Previous Post
Next Post

Colts (courtesy

Troops left to fend for themselves after Army was warned of flaws in rifle the headline proclaims at the Anyone who knows anything about the history of the M16 > M4 rifle knows that it’s been . . . problematic. Rowan Scarborough’s overview rounds up all the usual suspects: inability to run reliability without constant cleaning, overheating issues, barrel failure and a lack of “stopping power” at distance (to name a few). The report cites battle failures and names names: the politicians and pencil pushers who protected Colt’s contract to supply our armed forces with an [arguably] inadequate firearm. Oh wait. It doesn’t. The Wanat debacle? Unearthed in 2010. In fact, Scarborough eases off the gas almost as soon as he begins: “The Times interviewed two active-duty special operations troops who noted flaws but expressed love for the Colt-developed gun.” Colt didn’t respond to the Times’ requests for an interview. So what did we learn? Google is your friend, as is a soldier-customized, well-maintained rifle. That is all. 

Previous Post
Next Post


      • God I hope that’s a joke. My M92 torques in my firing hand when I shoot it. Not good for follow up shots, and it’s loud as hell and produced a gigantic fireball. It’s useless for HD until it’s SBR’d, and even then is still not as practical as an AR due to the gigantic flash and deafening muzzle report. Until it’s SBR’d, it’s a novelty gun.

    • The AR, like so many great platforms, is really good for certain things. Because of it’s limitations, and yes it has them, I am not a fan and do not own one. Yet I highly recommend it to new shooters interested in a good easy to learn under $1k platform that can grow with you as your skills improve.

      As a military weapon the M16 platform is ancient. It still puts holes in bad guys but there have been many improvements. People still defend it ardently but there are clearly superior weapons out there and some of them being used by countries without the funding or resources of our own military. At this point, the only reason I can think of why we still use it is because of cronyism and lobbyists.

      • So what would you say is a superior platform for a combat rifle that is accurate out to 500yrds, light weight, extremely modular, easy to manipulate (coming from a southpaw), and has a proven track record around the world? Having served alongside Brits and had at length discussions with other foreign forces, they all said they disliked and even some cases hated their organic rifles but all fawned over our M16/M4’s. Yes there are some short-comings to the M16 family but overall it’s not THAT bad of a rifle, and during my time in the USMC the ONLY time I saw a rifle become an extreme hindrance is when a particular rifle (belonged to an officer of all people) refused to cycle and had to be manually cycled after every shot. Sure it would’ve been a bad day if the paper were shooting back at that time but at least the rifle still fired, perhaps it was his lack of PM but he most certainly blamed the armorers.

        • The IAR was just being fielded when I left the Marine Corps. It was being used as both an automatic weapon and a Designated Marksman’s rifle. Its a lightweight and very accurate, more reliable and a lot easier to clean
          Every Marine I served with preferred the IAR to M4/M16 series.

        • The amount of clogging/ bent/ broken/ missing parts required to prevent an M-4 from cycling is signifigant and would have required the piece to be sent up to the 3rd/4th level of Maint. there was no reason for that unit to have remained in the unit in that condition

        • IAR vs M4/M16.
          IAR has free floating forearm, heavy barrel, gas piston and full auto trigger vs M4’s 3rd burst. Ultimately it’s just a modded M4 variant so it’s not really a superior weapon system, just an enhancement of what already exists.

          To ensitue, miraculously after LT got done with his little course of fire he ran a bore brush down a time or two and it managed to function after that, so yea…PM issue, not a mechanical one.

        • Pretty much a heavy barrelled 416. Its the Marines skirting the supply system to finally get the full auto service rifle they’ve wanted since WWII. Which they shouldn’t have to do.

        • >> So what would you say is a superior platform for a combat rifle that is accurate out to 500yrds, light weight, extremely modular, easy to manipulate (coming from a southpaw), and has a proven track record around the world?

          The one that is less prone to dirt and mud, doesn’t have the charging handle in a strange place that makes it impossible to operate without dropping the sights, has mag well & mag design that ensures secure lock and consistent feeding, and doesn’t have so many small parts when field stripping?

          SIG 551 is a good candidate. AUG and Tavor are, as well.

          >> Having served alongside Brits and had at length discussions with other foreign forces, they all said they disliked and even some cases hated their organic rifles but all fawned over our M16/M4′s.

          Well, the crappiness of Brits’ current service rifle is legendary, so I’m not surprised. What other foreign forces? If you mean Germans, then I can also understand, seeing how G36 got some bad rap with melting plastic after sustained fire etc.

        • In august 2001 the brits were war gaming with us in Kuwait and the infantry could not fire a single round from their rifles as they continually jammed. The brits had to return their rifles for the sixth time to get them to function. Add to that the Brit issue ammo is underpowered and so dirty that American soldiers who use brit made ammo for training are supposed to clean their weapons before leaving the range. So I can see how they would like the M-4.

      • “The AR, like so many great platforms, is really good for certain things.”

        Yes…. inspiring you to come up with new and creative curses for Eugene Stoner and anyone who reveres a gun with a direct impingement system utilizing a gas tube with a .180″ diameter AND right angles…..

        • I revere no gun.

          Every design, well every GOOD design, still has it’s shortcomings.

          For everyone who bows down and worships at the altar of Glock, the 1911, the AR, the AK, etc. they tend to overlook that no design is good at all things.

          DI systems are not without issues. Are those issues often exaggerated by its critics? You damn betcha. Doesn’t mean that overstating those problems means they don’t exist even if not as severely as some claim.

          I’ve actually had trigger time on the M16 platform in field conditions. One of the problems I saw with extended use, and these were old rifles, was that after awhile it’s damn near impossible to get them clean enough to not have some kind of malfunction. We typically clean those things for 2 hours after a FTX and I could still find significant fouling inside the receiver.

          For a civilian owner, that kind of extended use and abuse isn’t an issue. Even most avid shooters will be at the range maybe twice a month, but a few thousands rounds through it, and probably clean it as soon as they get home. They don’t have to worry about extended exposure to rain and mud and a vast majority will never fire a full auto version and the obscene amount of ammo you can burn while doing it.

          I don’t know if I can count the IAR as a superior platform as I thought the USMC purchased that as a “Squad Automatic Weapon”, or was that just a backdoor procurement for them to get some beefed up 416’s? However, take a look at the HK G36, which has a reputation for the same level of accuracy and being much more durable. Granted, I’d prefer one without the overly complicated optic the Germans use but I believe those are available now. The Israeli’s have the Tavor and if you don’t like bullpups the FN SCAR has shown a lot of promise. There are also some promising offerings in .300 Blackout and 6.8mm to address some of the issues of the 5.56mm without adopting the other shortcomings of the 7.62mm WP.

          In short, I have known plenty of servicemen who have complained long and loudly about their M16’s and M4’s, many of them had fired their weapons in anger. Very rarely have I heard praise and usually it was just about its accuracy. I’ve yet to meet anyone from any branch who used the the words “M4” and “reliable” in the same sentence.

        • Gregolas, this may be further addressed below, but Stoner’s original design was the AR-10 in 7.62 NATO caliber. Many companies manufacture this version today and except for being slightly heavier and in the larger caliber is essentially identical to the AR-15 platform.

      • You are kidding right? Limited ? To what??? All modern firearms have limits! The Russian ak-74 was a response to what they perceived as superior aspects of the m-16!( light weight, accuracy, range). The British will tell folks their L85a2 is superior to the M-16/M-4 ( and totally ignore that for more than 20 yrs it’s was a piece of shit rifle until HK rebuilt their stocks of rifles costing DOUBLE what the original rifle cost!) they will also crow about how much more accurate their rifles are and then parade out Vietnam era M-16a1s well used up to shoot against their L85s with 4x su sat/ elcans/ aimpoint mounted sights in a so called “accuracy competition”

        The more modern designs all have a slew of problems- tavor blows gas into the shooters face, crappy ass trigger that does effect accuracy and shot placement, like ALL bull pups, the HK g 36 has had really LOW performance issues and overheats /jams ( Germans found this out the hard way while deployed with ISAF ), and the so called superior replacement to the standard DI M-4 and M-16a4 , the HK 416, has a propietary piston ( meaning non interchangeable with off the shelf products) on what is basically a standard M-4! The FN SCAR is damn near 60% polymer with a pencil profile, and like the HK 416 , doesn’t do ANYTHING so superior that rates it’s 3-4x the cost of a FN or Colt or Colt Canada or Remington off the line M-4 !!

        I am a former marine (78-82) and retired police Sgt- I have seen the M-16a1/2 and later the AR-15 drop bad actors with little effort, and take all kind of daily harsh abuse. THAT SAID, I also worked for Dyncorp as a contractor and saw what Iraqis were using – beat to shit AKMs and AK-74s that were falling apart, jamming frequently( sand and debris) and suffering from all manner of pisspoor maintenance issues- any gun so mistreated will fail on you

        I also read up on the battle of Wanat- shooting a M-4 until the barrel is visibly white hot is near IMPOSSIBLE; barrel would droop or burst and way before that the 304 grade steel gas tube ( part of what makes the DI action work) would BURST, making the gun , the M-4, a basic single shot one pull firing rifle; NONE OF THE M-4s used in the battle were reported to have had their gas tubes burst !

        What everyone except the MARINE general who realistically evaluated the battle of wanat OVERLOOKED, was pisspoor Intel and command and control- the unit was a PLATOON going up against an aggressor force of taliban fighters measuring at least company strength; throw in the fact that the taliban had high ground over the village, used RPGs and 7.62 x 54 cal hard hitting PKM machine guns, the army platoon in the village was OVER MATCHED by a superior force! Each army soldier could have been armed with SCARS, HK416s, hell even phasers and the outcome would have been the same- I seriously doubt anyone just got a jammed M-4 and dumped it on the ground and then went foraging for a shitty old, shorter ranged AKM to fight on!

        I doubt you really have any long term experience with the AR-15/ M-16/M-4 platform or any other combat grade long gun or else you wouldn’t have made the myopic statement you did. The 5.56 X 45 chambered M-4 fits the bill for what the Army and Marines will need up into the middle of the 21 St century ; conflicts wil be in built up urban environments and will be low to medium intensity- this is where MOST of the worlds population will be and conflicts will occur. Long range hill and valleys set piece combat is a thing of the last, if soldiers or marines need to hit a target past 600m, they have gp machine guns( m240s), designated marksmen and sharpshooters with 7.62/.300 win mag/ .338 lapua mag/ .50 bmg rifles, mortar squads and artillery or combat aviation resources.

        No one is fighting bolt action , trench warfare anymore- the fact that UK and US forces stomped on the Taliban forces in Helmand proved this.

        If it ever comes to a point where a off the shelf AR-15 will fail a civilian or an M4 a soldier in a dire situation ( that paranoid shtf apocalypse scenario) it won’t matter Anyway as society will have gone BACK to fighting with spears, swords, bows and arrows.

        For right now there isn’t much that can replace the M-4( now available in the M4a1 configuration and using the SOST/m855a1/mk 318/262 rounds) or is more cost and performance effective.

        • Yes, and not to be a pain in the ass but kind of confirms my point about every design having it’s issues.

          I would love a FN FAL but the price, cost of ammo, and overall weight has put me off them so far.

        • To increase range, penetration and lethality you have to go to higher weight class. That is the tradeoff. We have become weight obsessed to absurd degree. If soldiers of yesteryear, who pretty much walked into battle, could carry the weight so can today’s bigger and better conditioned soldiers.

      • It’s all fun and games until you’re carrying it in the mountains. Follow up shots also aren’t as fast as a 5.56mm, and you’re carrying less ammo.

        The soldiers of yesteryear weren’t carrying the load of miscellaneous cr@p we make our guys carry. And they didn’t wear body armor.

        Not bashing the platform – just pointing out that as with everything else there are tradeoffs.

        • SIGNIFICANTLY less ammo. And let’s face this – the modern battlefield is all about putting a lot of ammo downrange.

        • I read quite well. No you didn’t say you were a bad shot but you inferred it. Full auto fire is needed by the troops as much as a bayonet is. Which is never. That’s why the marines went to K-Bars 30 some years ago. However think they need bayonets so if they run out of ammo they can still have some protection. Full auto by every soldier is just an excuse to stick out their weapon and squeeze the trigger and hope they hit something or scare the boogieman Taliban away. By the 3rd round most people are shooting at birds. If they are serious about it they’d go to Adcore upper so the average soldier could at least hallucinate he hit the target. The army should go back to the automatic rifleman concept where two of the squad members used full auto when needed.

        • You INFERRED I said I was a bad shot. I didn’t say anything remotely like that. Again, reading is fundamental.

          I am actually a pretty good shot, Pedro.

        • I don’t think anyone is saying that at all.

          “I wish we hadn’t carried so much ammo into that fight!” – said no one, ever.

      • In my experience(6 yrs in 1-75) the m4 is a perfectly capable weapon system, in the right hands. After we went to the daniel defense uppers they were even more capable. Maintenance was obviously key to success. If you dont have the discipline and the pride of ownership in your weapon system, then maybe you should find a more suitable career. We did field test the scars and found the biggest flaw was the reciprocating charging handle. All they need to improve the ar is heavier ammo, and more range time.

        • Is there any reason to believe 77 grain rounds will cause significantly more barrel wear? I can’t see them causing cycling issues. Are there any other negative issues?

        • I know what you mean about the SCARs. I have a 17S and I got my thumb wacked once. Bought an add on to make it non reciprocating. The next gen SCARs will have a non-reciprocating charging handle. The only other issues I had was I didnt like the trigger or safety location or the magazines FN designed.
          Thought the trigger was a little stiff for such an expensive weapon but its the most accurate off the shelf rifle I’ve ever put my hands on. A polished Timney Trigger fixed that. I also did not like the position of the safety. I have average sized hands for a man (size large) with average length fingers and I found the safety to be slightly (but irritatingly) to far forward to reach comfortably and the magazines are to hard to find and are about $50 a pop. Handle Defense makes a great milled aluminum lower that fixes the mag and safety location problem. It now uses standard PMags.

      • Rob Aught is right.

        There are tradeoffs. The AR10/M16/M4 have several inherent vices as a main battle rifle.
        1) Finicky locking mechanism.
        2) Gas-Operated Design.
        3) Small Parts.

