, why is the US outgunned (overmatched) by the primitives? If the answer is 7.62/82/92 vs 5.56 (including the ability of the primitives to better shooters), how is it the primitives can handle the bigger bullet, but it is not effective when used by US troops?

            As to weight of carried ammunition, how is it the primitives can manage the weight, but US troops need lighter ammunition? How is it the primitives can be effective carrying less equipment (and ammo) than US troops?

            And why does the US military (politicians?) insist on loading infantry with 100lbs of gear for every mission/patrol? Why do the primitives, with less resources, keep fighting the US to a standstill?

        • Sam whoever you are-

          You basically summed up the reason why we keep being fought to a stand still or losing. Your use of the term “primitives”

          We will never win if we underestimate the enemy and will never win if we don’t understand them. We need to fully understand the enemy and those who are “bystanders” as well. We need to fully and completely understand anyone within the theater of war and those who are also affected by it. War is not just physically defeating the enemy it’s psychological. Everything (and I do mean everything) that happens before, during and after a conflict/war is important to understand and to learn from that.

          Also, let’s look at history. It’s littered with major military powers being fought to a standstill and beat by bands of so called common folk. If we don’t learn from the past we will lose.

          The other problem is every military throughout all of history is always prepared to fight the last war. Well, the next war is rarely if ever the same as the last war. So yes, we need to learn from the past but need to be prepared for the next conflict.

          Back to why they “outmatch” us is a “simple” answer. Any enemy will adapt and go after the weak points of who they are fighting against. In Vietnam it was getting in close and holding onto the GIs belt, at that distance we couldn’t release the awesome full power of the USA military and it was a slugfest between multiple humans with only the weapons they could hold. In the sandbox it was hide in plain sight, IEDs and attack beyond ranges of the 5.56.

          The other problem is if we go bigger and longer range that just means the enemy will move in closer and exploit the weaknesses of CQB with our troops using a rifle designed for 1,000+ yard shots. And we already saw in the sandbox what happens when our rifles have an effective range of 400-500 yards, they’ll engage us beyond those distances and quickly disappear before our artillery or air power can come into play. (Read somewhere one of our allies decades ago decided to use a magnified optic on all their general issue rifles. Well they were fantastic for shooting at distance. Only problem is that during war game exercises, if the opposing team got in close then the entire platoon with magnified optics were completely wiped out. As they couldn’t see or quickly hit anything at “shorter” ranges.)

          Kind of damn if we do and damn if we don’t. We need to find their weaknesses and exploit that and constantly making sure they can’t exploit ours. It’s a cat and mouse game. Who’s ever more focused, nimble, able to adapt and adapt quickly will be the victor. And never ever underestimate anyone or any cause. Our enemy could lose every battle against us, yet still win the war.

          The other issue or problem is asymmetrical warfare. It seems no major standard military knows how to successfully combat and win against such a thing. That is why we need special forces to combat this kind of warfare and to make sure to support those folks and give them what they need. Your current “average” rifleman, general or politician won’t do well in this type of warfare.

          Asymmetrical warfare is a mess. It’s even more imperative to understand the enemy, their cause and what they are capable of. Winning hearts and minds are important, make these “freedom fighters fighting for a worthy cause” into your typical selfish criminals where the average citizen wants them gone. That requires knowing everything, how to adapt and continuing good relations.

          Back to bigger isn’t always better. That applies to anything. Not just rifles. What it comes down is what impact that tool/device/person/thing has and how effective it is at what it does in relation to the affects it offers/leaves.

          It will always be a give and take, something can’t do everything perfectly and the enemy will always be looking for any weaknesses and exploit those weaknesses.

          As an example, would you use a ¾ hp drill press to drill a hole in your wall? No you wouldn’t, you would use a cordless drill. Would you use that cordless drill to drill multiple precision holes in flat pieces of wood for 8-10 hours straight? No you would not, you would use a drill press. (Back to proper bullet selection and placement.)

          Use the right tools for the job. Only way you know what to do is if you understand what the job is, what you’re trying to accomplish, what needs to be done to accomplish it, what your tools are used for and which tool/approach is best for the current task. Basically it boils down to being properly educated, doing things correctly, having the motivation to see things through, adapt when needed, be willing to accept change and able to learn. (Education can be anything, this website and comments are educational. We all had to learn how to talk, read and write as well as how to properly, safely and effectively use a firearm.)

          • Good read.

