Full Auto Controllability, Continued: How Do We Define Useful Fully Automatic Fire?

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Previously, we talked about the word “controllability”, and what it means in relation to the recoil and ergonomic characteristics of a firearm. If you haven’t already read that article, I recommend you click the link here and do so first, as this post will assume that you have. We discussed how a rifle – due to its ergonomic design and the skill of its shooter – may seem to be “controllable”, even if it produces recoil to an extreme degree and rate. What we didn’t talk about is the effect that terrain, fatigue, and other secondary factors have on rifle controllability, and how those factors fit in to a broader calculus on controllability thresholds for military automatic individual weapons.

Let’s take again the example of the Dutch-made AR-10. With a torrent of recoil channeled through a straight line stock, this weapon can be “controlled” when firing on flat, solid ground, by a skilled shooter who is strong and heavy enough. Yet, is that enough for the weapon’s fully automatic function to be militarily useful? Not exactly. Essentially, this control may only be achievable in ideal conditions. Take a shooter who, when well-rested and fed, can control the weapon on a square range with solid ground, and deny him any single piece of that equation (leave him hungry, or deny him sleep, or have him try to fire in the mud or in an awkward position), and he may lose control of such a challenging weapon as the AR-10. This changes the nature of our question further beyond the gunwriter’s “controllable or not?”: Now we need to ask “how often is the fully automatic fire usable in practical military situations?”

For the AR-10, the answer is “not very often”. I cannot imagine being able to control such a weapon even when simply firing downward into a trench, much less on slick ground, or when stopping suddenly after running. Simply, controlling a weapon like the 800 rounds per minute, seven-pound 7.62 Armalite is for me, only a stunt. It provides little to no useful military capability to the infantryman.

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This weapon really should not have a fun switch.

 

There is also the matter of the modern infantryman’s fighting kit. Unlike when these weapons are shot for fun by civilians in jeans and a t-shirt, militaries need their soldiers to be able to achieve fully automatic fire in their normal fighting gear. Can that same skilled shooter who tamed the AR-10 before do so again, but this time in full armor and ruck? It is doubtful!

In contrast, the AR-10’s younger, smaller brother, the AR-15 is quite handily controlled in many different situations. The rifle can be fired by a skilled shooter reasonably accurately on fully automatic while he is in his full gear, while moving, while pointing up or down, when the shooter is tired, physically spent, hungry, or when he is in an awkward position. The recoil doesn’t cause the shooter to want to slide backwards in mud very much, nor does the concussion of firing blur the shooter’s vision and completely dominate his concentration. In other words, the AR-15 can be used to do the same things as a submachine gun; it possesses militarily useful fully automatic capabilities even when its user is maneuvering over rough terrain. The AR-10 does not; control of that weapon is only possible in ideal conditions with a highly skilled shooter in my opinion, and its firing is so violent is precludes the shooter from doing anything but control the weapon, meaning no target acquisition or situational awareness at all is possible during firing.

IMG_8719

Last time, I didn’t make it adequately clear: This is a stunt. At best, it provides only marginal tactical benefit.

 

So to truly evaluate the suitability of a weapon for fully automatic fire, we need more than just a YouTube video of someone managing to keep the muzzle level while letting it rip. Footage of this kind tells us very little about how militarily useful a weapon’s fully automatic fire may be. Instead, to truly determine how useful the automatic mode on a rifle is, we would need a course of fire where the weapon is fired by a regular infantryman in full gear at a variety of attitudes, in a variety of positions, and while standing on a variety of surfaces (e.g., mud). The soldier would need to be able to control a rifle while moving, or while having just run the better part of a mile or more. To be militarily useful, the rifle’s muzzle must stay down and on target not just on a square range, as a stunt, but when used by a fighting man in combat!

*It must be noted that we are talking about fully automatic fire for individual weapons – that is, assault rifles. Squad support weapons are used differently, and not everything said here may be applicable to them.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • gunsandrockets

    Ian seemed pretty clear in his video that the AR-10 was useless in full auto fire, and without adding a disclaimer of “in less than ideal circumstances”.

    • Nicks87

      I dont think Ian has had much combat experience.

      • And you’ve apparently never shot an AR-10, so you’re even. 😉

        • Joseph Goins

          Irrelevant.

          • iksnilol

            I think it is relevant whether person has shot the firearm in question.

            IE I can say FA AK is controllable because that’s what I can actually control (to some extent), I can’t say an AR-10 or AG3 is useless or not on FA since I’ve yet to shoot those.

          • No, on the Internet, one only needs to have seen a gun once at a gun show to be an expert on it.

          • iksnilol

            Does a grainy black and white picture suffice if I don’t have gun shows?

      • valorius

        So what? The only real use for full auto in combat is suppressive fire, and the AR-10 is not even useful in that role.

  • Joe

    Would a 2-3 round burst mechanism and a higher cyclic rate help the AR10 stay on target? You might get the rounds out of the barrel before the recoil takes you off target.

    • Burst mechanisms are usually there to make up for lack of training of the shooter unless its a firearm with near hyper burst like rates ie Beretta 93r.

      The mechanism usually just limits the number of rounds fired into low orbit but do nothing for controllability or recoil mitigation.

      • JustAHologram

        The AN-94 takes the hyper burst to another level

        • ostiariusalpha

          Not really, the AN-94’s hyperburst has a fire rate on par with an automatic pistol or the G11 (which is a 3-round burst, instead of the 2-round for the Russian weapon).

          • JustAHologram

            The only automatic pistol I can find that has a rate that high is the VP70(which actually beats it by 400 RPM coming in at 2200), the rest are all between 1000-1200 nowhere near the 1800 of the AN-94. Caseless weapons have a much higher potential rate of fire, we just have to get over that pesky overheating into a chain firing.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The G11’s hyperburst is 2100 rpm, and a subcompact pistol can do 1500-1600 rpm easily. The HK VP70 is a straight blowback design and doesn’t have the limiter that the Beretta 93R and Glock 18 have.

          • JustAHologram

            A subcompact might get there but I doubt it would have any degree of controllability with burst being a possible exception. But how many select fire subcompacts are there period?

          • ostiariusalpha

            How many? If you only count production guns, then there are only the 8 full-size pistols, with no sub-compacts for the very reason of lack of controllability. Though just about every weapon manufacturer makes one or two full auto units, ostensibly as test beds for assessing magazine reliability, but probably just as much for the fun of it.