        The virtues of the design are:
        1) Modularity.
        2) ‘Futuristic’ look.
        3) Nice magazine feed system: Slap in, drop out.
        4) SLIGHTLY lighter weight than its contemporary competitors – and about average now.
        5) More easily ambidextrous – charging handle, reach to safety, magazine release, etc.

        Vices 1 & 2 combine to cause you to confront #3 a lot as a soldier, because you will need to clean it much, much more than other designs – if you CAN. And in some environments it is nearly impossible to get it clean enough.

        Specific to the M16/M4/AR15 is lack of range and stopping power. When someone trying to kill you is not stopped after you put a couple of 5.56 in them it’ll give you a real gut check. Not fun.

        Infantry have been doing more occupation in recent years and less combined arms. So the ranges in common use right now are terrain and situation dependent – and not a good judging criteria in my opinion.

        I like it better when I can hit the guy trying to shoot me while I am still out of his range. Call it a personal preference. So I will always prefer 7.62 over 5.56.

        I’ve had M16’s downrange. I’ve had M4’s. I’ve had M14s. And I’ve had FNFALs. Some of the units I’ve been in had a bit of discretion in what we could take.
        M4 is a shorter M16A4 with rails and a few refinements. Virtues and vices above still apply. In the field long term you have to worry about losing some of the smaller parts in the bolt and bolt carrier. It is nice to say, “You shouldn’t clean that! It’s armorer or depot level maintenance!” When you are downrange and it isn’t working you have to do what you have to do. Sometimes you can’t call timeout, or send it back to the armorer.

        I absolutely prefer 7.62. I am a paratrooper of many years. 7.62 is no fun to carry. It is not fun to hump. It is a lot heavier than 5.56. When you are the guy who is carrying it and keep saving people’s bacon, you can forget about all those ‘No fun’ things. None of them is as no-fun as getting shot.

        FNFAL seemed to work. You worry about parts in cleaning. 13 small parts there. I used to put them in my soft cap so as not to lose them. But I always felt like I was one distraction away from losing something and becoming worthless to my buddies. There were occasional feed issues, but not unmanageable.

        M14. Tilting in mags takes getting used to. It feels old-fashioned. It is not as much heavier than an M16A4 as you have heard. I weighed the difference at about 2 ounces. Never fire it on auto. It is just a noisemaker and you’ll hit nothing. Much longer than an M4, and it can be awkward to use in a vehicle due to its length. It never let me down during use, always fired, was as finicky as a steel pipe and made a decent club. Didn’t seem to need a lot of cleaning, but I felt like I should clean it anyway. Maybe that’s why I personally didn’t have any feed or fire issues. The M14 would, I think, be a problem for lefty’s.

        I ended up asking for (and getting) an M14 for deployments. Right as I was getting too old, the shortened varieties of the M1A , the SOCOM, etc started coming out. Seemed like you couldn’t want a more effective battle rifle. But I never got one for a deployment. So I’ll leave that commentary to someone who has .

        • Your review comments on the weight of your 7.62 rifles made me remember something one of my uncles said of the Thompson Sub Machinegun he carried in the Korean War. He said it was a bitch to carry and the ammo was worse but when you cut down on a group of attacking Chinese the few that made it to the ground never stuck their heads up to see where the shots were coming from!

    • AR is a very poor weapon, altho nice and sexy weapon to carry it cannot reliably sustain high rates of fire for long periods, it is hopelessly compromised. The standard cartridge is on the minimum lethality limit from an M4 at 150 yards, if your target is standing behind ANY cover your wasting your time. Firefights in Afghanistan are usually at much longer ranges than 200 yards, so you need sustainable fire power and be able to hit and kill targets at 500 yards and penetrate medium/light cover to be effective. Russian weapons cover this requirement easily and are extremely reliable. Speaking personally I would prefer to use an old fashioned Vickers or Browning heavy machine gun for base of fire or point defence, continuous fire for an hour and 40,000 rounds between failures beat 200 rounds change barrel, another 200 rounds change barr …. oh bugger.

      • Murry,
        You have to remember the M-4 was designed to be used by highly mobile soldiers in close combat as per US Army Combat Doctrine. There is no requirement for long range engagments or long range lethality so the weapon is performing as required. Problem is the Taliban didnt read our combat doctrine.

      • I’m open to critique on this, but are battles with the Taliban rifle battles? As soon as engagement is clearly on out in the mountains the fighting is done by machine guns, mortars, and heavier squad riflemen, no? The doctrine of providing all forward-operations soldiers with a carbine, but emphasizing their role as machine gunners, MG crew support, mortar teams, etc. makes sense. The Germans got that down in WWII. Of course if logistics fall apart then things change. Critique welcome.

        • To the best of my knowledge, the Taliban is almost exclusively using AKs, not emplaced machine guns.

          The AK IS their machine gun.

        • Wrong. The Taliban like to engage at long range with machine guns as much as possible. Why do you think the army has been sending in so many 7.62 rifles. Why engage close up with AKMs when you can stay out of effective firing range of M-4’s. They aren’t stupid,

        • int19 is right.

          Taliban uses a lot of RPK’s and PKMs.

          They like to put DSHKs on their trucks when they can.

          The Al Queda that were there in 2001-2002 had a hodge-podge of equipment. Top-of the line GENIII NVG’s. 120 mm Mortars. And a great variety of rifles. There are spider holes all over the mountains. They hide in them. In a firefight they’ll duck down, then you see them pop up in a totally different place with no obvious concealed way to get there.

          The Taliban have guts. But most don’t shoot well, even if their weapon does.

          Another reason to prefer .308.

        • Gordo,
          Hundreds of years ago the afghans dug underground tunnels to bring water from the mountains to the lowlands for irrigation and drinking water. They are absolutely ingenious in their construction, Every so many yards there is a chamber dug out of the ceiling big enough for a man. I remember reading about them during the time of the soviet invasion. I’m surprised NOT that you guys aren’t educated of these things. Knowing how the tunnels are dug could help you anticipate where they are and where the enemy could materialize.
          See the link below

      • Sure, if you’re at a static position a HEAVY machine gun is great. Hell, get two so they can have overlapping fields of fire. That’s like complaining that your machinegun is bad at taking out tanks… yeah, but it’s not meant for that.

        • Machineguns are universally awesome. I love the M240 and the M2. As long as I’m not the guy carrying them. Or their tripod. Or the ammo. Or spare barrels. Or the stuff that gets cross-leveled with the rest of the squad because the crew-served guys are humping the weapon, the tripod and the ammo.

          On a not-so-tongue in cheek note – the worst d@mn thing I have ever had to carry around was a 5 gallon water can. At least weapons and ammo are dead weight that doesn’t shift. Never again!

  1. I’m confused? I thought it was a magic metal machine of mass malice. How could it possibly be unreliable, lack stopping power, and overheat? That sounds like the type of wimpy weapon lowly civilians should be allowed to have.

    • Yep… sounds to me like ‘high capacity magazines’ are the solution to all this ‘gun violence’ since they render the weapons unusable. All the reloading with reduced capacity magazines lets the gun cool off and keep working. Mandate high capacity magazines! It’s for the children.

      • I agree, and while we’re at it, we should probably add shorter barrels as a standard to reduce accuracy, maybe even give tax breaks if you buy an SBR. It’s for the children.

  2. Yup, I read this article yesterday and scratched my bald pate. When I was a youngin and read of the Stoner invention it seemed to be some sort of Flash Gordon tool. Then came the media stories during Viet Nam. Family serving in VN called back for cleaning kit etc. Down went my opinion. Why oh why didn’t they move to Stoner’s AR-18? But dang that was 50 years ago ! There have been changes to the gun and the ammo. And Gazillions of rounds put down range both in peace and war. So at this point I rack up this as one of those gun myths that won’t die. M1 Carbine round bounces off clothing. M1 Garand ping resulted in GI’s getting killed. 9mm won’t do the job (woops sorry Beretta). etc…maybe a “smidgen” of truth in some dim recess of history, but no longer reality.

  3. This is where I would like to hear from the people who served and ask their knowledge on the M4 in battle. Who better to ask but them.

    • the weapon does need an inordinate amount of cleaning for a battlefield implement. Having used the M16 for me the 5.56mm round although it can do the job at distance a larger more effective round such as the 6.8SPC developed by Army marksmanship unit , Army SPEC OPS & Remington might be more efficient. problem is that it was developed outside the normal Army R & D & Procurement channels thus it will never be allowed a true test of its capabilities. In the final analysis it’s always about money.

      • The 6.8 was developed to hit harder than the 5.56 at 5.56 ranges, while the 6.5 was developed to hit harder than typical 5.56 ranges. This is just a simplified explanation. Replacing either for the 5.56 on a widepread scale isn’t beneficial, from an effectivness, cost, and logistical view.

        • And let’s face it, logistics and cost effectiveness is where it’s at today, and it’s likely to be so for a good while.

        • I wonder what made them replace .30-06 with .308 back in the day. By all accounts, it made even less sense, yet they were willing to dump money into it.

        • Why replace the 06 with a .308?
          Because the round is significantly short but still has the same ballistics. The shorter round means the bolt travels a shorter distance rearward which increases cyclic rates AND shorted rounds have a greatly reduced probability of misfeeds.

        • In retrospect, increasing cyclic rates on M14 definitely wasn’t a bright idea, but I can see the line of reasoning back then, thank you.

    • Good magazines are the most important factor for the M4 or any other magazine fed weapon. Second to that, lube it. I never had a failure during combat.

    • People who have served have divergent opinions on the M16/M4 family just like they do on any other topic. Subjective contribution: Mine never let me down.

    • In Iraq we decided to test what would happen if we dry fired one until function was impacted (we had a graphite based dry lubricant we wanted to try out). We didn’t see any malfunctions. We stopped after putting 400 rounds downrange because we were concerned about the heat reaching a level where continued firing was unsafe.

      That was a brand new M4 that had just been issued. YMMV.

      We were outside the wire, but we were never in a situation that involved a firefight, so I can’t speak to that, but we were confident that if we needed the M4 to function it would.

    • Because when people who have carried an the M16/M4 into combat, like myself, speak our opinions, mine of which was that I was perfectly fine with that weapon, we are usually called a liar, or told by someone who has no goddamn clue what they’re talking about how the AK or FAL is the ultimate weapon (spoiler alert-they arent)

  4. No firearm is perfect. NONE! Every one of them has some flaw that will cause them to not work right. YES even the beloved AK-47. Double feed anyone? Failure to extract? Sure, everyone will come up with excuses for WHY that happens, but the modern AR platform and the variants, have also had issues corrected. And simple fixes that prevent failure.

    • Let us not forget the 223/556 is a small game round , not fit for military combat … the M16 in the end falls to stop, seen this in real life , and how do you keep a rifle clean/like in new in combat conditions , also the buffer spring goes out if used a lot, dust and being dry causes jams/or stuck case, and too much oil get to collect more dust/sand. and you get more jams… remember murphy laws …… yes you can shoot and kill someone with a 22 long rifle…the 556 NATO rounds most times will not stop a big/or on drugs/etc.. attacker and overheating if you shoot hundreds of rounds fast, this will cause all non-metal magazines to melt or stick ……….

      • The 5.56 is nothing like .22LR except, nearly, in nominal bullet diameter. Plastic mags melt? Aren’t you an RVN-era vet. (I am…) If there is a physique that the 5.56 doesn’t stop as reliably, it is not the ‘big’ enemy, but the bone-thin starving guy who doesn’t have enough meat to absorb energy or get a bullet tumbling. As for recoil springs going, they are cheap, simple to repair, and last for many thousands of rounds. The gun in its current incarnations is light, durable, simple to repair, modular, and accurate. Add a plated BCG and cleaning becomes a bit quicker. Over-extending parts-replacement schedules is always a problem, but if you think we had it bad, talk to some Russian Afghan-war vet!

        • Modern 5.56 isn’t really designed for the tumbling. And shooting thin people isn’t a problem anymore. 5.56 hollowpoint ammo is authorized for use and it is far more effective than anything the M4 family has used except maybe those original M16’s with a 1:12 twist. Used them in Afghanistan. The rounds are great man stoppers. Had no problems at all with my rifle, the only people who seem to do are people who have no understanding of the gun.

        • JHP is authorized for who’s use? Sure, 75-77-grain HPBT is used by SOCOM, but not by others. Am I wrong? That single change, the bullets allowed and supplied, is the huge issue.

        • The Marines authorized it for their guys. And hollowtip LR has always been allowed and that is just the poor man’s hollowpoint. Somehow the lawyers were able to work for us for a change and state that a hollow point bullet isn’t a hollowpoint if it is result of a design manufacturing process, and wasn’t the intent.

        • Yes, the 5.56 is a varmit round and the 7.62 will kill the bad guy, his immediate family, and his soul.

          Jeez, you guys and you’re cartridges…

        • OTM rounds also seem to be working as a poor man’s HP (and the heavy ones fragment very impressively, too).

        • The 5.56 has half the energy of a 7.62 NATO or 30-06. 3000fps means squat when you are shooting a varmint round. And those who say the use of JHPs makes 5.56 a good round should consider what a 7.62 hunting round would do to a man.

        • I don’t think there is any dispute that 7.62×51 has better terminal ballistics at any range – but particularly at long range – than 5.56.

        • No-one disputes that 5.56 is less efficient than 7.62×51. The question is, how efficient is efficient enough, and does it justify the disadvantages? Larger caliber also means higher recoil, heavier weapon, smaller mags, and lower carried ammo count (or heavier ammo).

  5. Too bad those weapons are flawed – pack them all up and send them to me, I will keep anyone else form the trouble of having to use them.

  6. Junk take it from a combat vet…It’s fails in every area . The FN/FAL would be a much better all around gun and the short model would take care of the small people too…

      • standard 55gr. FMJ , we had lots guys killed because the lack of knock down… we had the 20 round mags that came out first… I would go to the wounded guy stack of gear and collect all the mags I could find and so I always had ten more mags that the issue 4.I was a walking ammo dump… and also had a non-issue 38 special (my own) and was able to get 38 ammo from the Air force …and the 38 S & W never failed under bad combat conditions………

        • Nam and I had my dad buy it and send it to me….there are lots of makes on todays market ………..But keep in mind they are not being used under REAL BAD COMBAT conditions …….They is why I praise the FN/FAL as it has done the job well under many nations and wars with FLYING COLORS……….

