Results of US Marine Corps Infantry Automatic Trials Released Through FOIA Request

Original caption: "Lance Cpl. Michael Mills, a scout with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, fires the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle on full auto for the first time." Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Today, a variant of the Heckler & Koch HK416 rifle is the standard squad infantry automatic rifle (IAR) of the United States Marine Corps, as the M27. At one time in the mid-2000s, though, companies from Colt to LWRC competed against each other in a competition to see which weapon would be the the Corps’ choice to fill the role, supplanting the belt-fed M249 as the squad’s automatic fire support capability. These weapons took a variety of approaches to meeting the USMC’s needs, from the constant recoil Ultimax MG, to the heat-sink equipped Colt IAR, to the open bolt full auto, closed bolt semiauto LWRC IAR. Ultimately, simplicity won out, and Heckler & Koch’s quite unambitious HK416-derived entry was selected to be the M27.

Recently, a source sent TFB a FOIA request that they had filed with the USMC’s Systems Command (SYSCOM) regarding the test results of the original IAR trials, and the results are a bit surprising. The original USMC standards for these trials were that the weapons should achieve at least 900 mean rounds between Class I and II failures (MRBF), and an objective 5,000 MRBF. The test put 2,400 rounds through each Unit Under Test (UUT) at both ambient and hot and cold conditions. The exact procedure is replicated below:

Excerpts from the Test Evaluation Report for the Infantry
Automatic (IAR) Bid Samples 2008

1. Environmental Testing

a. Environmental testing was not conducted in the Test
Evaluation Plan.

2. Reliability Testing

a. The Unit Under Test (UUT) shall have a Mean Rounds Between
Failure (MRBF) of 900 for Class I and II failures combined
(Threshold), 5,000 MRBF (Objective).

(1) Class I failure: A failure that may be immediately
corrected by the operator within 10 seconds or less while
following prescribed immediate action procedures.

(2) Class II failure: A failure that may be corrected by
the operator, and that requires more than 10 seconds but not
more than 10 minutes to correct (less the TM/OM defined cool
down period if a hot barrel condition exists). Only the
equipment and tools issued with the weapon may be used to
correct the failure.

b. Each UUT shall safely function through 300 rounds each at
a temperature range of -25°F and 160°F, and 1800 rounds per UUT
fired at 77°F ±18°F.

c. Evaluation Procedure

(1) Conditioned the UUTs (loaded weapons condition 3) for
a minimum of 4 hours to 77°F ±18°F.

(2) Fired 60 rounds in automatic mode – 3 to 5 round
bursts at a rate of 30 rounds per minute.

(3) Fired 60 rounds in semi-automatic mode – at a rate of
30 rounds per minute. (4) Allowed UUT to cool so that the barrel temperature did
not exceed 120°F.

(5) Repeated steps 2 through 4 until there had been five
total firing iterations (600 rounds fired).

(6) Allowed UUT to cool. Cleaned and lubricated each UUT.

(7) Repeated steps 2 through 6 until 1800 rounds had been
fired by each UUT at this temperature.

(8) Conditioned the UUTs (loaded weapons condition 3) for
a minimum of 4 hours to 160°F.

(9) Fired 30 rounds in automatic mode – 3 to 5 round
bursts at a rate of 30 rounds per minute.

(10) Fired 30 rounds in semi-automatic mode – at a rate of
30 rounds per minute.

(11) Allowed UUT to cool so that the barrel temperature did
not exceed 200°F.

(12) Repeated steps 9 through 11 until 300 rounds had been
fired by each UUT at this temperature.

(13) Allowed UUTs to cool. Cleaned and lubricated each
UUT.

(14) Conditioned the UUTs (loaded weapons condition 3) for
a minimum of 4 hours to -25°F.

(15) Fired 30 rounds in automatic mode – fired in 3 to 5
rounds bursts at the rate of 30 rounds per minute.

(16) Fired 30 rounds in semi-automatic mode – fired at the
rate of 30 rounds per minute.

(17) Allowed UUT to cool so that the barrel temperature did
not exceed 15°F. (18) Repeated steps 15 through 17 until 300 rounds had been
fired by each UUT at this temperature.

(19) Allowed UUTs to cool. Cleaned and lubricated each
UUT.

d. Procedures 1 through 7 were conducted by MCSC personnel.
Procedures 8 through 17 were conducted by Aberdeen Proving
Ground due to temperature requirements that are outside the
current capabilities of the MCSC.

e. All participants submitted three samples for testing.

