Modern Marine South
Modern Day Marine is an annual event that takes place aboard Marine Corps Bases Quantico, Lejeune(Marine South), and Pendleton(Marine West). It is an industry display for the Marine Corps of various products, services, and schools currently in production or service. The main theme is to showcase gear that will better prepare and equip Marines on deployment. Although it is defense orientated, alot of universities and colleges show up for Marines ending their time in service. The firearms companies in attendance this year were H&K, Glock, Trijicon, Leupold, and Sig Saur. All these companies brought their main products, but a few brought their latest developments that have also recently came out.
H&K had their P2000 line on display but of particular interest was their newest PDW, the 416D and the MG4. Some interesting features about the MG4 set it apart from most light machine guns. First off, the belt pouch is connected at an angle from the machine gun so it has bottom ejection. This is uncommon of light machine guns as most utilize the bottom for connecting the belt pouch.
The bipods can be bent forward, so if the gunner needs to get more on top of the feed tray to clear malfunctions, he can pull the gun rearward and it will be closer to the ground, thus maintaining his profile instead of having to increase it by raising himself.
The charging handle can be folded up but this also leads to another neat feature. As the charging handle is retracted, it can be folded anywhere along its path and locks the bolt at whatever position it is at. This allows the operator to utilize both hands in clearing a malfunction instead of only one hand while the other is maintaining positive control of the charging handle.
An overlaying issue always present with machine guns being fired continuously is that of a “run away” gun. In which the sear breaks and the bolt cannot be stopped by the trigger and continues to fire after trigger pressure has been released. The MG4’s bolt has a number of catches on the bottom. And within the trigger housing group is another sear that protrudes up when the trigger is not depressed. If the main sear or bolt catch were to break, this secondary sear would “catch” one of the several catches on the bottom of the bolt, thus preventing a run away gun.
Sig Saur was present with their 516 and 716 line up. Of particular interest was the 516 PDW with it’s 7.5 inch barrel and the new 716 DM rifle with a Premier scope mounted. They also had on hand a belt from High Tech Industries that while made for plainclothes wear, could carry a sizable assortment of gear. On this version it had 2 M16 magazine pouches, 2 pistol pouches, pistol holster, radio holster and a plate that mounts to a rip away medical kit. All were thermamold and fit very closely to the body. The belt itself had a velcro lining so if someone were wearing a riggers belt with the opposite lining, they would stick together.
But of primary interest at the Sig booth, was that both gas systems in the 5.56x45mm SIG516 series were present.
The main difference is that the Generation I piston head is screwed into the gas block while the Generation II is locked in by a clasp like set up that is far easier to disassemble and reduces the risk of threads becoming clogged or de threaded in the field. On both the Generation I and II there are four gas settings: standard operation, sluggish operation during sustained amounts of use, Suppressor operation, and gas cut off turning the firearm into a manual operation for each shot.
The system is very similar to H&K’s gas piston system found on the 416,417 series of rifles. But, it may be more robust, as it does not require taking the entire handguard off the rifle to take the piston out to clean.