What Would a Long Range Sharpshooter Infantry Paradigm Look Like? Part 2: Accounting and Training

A British Army soldier provides overwatch with his L129A1 rifle in Afghanistan. Image source: reddit

Recent experience in Afghanistan, coupled with concerns about the effectiveness of the M4 Carbine – and perhaps also just a general long-term swing of the pendulum – has spurred many to advocate for a new configuration of infantry weapon centered around long range fire enabled by compact, efficient ammunition firing low-drag projectiles. I am not one of these advocates, and indeed it’s no secret that I find serious flaws with this approach to infantry small arms weapons systems. Still, this idea of having a long-range sharpshooter-centric force does seem to be gaining ground, and therefore I think it would be worthwhile to take some time to go down that rabbit hole and see where it leads. Our eventual goal in this endeavor is to paint a picture of a future infantry force that lives and works with these weapons, and what compromises they have to make to reap the benefits of such powerful long-range weapons.

Yesterday, we answered the question: “Assuming we had a new efficient long-range universal intermediate cartridge, what sort of weapon would we adopt to fire it?” Today, we’ll be going further in depth, talking about the costs of this new weapon system, both in terms of procurement and maintaining the edge in marksmanship.

First, let’s get into everyone’s favorite subject: Accounting. In the previous article, we outlined a weapon that would not only fire the new ammunition, but make the most of it (that is, after all, the point of adopting such a round). The weapon system broke down like so:

  • Base rifle
  • Long Range Rifle Optic
  • Surefire M951
  • PEQ-15
  • Vertical fore grip
  • Harris 9-13 bipod, LaRue Picatinny mount
  • 25 round magazine loaded with long-range intermediate caliber ammunition

This setup is similar to how the British L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle and USMC M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle are configured, and that’s not a coincidence. These weapons would all – despite their different calibers – have similar roles and therefore also similar requirements for precision, optical quality, and sustainment of fire. This also means that when determining how expensive the new long range infantry rifle might be, we can look to these two weapons as models.


A Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps uses his M27 IAR to provide security for a patrol in the village in southern Afghanistan in March of 2012. Image source: commons.wikimedia.org


To start, let’s determine what the US Government paid for each M27 IAR, fully kitted out. While the contract was for $23.6 million for just over 4,000 rifles (resulting in about $6,000 per gun), this includes life cycle costs and spares. Reportedly, the actual unit cost of a single M27 IAR was roughly $3,000 per gun, and this apparently includes the bipod, foregrip, sling, and other accessories, but not the Trijicon Squad Day Optic. The SDO was purchased as part of a $33 million contract for 10,500 scopes, breaking down to $3,143 per scope, although again this probably included support and other costs not directly related to the to the optic. Civilian cost on an SDO is about $2,300, so we can assume the government price is somewhat lower. The M27 is also sometimes mounted with a laser unit like the PEQ-15 Advanced Target Pointer/Illuminating Aiming Laser, which is important for our purposes here. It’s not clear exactly what the US Army pays per unit for their PEQ-15s, but we do have an FBO listing of the United States Coast Guard ordering 500 PEQ-15Cs (the civilian version with less powerful laser) for $540 a unit. So then, a cost of $600 per for the military model seems reasonable, if just an educated guess.

The British L129A1 from Lewis Machine & Tool is a bit pricier, with 440 purchased as part of an ‘Urgent Operational Requirement’ in 2010 for about £1.5 million, or $2.5 million. That comes to a cost per unit of about $5,700 per gun, which includes a case, magazines, and other accouterments but (almost certainly) not the TA648-308 ACOG optic or the AN/PVS-27 Magnum Universal Night sight. We’re not worried about the cost of the MUN, and for our purposes the civilian cost of the TA648-308 (about $2,500) is close enough, especially since they were shipped with Trijicon RMRs for the sharpshooter rifle contract.


A member of the Royal Highland Fusiliers covers the construction of Route Trident in Afghanistan with his L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle in January, 2011. These very capable rifles and their optics cost the British government close to five figures per unit. Image source: commons.wikimedia.org


Therefore, a new rifle of this type would probably have a cost breakdown like so:

  • Base rifle, grip, bipod, rails, light – $3,000 – $5,000
  • Long Range Rifle Optic – $2,000 – $3,000
  • PEQ-15 – $600

Total cost for our new long-range infantry rifles would therefore be somewhere in the ballpark of $5,000-$9,000 per unit, not including spares and support. This, however, is an estimate based on contracts with relatively low procurement numbers, so to adjust for economies of scale, we need to look to a larger contract. The French this year awarded Heckler and Koch a contract for over 100,000 of their HK416F rifles, at about $4,200 per unit, including spares and support. If we compare that to the USMC M27 contract, we get an imperfect but serviceable adjustment of 0.70 to account for the economy of scale, resulting in an estimated cost per unit for our rifles of $3,500-$6,300. We’ll just round that to $3,500-$6,000.

The current price of an M4 Carbine is far lower, with the most recent contracts for the rifles coming in at less than $650 per unit. Still the most common optic for these weapons is the M68 CCO, the military designation for the famous Aimpoint red dot sight, which the government purchases at around $600-$700, estimated. The Army also issues M150 Rifle Combat Optics, a variant of the famous Trijicon ACOG, initially purchased at $1,450/unit including accessories. Ancillaries on the M4 and M4A1 likely cost less than $500; even in 2003 the government paid less than $300 for the Knight’s rail system, and less than $60 for pistol grips and rail covers. Then, we can estimate the cost of a fully equipped M4 today as between $2,300 and $3,200.

The new long range rifle, then, represents a price hike of between 10% (lowest over highest) and 170% (highest over lowest), but probably between 50-100%, versus just procuring new M4 Carbines and all their kit. This extra expenditure might indeed be worth it, but only if troops were trained to use such a weapon to its fullest potential. That brings us to our next topic of discussion, training.


An Australian soldier aims his HK417 marksman’s rifle downrange. A very similar 7.62mm weapon to the British Army’s L129A1, it mounts the same Trijicon combination 6×48 ACOG/RMR sighting system. It is also a close sibling of Heckler & Koch’s HK416 and M27 rifles. Image source: imgur.com


It has often been argued that switching to a new, longer-ranged caliber would be trivially inexpensive in the big scheme of defense programs, and this is more or less true on the surface (although procurement of even a different off-the-shelf round would still probably cost well into the billions of dollars). However, one significant aspect that is often missed is that of training. A new caliber designed to give the infantry better long-range striking power does not well do its job if the infantry behind the trigger are not trained well enough to ensure that their rounds will hit the target – or at least miss close.

Unfortunately, the current marksmanship standards of the Army fall well short of the level that would be needed to enable the infantry to hit at 600 meters and beyond: In fact, a shooter capable of holding no tighter than 6.1 MOA while kneeling will always ace the Army rifle marksmanship qualifier with 40 out of 40 hits, where only 36 hits out of 40 are required to score at the highest level, expert, and only 23 out of 40 hits are required to qualify at all. This means that statistically speaking, a shooter who holds a spread of 11.1 MOA is very likely to pass the Army’s rifle qualification test as a “marksman”, a spread which at our threshold range of 600 meters is equivalent to six and a third feet, not exactly the precision we are hoping for. I should note that these marksmanship levels are more or less appropriate for the job currently given to the soldier; my purpose here isn’t to badmouth general Army marksmanship, but to illustrate how much improvement is necessary to achieve a comfortable degree of precision at the distances for which long range intermediate rounds are designed.