Which means that each entrant was subjected to 7,200 rounds over three units. The results were:

f. Results for all Class I and II failures are listed below
across all 3 UUTs from 9 of the 10 IAR Bid Samples.

(1) Colt proposal A: 60 Failures

(2) Colt proposal B: 28 Failures

(3) Competitor C: 23 Failures

(4) Competitor D: 78 Failures

(5) Competitor E: 39 Failures

(6) Competitor F: 12 Failures

(7) Heckler & Koch Defence Inc. proposal G: 27 Failures

(8) Competitor H: 124 Failures

(9) FN Herstal proposal J: 26 Failures

g. The 10th IAR Bid Sample, Competitor I, was determined
unsafe for live fire due to a lack of proof marking. Live fire
testing was not conducted.

Only the competitors who made it to the final downselect are identified in the results, those being Colt’s IAR A and IAR B, H&K’s HK416 IAR, and FN’s HAMR. Of special note is that the Colt 6940 IAR, a direct impingement weapon, proved to be only slightly less reliable than H&K’s operating rod-equipped HK416 IAR. These days this probably isn’t a surprise to many people, but at the time of the trials all the right-thinking people were sure that rifles using operating rods in lieu of direct impingement would work far better. What a coup these results would have been!

To me, the most likely reason for the HK416’s selection as the IAR was its resemblance to existing weapons. One of the requirements of the program was that the new IAR should not “stick out” in a group of Marines armed with M16A4 Rifles and M4 Carbines. Of the weapons tested that gave good results in reliability, the HK416 was the one that looked the most like the existing weapons.

Of course, there is also the theory that the HK416 was selected because the IAR competition was a backdoor to replace the USMC’s existing rifles and carbines, and while that doesn’t seem to have really been the case, there isn’t zero truth to that idea.



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 [email protected]


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  • Slim934

    I really would like to know how the ultimax did.

    • gunsandrockets

      Dropped out early due to really bone-headed problems with the sights. Very disappointing. It’s almost as if they weren’t really interested in competing for the contract.

  • Slim934

    Speaking of OP-rod guns, anybody heard anything about the Wolf Type 91 upper receivers? Are we still getting those?

    • gunsandrockets

      I keep asking my local gun store, and so far the only answer I keep getting is “no new information”.

  • Tom – UK

    Can someone please explain to me how a magazine fed 5.56 carbine is supposed to replace a belt fed 7.62 machine gun in terms or range, weight of firepower and reliability?

    I’d also really appreciate it if someone could explain to me the whole concept of the infantry automatic rifle and why a different rifle is needed when the fire selector of the standard rifle includes automatic.

    I’m genuinely stumped by the concept, I know that us Brits decided to try and use the LSW to replace the GPMG and it was a complete disaster so I’m not sure why a seemingly similar mistake would be made again.

    • Bert

      The short answer to your first question is: it isn’t. The IAR replaces a belt fed 5.56 gun, and is used in rather large squads where the amount of fire is already larger than a British section or a US army squad. The intent is for a more portable weapon in the vein of the BAR of WW2 fame, one that does not unduly weigh down the auto rifleman and makes him or her harder to identify at range for the enemy. I cannot speak for the Marines, but I can say one of the lessons learned by the army is that lower volumes of aimed suppressive fire have proven more useful in the recent conflicts than high volume fire. While the other rifles have an auto feature, they are at this point in time limited to three round burst, and the camming mechanism in the m4 and m16a2/4 is notorious for its varied trigger pulls.
      The GPMG has evolved into the LMG in the weapons squads, and in the US has been in that position for decades.

      • valorius

        The overwhelming majority of a squad’s firepower comes from it’s light machine gun, which the USMC no longer has.

        The USMC bascially forgot every lesson of WWI and WWII and has replaced it’s machine gun with a squad designated rifleman.

        Brilliant.

        • SP mclaughlin

          I think they still are using M249s and even some Mark 48s.

        • Ian Thorne

          To be fair WWI taught us that the practices before then didn’t apply anymore. WWII taught us the practices of WWI didn’t apply anymore. Modern wars have taught us the practices of WWII don’t apply anymore. War changes a lot over time and they way you prepare for them needs to as well.