      • Of course, since pistols are always more accurate than rifles. What would you rather shoot someone with, an M1 Garand at 600 yards or a Glock 17 at 600 inches?

    • I too have fallen in love with the SKS. I have one, like yours, a Norinco with the TAPCO-ATI style stock, but after tricking out my standard M59 Yugo, it has become my favorite. I have a Stag 2T AR15 and it’s also nice (don’t get me wrong) along with a Remington 700BDL 5R. It’s nice too, but if I had to take one gun with me along with my BOB, it would be the SKS.

      The 20 round mag works out the best, as you’ve apparently discovered, since the 30 is more difficult to load through the stripper clip slot. I also did the D-M bolt mod so I could add and remove the magazines with the bolt closed. Replaced the firing pin with a spring loaded Murray’s, as well as the trigger, hammer and sear; the last three of which all count as 922r Compliance parts.

      I pitched the sear angle (above) ever so slightly forward into a more “positive” engagement so that the hammer can’t slip, and then polished all the surfaces. Took one coil off the hammer spring and replaced the mag catch spring, which also adds to the trigger compression, with a slightly lighter spring. Now it feels like my 308 trigger.

      I removed the bayonet and bayonet mount and then filled in the bayonet slot with a custom made “biscuit”; one for the bayo, another for the cleaning rod. While cutting the biscuit, I allowed a roughly 2″ length of it to accommodate the tenon an ATI forward rail. With just a tiny bit of sanding, the forward rail mounted in near perfect alignment right under the front few inches of the cut back foregrip.

      The last big change was to mount a Hogue AK47 pistol grip behind the trigger housing. I had seen someone’s attempt to do this by drilling a hole and bolting it to the rear tang of the trigger housing just aft of the latch, but it was flimsy. Instead, I fitted a T-nut under the back end of the receiver and used a 1/4-20 PHMS to pull the Hogue grip hard up to the stock and angled so that it pulls it snug against the trigger housing. It is SOLID, but it took a few things to get there.

      First, I had to sand down the underside nub off the stock in order to make room for my thumb. This is a tricky part because if you get carried away, you will expose the deepest recess of the hole used for the spring to push the tool kit out. Then, I used acetone to dissolve the cosmoline inside the tool crib hole, let it dry, then filled the majority of the hole with glass mat and “Git Rot”, which is a highly wood penetrating less viscous form of epoxy. Now, the stock is reinforced. I probably didn’t have to do that, but like I said, you have to be careful in how much wood you remove from the underside of the stock.

      Now, with the addition of a Streamlight TLR-2 laser/flashlight under the rail and a 1″ butt stock pad, this has become one of the most enjoyable, reliable and comfortable rifles to fire.

      • if you wanted an AK you should’ve just bought an AK.

        take this from someone who owns numerous AKs and SKSes, and once did all of those same types of mods to one of those SKS. it’s now back in its original wood-stocked form.

        • To me, the main attraction of an SKS is that it is as close you can get to a combat rifle while also dodging all the various AWB provisions (and, let’s face it, it’s always a threat hanging above our heads). I specifically bought an SKS with no bayo and no bayo lug because of this, though of course any can be so converted. It doesn’t “look” like a military rifle, it doesn’t have any “scary” features, not even a detachable mag… yet 10 rounds of 7.62×39 as fast as you can pull the trigger is some firepower to contend with, and stripper clips are plenty fast to reload from with some practice.

          In the meantime, it’s just a fun gun to shoot.

      • I bought a Russian SKS 51R that was all stock aside from a Tapco 20rd plastic mag that wasn’t fitted properly. Rather than mangling the magwell I decided to return it to stock with a 10rd fixed mag that was refurbished with a new finish. It’s much nicer that way!

        (I am tempted to swap out the bayonet with a flip-down bipod though..)

  7. When an AK fails, it’s thrown in the mass grave with the peasant conscript that carried it.

    When an M16 fails there are headlines in the Times, and a Congressional inquiry.

    • The only advantage–the ONLY advantage–the M16 had over the M14 was that it and its ammo was cheap. LBJ and McNamara didn’t value American conscripts any more than did the Viet Cong (who were mostly volunteers anyway). Nor do politicians of any stripe. Although I do give some of the Republicans that benefit of the doubt.

      • Well if you only see one advantage from it you might want to try and use both in combat. I have. Lets see, smaller and lighter, more ammo. Def would call those advantages. I absolutely love the M14. And it still has its place on the modern battlefield, but its for specialty use.

        • Maybe to clarify. Lightness is a virtue when your carry something; thrift is of value when you buy it. Both might be better than nothing, but neither thrift or lightness makes up for needing something more when you need it.

        • True. Which would be rather carry (with all the other gear), an M-4 and 300 rounds of 5.56 NATO, or an M-14 and 300 rounds of .308?

      • Please correct me if I’m wrong:

        Did not implementation of the new “platform” also come about the same time as implementation of new training doctrine in the form of “Trainfire” (if memory serves).

        Prior to the adoption of the new doctrine, all servicemen were taught the fundamentals of marksmanship. With the new doctrine came relaxation of these principles premised on “soldier now carrying full auto weapon and lots more number of smaller and lighter rounds.”

        I’m not sure if I have all that exactly right, but I do recall reading some very telling statistics regarding the number of small arms rounds expended per enemy killed in WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.

        Short version: There was a telling and alarming trend in the ‘effectiveness’ of small arms across that period.

        It was one of the key “bureaucratic” tools used to re-implement dedicated sniper units post Vietnam.

        • A true story : I was in our supply area due to wounds received and we got in 12 new kids (green) they had boot camp and combat training time cut in half… long story short they had been issued new M16’s and no training so we had to real fast show the kids all the in’s and out’s of the M16 no firing time. They went out with the supply guy and 3 days later he returned and I asked how the kids were doing … He looked at the ground and said all 12 are dead …………3 days….breaks your heart………

        • In basic I trained with an M14. Two months later in Vietnam I was issued an M16, without any training.

        • But they don’t carry full-auto weapons now, by and large, do they? I thought they had migrated to burst fire only?

        • They are going back to the full auto for combat troops and putting the heavier barrels on them like the marines wanted 30 years ago.

      • The M14 had it’s problems. The gun was heavy and long, both of which made it unwieldy in tight jungle situations. The gun’s stock was made of wood, which (big surprise!) warped in extreme humidity and heat, which also happened a lot in the jungle. The full-auto setting was pretty much useless and uncontrollable, which resulted in a lot of that heavy ammunition being wasted. With a lighter round, at least you can waste more ammo.

        • They later had a non-wood stock that worked very well. and the 7.62 NATO had knock down that save our lives….and you could hit out past 500 yards very easy too..and the M14 had no jam issues like the M16

        • I keep hearing things like “The gun was heavy and long, both of which made it unwieldy in tight jungle situations. The gun’s stock was made of wood, which (big surprise!) warped in extreme humidity and heat, which also happened a lot in the jungle.” all the time. If this were true how come the M-1 performed outstandingly in similar conditions in WWII?

          You hear that a soldier can’t do things with a heavy weapon like an M-14 except those very things were done by soldiers toting heavy gear in the Second World War. I mean how could a guy get up Pointe du Hoc on D-Day lugging a BAR up the cliff? The Rangers who took the position carried standard US infantry weapons.

          The fact that the smaller, lighter round could not penetrate heavy jungle should be a clue that the M-16 was a poor weapon for jungle fighting.

        • >> You hear that a soldier can’t do things with a heavy weapon like an M-14 except those very things were done by soldiers toting heavy gear in the Second World War.

          In WW2, American soldiers armed with Garands were facing Japanese soldiers armed with bolt-action rifles which were just as long as heavy, and slower firing. In Vietnam, they were facing opponents armed with AKs. It wasn’t that M14 was inherently bad, it was just worse suited for the environment than enemy gear, and this was noticed pretty fast.

        • Except that it took three times as many rounds to inflict a casualty in Viet Nam than it did in WWII. So what ever weight advantage that you gained from a smaller, less effective round was neutralized by the higher volume of mostly wasted fire. It has been well demonstrated that using fully automatic fire does not increase combat effectiveness since it is unaimed fire. Most of the rounds are wasted. In the early days of large scale deployments many troops, particularly the Marines carried the M-14, and did not find themselves at a tactical disadvantage. The enemy’s weapon, the AK-47, was designed for poorly educated and trained troops. It was an ideal weapon for peasant armies. Soviet style infantry tactics followed from that fact. There was no need to sacrifice marksmanship in the US armed forces in Viet Nam. The choice of the M-16 was influenced by Marshall’s faulty research on US infantry effectiveness in WWII. The original purpose of the AR-15/M-16 was to replace the M-2 carbine and the Grease Gun” in rear areas and in the Security/military police. It is well suited for that role.

        • >> The enemy’s weapon, the AK-47, was designed for poorly educated and trained troops. It was an ideal weapon for peasant armies. Soviet style infantry tactics followed from that fact.

          It’s funny. You do recognize that a lot of BS mythology surrounding M14 is just that, mythology; but then you rehash the one around AK verbatim.

          No, it was not designed for poorly educated and trained troops. Practically every single AK feature that is touted as being for “stoopid” (like e.g. the safety) is there for some other reason, like the requirement to be operable in heavy winter mittens. The infamous short LOP that is often explained by “well they were conscripting malnourished short and skinny peasants” is also because of heavy winter clothing. And so on.

          FWIW, Soviet infantry tactics, again contrary to the popular American myth, was never centered around “spray and pray”. It should actually be sort of obvious from the design of the AK safety, which is explicitly made in such a way that switching to semi is easier than switching to full auto, especially under stress where you just push it until it stops.

        • Afraid some one fed you a line on the safety of an AK. Try reading Soviet Combat Doctrine. The full auto position was deliberately placed in the 2nd position because doctrine said all combat firing would be on full auto.

        • FWIW, I have actually read analyses of Soviet Doctrine, training and exercises published by the National Ground Intelligence Center. The Soviets used the old fashion Russian concept of mass. As per other discussions, Soviet doctrine was their mass powered implementation of mobile warfare, essentially a NASCAR-like version of the old fashion Russian steamroller.

        • Correct. And because they believed in large caliber ammo they stayed with the 7.62 with a reduced mass projectile and a decrease powder load. Many countries use a 115 grain bullet (vs the 150 grain standard ball round we use) which coupled with a reduced powder charge gave them a short range controllable combat rifle.

        • The Russians have been moving toward a more Western style Army and tactics since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The famed Russian steamroller is no more. The first sign of the steamroller’s demise was Russia’s first attempt to take Grozny in 1994. The Russian army used standard Soviet tactics and had its head handed to them. Prior to 1989 they just would have kept pouring it on until they overran the city. But in the post Soviet military there was no second echelon let alone a third to do this. The Chechen War spawned a military reform movement that led to the use of tactics and modes of operation better suited to a smaller force. Troops are now too valuable to throw away. If you look at Russian doctrine and tactics today you will see that they emphasize small unit and small unit tactics just like the US and NATO armies do.

          One more thing to consider is that the US has not faced a peer adversary on the ground since the Second World War. By peer adversary, I mean an opposing force that is fully capable of successfully employing combined arms operations. That is the reason that the flaws in the M-16/M-4 have never been fully exposed. In virtually every engagement above the company level the US was going to prevail no matter what.

        • The Russian military is still 3rd rate loaded with marginally usable equipment and poorly trained and led. The invasion of Georgia was a joke. They had to pull into battle 25% of their tanks and APCs, none of their radios worked, they didn’t know where they were going, they had only a few usable planes and those couldn’t even hit their targets on their bombing runs. The only pilots who were qualified to even attempt combat missions were pilot instructors and they still could do the job.

        • Took me a little while to stop laughing to reply. A tiny country with an almost non existent military attacks Russians best military forces. Yeah right. However Georgia did kick russias butt the first war to separate from the soviet union and they did it with T-34 tanks against the soviets best.

        • Dude,I don’t have to look it up. The entire op was in plans for months before and was a Putin set up. It wasn’t a sudden decision to invade and it was all a sham. Putin knew our illustrious lead would do nothing.
          I though it was funny how the top of the line Russian troops resorted to stealing window panes and toilets to take back home. You can look that up too.

        • FWIW, I’ve actually read the original documents pertaining to that. In Russian. Because, you know, I’m Russian.

          The story of the safety is well-documented in Kalashnikov autobiography. They specifically placed semi auto at the end because it is easier to select, especially in winter gloves (because the lever being long and heavy, people just push it all the way through).

          Yes, Soviet Army did employ the doctrine of many conscript soldiers. That does not mean that those soldiers were “uneducated peasants”. To remind, USSR had 99% literacy a decade before WW2, with compulsory secondary education and free-if-you-can-pass-entry-exams high education.

          The Soviet doctrine had already changed significantly by Afghanistan, and then even further based on the lessons from it. The reason why Chechnya was such a mess was not because of doctrine, but because of sheer incompetence of the officers in charge, all the way up to the chain to the idiot on top of it who gave the order to start the assault claiming that he will “pacify the city in 72 hours with a single VDV regiment”. And also because of rampant corruption (officers selling insurgents weapons and ammo and even location of other units for money).

        • Well that explains why you parrot back Soviet Propaganda on WWII. I guess that is what you were taught.

          The Soviet Union fought a really big war in one dimension while the United States projected immense amounts of combat power in all theaters and all warfare domains. Soviet wartime propaganda tried to prod the United States into opening a “Second Front.” That Second Front was called the Pacific Theater where events in fall of 1941 and 1942 were the deciding factor that allowed the Red Army to counterattack before Moscow and Stalingrad.

          To be specific: The Japanese decision to move south instead of north, which was promptly communicated to Stalin in September 1941 by Richard Sorge, allowed the Soviets to move forces from the Far East to Moscow to launch the winter counterattack in front of Moscow. The US victory at Midway and the subsequent start of the Solomons Campaign assured Stalin that there would be no war in the Far East. He then denuded the region of troops and used those forces to launch the Stalingrad counterattack. Even the outcome of the Battle for the Kursk salient was influenced by the German requirement to defend the homeland from Allied bombing raids. By the the Summer of 1943 the Luftwaffe and the Army were forced to withdrawal fighter wings and duel purpose 88s to defend against the allied air effort. Had those air and AAA units been available on the Eastern Front the outcome of the Summer battles would have been more favorable for the Germans. After Kursk events on the Eastern Front were driven by the Soviet Union but they would not have gotten to 1943 without the events in the other parts of the world. Had Japan chosen to go North instead of South, the Soviet Union would have lost the war in the winter of 1941-42 regardless of the outcome in the Far East.