To achieve the greater degree of precision and hit probability needed to fully exploit a long range intermediate caliber, soldiers would need to be trained more extensively and more regularly in marksmanship and riflecraft. This training would require greater time, energy, and money to be devoted to training in the form of both dry and much more regular live fire practice. Further, qualifications may need to be held multiple times a year, and certainly would require tighter standards and firing conducted at bigger ranges – 25m simulated qualifications would not be enough to maintain a high enough degree of proficiency at long distance shooting. All this means more money spent on ammunition, salaries (more troops would be needed to rotate through tighter training and qualification schedules, and more instructors to teach them), and range maintenance.


Sourced quote: “Coalition soldier participates in advance marksmanship training at a firing range on Forward Operating Base Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan. 18, 2013.” From: commons.wikimedia.org


As with marksmanship, an overhaul of the weapon maintenance practices would be essential to keeping the long range infantryman’s ability to overmatch his opponent. A $4,000 rifle system and quarterly marksmanship qualifications don’t mean very much if the rifle’s barrel is clapped out, or if it has gone out of headspace. Instead of simply maintaining a working rifle, the soldier would be tasked with keeping a precision instrument in top shooting condition. Rounds would need to be counted, and barrels and other components replaced at regular intervals. Rifles would possibly have to be evaluated for accuracy in a rest, and taken out of service for overhaul if they didn’t shoot to a certain standard. In short, the soldier, armorer, and others would need to work double time to keep the Army’s fleet of long range intermediate caliber rifles in the highest possible condition, ready to perform at distances up to a kilometer.

All of these changes would be good for the soldier’s effectiveness in any case, but they are also expensive, meaning more and more of the budget must be devoted to maintaining the individual infantryman’s edge over the enemy – an edge that could potentially be countered by one skilled enemy mortar crew on the other side of a hill. Still, even considering the costs and risks, it’s difficult to ignore the potential benefits of a well-trained army of capable and well-armed sharpshooters, who can pin and eliminate enemies even at long range. The question then becomes: Are the costs and risks worth it? And if they are deemed worth it, how does this new force of skilled marksmen change the nature of the infantry?

The first question is one for Fort Benning, but in this article’s third part we’ll take a whack at answering the second, when we tackle potential changes in organization and tactics.

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 is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Martin Grønsdal

    Maybe at some point we have to admit, and accept, that one tool can’t do all the jobs.

    Shooting is not COD, you can’t press a button and the barrel grows longer. You may flip a magnifier to your red dot, but unless the weapon platform actually delivers on distance, it won’t help much.

    Accept two-three gun solution, improve logistics, but still try to make guns overlap each other.

    IAR27 will never be a machine gun, just like it won’t be a sharpshooter rifle. But it is a nice attempt to make rifle approach the machine gun, and so on.

    • CommonSense23

      Its a horrible attempt to make a rifle approach a machine gun. It does nothing a M4A1 can’t do a at a far higher price.

    • Ark

      I agree with this. Trying to turn every soldier into a long-distance marksman is folly, but that doesn’t mean that new rifles and calibers can’t have a place.

      • billyoblivion

        The Marine Corps does a pretty decent job of turning every recruit into a long distance marksman, as long as your definition of “long range” is 500 meters with iron sights (I don’t know what the standard is today, but that was what it was in 2016 for *all* marines).

        Hoomans are a pretty adaptable and talented lot. You give them reasonable tools, good training and a difficult but reasonable bar to get over and you’ll be surprise how many make it.

        You just have to have a penalty for failure that is more than “You won’t get your participation trophy”.

        • Kivaari

          500m is actually a long distance. To qualify with iron sights at that range is quite an achievement. I’ve done some of that shooting and it can be a challenge when the wind picks up. Even with a good .308 and a nice scope fighting the wind across a canyon can mean more misses than hits.

          • billyoblivion

            When you’re 18 and in prime shape (meaning good eyes etc.) it’s not particularly difficult–even for a marginal shot like me.

            We shot mostly at 200 and 300 meters, with only 1 course of fire at the 500 meter line (worth up to 50 points. You need 190 to qualify as marksman).

            Still, you needed points back there, and at 500 meters you’re centering your target in your sights, not centering your sights in your target.

          • Kivaari

            At my age I need a scope.

          • hikerguy

            I resemble that remark, LOL.

          • Smedley54

            The older I get, the more I respect good glass.

          • Kivaari

            It has become a must for me. I have thinned down my collection to just a handful of rifles and everything now sports glass. As much as I used iron sights in years past, time has made the choice for me. If I want to hit the target I must use glass. The closest thing to iron sights (not counting BUISs) I now use is a 1X32mm red dot with an etched (black) reticle. The fun of doing long range iron sight shooting has gone away. One thing about the glass is I buy good Leupold scopes so I get the higher quality image and some weather-resistance lacking in lesser scopes.

          • Smedley54

            I still like the idea of iron sights, but the reality is that Leupold has sold me quite a few scopes over the years, and every year they make more sense. Their combination of glass, reliability, warranty, and price are solid value.

            Eighteen year-old eyes enjoyed the challenge of iron sights at 500 yards, but now? Even getting into – and out of – a kneeling position is problematic.

          • Kivaari

            I highly recommend not getting hit by cars as well. It can play hell with your knees. As much as my mind wants to do the shooting of my youth, too many decades have eroded the skills and eyesight.

          • Tassiebush

            I’m doing the same thing. Should be collecting one of these off layby tomorrow. http://www.steiner.de/en/riflescopes/ranger-3-12×56
            Never would have considered so much expense a few years ago but I’m better off with less guns that are really well set up. This will go on my main wallaby rifle that is by far my most used gun.

          • Kivaari

            Nice scope.

          • Tassiebush

            Thankyou sir! It’s my first foray into something so good!

          • Tassiebush
        • Smedley54

          In the 1970’s we qualified at 500 yards with the M14 and iron sights. I won’t pretend we were MOA at that range, but even then we had the role of “Designated Marksman”, that better than average marksman that got a tuned rifle and advanced training. Not Scout Sniper, but pretty good. As a civilian, I’ve seen the difference a good ‘smith can make in a rifle, and learned the value of good optics. Give a tuned AR with good optics to good shooter, and watch magic happen.

          • Kivaari

            Add a good trigger to an AR and they are really pretty good shooting rifles. Don’t judge a rifle by the performance of M855 ammo. That stuff can be 3 MOA from a benchrest.

    • Ron

      The M27 was never meant to a machine gun, it was meant to be an automatic rifle. The Marine Corps found a machine-gun was ill suited for the job, what was found during its usage was it was a 2 MOA weapon, well within the original requirements of the Mk12.

      • CommonSense23

        The M4A1 with a free float barrel is a 2 MOA. It’s what Socom is issuing to snipers as a MK12 replacement now.

        • Ed Forney

          My Ar15 does better than that, And it didn’t cost a fortune !

        • Ron

          During the Marine Corps work on the M16 Family of Weapons PIP they were able to get 2.3 MOA when M4s were upgraded with DD RIS IIs

          • CommonSense23

            What round were they shooting, and what was the way of measuring the MOA if you know?

