French Army Choose H&K416 to replace FAMAS

hk_4161-tm-tfb

A trusted source has revealed to me that the French Army has adopted the Heckler & Koch HK416 to replace the FAMAS. I will endeavour to find out which model has been adopted.

The Norwegian version of the HK416

I fully believe my source, but you should treat this as rumour until it has been independently confirmed.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Tom

    And somewhere, the saddest rendition of La Marsiellese is playing on a threadbare old concertina.

    • M.G. Halvorsen

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • bima86

    interesting.. can’t wait to see the bastille day parade, and see military personels marching with their HK416s

    • Sofduc

      That is why the choice of an AR plateform is surprising (if it is confirmed). The choice of a country’s rifle is more than a tactical tool, it is a strategic symbol. An AR-15 is a symbol of close strategic proximity with US politics. Since De Gaule in the 60s, France has always been “distinct”, even from NATO. While Sarkozy may have wished a closer relation, I don’t think the new socialist President will have the same orientation.

      • AnoSymun

        Question is how much control Hollande excerts over the generals. He hasn’t exactly proven himself to be the strongest leader so far.

      • Alex-mac

        Also maybe a closer EU, AR type rifles are very popular. Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and later probably Greece and Poland too. It could become the unofficial standard rifle of the EU.

      • bima86

        @Alex , yes there are only a few remaining major bullpup users out there – UK, Israel, Austria, Australia, Belgium. The rest uses the “normal” rifles
        I’ve trained using bullpup rifles before, it scares the sh*t out of me (knowing if it malfunctions it’ll blow up (literally) on your face).

      • Tinkerer

        @Bima: don’t forget China, one of the largest militaries in the planet, that is moving towards standard adoption of their own bullpup rifle. The concept is not fading away. Quite frankly, the third most successful rifle in the world -the AUG- has earned it’s place by it’s own merits, and not because it has been pushed by one of the major military and political powers -like the ARs and AKs, that have at times been literally given away almost for free-.

        About your fear of bullpups “blowing up on your face”: Is it a justified fear -that is, backed with facts and statistics- or just an irrational, unfounded fear?

      • bima86

        @tinkerer when you are issued a rifle from the armory, you don’t know which one has been used for what. maybe there’s a one in a million chance it’s “time” for one of them to finally break. I just feel “safer” if that happens to me, I still have that few inches of distance to reduce the injuries. I’ve seen a friend had his rifle blowup due to a bad round chambered, and he’s fine.. no scratches what’s so ever.

        ah, yeah.. how could I forgot about china, the image of an AK is still strong with them.

  • mosinman

    it sad that their armory closed. i think thats why they had to go with a Hk product instead of making a new assault rifle.

  • PCP

    I still think the SCAR, the F2000, the Tavor or even the AUG are better rifles… but it’s not a bad choice. And I think I will wait for the official announcement, we all know how consistent the military (specially the french) is and how often even reliable guessers (no offense) are.

    And please no coward jokes…

    • bima86

      I’m still hoping they will still go with a bullpup, the bullpup rifle has been a very iconic image of the french military.

      • Randolph

        Even the French are smart enough not to make the same mistake again…

    • AnoSymun

      [Insert generic “the French are cowards” joke]

    • Jean Luc Picard

      Yeah just like you I’m surprised of this rumor, mostly that they didn’t took a bullpup. I’m also surprised that they didn’t made a newer rifle they had after all their own OICW program (FELIN and PAPOP rifle) just like italy USA and other countries

  • James Martinez

    The french would abandon their own design and take something German made…history never changes…

  • Anonymous synonomous

    Poor choice in my opinion. I’ve seen many in depth reviews and talked to several owners of HK piston ARs, and pretty much all agree that it generally failed from small design oversights. The magwell, fixed sight on the gas block, poorly designed gas block, poorly designed piston head, and obvious problems of carrier tilt caused by piston driven ARs all make it inferior to the SCAR, which retained the basic AR configuration and controls with an actually purpose designed bolt and carrier. Can’t say I couldn’t see this coming, but I’m not thrilled about yet another HK contract pushed only because the AR is a familiar platform surrounded with a stupid amount of hype. Could be worse I guess; France could have gone back to using the Chauchat.

    • 6677

      The magwell is not an issue over in europe. The HK416 is stanag compliant, the AR15 is not. Many US manufactured mags (most noticeably the PMag) are manufactured slightly larger than stanag spec so they aren’t loose fitting in an AR15, as a result they don’t fit a stanag magwell. The EMag, the HK steel mags, the US GI mags and almost all eurozone manufactured mags are stanag spec and will function in the HK416 absolutely fine, they will function in an AR15 fine aswell but I guess some consumers would be concerned about the fact that their magazine rattles side to side a little.

      • You do know that the STANAG for the magazine and magazine well was never adopted, right?

        It didn’t even make it to interim status, just proposed.

        The M16 mag well is, literally by definition, compliant with that proposed standard because those are the dimensions used in the drawing.

    • W

      I own a MR556 and am intimately familiar with the HK416 in a military environment. I think the HK416 is a fine weapon system, though in my opinion, it has drawbacks compared to platforms designed from the ground up for gas pistons (like the SCAR).

      Needles to say, the magwell is a non issue. Magpul is already designing magazines to accomodate them and most NATO nations use HK’s steel magazines anyways. On top of this, USGI magazines still work well with that platform. In fact, only the PMAGs dont work with the HK416.

      The foldable sight on the gas block is indeed delicate and one of the glaring faults of the weapon itself. Easy solution: attach a front sight on the rail.

      How is the gas block “poorly designed”? I think one of the disadvantages of the design is the rail covering up the gas block, which, as a result, retains a significant amount on heat on the rail. The gas system is actually self regulating without a need for adjusting. From using a myriad of differing ammunition types and suppressed 416s, i truly believe the gas system is self regulating.

      I have used and dealt with 416s with thousands of rounds through them and never have witnessed carrier tilt. I think that is a problem exclusively spread throughout the internet that is blown way out of proportion, resulting in the gas piston system being highlighted with this problem across the board rather than a few individual guns.

      There are many smart reasons for adopting a AR-type platform. One is the abundance of spare parts, thanks to the US of A. The HK416 is compatible with many US M4/M16 parts as well not to mention other nations that use the 416.

      Is it perfect? hardly. I have many criticisms of the platform. Supposedly the ICC competitor is very modified from the original 416 and I am enthusiastic in seeing this development.

      • 6677

        In regards to your last point, Is any platform perfect? Simple answer is no, doesn’t matter whether they went with a bog standard DI AR15, an AK, L85’s, Tavors, AUG or even a man portable version of Metal Storm, someone will nitpick and complain about it.