        • Russia’s defense of Russian passported citizens on the Georgian border was a complete foul up. Ground and aircraft casulties highlighted their shortcomings.

          They are addressing these issues. That’s why they purchased aerial drones from our GOOD friend Israel. Plus their drive to acquire modern Amphibious Landing Ships from the French and their Mistral class.

        • Don’t forget that Russias passporting of ethnic Russian Georgian citizens was blatantly suspect and illegal. It was parts of the façade Putin was building to justify an armed invasion of Georgia. He started claiming Georgia was abusing them as the excuse to invade.

          Then Russia’s best division almost screwed it up. One company of Delaware NG MLRS armed with Brilliant Munitions could have wiped them out in 20 minutes or less. BTW Delaware doesn’t have a MLRS unit as far as I know.

      • The M-16 was chosen because the Army bought off on S.L. A. Marshall’s assessment of WWII combat and it was the only usable fully automatic weapon available to the US Army in 1965. It was already being procured on an Air Force contract. Since we like repeating ourselves in these debates I will once again point out that after Viet Nam the Center for Army Analysis found that aimed semiautomatic fire with the proper tactics was more effective than fully automatic fire in any circumstance. By the early 1990’s Army analysts discovered methodological flaws in Marshall’s work and found that a reappraisal of the WWII data showed that a conscript Army could indeed be trained and fight effectively. The reasons for substandard performance were inadequate training and the replacement process. There were plenty of examples of how US infantry outfought their German and Japanese opponents with the M-1. I suggest that you look at the Battle of Champs on Christmas Day during the siege of Bastogne where the 101st defeated a German attacking force equipped with StG 44s in an environment that was heavily favorable to a force equipped with fully automatic weapons with large capacity magazines.

        • The problem with M16 was that they kept switching the goalposts. It (and the round) was initially developed specifically based on the notion that controllable full auto fire produces much more impressive results than single hits with larger caliber rounds. The cartridge design and efficiency was also specifically based around understabilizing the bullet (hence why they used 1:14 twist originally), which resulted in very consistent fragmentation causing quite a mess, which was reflected in early test reports.

          Then it all started to go sideways. First the Army demanded higher accuracy, which could only be done by raising the twist rate to 1:12 – which already made fragmentation less consistent. Then, as the weapon evolved, they dropped the notion of full auto fire completely in M16A2, while also making the useless 3-round burst that messed up the trigger pull – and also switched ammo to the new and poorly fragmenting round and adjusted twist rate even further so that it wouldn’t fragment for shit. At that point, it was basically a marksman rifle poorly masquerading for a general-purpose infantry service weapon. Then they take that and shorten it to carbine size, making marksmanship also redundant, while also making the round even less efficient due to slower muzzle velocity – but still retain the 3-round burst instead of the full auto.

          So it’s like a weapon originally designed for one thing, then twice repurposed for two other different and inherently contradictory things, and with every iteration it weakened the good things from the previous one while keeping the bad ones.

          I don’t think any other service weapon in history had such an insane design history as this. Well, except possibly for SA-80.

        • I read somewhere, long ago, that it was decided that a rifle that wounded more enemies was deemed more desirable, because a badly wounded soldier ties up more ancillary personnel than a dead soldier does.

          It’s been a very long time. Does anyone here know anything about that?

        • You’ve got it basically correct. Even anti personnel mines are designed to wound and maim instead of kill because on average it takes 3 people out of the fight. The old bouncing betties would pop up and throw fragmentation in a large area just for that purpose. Many of the Russian AP mines are designed to blow off feet instead of killing the guy outright. That theory runs into problems when you fight enemies who don’t care about wounded as much as we do or those who have been smoking opium and don’t feel the wound of a small caliber round.

        • That only works if your enemy cares about his wounded. Typically, the people we have been fighting ignore their wounded until after the battle. Often, when the wounds were to severe, the VC shot their own wounded who could not move on their own.

          The idea that we wanted to develop a round to simply would the enemy is based on mirror imaging. The truth is that the “wound effect” was just another post hoc justification for using a varmint round. Most wounds from large caliber rounds fail to kill either. I think the ratio of WIA to KIA is quite large even when you are using a 308 or 30-06.

        • We didn’t develop the 5.56 which is actually .224 diameter specifically to wound enemy soldiers. It was based on politics. I believe the AR-15 was rejected 3 times by the army as not being capable of doing the needed job however we got back doored into having to take it. Every weapons system out there has a huge political liberal backlash against it. The Kevlars. Liberals tried to kill its procurement even though it was superior to the 50 year old steel pot because it looked like a Nazi helmet, The V Hulled mine resistant vehicles were developed by the SA gov’t in the mid 70’s but President peanut farmer forbad us from adopting it because he wouldn’t allow the US forces to adopt apartheid SA technology even if it did save soldiers live. Look what they did to cluster bombs and mine. For years our tankers couldn’t have HE rounds or Beehive rounds (except in South Korea) and the list goes on and on. We cant do this or that because some liberal moron says it violates the Geneva convention (they usually mistake it for the Hague Convention) when it doesn’t. Long winded way of agreeing with you that Liberals see everyone else having the same values as to human life.

    • The M16*-M4* platform must certainly be the most studied, engineered, tested, combat-used re-engineered, retested and researched firearm in the 13.8 billion year history of the universe.

      Where is the mass of comprehensive statistical test data on other modern assault rifles that shows that they’re significantly better, as opposed to US rifles “that always jam”?

      • You might want to ask that question of the IDF. I presume they had enough that it convinced them to switch to Tavor, and design it quite differently from M16 – and IDF was one of the biggest users of the AR platform in real conflicts, and still issues it to reservists.

  8. It’s Just another propaganda angle from the anti’s, trying to get the citizens to give em up.. As someone else, who butchers the English language put it.. ” That’s the way I sees me the world.”

  9. I *hate* it when people say “it’s a great rifle as long as you maintain it”.
    Look, I love my ARs and for me they’re probably the best rifle out there, but that whole “so long as you maintain it” is such a cop out.
    That being said I understand that to get reliability, accuracy, and minimal maintenance in one package it can be ridiculously, prohibitively expensive (I’m looking at you, SCAR).
    I just wish people stop trying to make excuses for the AR (yeah yeah, I know. “Filthy 14”. That’s not an ideal state for a rifle to be in though).

    • The SCAR is nowhere as reliable as people think. The only reason it even made it to SOCOM is cause the guy who voted it in for the SEALs now works for FN. And the M4 honestly doesn’t need that much cleaning. I used a MK18 in Afghanistan. Just put tape on your suppressor or muzzle and you are pretty much done maintaining that weapon until you fire it. The M4s reliability problems primary stems from the poor magazines issued for it. Around 80% of failures are caused by the mags whenever the gun has been tested. Replace the mags and make sure you get the bolt upgrade kit from crane and you are good to go. I typically will go 1500 to 2000 rounds without cleaning the gun when shooting before deployment in a week. Doesn’t cause me problems at all.

      • I agree completely that there are tons of simple field workable solutions to 99% of any issue an M4/M16 system has and that most of the rest are mag related issues, but I feel that in this day and age there shouldn’t have to be those kinds of solutions. I understand that no rifle will work in field conditions 100% of the time without question. I just don’t like it when people start running around having fits screaming “BUY ONLY GOOD PARTS, IF IT FAILS YOU AREN’T CLEANING IT ENOUGH, FILTHY 14 PROVES YOU WRONG, THE DUST TEST WAS RIGGED BLARGHARLGARHGL”.

        In any case, the SCAR was just an example.

        • This

          I think the AR is a great platform, and I own one(with a piston), but like you said, it should not be a case of “Stop complaining, as long as you do, this, that, the other and so on and so on, it’s great.” There are a lot of designs out there that, although not perfect as all man made machines have flaws. They don’t require nearly as many “fixes” all the time. The gov makes a nod to exploring options every once in a while, but I think lobbying wins out most of the time.

      • There you have it. The MK18 seems to be a large improvement over the variously-named CAR-15’s of my era, given the availability of so many good after-market parts, LMT and otherwise. I wonder why plated BCGs aren’t used more. Is it because the plated bolt will outlast the barrel’s chamber?

        • Probably cost. While things are at a weird sort of level for the civilian market (a Rainier Arms Nickel Boron BCG is the same price as a Bravo Company phosphate BCGfor some unknown reason, and LMT enhanced parts even more those).

          Cost feels like it’s always the limiting factor. It’s also probably why most units aren’t issued Mk262 and Mk318 for ammo despite being worlds better than M855 (anyone feel free to correct me if there’s a different reason that much better ammo isn’t issued in bulk…I really don’t know.)

        • Justin the answer to your question why the ammo isn’t as well issued is in the name. If you noticed its MK262 not M something something. Same reason the MK18 is better than the M4A1 that is issued. Its cause it is a navy procurement and developed product from NSW Crane. The army has always been extremely slow moving in any weapons related area. Just look at the fact that the Army is just now starting to field 300 win mag.

      • Thank you Seans.

        One thing I like about TTAG is we have a few guys here that will offer up their opinions, based on recent “real-world warfighter” experience, and for a noob trying to do careful homework, like me, that goes a LONG way, vs anonymous opinions.

        The MK18 is primarily used by special ops types, correct?
        What would be the key mods a guy would need to make to a civilian version AR to get close to that reliability under rugged conditions?

        • The Mk18 was developed for suppressed 10inch use. It was developed for the navy by NSW Crane. Delta went to HK for help. HK used a gas piston. Crane had the gas port enlarged I believe .02 mm. Don’t quote me on that has been a while since I went to the armorers course. So that is going to be your hardest part of replicating the rifle. Add that the upgraded bolt kit(link at the bottom). Its incredibly reliable. And using the MK18MOD1 with a free floated barrel, 1st round hits have been recorded in Afghanistan using a EOTECH and trippler out to 600yards. With the MK262 or MK318 round you have a great manstopping round now.

    • Following the documented maintenance cycle is a luxury and a gold standard – of course it will work just fine. The real world is different, however.

      Oh, insert a gratuitous mini-14 reference here to keep up the rivalry.

  10. While it is true that every weapon has issues, the truth is that the US Army used to have their own small arms R&D facilities, and that’s what brought about such weapons as the Trapdoor, Krag, 1903/A3 Springfield, the 1911, the Garand, the M14, etc.

    Back when the Army did their own R&D, cluster-ducks that were caused by insufficient weapons or loads were addressed – not rapidly, mind you, but addressed far faster than every 30 to 50 years.

    Examples: The Battle of San Juan Hill? Sure, it got TR the White House later on. But it was a near-disaster for US Troops facing the Mauser for the first time. The .30-40 Krag was suddenly completely insufficient for the task at hand, and we proceeded to rip off the Mauser design with the 1903 Springfield in short order.

    The 1903 Springfield round looked “good enough,” but then the Germans come out with the 8×57 round. The .30-03 is pulled from service, the rifles re-chambered, and the .30-06 is introduced rapidly enough to make any .30-03 cartridges a real collector’s item All that remains of the .30-03 today is the .270 Winchester.

    We decide that we need something more before “the next war.” The Army does their homework again, and out comes the M1 Garand, and the M1 Carbine, and the Johnson Rifle. Tons of weapons R&D is done on a shoestring budget – and it was effective R&D. eg, No one can claim to feel “under-gunned” as far accuracy or killing range with a Garand in their hands.

    After WWII, we decided that we needed full rock-n-roll. Out comes the M14. Now the Army’s situation founders, mostly for reasons of internal and external politics. In the post-WWII era, now we’re trying to work with these coalitions of many nations, all with competing issues and requirements. This is now where US weapons development starts to spiral rapidly out of control – from the days of the 7.62×51 vs (something else) vs. the 5.56, to today’s full-retard cluster, the F-35, this “multi-mission, multi-nation” design process shafts the US taxpayer out of billions upon billions, while delivering very poor compromises to our troops. But hey, now weapons acquisition was put into the hands of the “whiz kids” from Harvard and MIT.

    Never in our nation’s history has one weapon remained the issue rifle for so long. It is long past time that the M16/M4 be replaced, the trouble is, there are now so many external contractors, all looking for a piece of the DOD budget, that we’ll never be able to field something better. Before, with the Armory system, there were few external contractors until a design was proven, and they were able to exert far less influence at the Congressional budgeting phase of weapons acquisition. Now, entrenched interests (Colt foremost among them) have kept us in the same weapons system for far longer than they should be able to.

    • From your perspective, and taking into account the possibility that two rifles can be kept in service so that a squad marksman can be given something appropriate, what offerings of cartridge and rifle would you favor if the lobbyists were all put in leg-irons and thrown in a lake?

      • I keep coming back to basic ballistics. We want to keep recoil down to an acceptable level (and the M16/M4’s design helps with that – what with the large bolt mass absorbing some of the recoil energy and the buffer helping with yet more), but we want better bullet performance at terminal ranges.

        For that reason, I keep coming back to basic exterior ballistics. Instead of spouting “this” or “that” caliber of bullet, I’m going to set down a criteria that is caliber-independent: I would like to see the standard infantry round have a G1 Bc of at least 0.450.

        OK, so what does it take to make that happen? In a .223/5.56, that means a 85 to 90 grain bullet. In a 6mm (.243), we’re up to about 105 grains. In a 6.5mm (.264), we’re up to about 120 grains.

        Now, if we were talking of the “good ol’ .30-06”, we’d be talking of bullets with a minimum of 165 to 168 grains.

        If we now bring low recoil in as a criterion, and we assume we want to launch the pill at “standard” velocities (2500+ fps muzzle), we’re probably going to limit ourselves to 6.5mm bullets and under to achieve my first criterion of G1 Bc’s of 0.450 (or better).

        Still with me so far?

        • yes…barely, as I google to remember what G1 BC is…and searching back thru TTAG for some of these related posts…
          recall you and tdiinva talking about a hunting rig with 6MM or .243…for example.

        • I think there was an article somewhere about how they probably should have gone with a 6-7mm round instead of a 5.56. Something about better down range performance of the .308(mostly), and still low recoil and relatively light weight. Of course that is useless info when I can’t remember the source.