          • Ron

            Lot and DODIC were not given just 9 weapons per type firing 30 rounds per weapon from firing fixture (no human input on weapon)

    • Wow!

      The basic truth is that our stocks of M16 are wearing out and we need a replacement. Replacements are slower than needed because the military got huge cuts in Obama’s time to pay for social programs. So the military draws some of the money from the various impreovment programs by calling this a new revolutionary rifle concept, when the reality is they just need a new, not worn out rifle.

      Worn inventories is something that should be paid more attention to. It is why the M60 was considered great in its time, but bad today unless it gets the new E6 or equivilent upgrades. The design is still solid, it is just the stuff is worn out!

      Its the same reason we have the new 5.56 rounds. The military wanted a better bullet but couldn’t get the government to fork over the cash unless they called it “environmentally friendly”. Ironally busimuth is just as toxic as lead, and far more expensive that if socalism and environmentalism wasn’t in the way, the military could have just hit up Sierra bullets for a jacketed lead and steel core bullet design at a lower cost.

  • Rocky Mountain 9

    I think you’re missing something big by assuming that the weight/bulk/cost of accessories will go unchanged for the next generation of infantry rifles. Let’s examine just one of these:
    The Handguard: Picatinny quad rails are heavy, bulky, and somewhat time-consuming (therefore expensive) to machine. The CSASS rifle by HK has gone M-LOK, reportedly by the express demand of the military powers procuring it. This likely means a “Mil Spec” associated with M-LOK, and I believe (or at least really hope) it will become THE new standard. It’s much lighter, slimmer, and quicker to manufacture than Picatinny, and can often allow seven mounting faces (45 degrees apart) with little penalty, as opposed to a Picatinny rail’s three. Someone will be quick to point out the heat issues of such a handguard, but it’s no stretch of the imagination to envision a short, snap-on insulated solution to the handguard heating up. You just need to encapsulate a few inches of the handguard, with technology little different than a silicon oven mitt. Anyway, the weight savings of a negative-mounting-space next generation handguard would be considerable, as you’re covering the entire thing with lightening cuts instead of bulking it out with solid, thick, Picatinny rails.

    • ARCNA442

      You don’t really get that much weight savings moving from quad rails to negative interface:

      KAC 10” URX RAS – 13.4 oz
      KAC 10” URX 4 – 10.2 oz
      Centurion 10” C4 – 10.7 oz
      Centurion 10” CMR – 9.0 oz
      DD 9.0” DDM4 – 10.3 oz
      DD 9.0” Slim Rail – 7.7 oz

      • Rocky Mountain 9

        I see your point, ARCNA. However, two to three ounces’ savings in a single component is not insignificant. Reasonably trimming weight from many components (receivers, barrel nut, optic mount, gas block, op rod, etc.) is what gets you to a lightweight rifle. This would need to be looked at across the board for the next-generation system described in the article, with the PEQ, bipod, optics mount, optic, and foregrip all standing to lose some weight with a bit of applied engineering. In a world where guys install titanium takedown pins in their AR to shave off a fraction of an ounce, two to three ounces in the handguard (likely magnified to 4 to 6 ounces if you’re looking at a 14-15″ handguard) is nothing to dismiss. Add in the advantages in slimness, added mounting faces, and reduced machining time, and you have a very strong case for negative space mounting in the next generation rifle.

        • User

          I think you find that interestin -> brigand arms woven Carbon Fiber Handquard. Lightest on the entire marked but still holds over 100+ pounds.

          Saves a ton of weight.

          • You can maybe save some weight by doing things like this, but your costs likely increase. It’s a tradeoff.

          • User

            The military spends millions over millions on desperately lighten Infantery equipment. While with modern automatic manufacturing process, with as few as possible steps needed to do by a humans in between. And not single commercial products but, one rather large scale order. The cost would go down, and you will have less weight in a single step, where you otherwise would need desperate shave off weight on a lot of equipment..
            I dont mean this as replacing current handquards at all! Just as a way for coming military Rifles. It really would be bs to adopt rather heavy rifle parts, and a few years later notice you might want to change to something lighter and stronger, because you already lightend everything else to the maximum. At the end of the day, doing it from the start will save a ton of money.

  • Joseph Goins

    There is no attempt to create a “long-range sharpshooter-centric force.” That is fantasy.

    • Tell that to Jim Schatz.

      • Quest

        Who exactly is this guy? I think i remember reading a pdf of him.

        One was pure bs and another was ok but not perfect. Did he changed over the years? And as say, who the heck is he really.

        • Here’s Jim’s autobio in powerpoint form: http://static.hkpro.com/straightgrain/docs/TheHKDecades.pdf

          He, Anthony Williams, and a few others have become very loud voices promoting the ~6.5mm long range infantry rifle concept. It seems like the idea is catching on with Fort Benning and Picatinny, too, as both have made noises about 1200m capable squad level small arms.

          • Ron

            The reality is until there is either a combatant commander validated capability gap resulting in an UUNS/SONS or a service level validated combat development document, “very load voices” are nothing but empty words and wind.

          • That’s what I thought too, until the AMU started showing off the .264 USA, Kori Phillips and Textron announced a 1,200m capable 6.5mm CT MG and carbine, and Fort Benning showed up to NDIA 2015 with a 1,200m squad support weapon concept.


            Now, whether something like what I am investigating above will actually come to pass, I don’t know. But there are enough signs to start exploring what such a concept would mean for the infantry.

          • Ron

            That is still a long way from a service validated requirement leading to a CDD.

          • Yep, but it’s more than enough for us commentators to begin seriously exploring the idea… Especially if we have reservations.

          • User

            Did he just really drawed a “squad automatic Rifle” with like a 20round magazin….. this is just insane.

          • Who?

          • User

            The Rifle on the picture. “Next Generation” is just hilarious. And replacing M249 with a 20round mag Rifle?? Did he got completly insane? And for 2025 this Rifle is just the most unacceptable, inadequat idea ever. Militant ambushes are already dangerous enough, so what will happen when a real Military large Opfor attacks against a Marine Squad heavly underarmed with such a bullshit idea Rifle.

          • User

            6.5 is bullshit for modern Infantery smallarms, thinner faster bullets will outperform it in any other area like closer range. And also trajectory and energy retention at range. And 6.5CT has a bs form factor, not the right step at all.

            1200m supersonic range is not that hard to achive.
            But theyr going totally the wrong way onto it. They did not tought and calculated, they rather just sayf lets take “6.5” and push it fast enough to reach 1200 supersonic, and because of its stupid weight, it results in an insane energy, recoil, muzzle blast, maybe chamber pressure, stupidly LOW mag capacity, low performance in urban combat, slow follow up shots. And 125%!!! more weight than brasscased 5.56×45…. Its just absolutly insane. We cant let this get trough.

  • GD AJax

    So instead of using a lighter rifle that needs more lube than a LGBT nightclub like the AR. The Pentagon should adopt a less complex system without the dubious advantages such as low tolerance for dirt and crutchy ergonomics. That way, soldiers would be able to spend more time shooting on the range instead of cleaning their gun.

    Also no, they’ll never adopt an AK variant. Because that’s just stupid. There is room for what truly would be an “American AK”, but that’s just not it.
    With advances in both carbon and metallurgy happening with in the time you can update to the latest Windows patch. The Pentagon prefers to move like a snail.

