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In late April, the United States Army announced that they’ll be replacing the M4 and other M16-based rifles with the SIG Sauer MCX SPEAR, chambered for new ammunition, the 6.8x51mm Common Cartridge (AKA .277 SIG Fury).

The change will be limited to close combat forces, defined as basically anyone who gets in line-of-sight with the enemy, while support forces and others who are armed will stick with the M4 and 5.56x45mm NATO.

This move has generated a fair amount of criticism from gun and military writers, YouTubers, and others who are aware of the history of the U.S. service rifle in the 20th century. Following World War II, it became apparent that the M1 Garand rifle needed improvement to better serve the armed forces. Experiments included replacing the eight-round en block clips with 20-round box magazines. The military was impressed. That led to a long design process, where other improvements to both gun and ammunition were made. The result was the M14 rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm.

The military didn’t stick with the M14 for long. After less than a decade, it became clear that many soldiers just couldn’t handle the power when the weapon was placed in full-auto. It was also heavy and its wood stock didn’t hold up well in Vietnam’s humid environment. Worse, soldiers found themselves struggling to maintain fire superiority over enemy forces, who were using variants of the AK-47, chambered in a lower-powered intermediate cartridge (7.62x39mm). The AR-15’s lighter weight and lighter ammunition allowed soldiers to not only pack lighter, but carry and fire more ammunition. Its weaker round and buffer system proved to be a lot more controllable, too. By 1970, the AR-15 became the M16 and replaced most M14 rifles in the field.

Critics of the XM5 say that we’re basically going back in time and making the same mistake the military did with the M14. The 6.8x51mm ammunition is even more powerful than the M14’s 7.62×51/.308 Winchester ammunition, so the problem could end up being even worse. Some are even predicting that the Army will do what they did with the M14, and decide to ditch 6.8x51mm for another round later. But, it will be cheaper and easier because the XM5 can be quickly rebarelled and magazines can get a new follower to hold something else.

This historical lesson does raise the question of why the military moved from an intermediate round to a battle rifle round in the first place. The given answers I’ve seen from official sources indicate two things: The first one is that the new XM157 self-adjusting and networked 1-8x optic will reduce the need for more shots by making every shot more accurate. The second reason given is that the Army is preparing to face off against near-peer adversaries who have rifles that outperform AR-15/M16-based weapons. Unofficial, but very credible, explanations include lack of performance in Afghanistan and Iraq when taking long shots.

If you look at global service rifles, it’s pretty clear who they’re talking about when they say they chose the 6.8x51mm to counter near-peer adversaries. There are only two countries that could reasonably be considered near-peer: Russia and China. Russia’s rifles are mostly still chambered in the 5.45x39mm cartridge, an improvement of Vietnam-era ammunition with a smaller bullet to get closer to AR-15 performance, so they’re definitely not who the Pentagon is talking about. This process of elimination only leaves China.

While anyone can order a SIG MCX SPEAR and learn all about the XM5, it’s not easy at all to learn about China’s latest rifle: the QBZ-191 (and its variants, the QBZ-192 and QBU-191). Not only do they not let just anyone in China shoot it, but there’s an import ban on Norinco rifles in the United States, so we can’t get our hands on one even if they sold it and we wanted to buy it. Even information about the rifle has been very slow to trickle out onto the internet.

But, years of trickling can add up, and a video I recently found sheds a lot of light on the rifle:

There’s also a second video that updates some errors in the first video and provides more information that has trickled out since 2021:

It’s worth watching the whole of both videos, but there are a few key takeaways:

First off, the PLA and Norinco have abandoned the unique QBZ-95 bullpup design and basically went with their own variant of the AR-15. The separate upper and lower modular design, the use of a buffer tube, and even the trigger group (especially in the early prototypes before they went more in the direction of AK FCGs) all point to lessons learned from the U.S. service rifle. They even ripped off Magpul magazines for the most part. They’re using an optic very similar to the ACOG. The only truly substantive difference is that they went with a piston instead of direct impingement, but the civilian market has been experimenting with piston ARs for some time.