    • Nunya Bidniz

      It would probably make more sense to eschew the increased parts count/complexity/points of failure of a burst mechanism and reduce the cyclic rate to ~300rpm [long ago determined to be optimal for human control] and just train the shooter to get their finger off the trigger quickly.

      • Burst

        Here’s a question whose time has come:

        What fully automatic weapons exist in the 300-400rpm range? I think the USAS-12 was right around there, but I confess I can’t think of any more.

        • iksnilol

          Some sub guns as well, I think the grease gun has a that low RPM.

          • Major Tom

            The world’s first assault rifle the Federov Avtomat was around 300 rpm as well. It wasn’t remarked upon as some kind of moon shooter.

            Though it wasn’t built for doing it for hardly any time at all. Overheating quickly was a known issue with it. (Though I suspect that has more to do with materials quality and barrel thickness than cyclic rate.)

          • iksnilol

            Maybe it overheated quickly due to the low RPM+mild recoil encouraging longer bursts?

            But yeah, that’s one surefire way of reducing RPM: long cartridges. The longer the cartridge the farther the bolt has to travel. That’s why .50 BMG MGs fire so slow compared to .30 MGs.

          • Major Tom

            On the M2HB it happens to be more every part is heavier than it’s supposed to be. The bolt, the receiver, the barrel, even the method of recoil operation is heavier than it needs to be.

            But as a result, it has supreme reliability and durability under combat conditions.

            That’s why the sped-up fire rate aircraft versions such as the AN/M3 have auxiliary power feed. The .50 BMG cartridge doesn’t produce enough oomph to do 900-1200 rpm in a Browning platform.

        • Nunya Bidniz

          Thompson, BAR, M3 grease gun; there have been others. Higher rates of fire were a design criteria imposed upon MG developers for aviation use [chance of hitting fleeting targets increased by rate of fire from a solid mount], not by infantry doctrine.

  • Major Tom

    “This weapon really should not have a fun switch.”

    HERESY! Every weapon if built for it should have a fun switch. If and only if it was inherently designed to be manual action (bolt, lever, pump, etc.) or deliberate semi-auto (early self-loaders like the Garand, various DMR’s today) should it not possess one.

    There’s always a time and a place for full auto fire. If you come across an “Oh sh*t!” moment where you NEED full auto, you are awfully durned thankful you have it when you have it. Even a squirrely hard-to-control 7.62mm gun like an AR-10 or M-14.

    • CommonSense23

      I’m really curious what situation you see full auto coming into play with a rifle.

      • Kyle

        Picture it. There you are in a deer stand and out in front of you the North Korean 0bama/Hillary gay starving death panels! When that happens sir you are gonna be asking yourself when you don’t have fullauto, right before they transgender gay marry you to a draft horse.

        • Twilight sparkle

          You know comments like these are the reason there are so many LGBT people opposed to firearms, and you managed to break the one rule on tfb… Thanks for that…

          • Kyle

            Unclench, it was sarcasm laid on thick enough to smother a toddler.

          • Twilight sparkle

            That doesn’t matter, it still isn’t good for us. There’s sarcasm and then there’s a distasteful attempt at sarcasm.

          • valorius

            You forgot the Q. Didn’t get the memo?

          • Twilight sparkle

            I also could have added an A if I wanted too, but since I happen to be part of that community I decided to use the more common acronym…

            Let’s try to keep discussions focused on firearms though

          • valorius

            There’s an A now too?

            Perhaps it should just be renamed the ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ community. 😉

      • Major Tom

        Same situations you’d see with a submachinegun or RPK-style automatic rifle. Massed attacks, suppressive fire, close range “Oh sh*t!” moments.

        Plus you can still attach bipods to line infantry rifles for use of auto or burst fire at longer ranges. Even the old M-14 had provisions for one.

        • CommonSense23

          So what good does full auto do compared to a shooter that is firing quick aimed fire. Having guys make accurate quarter seconds splits isn’t hard.

          • Uniform223

            Just requires more training…

          • valorius

            Lots and lots more training.

          • CommonSense23

            Quarter second splits isn’t that bad hard out of a M4A1. Its trying to break down into accurate .2 or faster splits where you really got to put range time into.

          • valorius

            Honestly, none of the timed stuff translates in any real way to typical infantry combat, where you’re typically laying on uneven ground on a battlefield obscured by smoke and shooting at fleeting enemies that you can barely see.

            I agree semi auto fire is the way to go though.

          • Uniform223

            Room clearing is where that skill set really shines.

          • valorius

            Hmmm, for some reason my response is awaiting approval by TFB. I guess i’m on some kind of bad boy list?

          • VieteranGunsmith

            In my day that’s what we used hand grenades and 12 gauge flechette or m79 shot/flechette rounds for…

          • Uniform223

            It would be so much easier to frag every room in the building but that isn’t how it’s done now. Fraging a room was when they really pissed us off and when there were no civilians or ammo caches being stored. Least that’s what I was taught. Than again I was also taught how to dig a “hasty” two man fighting position and a foxhole. Before I got out I met new/young soldiers who only heard of it but didnt know how to build it.

          • VieteranGunsmith

            I agree, in my day the ROE was not so strict, and we did see somewhat of a higher level of freedom in the field in a combat response role. In some respects the later generation of soldiers have been a bit endangered in the field by ROE that tie their hands imposed by non combat experienced DC types, and the practice of using civilians and civilian facilities to protect bad guys at those civilian’s expense seems to have gotten worse.
            Things that were done in the field in those days have not been without controversy, although I think the guy facing the muzzle of enemy weapons should be allowed more leeway to effect their own defense at the expense of the enemy than we are seeing from this administration.

            Vietnam was micromanaged to a degree, but these modern era combat engagements are exponentially worse – for our folks

          • Ron

            The problem that at least the Marines found (I am sure it was also an Army observation) in Iraq was that M67 frag grenade effect could be mitigated by leaving soft items on the floors of building, like rolled carpets and thick pillows. Or in some cases in Fallujah the insurgents would make improvised baffles with rolled carpeting in the rooms. So you would toss a frag in a room, it would go off but really would only kick up dust without wounding any of the intended targets complicating things the dust and smoke would make clearing the room harder.
            Potentially underscores why one of the biggest lessons from the 15 years of war is the best way to clear a building is either to cordon it off and do a call out or just drop it with high explosives.

          • Kivaari

            Six 106mm RCL.

          • VieteranGunsmith

            Forgive the oversight – 45 years since I saw my last one, and as Regular Army we didn’t get much time with the USMC’s toys. It was kind of home-brewed weapons system using then somewhat obsolete armament, but even so it could make rubble out of just about any target – very impressive thing to see in action.