            I used “primitives” to imply two things: “primitive” as relates to the sophistication, materiel, and technology differentials between “advanced” countries, and hardly advanced country. To make the point that we (the US) have yet to learn, as you note, to fight the fight the enemy is fighting. This same element dictates our major weapon systems. We look for that magic weapon that will make all enemies too fearful to attack us (or just do battle with us). We put a $35billion dollar aircraft program in the position of close air support (troops in contact), where those aircraft are too expensive to lose, while the enemy is quite comfortable swarming cheap aircraft against our dozen or so magic weapons. This concept leads us to billion dollar destroyers for the Navy. Why is that so crazy? The full title of a destroyer is “Motor Torpedo Boat Destroyer”. We are spending a billion dollars on ships that carry a nomenclature that indicates they are expendable.

            Every time I see the old footage of US soldiers being killed at the water’s edge in Normandy, I look at all the equipment on their backs and ask, “What were we thinking?” We put double weight on soldiers required to run across yards and yards of wet sand, in water logged uniforms and backpacks. They needed speed, not the ability to set up a bivouac far inland. The theory seemed to be that the invasion force would need all that stuff once they were established ashore; overlooking the fact that they must get off the beach before they can get established ashore.

            And in the Pacific theater, the reports and news reels always seem amazed that the Japanese didn’t know to surrender when the situation was hopeless. Complete cultural disconnect led to horrible casualties. We were also appalled that a society that deemed surrender as marking an individual as less than human would treat prisoners of war with no regard for human life.

            WW2 gave us a clean look into what war actually is (Alexander, Darius, Khan, etc knew the reality of war): devolution into utter savagery, annihilating an enemy such that the enemy could not pose a future threat. Sherman knew “War is all hell”, the nation decided that we could thereafter fight wars that were not so much hell.

            Does anyone think this nation (or any Western nation) could fight a war that intends to completely bomb and burn out population centers, as was done in WW2? To those who think bombing population centers was murderous, inhumane, criminal, I say, Germany and Japan have not been a military or imperial threat to the nations of the world for 74 years. The Carthaginian solution is a viable military campaign.

        • “To those who think bombing population centers was murderous, inhumane, criminal, I say, Germany and Japan have not been a militaryor imperial threat to the nations of the world for 74 years. The Carthaginian solution is a viable militarycampaign.”

          A famous saying we have in the pro 2A camp is, “correlation is not causation.” And that applies to this scenario as well.

          That was a different time and different situation and a unique one at that.

          Japan and Germany rebuilt and within less then a generation had the capability to rearm and start WW3 and maybe even win. But we all know that didn’t happen, they remained peaceful and have stayed our allies ever sense. In fact today and for a very long time Germany has been the power house of Europe in every conceivable way. Japan was the same in Asia and still is at least to a certain extent today (their economy crashed in the 1980s and never really recovered, plus an aging population doesn’t help. But none of that relates to the point I’m trying to get across).

          The bombing of population centers were to sap the moral of the people and the thinking was it would lead to a quick end to the war. As we know that did not happen, it actually had the opposite effect both. We now know bombing population centers did absolutely nothing but take away resources from things that would have ended or at least shortened the war and ended up with a lot more unnecessary casualties on both sides. Plus, it only strengthened people’s resolve like it famously did during the Battle of Britain and switching to bombing London allowed the British military much needed time to rebuild. (Think of today, what effect do terrorist attacks/bombings have? It sure doesn’t make us back down or change course. Instead we will stop at nothing to kill the SOBs who played any role and/or bring the murderous b*stards to justice at which point we throw away the key or execute them. And it further solidifies we’re on the right path and pushes people into the pro war camp. On the other hand, us bombing and utterly annihilating the terrorists doesn’t make them give up and just further strengths their resolve and even pushes folks to support them. And the cycle repeats ad nauseam.)

          The Carthaginian solution will just lead to the next major conflict or war. There’s a reason why we abandoned that way of thinking. Even though some still cling to the idea. In fact, that’s not what we ultimately ended up doing with Japan and Germany at the end of the second war, yes it was an unconditional surrender, but we helped them rebuild and treated them with respect/honor. (And don’t forget the Soviet threat and threat of communism. The cold war played a major role in how things played out after WW2. But helping, respecting and becoming/remaining friends to the Germans and Japanese did more.)

          “I used “primitives” to imply two things: “primitive” as relates to the sophistication, materiel, and technology differentials between “advanced” countries, and hardly advanced country”

          There’s your fallacy again. What you view as “primitive” or less “advanced” is simply your opinion. You’re viewing the enemy as less then us and thus underestimating them and don’t really understand them. People’s ideas of “advanced” and “sophisticated” does not mean better. And you’re right, we need to stop wasting money on “better stuff” just because we think it will allow us to dominate. The enemy will always exploit our weaknesses, they certainly will never play to our strengths.

          “Every time I see the old footage of US soldiers being killed at the water’s edge in Normandy, I look at all the equipment on their backs and ask, “What were we thinking?”