      • W

        youre exactly right. no platform is perfect.

  • Joseph

    Seeing so many nations adopt the platform does make me want to research it a bit more than I have. I don’t funny understand the love for it. Another commenter mentioned the SCAR platform which I would initially think is a better choice given its modularity and weight. I personally would be more interested in the platform if the version offered to civilians were less expensive and made more to military specs– but I digress. It does seem very interesting at this point to me.

    • Joseph

      Fully* (pardon any errors in my typing, please)

    • David/Sharpie

      Plus, some French units already have the SCAR, so they are familiar with it.

      • David/Sharpie

        Seriously? I saw that the French use the SCAR (In limited service) and people down-vote it?

        Whats the matter? Don’t like the SCAR?

  • 6677

    Its not a bad choice really, theres nicer rifles out there but if the official announcement comes out saying that it is indeed the HK416 I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.

  • genschow

    Overtime and double shifts announced in Oberndorf, your source might be right.

  • The French Special Forces have a history with the HK-416 now… as they have with the SCAR, with the HK G-36, and lately with the Beretta ARX-160, all designs which are due to be tested for adoption.

    I have no doubt that you might trust your source, Steve, but official statements from the latest EUROSATORY expo (June 2012) still hold that the decision to adopt a new service rifle will not be taken before 2015.

    Furthermore, I feel Ihave to remind you how several frontline French Army units were equipped with foreign rifles such as the SIG SG-540 series (manufactured under license locally by Manurhin) and the Heckler&Koch HK-33 series rifles as a stopgap solution during the early transitional phase from the MAS 49/56 to the FA-MAS; I wouldn’t be surprised if they were repeating the experience by issuing something more practical than the “old” FA-MAS to Tier 2 (frontline infantry, non-SF) while they select a suitable replacement.

    • PCP

      What weapons do you think will be tested and which ones do you think have a chance to make thought it?

      • I am not aware of what will be finally tested – like REMOV said, the French Armed Forces must, by EU regulation (just like any other European army) run a full tender competition. What is known by now is that FN (SCAR), Beretta (ARX-160) and Heckler&Koch (G-36 and HK-416) intend to submit their designs. But again, the competition isn’t slated to enter its final phase before 2015 or so, this means that we won’t probably see French soldiers outside of their SpecOps packing anything but a FA-MAS until, so to speak, around 2020. There’s still plenty of time for many things to change until then.

  • John Doe

    So when will the whole American military adopt the HK416?

    • Alex

      About the same time when it stops being an unreliable piece of garbage. Never.

    • W

      I really dont believe the 416 will see service beyond Delta Force and DEVGRU in the US military. Who knows though. I guess well see assuming ICC ever yields any results.

      • John Doe

        It’s seeing limited use in the USMC as the M27 IAR, and I’ve heard good things.

      • Lance

        Hay John any news on ICC or M-4 PIP wonder if any HK-416 features will be added to the US M-4?

      • W

        ahhh, yes i forgot about the M27. 🙂

    • Joshua

      I don’t usually post here, but I will in regards to your comment John Doe.

      When will America get the HK416? probably never outside of the M27(which is a whole other story, one that was a down select and some sneaky changes to the RFP that DQ’d a few good contenders with Open bolt systems). There is honestly nothing wrong with the M4A1 in use with our military. look at SOCOM, they chose to continue using the M4A1 and modify it with the SOPMOD package(Block I and II) because the SCAR did not offer enough of an upgrade to justify its price and the few advantages the SCAR had they could get through the SOPMOD system.

      The Army currently has a dual strategy going, the IC and the PiP. We have budget cuts and IMO none of the IC entries justify the cost, remember it’s not just new rifles, its new manuals, training, armorer courses, spare parts, etc. That costs money….alot of money for a little 1% gain at max when compared to the current Army M4A1, the best part of this is that you can easily get the M4A1 to the levels of the HK416 with COTS parts that the PiP is focusing on. The PiP will be cheaper and easier to manage and net us a new M4AX(X being what ever new designation we get) that could easily outperform any modern rifle.

      That is why we won’t be seeing the HK416 in America.

      But the HK416 is going to be a great upgrade over the FAMAS.

      • Esh325

        Are you implying that the adoption of the M27 IAR was rigged? That’s unsubstantiated at best.

      • Joshua

        Esh I wouldn’t say rigged, but there is documentation about the changes to the RFP. also none of the systems met the RFP after all the changes and the HK was down selected.

        One thing that Colt had was an open bolt system, they later removed the open bolt from the RFP because they said it was a liability with un trained soldiers who had never used the system(that is who was doing the tests, soldiers fresh from boot), so they changed the RFP and a few systems then lost like the Colt and the FNH.

        Part of the way FNH and Colt kept from cookoffs was the open bolt system, when you remove the Open bolt requirement and make it a test of cook off with a closed bolt both FNH and Colt lost, had they kept the RFP for open bolt neither Colt nor NFH would have ever had cook offs.

      • Esh325

        What documentation?

  • W

    this doesn’t surprise me. The French military has a history with it and it is compatible with some NATO allies. Also the M16-type magazine is abundant, inexpensive, and very compatible with NATO. I would have never dreamt that the M4 and its derivative platforms would attain such popularity around the world.

  • Good designs requires competition (multiple firms competing for a design). Few countries can support multiple competing defense manufacturers. Defense manufacturers like to monopolize and tend to merge or buy each other out, or in other cases they are 100% state owned.

    When countries decide to “buy local”, with a few exceptions, it means giving the single local defence manufacturer a contract regardless of what design they come up with. The politicians like this (votes, photo ops), the locals like it (jobs), the generals like it (prestige, and anyway they will retire in less than a decade so its their successors problem) and the troops get stuck with a gun that looks cool but does not work.

    It also helps when the local population have many gun enthusiasts because this feeds the talent and idea pool, it also allows companies to survive long enough to get a military contract.

    France is going with a good rifle. Who cares (except maybe the politicians and trade unions) where it was made.

    tldr; France made a good decision to give up the FAMAS. It does not matter who designed the gun.

    • AnoSymun

      Ironically enough, one of the only reasons for H&K’s continuing success and ability to produce top-of-the-line, premium products for the consumer and international market is specifically because they are basically guaranteed German military contracts. H&K effectively has the right of first refusal with any Bundeswehr small arms procurement project.

      Heck, they even found an excuse to buy some HK417 derivatives! Thank god that the higher accuracy civilian version was available by the time they made the deal, otherwise the troops might’ve actually received an inferior replacement for their G3ZFs, accuracy-wise.