          • Kivaari

            It was an impressive weapon system. No real armor protection for the crew. A shoot-n-scoot machine with lots of power.

          • VieteranGunsmith

            I recall the aiming system consisted of a single shot .50 BMG rifle mounted parallell to the RR barrels, and the name is greek for “the thing” – some Marine gave it that name, probably of greek heritage and a fan of 1950’s sci-fi movies. Remember the original, “The Thing”, with James Arness playing the title role of the ferocious ET? (Later, he played TV’s Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke). A little straying off the thread but good trivia.

          • Kivaari

            The round was a special .50 caliber not interchangeable with the BMG. It flew the same trajectory as the 106mm, so where the spotting round went (from the “spotting rifle”) so went the 106. It was a semi-auto rifle from memory. In fact the whole contraption, the Thing, was called a rifle. One helluva rifle.

          • valorius

            Sorry, i was talking about lots more training for full auto.

          • claymore

            Hard to train rookies without actually having INCOMING FIRE WHIZZING PAST YOUR EARS. Nobody, including you, do not know how they are going to react to their first introduction to someone actively and aggressively trying to kill them. You would be very happy to have a select fire weapon if it ever comes to pass and you would be more than willing to give up your beliefs and switch that baby to AUTO.

          • Uniform223

            You ever hear veterans say, “my training just kicked in” or something to that degree? For guys that are fresh there will always be that moment of shock and hesitation but your training will always kick in. Guys train to the point where it becomes a reflex action. Luckily we have training scenarios that induce stress.

          • claymore

            There is never enough stress produced by yelling, screaming, simulators going off, what ever , that will equal the stress of incoming rounds. Have you ever seen even crusty old veterans go to the switch and spray and pray when there are gomers in the wire?

          • Nicks87

            Amen brother, sometimes it’s enough just to make them think twice about shooting back at you lol!

          • valorius

            The goal is to so ingrain soldiers via training that they just react reflexively. Muscle memory and all that. The hope is that you will just react instead of thinking. Thinking causes paralysis which costs lives. Fast reaction (even if it’s not necessarily the best reaction) saves lives.

            Or so the thinking goes.

            Full auto is great for suppressing fire, either offensively (such as bound and overwatch) or defensively (such as breaking ambushes or contact), but for anything else, at least in my opinion, semi auto is better.

            The way the US Army fights is generally to just maintain contact without unduly exposing yourself to incoming fire while you wait for the arty and air to inflict casualties on the enemy. Generally speaking a very tiny % of casualties in war are caused by rifle fire.

          • claymore

            “The hope is that you will just react”………. hope goes out the window when REAL bullets are incoming.

          • Uniform223

            There is trained and untrained… That is real difference. You either panic and dump mag after mag or you fall back on your training. The shitbags that gave us the most trouble were the ones that were properly trained and knew what they were doing.

          • CommonSense23

            So you are suggesting that auto has more to do with making you feel better than actual ability in a rifle?

          • Major Tom

            Outside the situations I mentioned, not that much. But inside those situations such as where you have 4, 5, 6, 10+ bad guys down the sights all bent on giving you a dirt nap and/or needing to panic fire at really short range or die, no amount of range qualifications and self-professed quarter second or less splits can beat Auto.

            If semi-auto was the King of Combat under all circumstances, we’d have no need for machine guns, PDW’s/subguns, indeed we never should have advanced beyond the M1 Garand. 4F would only be a conscription label, not a tactic as well.

            But reality doesn’t work that way.

        • fasteddiez

          Every fourth man in a Marine Corps infantry unit had one (bipod) for the designated M-14 equipped automatic rifleman. If right handed, you could hold the rifle on your hip and extend the left leg of the bipod and fire away on full auto. Makes you feel like you had a giant Bren gun. One battalion, 2/4, had a selector for auto fire (A for Awful). That puppy rises easily, even if you hold your hand on the top of the handguard and hold it tightly. If you held it too loosely and shoot an entire 20 rd. mag on Auto, your last round would be headed for the Ionosphere.

          • fasteddiez

            Sorry……Sten Gun.

      • Nicks87

        When there is a group of people rolling up in an unarmored vehicle looking to do you harm, it helps to be able to switch to full auto and just spray the vehicle hopefully killing the occupants before they have a chance to dismount.

        • CommonSense23

          I have conducted vehicle ambushes. Never once did any of us switch to auto. What’s the point when a average shooter can easily fire 4 to 5 rounds of aimed fire a second with semi.

          • Nicks87

            Ok so tell us more about how you operate operationally.

        • valorius

          It’s only helpful if your 3rd and all subsequent rounds aren’t shooting holes in the clouds.

          • Nicks87

            That’s quite an exaggeration, sir.

          • valorius

            We’re talking about full caliber battle rifles in this thread, right? It’s really not much of an exaggeration. IMO If you’re shooting at vehicles you should be shooting at them with things containing high explosives.

        • valorius

          God invented LAW rockets for a reason.

      • Uniform223

        Unless it’s a belt fed with a bipod I really don’t see full auto to be necessary. Even than a controlled burst is more than enough. Going full auto and letting it run is more for fun on the range or for youtube.

        • valorius

          In most weapon types, suppressive fire is really the only militarily legit purpose for full auto fire- IMO.

        • iksnilol

          I’d go full auto (bursts) for room clearing. thinking so close to enemy is gotta give them extra adrenaline.

          • Uniform223

            Controlled pair or double tap… no real reason for a controlled burst on full auto in that situation. Besides if you do it right you’ll be with two or three other people. Or you could just throw in a flashbang before your entry.

          • iksnilol

            Anything worth shooting twice is worth shooting 4-5 times as well.

          • CommonSense23

            I can shoot 5 to 6 rounds per second into a 4 inch circle at 7 yards? What exactly is full auto providing for a trained shooter with a rifle?

          • iksnilol

            The same at half the time.

          • Phil Hsueh

            When I was in the Corps what they taught us in MOUT training was to first throw in a grenade, then spray down the room on burst using a full mag. Note that this was MOUT and not CQB, MOUT assumes that anybody in a building you’re trying to clear and/or take is a bad guy so you just hose the rooms down after the grenade because you don’t want to waste time room clearing CQB style. Just get in and get out as quick as possible while dealing the maximum amount of damage possible and no worries about civilian casualties because there shouldn’t be any civilians in the building, think more Stalingrad and less Baghdad.

          • iksnilol

            You think highly of me if you assume I’ve got comrades that got my back.

