Thanks to USMC03Vet for this photo of his patrol loadout …

Picture of my OIF Fallujah patrol loadout with a very worn M16A4 and aluminum mags. Certainly not high speed low drag compared to what is available today, but thought showing well worn weapons of war would be appreciated as well.

Other gear included in the image.

– ACOG 4x
– AN/PVS-14 night vision
– M67 frag grenade
– Flash bang grenade
– OKC-3S Bayonet
– SureFire light
– 3 point sling
– Non issued boot knife and aluminum vertical grip



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  • Wayne Ilfrey

    Nice image sir.
    I would think in that situation you would’nt want hi-speed-lo-drag. Rather that the round lit up every time you pulled that trigger, without fail, and hit its target. Looks like this rig did just that for you. Peace.

    • USMC03Vet

      Never had a weapon malfunction with that rifle. I thought the M16’s we got from the M16A2 to the M16A4 were great. Now those M9 pistols are another story…

      • Lance

        Carried a A2 and a Beretta 92FS for years never issue with both.

        • USMC03Vet

          When I was qualifying for pistol instructor I had my trigger spring completely break making the pistol unusable on the line. I also found the slide action on the pistols very rough.

    • RaunchyDawg

      Thats what high speed low drag actually means when not used by tactifools

      • BeGe1

        Actually…I’m pretty sure that it means that something is stripped down to be lighter/smaller and for maximizing movement. I.e. an entity may forego body armor and use a smaller weapon in order to be “high-speed-low-drag”. It has nothing to do with describing reliability and/or accuracy of a weapon system.

  • JMLipoff

    Still higher speed and lower drag than what most militaries use. When I was in, the M16A4 was a pretty solid performer. Everyone loves little 10″ carbines because it’s what special operations units use, but honestly the solid stock and rifle length gas system is the ideal performer of all the variants. I don’t know why so many people go for carbine length with retractable stocks. They’re typically not very sturdy or comfortable, or at least not without spending a lot of money. The shorter gas systems are always sharper recoiling and wear parts out. Went shooting with a friend a few months back. We had a A4 clone, a 16″ carbine, and a 10″ LWRC piston gun. We all agreed that while it’s certainly long, the rifle length AR was by far the most smooth operating with the least recoil.

    • ColaBox

      To each his own, but collapsible stocks allows for adjustments in hold, not just for multiple shooters but for what you want to do with it. Scope out to 600? Full extension. Building scenarios, collapsed. A big guy might have better support hand positioning with the stock half way then his wife who needs it closed. So on and so forth.

      • JMLipoff

        I understand the argument and don’t get me wrong, I agree people should use what they like. I just feel like the solid stock is largely overlooked. Most people can use a solid stock, and may like it better. Particularly because most civilian applications for a rifle don’t involve wearing body armor.

    • Zachary marrs

      I like the 16″ barrel for home defense and as a trunk gun. While I am sure some folk might be ok clearing a house* with an 20″ barrel, I wouldn’t

      *never clear your house in an home invasion, unless you need to get to your kids

    • USMC03Vet

      Yeah I thought the 20 inch barrel was fine. When I got out they were just starting limited M4 issuing and of course higher got them mainly because they were lazy and didn’t want to carry a full sized rifle.

      That fixed buttstock will mess somebody up if you hit them with it. That’s always a plus.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        I agree with your contention about the longer barrel lengths for CQB being perfectly viable, although I will admit that the shorter ones are a little more handy in the same scenarios as others have pointed out. It all amounts to what you make of it.

        Also, a very good point in your second paragraph. Of course, if you are really hell-bent on causing maximum damage with a buttstock, the old-style solid or laminated wood buttstocks with steel buttplates ( found on virtually any vintage battle rifle such as the Mosin-Nagant M91/30, Lee-Enfield, Swiss K31 and so on ) are probably the way to go. The only modern equivalents I have seen and used that come close are the forged aluminum and solid polymer adjustable / folding buttstocks such as the Ace and FAB Defense items that are specifically designed to include this capability outside of their primary intended purpose.

      • RaunchyDawg

        I saw someone break one clean off in a bayonet drill. Just as durable as a gas tube with a stock on it

    • RaunchyDawg

      I’ve hit targets with towels on their hadsat 900 meters with an m4. The marginal effectiveness increase of the fixed stock and longer barrel are not worth the maneuverability when engaged in MOUT. Point target of the M4 is 550m per military doctrine. The m16 a4 is 600m.

      • SimpleJack

        I wasn’t referring to the accuracy (though it certainly is a lot easier with an M16 than an M4 at 500+), but more to reliability. M4s have a significantly higher rate of parts wear and failure. If I had to have a carbine AR, it’d be a middy.

        • raunchydawg

          I personally attest to the durability of both being so close that you cant tell the difference

          • SimpleJack

            I mean I can personally attest to the opposite too, but anecdotes aren’t what matter. It’s been shown in reliability trials over and over objectively that M16s are more reliable. That’s not to say the M4 isn’t reliable, but its a known tradeoff that when you chop down the DI system you significantly increase pressure, reduce heat dissipation, and increase rate of fire which all lead to parts wear.