      • S O

        HK does not provide the bolt action sniper rifles or the pistols of the Bundeswehr, though.

        Their dependence on Bundeswehr projects almost killed HK when both the G11 and G41 projects were cancelled.

      • AnySymun

        HK very much so produces the Bundeswehr’s handguns, they’re using three varieties of the USP, the regular 9mm, the regular Tactical and the Tactical .45.

        That aside, HK does, for the largest part, not make any bolt action rifles, so they probably didn’t oppose a foreign brand.

  • Lance

    The AR wins again. I trust Steve’s sources. The HK-416 is a good weapon and I hope the French Army dose well with it. I do believe the FAMAS G2 will stay in French Marine Service though.

    I doubt this mean anything for the US. The HK 416 is not just a SOCOM weapon look at the USMC M-27 IAR. However with cuts to the budget and no design is a giant leap over regular M-4s I doubt this would lead to anything.

  • Jim

    It’s a shame this lost to the FN SCAR.

    • Anonymoose

      I thought its primary competition was the new Austeyr?

      • Alex-mac

        We all know how these things are handled. The rifle competition will probably be rigged to favor the HK416 from the start. The Austeyr (F90) might even be disqualified from participating.

  • AnoSymun

    France has had bad luck with its small arms. The Chassepot/Gras must have been the last time that the French had a superior small arms system compared to most, if not all, their continental peers. Since then, for some 130 years, the French small arms industry has produced rifles which were at best equal (Fusil Lebel) but most of the time far inferior to their international competitors.

    It was really just a question of time until they finally gave up, (non-existent) miracle notwithstanding.

    • Kevin Berger

      It’s worth mentioning that despite its horrid ‘gunlore’ reputation in the USA, maybe due to the botched 30.06 conversion attempt back from right after WWI (during which the french built the US army, and the air force, too, from scratch, incidentally), the Chauchat actually WAS a superior weapon… for the times.

      It was certainly not a “great” design, being basically a weird contraption hastily built in bicycles-making shops and issued while still a prototype, BUT, the late-war french army was organized around the *mobile* firepower the Chauchat provided, new tactics made possible by new tools,… efficiently enough for the germans to try and use any captured one.
      IIRC, about 180 000 were made. And USED, with enough success to actually have some tactical influence.

      And, please, do not think that keyboards warriors, wannabe-operators and gun forums ninjas (looking at you, arfers!) in 2012 know better about the “Chaushit” than the people who had been fighting a total industrial war, four years long.

      Even the other famed piece of ‘gunlore’, Alvin York “single-handledly mowing down tens of huns with his mighty .45”, actually owes everything to the Chauchat… as the 17 men (6 of them killed during the assault, only to be erased from History once Hollywood got its sight on Alvin during the 1941 patriotic propaganda onslaught) Argonnes forest patrol sent to silence the machine-gun were organized around the Chauchat.

      So, flawed and quirky (the 8mm Lebel certainly did not lend itself to a magazine-fed weapon), but in its time, a “Game Changer™”

      And while we’re at this, the french FM 24/29 automatic rifle also proved quite successful, to the point that it was preferred by the troops over the BAR post-war, while France was still equipped with an hodge-podge of foreign, designs. No way to know if it was as good as the Bren was said to be, but, again, actual users in shooting wars preferred it over the BAR, FWIW (just guessing, they didn’t have the internet to correct them about how superior the BAR was, but, still).

      Peace.

  • Vek

    Having spoken to a Norwegian army infantryman who’s carried the Norwegian 416, he absolutely hates it, and so does everyone in his company who’s used them.

    Amongst his complaints, taken from a recent discussion of them on another forum, copied and quoted:

    “*First of all, it must be said that the finish on the steel parts are absolutely shite, it will need daily treatment of CLP in the field, or you’ll come home with a big lump of rust, while not all that criminal in itself, the park finish on the ones we had, were real thin, exposed metal soon became the norm, making it, at least, easier to distinct the ”good” from the ”bad”, in terms of how long it had been used.

    *The gas block is bad, real bad, it’s held in place by roll pins, in other words, not something you can disassemble in the field with the tools any infantryman would carry around, even the platoons who had good logistical support, my heart would go out to the jaeger units anyways.

    *The nipple on the piston is prone to cracking, naturally it will also attract a lot of carbon, which isn’t all that easy to remove. The material its made out of seems to be pretty soft, making it less desirable to use any special tools to clean it, scrub it with a polymer brush, soak it in oil, wipe clean, and watch as it becomes darker, more pitted, and uglier by the day.

    * The front sight pinned on the gas block, will get frozen in place by carbon if you leave it down, so keep that shit up, or devote your life to flipping it up and down reguarly.

    * the piston rod can not be disassembled by the induvidual rifleman, or again, while on mission. Never had it happen to me or anyone I knew, but I’ve heard people over in A-stan complain about them just breaking. Basically, you don’t really want that to happen.

    * The bolt itself is pretty well made in terms of AR’s, doesn’t seem to want to hold on to ejectors or extractors very well though, happened a few times to many to be ignored as typical firearm defects.

    * Buffer tubes spin loose, that was a regular one, and not something you’d want to happen while you’re trusting your life to this rifle.

    That’s most of the major stuff, ignoring cracked receivers, or furniture designed by a literal retard.

    Accuracy wise, it doesn’t seem to hold up against regular old stock bushmaster AR15’s I’ve used, as far as general reliability goes, you’ll sooner have a part, or more, break on you, than having a stovepipe or jam.

    the steel magazines are really good too, but I don’t think you need the weight or price of them in a world of P-mags, Reminds me, AR15 mags doesn’t work in it.”

    • MNOR

      I think you’re buddy is going a bit over the top on the 416 hate.
      I’ve had two 416’s issued to me during my time with the Norwegian armed forces, and have experienced\heard of very few of the problems listed in you’re post(some are familiar though):

      * Rust on steel parts:
      never had any rust on my barrel, barrel assembly, BCG, or any critical part.
      I have had rust on the issued pic-rail sling-swivel but no one uses the standard three-point sling anyway(thus leaving the swivel were it belongs; in you’re locker or riflebag).
      I’m sure rust on some of these parts is possible with a degree of neglect. But to say daily CLP is required, no way. Having had my rifles out in everything from -30*C, wet snow at +2*C and blistering heat for days with no rust. It does not add up to me.

      * Gas block:
      Yeah, it’s held in place by two roller-pins, but never seen one, or heard of one coming loose.
      What I have seen is that the gas block would switch from “N”-mode(normal) to “S”-mode(surpressed) during firing. but that was early in the adoption prossess and happened to two guns out of over 70 in my company. I have not heard that this has continued to be a problem.