In other words, they’re doing what they almost always do: copy successful designs from other countries, tweak it a bit (it has a pretty decent side-charging handle system and a more durable bolt), and put it in mass production. But, to be fair, nearly all military rifles are variants or derivatives of the AKM, AR-15, or AR-18 these days, so China is hardly the only country doing this.

We also learn that at least some variants of the QBZ-191 will be issued with a wirelessly-connected optic that can allow an unknown set of advanced capabilities. It’s pretty clear that the XM157 optic and augmented reality helmet are an answer to this.

The other key difference from the M16 and M4 is that the QBZ-191 uses a higher-caliber round, the 5.8x42mm. This ammunition has been in use since the late 1980s, but has seen a lot of improvement over time. But, for the first 30 years of the cartridge’s life, most defense experts didn’t think that a war between the U.S. and China was very likely in the near-term. With more aggressive political moves in Hong Kong and more aggressive military moves in the South China Sea and near Taiwan, the chances of such a conflict seem a lot higher than they have in the past.

Specifics aren’t yet known, but we do know that the latest iteration of the 5.8x42mm round has better medium to long-range performance than earlier versions. This left the Pentagon with a need to outperform that ammunition and rifle. Whether the overwhelming difference in power is going to be advantageous or too much for effective use in the field is still an open question.


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    • Truly lovely video but it’s actually been around since before these ATF fishing expeditions started. IIRC the fed was there to reclaim a gun that had mistakenly been transferred to a felon, and said felon’s family called the police.

    • Was he a sworn Federal Agent, or a compliance agent? The lesson to be learned here is; when interacting with uniformed, armed LEO, (especially if they’re pointing weapons at you), do what they say. I don’t care if you’re a Federal Agent, or a citizen, same as the LEO. Do what you’re told. If everything is 10-8 you’ll get dusted off and an apology and a handshake. It happened to me once. Ended up in a class with the guy at the academy a couple of years later. Laughed about it in the cafeteria over lunch. But, no make no mistake about it, he was about to kill me.

    • Wow.
      Ego can get you hurt.

      “My wife is pregnant “ is just one weird thing to say to avoid cuffs.

    • Now that was just too funny. “I’m a Federal Agent!” In that case, Taze his a$$ as SOP. LMAO.

      Thank you for sharing.

      • An infantry company in the GWOT likely fielded the 9X19, 5.56, 7.62NATO, 300WM, 50BMG and one or two weapons platforms that fired the 40mm grenade. If it was a Bradley unit, put in the Bushmaster 25mm as well (the only thing worth having a Bradley for, and it made up for everything else). Plus mortars. SOCOM units may have also had the 338LM and 338NM, 45acp, and some tried all sorts of stuff.

        • Well if (key word there) the 6.8 outright replaces the 7.62 systems and the SAW in one go it would simplify some logistics if only by not having to deal with linked 5.56 and two light machine guns. I doubt it would displace 300wm but I guess it’s possible if they really want to dial back different calibers. SOCOM will absolutely continue to do whatever it wants/makes sense to them. But we will still have all the other equipment you mentioned and likely more if we do mess around with actual near peers.

        • I saw that MG in 300WM and I thought that was cool. So drop the 7.62 for SAW, drop the 5.56 and carry only 9mm, 6.8, 300WM, 50BMG, and 25mm. But truth is the vehicle holds a lot of ammo.

  1. They need a good mushrooming bullet in our guns, for them… one shot and a sudden drop…must ensure zero chance of any of them returning to the battlefield…

  2. Absolutely awesome Jimmy Beam. The federal agent got exactly what he deserved. Too bad they didn’t have a canine with them. Since he’s white they should have ground his face in the sidewalk, no media coverage.

