According to the Marine Corps Times (which is not formally affiliated with the United States Marine Corps), the USMC is starting to phase out the OTIS soft cleaning kits in favor of an old-time favorite – the three rod cleaning kits originally issued with the M16A1 rifles.
A result of the Combat Marksmanship Symposium at Marine Corps Base Quantico, the decision was primarily based on the ability of the new kit to clean the barrel and secondarily, to be able to clear stuck-case malfunctions that the new system was unable to do.
The “new” cleaning system, packaged in a small round MOLLE pouch manufactured by OTIS made use of small modular components, which while useful for nearly any cleaning scenario that a Marine would face, was prone to losing those said small components in the field.
The kit made use of a flexible cleaning cable which according to Colonel Tim Parker, CO of USMC Weapons Training Battalion “…simply lacks the friction needed to properly clean a rifle barrel.” He continued, “Quite Frankly, they don’t work as well as the old rods we had… This is what the fleet (the nickname for the active Marine Corps) was telling us, so we said ‘All right, we tried a good idea–now let’s go back to the original one..
The “old” kits cost 4 times less than the new soft-pack. No word on how Marines are supposed to carry the “old” kits on their physical combat loads, as the M16 with full butt-stock is being phased out in favor of the collapsible M4.