    • claymore

      “GUN” did you write “GUN”. Must not have spent any time in the US military.

      • Reader

        Im not murican, so whats the story behind it that its so forbidden to say it in the military?

        • ostiariusalpha

          Ha ha, it’s the cannon artillery guys that get pretty possessive of the term, and insist that their weapons are the only thing qualified to be called guns. The thing is, small arms have been called guns since the word was coined, so it is all a bunch of BS.

        • billyoblivion

          The US Military (and from what I’ve seen of some others they are not an exception) tend to be picky about nomenclature and phrasing.

          There are good reasons for this–using an unambiguous word in times of stress and/or chaos makes it clear what is needed. For example a “bandage” and a “dressing” are technically different things. As are a clip and a magazine. When you need one RIGHT NOW! the other is not just not useful, but is wasting time.

          In US Military parlance a “Gun” is artillery, or the main bore on a tank and a rifle is the thing you carry around with you.

          In reality, at least after boot camp, no one with an IQ higher than room temperature cares outside of promotion boards. But then the IQ of a board is the IQ of the smartest member divided by the number of members, so it might be below room temp.

          There’s just a lot of cliches and idioms that get passed down from DI to Recruit and take generations to put to rest.

        • claymore

          And Now you write “Murican” too. “This is my RIFLE, while holding the rifle, this is my GUN, while holding your male private part. Rifles for killing gun for fun.

      • GD Ajax

        Should Civies and Vets really have to cater to the butt hurt of the artillery divisions when anything but their non self propelled tubs are called “guns”?
        With missiles becoming more prevalent and portable. That MOS is going to come with a new job description with the next twenty years.

        • claymore

          Nobody but cannon cockers calls them guns.

          • fasteddiez

            Cannon Cockers = Gun Bunnies……. In USMC, at least to some Gun Bunnies themselves, as well as the FDC types who bust their balls. I was not one of them, but I spent a short time In mortars 60/81 mm. I guess I was a Tube Bunny.

    • tts

      Materials advances still typically take around 10yr to go from testing to affordable mass production. Its not fast at all. There has been a lot of stuff coming to fruition lately but that is the end result of a lot of development efforts that were began long ago.

      And I’d really be surprised if cleaning time on a AR was all that much of a disadvantage vs the AK as to make a significant detriment to training. You don’t need to spend an hour+ every time to make sure the weapon is squeaky clean for it function properly. 15 min. boresnaking it & and cleaning/lubing a few either key parts seems OK until you get to around 1000rd then yeah its a good idea to detail clean it.

      Military training is still typically under 1000rd fired I believe. Obviously if you want to train your average soldier to reliably hit stuff 1000yd they’ll need more trigger time. But even if it went up to 10,000rd fired per soldier on average that doesn’t seem like a big hindrance to me.

      • Major Tom

        The problem with “cleaning your weapon isn’t a detriment” is every minute spent cleaning (and you do that a lot with AR’s/M16s/M4s) is one less minute spent shooting and practicing, one less minute spent hitting the books on ballistics and technique, one less minute spent tuning and adjusting and fixing that weapon to deliver the needed results.

        Excessive cleaning times, while it keeps troops occupied in peacetime is a very poor method of training and very poor method of upkeep in general for weapons especially in combat zones and theatres where you may not have time or supplies to engage in a rigorous weapon cleaning regimen. Any weapon that requires less cleaning is going to in the long run cost less and perform better when combined with the increased available time to train on said weapon.

        • tts

          While what you’re saying about cleaning time is true in of itself I think you’re verging in on hyperbole territory there.

          15min. of cleaning after every shoot + an hour or so every 1,000rd doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. Certainly not enough to make a impact on training or cost. Definitely not at all enough to warrant spending the billions necessary to switch to a AK variant.

        • CommonSense23

          The only reason people do a lot of cleaning with ARs in the military is either they don’t know how to maintain them, or its busy work from higher up or combo of both.

          • Major Tom

            It’s more also holdover from the notorious “M16 jams if you so much as sneeze in its general direction” problem it had in Vietnam. A problem mind you, that has never been 100% eliminated. AR’s run best when clean, well-lubed and equipped with tons of expensive often proprietary stuff, not when you throw them in anything other than sanitized conditions or with anything not optimized for it.

            AK’s don’t have that problem. The problem with AK’s is, for every well-built Izmash AK that can outshoot an AR you have a thousand pieces of crap built in tin shops from Somalia, Khyber Pass and elsewhere. Stuff that under Izmash construction wouldn’t pass snuff let alone be issued to any real fighting force.

          • lol

            Sorry guy, stamped and riveted junk has no place in today’s armory’s. When you have an inventory of zillions of space age NASA 7075 T6 forged receivers capable of lasting forever and random warehouses all over the world filled with piles of old m16’s there’s no concern of old world production techniques during times of war.

        • lol

          It’s just busy work and discipline. No one actually thinks ramming cleaning rods from the muzzle all day and scraping carbon with a knife is actually a good idea. Everyone knows this white glove process is damaging the weapons, but it’s not there money.

    • They already adopted an AK variant, it’s called the M249.

      • crackedlenses


    • User

      CT Rifles will be extremly dirt resistant anyways, there is no huge cap like side ejecting rifles with botlt and bottleneck cartridges, and also the polymer cartdige does clean the ejection port from mud at every shot. Btw the Ar15 btw completly recked the Ak in a mud test. Ar-> even with OPEN dustcover no problems, AK -> even with CLOSED dustcover jammed isntantly at the fist shot and was unoperational…..

      Not to mention how rediculous the ak is with open dustcover.

      • GD Ajax

        Those videos of the AR beating the AK and other guns in mud tests are nothing more than creative editing.

        • tts

          Wow got proof of that?

          Ian and Karl have done multiple mud and sand tests on AR15’s, with horrible Caliche sand even, and the AR15 worked just fine. I’d link but then my post would be stuck in moderation.

          Just google “inrangetv AR15 mud test” and “inrangetv gloopy, gloppy mud: m1a vs mas49/56 vs ar15”

          There are plenty of others with no editing out there showing the AR15 can pass a mud or sand test with the dust cover open but those are the best 2 off the top of my head.

    • lol

      Pfft ar 15 will run like raped ape! This myth they need to be run clean and wet at all times is way over blown. I’ve got a safe full of guns with anywhere between 1500-5000+ rounds where I will sometimes squirt a bit of oil in the carrier gas ports.. sometimes.. yeah you get some carbon on the bolt tail, so what? A 2 or 3 oz bottle in the hand grip will easily get you past 5000 rounds without cleaning. Assuming you don’t break anything, you could take that figure to over 10000 before fouling is actually a concern.

      In my experience, the only things that will stop an ar is a barrel extension filled with greasy carbon. And I mean FILLED. A problem essentially caused by over lubrication. The trigger pocket is also rather tight, like all autos some rocks or popped primers in the assembly will stop you dead.

      The ar15 is practically sealed with its port door and magazine inserted. You would have to be intentionally ignorant or literally operating in a dust storm for days and no access/time to lube up or close your port door. Something that is not very hard to do using trigger/index finger like manipulating an AK safety.