          • valorius

            There is nothing in Astan that has taught us that machine guns are not an integral part of a modern squad’s effectiveness. Absolutely nothing. I do absolutely agree it has taught us that long range precision fire is useful…but that doesn’t mean you ditch your machine gun for a weapon that’s absolutely incapable of providing sustained area suppression fire.

            Also, we’ve done all kinds of long range fighting in A-stan, and these same brilliant services have taken that to mean we should replace rifles with short barreled carbines.

            The marines let slip their real intention a month ago- they want to replace all M4s with M27s. (which is a far more sensible idea). I suspect once they do that, you’re going to see a new USMC program to get new SAWs (be they M249s or some other weapon)

          • Ron

            No they are not. Stop making s**t up.

          • valorius

            From military dot com via outdoor hub: 18 nov, 2016:

            “The United States Marine Corps is exploring the possibility of replacing
            all infantry battalions M4 Carbine rifles with the M27 IAR.”

            Oh.

          • Ron

            From a somewhat senior officer of US Marines, we are not. The RFI was for up an amount of IARs to replace all the SAWs the Marine Corps.

          • valorius

            The USMC is trying to replace the M4 with the M27. I linked it to you in black and white.

          • Bad Penguin

            Mobility is the only thing that has changed since 1900. When I was in IOBC in 84 on of the other LTs had his Great Grandfathers Infantryman’s Handbook. With the exception of word changes all of the tactics and engagement training was the same. Rifles changes to auto and we are more ground mobile but everything is still the same. WW1 was already game piece set before we got there. Trench fighting was not even in the game plan for euro armies but it happened. The Euro generals however still believed in fighting like Napoleon with massed troops even though modern artillery and MG’s made that a suicide tactic. Its also why General Pershing refused to let American forces to be used as replacements,

        • gunsandrockets

          The IAR initiative was inspired by USMC combat experience in Iraq urban combat.

          • valorius

            No it wasn’t. It is a clever ploy for the USMC to switch to the M27 away from the M4. They sold it on a lie to achieve a desirable goal. It is a very common military procurement practice.

            Notice that every other service from every other nation that fought in Iraq is not replacing their squad machinegun with a SDM.

          • Ron

            BS

            The Gunners never liked the SAW and have tried to replace it since since the late 90s

          • valorius

            I’m ex infantry, I LOVED the SAW. It was an awesome weapon, and far lighter than the M60 it was replacing.

            Just last month, i think even on this site, it was reported the USMC is trying to replace the M4 with the M27.

          • Uniform223

            From my experience militart.com doesn’t have the best reporters. One article I read (can’t remember which) called one of our fighter aircraft a “F-15 Falcon”. As someone who is a bit of a modern military western aviation fan that has me scratching my head. They didn’t take time to proof read first? If they did how could they let it slip?
            I know what article you are referring to as I have read the same thing. I know the USMC have been running a number of field trials at 29 Palms assessing the M27 as a standard issue rifle for combat units. However I am sure there are some people here who can agree with me that the USMC is wasting time and money to come to a “solution” in which there is no problem for. Why couldn’t they have just adopted the M4A1 outright and put a free floated handgaurd/RIS on it?

          • valorius

            Military dot com is but one of many sources that report the USMCs desire to transition to an all M27 force.

            The M27 was a solution for a non existent problem to begin with.

          • Bad Penguin

            The Marines went with the Army on weapons procurement and the Army has done what it pleases and ignored the needs of the Corps. I think the Marines are right to go to a piston rifle for a rifleman but not as a way to get rid of the SAW. I do think the Corps needs to get rid of the Picatinny Rails and go to KeyMod handguards for comfort and weight savings.
            The SAWs in the militarys inventory are old and need to be replaced with a modern lightweight MG design.

          • Ron

            Ok, and most of the Marine Corps infantry does not like for intended role, it works fine as a light machine gun and not as an automatic rifle.

          • valorius

            Automatic rifles are crap replacements for a true LMG, as the US Army discovered decades ago in Vietnam when they tried to use the M16A1 in the ‘auto rifleman’ role.

            History repeats itself. Over and over.