          Did you ever stop and figure out what exactly was in those packs? Did every soldier have one? Don’t forget about the radio operator or guy carrying much needed extra ammo/explosives or mortars or bangalore torpedos or everyone needing a shovel or how about extra food and water or even extra medical supplies. What’s the anticipated death rate of these folks carrying everything? You’ll need to factor that in and have a ton of redundant people carrying redundant gear; the radio does no good if it’s at the bottom of the English channel or the guy got killed before he could make it 3 feet or the radio gets shot up, same with everything else. Yes, they need to be lightweight but there are still important things they need once you get out of no man’s land. They need to secure a beachhead before the rest of the invasion force can land and fight further in country. They are literally and utterly on their own until they secure a “safe area” for reinforcements, which can then lead to the rest of the invasion force and ultimately a much needed supply chain. (What I think was worse was the landing boats that had the giant ramp in the front…)

          “what war actually is (Alexander, Darius, Khan, etc knew the reality of war): devolution into utter savagery, annihilating an enemy such that the enemy could not pose a future threat.”

          Nope. Just nope. First off no way for that to happen. And if you did, you’re now an enemy of the world and deserve the same fate and it will eventually be repaid back in kind.

          We need to know and understand the enemy, remain clear headed, have a plan, adapt as needed, have an end game and plans for what to do before/during/after the end/start of any conflict. That’s how those leaders ultimately won and were able to keep and hold onto what they accomplished not through utter savagery. (Did I mention how important it is to have a plan, adapt and learn? Especially before, during and after.)

          When it comes to savagery, what also “has” to be done is the average soldiers/citizens view of the enemy of the state has to be one of pure evil and subhuman. The average person will not go into harms way or kill the enemy if they view each other as good people, as equals or as brothers. But to win, we need to truly and honestly understand them, their motivations and how and why they fight; basically humanize them and respect them.

          The only “true” way to win is for the enemy to make the conscious decision to quit. You cannot make them, you can force them but that’s a little different. Furthermore, you certainly will never be able to kill all of them.

          Yes, you are right, war is utter hell. People keep forgetting that and view it as some noble cause. No one truly wins in war. Violence begets violence.

          The only way to achieve a lasting peace is for former enemies to treat each other with dignity, humility, understanding, kindness, peace and what is best for everyone and all sides. A promise and actually following through not to repeat mistakes of the past, learn and grow together and be better. Be able to compromise and collaborate. Never take advantage of one another. Have some sort of dialogue and always keep it open to resolve any manner of conflict. Basically, forgive each other and move forward together hand in hand. Anything else and we’re just inviting another conflict.

          • “There’s a reason why we abandoned that way of thinking.”

            Trying to not win has been oh so successful.

            “The only way to achieve a lasting peace is for former enemies to treat each other with dignity, humility, understanding, kindness, peace and what is best for everyone and all sides.”

            Defies human nature. People are not software packages that can be re-programmed to do as the author sees fit. Pick whatever number of years you want to ascribe to the existence of humans, then note that we have yet to abandon selfishness, pride, envy, laziness, etc. We haven’t abandoned these faults because people before us were too stupid to figure it out, these faults are who we are at the core. A portion of humanity is willing to be taught, and follow behavior patterns that are productive, or at least less destructive, but we always retain the option to shrug off constraints and do what we find useful or attractive to get what we want. If you start with what we label bad character, and let it alone, it will not transform into what we label “good”. Inertia is what it is, and without the advent of an outside force, inertia will continue in the same state.

            The point is that violence does settle things (but not everything). So, if a society decides war is a good tool, you either render the enemy incapable of posing a threat, or you stay home. War is not a messenger service to be funded by the blood of citizens.

            BTW, Japan and Germany did not rebuild themselves.

  5. I read a while back that the casing might be consumable(lack of a better word)leaving nothing behind. Anybody else hear or read that?

    • What I can determine (and it might not be accurate), yeah, it’s a fully-consumable round, no standard ‘brass’ to reload.

      That’s a minus in my book…

  6. I thought that the slightly higher pressure M855A1 was supposed to fix much of this.

    The M4 was to be redesigned to handle the greater chamber pressure of the slightly (300-400 fps) faster round and the better lethality AND penetration would solve the ‘ice picking’ problem in CQ.

    I’ve seen the ballistic gel tests of the new round through barriers and on bare gel and man I’d like to get my hands on some to test and use as a defensive round.

  7. Waste of money, imo. Armor development seems to be quickly outpacing bullet development and with materials like tungsten being pretty expensive I don’t see how this would be cost effective, especially since they’d need to intensify training and develop optics that can take advantage of those longer ranges durable enough to survive the field.

    Not mil myself but from my armchair that’s what I see.