      There are some VERY simple and inexpensive mods that greatly increase MRBF, mostly more action mass (5+ oz buffers) and increased spring rate to better strip rounds and push through fouling and slow down the rpm, using the vltor patented A5 buffer with rifle spring being ideal. The bearing surfaces on a m16 bolt carrier should have sand cuts like the LMT enhanced offered to civilians. An improved bolt lug and extension geometry (think KAC) and metallurgy would really seal the deal.

      All of these improvements could be utilized easily and at marginal extra cost and retrofitted by the government.

      I think it’s safe to say colt Canada will have a 16 mid length free floated m lok on the battlefield soon.

      • GD Ajax

        It’ll run that well if you bought a 2000 USD rifle. Your not going to get 5000 rounds out a gun meant for the common soldier.
        Carrying extra lube is only necessary for the AR and no other rifle.

        Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Blackhawk or Chinook to fly them back to the FOB to clean their gun. Sometimes a squad of soldiers will have to go days without cleaning any of their gear.

        What other gun in existence has problems with carbon or dust getting in the barrel? Only the AR. Not every unit will be packing extra grease to clean their gun after two straight days of firefights.

        This is also assuming were fighting not Taliban or Deash but a near pear enemy who knows the weakness of American’s gun of choice. In the Pacific or African deserts. The port door is more of a liability. As unlike the Middle East there won’t be Forward Operation Bases set up in the middle of nowhere for soldiers to clean their guns.

        Fanbois like to point to Vitor, but for a supposedly good rifle. No military I know has bought them.

        “The bearing surfaces on a m16 bolt carrier should have sand cuts like
        the LMT enhanced offered to civilians. An improved bolt lug and extension geometry (think KAC) and metallurgy would really seal the deal.”

        By than, it’ll cost five hundred more than an HK 416. May as well buy the HK at that point. No mod I know of is “inexpensive”. Any mod most AR owners make is because of the failings of the rifle and buy them because they unwilling to carry anything heaver. Making for a poor marksman if they decide to use anything else.

        Nah, pure fantasy. Having a 16 inch 5.56 rifle do the job that a 7.62 NATO DMR would do better. Is just asking to get your boys on the ground to be overmatched by terrorists packing Dragunovs and PKMs.

        • tts

          Robski over at AKOU recently tested one of the cheaper AR15’s from Palmetto, a $700 rifle, out to 5,000rd and it passed his tests which aren’t trivial at all.

          You do not need to spend $2K or even $1K on a AR15 to get a durable and reliable rifle.

        • tts

          He also wasn’t keeping it very clean or going crazy with lube when he did clean it BTW.

          Its a myth you need to do either of those things to keep a AR15 running reliably or well.

        • Uniform223

          I won’t say you’re full of bovine fecal matter but your comment shows that you shovel alot of it.

        • n0truscotsman

          “It’ll run that well if you bought a 2000 USD rifle. Your not going to get 5000 rounds out a gun meant for the common soldier”

          Completely false.

          Colts run well, as do pretty much any military specification rifle under 2k, which are commonplace. This includes Daniel Defense, BCM, etc.

          Even mil spec PSA builds will do this, from my experience.

          You dont need to return to the fob to clean the M4 in order for it to be reliable. Thats nonsense. Proper lubrication ensures continued operation and reliability.

  • noob

    Tracking Point and DigiTrigger (with manual override) for every soldier?

  • Major Tom

    One of the things you might need to introduce in training is the re-introduction of volley fire tactics. Such things resulted in some rather impressive marksmanship ranges in the late 19th and early 20th century. During one engagement in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, Russian infantry using aimed volley fire took out a Japanese artillery crew and battery from a range of 2200 meters. Using iron sights and weapons that by today’s standards are “garbage rods” in terms of accuracy and ergonomics and all that jazz. To replicate that kind of hit today requires a rifle that costs more than an entire squad, firing specialized ammunition to reach that far, with an expensive optic and tons of training.

    • ARCNA442

      Lining up a hundred riflemen shoulder to shoulder and engaging massed formations at range under an officer’s supervision has no place on the modern battlefield. There was nothing special about volley fire – it was a simply case of accuracy through volume and its results can easily be duplicated by a single machine gunner.

      • Major Tom

        Nowadays it wouldn’t have to be a hundred riflemen with bolt actions. Just sayin’.

        Instead you’d have a half-dozen to a full squad firing on Semi on command to a set length at a set pace. A dozen rounds every half second outshoots a lone (typical belt-fed) machine gun. And with everyone having Semi at minimum, you’d have 20+ rounds of sustained volleys to work with per rifleman.

        At minimum it’d be a better method of suppressive fire than blind spray and pray.

        • ARCNA442

          The problem is that without belt fed machine guns you do need a hundred men to make sustained volley fire practical. This is because of the weight of the ammunition and the thermal limits of the guns.

          A Spanish-American War company carried over 10,000 rounds and could fire 3,000 rounds per minute. A modern US Army squad (with eight M4’s for purpose of comparison) carries less than 1,700 rounds and can fire 800 rounds per minute. However, the safe limit for sustained fire with an M4 is considered to be only 15 rounds per minute and using this we get 1,500 rounds per minute for 6.7 minutes for the company against 120 rounds per minute for 14 minutes for the squad.

          While volley fire would certainly be a more efficient use of ammunition than blind spray and pray, to conduct volley fire properly, all the soldiers have to be under positive control of a single officer which would severely limit it employment on a more dispersed and fluid modern battlefield – although more advanced squad communications and optics may make it possible.

          • Major Tom

            But here’s the thing too. If hypothetically we introduced more marksman oriented rifle fighting and volley fire, we wouldn’t be eliminating the machine gun. The machine gun has and always will be the weapon of choice for dealing with massed attacks and suppressive fire.

            So say you had a 12 man squad, at least 8 of them would be carrying the new rifles and could work in volleys if need be. The other four would be carrying either DMR’s or belt-fed MG’s or a mix of the two. All three facets would be working in concert with each other.

    • Martin Grønsdal

      Lord Major Tom, this does not serve our Queen well!

    • Ron

      If I were to engage area targets with small arms, that is why I have medium and heavy machine guns. I can engage to 1800 meters with M240s in direct fire mode and out to around 3500m with using nothing more than a firing table and an M2 compass.

  • Aaron

    Having more equipped and skilled marksmen could definitely be a good thing. Look at the conflicts between the Fins and the Russians. The Finnish light infantry chewed up the Russian army and their mechanized units. The main difference between these two forces was that every Finnish soldier was an above marksman level shooter and was highly mobile.

    • swede


      it was about motivation, the Finns are still crazy in a good way

      • Aaron

        Yes indeed! I actually read another article after commenting. It looks like the crazy Fins inspired the crazy Israelis during the 6 Day War and George Lucas. Apparently it was the Fins during the Winter War that discovered and exploited the “exhaust port” weakness on Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails.

      • micmac80

        My experience with Finn reserve community particulary the snipers is that they could take on any profesional military in the world and give them an ass whooping well beyond their weight in numbers.

    • ARCNA442

      While the Finns certainly performed incredibly in the Winter War, their marksmanship was not the main reason. After all, they were a conscript force armed with Mosin-Nagants. While a mix of good leadership, doctrine, and moral was essential to their successes, the main reason was that the Red Army had just undergone massive purges of its officer corps, crippling its strategic and tactical leadership.

  • FWIW: I believe that since the summer of 2006, Colt and FN have had to provide the M4 ARS and BUIS shipped with every M4/M4A1 carbine they’ve supplied for the US military issue. In other words, the cost of these accessories are now part of the base price of the carbine.