          • Another POV

            Agreed – I carried the SAW for 2 years as an 0311. I loved it. Carry it with a 30 magazine and it’s not unbearable. Heavier than an M16 but not not too heavy that I couldn’t hump all day. When the shooting started, everyone appreciated the suppression of a full auto belt-fed weapon. That said, I do agree with the IAR concept. Having three SAW’s per squad was not really necessary. That’s where the 200 round drums started to wear you down. With all the armor and weight carried by a rifleman today, adding an extra 15 pound drum really does take the “light” out of light infantry.

          • valorius

            Well i would agree that 3 per squad is excessive.

    • Bullphrog855

      It didn’t replace a belt fed 7.62 MMG. It supplemented a belt fed 5.56 LMG. Both the 249 and 240 are still around.

      The idea behind it is that a single well place shot is more effective at suppressing veteran combatants than a burst, especially at longer ranges– which was tested by 2-7 Marines and MCOTEA before they opened up the competition.

      • valorius

        That is pre WWI thinking. Thinking that has been disproven by every major modern war, ever.

        • Joshua

          It’s complicated. The Marine Corps is in full blown Afghanistan mindset.

          The IAR concept works in Afghanistan, mainly due to the whole jihadists mindset of dying to kill an American gets you in heaven and 12 virgins and all that crap.

          It’s different when you fight a nation of soldiers who have a will to survive.

          A good way to compare it, is to look at how effective suppressive fire is from them against American soldiers.

          They don’t have to hit us to make us take cover, because at the end of the day we all want to go home.

          They don’t care about going home, that’s why they’ll pile up into a car and blow themselves up.

          The only thing that stops a jihadists is a kill shot, and killing enough of them they decide to regroup for a later ambush.

          The issue with the IAR concept IMO, is that it’s preparing for the last war.

          Sadly if we keep going on this mindset of we must completely change every aspect of our military to properly battle jihadists in Afghanistan we will have a lot of hard lessons to learn the next time a major conflict breaks out against a nation like NK/China/Russia, etc.

          • valorius

            In Astan cause we’ve got long range fights with poorly equipped light infantry that like to snipe away at long ranges. So our solution is to replace the machine gun with a SDM and our rifles with short range carbines. It’s brilliant! Brilliant i say!

          • Bad Penguin

            Its all about Mobility my boy Mobility. We will simply drive our vehicles within carbine range, dismount and engage the enemy.

          • valorius

            Drive your vehicle up the side of a mountain (and potentially while under RPG fire)? I was in a mechanized infantry bn, i don’t seem to recall it working that way

          • Bad Penguin

            Sorry, sarcasm doesnt work well in this kind of forum. The leadership do not care what the threat to the soldiers is or the realities of the battlefield.

          • valorius

            OK, just checking. 😉

          • Paul Labrador

            Only 12 now? They must be running out of virgins in Jihadi heaven….. ;o)

        • Bullphrog855

          Testing in major wars is what lead the Marines to give the go ahead with the IAR concept.

          Also, WW1 == modern war and the M14 only lasted 5 years, so much for clinging.

          • valorius

            Funny how all the other participants of modern war didn’t come to the USMCs conclusion that light machine guns are not just un-neccesary, but a liability- at all.

          • Bullphrog855

            LMGs are still used by the Marines?

    • Joshua

      The IAR is a modern day BAR.

      Something they will come to regret the next time we face a modern nation.

      • mcjagermech

        ironically what hurt the BAR, other than being heavy is the 20 round magazine, afaik the IAR only has access to 30 round magazines like every other M-16/M-4 which doesn’t really help it distinguish itself when it comes to firepower

        • Bloody Bucket

          …And no quik change barrel for the BAR. The M-27 does something else the artical dosen’t say. It fire from the closed bolt in semi and open bolt in full-auto. Plus they are trying Sure-Fire and P-60 P-Mags from what I hear.

          • Paul Labrador

            I’m not sure it does that. Everything I’ve seen M27 is essentially a heavy barrel, piston AR with a full auto trigger pack that fires from the closed bolt….which is why heat management is really an issue. The LWRC IAR had open/closed bolt capability, but they withdrew from the competition.

          • Bloody Bucket

            My Bad, re-read SAR artical. The HK was only rifle in the comp. that DIDN’T fire from the open bolt. Once again, sorry everyone I had it backwards.

          • mcjagermech

            but then you could just issue the Surefires to regular riflemen

          • Bloody Bucket

            I’ve thought about that. For gate and tower guards and maybe TCP (traffic control points), fine. Would be a little heavy for regular patrolling. But doubling the rounds for the M-27, which is ment to fire full-auto, that fine.