  3. As much as I love rifles and would love to have a civilian copy of the new rifle, I doubt much of the fighting with China will involve guns and bullets. Probably far more likely to see computer hackers trying to disrupt utilities, commerce, and military capabilities.

    I don’t know if their nerds are better than ours, but I know their population is a lot tougher and willing to make do without.

    Turn off the power in any major city and we will destroy it ourselves within a few days. Interrupt the fuel pipelines and watch the supply chain crumble and the supermarket shelves empty within a few more days. On and on, any small thing will be magnified.

    I can’t do anything for for the general population, but anyone who is reading this think about what you need to keep on hand to rough it for at least a few weeks. The more prepared you are, the less you’ll have to suffer. And it’s so easy today to turn on the water tap and fill up a few gallons of water or go to the store and buy a few extra cans of food. If you have to pack that same water from your nearest source and purify it and grow the food that went in those cans that might be equal to one exhausting day of work.

    • Most of us won’t even know we’re in a war. It’ll all be hack attacks, satellite mishaps, unforseen resource shortages due to climate change, hurricanes or Godzilla, typical elected official boondoggles and the MSM will be happy to misdirect and force focus on petty culture war stuff. Any mainland attacks or incidents will get blamed on domestic enemies.

      WWI and II had major affects on day to day lives. Vietnam and Korea not so much unless you were drafted or a protesting hippy. The GWOT went mostly unnoticed. The next one, or current one, will be a backroom affair of suspicious “accidents”, corporate partnerships, political payola and questionable bills that for all intents and purposes isn’t even happening.

      Shit, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out we’ve been essentially at war for the last five or so years. We could lose it bigly and thanks to China’s hand being in everything stateside not one thing would be any different than it is today. Maybe we already lost.

      • While I would tend to agree and Ukraine is a pretty good example of that, where people don’t seem to recognize that the real war isn’t in Ukraine but is rather fought mainly in FX at this point there’s a limit to that.

        If the Chinese start to lose internal control, and there are signs that this may be happening, the historical move is to create an external issue to focus the population.

        And historically, war’s not a bad choice.

    • “I don’t know if their nerds are better than ours, but I know their population is a lot tougher and willing to make do without.”

      It’s not 1950 cooter. Their pamper princelings are largely worthless as troops.

      • I have been told the middle class teens are useless lazy spoiled etc.
        country boys still good though.

    • Are their nerds better than ours?

      Depends on what you mean by better.

      In terms of technical proficiency they’re not bad.

      Capable of independent critical thinking? For most that’s a big “no”. Mostly they need their hand held on that.

      Some are alright in this vein. Their graduate students are fuckin’ strange to work with. Their behavior reminds me of reading old Catholic philosophy where you can tell the author knew the next logical step but wouldn’t take it because it would get him killed.

      These people tend to think inside a box that, honestly, I don’t really understand because I don’t have a deep knowledge of Chinese culture. They certainly display a capacity for going outside the box in some cases but they kneecap themselves in odd ways.

      Overall I rate it as a serious handicap. They tend to think in well worn patterns and not outside of them. When instructed to do so they struggle because critical thinking isn’t something they’ve ever been allowed to engage in, which considering how the CCP operates, ain’t surprising.

      Any totalitarian state has a certain strength in rapidly martialing force to a determined point. They don’t tend to be flexible which is a major drawback if their enemy is flexible.

      Watching Koreans and Chinese interact within a science department is fuckin’ crazy. Both tend to be smug towards the other and both are smart but the Koreans have a certain freedom of inquiry and action that the Chinese do not.

      Put it this way, between a Korean and a Chinese doctor, if you’ve got a complicated case that might seriously impact, or end, your life, take the Korean 10,000 times out 10,000 options presented.

    • The Chinese are going to invade CONUS. Their guy is in the WH.
      I suggest watching the videos completely and familiarizing oneself with the enemies small arms for use as battlefield pickups.