    • I agree if they’re choosing an intermediate round with ballistics like 6.8 SPC. They’d be fighting the last/current war with unarmored enemies at longer distances. It’ll do worse against an industrialized enemy with body armor. If they were looking for a quick solution that could be deployed by the end of the year, a quick upper change on the M4 makes sense. In the long term, going to a full power round, like 6mm Creedmoor, in a POF Revolution-like rifle would yield a long range, armor piercing round in a compact package, but the number of rounds carried would decrease.

  8. 6.8mm intermediate cartridges are crap. Wasn’t the big problem in Afghanistan that that 5.56 didn’t have enough range? 6.8 is worse. If you want a better intermediate cartridge, get a 6.5 Grendel- or something similar, maybe with a rebated rim.

  9. How about more range time and marksmanship training? I shoot more ammo on a weekend than I did a year on active duty.

    It should be a combination of known distance and pop-up targets. Army marksmanship started to decline with the introduction of train fire back in the late 50s.

    Seriously once or twice a year at the range is not enough.

    • “Seriously once or twice a year at the range is not enough.”

      “Enough” for what?

      Training is good. Training can be fun. Training can be accomplished in a wide variety of conditions. Training is….for what?

      Many on/in this forum are convinced that “training” is the difference between being “armed”, and having a gun around, somewhere. But what does real world experience (in this country) show us? How many successful DGUs were performed by “untrained” individuals? How many by people who were at the range weekly, or monthly? How many novices, unprepared and unskilled homeowners stopped home invasions, burglaries or robberies? Of the 200,000 – 2,000,000 DGUs experienced each year, how many succeeded only because the defender was “well-trained”, or failed because the defender was not “trained”, at all?

      Point is, there are maybe only a handful of people who could successively ride into military combat without extensive training in weapons, small unit tactics, squad-level coordination, etc. Yet apparently thousands of gun owners (legal and illegal) manage to successfully defend themselves with guns, without any advantage brought about by “training”.

      The stats on violent are trending way down, reducing “the threat”. People generally do not see terrorist attack, or even random assaults in the parking lot as much of a threat. It is likely most lawful gun owners see things no differently. Maybe training is not for everyone. Not critical, essential to successfully engage in self-defense.

      • We’re talking about soldiers whose job is to engage the enemy. Met many soldiers who couldn’t shoot for beans. Troops should be at the range as much as possible. Not doing sensitivity training or dog and pony shows. Gear and new rounds will never trump proper training. All recruits should be learning with irons not optics. Marines have gone to AGOGs in boot camp.
        I always felt Marine marksmanship was better than the Army’s. Having shot the Marine program in the Navy than going Army I can say I know first-hand.

        • “We’re talking about soldiers whose job is to engage the enemy. ”

          That was not the context I understood it to be. Mistake is mine.

        • Were you infantry? When did you ETS? The average firing schedule of an active duty infantry soldier since the mid 2000’s is about 5 times what it was in the 60’s-early 2000’s and about 10 times as sophisticated. I know you ol timers don’t want to hear it, but marksmanship, individual movement technique and weapons handling profiecency in the military now blows any other period out of the water, no contest. Sorry but it just wasn’t better back in your day. The kids these days get more and more purpose driven training and shoot better than any other generation.

  10. F all this nonsense. Cut the Ruskies a deal and give everyone an SKS and 7.62×39 ammo….

    • If they wanted performance in that ballpark, just go with 300 BLK. All you need to do is replace the barrel on your preexisting weapons. All the magazines, spare parts, and other items in the supply chain don’t need to change.

      • Indeed, and it’s well-suited for suppressed usage in close-quarters environs…

      • I suspect if the US Army was interested in the .300 BLK as a serious replacement for the 7.62×51 Nato. They’ve would have would have done so already. They (i.e. the US Army) chose the 6.8 SPC and CTA cartridge for a reason, Saving Weight on both…

  11. Seems like they are still stuck in the desert long range engagement and overmatch mentality that we have been fighting for almost 18 yrs. I know they are focused on the peer to peer adversaries improved body armor debate for the purpose of promoting a larger caliber cartridge and weapons at the squad level. How many of our infantry soldiers are going to be able to hit a target out to 600 m without a good 1-6x scope on the rifle with this new cartridge. Sustained auto fire is another problem of larger caliber ammunition. You just can not hold onto a target very well with auto fire.