          • valorius

            “One day one of these men may save your butt.”
            -Sgt Hulka

            “Then again, one of us might not.”
            -Private Winger

            Stripes 🙂

          • valorius

            Ever hear the story about the El Salvadorean corporal during the
            occupation of Iraq who stabbed a half dozen Iraqis to death with a
            switch blade when they tried to clear the room he was in?

            MOUT/CQB is brutal.

          • Uniform223

            My favorite one was a Ghurka that held off a Taliban assault with his weapon then fell back on his kukari before falling back on some hand to hand.

          • valorius

            I’ve never read about that story. Do you know what part of Iraq it was in, so i can google it up?

          • Uniform223

            It was in Afganistan.

          • valorius

            For some reason i saw Taliban and my brain said to me “fedayeen.”

            Gettin’ old, i am.

          • valorius

            Hell of a story, but he apparently didn’t use his Kukri.

          • Uniform223

            okay so he didn’t use his knife… my bad. Either way one hell of a story and badass.

          • valorius

            He beat at least one of them to death with a tripod. Badass is right bro. 🙂

          • valorius

            Flash bang my butt- Frag out for the win.

          • Uniform223

            My response to someone earlier…

            “It would be so much easier to frag every room in the building but that isn’t how it’s done now. Fraging a room was when they really pissed us off and when there were no civilians or ammo caches being stored. Least that’s what I was taught.”

      • General fire superiority at very close range immediately comes to mind.

        Put another way, if fully automatic fire is not useful for the infantry squad, then why did armies in World War II go to great lengths to issue submachine guns?

        • VieteranGunsmith

          WWII era subguns were pretty heavy and fired moderately recoiling 9mm, .45 ACP or 7.62×25 Tokarev ammo, which combined with rates of fire around 350 – 700 rpm they were fairly accurate at close range, within 50 to 75 yards, but that is with pistol ammo. For an automatic rifle to achieve similar accuracy results it would have to be so heavy that it would approach light machine gun weight and to arm your troops with such a weapon would make the combat load exceed what most of the world”s militaries soldiers could practically bear in a 7.62×51 or equivalent caliber. Kind of eliminates the fire and maneuver concept, or limits it severely which is why the M-14 was replaced with the 5.56mm family of weapons across the world.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, Yugoslavia tested SMGs and did get a decent hit rate with 5 round bursts past 100 meters (went out to 200 meters with the Tokarev).

        • CommonSense23

          You notice how I mentioned with a rifle?
          As for WW2, show me a single country that had mass issued a standard rifle that was truly suited for combat at under 200 yards. Show me a single country that emphasised actual combat shooting that translated well into combat before the war. Modern shooting techniques have ended the need for auto fire from a rifle.

    • valorius

      Honestly about the only useful purpose for a full auto M-14 is firing at god. After the 2nd shot all you’re doing is punching holes in the clouds.

      A full auto M-14 or AR-10 is totally useless, even for suppressive fire.

      • Major Tom

        Not at ranges inside 100 meters, or below 50. In a densely wooded and/or built up area, it’s easy to find yourself that close.

        • valorius

          Yeah, at those ranges too.

    • I don’t see the point in fully automatic fire from an AR-10 that does as much to suppress the shooter as it does the shootee.

      • Twilight sparkle

        Reading that comment gave me a headache because it reminded me of all of the times that people checked no on a 4473 because they didn’t know the difference between transferor and transferee

      • mechamaster

        Maybe just 2-round burst or 3-round burst capability ? especially from AR-10 or others “battle-rifle” in 7,62x51mm

        • That seems a waste to me, as the first three rounds of a burst are typically the least accurate ones.

          • Jon

            Unless your rifle is an AN-94

          • Sure, but that’s a bit different.

        • Archie Montgomery

          Three round burst limiters generally result in one hit and two high misses; unless the weapon is fired from a supported position; prone with a bipod, for instance. Hand held or shoulder fired automatic fire is very erratic.

          As pointed out in the article, there are a few who can perform such actions under display conditions. Not so many rank and file troops.

    • PersonCommenting

      How often would you need full auto though? I mean I want it on all my guns but if it came down too it I would never need it.

      • Major Tom

        The frequency of need is a non-zero positive integer.

        • PersonCommenting

          Even still though. I can shoot pretty accurately and fast without full auto. With the ability to shoot full auto I dont see it as that valuable of an asset. Definitely fun but even our police forces and military have changed their thinking on full auto.

          • Major Tom

            Yeah they’ve changed their thinking. They’ve embraced it once again.

          • valorius

            They’ll change their mind again in a few years.

  • DanGoodShot

    Firing the AR10 is a “stunt”? Lol. I’m sorry, I hadda laugh at that. I do agree the AR10 is a beast to handle. But, no, I don’t think I’d go so far as to describe firing one as doing a “stunt”. Jumping a car over… well, anything. Thats a stunt. Firing a weapon in the manner it was designed for is not.

    • ostiariusalpha

      It was planned and created to be fired on full auto when paired with its hybrid muzzle brake/flash hider, with that the rifle is very manageable for controlled bursts. With the failure to make the hybrid muzzle devices simultaneously durable and inexpensive, they had to be left off the rifles that ended up being issued. So, firing the gun without all its intended components meant that it couldn’t function as “designed” with the fun switch engaged, which basically leaves you to perform stunts with it on par with Dukes of Hazard car jumps.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34c01eb5dafae5e673e1469b0ce54e143f53d9a171bbdee8549ca47bb6470725.jpg
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8ed901cda34ab540bc06f324e34e0198b22e9cc0429d2a97f5faf5e01340725.jpg

      • Jan Moszczuk

        Looks like 1950s version of AFAB :O

        • ostiariusalpha

          It pretty much is.

    • I didn’t say firing it is a stunt, I said controlling it was.

      • Nicks87

        With proper technique it is very controllable but I can see from the pic (and others) that you are not using the proper stance to control a full auto weapon. That chicken wing isnt doing you any favors either. Free pro-tip of the day: Tuck your elbows in and stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart with your knees bent and your strong side foot slightly further back than the support side foot and lean into the weapon when you pull the trigger. A sturdy base will help you control the recoil better.

        • I am curious how you know my stance isn’t correct when the photos only show me from the chest up…

          • Nicks87

            Nate, this isn’t the first time you guys have posted pics/vids of you shooting guns. You, Alex c. and Patrick all have pretty horrible form when it comes to shooting rifles. I have never shot an original AR10 but I have shot more than a few full-auto .308s they aren’t as uncontrollable as you are making them out to be.