          • mcjagermech

            but you’d get more firepower if you issued a couple 60 rounders to each squad member instead of giving them all to the M27 guy.

          • Bloody Bucket

            Wieght/ballace issue for the rifleman. Two 30 rd = one 60 rd, It’s the added wieght o the rifle that becomes a problem. Also, when monopoding the mag in prone it will stick you up higher.

          • mcjagermech

            that’s why you replace two 30 rounders for 1 60 rounder. Also, these issues will affect the M27

      • gunsandrockets

        You have that backwards. The importance of a small support weapon like a SAW/LMG is most critical when fighting low-intensity guerrilla warfare and least important when fighting high-intensity conventional warfare.

        I’m sure the Germans in WWII would have gladly traded their MG-42 for BAR, if the American superiority in artillery was also traded as part of the bargain.

        • Joshua

          Maybe when they value their life.

          In Afghanistan the only thing that counts is killing them.

          It’s an entirely different dynamic when the people you fight WANT TO DIE for their god.

          Suppression doesn’t really work well when people are wanting to die.

          • Bad Penguin

            Army only teaches suppressive fire.

          • Bloody Bucket

            Must suppress so another element can close with the enemy. The Taliban tried to set ambushs to have phyical obstictals, rivers, rivines, ect. between them and their target. Sometimes it was just suppress and call CAS or arty on them.

        • Bad Penguin

          Trade a MG-42 for a BAR. Don’t think so. BAR 20 lbs with no ammo sporting a 20 round mag vs 25 pound MG so effective it was called Hitlers Buzz saw.

          • gunsandrockets

            105mm M1 > 7.9mm MG-42

            So, you just blindly missed the entire point? In conventional warfare, artillery superiority matters more than small arms superiority.

    • valorius

      It cannot. It’s that simple.

    • gunsandrockets

      USMC since WWII placed belt-fed .30 caliber machineguns in the Heavy Weapons Platoon of the Rifle Company. And the M240 7.62mm GPMG still remains there today.

    • MeaCulpa

      Well the germans showed the world that a squad that uses a proper GPMG in an effective manner has superior firepower, compared to a squad without a proper GPMG, even if the squad with the GPMG is equipped with bolt action rifles. As the Germans were the bad guys it’s obviously immoral to learn from them and the M27 is a sign of moral superiority.

      • iksnilol

        What about Russian successful use of RPK?

        • MeaCulpa

          Well that was a couple of delades after the German lesson that made the Russians get a GPMG. If the RPK was successful as a true machine gun is sort of d debatable, it isn’t stellar for suppressive fire due to low endurance (fixed barrel) and the 7.62*39 isn’t a stellar round when range is required.

          • iksnilol

            RPK/RPK-74M you pedantic avocado.

          • MeaCulpa

            I don’t think that the RPK-74 was much better and would vastly prefer a squad with a PK instead of an RPK.

          • iksnilol

            But it is still in use, so tjat must mean it is somewhat useful.

        • valorius

          The RPK is at least a semi legit machine gun. The m27 is just a piston AR.

          • iksnilol

            Doesnt the M27 have a heavy barrel and 40 round mags?

          • valorius

            The M27 uses 30rd magazines. Lots of rifles have heavy barrels.

          • iksnilol

            I mean RPK is basically heavy barrel, bipod and 45 round mags. Basically a full auto DMR now that I think ’bout it.

          • valorius

            The RPK uses a 75rd drum magazine.

          • iksnilol

            Most common are the 45 round mags (I’m thinking of the 74M version).

            The long barrel is mostly there to increase surface area.

            So I’d say more comparable than you think.

          • valorius

            Surface area does what? Increases heat dissipation. Meaning a much higher sustained rate of fire than the M27 can achieve. That long 23″ barrel also adds several hundred feet of velocity. That means more penetration in armor and tactical barriers, and more grevious wounds. The weight of the long barrel also means less recoil.

            And in any case, 45rds is 50% more than 30rds.

          • iksnilol

            Several hundred feet of velocity don’t mean nothin’ if you dealing with thousands of feet per second.

            That velocity really makes no difference, it’s just that instead of having a finned (or forced air cooled barrel like PKP) you just take a long barrel. It’s basically cheapness.

            You’re too obsessed with long barrels.