    They should look at a redesigning and enhancing the 7.62x39mm cartridge with a new improved 123 gr bullet that has better ballistic coefficients, such as the 7.62×40mm Wilson Tactical cartridge and others. Look at what the German’s learned in WWII, most all engagements are within 300 m in a mid temperate climate. That is why they built the Sturmgewehr 45 rifle firing the 7.92×33mm Kurz cartridge and later the Russians developed the AK-47 rifle firing the 7.62x39mm cartridge. Firearm manufactures are already making AR style rifles chambered in the 7.62x39mm cartridge that would be suitable for military use. The CMMG mutant would be a good starting point. The 7.62x39mm cartridge and bullet really needs to updated for the 21st Century and why not make it our own. If, the Army would just step back from their desert long range engagement and overmatch mentality we could solve these problems. I really hate the overmatch mindset and the word being used. They could solve this problem of make a better intermediate cartridge for combat arms of our military, but just drop this overmatch and desert long range engagement mentality that has entrenched with some out Army top generals. Try putting the 6.8mm bullet into an enhanced 7.62x39mm cartridge and see what it does. It really does not have to be the 7.62x39mm cartridge either. Just think of what we need out to 300 m and do it.

    • “If, the Army would just step back from their desert long range engagement and overmatch mentality we could solve these problems.”

      Always been a huge fan of instantly applying the heat of the sun to wide areas of naturally present silicon. “There is no problem that cannot be solved with the proper application of sufficient amount of explosives.” (British SAS)

    • Ouch, started so well. It’s like listening to Bob Zubrin debunking the Hydrogen Hoax and in the last chapter his solution is Ethanol.

    • Its already hear ! the 6.5 Grendel has better ballistics than the 308 at 6 to 800 m and fits an AR-15 platform . also w/ today’s stronger bolts & better mags the 7.62×39 AR 15s w/ 16″ Barrel’s shoot very well at 400 m. W/ Russ. Sealed Steel case & 124gr. Boat tail RDS. They tumble inside after impact w/ killer wound channels! They also make all of there energy inside of 12″ of barrel, groups of 2″ at 200 m. Are commen w/6x scopes, Good Barrels, bolts , Mags & Ammo are cheap & easy swaps! If I can get this kind of performance for 20 yrs. In a basement, what could the Military do??

  12. the military is not very smart when it comes to guns and ammo the 7.62 is a very good round or the as we call it the 308 we have been using it for years and have never like the 556 or 223 bullet just a suped up 22 give me A 30 cal anyday

  13. can you shove as many 6.8 in q magazine as 5.56?

    that’s what I care about, and cost. I’m cheap and a bad shot.

      • That alone makes this a terrible idea. Decrease amount of ammo per magazine and increase combat load weight due to more magazines.

        Just stupid. If it aint fucken broke, don’t fix it. Which is the reason the ma deuce is still kicking ass.

  14. So 70 years after the British tried to get the NATO round to be .280 or 7mm the US army is going to try reinvent the wheel. The .280 was updated from German assault rifle. Fire 140 gr at 2545 FPS with energy just over 2000 pounds. Not adopted as non combat colonel in charge of USA side of tests wanted to be a general using this a source of fame.

    I always thought if you really needed a new round updating 6.5 by 55 Swedish to a shorter case with modern powder would do. The same as 308 is 30-06 cut down 1/2 inch with newer powder. Failing that .243 with about 110 gr projectile adopted for AR platform could have been off the shelf.

    • The US military has a good track record of trying to do the correct thing, after they’ve exhausted all other options…

      • Dyspeptic
        Most modern armies do as the designers are not the users. I can remember a proposed man carry new anti tank rocket weighing over 35 pounds unloaded! Six times the weight of the one we were using.

        6.8 mm not that new an idea as original caliber for Garand was .276. Lots of bugs when it went to 30-06

      • Well said.

        Hey, let’s go to iraq again and sometime later when we accomplish nothing, creep into pakistan where shit really is. But keep doing stuff in AFG too, cuz that has been going so well for decades…

    • Barrel life may be a prob based on 243’s rep but I have an AR-10 so chambered and will admit to liking the gun. I think it would make one hell of a DMR if the ROF was low enough. The military could have whatever bullets it really wanted to test off the shelf too. It would be interesting to find out how things came full circle with a 243 semi auto vs the 6MM Lee Navy rifles of some 125 years ago.

      • 243 is the finest intermediate round ever invented IMO minus the fact that it’s too large for what the millitary wants.

  15. There are a lot of people in these comments who don’t know the difference between caliber and cartridge. I’m excited for the development of something like telescopic cases. If the industry keeps trying things like this, eventuality they might stumble on the next big thing.

  16. Amazing that so many people in the gun community do not understand the profound importance of Ballistic Coeffecient, aka Sectional Density x Drag Coeffecient. They also do not underatand that armor penetration is a function of Sectional Density x Velocity squared. The era of the .22 caliber, Matel-16 mouse rifle is over. Even the .308 caliber round will become inneffective as body armours proliferate. Necking down a .308 cartridge to .270″ makes enormous sense.

    • “Even the .308 caliber round will become inneffective as body armours proliferate. Necking down a .308 cartridge to .270″ makes enormous sense.”