      *Gas-block mounted front-sight:
      Yeah it’s crap. Why they didn’t simply go with rail mounted HK-dioptersights is beyond me and pretty much beyond everyone in the military..

      *Piston\oprod:
      I’ve never experienced or heard of the nipple cracking. though I guess pistons are mentioned in the ongoing 416 parts improvement-program for a reason.
      As for the piston never getting back to the “sqeaky clean” apperance it had when the rifles were new, isn’t a problem with the pistons themselves, but rather the cleaning-solvants issued to you.
      Using oil and a copper-brush isn’t going to get all that burnt carbon of.
      Use Mil-foam and it will clear it right up.
      And even if you don’t get it a 100% of, it will not affect the functioning of you’re weapon.

      *Oprod: Break? how? it’s a stainless steel pipe with a heavy duty spring on it. Has been pretty sturdy thus far.

      *Magazines:
      HK stainless-steel mags: They work, but are a too heavy.
      Any STANAG 5.56 mag will work fine in it, P-mags won’t(bc of the flared magazine-well). That’s why Magpul came out with the E-mag.

      *Furniture:
      Agreed, the standard HK butstock is too wide and needs to be replaced(which they are working on). In the meantime, you’re free to choose from any commercial spec stock on the open marked(from you’re on pocket ofc.)

      Anyway, these are my experiences with this rifle, but, even though I haven’t come across most of the mentioned problems doesen’t mean they are non-excistant.
      As I stated somewhere in these allready too long post, there is an ongoing parts-improvement program for the HK416, and one can only assume it’s there for a reason. But, over the next couple of years I’m sure they will have worked out the kinks.

      Sorry for the long post.

      M

      • Jonas

        Second, i have had my 416 since 2009. Never had any problem with it. F*cker is still going strong.

        @Vek, have you been talking with balci from opchan?

      • Vek

        @Jonas, Yes, I’m a regular on the site.

      • Jonas

        @Vek, balci is wrong.

      • W

        And with the version of the 416 used by the US military doesn’t have a adjustable gas system, which eliminates the possibility of it moving unintentionally, and a M4 style stock.

        I have to say the two things I hate the most about this rifle are

        1.) its foldable front sight, which is delicate and has small parts to break or fall out. Easily fixed with a foldable front sight (HK sells a fixed front sight for the 416).

        2.) its rear sight. My MR556 didn’t come with the special tool to adjust it and those were exceptionally hard to find when I was in the service. Easily fixed again, because I removed the damned thing and replaced it with a rear sight a human being can use (HK sells a different folding rear sight for the 416 too).

        As far as the other things youve mentioned, Ive never had a issue with the op-rod (in afghanistan too), buffer tube coming loose (which is easily fixed), gas piston nipple breaking, or the gas block coming off (are you sure they were roll pins? my MR 556 and military 416’s had solid pins machine pressed that were damn near impossible to remove by hand and tool).

      • MNOR

        @ W
        I agree on every single point you made.
        I’m with Jonas on this one, My issued 416’s have been rock solid thus far. I’ve had two stoppages out of xthousand rounds and both where remedied by a simple TRB-drill.

        As for it being rollerpins on the gas block, no, I can’t say I’m a 100% sure, which furthers you’re point: that hing aint moving anywhere without tools.

        The Hk-haters can hate all they want, It’s still a proper good rifle.

        M

      • Troy

        I really do not get the negative criticism of the 416. It’s a fine weapon, period. I hate pulling this card because it reek’s of holster sniffing, but would Army Delta, DEVGRU, and a host of other elite units field a turd when they can procure any weapon they want? Even when they have untold numbers of political pole cats pushing colt products on them. No they wouldn’t, and before the usual suspects jump in with their usual responses, a recent report by one very famous tactical guru, stated that those above mentioned units recently reselected this weapon after another set of extensive trials against every modern next gen. rifle out there. The info is out there if you look for it.

      • W

        troy, you’re absolutely correct. As I have said before, those units dont use stuff that doesn’t work and when they find out that something doesnt work, they get rid of it. Pretty simple logic. That is why I take SOCOM acquisitions more seriously than Big Army.

        I dont think the 416 is the greatest thing since sliced bread, though it is a awesome weapon system with many merits.

    • Bad Enough

      Sure is OPERATOR in here

      • Chase

        It’s a good thing, though 😉

  • KC

    the US should import French part kits for the FAMAS.

    • Esh325

      Since parts kits no longer come with barrels, what would be the point? I could be wrong, but I don’t believe there is any demand for a FAMAS rifle.

      • Kyle

        23 people so far disagree with you

    • Esh325

      It’s not that simple. As a whole, I do not think there’s any demand or will for a US made FAMAS rifle.

  • Kenny Blankenship

    I have an MR556 and this is my objective opinion on it. What does it bring to the table, other than easier cleaning like all piston guns? Basically… it’s fuggin sexy. Clever rail mounting system. Safety can be activated after the hammer is dropped. Fit and finish are sublime. It says HK on the side. Did I mention it’s sexy?

    On the other hand, it’s got a lot of stupid oversights and halfheartedly executed features. Stock pistol grip is uncomfortable and digs into your finger. The waterproof grip cap loses its rubber seal all the time. The buttpad is too easy to swivel off, exposing the storage area. The lack of play between the receivers is nice, but it’s a huge hassle to pop the takedown pins out with that stupid tool. Actually a pin detent and spring went flying out once, took forever to find again. The factory flip-up sights are terrible as established.

    Accuracy is on par with my 6920. It is also very reliable. The only times it has malfunctioned have been when using KCI steel mags. The trigger is very smooth… but for a $2500 gun you shouldn’t be getting anything less right?

    So basically, a mixed bag but it’s the little things that bug me and for a gun of its price point I expected better. tl;dr 4/10, would not buy again.

    For the French however, this is a perfect choice. It will perform probably better than the FAMAS yet, more importantly, give them tons of opportunities to complain about the Germans.

  • Anonymoose

    Gimme a clip so I can do some damage.

    • MNOR

      A small, blind and mentally retarded puppy is slapped everytime someone calls a magazine a “clip”

      • Anonymoose

        Clearly you didn’t get the joke. :I
        Are you familiar with the phrase “Is that a FAMAS?”

      • Komrad

        It’s a joke. Their was a facebook post of some kid holding an empty AR-15 with the caption “give me a clip so I can do some damage”. The first reply was “is that a FAMAS”.
        It’s a really old meme/joke.