          • That sounds pretty spurious to me. You’ve never shot the gun, but you’re sure that it’s not as bad as four separate people (at least two of whom controlled the rifle just fine) insist it is. You can’t see most of my form, but you’re sure that it’s bad, because you’ve seen videos of me shooting semiauto .22s or .223s Camp Perry style or whatever.

            It looks to me like you’re seeing whatever you want to see. I am not sure why you don’t want to believe that an 800 round per minute straight-stocked, brakeless, featherweight full auto 7.62x51mm rifle is a handful, but I guess you don’t, and I don’t think I can convince you otherwise.

          • Nicks87

            Thanks for posting a video to prove my point. Nobody in that video is using proper technique and you claim they controlled the weapon just fine?! OK, If two people controlled the rifle just fine then doesnt that make your point invalid? Again it goes back to technique. With proper training full-auto .308 can be very effective. I’m not seeing what I want to see but I’m not going to keep repeating myself so yeah I guess you are not going to convince me otherwise. I think you are kicking a dead horse, the militaries of the world have moved on from full-auto .308 rifles but because of cost and weight not because of lack of effectiveness.

          • I think you have thoroughly missed the point of the article.

          • Nicks87

            I think you have thoroughly written a sh*tty article and then decided to argue semantics in the comments section. Nathaniel, far more intelligent people than you have already debated these topics you write about and have already come to conclusions that have been put into practice. Nothing ground breaking here, just fodder for bored gun enthusiasts to argue about.

          • No, that’s not what’s happened here. 🙂

          • Nicks87

            Do you know what I mean by “chicken wing”? Your elbow is clearly not tucked into your body, which is improper technique. There are videos of you guys (TFB writers) shooting full-auto and your stance is clearly bladed when it should be more isosceles. I’ve commented about it before. I’ve been a firearms instructor for almost 10 years I know crap technique when I see it.

          • I know that “chicken wing” isn’t a stance…

          • iksnilol

            Is better for precision.

            Your precious squared up stance is good at making a smaller target tho. Regardless, you missed the point of the article.

        • Bill

          You’ve got to drive the gun.

      • valorius

        I agree.

  • 🐒👊
    • What about it? It’s extremely controllable, not at all like an AR-10.

      • 🐒👊

        yes

    • 624A24

      The Ultimax’s reputation has benefitted from *not* being adopted by the US.
      Sure it’s amazing when it runs, but when those that spent 30 years (and less) mostly firing blanks with occasional live-firing are unreliable as hell, I doubt your troops will like it that much.

  • There just isn’t enough AR-10 for it to be of any use on full auto; it did one thing so well– light weight compared to other 7.62 battle rifles– that it rendered itself incapable of a high rate of effective fire. It’s a damn fine rifle in semi-auto, but too much cartridge in too little gun means the giggle switch is purely for chuckleheads.

    • GD Ajax

      The Hollywood is the weapon as it was intended.

    • iksnilol

      Rate reducer and adjusting the gas system (+ light bolt) might make it more useful.

    • Nunya Bidniz

      Well stated, TXUA! The 7.62×51 [aka “.30-’06Kurz] has sufficient recoil in a 10# rifle to make sustained semi-auto fire wearying. The BAR was an 18# gun and controlled full auto fire was its specialty; even the 12# Johnson LMG was rated controllable given its straight-line stock. So take away 5# of weapon weight from the Johnson and you end up with the AR-10 in rock’n’roll, and you’ve no longer got a truly controllable weapon, albeit one that’s much nicer to hump around over hill & dale all day. Jeff Cooper’s Scout rifle concept specifies 7#, and that’s in a bolt-action repeater. Even Jeff knew there was a point where decreasing the weight of the rifle lost more than you gained…

  • Simon Spero

    🇧🇪🇬🇧If only someone had brought this up before NATO standardized on 7.62mm…🇬🇧🇧🇪

  • Joseph Goins

    I was actually excited to read this article, but I stopped as soon as I saw that the author used an AR-10 to make his argument.

    • Go on, I am curious to hear how that is heretical to you.

      • Joseph Goins

        #1. I never said that it was “heretical.” (I actually didn’t say anything other than it was a buzzkill.)

        #2. It’s a horrible decision to discuss “military automatic individual weapons” and use the AR-10 as it is not in military service and only served with ~10 armies at it’s peak many decades ago. You could have used the AR-15 (which you did to a small extent), AK, SCAR, FAL, FNC, HK416, AUG, etc. since they are in actual use.

        • I rather think you missed the point. Did you read the first article?

          • Joseph Goins

            Yes. I’ll reiterate my point: your argument against full-auto fire is based on an anachronism.

          • What argument against full auto fire?

          • crackedlenses

            He was providing a definition of controllable fully automatic fire, not condemning it.

          • Hey look, the one guy who actually read the article showed up!

          • crackedlenses

            Why am I the only one reading this? What is everyone else doing then?

          • Who knows, but I am sure they are very busy, much to busy to do nerdy things like read (always have time for cool things like commenting indignantly, though!).

        • Nicks87

          I would think the AR-10 would be pretty comparable, in full-auto, to a SCAR 17 or a FN FAL.

          • You would be wrong.

          • valorius

            Now it’s probably your turn to expand on your point.

          • I shot a select-fire G3 on the same day, right after the AR-10. It was a kitten by comparison.

            I use the AR-10 as an example because it is probably the least controllable fully automatic weapon I know of. I don’t know of anything that compares to it.

            http://i.imgur.com/rWPQAYm.jpg

          • valorius

            Full auto C96 is worse, i’m sure.

          • Ian was very worried by the Mauser 712 “Schnellfeuer” without the stock, to the point that he did not want to shoot another burst after the first.

            It’s been a while since I’ve fired a fully automatic C96, but my memory paints the AR-10 as decidedly the harsher of the two.

          • valorius

            Both seem equally useless unless you’re at muzzle contact range.

            Just watched his vid on the Astra C96 clone with the rate adjuster last night. I want it. 🙂

          • Ian McCollum

            Ian does not have the skill and experience necessary to properly use a full-auto C96 as a pistol. Some others might. Same goes for rifles, I would expect. I bet there were some Portuguese paratroopers around who could do more with a select-fire AR10 than I could with a subgun.

          • I didn’t want to be the one to say it. 🙂

            I am sure there are some hosses out there who can make an AR-10 dance for them (Patrick R being one), but they are surely the exception, not the rule.

          • Joseph Goins

            “I use the AR-10 as an example because it is probably the least controllable fully automatic weapon I know of.”

