Monday, October 12, 2009

The M4: A substandard Firearm for the finest fighting force

Is it heresy? Is it it un-American? Is it wrong to say that the weapons we give to our army personnel suck? According to an AP article in the Des Moines Register, the M4 has had failures in the battlefield that have cost lives.

This is nothing new. The M-16 has had it's share of failures in the battlefield too, and that is what the M4 is based on. What is unbelievable to me is that after 12 years of the M4 and how many decades of the M-16, that we can't give our troops a better battle rifle.

What is stated here is purely my opinion. The problem with the M4 and it's variants is that it's design doesn't meet the requirements of reality. It's like using a corvette to go four-wheeling. These M-16/M4 weapons are made to be light, and use ammunition that maximizes firepower in terms of rounds of ammo that an be carried. The gun also has relatively tight tolerances that doesn't cope well with sand, grit and other elements that will get inside a guns action and render it useless. Also, the gun can't get rid of the heat fast enough under full auto fire. On top of this, the Army has chosen a round that is substandard in my opinion. The 5.56 works fine against woodchucks in rifles that have 24" barrels, but with the 14.5" barrels many of these rifles have sacrifices too much velocity. Remember the soldiers fighting the Moros in the Philippines? They found out how badly the .38 faired and clamored for .45s

Don't get me wrong; Colt has made some fine firearms throughout the years. The M1911 is among the finest, and it's too bad they can't do the same with the M4/16. Make is simple, reliable, and idiot proof. On the other hand, if you must go with such a substandard firearm, at least give Ruger or some other company a crack at making one that works better. If it were me, I would choose something else.

If it were I, I would use the AK-47. It's what our enemy uses, it's so reliable and simple that it's a job to get it not to work. Also, you could use any contraband ammo found on the battlefield. If that isn't palatable, HK makes some nice rifles based on the G-3 design. The HK91 and 93 are way better, and even the HK416 is an improvement. A SOCOM M14 would be nice as well, but I imagine our boys can't carry anything heavier than a loaf of bread.

How did we get here? My guess is lobbyists and other glad handing palm greasers found it more important to get a government contract than actually produce something that works well. A quick fix if they haven't thought of it is to use receivers and bolts that are plated with a nickel-ceramic compound that doesn't require lubrication and improves heat transfer. It's also easier to keep clean. Of course, it would be easier just to buy a couple million AK-47s from the Chinese. I am sure they have a few to spare. Below, the SOCOM M14, John Garand's design at its finest.

Thank you for reading this blog.


blackandgoldfan said...

Damned dirty shame that we, the people who don't control military spending, seem to be the only ones who care that our brave soldiers have nothing but the finest. They deserve that at the very least. The Washington wonks could give a rat's behind. Bunch of turds.

W. E. Messamore said...

Everyone on both sides says that no matter what, they support the troops. Then why aren't they armed and protected like they should be?

The Right Guy said...

The answer's a little complicated. If I had to boil it down, I would say it comes down to understanding what the requirements are on a macro and micro level for combat, and getting those requirements fulfilled in the equipment and training the soldiers get.

How the government measures the results of the tests against these requirements is something I would want to look into as well as the actual testing itself. If I wanted to be charitable, I could say that any theoretical test can't possibly match what happens in combat. This is partially true, but considering the scenarios and terrain available, I am sure we can come close.

That being said, objectively, we know what works, and what does not work. The Kalashnikov rifle is a known quantity and quality. It works under unimaginable conditions, it is simple, rugged and dependable. The only rifle we have had that comes close is the rifle designed by John Garand.

We know the M-16 sucked, and we've known it for some time and even with the upgrades, it doesn't measure up. I guess my best advice is follow the money.

W. E. Messamore said...

Is there any problem in the US that isn't the result of corporate lobbying? When the economy and state mix, the result is always trouble.

The Right Guy said...

Try this with an M4:

Oh yeah, they did and it became useless.

The Right Guy said...

Well then, you, Ayn Rand and I would agree on something.

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