      • 6677

        Mate, that joke didn’t originate from a facebook pic, it predates facebook itself, its probably just about as old as the FAMAS itself (so pre world wide web)

  • They’d better drop test those rifles extensively.

    Test firing not so much.

    • Rational

      How fast you forget you ungrateful Yank. If it wasn’t for the spilled French blood and treasure, you’d all be eating fish and chips every day and downing warm beer. Yes. Warm beer.

      • Phil Ward

        Speaking as a Birt this has amused me greatly, my thanks to you good sir.

        OTOH at least it wouldn’t be Budweiser…

      • Charles222

        I love how on a predominantly American forum, this post is massively liked. 😀

      • John Doe

        Warm beer? God bless the French then!

      • Blackhawk2001

        We more than made up for your help in 1776 & subsequent in 1917-1918, and 1941-1944. More – than – made – up – for – it.

      • Chase

        Tincan Assassin also forgets who built the beloved statue of our Mother in New York. God bless (the US of) America, vive la France, and long live Liberty!

      • W

        rational, thats some rational shit. bravo good boy!

      • Kevin Berger

        What’s ridiculous is that I clearly recall a 2002 JEDonline article (?) written by an american source, who praised the deliberately discrete but significant help provided by the french military in the early days of the afghan war v2.0, reactive satellite coverage, special operations, CAS to US special operations soldiers,…. above and beyond whatever the “anglosphere” could and would provide then.

        But, 2003 came in, and now, France is the “USA’s oldest ennemy”, as per this absurd book, french are genetic cowards who have never won a war, shiftless, supine oppositional crooks… and it’s ALWAYS WWII, always. Just as if the more the sand shifts under the feet of the wannabe-empire builders pushing the US Republic into a shallow grave, the more they need to grasp at that defining moment. The more the post-WWII order fades away, the shriller it maid era, or at least its sublimated/mythified memory, is evoked.

        Weird. French-bashing as a symbol of jingoism (love your country’s POWER, and live vicarously through it), as opposed to patriotism (love your country, and live through its value)…?
        I honestly like the USA, or at least, a certain idea of what the USA are supposed to be, self-deluded that I am… something about “freedom”, that quaint idea now reduced to a buzzword.
        What I am supposed to do, about derogatory views like the above(s), when I think (know) that they are 1) Counter-factual bullshit, based on false History; and 2) Actually serve those who would undermine… the US of A?

        Interesting times. But we’re far from small arms, with this.

    • Kevin Berger

      Ok, short parenthesis.

      In a duel of prejudice, I come unarmed. You may take a dump on the memory of my fallen countrymen, I respect yours.

      Then again, just think who pushed that “surrender monkeys” crap (because it was politically expedient? Because it was favored by an appropriate cultural soil? because France was supposed the victim of a “memetic Shock & Awe”, pour encourager les autres? Because it allowed for freudian projection about the “Viet Nam syndrom”?…) : a bunch of drafty-dodgers and proverbial chickenhawks….

      The frogs might have annoyed Ike, George Herbert, JFK,… in no particular order (annoying anglos is one of the most likeable traits of the french), but at least, THEY knew about war, each in their, own experience.

      The “surrender monkeys” pundits, radio shockjocks, draft-deferment suscribers (take 4, get the 5th free!),… well, not so much.

      Who is being a tool, here?

      • W

        ” a bunch of drafty-dodgers and proverbial chickenhawks….”

        couldnt have said it better myself. these are the same asshats that have allowed the whole of america to be painted as intolerant, jingo, warmongers with a propensity to revise history to their liking. Its interesting that after a decade of war, these stupid idiots keep going at it, and the bodies keep piling up.

        But to ask them to shed blood? forget about it. they would rather send someone else’s son and daughter.

  • Hopefully this means that we’ll see FAMAS parts kits eventually make there way to the US. I think that would be an interesting gun to see on the market, and it would make a nice addition to the AUGs and FS2Ks in peoples bullpup collections.

  • A.g.

    My french taxpayer heart is bleeding…

  • S O

    It would be totally un-French to adopt the HK 416 or any other foreign weapon, so I don’t believe these news at all.

    So far they only adopted weapons developed by foreigners if it was a bilateral development project, and even then they bitch a lot during development and even more when it comes to the procurement phase. The only exception to this rule was war booty, and that was always replaced ASAP.

    • Jean Luc Picard

      Actually France uses a lot of Belgian weapons in their arsenal or for special forces purpose. so I don’t think that’s a problem, the HK 416 just seems like an unnatural choice rather than just being a foreign weapon.

      • Avery

        I think more people were expecting the FN SCAR to win because it was already being fielded in France in small quantities (see two of the related posts) as well as it being a Belgian gun.

      • S O

        Granted, I forgot about FNH machineguns and also ignored some weapons procured in minimal quantities as well.

        Keep in mind that FNH is from the francophone part of Belgium, though. That’s half-French as would be arms from Quebec.

        The standard rifle of an army has a special meaning to many people, it’s of secondary military importance even in the infantry, but it’s of great sentimental and ceremonial importance.

    • Aurelien

      The French Army has bought a whole lot of weapons from our neighbours over the years. From FNH machine guns to Sig rifles, Walter handguns and so on.

      The fact is, the DGA has no projects regarding new assault rifles, and Nexter does not know how to build anything that weights less than a few tons.
      There is no more large production small arms manufacturers in France, only small shops producing bolt action rifles and competition revolvers.

      Developing a new rifle from scratch would take years and money the army just does not have.

      So they will buy contacts from H&K, build/assemble the guns in France, and all will be well.

    • Other Steve

      HK MP5-F. Fench spec with thicker rubber on the collapsible stock, stronger bolt head for +p, and bolt hold open.

      • Aurelien

        And MAS-made G3s.
        And Manurhin made Sig 543.
        And Manurhin made Walter PP, PPK and P38.
        And MAS-made 92F.

        The list goes on. The French army buys rights and tools or requests special versions tailored to suit their special needs.
        That’s how they roll.

    • Kevin Berger

      Mr. Ortmann, you’re quite right about the “great sentimental and ceremonial importance” of a standard infantry rifle. It would be quite troubling, to say the least, to have the french army use what is for all purpose a “M-16”, image-wise.

      That would be just too much of a symbol, in the order of magnitude of having the fantassins carry an AK100 serie rifle.
      At least, IMHO.

