Why the M27 IAR Is NOT the Right Rifle for the Marine Corps

Since its introduction in 2009, the Marine Corps’ M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle has proven itself as an effective support weapon that offers more firepower and range than the Corps’ other squad level weapons, the M4 Carbine and M16A4 Rifle. This good reception has led many within the Corps to reach an obvious conclusion: The USMC should simply replace their M4s and M16A4s in the Infantry Battalions with M27 IARs. This idea gained so much traction that the USMC has experimented with arming an entire battalion with IARs, and even released an RFI to the industry for 11,000 more IARs.

To explore this idea further, I sat down with an anonymous small arms subject matter expert to discuss the M27 IAR, its potential as an infantry weapon, and other possibilities for the next Marine Corps infantry weapon. Together, we came to a surprising conclusion: The M27 IAR is not the right infantry rifle for the Marine Corps. In this article, I will lay out the factors that led us to this conclusion, and suggest a potentially superior alternative.

Before we talk about why the M27 would not be the right choice, though, let us acknowledge what it is that the M27 brings to the table as a fighting weapon. To start, versus the M4 Carbine and M16A4 Rifle, the M27 IAR has a superior barrel and handguard system. The M4 Carbine’s barrel is made of the same 4150 steel (a low grade chome-molybdenium steel) that has been the military standard since World War II. In the M4, this steel is button rifled, heat treated to between 277 and 331 Brinell (approximately 28-36 Rockwell C) and then chrome-lined. With the M27, in contrast, the barrel is made of high chromium content Aubert & Duval chrome-molybdenum-vanadium steel, cold hammer forged to give a tapered bore, and heat treated to 41 Rockwell C, then chrome lined. These material characteristics, especially the heat treat, give the barrel exceptional life and accuracy, and it is easily this factor which is most attractive about the M27. In addition, instead of the M16A4’s and M4’s classic delta-ring system, the M27 uses a greatly improved barrel nut and handguard system that interfaces via a groove with a free-floated handguard unit, improving barrel harmonics. For the Marine Corps, the ability to make accurate hits from any position – whether shot slung, from a barricade, off a bipod or pack, etc – without substantial POI shift thanks to a free-floated barrel unit is value-added for each rifleman.

Together, these features mean, simply: The M27 is more accurate, stays accurate longer, and has a longer barrel life than either the M4 Carbine or the M16A4 Rifle. A rifle that maintains its accuracy and precision longer is one that gives more hits, better suppression through closer misses, and overall greater combat effect.

Given then that the M27 offers an improvement over the existing weapons, why shouldn’t the Marine Corps adopt it? The reason at its heart lies in the fact that the M27 is still very much a weapon that was developed in the early 2000s, and selected based on a 2007 RFI. It is not that the M27 is a poor weapon, but rather that, in the ten years since the Infantry Automatic Rifle program was made public, substantial commercial off the shelf (COTS) improvements have been introduced that could provide a weapon of equal or greater capability to the M27, but at lower cost and lower weight. Even better, by upgrading the M4 Carbine various engineering shortcomings inherent to the M27 can be avoided entirely. This sort of improvement could be achieved via a depot level or upper receiver group upgrade program to the existing M4, which opens a number of procurement avenues for the Marine Corps that otherwise would be closed if the M27 were sought instead. Sole-sourcing the M27 as a standard infantry weapon virtually constitutes doing it backwards: Instead of learning from the Corps’ experience with the IAR and implementing the best possible fleet solution to provide the required capability to the Infantry, they would simply be sticking a ring on their first major crush. The M27 does pave the way forward, but it itself is already dated technology. A more sound approach would be to leverage the competitive environment to procure something better, lighter, and cheaper.