          • RaunchyDawg

            Lab setting and field setting are completely different. . The marginal abuse of the gas system on the shorter barrel is so insignificant that you will absolutely never notice it on a large scale deployement of weapons where every weapon is firing over 300rds a day.

          • SimpleJack

            Yeah at the user end if it’s an issued weapon they may not notice. For overall logistics of use it can add up. Regardless, it’s not such a big deal that it should make anyone not have a carbine length gas system, because that wasn’t my point. I just think people overlook that, especially when they want to spend a lot of money on things like expensive compensators and different types of buffers. Rifle length systems are incredibly soft shooting even with an A2 hider, have a sturdy stock that is cheaper, more reliable lethality past 100-200 yards, and generally have the longest parts life. These are things that are worth considering yet no one appreciates.

          • RaunchyDawg

            I agree, however, what is your reliable lethality referring to? The sturdiness of the stock is also debatable depending on what context it is used in. Neither will likely break in any usage scenario where the weapons system is being utilized in its intended function. On the other hand if we are taking turns rifle butting concrete walls you might win out.

          • SimpleJack

            20″ barrels maintain high enough velocities to ensure tumbling/fracturing of rounds at further distances than 14.5″ barrels typically. It’s still only reliable up to 400m, but 14.5″ and under have had issues with reliable tumbling/fracturing past as little as 200m. The new M855A1 is apparently good at fixing this though. If you’re stuck with green tips or 55gr, 20″ is better.

            With the stocks, the reason it matters to me is because I’ve seen people break them on deployment jumping canals or other general clumsiness. I know, not good weapons handling but at the same time I’ve never seen a fixed stock break. Yeah, the M4s had the standard crappy m4 stock on them but if you get an after market Vltor or high end Magpul stock that is really sturdy it typically costs a lot more.

            I’m generally broke most of the time, so I few a lot of what’s ideal for me based on function vs cost so it’s not like I think only the rifle setup I like is acceptable.

          • RaunchyDawg

            I will concede on the barrel lengths for now as I am not confident in my knowledge on this subject. I do agree with the spalling/fragmenting of the round I just thought the A4 had a 16 inch barrel. As far as the buttstock I have seen equally devastating treatment of the collapsable stock, near direct RPG hit resulting in soldier and weapon rolling down 50 feet of hindu kush mountain. Thats a lot of rock and tree at a near 90 degree angle. The weapon functioned flawlessly full of shrapnel and after the fall. On the backside I also saw a A4 fixed stock break clean off from a buttstroke to a rubber bayonett dummy. I do however see that we both have valid points and cases for each of our chosen buttstocks and I absolutely feel the money issue.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Thanks for sharing the article and your thoughts. Did you have the same problems with easily-bent feed lips on the aluminum standard-issue magazines as I did ( my experiences go back 20-25 years before Fallujah, but I believe the magazines stayed pretty much the same during that entire time period ). We used to individually test each magazine prior to going out in the field because of this, and learned to carefully bend the feed lips one way or the other so that the magazines would feed properly since extra replacement magazines and an armorer weren’t always conveniently available.

    • USMC03Vet

      Nope no issues. I didn’t baby them either. Only times I had feeding issues in any of the weapons was with blanks.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Thanks for the clarification. It’s interesting to note the differences in individual experiences that are equally valid. I’m thinking that Colt, et al, may have taken notice and actually improved the material quality and resilience of the feed lips over time, even though the magazines still appear to be virtually identical. If so, the beneficiary is still the soldier on the front line — where it matters most — and that is the bottom line.

  • ak1134

    these posts are my favorite… MORE please!

    • Oh there will be many more and a regular feature!

      • S. Cautela

        That case-hardened receiver must have cost the government a fortune. 🙂

    • USMC03Vet

      Glad you like it!

      I wish I had a better picture of the M249 in my fireteam. It was pretty slick. Had a shorter barrel, EO Tech sight, paratrooper collapsible stock, and 50 round drum soft pouch that was in woodland camo.

      http://i.imgur.com/1qu7LOe.jpg

      • Andy

        One of my guys had one like it but I’m pretty sure thats a MARS sight. I remember thinking the combined laser on it was so futuristic. I haven’t seen one in the fleet since Phantom Fury and I got out in 2010.

        • USMC03Vet

          Small world. That is exactly where it came from, relieving 3/5 Dark Horse.

          • Andy

            Even smaller world, I was a pog CAG guy attached to 3/5 for Phantom Fury. Went back in 06 attached to to 2/8 and then 2/7 for a few months but stayed mostly north of the city in Karma and Saqlawiyah on that one.

          • USMC03Vet

            Camp Baharia?

          • Andy

            Living at Baharia was the closest I’ll probably come to living on a lake.

      • RaunchyDawg

        An eotech on a suppressive weapon, got to love the corps

        • Michael

          Royal Naval ships have Eotech on .50 and Gatlin type weapons, probably set up fot fast attack boats

      • RaunchyDawg

        I’m afraid I’m going to have to point out the flaws of this particular weapons set up.