      The french army used US infantry weapons before, the M1 carbine was in widespread use during the Indochina war, and the Garand was used for auxiliary troops during the algerian war, not to mention lots of “recycled” items (M3 bayonnets reground into fighting knives, boots,…), and of course the M2 machine-gun…
      But, still, over the last decade, times have changed for the worse for the transatlantic relationship; France may still co-operate closely with the USA in counter-terror, have re-integrated Nato’s command and have had officers put in some “interesting” post… it still remains that it is definitively seen in an adversary light by a good part of the US public (the more “conservative”, the more derogatory), is a favored foil/strawman of one half of the US political landscape… and the french leaders ARE aware of that “image problem” – the public at large either not knowning, or not giving a crap – that certainly will last at least a generation or more.

      The Adt adopting a tricked-up “M-16” would be *quite* a potent symbol, and… I’m not sure it would be a good one.

      Maybe Hollande really is an atlantist – I though they were all in hiding, after the 2003-2005 mud-slinging hysteria, though.

      Perhaps only the practical side of the equation has been retained, after all, you are right about the much secondary importance of the infantry rifle.
      Or, perhaps it’s only a “stop-gap” procurement for projection forces (the FAMAs really is rincé, wrung dry), or maybe it’s a choice aimed more at the “special” & “security” forces, the FAMAS revalorisé or Felin going on for a while for the rest of the “lesser” (as seen for the annoying current SOF worship atmosphere) troops?

      • a reader

        “The Adt adopting a tricked-up “M-16″ would be *quite* a potent symbol, and… I’m not sure it would be a good one.

        Maybe Hollande really is an atlantist – I though they were all in hiding, after the 2003-2005 mud-slinging hysteria, though.”

        I don´t think that they mean anti us sentiment but referring to HK Germany. Franco-German War, WW1 and WW2 “white flag” and so on. However, we are now Europeans so it should not matter anymore!

  • Mike Knox

    Again, a lot of ‘germans’ flock into france. I’m betting they got sold on the HK-HR magazines. Pretty soon there’d be an influx of FA-MASes on the sruplus/black market..

    • Avery

      Unfortunately, that’s not likely. If France does what it did last time when they officially retired the MAS-49/56 back in the ’90s, they’ll just smelt whatever they have down.

    • Aurelien

      Don’t count on that.

      1/ Most will be destroyed
      2/ A major part of the arsenal is already pretty shot (no pun intended), we are talking infantry rifles built from ’79 to ’00, so at best 12-year old rifles that have been intensly used.
      3/ Those not destroyed will be sold off to allied countries to make for some kind of balance.

      • W

        “most will be destroyed”

        Exactly. Like the L1A1s.

      • Mike Knox

        @Aurelien
        Part of what I’ve said was your #3..

      • 6677

        @W, actually not all L1A1’s were destroyed, we did retain quite a few (although not nearly enough). SAS supposedly like using them still, nice weapons, not surprising really. Of course the L129 sharp shooter in a shorter barrel config would be a viable alternative for them, as would half a ton of other weapons in that caliber.

      • W

        yeah i didnt say “all”, i implied “most” like what was said before but yes, im with you there. Fortunately Britain has a awesome sniper and DMR rifle now.

    • Andrew

      Apart from what people are saying abut scrapping them, don’t think you would want them.

      When I was in Paris a couple of months ago every one of those rifles I saw being carried around (was at Eurasatory) looked like beat up crap.

      They have been used very long and hard and it was clear they looked like they needed replacing.

  • the tf2 spy

    It’s not for trolling or whatever but since i am french ( and every one don’t care about that) but i think that i could chose one rifle that could be a good replacement for the famas (i heard captain obvious sneakin around heres…) it’s simply the fn f2000 !

    just like the famas it’s a bullpup design and every thing is obviously ambidextrous and the rifle itself is designed with “modularity” in mind, by mean if fn would produce special accesoiry for the rifle like an longer handguard allowing for exemple marksman to put an bi-pod on it and whatever he’s want, or maybe special accesoiry to transform the rifle into an infrantry support rifle and the like…

    don’t get me wrong i like the hk 416 a lot since a own the civilian version and at the same time seem’s like a good choice, but i would say for regular soldier or troop (not special force related) that are obviously more familiar with a bullpup weapon since the famas is issued to them.

    again i’m not a specialist at all and i don’t pretend to be, just an honest opinion from an citizen.

    • Alex-mac

      The FN2000 has been around for over ten years and no major military or military of any consequence has adopted it.

      • David/Sharpie

        Belgian SF, Polish SF, and the Slovenian Military.

        There are a lot of SF groups that use them, but only the Slovenians adopted any significant amounts.

        I could have sworn I read somewhere that Slovakian Mountain Troops also adopted it as well.

  • pimpmyass

    u kids stop hatin on 416

  • banner man

    I’m not sure what the problem is, the HK 416/417 is in use by French SF and other units, mountain brigades etc.

  • JMD

    I’m a little surprised they didn’t pick either another original French design, or the Steyr AUG.

  • Big Daddy

    When it’s official I will believe it. It might be true, they might have a special modified version for the French, we don’t know.

    But until it comes from the French military/government it’s not official.

  • Tony

    The French has bought MP5s before, with their own specs. I wonder what specs they require on the M416 this time.

    • kugelblitz

      Each rifle will be supplied with a little white flag with QD RIS mount and wine opener device

      • Kevin Berger

        Alas, no.

        The french strategic white flag supply is depleted.

        They’ve been sent to a major ally, who seems to have a knack for starting wars against much smaller, much poorer distant countries, throwing young men (and now women) into the meatgrinder with no real strategy, and then running away, frustrated and unable to accomplish anything, pretending it’s been a Victory all along.

      • W

        yup, kevin you hit the nail on the head.

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    The jokes and snark are just gonna write themselves on this one…you guys don’t need me.

  • FailBlog

    I don’t understand how countries like France can so easily change their primary military rifles while we’ve stuck with using the M-16 for 40 years; even though they have a much smaller military budget than we do.

    Now that the latest generation of assualt rifles have made decent improvements over the earlier AK-47 and M-16 assualt rifles, it’s finally time to make the jump.

    And not only should we upgrade the rifles, but the bullets they shoot as well. I’m sick of the 5.56. It’s simply too weak.

    [I saw video footage of a little kid being shot right square in the chest with a 5.56 from about 50 yards away. All he did was cry as he was patched up and was apparently perfectly fine. What the heck kind of stopping power is that?]

    Me personally, I’d choose the FN SCAR in .308.

    But since that could create possible tactical disadvantages with soldiers carrying fewer rounds, then we should find a happy middle ground such as the 6.5.

    • Joseph

      Their country size : Budget ratio are different than America’s. In fact, a lot of countries have adopted the 416 without much notice.

      Moreover the 5.56 actually does fine in lots of situations. That’s not to say a 6.5 or 6.8 shouldn’t come in since that would be a good step.

    • Nicks87

      Could you please post a link or a source to this video footage?

