“US Servicemen Could Have A New Rifle In Their Hands By 1996″

colt

The video below, which was released in 1990, shows the four rifles that were battling it out become the Army’s next generation Advanced Compact Rifle. It is amusing to see what was considered a good idea back then, like the high sight rib on the Colt ACR (pictured above) which was supposed to help with “point shooting”. On the other hand it is sad to see rifles more than a two decades old with more advanced ammunition than we have available to us today.

Many thanks to crisara772 for the tip.


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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  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.wright.1422 Jonathan Wright

    oh good lord.

  • B.

    1990 – back in the good old days of when ammo was plentiful and we didn’t have any worries of bans, UN treaties, or potential backdoor registration attempts.

    • El Duderino

      You have a short memory. New full autos were banned in ’86 and most foreign built semi auto rifles in ’89.

      • orly?

        Reagan…

        • Yellow Devil

          I don’t know about you, but even with all the mistakes Reagan signed off on in regards to firearms, I would take him over gun grabbing Obama and the other Democrats in orifice today.

          • Esh325

            Regan wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s Republican party, too much of a moderate. Not only did Regan get machine guns banned, but he also lobbied in 1994 to get the first assault weapons ban passed.

          • orly?

            History…

          • whodywei

            Let’s not forget that Regan was the one got shot.

          • HSR47

            Reagan certainly wasn’t a great friend to our cause (signed ban on loaded OC in California, signed off on hughes amendment, signed off on banning carry on federal property, etc.) but I’m not sure I can really blame him for his actions in 1994. Remember, the man had Alzheimer’s, and he trusted his advisers.

          • http://twitter.com/Bucherm Matthew Bucher

            Why is Obama “gun-grabbing” but not Reagan?

          • Yellow Devil

            Have you not been paying attention the past few months? The only thing keeping him from passing “more comprehensive gun reform” is becauset the “the Founding Fathers created a system that doesn’t allow him to do that” as he claims. But you do it a little at a time, whether it’s healthcare, welfare or energy control. As for Reagan, like I said before, I didn’t agree with everything he did as a Governor (or even President) but at least with him he wasn’t hell bent on expanding the Federal Government. I hardly think he would give tacit approval to the Liberal Democrats going around screaming we have to limit or even outright get rid of 2A.

          • orly?

            wow…

      • B.

        That is true. I wasn’t thinking of the NFA of ’86 or the import ban of ’89 – because they were already done. There was nothing to worry about at that point, since they were, and still are, a done deal unless something miraculous happens.
        I was talking about the AWB of ’94, which wasn’t even on the horizon in ’90. Also no ammo shortages like now, thanks to the fearmongering the current administration is fostering amongst our ilk.

        • HSR47

          National Firearms Act (NFA) passed in 1934. Then there was the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968. Lastly, there was the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986, to which the Hughes Amendment banning the transfer of newly registered machineguns was attached.

          • B.

            Once again, these were already passed, and in the past. They weren’t causing a panic or ruckus about shortages in 1990. Did you not understand my posts at all, or were you attempting to educate me (on things I already knew about).

          • HSR47

            When people talk about laws in a semi-ignorant manner (like implying that the NFA passed in 1986 instead of 1934), it does two things: first, it makes us all look ignorant, and second, it makes us all look ignorant. Neither is desirable.

            As for shortages, the Hughes amendment has caused a market shortage of machineguns which has perpetuated for almost 27 years. This shortage is why lightning links (effectively used saw blades stamped or filed to the right dimensions) are currently going for 8,000-10,000 on the open market.

          • B.

            Well, considering I was talking about ammo shortage specifically, what the Hughes amendment caused has no bearing on my statement. You may wish it to, but, it doesn’t. By 1990, all new legislation had been enacted, and were no longer causing a buying panic due to upcoming bans, especially regarding ammunition availability.
            My only mistake has been mislabeling the FOPA with the NFA. I knew what I meant, but I am sure it would have been confusing to others. Mea culpa.

        • http://twitter.com/Bucherm Matthew Bucher

          >thanks to the fearmongering the current administration is fostering amongst our ilk.