  • Bill

    All the training in the world coupled with a phased plasma blaster wont do any good if guys keep insisting on skylining their headballs.

    • CommonSense23

      There are times outlining makes sense. And times it doesn’t.

  • JustAHologram

    I really think that a small bore(6-6.5mm) full size rifle round, most likely a necked down 7.62 NATO, is the most practical answer to this and the question of a all around SAW.

    • milesfortis

      Hmmm..7.62 NATO necked down to 6mm? That’s the .243 Winchester.

      • User

        .243 has low projectile weight for its diameter, and with longer bullet will have a too long bearing surface (pressure increase) and also it has a rather bad nose ogive, so it has too high velocity bleed.

        • milesfortis

          I wasn’t commenting on utility, only that the idea has been a standardized cartridge for many years.

      • JustAHologram

        Or 6mm Creedmoor but it would come down to how they want the bullet designed, a longer heavier bullet may require a shorter case length to meet the OAL for existing 7.62mm NATO mags

        • Kivaari

          .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum.

          • JustAHologram

            Half the capacity but another option

          • Kivaari

            I actually like the idea of using the 7.62x45mm Czech case necked down to 6mm or 6.5mm. All built into a variant of the M16. I think the AR pattern rifles are superior to others. I still like the DI system.

    • User

      5,7 to 6mm are really great ,with maximum of 6.5 (but 6.5 would be slower with worse trajectory).
      But necked 7,62 down just short therms use, not really in the coming years when polymer cartridges is used and not in bottlneck shape.

      • JustAHologram

        Well if you’re going smaller why not test a 5.45mm as well but all of them would need to be tested for weight per round trajectory and terminal performance at the desired range compared to what’s currently in use.

        • User

          Thats exactly what is done… extremly optimized 5,7 to 6mm and maximum of 6.5mm are under a wide test right now. Comparing all theyr performance areas.

          But 5.45 can become slightly too light to reach a certain performance.

          • JustAHologram

            With a bit more bullet length you should be able to get the same weight as the 5.7

          • User

            I know what you mean. But im talking about bullets with special verry agressive ogives, that increases aerodynamic without increasing weight (higher bc, but less recoil). At some point you cant stabilize a long bullet anymore well enough for military use, expecally because temperature and humidity effects stability quite a bit.

            A projectile beeing too light or heavy, apways depends on what speed you want it at, and the energy the cartridge can provide. So 5.6mm (“5.45”) will be no problem to use, but depends on the concept you want your ammo to fullfill.

          • JustAHologram

            While the higher BC is helpful in the air the longer heavier variation would have higher sectional density for better terminal performance at range.

          • User

            High sectional density = good bc + with verry high (chamber and throat) pressures + high recoil.

            High form factor = good bc too + less pressure/ or sicnificantly faster for the same barrel lenght + less recoil.
            (+ faster projectiles travel trough less air for a given distance, therefore greatly improves energy retention + have flatter trajectory which results in higher % hit propability + fast projectiles have less wind deflection which reduces %propability of miss trough wind)

            Nuff said…

      • billyoblivion

        One of the major impediments to polymer and/or caseless ammo is thermodynamics.

        Brass takes a LOT of heat away from the chamber.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Polymer cases outperform brass by quite a bit in the thermal department. As much heat as brass soaks up, it also transmits several times more to the chamber; whereas polymer instead acts as an insulator, and transmits comparatively little heat to the chamber.

        • User

          What the hell your talking about polymer is one heck of a good isulator, and heats the chamber much less. Brass is less thermodynamicly efficient and serval times more heavy.

          • billyoblivion

            The heat has to go somewhere. I see assertions that (1) the polymer cases don’t absorb heat (cool to the touch) and that (2) They don’t transfer the heat to the chamber.

            But the heat *has* to go somewhere.

            Where does it go?

          • User

            Simply -> in % powder efficiency -> faster projectile.

            I quess you now get why polymer is so great. Extrem light weight, isulating&more powder efficient, more reliable action that is sealed against mud entering (no huge ejection port), less spacewaisting mechanism (longer barrel), no huge heavy bolt carrier bounching around (less bouncy like recoil).

          • billyoblivion

            So basically the heat is going up the barrel.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yes, some of that energy is being pushed into the barrel as extra heat, but a lot of it is just going into the projectile as added kinetic energy. Just looking at ballistic performance, it’s a net gain for the shooter to use polymer as the case material, even disregarding the weight and cost benefits.

  • Henry Reed

    I like the idea of switching to one caliber for both infantry precision rifles as well as machine guns, but it seems like some are worried about close quarters work.

    As others have said, soldiers have been clearing houses with long and cumbersome rifles for centuries, but it seems like it would be simple enough to adopt this caliber for a short, compact form of the precision infantry rifle. They could even buy short-barreled uppers and just slap them on their issued lower if they had to clear a house.

    Or you could just have a designated CQB squad member, like we have designated marksmen today.

  • Tacflo

    IMO this whole concept only makes sense if the rifle is a fully ambi, reliable and of course accurat bullpup. Otherwise it is just too specialiced and unpractical for general infantry use. But non of the current bullpups fullfills these reqirements.In regards to the training issues, a smart optic like the Steiner ICS could result in a higher hit probability at long ranges.

  • Everyday Marksman

    As noted in the previous article’s comments, this all seems like a good thought exercise but runs contrary to the military’s own findings about battlefields. Most engagements with small arms happen within 100 meters, and kills beyond 300m are essentially random. That’s what the M16 family was designed for.

    With the pivot to the Pacific and a resurgence in jungle warfare methods, introducing a marksman-oriented long range rifle for general use in Afghanistan environments seems like a mistake. Jungle fighting is notoriously close and dominated by iron sights that won’t fog up or fail due to humidity. I’m not saying that a new intermediate caliber with better barrier penetration wouldn’t be a good thing, but a focus on long range marksmanship probably shouldn’t be the driving factor.

    That said, I fully agree on increasing the marksmanship training requirements. The military, much like the civilian shooter world, believes it can continue to use hardware as a replacement for software. Training nearly always trumps gear. It’s unfortunate that nearly every introduction of new gear to improve a capability has also come with a commensurate reduction in training on that skill set for an ultimate net gain of 0.

    • schizuki

      What jungle are you anticipating us fighting in?

      • Take your pick, East Asia’s full of them.

        • schizuki

          You guys must be privy to security briefings. I can’t see any situation that would have us fighting in a jungle anytime in the foreseeable future. Middle East and, if Putin keeps it up, maybe Europe. Or Korea.

          But SE Asia? Burma? Really?

          • I’m not an oracle or anything, but it doesn’t take too much of my imagination to come up with something along those lines.

            Might as well throw in something about “preparing for the last war” while I am at it.

          • Kivaari

            We’ve had special ops in the PI on and off for decades fighting Moros. We have troops in Africa in small numbers as well.

          • FulMetlJakit

            Kivaari is right, per usual. And in the next decade or two, after our current next gen carbine conjuring comes to fruition…would you rather meet the Chinese (hey look, a giant elephant in the room!) in SE Asian, or on the west coast?
            Sounds like bad sh*t or terrible sh*t to me personally, but you gotta plan for bad/terrible things that can or may occur… and try/hope to avoid it.