      5.56 is more than adequate in the hands of well-trained soldiers. Even your beloved .308 is not a guaranteed one-shot solution.

      • David

        I think I’ve seen that footage, too. Failblog, tell me if this sounds familiar:

        US special forces (not sure which unit) were on patrol in what seemed like Taliban territory. They were taking up position in a green zone near a wadi and a road that ran parallel to each other. On the other side of the road were some compounds. Down the road maybe 100 yards was a small bridge that crossed the wadi. At some point in the video, a diesel truck made its way across the bridge. Considering they were in what was considered enemy territory, the soldiers were rather startled by the encounter and engaged it. A few minutes later in the video the soldiers approach the truck to find that it was a non-combatant and that a man and his child (pre-teen) were wounded. The child was hit high in the chest, about heart level, but obviously not the heart because he was still alive. I don’t remember where the man was hit. Either way, the child was patched up. Oh yeah, the soldiers or at least the one or two actually shown in the video were using suppressors on their M4s.

        Now I understand that smaller people from smaller ethnic groups tend not get as badly wounded by 5.56 because the bullet passes through before yawing and fragmentation starts. That would explain why the child was lucid and relatively unperturbed by being shot in the chest by a 5.56×45 round. I also know that fragmentation and yawing is unreliable at velocities under 2700ft/s with the 5.56 round. If the weapon had a 11.5″ barrel instead of a 14.5″ barrel then at that range, the velocity may not have been high enough to reliably yaw and fragment the bullet. Combine that with the thickness of the child and the shot ended up being relatively ineffective.

      • Nicks87

        So we are supposed arm our troops with larger caliber weapons so we can more effectively kill children/small people?

        I think you guys are missing the point with this 5.56 vs larger caliber weapons and their use in combat.

        Killing people is not an exact science. What kills person A, might not kill person B. Look at how many people have died as a result of being shot with a .22LR cartridge. Evidence and statistics would indicate that .22LR is very deadly ammunition. On the other hand people have survived horrific wounds from large caliber ammunition, including .50 BMG.

        So, hate to burst your bubble but there is no concrete evidence that 5.56 is ineffective against human targets.

        I’ve personally taken a 220 lbs. white tail deer with a 62 gain soft point 5.56 round. I’ve also shot coyote with the same round and watched them run away and tracked them for miles without so much as a significant blood trail to follow.

      • David

        I don’t doubt the effectiveness of the 5.56 in the right hands. I was just saying that I have indeed seen the video in question and was trying to rationalize the apparent lack of effectiveness. Heck, it could have just been luck. I think the 5.56 is an almost ideal military cartridge when it comes to weight and ballistic performance when considering others. If I recall correctly, Amnesty international wanted to know why so many insurgents during the battle of Fallujah were dead with shots to the head. Amnesty international suspected executions, but in reality, it was just good marksmanship by the marines on the ground. 5.56 is adequate

      • Nater

        5.56 really doesn’t have anything to do with failure to kill in that situation. Most other jacketed lead projectiles would have performed quite poorly as well. Maybe .308 would have done better as there is simply more mass even after an intermediate barrier causes it to shrap, but then again maybe not.

        5.56 is plenty effective, the projectile choices (particularly in M855) aren’t that great.

      • W

        blame the M855 being fired from a 14.5″ M4 barrel for the 5.56’s apparent lack of effectiveness.

        As i have brought up plenty of times in this blog, the Mk 262 and Mk318 are more than adequate man-killing bullets. Thats not even getting into the substantial improvement in accuracy.

    • Tim V

      Oh good god are you even in the military? If so are you an infantry type? If so have you deployed in the last 10 years? 5.56/m4/m16 has performed wonderfully for almost everybody who uses it. Is there a place for a weapon with a larger round certainly but the need is very small. If 5.56 is so bad then why do most of the Elite units in the World who have the funding to get whatever they want still primarily use the 5.56? Why do they still primarily use m4 variants?

    • Mike Knox

      @FailBlog
      -failblog post is fail-

  • john

    They should of just upgraded to the G2 like all the other branches of the military and the police.

  • RickH

    I always thought the FAMAS was kind of cool. I remember reading about it in the early ’80’s, and would love to be able to shoot one. *Yawn*, just another country adopting the AR platform.

  • Strongarm

    Interesting. The USA to change a rifle which been using nearly a half
    of last century, and France to demand the rifle which USA to change.

    • Anonymoose

      And the US will likely continue to use the DI M16A2, M16A4, M4, and M4A1 as its main service rifle family for another half-century or more at this rate. :I

  • maxcoseti

    I like the fact you said explicitly that this is just a rumour, even when your source is trustworthy, that’s just responsability at its finest, kudos for that

  • SemperFortis

    “French WWII rifle for sale, never fired, dropped once.”

    They learned their lessons, HK416 is very durable and dropping it does not affect its resale value.

    • snmp

      For say that’s I sure your familie were parts of the cowards brits who flee at Dunkerque and shotdown theirs allies !

      • Kevin Berger

        Difficile de prendre certaines personnes au sérieux, hein? Laissons les mythos et les french-bashers (souvent les même) s’amuser, le réél les rattrapera, et les a déja rattrappés, en fait. Pardonner, peut-être, oublier, jamais.

      • SemperFortis

        It’s a joke, no hard feelings?

    • Nater

      Go read about the Battle of Verdun, then tell me the French are cowards.

      • jim

        Don’t waste your breath. This kind of morons don’t read history.

  • Steve, I am sorry, but I do not belive your “trusted source”. The whole story seems to be only a rumour. The French Armed Forces are not allowed to adopt any type of weapon system without a formal, open tender (due to the EU regulations and the internal French law system). It just not work like that.

    So far, the French Direction générale de l’armement (General Directorate for Armament”, DGA) which is the French Government Defence procurement agency responsible for the program management, development and purchase of weapon systems for the French military has not put the assault rifle out to tender.

    Without a formal tender (with whole set of requirements for a new rifle) there is no chance that French Armed Forces has adopted anything. The French Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT), General Bertrand Ract Madoux has told last year that it is expected to start looking for 60,000 assault rifles in 2013 at the earliest.

    • kugelblitz

      I suppose that source of this rumour can be a purchase of limited quantity of HK for one or more of Special Forces unit. If so it’s far, far away to adopt it as stadard rifle for whole French army.

      • Kevin Berger

        That would be my take too, a “standardized” rifle for the “special” & “security” forces, who currently seem to be using several different ones according to branch and unit.

      • Alex-mac

        It’s also possible some higher ups have decided the HK416 is the one they want. Very rarely are there rifle competitions without a favourite.