          Dude, shady FFLs are doing their best to fearmonger, if you haven’t been to any gun shows since December. “$2000 now, $10000 after the ban”.

          There’s been no serious movement on a federal anything regarding ammo purchases, the main deal has been with AWB and Background checks. It ain’t Obama walking into the NRA HQ Range and buying up the max ration of every caliber and going home without renting lanes. It’s hoarders.

          • B.

            Let me explain it simply, with smaller words. Obama wants to ban guns, so his pets Feinstein and Biden rework their original AWB. People go into a panic mode, and start buying everything. Guns, parts that could be banned, and ammo to go along with their new guns.
            Now, if no talks of a new AWB had come along, there’d be no hoarding going on. Dealers wouldn’t be saying “Better get this now, before it’s banned like the President wants to do, oh, and here’s some ammo to go with it.”
            Ammo shortage is just a side effect of the fearmongering created by… duh duh duhhhh – the talks of a new AWB.
            See how easy that was to comprehend?

          • orly?

            Now I’m curious on your theory on who’s to blame for gas.

          • B.

            This has nothing to do with the current topic.

          • HSR47

            Obama and the Democrats in the legislative branch. They have continually worked to inhibit the growth of supply (Keystone XL, offshore drilling post BP accident, ANWR, shale gas, fracking, etc.), which coupled with the growth in worldwide demand and inflation of the US paper money supply has caused the price we pay per gallon of gasoline to skyrocket.

          • http://twitter.com/Bucherm Matthew Bucher

            Whoop de doo.

            Regardless as to whether or not there is a AWB on the table, it doesn’t mean “lol the Democrats fault” that hoarders are swarming out and emptying the shelves of EVERYTHING but, say, .17HMR. If we snapped our fingers tomorrow and a AWB was in effect, it wouldn’t mean the ammo would magically be illegal as well, it’s just scalpers taking advantage of panic buyers. I see my LGSs on FB fanning the flames of it as well.

            And, you know, people *aren’t* shooting those guns. They aren’t. If you had bothered to read my post, you would have seen me complaining about people going to range at the Bloody NRA’s HQ here in Fairfax, buying up the max ration of ammo, and leaving without renting lanes. No one is shooting the ammo. The range is no busier than it was in November, but there’s no ammo to be had.

            Meanwhile, those of us who actually DO shoot are left holding the sack.

            Blame the Dems all you want, it isn’t them out there clearing out Walmart shelves of everything, and then sitting on it. But I guess it’s easier to blame The Other for the bad conduct of your own side, huh?

          • B.

            Apparently I didn’t use small enough words.
            Mentally ill man goes on a shooting spree – in response, Democrats want to ban guns… again.
            Immediately, IMMEDIATELY after they announce their intention to “do something about the gun violence” the ones who are old enough to start to stock up because they know what that means from the first AWB.
            Fear of a ban catches on, being pushed by everyone from the same politicians that will always try to get new gun legislation when the opportunity comes up, to the people profiteering off of the new environment. People buy everything – evil black guns, everything else besides those evil black guns, magazines, ammo, parts, etc.
            If you cannot see the correlation that the Democrats intent to ban “assault weapons” has caused this, you are completely oblivious then. Did people jump on the chance to make money off of this? Hell yes, it’s human nature. Case in point – .22lr ammo. You think that will be banned? Hell no, it never was, and probably never will be – but why waste an opportunity to make money. Are they to blame too? Yes, for helping create the current situation as it is with all the shortages – but make no mistake, this is absolutely, 100% the fault of the Democratic party with their ill-informed, and poorly executed intentions that got this party started. If they hadn’t tried to exploit the tragedies like they did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          • HSR47

            Speak for yourself. I picked up two cases of 9mm ammo going on two weeks ago, and though I haven’t cracked those cases yet, I’ve used nearly 500 rounds from my stockpile in that same amount of time. If anything, I’m shooting more now than I have been in awhile.

    • Avery

      Of course, you forget that most of those guns were designed to face the prospect of fighting Russians at the Falda Gap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Darkside0 Kyle Pellegrino

    That is some of the worst trigger control I’ve ever seen….