        • I remember now, I think the British were trying to adopt a light 7mm round for their rifles, and the US kind of muscled them over to the 7.62nato initially, and then the 5.56 later on.

        • Sounds like a 6.5 Blackout to me. The 6.5 Grendel case looks to have odd geometry. Silver State Armory’s 140 grain 6.8 SPC at 2400 FPS from a is about 1800 FPE and a .487 G1 BC. A 120-130 grain engineered for a high BC from a 6.5 or 6.8 at 2400-2600 FPS could fit the intermediate caliber role quite well.

      • IWI Galil ACE-N

        -less weight, a lot less weight than the original
        -easily mounts optics of any kind
        -AK-like gas system to make it reliable under any conditions
        -uses AR mags
        -comes in a variety of different calibers

        The final point which I find the most important of all is that it was invented by a people constantly at war with enemies around them 24/7. With that mindset you don’t have the luxury to cheap out or lobby for an inferior rifle. That rifle has to be 100% durable, well-made, and effective otherwise you lose your country.

        Maybe we should learn a thing or two from the Israelis.

        • There is a long list of things we could learn from the Israelis.

          Good point, roping. Anyone who is lucky enough to own a Finnish Mosin variant can appreciate the quality they can achieve with a cheap Russian design as a starting point. I’ve always wanted a Valmet.

        • Not sure what you mean, but many IDF troops are still using M-4s, M-16A1s, and CAR-15s. I believe.

        • They’re using them mainly because they’ve got so many (because US was giving them military aid with a condition that any arms purchased with it had to come from US). But they’re issuing them mainly to reservists and conscripts not expected to serve in active duty now, and even there they’re saying that the plan is to switch completely to Tavor in a few years.

  11. People swear buy the AR platform; but I’ve tried four different AR platforms by different manufactures over the years and all have had FTF and FTE issues; Which is why I have a Daewoo-max 2, with a side folder stock; a .223 with an adjustable gas piston action, and uses un-modified AR mags- flawless. Then I have an M1A; you know, flawless.

    But I am willing to try an AR action one more time; I have on layaway a Sig-Sauer 516. Maybe I’ll have the best of both worlds, the cleanliness and reliability of a gas piston and the modularity of an AR platform.
    We will see.

    • I really like my piston AR(SR556). It runs much cleaner Than any DI gun. I like that I can adjust the gas system if things get really dirty.

    • M1A’s can have issues – serious, expensive issues, too.

      Single-load a round with a thin/soft primer and let the bolt fly. Boom.

      Or you can have your op-rod bend, or bind against the stock.

      Some bolts in M1A’s and M14’s had heat treatment problems and they’d crack.

      Sometimes the barrels wouldn’t time up properly.

      The rear sight is fiddly to replace.

      They don’t take well to being pulled out of the wood stock again and again and again. Eventually, you’ll chip and flake the inletting, and then you’ll have to bed it, which will be a nifty project.

      There’s no panacea. Military rifles are used hard, and there’s going to be issues with anything used that hard. The M16/M4 system works well enough now; it has different issues than the Garand/M14. Every semi-auto system has trade-offs.

      • Soldier abuse their rifles whereas civilians take very good care of their rifles. Soldiers take brand new rifles to the stan and even if they didn’t fire a shot they bring back pieces of junk. Why should they take care of them, they didn’t pat for them and the rifle will go in for rebuild anyway.

  12. This is actually old news. The army doesn’t overhaul or replace bolt carrier groups until they break. So a soldier doen’t know what he’s getting.

    If you read between the lines, you can conclude that the simple addition of the Crane reliability mods with the use of Pmags will for the most part fix things.

    When my buddy’s kid went to Afghanistan, I gave him a new bolt carrier group with upgraded extractor spring and donut, a bunch of P-mags and a box of baby wipes.

    • I’ve never heard a soldier say anything good about issued mags. Even if they love their M4s, they wanted Pmags or similar.

      Also, the issue with ANY military weapon is they get beat to hell. If one of us had an AR in half as rough a shape as what can be issued sometimes, we’d replace everything but the lower. Maintenance also depends heavily on usage pattern/unit. A unit near me recently got the budget to buy all new rifles. Miraculously, suddenly, they didn’t suck! Everyone loved their M4! It’s almost like the old ones had been nearly destroyed by Private Gomer abusing them for 20+ years.

      • Thanks for the input Nathan, and THANK YOU for your service.

        I flew airplanes for years. I owned my own plane and maintained it myself. There were certain items that got replaced “on time”, just based on how much use they had. When maintained this way, a 30 year old airplane can be as reliable as a new one.

        The same goes for ARs. A beat ar can be brought back to nearly new levels of reliability by replacing the bolt, buffer spring and magazine. In some cases a gas tube is a good idea, like if the gun has been subject to prolonged heating. Maybe a hammer spring. But thats really all it takes. Thats the genius of the AR. Almost everything important is in the bolt and bolt carrier group.


        • Never served, just have a lot of friends that did, and live by Mordor on the Potomac, so I’m surrounded by Fort Meyer, Fort Belvoir, Pentagon, Navy Yard, etc, and get to talk to those guys a fair bit. What I meant by “us” is TTAG commenters. I’d replace an AR if it was as beat up as the ones my friends tell me stories about, but the army just kind of calls it good enough.

          Got to talk to someone who worked on the Coast Guard acquirement program, he told me how much they spent on M4s and I wanted to cry.

        • Thanks Don- great analogy to aircraft preventative maintenance, on a machine you stake your life on.
          Admiration and RESPECT, btw- thats a considerable accomplishment to be an aircraft mech.

        • RLC – I’m not an airplane mechanic. (A&P or AI) I’m just an average guy who likes to work on mechanical things. I do whats called an owner assisted annual. I work under the supervision of the AI at my local airport. He doesn’t do it for everyone, but we get along great.

    • From my own experience and conversations with young guys, I think you definitely hit the main problem. Failure to replace worn parts and failure to adopt improved versions of parts was/is the biggest fault. Once in a while I take my AR out and beat it up. No problems. Accurate, easy to clean, reliable. But it has whatever a person might want to make a direct gas impingement rifle work: upgraded bolt carrier group, extractor, barrel, etc. But the gun is cheap. The improved parts (well, except the barrel) didn’t cost much. And I actually feel guilty (sort of) when I think that every soldier could have such a gun, but select-fire, if we just cut the F-35 plans back a few planes.

  13. The AR may be a POS (see all rants on the web and above Times story) but damn the sales of the civilian models are through the roof (See YHM, Daniel, S&W, Olympic, Bushmaster, Barrett, DPMS, Windham, etc…………..).

    • I attribute this to younger generations coming out of the service. It might not be a great battle rifle, but it is their battle rifle, and much as WWII vets won’t hear anything against the Garand, today’s vets will buy AR’s readily. In Ye Olde Days, Garands made it into popular culture. Hell, a Garand even made an appearance on the Carol Burnett Show.

      The fact that you can customize an AR without a gunsmithing shop setup also lends to the popularity. It’s a “Lego gun” – with a minimal investment, you can do most anything you want to an AR except chamber a new barrel. For that, you’ll need a gunsmith’s services. But if you buy a barrel with the chamber in, the extension on and the gas port pre-drilled, hey, you can build the rest of it in your basement or garage easy-peasey, lemon-squeezy.

      • The realities recited in your second paragraph are not unimportant. Would you rather have an AR or M1 Garand for suburban home defense? A suppressed short-barrel AR or Garand? OK, I understand, a shotgun will do, but among the military rifles?

        • For suburban home defense, either one, as long as I’m allowed to load them up with loads packing a highly frangible round like a Hornady V-max. The Garand has the upside of making a very nice club when one doesn’t feel required to pull the trigger. The AR has superior ergonomics. I’m not that fussy, really. I hew to the idea of “first, have a gun.” Both are guns, so they meet “rule #1.”

          If we’re talking ball/COTS ammo? Then I’d be insane to light off a ’06 in a suburban environment. I don’t know how many walls M2 Ball would go through, but I’d wager that it could go through all four walls of my house, and all four walls of any house next door, and maybe a couple more walls beyond that.

        • DG, I think most young guys think the same way, and buy an AR. Ergonomics are good. Frangible ammunition is available. It’s a Lego rifle. It’s relatively cheap. ( I hadn’t previously thought of trying VMax).

      • Thanks Dys, again, you are a fount of wisdom, as usual.
        I think your point about this is the OIF, OEF generations “gun” is important, and especially relevant to the kinds of conversations on TTAG about the political culture, including the latest panty-twisting on the left.

        Its a weapon, with military roots, but one that is perhaps better suited than any before it for its easy application and use, by relatively new buyers, for home defense and hunting.

        Thats it, pure and simple, as just another example of historical application to the founders intent for 2A rights.

        I remember reading 14-15 years ago, on some of the forums, before 9/11 and the desert adventures since, and how the atmosphere there was almost secretive, illicit, paranoid. Thats not the fact, just the impression I got, as a complete noob, who actually had some military experience, albeit limited in firearms, just beginning to think about hunting, etc.

        Now, its completely different- the AR platform is widely accepted, by young and older gun buyers in flyover country, as a result of all that experience, both military and civilian as a “Modern Sporting Rifle” and I’d submit that the looney fringe is on the left, in terms of perceptions.

        • Well, there was also a change in the market for AR parts and rifles.

          There were people who owned AR’s going back to the 80’s. I was on many a rifle range from the 70’s through the 80’s, and you’d see people with AR’s in the “A2” configuration. There weren’t many accessories for AR’s back then, and flat-top uppers were in short supply. So… the people that bought them were people who liked shooting rifles with iron sights, much like a Garand. You didn’t hang a scope on it, or a shorter barrel. You shot the semi-auto version of the M16, and that was about it.

          Then the 90’s came around. Now you saw more companies starting to make AR’s – Eagle Armory, DPMS, etc. AR’s were becoming pretty popular, and flat-tops started to appear. The AWB of ’94 came around and put a little bit of a damper on things for awhile. My first AR was an Eagle in an A2 configuration. I have never had any complaints about it. It wasn’t as accurate as the AR’s I have now, but I attribute that to the chrome-lined barrel. It always went “bang,” and while I didn’t shoot it much compared to the M1A, it was not going to be sold, ever.

          Then the AWB of ’94 expired in 2004 and it seemed as tho the market exploded. I’ve never seen any market develop for a single platform like that in all my time around guns. I attribute this to the number of people who have cycled through our armed forces since 1991 and “Desert Storm.” It seems as tho our nation is now in a never-ending war, with hundreds of thousands of people being cycled through the military forces every couple of years. Those of them who have never seen any other gun other that the M16/M4 see the AR as something they already know.

          For the military person buying a gun in the civilian world, what’s so different about the AR vs. all the other rifles we’ve used in our military is this: There is no possible way you can do as much to the Springfield, Garand or M14 without a gunsmith. None. On the AR, you can change barrels, change uppers, change the stock, change out all this stuff – no gunsmith required. If you call me and say “Can you do this?” my first reaction isn’t “Sure! Bring it right over and I’ll charge you only $X to do that!”

          No, my reaction is “Here’s how you do it, you need X tools, if you get into trouble, call me and I’ll talk you through it.” It isn’t that working on AR’s is beneath me, it is that I think it is so simple that I feel somewhat unethical in taking people’s money to do simple work on them. If they can fix their lawnmower and change the oil in their car, they can probably work on an AR. While they’re not a “nice gun” in my view of the world, they’re a perfectly functional one.

        • dyseptic – you nailed the historical progression. I got my first AR a Colt AR15 A2 HBar in the 80s. I shot it a fair amount. I never regretted having the carry handle until recently when I started using a dot sight.

          I once tried to hang a sight off the A2 but it was WAAAAYYYYY too high.

  14. Yup, my M4gery sucks. Probably not worth it to confiscate it cuz it sucks so bad, so i’ll just hang on to it I guess. Its the least I can do.

  15. A discussion about whether the AR platform is a piece of crap and is better/worse than the AK platform is about as productive as a discussion of which is better, the .45ACP or the 9mm.

    As long as policitians and lobbyists are involved in the selection process, and their true measure of quality is the lowest cost per unit, the US will never field a battle rifle that will garner more praise than complaints.

    • It is sort of like that, but on the taxpayer’s dime.

      I really get hacked off when the DOD spends hundreds of millions of dollars on “research” weapons we know won’t go anywhere in this great debate. The OICW is a great example. WTF, seriously? Was anyone actually surprised that project went nowhere? It’s sort of like my favorite bitching point of the DOD spending right now on the F-35. That project will be a hideously expensive failure. I’m going to predict that right now. 10 years from now, we’ll be looking back at the smoking hole in the ground where hundreds of billions of dollars have been poured in, with no bottom in sight, and asking “Why do we keep pouring money into this?”

      The issue of these wild-eyed attempts to create a replacement infantry rifle are like that, only on a much smaller scale of spending – to date.

      We have a huge investment into the existing hardware. Whatever we do now will be required to be an evolutionary approach – eg, change a barrel, maybe a bolt head, keep everything else (the rest of the rifle and the magazines). That’s it. It cannot require more than an armorer to effect the change. So about all that can be done is play with the bullet length, possibly the case dimensions, the powder, the caliber of bullet and maybe the case head diameter.

      This has happened before. The Garand wasn’t originally going to be in .30-06. But when the decision had to be made whether the Garand would be made in .276 Pedersen or .30-06, the Army brass looked at all the ’06 ammo we had already manufactured and made the decision for ’06.

  16. I don’t like that it excessively craps where it eats but that’s a simple fix: get a piston upper.

    Slash a few planes from the budget and start fitting the M4s and M16s with piston kits (or entirely new uppers with bolt carriers designed for pistons) from Colt, Adams Arms, or whomever cuts the mustard, and the reliability concerns will decrease.

  17. We need an article that honestly illuminates the limitations and shortcomings — both functional and ballistic — of modern AR platforms. I say honest discussion as opposed to bashing. Every firearm has limitations and shortcomings. For example break action single-shot shotguns are perhaps the most reliable and least expensive firearm in the world. And you give up rate of fire, long range, and minimal recoil in exchange for that reliability and low price tag. In other words there is no single firearm that is perfect for everything, inexpensive, and uses readily available ammunition. So what are the shortcomings of modern AR platform rifles?