      • My latest sources state that the companies interested to submit their designs for FAMAS replacement are, so far:

        – Heckler & Koch GmbH (Germany): HK-416 and G-36

        – Beretta Holding S.p.A. (Italy): ARX-160

        – FN Herstal S.A. (Belgium): SCAR

        – Steyr-Mannlicher GmbH and THALES Group (Austria, England, France, Australia): F90

  • snmp

    The Main problem of the HK416 : Lenth for Armor Car/Truck, that’s could not fire a rifle grenade and the heavy weight.

    In plus, French have many problems of Qualities Contrôls with weapons delivry by German manufactories. I do not speak about the nightmare for have spares parts on times with german.

    • charles222

      Really?

      1) The 416 is approximately two inches shorter than the M4A1. Not to mention that firing from inside a vehicle is a dubious proposition with most Western armies moving to uparmored trucks.

      2) Rifle grenades have been obsolete for 40 years now. Underbarrel launchers offer greater accuracy, range, and ease of use.

      3) The HK416 weighs in at 6.6 pounds. The M4A1 weighs in at 6.3. That is not “heavy”.

      • W

        goddammit, how many times have i seen that contention in my lifetime? i cannot even count.

        The HK 416 is not heavy, plain and simple. A 1 lb difference between the M4 is absolutely negligible. This is quite a feat, considering it has a heavier barrel, gas piston system, and overweight rail system.

      • snmp

        1) HK416 have many barel Lenth 9″, 10.4″, 14.5″, 16.5″ & 19.9″ and weigh

        2) Rifle Grenade is important for French Military doctrine like Swiss, Serbian, or German …. in case of Guerrilla evry members of one team could have 1 or 2 greandes with him (that’s include Cookers, truckers, secretaries, … )
        * For accuracy of rifle grenad ! Do you not know use an Rifle grenade ? in plus that’s an better pentration of target than 40mm & versality in type of grenade
        * In plus in the case of adverse force down the guy with the Grenade lauchner, what you do ? With rifle grenade another team’s members could launch one

      • W

        1) HK416 have many barel Lenth 9″, 10.4″, 14.5″, 16.5″ & 19.9″ and weigh

        2) Rifle Grenade is important for French Military doctrine like Swiss, Serbian, or German …. in case of Guerrilla evry members of one team could have 1 or 2 greandes with him (that’s include Cookers, truckers, secretaries, … )
        * For accuracy of rifle grenad ! Do you not know use an Rifle grenade ? in plus that’s an better pentration of target than 40mm & versality in type of grenade
        * In plus in the case of adverse force down the guy with the Grenade lauchner, what you do ? With rifle grenade another team’s members could launch one

        For point 1.) Yes, Im aware of that. That is why the weight I was talking about was the 14.5″ version, the equivalent of the M4.

        2.) Rifle Grenades are obsolete, plain and simple. The under barrel grenade launcher is more accurate, easier to reload, and doesnt interfere with the primary weapon system. Thats not even counting the laser range finders available to grenade launchers now. The M320 has such a range finding system that makes it astonishingly accurate.

        3.) The Rifle Grenade IS NOT as accurate as a under barrel grenade launcher with a laser range finder plain and simple. End of discussion. If you can place a grenade through a window at 100 yards consistently, and then train a inexperienced soldier to do it, then ill agree. Ive messed with rifle grenades before. Leave them in the trenches of WWI.

        4.) The last argument is moot. The man next to him simply picks the damn thing up and uses it. At least with a UBGL, you dont have to worry about running out of special cartridges.

      • charles222

        Pretty much what I was going to say, W.

  • Monty

    Nicks87 said: “I think you guys are missing the point with this 5.56 vs larger caliber weapons and their use in combat.

    Killing people is not an exact science. What kills person A, might not kill person B. Look at how many people have died as a result of being shot with a .22LR cartridge. Evidence and statistics would indicate that .22LR is very deadly ammunition. On the other hand people have survived horrific wounds from large caliber ammunition, including .50 BMG.

    So, hate to burst your bubble but there is no concrete evidence that 5.56 is ineffective against human targets.

    I’ve personally taken a 220 lbs. white tail deer with a 62 gain soft point 5.56 round. I’ve also shot coyote with the same round and watched them run away and tracked them for miles without so much as a significant blood trail to follow.”

    What you say is correct, but you say it in such a way to imply that calibre and projectile mass don’t really matter. The rule of thumb is the larger the bullet and more energy its carries, the greater the probability of incapacitation. Larger is better.

    Back to the question: is 5.56 mm too small. Most NATO armies don’t use the US M855 let alone the Mk 318 SOST or M855A1 EPR. The latter two rounds are both recent updates developed precisely to enhance the soft target performance of 5.56 mm. If there hadn’t been a problem neither would have appeared.

    In order to get decent lethality out of its 5.56 mm ammo, the US has made sure it either flattens (Mk 318 SOST) or fragments (M855A1 EPR). Rightly or wrongly (insanely in my opinion) legal counsel in the EU deems these characteristics as amounting to expanding ammunition, which is explicitly banned by the Hague / Geneva Conventions.

    5.56 mm lethality will go on being a moot point until the day it is replaced. The real issue with 5.56 mm is a lack of range. It’s good for 300 metres, even 400 metres on a calm day with no cross winds. Unfortunately, we often need to engage enemy targets at 600+ metres. In the final analysis, we don’t need better ammunition to improve our ability to kill “innocent people”, but to stop “innocent people” engaging us at ranges we can’t shoot back from.

    By contrast good old 7.62 mm M80 ball which has soldiered on almost unchanged since 1951, neither yaws nor fragments, but more often than not it gets the job done. My choice of weapon is not an HK416, but the HK417. If it’s too heavy to carry, then I suggest you get yourself down to the gym.

    • Nicks87

      Same old argument. You want an assault rifle to do something that a battle rifle was ment to do. Like I said before, its not an equipment problem its a training/tactics issue.

      The problem with going to a larger caliber is logistics. Not just being able to carry more weight but manufacturing, buying, shipping and dispensing a larger, heavier, more costly round.

      Fighting and winning battles is about efficiency not who has the biggest guns/best equipment. Look at the Germans in WWII for example, they had some of the best and most technologically advanced weapons of the time but they were either unable to support those weapons (Rail Guns, King Tiger, etc) or the weapons were used improperly (ME-262, V2, etc) resulting in their inability to sustain the war.

    • rlrapp

      Personally, I agree with you on the LETHALITY debate, the big problem for 5.56 is range.

  • El Guapo

    I can guaranty anyone here that THALES will not replace the FAMAS.