  • hi

    It’s interesting to see how amateur-like their weapon handling skills look just 20 or so years later

    • Entropy

      Maybe the point of the tests was to give the rifles to minimally trained soldiers (grunts, if I may use that term) and see if it made them into better shots?

  • http://www.facebook.com/george.h.hill George H Hill

    Congratulations… the Winner of the ACR project to replace the M-16… is The M-16!

    • Jay Dun

      That won’t change for the foreseeable future. The AR is ahead of all small arms development technology. No other rifle have so many third party developing and integrating new technology into the platform.

      The ACR program is a waste of tax payers money. They should give up and wait for energy or particle small arms weapons to be develop.

      • John184

        I honestly think rail guns are the next foreseeable upgrade. Nothing like a good ‘ol fashioned projectile.

        • bbmg

          I would think that laser pulse unaffected by gravity or any other environmental factors would have its benefits. As to whether it would have any recoil, the internet seems to be divided.

          • Anonymoose

            Laser “rifles” are already in use for non-lethal deterrence. As large and heavy as those are (the Chinese ZM-87 is about the size of an HMG, and the American PHASR looks to be about the size of an M240), a lethal one would have to be larger yet.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dylan.draper.948 Dylan Franklin Draper

            a 4 megabyte hard drive in in 1974 weighed 2 tons, and took up an entire room. in 2013 we have a 64 gigabyte hard drive that is half the size of dime, technology grows exponentially if you let it.

            honestly, i am fine with bullets.

          • Avery

            Lasers still have limited range unless you’re pumping a lot of energy through them thanks to blooming. But I do think that they’ll be a force to reckon with in the future. You can forget about them as infantry weapons anytime soon, but mounted on a plane or a drone is going to be a nightmare to face.

          • Jared

            Lasers will be good but they are affected by weather and smoke screens.
            Also lasers are contrary to popular notion(except free electron lasers) would be short ranged to the energies involved a beam that is dense enough to destroy the target would melt the gun so it needs to be generated at lower energy densities then focused at the target. That means two things. First the
            weapon needs a rangefinder to function.Second if the weapon is to be portable it will have a range of no more than 500 meters, due to the focusing problem.

          • Entropy

            There’s no recoil, any more so than turning on a flashlight. The problem with lasers as small arms is that firstly we don’t have a power supply small enough to supply them, and secondly that their lethality is questionable. To shoot down dones or rockets with things like the THEL we must focus a truck-sized laser assembly onto the target for about 5 seconds and hold it there until the fuel ignites.

            A bullet takes at most a second between firing and hitting its victim, and will likely take them out of the fight immediately upon impact.

          • Para

            Enjoy being wholly unable to effectively engage beyond the horizon.

      • Para

        I typed out a long and fairly thoughtful post, but logging into Disqus deleted it.
        It’d probably suffice to say that I personally think that the AR is none of the things you said.

    • Anonymoose

      Some of the developments of the Colt ACR were worked into the M16A3/A4, M4, and C7A1. At least we have rails on our ARs now because of that.

      • Lance

        No the M-16A3 is a A2 with full auto only used by the US Navy.

  • D

    The Steyr concept didn’t look too bad. Amazing how some things change, and how much they stay the same. Also yes, their shooting mechanics are horrible compared to today.

  • Esh325

    I always thought the “salvo approach” of launching multiple projectiles in one defined pattern to increase hit probability in combat was a great idea, it’s a shame the idea has went largely unrealized in most rifles today. The AN-94 is probably the most successful of rifle of that approach. I imagine the 10% figure of a soldier hitting a target at 300m’s under stress is even lower with a M4 in combat, but how you have to wonder how much optics make a difference in that figure? The reason these were canned was supposedly because none were deemed to improve enough on the M16A2, but you have to wonder how much of that is true. Politics and cost concerns certainly get in the way of choosing the best weapons availiable. LSAT took over from the G11’s work.

    • -V-

      Well, the biggest obstacle to any of them getting adopted was that the need for a better infantry rifle disappeared – The Soviet Union fell. At the time it was a political decision, since I think most people didn’t see a any looming WW3-like scenario on the horizon.