          • valorius

            It absolutely does mean something. Level III WILL stop 5.56mm green tip, It WON’T stop 5.56mm M193. The difference between the two? A couple hundred feet per second of velocity.

            Don’t tell me i’m too obsessed with something right after making a completely foolish statement.

          • iksnilol

            Also a completely different bullet, but hey, that isn’t important now is it.

            You are too obsessed with barrel length, literally, every time you get the opportunity you will whine about how a 14.5 inch barrel is useless when it’s been proven several times that out to 500 meters a 20 inch performs just as “bad”. So honestly, I don’t want to get in a discussion that won’t lead to anything new. But hey, somebody has to keep whomever makes 26 inch barrels in business.

          • valorius

            The obvious point is that faster projectiles penetrate better. An M-anything projectile will penetrate more deeply if it’s going faster. That is a simple fact of physics.

            A longer barrel will take longer to heat up, and radiate more heat once it does- allowing for a greater sustained rate of fire. Kind of important for a machine gun, right?

            The 14.5″ M4 has proven to be lacking in long range engagements in Afghanistan. Many models of longer barreled rifles, such as the Mk12, M16, M14 and variants perform significantly better at long range on the actual battlefield.

            I offer you nothing but the facts.

      • Bad Penguin

        John Kerry and John McCain voted against the Army adopting the Kevlar Helmet. They said that even though it provided superior ballistic protection and improved protection for the solders ear we should not adopt it because it looks like a Nazi helmet from WW2 and we don’t want people to think our soldiers are Nazis.

    • B-Sabre

      It didn’t replace a belt-fed 7.62mm machine gun (the M240) it replaced a belt-fed 5.56mm machine gun (the M249 SAW).

    • Bad Penguin

      Join the rest of us. The original general who made the decision said they wanted an accurate light machine gun. The US Military doctrine never required a rifle accurate MG so none were ever developed. The Corps could get all of the Full Auto M-4’s/M-16s they wanted to fill this role which would have been logistically been advantageous, but they decided to go to a new weapon. The improved M-4 with the heavy barrel would suit their needs but that was rejected as an option outright. Since the only way to get the performance needed because of heating issues, every rifle should have had the requirement for a removable barrel like the Ruger SR-5.56 or the Berretta.

      • valorius

        The problem is the M27 is not a machine gun. It’s a magazine fed rifle.

    • Bloody Bucket

      No, it replaced the M-249, a 5.56 belt fed. We still use the M-240, which is amost the same as your 58 MAG 7.62.

    • Paul Labrador

      It’s not. The M27 is replacing some of the M249 SAWs at squad level.

  • jcobbers

    Not sure how the Colt Entries listed above were better than the HK, 1) Colt proposal A: 60 Failures; and (2) Colt proposal B: 28 Failures while (7) Heckler & Koch Defence Inc. proposal G: 27 Failures. Last time I checked 27 is less than either 60 or 28. Also I really want to know which company was competitor F with only 12 failures. That sounds like the weapon that ought to have won from a strict functionality and reliability perspective.

    • Joshua

      It’s worth mentioning the contract price. HK was $23,500,000 while Colt was $14,000,000. According to these results there was a 1 round difference and a $1,600 difference per gun.

      • And as long as they were firing more than 1,000 rounds a 1 stoppage difference is negligible.

        • jcobbers

          I am sure there are other factors in consideration, I’d love to see what results where for accuracy too.

          • Certainly, for example what the distributions of stoppages are. It can be everything from just racking the charging handle to something that takes 3 hands and five tools to clear.

      • TheChunkNorris

        Price of contract wasn’t the point. The HK did better than the DI and that’s simple mathematics. I would like to know what competitor F was.

        • Joshua

          One stoppage difference is nothing.

          That could be chocked up to a bad round.

          The main issue with data like this is we don’t know what the stoppages were, or where they happened.

          I know from military testing, if there’s a bad mag they don’t swap it out.

          So let’s say hypothetically they had a mag that was having a stoppage every 5th round. Normally you get rid of that mag, in testing like this however they run that mag till it’s empty.

          Ideally data would be broken down by type of stoppage(not just I/II, but like failure to fire, etc) then they would have a chart showing where in the firing cycle it happened, so you could see a spreadsheet of how many rounds it went before having issues.

          In a perfect world of course.

          However at the end of the day, in the big scheme 27/28 stoppages are practically the same, and certainly not worth paying an extra $1,600 per rifle.