    I will kick things off and list the major advantages of modern AR platforms:
    (1) Chamberings in 5.56 mm Nato produce minimal recoil compared to larger calibers.
    (2) Chamberings in 5.56 mm Nato allow the bearer to carry a relatively large amount of ammunition compared to larger calibers.
    (3) The modern AR platform is light and compact.
    (4) The modern AR platform is highly standardized/modularized … enabling users to fix and customize their rifle to their heart’s content.
    (5) Modern AR platform rifles have adequate combat accuracy out to a few hundred yards.

    So what are the shortcomings? How reliable are typical modern AR platform rifles compared to alternatives? How much more maintenance, if any, do typical modern AR platform rifles need compared to alternatives … and what is the nature of that maintenance? Are there fairly simple and economical modifications that we can implement on modern AR platform rifles to seriously improve their reliability? What else?

    • All very good points.

      Part of the problem, from my observation as a civilian who is sick and tired of paying out the nose (and other bodily orifices) for the rampant waste in government is that our military cannot seem to decide what the role of the individual combat weapon is.

      Is is a carbine, meant for close-in work, getting in and out of vehicles quickly and easily, light enough that a para can easily jump with the weapon and a basic load-out of ammo?

      Or is it to be a longer range individual rifleman’s weapon, able to engage the enemy out to 400+ meters?

      Or is it a weapon that, in the hands of a single squad, able to lay down suppressing fire out to 800 meters?

      No one weapon can do all of this. A M14 could easily do the last two… but I’d bet it seriously sucks to jump out of perfectly good airplanes packing a M14 and 200+ rounds of ammo in 20-round mags.

      Four+ guys get in/out of a HMMV rapidly with M14s? Yea, that’s going to look like the Keystone cops.

      There is no one weapon that will do everything. That’s the real problem here. We used to have much more diversity in weapons down to the platoon level in the TO&E, and partly the reason why was that the weapons were available in inventory. You could draw Thompons, 03 Springfields, M14’s, Garands, etc. We had ammo for all of these.

      Today, there’s this absurd attempt to make one weapon do everything, and it just won’t happen. We keep trying to invent the next “do it all” rifle in the hopes that it will be adopted as the individual troop’s rifle, pouring hundreds upon hundreds of millions down the drain in the process. None of these attempts have gotten very far in the acquisition process, partly based on cost, partly on parts compatibility, etc.

      In the engineering world, we have tons of history that shows that solutions that try to be “everything to everyone” (regardless whether we’re talking airplanes, programming languages or weapons) solve none of the problems, but they’re politically viable because they leave everyone pissed off and shortchanged. The engineers hate the project, the managers and the results, but the political hacks love it, because they can point to their metrics of success – money spent and people afflicted with the “solution” and claim that it was a “success.” The M16/M4 is that sort of project.

      • Absolutely. Thus my question to you further up the thread, e.g. “what rifles available today would you choose, given your knowledge, assuming you could keep at least two in inventory?” (approx…).

        Generalizing your point, it does seem odd when people argue calibers and pistol designs for civilian use. The entire wonderfulness (!) of the current market is that you get to choose, even carry, two very different items. Yes, I empathize with the very young (especially new parents) about cost. I get that. But time usually cures that problem.

      • Concur.

        IMHO based on some USN aviation and defense contractor work back in the 80’s I will say the same happens in aviation, which is why the F-35 is such an expensive compromise, that will be outdated/outmatched in one or more key attributes for the various missions its trying to be one solutionn for all, by the time it hits the field.

        The bigger problem, again that you have alluded to so correctly, is that procurement is driven by contractors, via lobbying to Congress, who are there to bring home the bacon for their constituents.

        Thats why we have gigantic boondoggles with parts from all 50 states, and expensive logistics afterwards, that inflate the cost easily 500%.

        But thus it has ever been so, if you read history, until a civilization gets its butt seriously kicked, and the warriors are all thats left, and they get to make the call, vs the paper soldiers who promote in a time of peace, which is obviously the era we are entering now.

        We are far from that point, and going the wrong direction now, unless a black swan appears- and the painful part to get to the other side, is going to be VERY painful, IMHO.

        As a noob, who would like to make the best of what works, and is proven in the field, I am very interested in your opinion, Dys and the others with real-world recent field experience- thanks again for your service.

      • DG:

        “No one weapon can do all of this. A M14 could easily do the last two… but I’d bet it seriously sucks to jump out of perfectly good airplanes packing a M14 and 200+ rounds of ammo in 20-round mags”

        WWII paratroopers managed this trick pretty well with their M-1s.

        “Four+ guys get in/out of a HMMV rapidly with M14s? Yea, that’s going to look like the Keystone cops.”

        Now you are on to the real reason for replacing the full sized M-16 with the M-4. The M-16 was considered too big and awkward for mech infantry to use in the Bradley.

        • Wrong. Basic ammo load was 10 clips but typically the troops loaded up with as much as they get get, particularly airborne troops who jumped with 80lbs+ of gear. Think about it, 8 doesn’t go into 50 very well. NCOs also carried a 1911 as standard issue with 35 rounds — 1 in the gun and 4 reloads. They also carried grenades, belts for the 30cal for the MG and depending on the unit and situation a couple of 60mm mortar rounds as well.

        • Some of my soldiers jumped into Grenada. They carried over 200 lbs. One told me he could barely stand so he waddled to the door and fell out of the plane. The chute opened and he hit the ground.

        • Some carried carbines and Thompsons. Most carried M-1s. General Gavin, commander of the 82nd, was well know for carrying the same gear that the average infantryman carried. He jumped with the M-1.

  18. Someone who works for a company that sell replacement rifles, claims that their competitor’s rifle is crap.

    You didn’t see that coming did ya?

    Remember when newspapers actually looked into a person’s bias before they ran a story?

  19. Oh boy. 40 vs 9mm. AK vs AR. All shades of gray. Pros and cons on both sides. Let’s just skip it all and move to plasma rifles.

  20. I seen one of them newfangled AR’s at the range with all the do-dads hanging off it. The n00B took 10 shots and spent the next 45 minutes trying to extract a case. He was banging on a cleaning rod with a hammer. Couldn’t get it out. SHTF rifle? I don’t think so. I’ll stick with an arquebus rather than that jam-o’-matic

      • Fair enough, but for a lot of “noobs” looking around, every time someone says “quality AR” it seems to equate with thousands of dollars.

        I don’t know, man. I’ve never had any kind of malfunction with my SKS purchased for about $100. Take that as you will.

        To me, it’s just always seemed like the AR “platform” was over-engineered. I lean toward the KISS end of things, myself. If I can get whatever is MY standard of “reliability” for < $200, why should I pay 10x that for the same thing?

        (No, not equating an SKS with a high quality AR…just making the point "cost matters").

        • Precisely why my AK has been my go-to gun ~.~ I did a Carbine course in the rain and we had to crawl through a mud pit.. I was the one of two AK guys in the class, with me and my AZEX AK and another with a Sig556. ARs/ SCAR for the rest of them.

          After that mud pit the AK guys were the only ones running.

      • Welcome back HK- you seemed to have done a lot of deep homework- did you see the question above about what basic upgrades to add to a quality AR, to make it reliable as the M18?

        Any thoughts? The goal being an AR of above average value, within a budget of $2K max, including optics, for civilian plinker/home defense/hunting of deer and smaller hogs.

        And I realize the AR platform is a compromise vs a bolt gun- already have one of those, and lots of good advice already from Dys and others here and in other forums.

    • The DPMS I got in a trade for my century VZ has never, ever, ever had a failure to extract or stuck case. Be it steel, brass or mithril. It’s more accurate than I am with its 2 stage trigger and free float barrel.

  21. I read the entire article and have to say these soldiers did it to themselves. They spayed and prayed and went through 7 mags in quick succession. Thats why the army went to 3 rd bursts to stop that crap. Bet no one thought to maintain or replace magazines. Aluminum mags will always fail you when they are needed most. And something I learned as a soldier years ago is you never leave home without a bottle of break free cause the weapon will jam.

    They did the same with the M-249 and couldnt be bothered to change the barrel when the one on the MG started to get too hot. That will cause a quick failure every time its tried,

    The army failed our soldiers by refusing to put thicker barrels on the rifles over 30 years ago when the Marines tried to do it because of the overheating problem and by sticking with a varmint round. They also fail repeatedly for not teaching Fire Control and Discipline.

    • spray and pray hell , we used aimed shots and got dam good hits and no kills……. and TELL me how you would react being over run 10 to our 1 ……..M16’s killed more of our guys that any other issue Yes I was a grunt walking point for 14 months of HELL…..

      • Marine,
        I’m with you on how ineffective the round can be. One of my ROTC instructors told us the day he shot a VC 6 times with his M-16 and the guy lived long enough to shoot the guy beside of him was the day he started carrying an AK into the jungle.
        But these guys were just spaying in the direction of the enemy and not actually shooting at anyone.

  22. FWIW.

    I own a FA AR. I regularly shoot hundreds of rounds through it on consecutive range trips without cleaning. I only clean it every 4 to 5 trips. So I average about 1000 to 3000 rounds between cleanings. Other than occasionally needing to use the forward assist which I usually do by habit anyways I rarely ever have a failure to feed or fire.

    Now I’ve handed that gun to others to try and watched people not fully seat magazines, not use forward assist, hit the magazine release while firing etc. and then have issues.

    • It seems that way to me, too. My life is spent mainly at my desk and at conference tables. I actually often feel anguish when I go out to action ranges. My bag contains an extra BCG, a head-space gauge, good mags, and such. I sometimes try but fail to break the gun. And so often I think “why couldn’t it be thus for every soldier, that he has what he needs. It really doesn’t cost much per year.” Then I start thinking how nice it would be to push a few key congresspeople and glib DoD officials into a punji stick pit. That makes me feel better and I go back to what I was doing.

  23. I think a lot of these stories are either old or from just worn out guns. Remember even the 1911’s the military had back in the 70’s sucked because they were so worn out. That doesn’t mean its a bad gun, but like anything they have lifespans.

    I suspect a lot of the M4 failures are just from old guns or crappy mags. For some reason the military won’t step into the 21st century and run Pmags, so they get what they get in terms of mag issues with the old aluminum ones.

    A proper spec, properly maintained AR is just as reliable as any other rifle out their. No gun is magic they all break, even the vaunted AK.

  24. Ok, so here is the deal. Contrary to all all of the anecdotal “evidence” presented above by experts like “Last Marine Out” the truth of the matter is that the M4/M16 is a wonderful platform. By all objective testing done by people like Mike Pannone, it is exceedingly reliable with good magazines and proper maintenance. Additionally, the idea that the M4 is maintenance intensive is bogus. A good 25 minute cleaning and a few drops of oil is enough to keep it running like a clock.

    I have carried the M4 into combat and back, and it has never failed me. Our SOCOM forces (who I have served with on numerous occasions, and where my brother serves currently) are given the option of carrying a variety of weapons and, overwhelmingly–including in our tier one units–they chose the M4. It is accurate, light, and ergonomically sound. A soldier can carry signifcantly more ammunition per pound of weight compared to 7.62, and if you ask any MEDIC who has treated individuals shot with the 5.56 it does a good job of putting holes in people that make them dead. Not to mention the “newsflash” that there is no death-ray in the personal weapon calibers. 7.62 is no “proven manstopper.”

    Contrary to the opinion of the “experts”above there is no weapon in the world, not the SCAR, FAL, M14, or even the AK47 that is immune to the laws of physics and mechanics. Every weapon needs to be maintained, and if you dump seven magazines as fast as you can pull the trigger, or on fully automatic, your barrel is going to glow. It is called friction and no firearm is immune. This is why our machine gunners carry extra barrels. That is not unique to the M4, or a failure of the weapon. That is a training failure. This is unlikely to happen if you are engaging targets within the effective range of your weapon system with aimed fire.

    The final argument against an M4 replacement is cost vs capability gained. There may be designs that offer a modicum of improvement over the M4 but there is nothing that is a revolutionary leap forward. There is nothing that offers significantly more capability. In a military that is in severe budgetary crisis across the board, it is not worth it to spend the BILLIONS of dollars it would require to replace all of the military’s M4/M16 rifles, retrain armorers, and retrain the force. The juice is just not worth the squeeze.

    • Agree with this. But I don’t agree with the skimping on spare parts and lengthening of parts duty cycles, which is the next game DC plays after keeping the same rifle. And I note that SOCOM units generally don’t suffer as much from these problems, or restrictions on using good aftermarket parts, or so it seemed to me. They have many skilled armorers on hand and a better budget for small arms. No?

    • Thank you, for that summary, and your Service. FWIW, I have heard much the same from a Navy Seal Sniper, who prefers the M4 for all around use.

    • Vet,
      I have worked with SOF on many occassions also but not concerning rifles. SOF, except in rare circumstamces, will maintain and use the same combat weapons as big army primarily because of logistics. Ammo and maintenance. If a weapon malfunctions in the boonies of the stan and the closest unit is a big army unit then thats were they have to go to get it fixed with parts they know will be there.

  25. The problems noted in the article are caused by a few things including:
    1) Maintenance. The weapon doesn’t need to be spotless. Applying the ‘white glove’ standard; where all dirt and oil must be stripped from a weapon such that it would not show on a white glove, before turn in has cultivated the incorrect belief that lube is bad. For the M16 family in combat conditions, Lube Is Life. The Jessica Lynch fiasco at the start of hostilities in Iraq was a direct result of poor maintenance practices.

    2) Ammunition selection. The 5.56mm Nato cartridge was originally selected due its light weight, low cost, and the terminal effects of the M192 ammunition. Since Vietnam, the Soviet Union developed and adopted effective body armor, meaning that the initial ammunition would be rendered nearly useless against armored Soviet infantry. This resulted in the development of M855 ammunition: a 62 gr copper lead projectile with a steel tip to aid in penetration. This round is NOT an armor piercing round, it merely has enhanced penetration capability against solid targets. Against soft targets, like unarmored enemies, the bullet will yaw and fragment only at high velocity. With insufficient velocity, the round will not fragment and causes a significantly less lethal wound. The velocity window for the M855 round out of a M4 closes at approximately 150M. Having a lethality window that closes within point blank range is just stupid.