      Its amazing to look at late 80’s early 90’s technology and notice how much more advanced all those rifles (sans the Colt salvo fire contraption) are then what we have today. The high mark of today’s technical innovation? “We stuffed a .30 cal bullet in a .223 case! HOORAY!!” Case-less ammunition? Telescoping plastic cased ammo? Only the latter is appearing again today.

      • bbmg

        One can only hope that this sort of development is going on behind the scenes, it would be a shame if endless variations of the AR platform is what progress is reduced to.

        • Dale

          If this video teaches us anything, it’s that we aren’t seeing a new rifle for the US Military anytime soon…

    • Jay Dun

      In the case of the duplex cartridge. The second bullet is useless and decrease the overall performance of the first. It’s a really bad cartridge. IIRC if you want that kind of config certain type of 410 shell have them.

      Don’t expect hyper-burst technology to be in the combat fields. Too complex and won’t survive the abuse.that a 18 years old kid will put it through.

      • Esh325

        I guess at close range it was intended to increase performance over the regular M885. It’s worst to get hit by two slugs, than one slug.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sid.collins.5 Sid Collins

      Optics have made a big difference in accuracy. The CCO and the ACOG make a practical shooter into a designated marksmen.

      • Esh325

        No doubt about it, I’m just wondering if that 10% of hitting a target at 300m’s under stress turns into say a 15-30% chance with an optic perhaps?

        • http://www.facebook.com/sid.collins.5 Sid Collins

          I can’t put a number on it. Having been a good shot with iron sights on the M16A2, I was really impressed with the CCO and ACOG shooting on ranges. My soldiers shot better with the CCO than I would have ever imagined. Marginal shooters qualified easily and practical shooters would reliably shoot 37-39 on qualification.

  • bbmg

    Hitting the target is what matters most, and they recognised it then.

    Striking an enemy with a tiny 4.73mm bullet from the G11 is more likely to put him out of action than missing him with a heavier round.

    • Jay Dun

      When you have so many people whining about how small the 5.56 x 45 is. Let me tell you 4.73 x 33mm is smaller.

  • Brendan O’Connell

    Damn, I miss the flechette/salvo ACR’s. The next system to not get picked was the AICW; what a step down in quality (and up in weight)!

  • Forrest1985

    What makes me laugh is how were talking technology and so many units are polishing off or borrowing ageing 7.62 platforms to make up for the shortcoming of the current tech. Seems were only going backwards!

  • Ian

    A funny anecdote I heard about these trials: adding a forward pistol grip to a standard weapon did more to increase hit probability than any of the other fancy changes.

    Also, Colt’s laziness is a tradition.

    • Jay Dun

      That’s wrong. The forward grip does nothing to increase accuracy. What improve accuracy is optics. IIRC the Army did a test 10 years or so back and shows optic improve accuracy by at least 40% over iron sight.

      • John184

        I’m pretty sure having more stability helps accuracy. Even if it’s a placebo, an improvement is an improvement.

        • HSR47

          I would wager that any increase in accuracy attributable to the use of vertical forward grips has more to do with aiding the shooter in attaining consistent hand placement than anything else. If you mount the rifle the same way every time you enter a particular firing position, you will have more consistent shot placement overall. With practice and proper sight adjustment, consistent shot placement means consistent hits.

    • anon

      that statement was made and as far as I know is from a reliable source. Testing was done by Knights, and led to the SOPMOD standard

  • mikee

    The laws of physics and chemistry haven’t changed since then. However the IQ level of the political class has markedly deteriorated!

  • Michael Mabey

    The colt one is the C7a2 with the colt automatic rifle hand gaurd.

  • BBB

    Did anyone else notice the 1s Gen ACOG? Way back in 1990 and it took how long to field in Army………

    • Jay Dun

      And you know what the vast majority of military still use iron sight. Optics are expensive. ACOG cost over twice as much as the carbine/rifle that is mounted on.

      • BBB

        Every unit I have been in since 2006 have had some type of issued optic, whether that is an M68 CCO, Eotech, or ACOG. So no the vast majority dont use iron sights outside of basic training.