          • yodamiles

            Maybe Colt would be better off if they had won this contract…..But seriously though, seeing the BS in military contract and procurement process will end up killing me some day…

          • Bad Penguin

            Use to work in procurement (nonweapons) and it was scary. The success of the program had little to do with whether it actually works. Most of you guys are to young to remember the Lightweight BDU program. Despite the fact that the Army already had a LW BDU for wear in Panama they felt it necessary to spend millions developing a new one for the army. They decided to use female 71L’s in BLD 4 at Ft Benning to field test them as that was the most realistic environment. The test declared that the new BDUs were fantastic and immediately started production. Problem was the new LW BDUs were absolute garbage. Wash them once and they looked like you had been shot with birdshot and if you caught the cargo pocket on your trousers on something as you walked it would rip almost completely off your pants leg along with the material it was attached to. Everything seems to need fixing after its fielded.

    • It should be “only slightly less”.

  • kzrkp

    is there a complete list of the competitors? i love prototypes, there were more entries than i was aware of. i know LWRC was one. also the FN hamr lost to politics, damn shame.

    • Spike

      I’d like to see all the names too. Esp. “Competitor I”, who enters a competition like this with out proof marks?

  • Havok

    How off the wall was competitor F that it didn’t make it to final trials with only 12 failures?

    • gunsandrockets

      Wouldn’t surprise me if it was the Ultimax, which had screwed up sights.

      • DR.NUMBERS

        What’s wrong with the Ultimax’s sights?

        • gunsandrockets

          IIRC something about it being impossible to line up the sights with a normal cheek weld.

  • valorius

    In unbiased head to head tests a new production M249 would crush the M27 IAR.

    • Ron

      Well that test was done by MCOTEA in Dec 2009. A series attack and defense were done multiple of times with squads pure IAR , pure SAW and a mix of IARs and SAWs. The only thing the SAW did better was consume more ammo, they hit less and slowed units conducting fire and manuave on targets. In the D, if could do a
      PDF better but one could argue that once you go into the D, you would bring up 240s anyway.

      I was initially was not proIAR and thought the fire power deficient would leave Marine squads at deficient. But seeing it in use in AFG I believe it was a pretty good decision.

      • NukeItFromOrbit

        I imagine the Army would come to a different conclusion were they to run similar tests.

        • More often than not, when you go into testing you set the parameters to achieve the results you want.

          • iksnilol

            That’s the opposite of science, you hooligan.

          • mbrd

            “damnit smithers, this isn’t rocket science, it’s brain surgery!”

          • Not if you are in sociology, climate science, or other statistics based sciences.

        • Ron

          The Army initially was interested in an IAR, but decided they wanted to attempt to skip ahead in technology and develop the LSAT.

      • valorius

        Total nonsense.

        • Ron

          The test exsists and the results spoke for themselves

          • valorius

            In the 1960’s the US Army ran tests that showed the M14 was better and that the M16 was unsuitable too. It was boudlerdash then, and the M27 is boulderdash now.

    • Threethreeight

      Crush the IAR in what? They’re not even competing to do the same job idiot.

      • valorius

        Idiot? The M27 is intended as a direct replacement for the M249 in USMC squads.

  • gunsandrockets

    Let’s see, the H&K was more reliable, more accurate, and surprisingly enough even lighter than the other finalists. Yep, no question the H&K was selected because it most closely resembled an M4!

    • mcjagermech

      sarcasm?

    • No one

      “Let’s see, the H&K was more reliable”

      I guess you apparently couldn’t bother to read the full the article at all.

  • Ranger Rick

    Too bad a knockoff PKM wasn’t in the mix.

    • Threethreeight

      This wasn’t a GPMG competition. Why the hell would a PKM be in the mix?

      • Ranger Rick

        Cheap, light and reliable

        • Dw

          In the same weight class as an M4? No.

          • valorius

            Know what’s in the same weight class as an M4? An M4.

  • Konflict7993

    I wonder which one was the Firelight MCR.

  • Wang Chung Tonight

    (6) Competitor F: 12 Failures…….. Who was that???

    • B-Sabre

      Better question – who was Competitor H (124 failures!) and where do I not buy it?

  • NukeItFromOrbit

    And they still don’t have a good 60 round quad stack magazine for the thing despite such a thing being very much possible.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    But what was Competitor C? They only had 23 failures.