      See? This is what I don’t understand. The .308 makes a bigger hole, and, if we look to the caliber wars, bigger holes are better than little holes. What advantage does a 27 caliber bullet have over a 30 caliber bullet? Velocity? Smaller weight at velocity is superior to the heavier 30 caliber bullet? Or is it the idea that a little “needle” round can get through body armor, where a bigger, more blunt bullet will just spread out too much? If the small bullet is better for penetration, how about a 4.8×49? Or a needle point (just made that up) 22 caliber? Actually, wouldn’t a 50 caliber bullet solve a lot of problems?

      • Generally speaking, if you can keep the weight of a projectile the same, but reduce the diameter (which means, of course, lengthening the projectile), you will increase the sectional density, which increases the ballistic coefficient per the formula:

        Bc = SD / i

        Where “i” is the form factor coefficient and “SD” is the sectional density. SD is found as follows:

        SD = w / d^2 where “w” is weight, and “d” is the caliber of the bullet.

        So if we have a bullet of (eg) 150 grains in a 7.62×51 NATO round, and we decrease the diameter of the bullet to (eg) .264 (6.5mm) while keeping the weight the same, we should increase the ballistic coefficient, because we’ve increased the sectional density. Let’s do a little example math.

        Let’s take a 150 grain .308 Sierra MatchKing bullet. The G1 Bc is 0.417, the SD is 0.226. Let’s assume that we’re going to have the same form factor in the smaller bullet. Let’s reduce the caliber to 0.264:

        Convert bullet weight from grains to pounds: 150 grains / 7000 grains/lb = 0.0214 lbs. Let’s double-check that the computation for SD on the .308 bullet checks out:

        .308 SD = 0.0214 / (0.308^2)

        SD = 0.0214 / 0.0949
        SD = 0.2259 (round this up and we get 0.226, which checks with the spec given above)

        OK, let’s decrease the caliber to 0.264:

        SD = 0.0214 / (0.264^2)
        SD = 0.0214 / 0.0697
        SD = 0.307

        OK, if we assume that “i” = (0.417 / 0.226) = 1.845

        The Bc of a 150 grain, .264 bullet with the same form factor as the .208 would be 0.226 * 1.845 or 0.566 (G1). That’s a pretty good increase in Bc, with the same weight and shape bullet.

        Here’s some more info:

        • Thanks for the explanation and the link. But, doesn’t the math point to a longer .223/5.56 bullet being even more effective? Or the 4.8mm bullet?

        • Sam: But you run into diminishing returns quickly, because as the projectile becomes smaller in diameter(giving you the higher SD), the base of the bullet also has less surface area for the expanding gas to push on. If the bullet weight stays the same, as it must, then it will have less velocity. Or, if it is to have the same speed, then it must be pushed along by higher pressures.
          There are no free lunches here. There’s only a teeter-totter that forces one to give up something to get something else. If you give up velocity to get the higher SD, then the SD will equal greater penetration, but the lower velocity will tend to counteract that.

          • “There’s only a teeter-totter that forces one to give up something to get something else.”

            All this would mean a 4.6/8mm bullet would need a longer (or more full?) case, and stronger barrels? Which means heavier rifle for lower weight cartridges?

            Thanks, everyone for the quick primer. Helps me understand better, and serves to put a damper on novels where the hero has magic bullets.

        • Sam, Kenneth nails it. We run into diminishing returns rather quickly under about 6mm. You start needing sky-high pressures to push a heavier (which means longer) bullet down the bore.

          There’s another issue that starts to rear its head here, and that’s the barrel twist. As the bearing length of a bullet gets longer, the twist has to get tighter to stabilize the bullet. By the time we’re talking of only a 90 grain .224 projectile, we need a 1:7 twist, to stabilize it. At 150 grains, I’d reckon (I don’t have time to do the all calculations right now, and there would be a bunch of them, because there are no 150-grain .224 bullets), my gut is telling me that we’d need a 1:5.5 twist or thereabouts.

          As the twist gets tighter, the pressure required to “spin up” the bullet goes up, and the pressure indeed does go up – because the bullet doesn’t want to advance down the bore until it is “spun up” – meaning that we’re effectively moving into a situation where the bullet looks more and more like a bore obstruction than something that’s going to come flying out the end of the barrel quickly.

          There are two ways to address this:

          1. Make the bullet out of something denser, so we can get the bearing length shortened up again, which allows us to use a slower twist. Look back at the formula for sectional density. SD is w / d^2. Want a higher sectional density? Increase the weight of the bullet without increasing the length – ie, use a denser material. Tungsten cores surrounded by gilding metal would be one viable idea. Another is depleted uranium. Ever wonder why the GAU-8 is using DU for their penetrators? Because it gives you a hell of a SD, and therefore Bc, which means that the projectile retains more of its kinetic energy when an A-10 is raining down hate and discontent from above.