        • Jay Dun

          When I mean military, I did not mean US military. US military is only a very few in the world that issue standard optics to their troops. Other world military can’t afford optics.

          It took a long time for the US military to justified optics for standard use. It only happen in the last 10 years or so.

  • Sceptical

    Am I the only one who thinks the G11 to be the hardest to control after watching the video?

    • Avery

      That weird kick-forward recoil seems to be pretty powerful. But the “Black Forest, self-firing cuckoo clock”, as it was called by the testers who wielded it, had other problems, as it’s derogative indicates.

    • Marc

      Because it’s fired in three round burst mode. There’s also single shot and full auto at a slower rate of fire.

  • Bernardg

    …. And we are still stuck with ammo technology that have been around since the turn of 19th century & a rifle with technology from vietnam war era, just having a cosmetic makeover. Let face it & be honest. We (as in USA) basically stunted personal assault weapon innovation & advancement around the weapon industries world back for decades.
    Personally, i do hope that Steyr ACR & G11 get their [much deserved recognition & actually put into official military use.

    • Jay Dun

      And we be stuck with the same ammo technology long after we’re six feet under. The caseless ammo have enormous drawbacks. In handling, transportation, and environmental deterioration/longevity..

  • zap

    Gentlemen, I do not know if you realize it, but PROGRESS can be achieved only in de-centralized system. System as is inside of NATO is epitome of opposite – stiff centralization. Germans (or anybody else for that matter) would be on their own far ahead.

    • Jay Dun

      This have nothing to do with centralized system. It has everything to do with the mechanical limitation of firearms. Everything been done.

  • nobody

    There are actually legitimate reasons these weren’t adopted. For the Steyr ACR, there was a major problem with the sabot having enough energy to maim or kill after it came off the flechette, combine that with how it doesn’t necessarily fly straight down range and might curve off to the side and you have a dangerous situation where nothing in front of you is safe for a short distance whether you are aiming at it or not. I’m not sure about the AAI prototype but judging by how it fires a flechette in a sabot like the Steyr ACR does it probably would have the same problem. As for the HK g11 it didn’t have a problem with cooking off rounds like people normally claim after it was fully developed, it did however have a problem with soldiers actually having to bring it back to the armory to have it cleaned, which is completely unacceptable in a combat rifle, the way it reloads might have also counted against it. As for the Colt ACR, I don’t understand why they didn’t adopt some of the features, such as the hand guard with the sight rib (there was actually an army study where they put an inline stock on an m1 carbine along with a sight rib and a few other features and were able to increase hit probability by 4x over the m16) and the improved buffer, as they most likely could have been fitted to a normal m16, the ammo however had problems with accuracy and requiring the soldier to carry normal ammunition for longer range shots (imagine having to change out magazine because the ammo in the gun makes it so inaccurate that you can’t hit what you’re shooting at, and then there is the problem of how much of each type of ammunition to carry).

    Hell this same situation happened with the XM8, yes it was more reliable but it also had problems with it only having a 12 inch barrel compared to the 14.5 inch barrel on the m4 which would lower the range that the 5.56 ammunition would fragment at from 100 meters to 45 meters for m193 ball or 50 meter to 15 meters for m855 ball, it had a proprietary rail system so all rail mounted accessories would have had to be replaced which would raise the price of replacing the gun, and it weighed half a pound more than the m4.

    US Army study with the m1 carbine:
    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA118713

    • Jay Dun

      There are legitimate reasons why those cartridges didn’t make it pass R&D. They suck. They suck at killing people.

      For example flechette rounds. Been done, used in combat in Vietnam and earlier. You know what happen when you shot someone with a flechette round? He’s going to pull the darts out of his body. Come over and shove it up your ass. He has a better of getting kill by inflections created by the flechette than the flechette.

      • nobody

        I don’t know about use in a regular rifle as if I remember correctly, the test in Vietnam were done with shotgun shells, which were rather low velocity compared to rifles like the Steyr ACR that could fire them at around 4750 fps. Using flechettes in a light machine gun however sounds like a good idea to me if you put multiple flechettes in each casing, as a flechette machine gun firing cartridges that hold 4 flechettes at 775 rounds per minute (same as the m249) would give you 3100 flechettes downrange per minute (or 51 per second compared to 13 per second with the m249). Who is going to volunteer to try to pop their head out then?