    • “I don’t know if their nerds are better than ours…”

      I believe the vast Chinese population has already answered that. According to a stat I read a few years back, there are more Chinese with IQs over 125 than there are Americans, total.

      Add to that the huge number of Chinese students taking classes in the US university and small college system. If you drive through the campus of the small college where I prof a bit (same town as Brownell’s location) and check out the students walking around, you’ll think you’re somewhere in Asia. Mostly Chinese. Much of that is likely to get young students aclimated to the American way of life as a means of defeating or overriding it.

      Pretty certain all students heading to the US schools are well-vetted by the ChiComs ahead of time.

      • The biggest challenge facing American companies making anything for the warfighter, or even our critical infrastructure, is the lack of American born engineers, ones capable of getting a TS clearance. It’s the absolute top of everyone’s concern in those industries.
        Now we have a mass of idiots, especially ones who think they are conservatives, who are encouraging kids not to get a degree. This is how the ChiComs win.

  4. People aren’t nearly as motivated when they are draftees vs volunteers. They don’t like the ccp anymore than we do. If you mention Vietnam remember we found the biggest pieces of shit we could find to support.

  5. What happened to the “combine arms” mindset? There should be a mix of weapons available for the task at hand. I would expect an infantry company to have a couple grenadiers in it’s ranks, carrying a shotgun equipped with a grenade launcher. There should be a couple sappers, basically riflemen who carry explosives. Maybe half the troops should be carrying M16 assault rifles. Some troops should be carrying a heavier rifle, that can reach out and touch someone at 1 mile ranges. And, the company should have a crew served weapon of some type, usually a mortar, or even two.

    When the military decides to put all it’s eggs in one basket, and insist that everyone is going to carry the same weapon, they have obviously forgotten lessons from the past. Commanders need options, starting at squad and platoon levels, all the way up through the lardarses at the Pentagon.

    I say, go ahead and buy these new rifles, and issue them to 20% of the troops to start with. Let the troops and the commanders decide how effective they are. Time will tell whether you ultimately equip only 20% of personnel, or 80% with the newest weapon. Or, maybe it gets an all-around thumbs down from everyone who touches it, and outright reject it.

    • Australia had mixed SLR and M16s in sections, so not unusual. This was common from the 1960s to well into 1980s when the Steyr AUG was getting issued.

      Look at the fit out of US units in WW2. .30-06, .30 carbine, and .45ACP.

  6. That was a silly article. The 6.8x51mm was an Army creation, because they tried and failed to duplicate the ballistics of the 7.62×39 round with the 6.8 SPC and 6.8 SPCII. Nothing magical about 6.8mm. All the videos you see of this gun is with the (please don’t break the gun) “Practice Ammo”, not the 80,000 to 100,000 PSI AP Ball Ammo. I guess the Army designed M855A1 didn’t break enough rifles, so they made a bigger and “Better” way to break a new rifle.

    We already know that the M995 AP round can penetrate most Level IV armor and it was designed to defeat the hard armor of the Russian BRDM-2 Combat Reconnaissance/Patrol Vehicle. What we need is a longer for caliber, non-tungsten core, high velocity round traveling at 4,000 FPS out of a 14.5″ barrel. The weight will likely be around 35 grains or so. With a rear AP core and a polymer nose cap, we can achieve tumbling and fragmentation in soft targets. We can do this while maintaining the SAAMI 55,000 PSI.

    The new ammo would weigh less, so you can carry more and likely require a barrel change and maybe a new magazine follower. All troops could be equipped with it. This is all within existing technology and is easily done.

    Even if we need to go back to a 18″ or 20″ pencil barrel, like the original 7 pound M16 had, its better than this useless beast the Army wants to field. The big weakness in the M16/M4 is the strength of the bolt and carrier, but if you stay with pressure and have a reasonable bolt velocity, you should be 100% fine.