          • n0truscotsman

            Most fighting, IMO, would be in urban areas in the future, since that’s where most of the population currently resides. Any skirmishes outside those areas would statistically be more likely in semi-arid zones.

            But many countries in the developing world are tropical, being near the equator. Nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Its certainly feasible.

      • Everyday Marksman

        Accidentally hit reply on the wrong post. Please see above.

    • Everyday Marksman

      Me? I’m not. My time in the military is nearing its end and I’ll be happy to start a new phase in life. w

      But I am seeing an uptick in training rotations to jungle warfare schools in Africa, Belize, and Okinawa. I’m reading training reports from those attending those schools and what their lessons learned are. I’m seeing more RFPs and ideas floating around for better jungle warfighting kit, as the stuff we’ve developed in the last 15 years for the desert isn’t cutting it.

      If I was a betting man, I would wager that somebody, somewhere, thinks jungle warfare is a possibility.

  • 2805662

    For the “counting rounds” problem, round counters – able to be interrogated via RFID – are small enough and reliable enough to track overall usage for maintenance purposes. Ppl see ’round counters’ in briefing slide decks & go straight to little red numbers on a LCD display ala Aliens. Um, no.

    They could also provide barrel-wear data to a smarter laser system, such as the Wilcox RAPTAR-S (multi-function laser + LRF + ballistic tables + met data).

    • iksnilol

      Dude, the future has failed to give us flying cars. If it fails to give us Aliens-esque round counters then I am just giving up and jumping of a bridge or I dunno, getting a loan.

      • billyoblivion

        With or without a bungee cord?

        • iksnilol

          Preferably without, or are you trying to tell me we haven’t invented bungee water either!?

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I just replied to your comment in the first part of these blog entries about what I think is the most logical solution to this problem of trying to find a compromise between short-range and long-range combat: issuing soldiers with two different rifles. One of the rifles should be centered around short-range combat and the other rifle should be centered around long-range combat. The only downside is cost.

    Sending an army into a combat zone that’s primarily comprised of huge mountain ranges and arid plains with M4s chambered in 5.56 is idiotic. But sending an army into a combat zone that’s primarily comprised of tropical jungle or highly urbanized cities with .308 battle rifles and magnified optics is equally idiotic.

    That’s why a soldier should be able to simply choose between two different rifles depending on his combat mission.

    • For once, I agree with you. You don’t even need to have a full duplicate inventory of each weapon, as long as the production lines for each stay open.

    • Ron

      Extreme long range and theoretical fire has been the been a draw for years. But I paraphrase what Marine Scout Snipers were told when they asked for PSR so they could engage targets at 1500 meters. As a whole your community cannot hit reliable at 400, much less 800 meters in combat, so why spend the resources and training time for less than 1 percent of the engagements

    • billyoblivion

      > That’s why a soldier should be able to simply choose between two different rifles

      Not *real* familiar with how the military works, are you?

      The military doesn’t let 18 to 20 year olds decide what sort of *socks* they take to the field [1], what makes you think they would let that same nitwit decide what rifle to bring.

      You want to know what algorithm most grunts would use? What’s the lightest f*king thing I can carry.

      Now, I generally agree on the concept–you take, say, a 14 inch M4 with a suppressor, a M16A4 with a real barrel on it, and a 308 version of same–same manual of arms, cleaning procedures, very similar at the armory level. Boolets are already in the supply/logistic train, so that’s just a slight modification.

      But this requires *more* training, *more* ammunition consumption, more time in the field. None of those things are good for the bigger defense contractors.

      1. Because some dumb ass will have decided he doesn’t like wool and bring some thin ass nylon things to cold weather training and get frostbite.

  • Steven

    Just giving everyone more range time with the weapons they have now under good instructors would be a major improvement.

  • Vitor Roma

    By the way, the LMT rifles deserve more love. They have improved the gas key, tube, bolt and extractor over the original AR design.

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    Just throwing this out there, but the L129A1 has been kind of a failure as a sharpshooter rifle. It wasn’t “bad” so much as it didn’t give them the capability bump that they were expecting. So much so that the Army did testing comparing it to a new DMR variant of the L86A2, and in most realistic situations the 5.56 rifle had equal or in some cases better performance. This perhaps more of a indictment of this particular weapon pairing, but though it was worth pointing out.

    It has been accepted into the core inventory, but nobody really knows what to do with it. It adds an extra logistical/training complication to a section and doesn’t add much when used as a DMR, and they tried to give it to spotters in sniper teams but they have rejected it as a long term solution as it isn’t accurate enough. The only people who seem to universally like it are those using it in a short range sort of anti-materiel role like on helicopters and ships where it has replaced knackered G3KA4s.

    • jono102

      I suppose that’s what one will get putting a 6X optic, 16inch barrel on it and using standard ball ammo. Increased wound/terminal ballistics but minimal increase in actual range or D.R.I. capability over L85/86’s. I believe that’s why the Sniper Support version has the 20 inch barrel and S&B optic to get the full capability out of the rifle.

      Our LMT’s (section DMW/DMR) have 20 inch barrels, 3 – 18X Mk6 Leupolds and 175gr match ammo. With minimal training, average riflemen get 1-2rd hits out past 800m.

  • Aaron E

    “Civilian cost on an SDO is about $2,300, so we can assume the government price is somewhat lower.”

    Never underestimate the ability of a government contract to fleece the taxpayers. Remember the $300 hammers, and $600 toilet seats? It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the contract cost the government more than what could have been bought by a civilian. Sad, but true.

    • Ron

      Per unit cost when purchased between FY10 and 12 was 1178.00 per sight.

      • Source on that?

        • Ron


          • I can’t seem to find it online. You got a link?

          • Ron

            I will email it to you in the AM.

          • Thanks.

          • Ron


  • Patriot Gunner

    All of this could probably be alleviated to a certain degree by just using 77 gr or 80 gr .224 bullets out of a 18-20 inch barrel.

  • adverse4

    Golf cart and arms caddy, pick the rifle for the shot.

    • Passerby

      Conceptually yes, but you don’t need every trooper to play golf. Just a select few.

  • kyphe

    The marksman req at 300 is with the M4 and M16 so you can not simply extrapolate that level of accuracy onto a new platform with a longer barrel a flatter shooting longer legged round and a bigger optic at 600m. To give an extreme example, what someone can achieve with a 7in, 9mm pistol at 20m is not indicator of what they can achieve at 1000m with a 22in 308 bolt action.

    Personally I feel this is yet another case of reactionary thinking, preparing for the last conflict. In Afgan the preferred enemy strategy of engaging at extreme range with a pkm is not predicative of wider global shift in tactics. They do that because that’s the best option left to them.

    Now if the US was going to spend the rest of the next 30 years fighting in open or mountainous terrain like Turkish or Pakistan forces have to deal with and less in built up urban environments then absolutely go for a gun with longer legs.