    3) Doctrinal Flaws. In every war prior to Vietnam, Carbines were primarily issued to officers and non combat personnel: cooks, atillerymen, truck drivers, etc; people who were not supposed to find themselves needing to use them. Now we issue them to all of our front line fighters, and support personnel are left with the ‘uncool’ full size rifles. This is a problem. Carbines by definition compromise combat effectiveness for light weight and portability.

    4) Improper equipment. M4A1s are a fully automatic, heavy barreled variant of the M4. Essentially an attempt to turn a carbine into an ad hoc automatic rifle. The intent is to maximize individual firepower. The result is maximizing individual ammunition expenditures with minimal additional lethality. If additional firepower on a squad or team level is needed, invest in a purpose built Automatic Rifle. Ultimax U100, RPK, Mk48, M249 are all examples of modern purpose built automatic rifles. The M16 family was not designed for sustained automatic fire. When called upon to provide sustained automatic fire, it fails just like every other piece of equipment that is required to radically exceed its design intent.

    To at least partially correct the problems above:
    1) Lube is Life. Learn it. Live it, Love it.

    2) Replace the 5.56. 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, .300 AAC Blackout, or .25-.223 are all improvements. The last two would require only a barrel change in existing weapons.

    3) Revert carbine use to Support and Special Operations. Utilize rifles as primary weapons.

    4) Adopt purpose built weapons. When a weapon is tailored for a mission, it will excel at that mission.

    • Great response. Barrel length is the reason I see me 16″ barrel ar as solely a personal defense weapon, and not a weapon that could reach out and touch somebody with authority.

      • You realize battle rifles are typically considered something chambered in 7.62 like the M14. Haven’t seen many support guys rocking those lately.

        • Today the full sized M16 is considered a battle rifle. The M-4s were adopted so soldiers could get in and out of M-2s and hummers.

        • Where are you getting that. Battle rifle has been the term to distinguish between the M-14s, FALs and such from the Assault Rifles such as the M16 or AK. The term has been around for decades.

    • 1) In a desert environment such as afghan the dirt is so finite and abundant if you have a wet gun you’ll turn your BCG into a sugar cookie. A different lubricant or at least a varied coat of CLP will assist in keeping your gun running longer than dumping it with CLP.
      2) For what it is the 5.56 is a decent round that has felled more than a few people in places all across the world (Brit and other commando units across the globe utilize the M4 in our configuration, Canada uses rifle length upper with a collapsible lower). However, the twist rate for a light grain is too quick so either a heavier load needs to be issued out or revert the barrel back to a 1/12 or 1/14 twist which was the original rifling that barely stabilized the 55gr in flight so upon impact it yawed almost immediately.
      3) You’ve never had to do a prolonged foot patrol through adverse terrain or cleared huts/houses have you. Lugging around an A4 w/ 203 and packmule’d for M240 ammo would’ve been nice to save a little bit of weight when possible. That guy back on the fob working in dispersing really doesn’t need a brand new M4.
      4) Adopting purpose built weapons? You think the country is in debt now? Give the ability for all infantry battalions to just max a budget so they can have new toys and then max out their increased budget the next year sounds like a great idea. Spec’ing purpose weapons per mission is for the guys doing HSLD stuff that you’ll only see in video games, regular infantry battalions have been getting along with standard issue for long enough and have been laying waste just fine.

      • Stitch1870,
        1) I completely agree that in different environments; different lubricants than merely CLP are required. But in every environment, every weapon needs to be properly lubricated.

        2) It could very well be that the ‘best’ course of action to improve the lethality of 5.56 is to utilize a better projectile. I know others exist, and that they have been reputed to be effective at longer ranges. Hopefully the new hippie friendly round falls into the more effective category.

        3) My military experiences have, unfortunately, not included being deployed. Damn. Cutting as much weight as is possible during a foot patrol is certainly a good goal. However, the weight to be cut needs to be carefully compared to the combat capabilities lost. For the grenadier, a M4 is probably better than a M16 as he’s got to strap a 3lb grenade launcher on it. However, for the riflemen in the squad, trading less than a full pound of weight for a decreased effective range is as less than wise. Especially when there are reports of the enemy engaging from beyond the standard infantryman’s ability to effectively respond.

        4) Well if we would adopt the habit of only buying purpose built weapons for all of our procurements, we wouldn’t be saddled with boondoggles such as the DDG-1000 or the F35 (among other things). Reducing the cost of our equipment by not trying to make a jack of all trades ensures that we can afford the aces of each suit. Besides, compare the procurement cost of a M249 at 4k, vs the procurement cost of a RPK (I’m having trouble finding a cost for a military version, but during tail end of the gun scare a civilian one could be had for 1200).

  26. Bad rifles are not the beginning or end of the shafting the poor grunt gets. Chauchat, anyone? Sherman tank against panther or tiger? Brewster Buffalo against Zero? Torpedoes that wouldn’t? Ships that adhered to a treaty that all other parties were happily violating?

    M16/M4 are a drop in the bucket to the woes heaped upon the serviceman by the people that are supposed to be looking after his best interests.

  27. The Israeli Elander mags are steel and run flawlessly in them, they are well made and solid…. I bought a bunch of them when Pmags skyrocketed after the conn shooting..

    • Great tip. I remember ordering two PMAGs
      (CA legal 10rd versions for you low-paid fusion center contractors reading here….:)

      from Midway literally just a day before Sandy Hook, and that order was finally filled six months later, to their everlasting credit. (where many others cancelled when they ran out of stock, as I think was commonly read at the time).

    • Steel mags are the best. Aluminum mags retainer lips spread after one use and eventually cause lots of double feeds and othere feeding problems. The army knew this 30 years ago but ignored it.

      • There’s no reason for the body of the mag to be all steel. Steel is heavy, and rusts. Plastic works great, esp. reinforced with steel; but you do want steel for the feed lips.

        So, for ARs: Lancer L5 AW mags. Plastic body, steel feed lips formed from a single sheet.

        I also love the Bulgarian AK mags (which also exist in 5.56) – those are all plastic externally, but the entire magazine body is actually steel reinforced with plastic molded over it. The locking lugs are both steel, and so are the feed lips. It’s very durable yet light, and feeds very reliably.

        • Agree. I am waiting for the L7s to come out. I have experienced a few feeding problems with PMags if I fully load the magazines. Guessing to much resistance between the brass and the polymer. However I just don’t see feel any difference in the weights between steel, aluminum and PMags. Guess I’ve spent to much time in the gym through the years.

        • It’s pretty hard to feel the weight difference so long as it’s just one mag (well, aluminum ones are so stupidly light that you can definitely feel the difference between them and e.g. all-steel E-Landers). It’s a different picture when you have six and more.

          30-round E-Lander weighs 7.6 oz. 30-round Lancer L5 weighs 4.5 oz. One round of 55gr 5.56 is 0.4 oz. What this means is that, roughly speaking, for every 5 steel mags, if you replace them with L5, you would get an extra 30-round mag for “free” for the same weight profile.

          So the benefits are actually the bigger, the stronger you are and the more you can / are willing to carry. 12 mags instead of 10; 24 instead of 20.

          And there’s no such thing as “too much ammo”.

  28. Jesus Christ the amount of terrible information and retarded opinions here are staggering. Unless you have actually used the M16 or M4 in combat, just keep your mouth shut.

    • Yes, please Quinn.

      I honor you and thank you also for your service, if thats what you are alluding to.

      I don’t think ANY of the long-time reputable commenters here believe they have the “one true answer” on this topic, or another-

      but we all do share – even the humblest noob, like me,
      who would like to see other folks new and looking for the Truth About Guns to benefit from the learning curve I have gotten from others here.

      So, I too would like to hear what you have to say, specifically.

        • I was in the Marine Corps from 2002-2010. But this is the internet, so who gives a shit. Because nobody believes what you have to say anyways. I ran an A4 in my first deployment, and an M4 in my last two. With 262, they were more than sufficient and they ran fine given the conditions. My dad was in for 32 years, and he always preferred the M16 as well.

    • WOW!!! Ding Ding Ding- Noob Alert! bookmark that article!
      That article on maintaining the AR by Mr Pannone is
      what we old nasal radiators used to call “The Gouge”,
      Cliffs Notes for you academic types
      Chop List for you contractor types
      Bottomline for you finance types.

      thanks again Sean!

  29. How good or bad you believe the M16/M4 family to be depends largely upon what era you served, what round/powder was being used, how well you were trained on the weapon, where you served (jungle versus desert), the PMCS (Preventive Maintenance Checks & Services) discipline within your unit, and a host of other variables. My subjective opinion is that the M4 variants of today are far superior to the weapons of the M16A1 era both in terms of reliability and functionality. Please inform us all if you know of a single instance in this decade plus war where a U.S./NATO unit was rolled up in either Iraq or Afghanistan by enemy forces and the proximate cause was jammed M4s.

  30. I am confused by all this. The anti-gunners tell us that the civilian AR15 (a longer barreled, neutered version of the M4) is so lethal, so powerful and so efficient at killing it should be banned, but then these guys tell us the Gun is too weak, underpowered and unreliable. Well, which is it?

    • Well, some device has put a whole lot of 5.56 mm holes in a whole lot of dead enemy troops over the last half century and it wasn’t a phaser.

      • A buddy of mine was a Marine and spent a few tours over in Afghanistan. On one tour they had an army unit co-located with them. On afternoon 7 Taliban hit their perimeter. The 4 Taliban that attacked the Marines were killed with a few hundred rounds fired but the Army fired over 15,000 rds to kill 3. Put enough BB’s in the air and sooner or later your going to hit a bird enough times to kill it.

        • Really? Just 15,000 rounds? Coming from your Marine buddy, I’m surprised he didn’t say the Army wasted over 1 billion rounds to lightly wound the one Taliban attacker.

        • I’ve known this guy for a long time and I have been in the army and work for the army. I have no doubt this is true. Its the result of one group being taught suppressive fire vs being taught to actually engage the enemy. This crap started in Vietnam when we expended something like 10,000,000 rounds per enemy killed. And that’s using the inflated enemy casualty numbers. So I guess these guys are patting themselves on the back for being such great shots.

  31. I don’t understand the comments that an AR is a relatively inexpensive rifle. I don’t own an AR, and have fired one on only a couple of occasions. In California anyway, it is a varmint rifle only, not otherwise legal for hunting. So I never understood the draw in the first place. I can buy a brand new Savage with a Nikon scope in almost any caliber up to .30-06 for under $500–why would I spend at least $1000 to get a rifle that shoots as accurately–but has no sights?

    That said, and simply because Senator Deleon is an idiot who wants to ban unserialized lowers as evil “ghost guns” [despite the fact that until Jan 1 of this year, rifle purchases were not registered with the State–so why these homebuilts are special I have no idea] I built an 80% lower. With nothing more than a slightly improved trigger and a California bullet button, I am in almost $200. That was fun, and I appreciate some of the neat engineering that went into it, but I may never build an upper.
    If I put together the upper I want, the barrel alone will cost $300, the receiver at least $100 (or double that for a VLTOR), and a chromed or nickel boron BCG another $100-$200 plus, to say nothing of handguards or float tubes ($100 to $300), and sights (iron sights I’ve seen so far start at $100 each and I’d want a scope for my tired old eyes). I appreciate the almost infinite customizability of the platform, but $1000 and up for an accurate varmint gun with a 400 m range seems a bit rich; not exactly my idea of relatively inexpensive.

    • Just curious where you get the 400 yard range. The MK18MOD1 firing MK262 has had first round hit/kills at over 600 yards. And that has a 10.3 inch barrel. And one of NEST teams won a sniper competition using MK262 and a custom built rifle, and they had to make 1000yard shots.

      • Ya. I took a long range rifle class from that Navy Seal Sniper I might have mentioned, who had the AR guys hitting steel out to 5-600 yds, all civilian’s.

      • Because its damn hard to hit a small borrowing ground critter at 200, much less 400. And having no special training–read that NO training at long range shooting–I can’t imagine trying to hit anything beyond that range. In short, it is just an arbitrary max range.
        And maybe there are shots out to 600m, but the service effective range of the .223 is 300m, according to government sources I’ve read, although it can certainly toss a bullet further, it is slowing to mere wounding effectiveness. Which is why the Taliban generally tend to engage with their longer range .30 cal weapons at 600 yards–they are out of effective range of the M4.

        I sincerely doubt that anyone who was shooting targets with a .223 or 5.56 at 1000 yards (a) was not using a custom high twist barrel and (b) custom handloaded ammo. The MK 262Mod1 is just such a round, an 80 grain pill designed to be fired out of an accurized high pressure 18″ custom barrel, not your run of the mill bulk ammo, nor your average issue M16 or M4. Now we are talking about $3000 rifles, right?

        • Can’t remember the TM this comes from, so forgive me, but the published maximum range of an M16 against a point target (aka, an enemy soldier (according to the Army) is 500m and the maximum effective range against an area target (aka, a squad (again, according to the Army) is 800m.

          Granted, those figures come from “Common Tasks” type training that is designed to give officers and NCOs an idea of the capability of a weapons system, and they re based upon the level of training of the average soldier who only shoots out to 300m to qualify. They teach that stuff so you don’t p!ss away your ammo trying to engage with SAF at 1000m. Basically, you have to develop effective engagement areas where the weapons available to your team/squad/platoon/whatever can engage at the same time and to maximum effect (mass and volume of fire). If the guys on the .50 start firing at 1000m, they might actually hit something, but you just compromised your position, and you are going to have a bad day.

      • seans,
        I had to laugh at your post. First you are talking about highly trained snipers using top of the line weapons and not common soldiers who can seldom hit 350 meter targets that aren’t even shooting at them. Next just because these guys can hit a steel target at 600 and 1000 yrds doesn’t mean the bullet will do jack to the target. Our guys in Afghanistan have been reporting lots of hits at 800m with 7.62 and it didn’t put the bad guy down. That’s why the army is going to .300mags. How high above the target did the snipers have to aim to hit steel I’m guessing at least 10′.