    The optic sight is also a joke. An ACOG with the ACSS Aurora Reticle is all you need for day time. All the math is on the glass, zero it, true it at 300 of 400 meters and you are done. At night we use NODs with infrared lasers to aim. It’s all relatively simple, proven and way cheaper than this $15,000 “Wonder Sight”.

    Whomever wrote the specs for this project and approved it is not a “Trigger Puller” and they all need to be drummed out of the service and they can go back to working in human resources or accounting. IDIOTS.

    • Might want to check on the m995 as quite a few lv4 plates as well as surplus ESAPI plates less than a decade old have stopped it at contact distance from 16inch barrels (hoping to hear more testing at 18 and 20). Will destroy level 3 plates and lower quality 4 but for better built plates m993 is more reliable……..or shooting around the plate.

      • Tech continues to evolve. No weapon can solve all problems and to try is a fools errand. A hardened steel core at very higher velocity is likely better than a bigger diameter projectile at the same or less velocity.

        Also, in a real fire fight, you’re shooting where you think the enemy is located, as people don’t stand around waiting to get shot and go to ground as soon as the first shot is fired. Most of the time in the desert you’re shooting at the dust clouds kicked up by their muzzle blasts. Pin them in place, flank them and kill them. Been the same for 100’s of years.

        Infantry combat over 250 meters is rare. In some environments, yes you can see longer ranges, but for average grunts, good luck getting hits past 400 meters, even with 4x optics, 600 meters tops.

        Belt fed machine guns and mortars are better at longer distances to attrit the enemy.

        • Those smart mortars seem cool. Little fins bring it to the exact selected point.
          So with range finder with heading data automatically fed in, you drop say a 60mm on it quite quickly.

        • Where things are heading I wonder if cheap drones with grenades are more likely to be the ubiquitous light artillery.

        • “Infantry combat over 250 meters is rare.”
          Negative. Average initial engagement distance for my units in Afghanistan was 400 meters. This experience was shared by a whole lot of units and drove the requirements for the wide range of new rounds tried over the last 20 years.

        • You have to remember that yes, Afghanistan had some some long distances. The Taliban would open up on the Afghan National Army with PKM bursts. The stupid Afghan Army would shoot at the dirt, expend all or most of their ammo, get flanked and get killed. U.S. Troops didn’t act like that.

          The mistake all Nations make is to prepare for the last war. The solution to being hit by long range area fire is to maneuver out of the kill zone, reply with mortars or other long range ordinance, not to shoot blindly with big heavy rifles. If you sit still and let them pin you in place, you die.

          Taiwan, NATO, Singapore and the battles in Mexico are not going to be fought at long ranges. The Middle East and the “Stans” don’t matter to America anymore, so we are not going back there.

  7. Seems to yet another complication, especially for the Military supply chain. That’s now at least three different RIFLE calibres ONE the NATO 5.56 then there TWO is the ammo issued to SNIPERS and supporting SHARPSHOOTERS or Section Marksmen that has to be by definition capable of a far greater ACCURATE range which means a heavier round and larger calibre [ I’d say at least 7.62mm or .300 and now we have this. One thing is for sure the calibre will now become the latest and unnessessary ‘must have’ for the gun obsessed

    • “One thing is for sure the calibre will now become the latest and unnessessary ‘must have’ for the gun obsessed”

      In the US, better to be “gun obsessed” than gun control/gun ban obsessed… Of course, your Crown would never allow that, they’re now even jailing people for putting up memes on the internet social media. How quaint.

  8. I think there’s a lot to dissect here with this new round. I can see why the army wants to go to a bigger round with longer range considering there’s been a few changes to warfare over the last two decades. Namely body armor and optics.

    Last I checked China has not issued body armor en masse to its troops and claims body armor is “dampens morale”. This probably will change soon especially if it goes to war with the US. China can likely start producing level IV plates rather quickly. China does not care one bit about expending millions of its soldiers lives for victory, but it will likely conclude body armor improves combat effectiveness.