            So you cherry picked your “proof”?

          • …I think you have radically misinterpreted what I was saying in this article.

          • Bill

            Kind of like picking a Corvair or Porsche 911 to demonstrate oversteer.

          • Nicks87

            Oh great answer

  • FulMetlJakit

    Pretty sure “Useful Fully Automatic Fire” is defined as;
    “IS-bang!-HIS-bang!-HEAD-bang!-DOWN-bang!-YET?-bang!?!?”
    Or; “Yall wanna see sumthin’ really COOL?!?”

  • Don Ward

    I think it’s clear that the AR10 was specifically designed for elite criminal organizations like Spectre. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c79ac85dae62842bba44ed692c16abaa8eccb9db78d12f65d61af05e993d2687.jpg

    • Nunya Bidniz

      FAL ≠ AR10.

      Bond films were shot in Pinewood Studios in England. You’ll notice they invariably use a lot of firearms that could be hired out from the nearest English Army post, along with the soldiers they were issued to, as extras…

      Better ruck next time Charrie…

      • fasteddiez

        Yes, but certainly not the ones doled out by “Q Branch”, (pronounced Braunch). As Q would say, “No, No, 007, don’t touch that’ …………….. KA-BOOM!

        • Graham2

          Brarnch not Braunch, please!

      • Don Ward

        I know the photo isn’t the best – it’s from Internet Movie Firearms Database – but that decidedly looks like an AR-10. It even has the top mounted charging “trigger”.
        Better luck next time Nunya.

        • Nunya Bidniz

          Having done a closer inspection of the photo [rt click, View image, Ctrl+ about 3x to blow it up adequately] which I failed to do on the 1st go round, I concur and recant my earlier post. In my defense, the stock & mag angle appeared more FAL-ish on my initial perusal, and the carry handle faded into the sling. Mea culpa, & my profuse apologies.

          • Don Ward

            No worries man!

  • valorius

    As an ex grunt who’s fired every version of the M-16 family, IMO the only ‘controllable’ model for the -average soldier- is the M16A2/4 on 3 rd burst.

  • Edeco

    I’ve never fired or even held a (fully) automatic firearm. Despite this foul situation having been dumped on me, I feel shame due to it.

  • VieteranGunsmith

    I owned a 9mm subgun, and that was a hungry beast; in the years I owned it, I fired a full magazine in a continuous burst one time, after that, it was burst fire only because 32 rounds of 9mm are gone in short order and feeding a weapon that can eat a box of ammo in a few seconds is just too expensive. If you get a bad round with no powder charge in it, because if a bullet didn’t make it out of the muzzle you would be stacking projectiles in the bore until the barrel bursts, and that isn’t something you want to be up close and personal with.

    Full auto on a rifle – I was issued an M16A1 in the US Army in 1972 – is a burst fire mode weapon if you are wanting to have any sort of accuracy. The idea of laying down a mag full of ammo in a single press has some appeal, but if people knew how impractical that is, and how expensive it is in terms of ammo cost and weapon life, they wouldn’t find it all that attractive. I can deliver much more effective fire on target in semiautomatic mode than I could with full auto – even firing controlled bursts. Full auto complete strings of fire isn’t for air cooled weapons in general unless you can swap barrels easily and if the weapon is belt fed. If you have a heavy machine gun that is water cooled then by all means run belt after belt through it if you want, but what most people think of full auto isn’t the proper way to handle an automatic weapon of any kind. You could say that was drilled into my head in my military training.

    I think the stuff you see on TV and in movies where guys are emptying mags at the enemy is an ignorant person’s idea of what machine guns are used for, and I hate seeing that kind of stupid being portrayed before people who are uninformed about guns in the first place. It’s that kind of stuff that gets the antis all worked up.

  • Dude

    So Nathaniel F, are you arguing against the 2A or something? Last I checked, the 2A was silent on semi auto, full auto, cannons, grenades, or anything of the like. Let me double check that real quick though:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Yup, I don’t see anything saying one way or another on full auto, semi auto, etc.

    • CommonSense23

      How do you arrive at this has anything to do with the 2nd.

      • Dude

        How do you arrive that it is not related to the 2A? Whether someone is able to control a firearm or not, does not pertain to whether we should be able to shoot them or not. Nathaniel is arguing against FA because of how hard it is to control with the AR10. I’ve seen some pretty stupid reasonings against the 2A, and this one is no exception.

        • Kivaari

          You’re stretching things a bit.

          • Dude

            Care to say how? I’ll eat my crow if you can show me how am I’m stretching it.

          • Kivaari

            Just because the AR10 is hard to control has no bearing on the 2A. Notice 2/3rds of the article covers the M16A1. Being able to control any FA has nothing to do with the 2A.

          • AC97

            Okay, let me attempt to put this in a way even you can understand:

            This. Article. Is. About. How. Practical. Full Auto. Is.

            Not. Whether. It. Should. Be. Legal. Or. Not.

            Do. You. Understand. This. Simple. Concept?

          • Specifically, it’s about how practical high-recoil full auto weapons are (not very).

          • AC97

            Ah, but we don’t want to overload their poor little brain with too much information all at once, now do we? 😉

          • iksnilol

            Olympic gymnast levels of stretching.

        • Where did I go wrong? I have re-read the article several times today. Never did I say that fully automatic fire is useless in general because an AR-10 is hard to control.

          • iksnilol

            Sometimes you do things right, but then get confronted by weapons grade stupidity.

            Not much you can do, sadly.

          • Klaus Von Schmitto

            My God man! Do you know what kind of person hates puppies! You are despicable.

        • Bill

          Holy crap man, not everything is an attack on the Second Amendment. I’ve seen some pretty dumb stupid reasonings for the 2A, and this one is no exception. Some gun stuff just sucks. Deal with it.

    • iksnilol

      Are you mentally deficient? Or are you the world champion in jumping… jumping to conclusions that is.

      He literally never said anything about whether it should or shouldn’t be legal with FA.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Hahahahaha! Ouch.

        • iksnilol

          I know, my comment might get removed for rudeness or whatnot.

          But that was some serious… silliness to put it politely.

  • Mark Lee

    The fun button is only for use in ideal conditions, huh? Well, then I believe that the oldest and truest policy applies here – “I’d rather have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it”. Besides, it is necessary for training so we can become skilled in using the weapon’s full capabilities – and maintain those skills – to prepare us for when it becomes a necessity. This is a rationale for owning current technology weapons in an individual soldier’s kit.