    MSAR? Kel-Tec? FAMAS? Taurus? Remington R51 carbine?

    It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya.

  • Charles Applegate

    OK, so… who is Competitor F and how did they get so reliable?

  • No one

    Yes, because that’s exactly what he said and implied, and the fact you can’t connect simple concepts and analogies is his problem and not yours.

    It should be illegal to use the internet if you’re as mind numbingly brain dead as yourself.

    • Moonman45

      it looks like as long as you type out kiss-ass replies to the important people you can get away with waxing idiotic about whatever pops into your head, please kill yourself

      • valorius

        You missed his point, and you’re an immature idiot. Congratulations.

  • Ron

    Than stop making things up. The Marine Corps fielded the IAR as an IAR, Gen Amos asked to look at it as a service replacement based on shooting the IAR in Quantico (I saw the actual hand written memo written on the decission bride to field the IAR directing looking at it as a service rifle) but after looking at it, the cost, production schedule, lack of contract vehicle and potential requirement for full on recompete made it a no go and it was decided not to. Fast forward a few months ago, a Marine was shot by accident by a SAW . and the Commandant wants the service to stop issuing the SAW as an individual weapon and hence the RFI because they’re are approx 11K SAWs left in the Marine Corps.

    (and yes I have seen numerous safety messages about soldiers also accidentally shooting SAWs also, to include the famous one in the Balkans in the early 2000s were one was acquitted of manslaughter because his defense proved he was untrained when he accidently shot a Kosovar girl)

    • valorius

      ? I asked to have the post deleted because it was a duplicate.

      The USMC is trying to replace the M4 with the M27. My opinion is that was their intention all along.

  • Mike Smith

    Seems to me that competitor F with only 12 failures would have been the rifle to put in the hands of our men and women in service. 12 failures beats the crap out of any other gun in the test. Wasn’t the idea of testing these rifles in the first place to find the best weapon that failed the least?

  • Wow!

    That last paragraph is also what I think the truth of the situation is.

    If you really wanted something that could provide volume of fire at distance, there were a multitude of better options such as Colts M16 LMG, LWRC’s IAR, or even the Ares Shrike. Sure we get reliability as the deciding factor, but any engineer knows that you often can fix reliability issues by changing some tolerances for production, tightening some, and loosening others. And really, firearms are not that complex, they are easy to fix.

  • Colonel K

    Whatever became of standardization between the services, as was initially done with the BDUs and DCUs? Now we have the Baskin-Robbins approach to uniforms and equipment. I thought the DoD budget was shrinking, yet each service can still find money for their pet projects. Makes me wonder…

  • Bert

    I did not say 5.56 equals 30-06. I related a mag fed auto rifle chambered the same as the individual rifles, to a more famous mag fed auto rifle chambered the same as the individual rifles.
    You cut out all the context.

    • Moonman45

      dont insult 30-06, begone

      • Bert

        Where did I insult .30-06? Moreover, how can it be insulted? What is your point anyway, other than making up things to insult strangers on the internet?

  • Bloody Bucket

    Why do think “Competitor F” was the LWRC?

  • bthomas

    Complete waste of time and money. HK is a fine company. But, the neither the USMC nor any other service should be buying anything except equipment produced by US owned and operated companies. The cognizant of course emote that a new rifle must be procured with op rod technology, etc., etc., etc. When it comes to killing people… the M-16 series has been doing the job without any real problems since before most users of today were even a smile on the face of their parents. It’s that simple.

    Now, if they want to look at a larger caliber … maybe 6.5-7 mm, then they’d have reason to look at a different rifle. But, of course that would not work so well for the fem-USMC’s who would be expected to have to carry the slightly heavier rifle and fire the slightly harder kicking round.

  • CavScout

    Nathaniel, have you seen the Colt IAR? You’re not going to be picking that out of a crowd of soldiers, or even caring if you could.

    Not that the program isn’t stupid to begin with. SAW fire rate and role within team,squad, platoon; with 30rd magazines. Dumbest idea ever.

  • CavScout

    Only reason H&K won, General Keys has a ton of power still. That is all.

    Now he’s convincing them that the whole force needs to be armed with nothing but 416’s.
    CORRUPTION

  • Mario Cruz

    Sometime after this test, TFB reported that Colt would be buyinLWRC