    Optics have also increased the range and accuracy ability of soldiers beyond the historical norm. I believe the world is actually returning to a state of WW1 like warfare as not only rifles with optics, but stand off weaponry and vehicle destroying weaponry have become quite prevalent. I think we will see combat at longer distances then we’re used to. It will also be a slower pace of war, and less mobile. We’re in a state much like the early 20th century when doctrine, armor, and transport haven’t caught up with technology yet. Moving huge forces fast, WW2 style, will result in incredible causalities. We’re going to see a lot of digging in, heavy artillery/rocket bombardments, and more infantry based assaults.

    Having said all that, I can see why the army wants a new round for this perceived change in warfare. However I’m still not sure if I agree or not. Going from assault rifle to full on battle rifle might be a step too far in that direction. And for the record I actually love battle rifles. But they are large and heavy and you get less ammo. Judging from my own experience, I have a feeling this rifle is only going to get even heavier with the amount of other shit the army is going to want to hang off of it. Just recently I read they’re ditching the polymer mags for steel ones. Having personally lugged around the 100 lbs of shit in Iraq as infantry, I don’t like what I’m seeing here. Warfare may get less mobile but you still need mobility.

    I think they should’ve gone with a bigger round, but one that kept the rifle in assault rifle territory. Mobility and volume of fire isn’t going to go away even in long distance trench warfare.

    • The plastic case version of this is a weight saver.
      I think they said also that the reduced heat transfer permits lighter barrels.
      I see the SIG site describes this round as stainless steel head onto a brass case then the usa ammo maker with the plastic cases implies he has the contract.
      The plastic ammo is very light.

      • Forgive my ignorance on polymer cased rounds, I know next to nothing about these, but can they hold up under the high pressure of this new round?

        • The website says yes, but in one place described a SAAMI cert to only 65,000 psi. It 80,000.
          Then they mention it’s magnetic. So I’m guessing there is a thin steel liner in there.
          If I find the energy I’ll look for some patents to see what those say.
          I also can’t imagine pure polymer cases not squirting. Maybe stabilized with ceramic fibers? Anyway they seem to work.

      • The Plastic ammo requires new ammunition plant equipment. The SIG Hybrid Steel and Brass cased ammo is a good idea, as the case is lighter than a pure brass case and can contain higher pressures. The Army is opening a new line to make the 6.8×51 rounds, so as not to disrupt current production lines.

        Everyone needs to remember that the new M5 Rifle has a 13″ barrel and it’s not a DMR, but supposed to be used by “Special Troops” for CQB. The LMG is different and set up for suppressive fire and could easily be produced in 7.62×51, instead of the 6.8x 51. It weighs half of what the M240B weighs and less than the M249, so as a squad weapon it would be a good replacement for the M249.

        The real star is the new 338 LMG that should become the new MMG, replacing the M240B and 7.62×61 round. It could also be used for sniper rifles as well. It has the ability to penetrate LVL IV armor at range and is slightly shorter than the combat proven 3398 Lapua Mag ammo. The empty weight is around 2 pounds less than the M240B unloaded and the cartridge uses a conventional brass case. Right now only 338 AP Lapua and 50 BMG Ball can reliably defeat LVI IV armor at range.

  9. I read or heard somewhere on one of youT or firearms blog that some of the changes made to ammunition is the type of armor the Chinese troops might be sporting. Something about titanium plates.?? I really can’t proof it. But it smacks of some logic. I’m told that there is a new round taking place of the green tip.??

  10. The 6arc would have done perfectly…Spec ops and Devgru tested them in Afganistan… good Lethality and accuracy past 800 yards… good barrier buster….a new upper to existing lowers… very little learning curves…

  11. I do have a question. This 6.8X51mm? Are we going to shove it down NATO’s neck like we did the 7.62 NATO, or trade pistol calibers with them to get them to adopt 5.56mm. It doesn’t matter. The U.S. military is reinventing the wheel. Again. .308/7.62 is already there. No R&D. All you have to do is go shoot our enemies with it.