One area where a new rifle might improve over the M27 is in the bolt and gas system configuration. Our source told TFB that with M855A1, the M27 achieved an average bolt life (measured to the first lug shearing off) in official high round count tests of 6,000-7,000 rounds, and a barrel life (measured to 200 ft/s velocity loss) of 9,000-10,000 rounds. In those same tests, the M4A1 achieved a barrel life of just 7,000 rounds due to its inferior steel and construction (though the carbines continued to group well for thousands more rounds). However, the M4A1 Carbine beat the M27 in bolt life, with an average of 9,000 rounds before lug shear. One M4 bolt even went 13,000 rounds before its first lug sheared! As I will elaborate below, this disparity in bolt life is the result of something peculiar and inherent to the M27’s design, and it would therefore take considerable time, effort and money via extensive equipment change proposals (ECPs) to rectify the problem. For the M4 Carbine, however, even better bolt life than current could be achieved via simple drop-in upgrades and improvements at very low cost.

The reason for the M27’s lackluster bolt life has to do with its gas system. From its inception, the HK416 (the family to which the M27 belongs) was designed as a short-barreled rifle, an industry-driven effort to create an alternative to the early Mk.18 Close Quarters Battle Receiver. To achieve the reliability needed, Heckler & Koch dramatically increased the gas flow to the HK416’s short-stroke piston. This improved reliability with the 10.5″ barrels and H&K “Navy” steel magazines of the original requirement. Since then, the HK416 has greeted the wider market largely as a carbine-length-barreled true assault rifle, but it has always retained the original gas system design of the short barreled variant. This has led to an “overgassed” situation, resulting in high cyclic rates and increased wear, a situation which is exacerbated by the rifle’s short-stroke piston-driven operating rod system. In detail, the HK416’s operating rod transmits the kinetic energy of the expanding gases to movement in the moving parts group virtually immediately after gas is tapped into the gas block, rather than allowing the gas to expand via a tube as in Stoner direct impingement. This means that if gas is not aggressively vented early (such as via the uncorking of the bullet from a short 10.5″ barrel), then the system is subjected to considerable excess thrust from the high pressure gases still acting on the piston as the bullet travels down the remainder of the barrel’s length. In the longer-barreled HK416 models like the M27, this causes the bolt to unlock prematurely at a point when the pressure is still high, and unlike direct impingement AR-15s there is no forward gas pressure on the bolt stem helping to unload the bolt lugs off the extension. All this together results in higher lug stresses and lower bolt life for the M27 versus the M4 Carbine, in addition to higher cyclic rates which require more tightly sprung and more durable magazines which can keep up with the fast moving bolt group. Aggravating this problem, the M27 manual requires that, unlike with the M4, bolt groups be replaced as a unit. This means that when the bolt shears a lug, the entire bolt and carrier assembly must be removed and replaced with a new unit. Ideally, a new upper receiver for the M4 Carbine would incorporate a barrel of similar construction and materials to the HK416, but utilize a mid-length direct impingement gas system to reduce bolt fatigue, increase dwell time, reduce bolt velocity, and dramatically improve cycling characteristics overall. Further, it could incorporate new bolt treatment techniques that could dramatically improve part life far beyond the current norm, substantially increasing the maintenance interval for this part.

Another one of the chief advantages of the M27 IAR versus its stablemates is its fire control group. In lieu of the M4 and M16A4’s trigger groups which provide safe, semiautomatic, and 3 round burst settings, the M27 IAR’s fire control replaces the burst function with a fully automatic provision which allows the rifle to be fired for extended bursts. This not only provides an increase in firepower, it also improves the consistency of trigger pull and prevents malfunctions that can be induced by the burst mechanism of the M4 or M16A4. However, as part of this package, the trigger group of the M27 also provides a reduced weight pull primarily through a reduced power hammer spring. This feature carries with it the side effects of higher bolt carrier speeds (via less hammer delaying effect) and reduced disconnector life. Since the selection of the M27 IAR, newer select-fire trigger units for the AR-15 family have been introduced which improve upon the consistency and function of previous triggers primarily through greater uniformity and precision of their sear surfaces, rather than reduced hammer weight. Perhaps the standard bearer of these triggers has been the Geissele Super Select-Fire (SSF) trigger, which already has a national stock number (NSN) and is drop-in compatible with the USMC’s existing M4 and M16A4 fleet. That one modification, together with other upgrades, would bring a degree of precision and firepower to those weapons equal or greater than the M27 IAR.