        • If a guy can’t make a 350 yard shot with a 5.56 what makes you think he will hit with a 7.62 or any other round. And I have personally recovered the body of a guy who was shot at 630 yards and killed with a first round hit with a MK18MOD1 firing MK262. The guy crawled bout 7 yards from were he was hit before he died. I have also had to attend and treat a wounded Taliban who was hit center mass with a 300 win mag. He ended up living. And the advantage of a 300 win mag over a 7.62 is you can go about 600 more yards farther. Now if you wonder can a 5.56 kill you at a 1000 yards. Easy. Again proven real world thanks to the MK46 and the MK12. I am curious how much experience you have shooting military weapons and the improved ammo. And the MK262 isn’t some custom hand loaded ammo. Its been around for a while and is pretty easy to get in the service.

        • I’ve had a lot of experience shooting military weapons. And used to be quite good with everything .50 cal and below, Got in trouble once for using a 203 as a pinpoint weapon. Range folks didn’t like me doing center mass hit on target silhouettes. I don’t have any experience with the new ammo but remember your personal experience may not be typical. And from my own experience the average soldier can’t shoot that well even when people aren’t shooting back. The two biggest flaws of the AR platform has always been the ammo and the mags. Their has been better ammo than the flying icepick otherwise known as the SS109.

        • What can be accomplished with a 203 and a zeroed quadrant sight on a range is awesome. Unfortunately, in the field the sight snags everything.

          M855 would do a great job, if we were fighting the fight it was designed for. We aren’t, which is why there are new types of ammo being developed.

        • DJ, That’s the primary reason they changed the flash suppressor from open to closed in type on the original M-16. The M-16/AR family of rifles are so easy to shoot I still find it hard to believe so many people in the army are so minimally competent in shooting it.

    • Mark N. a small quibble, as it caught my eye on your reference to .223 not being legal in CA- I agree that it is more of a varmint round,

      but technically, .223 or 5.56 is perfectly fine, with the right tip-
      the rule for big game (deer, pigs, etc per my hunting reference) is:
      “may only be taken by rifles using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles; …”

      scroll down to Chapter Three: para 353

      and btw, this .223 ammo works good for guys who hunt hogs in the condor zone non-lead ammo required zones in northern CA:

      • I’d be afraid that an itty-bitty bullet like that would just make a big old hog mad! And the LAST thing I’d want to be anywhere NEAR is an angry wild boar. After all, they got big and fat eating California fruits and nuts, right?

  32. The military used to change arms fairly often before the Korean war, and for good reason: it wasn’t that hard. Now with a standing military (rather than mobilization army) the logistics of changing platforms is a nightmare… not only do you have to switch weapons (that’s a lot of weapons!) but think about having to rotate training to all the soldiers who know how to use the M16\M4. That’s why some other nations are able to have sexier guns they switch out every few years, it’s not as much of an investment. Then you have the testing… the army couldn’t even figure out how to replace the M9!

    So “good enough” sometimes has to be “good enough.”

    • I’ll disagree about how hard or expensive it is to move on to a more capable rifle. It would cost between one and two and a half billion dollars to switch into an HK G36 or similarly expensive rifle, depending on rifle cost and service/supply costs. That’s chicken feed. We spend a billion here and a billion there on “initiatives” that lead to nothing, and ‘green’ alternative energy companies just before they go broke.

      It’s this simple. “They can’t even figure out how to replace the M9.” Because they don’t really care, because the things are used “over there” somewhere, by Joe Sixpack. Oh, and because NATO, which means a new rifle without a new cartridge/caliber. So what exactly would the point be? Better to massively suffuse a second rifle throughout the combat arms. It could even be an AR-10 variant, a beefed-up AR-10 that can do select fire if required, but can reach out accurately on semi. It wouldn’t require any learning to speak of. How hard and expensive would that be? Easy. Cheap. Nah. Too much trouble!

      • We give away more money to other countries , no questions asked…..(we buy support same as the Romans did) that the issue of buying good anything is a JOKE on the American people and someone is making lots money off American blood…….We should have good rifles, ammo, vest,etc.. We need to wake up and get real world here in Amerika…….

        • It’s done in the name of “good will”; however, what can you name that engenders more ill will and outright enmity than war?

        • @ Burke

          Making remarks critical of Islam. Educating girls. Showing a tribal culture there is a better way of life than blindly doing what the sheik tells them to do.

          They hate and fear that more than war. That’s why we are at war.

  33. M4? M16? AK? All inferior.

    Give a man an M14 and he can conquer the world. Okay, he’ll need a lot of friends. But the M14 will shoot rings around the M16/M4/AK, and packs a much more powerful punch.

    So why are the M4, M16 and the AKs ruling the world? Because they are cheap. And when it comes to soldiers’ lives, cheap is the only thing that governments care about.

    Cheap guns for the troops to fight with, and cheap coffins in which to send them home.

    • I am just curious what your experience is with the M14 and M4. Have you used both in combat? Cause if you are looking to just out shoot a M4 or AK and be more powerful, why limit yourself to just 7.62. Why not just hump a .50 cal. I absolutely love the M14, used it in the Stan, was my first rifle I bought, and just love 7.62, but to say that it is all around better than the M4 is asinine. The one and only area that the M14 has no competitors is artic warfare. If you need a gun when its below zero. That’s the gun.

    • Dose of objective evidence: What weapon has dominated the service rifle competitions at Camp Perry for years? Hint: It’s not an M14, FAL, AK, Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator, etc.

      • Absolutely. The gun that you practice and qualify with will be the weapon you shoot well with in competitions. Obviously, the AR platform lends itself well to accurate shooting.

        It’s hard to argue with such success, in terms of accuracy.

    • But wait, there’s more!
      If the cheap gun leads to your cheap casket for the flight home, but you specified that you wanted to be cremated, don’t worry, they may have sent your remains to “Friends Forever Pet Cremation Service.” Because you were as loyal as a dog to the end, I suppose. No one noticed this “horrific oversight.” Because, I suppose, they were busy busy back in “the world” taking long weekends with their “opposites attract” intern. But seriously, “we’re sorry.”

    • Yes please tell us of your combat experience with the M14. About how its an amazing weapon for clearing tight areas, doesnt weigh a ton, and is really easy too modify and attach helpful devices

  34. Most the comments here are ridiculous and comical as is this article.

    The m16/ar15 depending on military or civilian version of different types, is one of the best rifle platforms in existence. The bogus inferior claims are from pre-1970 Vietnam era problems and most of those issues were not even about the design itself. The AR platform has been upgraded, modified and perfected today and IMO is thee best battle, range, self-defense rifle available. I shoot match and service rifle in AR .223/5.56 and have scoped and tactical AR’s. All perform better than all other rifle platforms that I have tried.
    I see people here talking M14, FAL and AK. While it is all about opinion and specific use it’s no surprise this article turned into a VS comment board.

    • You’re painting the comments with a rather broad brush, aren’t you? The comments varied, and a number had interesting or useful information. And if you’re a veteran, it goes without saying that you suffered at least some of the critical supply failures and inferior parts issues. No?

  35. For those of you who are new to firearms and wonder what all the fuss is about, let it be known that you have endured one of the Sacred Controversies of Gunland – an opera wherein members of the chorus exhange facts, hearsay, suppositions, and excited utterances. Should you purchase an AR15? Yes. If you are reading this you are probably a member of the militia (see U.S. Constitution, Federalist Papers, Anti-Federalist Papers, etc.) and you should know how to operate the primary military rifle of this nation.

      • Generally, yes. Although contributors who engage in persistent hearsay or who claim to have a medal in a vault in Langley that they are allowed to view once a year are required to wear a Pinocchio hat or be escorted by Fafner and Fasolt into Nibelheim.

  36. In the jungles of Vietnam, my father much preferred the AK’s reliability s to the AR’s accuracy. Plus a .30 cal round is much more effective in a dense jungle setting.

    ARs can work in battefiled conditions, but AK’s always work!

    • Che Guevara said the 12-gauge shotgun was the ideal jungle warfare weapon. I believe there is tremendous merit in that analysis. No fanboy of Che, but I think he was spot-on there.

    • AKs always work on the battlefield as long as that battlefield is less than 200 yards wide. It drops faster than a frat boy dropping English Lit class from his course schedule at 200.

  37. Why does the M4 suck?

    Because it just sucks.

    That’s what happens when its existence is based solely off the idea of forced compromise.

    Replace 9mm subguns at guard posts. Using a varmint round not meant to kill 180 lb animals. Shorter barrel with a faster twist after the fact. Known superior battle rifles shown to be superior but deemed not worth the added cost. Real ammo weighing too much. Lowering standards to help out smaller stature soldiers. Colt’s continued existence as a company.

    Its a plinker rifle not a battle rifle.

    • So the fact that Damneck and Cag still use the 5.56 as their go to round for a rifle, even though they have access to .300 blackout, 4.6x30mm, 7.62, 300 win mag, .338 lapua and god know what else they are currently testing right now, doesn’t mean anything to you. And what rifles do you know that were superior to the M4?

      • Im betting he doesn’t know anything, except what he reads on the internet. As I stated earlier, unless you have actual combat experience with this weapon system, don’t open your mouth. This isn’t about a hunting rifle or a ccw handgun. Its about a combat rifle that several of us here have actually used, therefore, unless you have carried it as well, and not some off the shelf AR, your opinion is worthless on the subject.

        • No, but they know quite a bit more than the man on the couch who is yelling at his tv watching the game. There is a difference. Owning an AR-15 doesnt make you in expert in every aspect of the M16/M4. Just like owning a guitar doesn’t make you a musician. Sorry but if you have no operational experience with a weapon, then EVERYTHING you say about it is second-hand. And thats the 100% truth

  38. Different strokes for different folks.
    HD and PP is a pocket pistol and a Mossberg 500C is next to the bed.
    Like Colt Match Target Lightweight (sorta M4) and my experience with that platform is very good in every regard. Never cared for the AK, but that’s okay. With some serious tuning I understand they can be made quite acceptable – though the struggle with weight is hard to overcome.
    Both firearms are effective killers if it comes down to that.
    I still see a version of M1A in my future.

  39. Wow…love all the arm chair commandos. Having used the “faulty” semi auto variant while working as a security contractor, and as a LEO, I jave never never seen the jammomatic problems so many hear keep ranting about.

    And having seen Marines in action guarding us, I KNOW the M16a4 can be LETHAL out 500 m, and the M4 accurate and lethal to at least 400m( the AKM loses major steam after 300m)

    People jear need to ranting about the past failures of the system and stop bed wetting on the fact that the 5.56 rd is not a .30 cal beast-it was NEVER designed to be that. Its quite amazing that I and many others can kill 200 to 250 lb wild pigs, with tough hides,and hard bones with 5.56 x45 , yet people keep ranting about how “weak” the round is! The mk 262 and 318 loads have solved that problem, but M855 still does the job as well.

    For those who rant about the tragic battle of Wanat to prove the M4 sucks, realize this, less than 5 weapons went down that day, and one was a heavy machine gun hit with rocket grenade fire-the battle went side ways becuase of BAD tactical planning, and the unit coming under withering fire by a LARGER attacking force, not because the M16s and M4s used by our troops failed! Even with overwhelming enemy forces, and the loss of 9 plus US soldiers, the defenders still drove the enemy taliban forces off.( no one talks about the enemy casualties
    The gallant soldiers inflicted on the taliban)

    You cannot push and M4 carbine, or even a AKM or,AK74 to do what a full blown machine gun, like an m240 or even a SAW can do!

    For modern combat,which is often MORE than rifle against rifle, or in todays terms, automatic carbine against automatic carbine, the M-16 family still holds its own! The SCAR is a waste of money( tax payers can arm 4 soldiers or marines with M16s for the price of one SCAR), and newer foriegn designs like the G36, TAVOR and the Italian ARX haven’t provided that much appreciable performance to say they M4a1 is out classed( the IDF is still deploying troops in the front line with M4s and its amazing that “knife edge” fighters like israeli troops who fight in dirty desert conditions all the time aren’t WHINING about dumping the M4!

    Even the soviets are still fielding their M4 equivalent, the AK74 as attempts to replace it(AN 94, AK 12) have been less than stellar-the 5.45x 39 and 5.56x 45 roughly perform the same, depending on the load used.

    Problems I have always seen are the known achilles tendon of the M16/AR 15 family-dry gun, piss poor cleaning, and BAD mags. With the exception of cleaning in adverse conditions, and extra can of CLP( which isnt hard to carry in the field) and serviceable mags, will keep the gun running .( funny note-showed this article,to a friend who is a former russian paratrooper-he said that when he was deployed in the 1st chechen conflict, his fellow troops were chided by their NCOs for failing to keep their AK74s cleaned,as some had “failed” due to poor maintenance! He also told me that troops complained about the “stopping power of the 5.45” and wanted the AKM in 7.62, but some complained about how heavy the AKM was with ammo load out compared to the AK74, and about how they couldn’t shoot ad far with the 7.62x 39 as they could with the AK74;Kasaryan said he never heard anyone talk about carrying a dragunov or moisin nagant like posters here whine about how troops,should carry the M14 or FAL)

    Soldiers gripes( food, sleep, monotony, fear, better weapons) are the same worldwide, but unlike our western short sightedness, nobody else is trying to go back to archaic solutions to a modern problem…

  40. There is an easy answer for me. I say pick what you want to carry and shoot. If it works keep it, if it doesn’t try something else. The military should use the same idea. Let the men and women carrying them decide what they want and issue that to them.

    I bought an S&P M&P10, next came the new mags & ammo, next the parts that might fail and tools to install them. Then I hit the range and sandpits and fired about five hundred rounds. It worked like advertised and I haven’t experienced any failures. Yes the ammo is heavy, but it flat out works. It is my battle rifle.

    I will do the same with 7.62×39 in the future (got an LAR 49 on order.) I may switch primary weapons, I may not. But it will be my choice not some nameless, paper pushing logistic types and they better pray I get it right or they will get over-run!

    So I’ve decided to use 30 cal ammo in an AR platform. Figure the more I know about the AR the better I’ll be when SHTF. There will be lots of .223/5.6 ammo and weapons laying around to use, if you want to that is.

    The perfect rifle squad has the majority using 5.6 in whatever weapon they want. I favor the Tavor. then 2-3 people in 7.62×51, again in what they want. the machine guns can be doubled duty into those weapons.

    I already said the perfect weapon is what the soldier decides is right for them. There is a reason for that. They have to have confidence in what they use, or else. Give it to them!

    As for the logistic nightmare, so be it. We need to do this for those kids, fighting for our freedom and their survival. Not doing it for either, too expensive or the liberal point of view, is stupid and only gets them killed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here