  12. Sorry, I thought I heard you call Russia a “near-peer” country for a second there. I must have been mistaken because it’s obviously not. Not even close.

      • I wonder how well China would do in a conflict. They have only experience in prison camps etc. like Tibet and Muslim minorities. Their good at killing civilians like that video when the ram a burst into the ambulance at Tianmien Square. Around 1982 Vietnam kicked their butts bad despite China using its Harriers. China has vast numbers of men and equipment. I always thought the Taiwanese wouldn’t fight back but I also thought the Ukrainians would surrender so maybe I’m wrong here too.

  13. IIRC, this was China’s Olympic display. This tech will be used if we get into it with them. Imagine each carrying a small anti-personnel explosive, AI assisted, and US Ground troops as mass. Hoping fully that DARPA is making a counter.

    • Israel countered and made drones like this obsolete as a weapon more than two years ago.

      More recently they’ve even figured out a “return to sender” version of the tech.

      • I am astounded how Russia still takes hit from commercial drones. These have no hardening against jamming or spoof. From what I read they have a quantity of a rig that triangulated the location of the drone and the control station but not nearly enough of these. Drone detection by hand held radar isn’t difficult as the clear sky has no back scatter. So the field radar from the 1970’s can scan the sky. The best answer is bad logistics. USA is just awesome in this area. How good is China?

        • You’re talking about a country that makes a big deal that it’s new radar can detect incoming stealth aircraft.

          Uh, can you lock them? No, you can’t. You’re getting a position on them maybe 1% of the time. Ruskies could do that to the B2 for much longer periods of time.

          And dumbfuck sinophiles think this means they can shoot down anything we throw at them… ugh. No, the way this works is you either shut down your radar to avoid having it taken out or you leave it up and have it taken out.

          Worse, from the CCP’s point of view, on top of that the CCP still mostly uses ground control for their fighter wings. We went away from that in… like Korea.

          So, when we smoke your radars or you shut them down… well, either way your pilots are blind and have no combat experience. This is a recipe for everyone who’s a fighter stick jock in the Navy to be an Ace inside of a week.

          That considered, how good do you think their logi is for the shit they make that doesn’t work half the time? I mean, I’m old enough to remember them bragging about a hypersonic ship missile with a range of 1000km that’s accurate enough to hit a target… over 3km in diameter

  14. I have often wondered why the Americans have never invented or marketed a .23 caliber. The Chinese Caliber makes sense while the new American 6.8 caliber is laughable. It will not be controllable in full auto.

    The Chinese had sense enough to make their assault rifle with a piston as well.

    Advice to the Hillbilly Military Ordnance people, just use your heads for once and adopt the Chinese caliber and the Chinese rifle. Nahh that would be too sensible and easy.

    • Incorrect. The new rifle is designed with close aligned thrust vs shoulder interface to avoid climb. The strange looking suppressor is a part of recoil control.
      The improved ballistics come from the plastic case not sucking as much energy from the powder. The energy is very high so much better at defeating vehicles and body armor.
      Let’s see if it really gets fielded, it’s early yet.

  15. I rather take issue with the claim that the QBZWTFBBQ gun is using a “higher caliber round.” 5.8×42 vs 5.56×45, they’re basically identical. 5.8 DBP87 is 64 gr, 3100 fps, 1324 ft-lbs. 5.56 M855A1 is 62 gr, 3150 fps, 1371 ft-lbs. At least as far as a quick Wikipedia search shows. Same for DBP88 “heavy bullet” vs MK262 ammo. And the 5.8 DBP round was the issue caliber for the QBZ in China already.