The free-float rail of the M27 is one of the most visually obvious differences between it and its legacy stablemates, and also one of its key advantages as previously mentioned. However, even it is dated by today’s standards, thanks to the advent of negative-space mounting systems (which were in fact pioneered by Heckler & Koch, but that is another story) like M-LOK. The M27’s Picatinny-type free-float rail is heavier, more damage-prone, and allows less air circulation than a modern negative-footprint rail. In addition, the clever grooved barrel nut system of the M27 possesses some limitations. First, it is made from steel tubing, and consequently the finished products are slightly out of round, hampering rigidity and rail alignment. This rail rigidity is important for night operations when using a rail-mounted laser aiming device: A 10 MOA shift in the rail’s position results in a target miss at 200m. Also, the steel construction of the nut and heavy barrel of the M27 – though one of the rifle’s key features – mean the rifle takes a long time to overheat, but also a long time to cool off as well. Further, the steel barrel nut wears the threads on the receiver relatively quickly as barrels are taken on and off for maintenance, meaning receivers must be replaced more regularly. A barrel system using an improved aluminum barrel nut would alleviate all of these issues. Such barrel nuts are already being produced via the commercial market that are more precise thanks to manufacturing via grinding or or lathing. The aluminum construction would give three improvements: First, it would act as a heat sink, conducting and dissipating heat more quickly than a steel barrel nut. Second, it would reduce wear on the receiver threads, improving receiver life. And third, it would reduce the weight of the barrel nut assembly and potentially also allow a slight reduction in the weight of the barrel itself thanks to improved cooling characteristics. A new barrel nut of this type could also be paired with a modern lightweight rail design, for example a 13″ rail with M-LOK slots at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, and a full length 1913 rail at the noon position. A rail like this would not only provide flexible mounting options, but also reduce the thermal and IR signature of the rifle versus the M27 (which, besides having a barrel that stays hot for longer, and a conductive barrel nut, also vents gas out of the front of its gas block).

Given recognition of these shortcomings of the M27 when compared to more recent developments, what does the ideal USMC infantry rifle look like? It would utilize a 14.5″ medium-heavy barrel of comparable construction and metallurgy to that of the M27, with an improved barrel nut design coupled to a modern lightweight handguard. It would incorporate a true “military match grade” select fire trigger system that would give the rifleman precision capability equal to or better than that provided by the M27 IAR, with improved reliability and durability. It would feature a midlength direct impingement gas system which would be lighter, more reliable, and lower signature than that of the M27, while giving improved bolt and moving parts group life. Overall, such a rifle would provide the Marine rifleman with superior accuracy and firepower versus the M4 Carbine and M16A4 Rifle, while improving reliability, durability, and longevity versus the M27 and possibly even the M4 Carbine and M16A4 Rifle as well. Most compelling, however, is the fact that such a weapon system is achievable through commercial off-the-shelf and non-developmental upgrades to the existing M4 Carbine and M16A4 Rifle. Instead of the M27, which can only be procured via a new sole-source contract that would be highly vulnerable to protest from competing firms, the USMC could leverage the competitive market to provide a superior solution now, which could then be procured in any number of ways. Rifles and carbines already in inventory could be upgraded through arsenal overhauls with new barrels, triggers, and rails, or alternately a new upper receiver group could be solicited. Multiple procurement paths means less time and effort wasted before the right solution reaches the hands of Marines downrange, and it allows the Corps to leverage the entire industry to provide the most competitive, lowest cost solution, instead of making it dependent on a single company.

 

What does the next USMC rifle look like? A bit like this, perhaps. 14.5″ barrel, 13″ lightweight handguard and barrel nut, military match grade trigger, and built off existing M4 and M16 receivers.