  • missourisam

    When and where I grew up, a rifleman that could not shoot minute of angle with a decent rifle was ridiculed to the point he buckled down and practiced until proficient enough to do so. We as a nation have been stigmatized by the gun hating liberals until a young man feels there is something wrong with owing or even firing a gun. The trend seems to be changing, hopefully. I personally started shooting a .22 at the age of six. By the time I was eight, I was squirrel hunting by my self. By the time I was ten, my grandfather would dress any squirrel shot in the head, and I had to dress any that were body shot. And no, I did not throw any away. I was given one more cartridge than the bag limit of squirrel, and I needed a good excuse for any miss. Every penny I could save from what I was paid to work on the farm went to ammo, and it was still cheap enough that I was shooting two to three hundred rounds a week. There was no English sparrow with in sight that was safe, and at the last even in the air. I was considered a mediocre shot in my home area. Now I would be considered a phenomenon. What a sad turn of events. None of the boys that grew up in my home area that was taught to shoot at a young age ever got into trouble with guns. We were taught respect for weapons, and had a drug problem. We were drug to church every Sunday, and if we acted out, we were drug to the woodshed for an ass whuppin’.

    • Bob

      you are RIGHT ON THE MONEY!
      spend the dough to TRAIN our soldiers. Practice, practice, practice!!

  • Jim_Macklin

    The AR /M4 pattern can be adapted to 338 Lapua/300 Winchester Magnum .
    The soldier can be taught to to shoot at 1,000- 2,000 meters. The McNamara managers decided the US had to have ONE standard for everything.
    ONE belt buckele, one 9mm handgun, one 7.62×51 NATO rifle, then we adopted 5.56×45.
    WE have the logistics to deliver more than one caliber to the battlefield.
    A soldier can have a 5.56 M4 and an upper for 5.56 22 inch barrel that will shoot a 80 grain bullet to 1,000 meters. . Some soldiers can have a AR pattern that shoots 7.62×51 with a 16 inch barrel and a 24 inch upper too.
    Some guys can have a super dupper AR pattern shooting 338 Lapuma or 300 W Mag. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e5737588fdb7cae596f4db8b48694ff909c392491ac5af3474af7b1b2ee8bb5.jpg

  • RSG

    I posted this to part 1, not realizing there were 2 separate articles.

    Someone needs to answer this for me; what the hell was wrong with the trackingpoint systems? I don’t want to hear about cost, that’s not relevant, considering it accomplishes the one goal of being able to outperform every known military rifle in both range and accuracy (for equivalent calibers). They were available in multi calibers, too. Perhaps not appropriate for every infantryman, but each crew could have one DMR in addition to sniper teams. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to snuggle with one, but every bit of print I ever read said it was really amazing. It turned complete novices into extreme long range precision shooters.

    • Holdfast_II

      I got to play with one in 2015. First round hit at 600m. Woohoo

      Too heavy. Way too heavy

      Too breakable.

      Too slow for an up-close fight.

      Give it four or so years and all the good bits will simply be an option housed within the overall combat optic.

      • Bob

        The Army needs to train RIFLEMEN, I’m told the Marine Corps comes close to duplicating what you do in NRA highpower shooting.
        I don’t know why you are so thrilled about hitting a target with the high dollar tracking point when a properly TRAINED rifleman can hit the target at 600 yards with a “service rifle”.
        I started playing the NRA game when I was already crippled up and 60 years old and half blind. It took a while, but I can hit the 10 ring and X at one THOUSAND yards with Iron sights on my target grade .308 rifle!
        (not to brag as I was only at 87.5 percent so I was graded as a “sharpshooter” for long distance and over the course.)
        MONEY should be spent to TRAIN our soldiers to be real RIFLEMEN!

        • Ron

          The problem is you need to separate the rifle range from combat, having been in the Marine Corps I use to believe much of the same hype about range performance equally combat performance.

          • Bob

            well, you’d better be able to HIT the target (enemy soldier) in combat, and you’d better do it FIRST!

            If you are a sniper, then the long distance stuff pays off !
            In a theater like Iraq and stan where you are shooting at longer distances it becomes important also.
            In Vietnam I did crap from house to house in cholon during tet 68 to a jungle where you were 20 feet away, to an open rice paddy where you maybe had 100 yards at best. So training for LONG distance on that is not a great return on investment. But when you got some joker out there at 300 to 800 yards or more, you’d better had your $hit in order.

          • Ron

            Other than the snap shooting nature of it, hitting at close range is relatively easy. What we have found in the past several years of fighting is hitting at longer ranges is significantly harder and becomes more a volume of fire and fire support drill than what we see on a rifle range.
            A perfect case in point, Marine Scout Snipers have been the subject of numerous attempts to fix their ability to delivery longer range (over 300 meters) precision fires. Because despite having a requirement to make over 80 percent hits on the range out to 1000 meters, they are missing most of the time when the shoot even at 400 meters and less.

          • Bob

            it’s always harder to hit the enemy when the lead is coming your way.

          • Ron

            It less to do with lead coming the shooters way than limited exposure both time and body, unknown distance, erratic movement and concealment of the target.

          • Bob

            all of the above… and THEN some!

  • FulMetlJakit

    Not going to wade into the meat of all thus but,
    Swap that M951, bulletproof as she is, for a PX- series and mount and you just saved money & weight, (figure approx 1/2# and $100), + you gained lumens. Lots.
    And add the increased life and lower power consumption of LEDs, unless the military has already started implementing Malkoff M61 conversions with their “(near) universal preferred customer discount.”

  • Corwin Bos

    Heres an idea…

    Stop trying to re-invent the fricking wheel by disrupting the supply chain and commonality. Hold marksmanship in higher regard once again. As we bolt on more and more BS to the rifles the soldier or Marine needs to carry it seems like we expect less and less from the individual.

    Former Marine here, and I qualified high expert 245/250 with irons at my best at Camp Lejeune in ’95. Now they bolt on an optic, get magnification, and Im betting scores havent changed much. Yes a shorter barrel is good. Yes a collapsible stock is good. But as you trade for a shorter barrel you lose muzzle velocity, hence long range performance suffers. The 5.56 round is adequate for use at 500 yards, especially with a 20″ barrel, 77gr projectiles and a decent optic. A decent shooter with a match barrel, a decent trigger, and optic should be able to hold under an inch at 100 yards, and shoot groups under 10″ at 500. Just for those not in the know, a 10″ group at 500 is 2 MOA. Would it take a little more training? Absolutely. Would the payoff be worth it? Absolutely. Does every man need to be able to do/need this? Absolutely not.

    Ideal weapon from my standpoint as a Marine and a shooter. 20″ match barrel to get as much velocity as possible, good quality 2 stage trigger no need for select/auto fire from this type of rifle, free float hand guard and bipod, a quality 4-16 power scope, collapsible stock, suppressor if the situation calls for it. Look to our own manufacturers within the US that produce a quality rifle, and test it. We dont need to shovel millions of dollars at companies like H&K to produce something that can be done by companies already in the US and likely already in the supply line for the millitary.

  • Quest

    6.8SPC = long case = insanly stupidly short nose ogive = bullshit aerodynamic

    And 6.5 bullets in an Ar15 are eighter high bc but too heavy and slow. Or fast and low bc. Everything over 6mm basicly underperforms in an AR15. In form factor, and bc-speed relation.

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    My two cents (if they are even worth that):
    A dramatic increase in training is required for all this new-fangled gear and weapons to not be a total waste.

    Why don’t we just invest in that training now with the stuff have?

    We will have to invest in the training if we switch, but if we invest in it now we may find that we have adequate weapons already. That would save the US taxpayers billions of dollars in wasted gear and make our servicemen (and women) better fighters and reduce casualties.

  • claymore

    Then spell it CORRECTLY AMERICA