    By my measurements, the 5.8 round is not what made Big Army buy a new gun and caliber. Given the ballistics, I think this is the army doing what it does best, getting ready to fight the last war just in time for the next one. This is a long range package, meant to push engagements out beyond 500 yards, which is where the M16 struggled in the mountains of Afghanistan. See also the need for all the bells and whistles in the optic, something utterly unnecessary for the advertised use of 2-300 yards against near-peer armored targets but critical for longer ranges where increased flight time exaggerates deviations into misses. At those shorter distances, especially with a barrel burner of a cartridge like this, an ACSS reticle and good old Kentucky windage will work just fine and wont crash with the next software update.

    The M5 should be issued alongside the M4/M16 as a DMR rifle, something with a little extra oomph to reach out and touch somebody while the squad closes to fighting range. Heavier, with fewer rounds on loadout is not a winning plan for general issue.

    • My guess is that’s what will happen in the end. The M5 will become the new squad designated marksman rifle after an initial failure as a general purpose rifle.

      However, the Sig LMG is outstanding. Lighter than the SAW but with equal recoil, longer range than the M240 but with lighter ammo.

  16. My big question with the PLA is how well they swim into battle.

    Can they do, say, 50kts and then storm a beach? If not, Harpoon beats rifle and swimming beats drowning.

  17. Lol @ Russia being a near peer.

    Those guys can’t even take on a bunch of wheat farmers in Ukraine without a 1-5 K/D ratio.

    • Can you imagine showing up with many of their AFV equipped with infrared night vision (with the IR searchlight)!?!
      Then huge shortage of body armor?
      Chinese tires?
      Cheap walki talkies from Walmart?
      Shortage of drone jammers so they are losing men to crap commercial drones dropping grenades.
      All the good stuff not available due corruption.
      Russia looks so bad to all their pals in China, RPK, Syria.

  18. jwtaylor

    Hi, I would love to hear the details of this regarding engaging at 400 meters with M4 etc., what was that like? Which optic did you have and did it make ranging easy ? Did you have laser rangefinder available? Did you see dust puffs or such? We’re you mostly firing to suppress or was the intent to neutralize ? How far out could you get the 40mm grenades ? Did you ever use the Carl Gustav with down burst anti personnel feature?
    Sorry for the over enthusiasm, it’s just so good to hear from experience.

  19. 7 mm Mauser quietly waiting in the wings since 1898. A nice, flat shooting cartridge which took down many Americans in Cuba and Brits in South Africa.

    • I love my little Boer 7 mm carbine.
      The owners name is scribed on it, “Hume” I think. I looked up the name and there was a “Hume” in charge of a concentration camp.
      Might explain the good condition of the rifle.

  20. The cool trick if the 6.8 is the thermodynamic benefit of the case having poor thermal conductivity and low specific heat: it’s plastic so doesn’t suck up energy. This means that the same charge of propellant delivers more energy to the projectile.
    I am guessing they picked 6.8 to balance bullet sectional density for the wanted energy at desired ranges and armor defeat.
    A 5.56 can only get so long before its aero goes bad (I need to read about this again). A 7.62 mm bullet has more drag from sectional area. I’ll go read some more to see what it says about retained energy at farther distances. But it does sound like a very effective round. I think they said that 100 rounds of 6.8 weighed less than 100 rounds of 5.56. The reduced barrel heating implies that a SAW using this can fire more before overheating. I don’t know how the plastic could survive in a hot chamber in closed bolt gun.

  21. No, but possibly they would sell new empties at an ok price.
    The stainless steel head, aluminum crimp thing with brass case I wonder if could be reloaded.
    This thing runs crazy pressures – the article said 80000 psi, way over typical proof pressures.

  22. The Chinese navy surpasses the USN in 2026 (dated estimate; might be sooner now) in amphibious and other capabilities. Xi Jinping has made it very clear that the “final chapter of the revolution” will be completed before the CCP’s centenary, and at age 69 he has also made it clear that he is not going to leave this up to his successor.
    War with China is inevitable (although not imminent).
    So get ready for a wild ride, kids! Buy semi-conductors NOW because inside of a decade, you won’t be able to buy s**t.

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