    • I did not say that. I have re-read my article several times since people started commenting, and I am not sure what has given some people that impression, because I feel the article is very clear in what it says.

  • Could someone point me to where I accidentally gave the impression that fully automatic fire isn’t useful or practical in general? I have re-read my article several times today, and I am confused why so many of my readers have gotten this impression.

    • Don Ward

      Reading the comments, all I have to say is Nate, “Why do you HATE AMERICA?”

      • ostiariusalpha

        Klaus also pointed out elsewhere that the Nate hates puppies. I saw Nathaniel mention in the article that he likes to steal icecream from disabled children; you can take my word for it, no need to go through all those words yourself when I’ve done it for you.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Move back to Moscow, comrade.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    You forgot to mention how muzzle brakes factor into the equation. Highly effective muzzle brakes dramatically reduce recoil at the expense of blast. There’s videos out there of people shooting fully automatic .308 rifles with one hand. So, it can be done. The problem with that is that you’d have to equip every single soldier with really good hearing protection or else they’ll go deaf. You’ll also have a bit more muzzle flash, but there’s combo muzzle devices that both dramatically reduce recoil while doing a pretty good job of reducing muzzle flash as well. There’s also blast diffusers for these muzzle devices that greatly reduce rearward and lateral blast concussion while still doing a pretty good job of reducing recoil.

    • ostiariusalpha

      The AFAB and EFAB from Precision Armament are actually some pretty amazing (though not cheap) examples of the kind of hybrid muzzles devices you might be thinking of for just this situation. They are very effective muzzle brakes, but even better flash hiders, with minimal increase to side concussive blast compared to birdcage type flash hiders.

  • David Harmon

    The US Army is moving from 3-round burst M4’s to full-auto M4’s as we speak. So obviously someone thinks it’s a good idea…

    Having seen a SAW fired in a modern house, I disagree with the choice. 5.56 is a very excitable round that lacks the mass to properly move nails and screws out of it’s way and typically just changes it’s mind about what direction it’s going, and you are praying it’s not towards you….

    • CommonSense23

      That has more to do with giving the shooter a far better trigger and barrel than for the purpose of full auto.

      • Uniform223

        Yeah what you said. That whole 3 round burst trigger was funky. Pull and hold it down for two rounds then release for that 3rd round.

        • valorius

          I’d like to see a 3rd hyperburst implemented like on the HK G11. Is that mechanically possible with the AR’s design?

          • Uniform223

            Don’t know if a milspeced AR-15 can mechanically handle it. An M16/M4 has a cyclic rate of about 800 to 900rpm. From my understanding a hyperburst has a cyclic of up to 1500rpms and higher.

          • valorius

            The G11 was 2100rpm in burst mode I think.

      • David Harmon

        Yet they are still moving to full-auto…

        • Phil Hsueh

          As was mentioned above, it wasn’t because they felt that full auto was better, the simply felt that they got better parts (trigger and barrel) by going back to full auto. Doctrinally, they’ll almost certainly be using it on semi most of the time and when they do have to go to full auto, they’re probably be expecting the troops to be well trained enough to know how to control their trigger pulls and shoot only short, controlled bursts.

          • David Harmon

            You’re not catching my drift.

        • valorius

          trends be trendy.

          • David Harmon

            Full-auto is useful. 3-round burst is pointless, since any time you would want to use it full-auto would be that much better.

          • valorius

            I’m just a lowly ex grunt, but i obviously disagree.

          • David Harmon

            No such thing as an ex-grunt, there are only former grunts. You never will stop being one. I am a former one as well. I carried the SAW long enough to fall in love and get good with full-auto. It can be done, even by pipsqueek grunts like me.

          • valorius

            I always associated the “no ex” thing with Marines, but I don’t have any problem with your view when it comes to us Army guys. 🙂

            A SAW is a wholly different animal than a rifle, which is really where my comments were geared toward. I agree that machine guns are not only effective in full auto fire- but specifically made for such duty.

          • David Harmon

            Yeah well we can’t let the Marines hog all the cliche’s.
            I still think like a grunt, and I feel weird when I try not to. As in, I feel like I’m pretending to be something I’m not. Makes for very uncomfortable social situations with people that have no exposure to military life.

            I think with training the rifle would be just as effective, even if limited by 30 round magazines. I have no idea why the Army hasn’t looked into adopting those mini-drums yet. Especially in MOUT situations. Although running dry isn’t a normal thing, it’s not a pleasant experience that close to a threat.

          • valorius

            Yeah i’ve been out forever, but i’ll always be a grunt at heart too. I agree 100% man.

            Machine guns have a built in beaten zone that is not present (and would actually be counter productive) in a rifle.

            The Army actually did some field trials with Beta C mags (in afghanistan i think?) but they were not up to snuff, they had stoppage issues. Not sure if they’ve tried any other drum or extended mag options lately.

          • David Harmon

            We never saw any Beta C mags, but those aren’t the top of the list for drums anymore, and honestly they were never really that good.

            The newer stuff is leaps and bounds better.

          • valorius

            What’s good in that department nowadays?

          • David Harmon

            Magpul had a decent one, and there was a skeletonized version that was also very similar that was released. The name escapes me at this moment.

          • valorius

            X products, it looks like.

          • David Harmon

            That’s the name. They had a nice one from what I saw.

          • valorius

            I just wish drum mags weren’t so much daggone money.

          • David Harmon

            From what I have seen they are worth it for a trunk/truck gun, which is likely an active shooter response setup that you would like to not have to change mags for.

            Otherwise carrying a bunch of them seems cost prohibitive and unlikely by any serious buyer.

    • valorius

      You have to realize the US Army has changed it’s mind on this topic several times. And they’ll change it again.

      Just sayin’.

  • Bob

    how does this AR-10 that you fired compare to an M14E2 (select fire with Wood Pistol Grip Stock and forearm pistol grip)? and the FN/FAL on full auto?
    I’ve lifted weights for about 1/2 of my life (am now 70 yrs old) and am a pretty good size at 220 and 5foot 10 inches. With a M14 or FN/FAL on full auto, at 75 yards, standing and slung up REALLY tight, on a full size silhouette target I can get round one about at the belt line and round two at about the heart. After that it is “airborne”!!

    • Never fired an M14E2. FALs are tamer.

      • Bob

        so then you are saying the FAL is tamer then the AR-10?
        I found the M14 easier to shoot, although I was shooting a paratrooper model of the FAL and I was NOT slung up tight either. I don’t really like those skeletonized and folding stocks on anything.

        • Yes, I would say FALs are tamer than the original select-fire AR-10.