          2. Re-discover gain-twist rifling, where we start with a slow twist and tighten the twist as we move down the bore.

          Both ideas would work. I think I’d rather go with (1).

          • “There’s another issue that starts to rear its head here, and that’s the barrel twist.”

            All that you guys have explained to me illuminates why 50cal rifles weigh 25+lbs.

            One more thought…would smooth bore rifles be a better choice for the under-6mm bullets? Seems tank guns are going smooth bore and having success.

        • “One more thought…would smooth bore rifles be a better choice for the under-6mm bullets? Seems tank guns are going smooth bore and having success.”

          No room in a 6mm projectile for the pop-out stabilizing fins like the cannon uses (to *great* effect with an ultra-dense DU-Tungsten penetrator)…

        • And the ‘great success’ with tank cannon has more to do with an ultra-dense, ultra-long projectile (ultra sectional density) flying at ultra high speeds (multiplying the terminal effects)…

        • There is one other way to get the performance, but my gut tells me its a cost issue.
          If there was a small caliber, large bore, but with a long, heavy, tungsten core, finned, projectile in a discarding sabot. This way the projectile won’t need to spin at all, and it will still have a large base area for the pressure to push on. Should get quite high velocity out of standard pressures, with extremely good penetration, due to the high SD after the sabot discards.
          At probably 30-50 USD per projectile. There is still a trade off. One can have it all, if one is willing to part with enough shillings. There would be a bore limit as well. Without bothering with math, I’d guess about .750″ would be about the smallest bore one could get sufficient fin size into. Unless modern sintering techniques could produce a set of pop-out fins like a LAW.

  17. Perhaps the Army would better use its time by wiping off the cosmoline on all those M-14s in storage.

    • There’s not enough of them left, and the parts cost for the M-14 would be ferocious compared to an AR-10-like platform. The heat treatment protocol on the M14 receiver and bolts alone blows up the cost figures…

  18. Re this supposedly new and glorious 6.8 mm round, why not 7.0 mm, a projectile size with a long history of demonstrated effectiveness.

    • I am sure this will work out great. Just like they said it would 8 years ago when I was still in…


      No change.

    • If they really wanted a new round with better ballistics, all they need to do is go to a .260 Remington with a 150 to 160 grain bullet. Bc galore!

      But nooo… that would be too simple. Too obvious.

  19. Want to know how I know this is going to be nothing but intellectual onanism? This:

    “The weapon itself could interact with other systems contained in future combat uniforms — telling the soldier, comrades in arms who are nearby, and commanders who monitor the fight if help is needed in supplying more ammunition, or treating and evacuating casualties.

    Night-vision goggles and other visual-augmentation systems and sensors on display inside helmets all would function with the weapon as a single system.

    The weapon’s self-contained systems would also be seamlessly integrated with other systems so that initial indoctrination and fostering familiarity with future upgrades would not require extensive bouts with new learning curves. Soldiers would be able to adapt to changes with “no training detriment,” Easlick said, as they move through their infantry careers.”

    OK, now you’re in the realm of electronic hardware and software – and you’re on my former turf. This sort of ripe BS is where I start shaking my head and saying “Do you have ANY idea how much it costs to make those ideas reliable and trustworthy?”

    This is the problem with defense projects today. Some desk jockey decided that it wasn’t sexy enough to just propose a new cartridge for SAW and light arms. Noooooo. He claims you need a rifle that can post your status on Facebook and take real-time intel and put it up on Instagram, then help write the action reports so the officers can spend more time in meetings, showing off their PowerPoint slides.

    • “He claims you need a rifle that can post your status on Facebook and take real-time intel and put it up on Instagram, then help write the action reports so the officers can spend more time in meetings, showing off their PowerPoint slides.”

      But, wouldn’t that be like, you know, uuhhmm, like totally way cool?

    • And what happens when we fight the Chinese (quite likely within the next 15 years), and they jam the frequencies all of our integrated systems operate on? When they work, they are definitely a “force multiplier”, but if we rely too much on them, we are screwed when they go down. You can rest assured that the Chinese, Russians and Iranians are working on, or already have, the capability to shut our data links down. The Iranians, likely with help from the Chinese, were able to hack the data link and capture one of our most advanced drones a few years ago.

    • Reliable and trustworthy?

      Come now. In modern, agile software development, that’s an ideal, not an end state. They’ll just add that to the backlog for a future sprint.

    • “The weapon itself could interact with other systems contained in future combat uniforms — telling the soldier, comrades in arms who are nearby, and commanders who monitor the fight if help is needed in supplying more ammunition, or treating and evacuating casualties.”

      Yeah, *right*.

      Something ‘digital’ to jammed, ‘spoofed’, or otherwise played with to an enemies advantage.