        • Jay Dun

          Development of flechettes for small arms is a dead end. Spend millions on it over the years and still can’t make it work.

          Let go by your numbers. Do you know what 4750fps do to a barrel even a smooth bore? It wear them out really quick. The erosion and heat will eat the barrel alive. You’ll be lucky to get 1k out of a new barrel.

          Than you have to deal with the extra weight of platform to handle the pressure. How many rounds can you fire before cook off? It look good on paper and marketing ads but like most things reality mugged it.

      • -V-

        Light projectiles rely more on their velocity versus mass to do damage. Throwing those darts at ~1,000fps from a shotgun is probably not going to make them very effective, throwing them out at almost 5,000fps (as in the steyer ACR) changes the name of the game significantly. Look at 5.56. At 1100 FPS it’s little more then a heavy .22lr, at 2700-3000fps it tumbles and explodes like a hand grenade.

  • tt_ttf

    That G11 had a nasty off center recoil aside from the fact that all the weapon handling was sloppy

  • PCP

    Ah, the good ol days when H&K actually had a wisp of creativity, innovation and the will to dare in their corporation soul… too bad when that happens you end up with an over-engineered clusterfuck that makes an AN-94 looks simple and sane. In all due respect someone would have to experiment on ceaseless ammunition one day, and that was not a grantee of success, and frankly the concept was more sound than the whole duplex-round-nonsense.

  • zap

    Conventional thinking is iron shirt – it limits greater view of reality with other alternatives. Let’s ask ourselves: what is purpose of shooting someone dead? Because it is order or because we do not like them (again by order) or what else? After all, in time of lull in was found, over and over, that “they are just like us”. I believe that the most efficient way how to combat someone is to turn their mind in the way we want them to be. Make them into robots… serving us. No bullets, no trauma of killing (and being killed). no field chaplans under blue (or dark for that matter) skyes.

    I know, this takes firearms out of focus….. well at least it is refreshing, I hope. But, hang on: guns are great for competition, aren’t they?! Just ‘pretending’ we kill someone.

  • zap

    Conventional thinking is iron shirt – it limits greater view of reality with other alternatives. Let’s ask ourselves: what is purpose of shooting someone dead? Because it is order or because we do not like them (again by order) or what else? After all, in time of lull in was found, over and over, that “they are just like us”. I believe that the most efficient way how to combat someone is to turn their mind in the way we want them to be. Make them into robots… serving us. No bullets, no trauma of killing (and being killed). no field chaplains under blue (or dark for that matter) skies.

    I know, this takes firearms out of focus….. well at least it is refreshing, I hope. But, hang on: guns are great for competition, aren’t they?! Just ‘pretending’ we kill someone

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000656943684 Isaac FluffyWolf Rader

    “More Advanced” does not necessarily mean better. Caseless ammo and flechettes are more advanced than modern bullets, but flechettes deflect of rain, (At least, the ones in the CAWS did… I don’t know) and caseless ammo is hard to work with.

  • Main Character

    so they had sopmod stocks, acog and elcan sights along with flat top m16 variants?

  • Main Character

    back in 1990?

  • mig1nc

    I know the Steyr was a flechette based weapon, but I didn’t know the Steyr’s ammo was telescoping cased with a downward ejection. Notice the ejection port on the bottom in front of the magazine. There are very few bullpups with truly ambidextreous ejection, like the F2000, P90, and RFB.

    It would be nice to somebody take the LSAT ammo to a bullpup configuration with downward ejection like that.
    Also interesting is the stock and buffer on the Colt design. The stock seems to have evolved into the Crane stock, and the flat top seems to have given a clue to the future as well.

  • Lance

    The ACR program LIKE THE current ICC was a waste and flop and like now they offered nothing really new or superior over the M-16 that’s why these crappy programs die.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.thorne.94 Robert Thorne

    Love it, shot Buckner when I went to basic in 2010 looks exactly the same

  • Match Target 6601 Lover

    If only the US had gone with the .280 British…