        A: You never enter a room with an open bolt weapon in the lead, so there is no need for a close up only sight on a weapon that

        B: is able to engage targets out to 1k meters with a tripod or 800 with

        C: the missing bipods

        As an infantry team leader this disgusts me.

        • RaunchyDawg

          I’ll retract C because I cannot definitively tell if they are there or not.

        • bigangrybear

          I ran a saw in iraq in a similar setup but it was my back up when I had a mk19 on my gun truck because when driving in urban areas the mk19 was useless because the rounds needed 50m to arm so the chopped saw was used on close in threats

        • USMC03Vet

          Well it is the Corps, so you use what you’re issued. There were bipods on it. Although you can’t see in the picture they are actually deployed propping the weapon up. As for never entering room as lead, well, necessity dictates otherwise. Operating in a city environment I saw no problem with that type of optic on the weapon over iron sights.

        • Commonsense23

          Seen lots of eotechs on 46s and saws, its not a big deal. If you need some magnification throw a trippler on it. You can say its flaws, but there is a time and place for it.

        • BeGe1

          They are good for suppressing at shorter ranges too. Just because a weapon can hit 1k meters doesn’t mean that’s the only thing it’s good for or should be set up for. Considering it’s got shortened barrel, it seems to be a setup meant to be used for closer range stuff.

          As an infantry team leader, you should recognize that some weapons can have different attachments used to make them useful for different roles.

        • guesswhatsundermyflightsuit

          A. Shit happens, I had to clear many rooms with 249
          B. An Eotech works amazingly well on one, the large open reticle aids in target acquisition and walking the rounds.
          C. Bipods can break and snag, sometimes slick is the answer.
          D. Adapt and Overcome S/F

  • 1911a145acp

    Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Great image of your “daily driver” I am curious- Is the carry handle your only BUIS ( Back up iron sight). With the drop leg carrier is that 11 loaded mags? It appears all M-855 green tip and I notice all seem to be loaded ” last on left”. Is that 27 or 29 rounds in the mag.?

    • USMC03Vet

      Yeah the carry handle sights was the only iron sights we were issued. To be honest I preferred the iron sights over the ACOG because I was so used to it, but the magnification was great so you could see what people were doing at distance much easier. I I don’t think I ever brought the carry handle out with me as a back up anyway. The drop leg ammo pouch was a personal buy on my part. We only were issued 3 double mag pouches for our vest at the time.

      Full 30 rounds loaded. Never had magazine issues with the beat up aluminum mags, even when I added the 550 cord through the bottom of the mag plate.

      • BeGe1

        Actually, I’m curious about that too. The mags in the pic all seem to be last round on the left. Every GI mag I’ve ever used, an even round count meant the top-most bullet was on the right. So that would seem to be an odd number of rounds in each mag. The metal mags actually fit 31 rounds (though it’s usually not recommended to do so, they aren’t meant to), is it possible you were just loading until full, and actually doing 31? Or are there different followers in those mags that make last round on the left for 30 rounds?

        • USMC03Vet

          Not sure. They are Kay Industry mags. I still have some of them.

  • Carl Smith

    Gerber Guardian?

    • USMC03Vet

      Yup.

      I didn’t have a multitool and pulling out the Crocodile Dundee bayonet wasn’t always the most efficient thing to do.

      • Zachary marrs

        So did you ever mount the bayonet? Let alone use it?

        • USMC03Vet

          That deployment, no. There was no Pickett’s charge at Jolan Park. On a different deployment we did fix bayonets a few times. Nobody comes close when you do that.

  • Lance

    By far the rifle length AR is the best system. Not as sexy as the M-4 but more reliable and more accurate. Have to im happy with a good A2 rifle.

  • Dave Spears

    The M4’s and their collapsible stocks are great when wearing body armor or when fighting inside buildings. However the current typical basic ammo load scares the crap out of me, its just not much if you get cut off, encounter a much larger force or cant get some arty or armor support. Back in the Neanderthal war era (Viet Nam) basic ammo load was often 13 30X mags, 2 bandoleers of 20X mags, a claymore and at least two or 4 frags or some WP and a extra belt for the M60. Any line doggie carrying only 5 to 6 spare mags would have been thought to have a death wish.. The Army’s basic combat load in recent times looks a lot like a AF Security Police load in Nam, and they didn’t see much sustained mano y mano action.

    • John

      There’s a leg pouch in the upper right with four more magazines. Looks like his total is 330 rounds.

      From 2007 to 2010, Iraq wasn’t the same as Afghanistan. Troops could carry less ammo and be fine.

    • Joshua

      Standard load is 7+1. In Afghanistan we carried spare mags in our packs just in case.

    • Sam Pensive

      true true don’t run out of ammo.

  • C.

    How’s the OKC-3S? I’m thinking about getting one.

    • USMC03Vet

      It’s a badass blade.

      The rubber handle easily marks so it’s definitely not a show piece, but the finish and sturdiness of the whole package is superb. Compared to the older Marine Corps M2 bayonet there is no comparison.