      No fucking thank you. Nothing digital is secure. Full stop…

  20. The plastic cartridge is an attempt to lower the weight the grunt has to carry. If you haven’t experienced it, give it a shot, your back and knees will thank you. The larger cartridge is for more reach out and touch someone. The M855 wasn’t cutting it in Afghanistan but the SOCOM guys were having luck with their 77gr OTM. To me, the simple solution would be to go to a heavier round but then again, SOCOM has more freedom with their weapons and how they’re put together.

    In short, they can do the barrel swap to accommodate their chosen ammo. To do that across the force, it turns pretty hefty but probably not at this money hole moving to 6.8 presents. I also suspect that there are some that are lining up for a job at one of the vendors. Never fails in this respect.

    One person mentioned it before; weapons training in the Army is atrocious beyond the Combat Arms component. Even within the CA component and very much so to a larger degree beyond, the focus isn’t combat, it’s either maintenance, some social program training, or how to be a whatever soldier instead of just a soldier. Every time I heard a soldier say they were signal, computer whatever, or some other response other than soldier, I wanted to stab them in the eye with my CIB. On that note, the attitude in the Army also has to change.


      But in all seriousness, this particular plastic bag of wank isn’t going anywhere. The heat rejection issues of caseless ammo from back in the G11 days is still a problem and I’m not seeing anything mentioned about it. They’ll blow a couple million testing these things, decide they don’t do enough to change things from our current M4 with 62-77 gr 5.56 combo, and go back to driving a desk in Washington and collecting that sweet, sweet government cheddar.

    • Small arms training for non combat arms soldiers is a nearly complete waste of time and resources. It’s symbolic, too satisfy CIB types that would bitch about “organizational culture”. If it were up to most field grades and above we wouldn’t do it period, and they’d be right. It’s like bitching that remf’s get a hot meal every night. Yeah they do, cause if we took that away in order to “make things fair” to the grunts then remfs wouldn’t reup. We have a hard enough time getting them to join in the first place. The whole Spartans thing sounds great to guys with five rounds of beer in em and and a sixth coming, but it’s not huge organizations really run efficiently.

  21. The USMC and the finest small arms round available to our military, the USMC Mk319 Mod 1, had to go thru hell before it was finally fielded.

    Yet, the Army gets the endless crap they want quite easily… like this.

  22. In news from the future, the Warfighter 2050 program adopts the 7.62x63mm cartridge as a versatile dual long and short range cartridge with superior barrier penetration and the new 11.43x23mm round for PDWs on account of its superb low velocity stopping power when fired subsonic from suppressed weapons. The increased weight of the ammo is mitigated by new “smart trigger” technology and “enhanced training“ that allows the warfighter to have higher hit probabilities, this requiring less ammo to be carried.

  23. Oh dear gawd, the only way to get the performance they want is MAYBE 6.5 Grendel. MAYBE. More like 6.5 Creedmore, and that’s the whole problem. 5.56 Mk262 is FINE. IT DOES THE JOB NEEDED.

  24. The 6.5mm or 7mm cartridge makes perfect sense. 6.8mm is stupid! Why? The 6.5mm and 7mm have a lot of design and manufacturing behind them and they are a better design than 6.8mm aka 270 or .277. There is a reason we do not have a lot of hunters, competition shooters or military powers shooting .277/270 or 6.8mm cartridges. The 6.5mm and 7mm cartridges have proven themselves. To handicap the new Sig 3 piece brass design with a second rate bullet is just stupid. That is someone behind a desk throwing a tantrum to get what is an inferior bullet diameter with almost no money or science behind it. The 6.8 SPC was a failure and the 6.8mm bullet was part of that failure.

    The 6.8×51 has to crank the pressure up super high to make a 135gr. bullet leave the barrel at 3100FPS from a 16 inch barrel. I have heard it is at 80,000PSI. The 6.5mm bullets in 135gr have better BC than 6.8mm and the 143gr bullets in 6.5mm are even better still and would not need to leave the barrel at 3100fps from a 16inch barrel to be effective leaving at 2900fps would radically lower the pressure levels needed and reduce recoil even more and would not burn out barrels so fast. If they wanted it to leave at 3100fps with the new 3 piece case you could still do that.

    With all the money spent on design and tooling for the new generations of 6.5 projectiles both hunting and target shooting it is silly not to use it.

    This is a case of “The Emperor has no Clothes” and no one has bothered to tell the Emperor or the public he is naked. Intellectually from an engineering stand point there is absolutely nothing that the 6.8mm projectile does that could not be done better by a 6.5mm projectile.

    I would love to be proved wrong but I have already done the math and this a clearly some desk jokey wanting to leave his mark! Even Sig has said that the decision to go with 6.8mm was not their decision or design and they would not have chosen that diameter by choice it was a demand the Army made!

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