 

In brief, the M27 is a fine weapon that undoubtedly provides an improvement in capability versus existing USMC small arms. It is also, however, already a dated system representing a decade-old state of the art that has been surpassed by more refined commercial improvements to the AR-15 family, which includes the M4 Carbine and M16A4 Rifle. The M27 itself is also not the best host candidate for upgrade, since it is fundamentally hampered by its gas system design. Since the M27’s selection, off-the-shelf or otherwise non-developmental solutions have arisen which leverage both existing M4 and M16A4 receivers and the commercial market to provide potentially equal or greater capability at lower cost and weight. Implementing these improved solutions instead of a fleet-wide adoption of the M27 would also expand the number of avenues of procurement for the Marine Corps, speeding delivery of much needed upgraded weapons to Marines at the front. In short, an M4/M16A4 upgrade program would provide a more capable, lighter, and cheaper solution that is quicker and easier to procure, and which wouldn’t tie the Corps to any one company for its future rifle needs.





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.


Advertisement

  • TheChunkNorris

    By pointing out a platform’s downfall doesn’t necessarily prove whether it’s Right or Wrong for a group. Think you did a good job explaining what makes it different but not necessarily why it won’t be better in their hands.

  • Mike

    Another anonymous “small arms expert” who knows better than the organisation that actually wants to purchase the weapon under discussion.

    Must be a slow news day.

    Yawn.

    • somethingclever

      I’m pretty sure they’ll accept your essay which provides the necessary counterpoints.

    • SP mclaughlin

      They usually don’t post news on Sunday anyway.

    • Joshua

      Because they want to be PM on their own weapons.

      It’s that simple.

      • That picture you have is overly simplistic and inaccurate.

    • Porty1119

      Please, please, please do NOT expect competency or objectivity in DoD procurement. You’ll come away very disillusioned by the bureaucracy that gave us the M14 and endless project cancellations and delays at cost to the taxpayer.

    • Amplified Heat

      The ‘organization’ has repeatedly shown it doesn’t actually know (or more likely, doesn’t really care) which options are best suited for its members. The way procurement works as well as military hierarchy practically guarantees this. There’s like three years and a hundred higher-ranking people between a grunt’s legitimate complaint and a corrective action in the bid proposal.

      • Scouse

        Not a military expert, in anything. But a little common sense might go a long way here, in the bullet area.
        There are countless thousands of weapons in the US Armories, and our allies, chambered for 5.56 NATO.
        One thing I see here, with all this investment in ammunition, most likely the best ever solution, reconfigure the projectile to do what the scientists require that projectile to do, and at what ranges. We must have this technology. The barrel length and it’s construction is obviously a major part of this.

  • Patrick Haggerty

    I have to say that despite some of TFB’s writers coming from a military background, I tend to avoid articles discussing military tactics and equipment. I read TFB for civilian side firearms news and I honestly think that’s where they should keep their focus. This article may be factually correct, but that makes little difference in the grand scheme of military procurement and bureaucratic BS. If they go back to square one and start the procurement process for another more modern iteration of the M4/M16 platform it will take just as long to go through all the hoops to get it to all the soldiers. By which time we’ll be back to a 7.62x51mm NATO platform since that seems to be all the talk these days.

    An article discussing the shortfalls of military procurement using this weapon system as a primary example would be a better use of everyone’s time. However, that article does not fall into the scope of this blog as far as I am concerned.

    • somethingclever

      I couldn’t disagree more. An article discussing the relative merits or demerits on a firearms blog is useful in its own right regardless of whether or not it will be heeded.

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      It’s The Firearm Blog, not “the US Civilian Firearm Blog”. If you don’t like it, click past it.

      • Patrick Haggerty

        I don’t think that’s the correct attitude. But I feel that making my opinion known to both the writers and editors of this website is perfectly valid. I made a negative comment about this article and did it in what I feel is a respectful manner. Whether anyone listens to me or not, I’ve at least put my opinion out there.

    • Johannes von’ Strauch

      Im would become VERRY tired of just reading a copied text every time some random junk gun comes out.

      While in such articles as this goes actual EFFORT, arguments, creativity, etc. And you can exchange arguments with other people.

      As said by others its TheFirearmsBlog, not a lame civilian gun newsletter.