  • Thomas S

    In a military context often times full auto is only ever used for suppression or volume of fire. It isn’t there with any idea that someone would be using as their normal mode of putting rounds down range.

    If a person does use the auto setting to engage targets it really only works when firing bursts. Yeah, an M4 or some such is easy to control on a range when a person is unencumbered, rested, and not getting shot at. Give a little distance to the target, movement on both sides and the standard conditions of combat and the entire idea of “long bursts” or mag dumps becomes a complete joke.

    In short, full auto is a useful tool on occasion even if the weapon isn’t ideal for it, but no one seriously thinks of such a waste of ammo as the normal course of doing things. The one exception (can be) is clearing buildings (still only firing controlled bursts) but the ranges are down significantly making center of mass shots less difficult and you must be sure of putting someone down as quickly as possible.

    It can be a heck of a lot of fun at the range though. Well, as long as I am not the one paying for the ammo…

    • Bob

      mag dumps WORK during a human wave attack !! Other then that, I have to agree with you. A waste of ammo. OF course, a mag dump with an M14 would be a waste also of ammo. That’s why we had the good old M-60.

  • Reazione Catena

    I have a legal STEN MkII that is awesome to shoot on FA…minimal muzzle rise and very accurate…bought it back when they were $350.00 + $200 transfer tax

  • TJbrena

    Article: “The sky is blue, but sometimes it can get really cloudy”
    Comments: “Why do you hate rain?”

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    In Navy SEAL Howard Wasdins memoir he describes his experience in the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia and says that he only switched his rifle to F/A after he had been shot twice and was attempting to drive a humvee and shoot militia at the same time. My impression is that this was a decision made out of desperation.

  • kyphe

    As most people know the Brits chose to not have a fun switch on their FAL derivative though they did note one or two uses for such a function. Apparently if you mag dump 20 rds of 7.62 NATO into a space like a bedroom it has the same effect as a flashbang even if it hits no one. Then there was countering a forced entry where you have taken a flashbang and can’t see see for toffee anyway, I believe the other use was squad over squad suppression covering fire for effect vs a concealed foe where psychology was the principal aim. However the Falklands conflict confirmed in the minds of the British that their choice was correct. The Argentinian conscripts would often flip to full auto under stress and hit nothing but sky while giving their own position away.

  • iksnilol

    If you don’t want to bother reading the comments they can be summarized as such: Nathaniel hates the 2A and fun auto firearms.

    /s

  • dltaylor51

    Turn the gun right side down and it will not climb but it will try and spin you in a circle.

  • throwedoff

    DATs, heh heh! Haven’t heard that in a long while.

  • 100% correct. I’ve had a good number of talks about that subject. I can promise you regardless of all the bravado you hear in comments when the SHTF nobody knows how they will react and respond.
    I’ve also seen it for myself. Most get way to excited some just freeze and some act like it’s not a big deal.

  • Art Nickel

    I have fired full auto rifles and sub’s from the M3A3 “Grease Gun” through the BAR (talking shell size and shoulder-fired rifles, not machine guns) and have to say that the only full-auto gun I ever had a problem with was the Thompson .45 Sub.
    As for the AR-10, it has one thing that the M14 doesn’t have, an in-line stock/recoil system that should, in my estimation, should be a plus for control.
    NOW, before everyone goes off on me, I am not a proponent of spray-and-pray. It works good for “getting their heads down” once or twice, then most soldiers realize that the dolt blowing tons of ammo in the air isn’t going to hit squat ’cause he isn’t aiming. Yup, talk to any good 03 Grunt (that is USMC, not US Army) and s/he will tell you that you shoot in short bursts. If you hold down the trigger and blow through a magazine you aren’t going to hit as many people and it is people dying that is the intent.
    When I went to RVN we had the full auto versions of the M16. Yes, it can be fired full auto like a pistol because it is extremely “controllable” but that doesn’t get the job done. The M14, which I also qualified on before shipping out, was a little more of a chore but with a little intelligent use of the trigger finger it was totally controllable. I am assuming that the Dutch-made AR10 in full auto is designed to be used by intelligent grunts (again, I must admit that means 03-type Marines) who know what “fire discipline” actually means and practice it.
    I have watched a 160 pound Navy SEAL shoot an M60 without a buttstock, burning through a 50-round belt test after “personalizing” it and he had no problems controlling that and it shoots the same round. Granted, he had arms like tree stumps…but he didn’t even have a stock.
    My point is, a full auto AR10, properly used by a properly trained Grunt (or civilian) should be completely controllable AND serve a great function as part of a fire team. The idea that it is “uncontrollable” is a matter of discipline and training.
    WTC, USN Retired

  • Mark Lee

    Owning a Min-Uzi SMG, I unsurprisingly learned right away that full-auto giggle switches were a wonderful thing that I felt everyone should be able to experience and refining my 2- and 3-shot burst control made me confident that this would be a handy substitute for my USP if it should become necessary. My experience has convinced me that ANY weapon can retain effectiveness in FA mode if the operator is competent to control the weapon in constrained burst mode by feathering the trigger. Participating in full-auto tactical & 3-gun shooting matches has reinforced my position, by virtue of trading/borrowing battle rifles with subguns. My briefer experience with DPMS and other brands’ .308 and even .458 have confirmed my belief. Altogether, its all good – but is not applicable to .50 BMG however!

  • Archie Montgomery

    The key point here is “How Do We Define ‘Useful’?” Useful. Having a use, perhaps?

    Is spraying ammunition into the air without a target useful? According to some it is. ‘This sort of thing suppresses the belligerents from surfacing and returning fire’. Or, ‘We might hit an enemy concealed behind a bush’.

    My thought is wounding or killing some of the enemy early on is far more ‘suppressing’ than firing half a pallet of ammunition without conscious thought.

    In the days of bolt guns, units would fire ‘volleys’ into area where enemy troops were moving – usually approaching. This knowledge came from intelligence reports and a knowledge of local geography. The soldiers firing could not see the belligerents, but the officers directing the fire were convinced of the position.

    Such an application for automatic weapons might be useful, but not for panic driven mindless shooting.

    When faced with a superior force in close proximity, semi-automatic fire (from a hand held arm) is quite fast, and yet results in more hits on opposing troops than fully automatic fire from the same type of hand held arm. Fully automatic fire tends to result in shots over the head of the attackers.

    The only reason for fully automatic hand held weapons is the false sense of security presented to the individual trooper. That false security is only realized when the trooper in question finds – usually too late – the truth of the thought.