    • nadnerbus

      TFB has covered military firearms from the beginning. If it goes bang, it’s in their purview.

      But your point about the procurement process is spot on. Everything Nathaniel said makes sense in a world where the military can put out a RFP, test the entrants, and pick the winner without taking ten years, a half dozen lawsuits, and a flag officer “retiring” on the corporate board of the winner. We don’t live in that world.

      His simple, economical solution would end up canceled after sucking up a hundred million bucks.

      • Sure, but you can’t persuade anybody to do the right thing if you don’t try.

    • Stephen Paraski

      P Haggerty, Galil Ace in .308?

  • claymore

    Still not “Fully Automatic” and never was or will be.

    • I am not sure what you mean, claymore.

      • Major Tom

        Regular M4’s don’t possess an Auto setting. Only Burst, and the same lousy 3 round trigger group as the M16A2 and all the problems it has.

        If anything the regular M4 is in even greater need for ditching as its even older than the M27. Forget this business of trying to turn old rifles into tactitard unicorns, just get new.

        • Whatever you say, Tom. 🙂

        • Joshua

          You know a thing called the M4A1 exists right?

          • Major Tom

            Not in Marine Corps service, at least outside Force Recon.

          • Joshua

            Easily attained. But they wouldn’t be the PM on it and that’s an issue for them.

      • claymore

        The term is select fire or AUTOMATIC. No firearm yet can pick up a mag or belt and insert it and fire itself which would be “Fully automatic.”

  • adverse4

    A long winded article signifying nothing.

    • OK Mister “adverse4”, I admit I’m no expert, but I thought this article was interesting and well-written.

      • UnrepentantLib

        I thought he made some good points. We have a big investment in M4/M4A1’s. Why replace them if we can make incremental improvements based on the strong points of the M27 (and other AR15 family weapons) at much less cost than buying an entirely new weapon.

    • Edeco

      I’ve criticized this writer before for talking in circles, but this article is solid. Lot of fine points, if you’re not way into military arms or AR’s it may not be for you.

  • LazyReader

    Blah blah blah gobbildy goop, short answer Spend more money

    • Form Factor

      *spend a medium amount of money but >efficient<

    • TJbrena

      Option 1: Spend a lot of money
      Option 2: Spend half the money and get a superior product to status quo or Option 1
      Option 3: Maintain status quo

  • Big Daddy

    You bring up some very good points that I agree with 100%. You’re playing to a tough audience this Sunday. It was a good read and all that you say is confirmed by the many articles I have read about testing done by the DOD.

    The AR15 is my choice of personal firearm not by choice but by necessity. As a civilian I can configure it anyway I can afford. But it does have limits and they are obvious once you have enough time and experience on them. The round is best used from a longer barrel. The difference once you put a 18″ barrel on one is immediately apparent. I ditched my 5.56mm pistols for other ammo types that work better from a short barrel, .300BO, 7.62×39 and 6.8mm SPCII.

    As a Cav Scout that operated out of vehicles all the time the lack of a folding stock was a problem. The Israels solved it with long barrels in a bullpup design. Their troops are mostly all mechanized and I am sure they know that the 5.56mm round works best out of longer barrels.

    Now the Army wants more 7.62×51 rifles for their troops. And the Marines want IARs for all theirs. This is getting ridiculous. After 100 years of war the most glaring and obvious fact is an intermediate cartridge is needed and needed NOW. They have enough information on how to make one after 100 years with advanced materials and design capability. DO IT DOD!!!

    I like keymod but it has been proven MLok works better. NiB is great, I use it on most of my BCGs and if possible nitriding over the old phosphate finishes. Short stroke piston designs are the best, they offer adjustability, the idea being to have the ability to be suppressed. It also offers the ability to easily have a folding stock.

    The information is out there, the ability to make a really good infantry rifle for the troops is readily available and not all that expensive compared to even one F-35. The 6.5 Grendel and 6.8mm SPCII are so close to what the military needs. Advanced polymers work fine for certain things like magazines, stock, grips even lowers. It’s all there just build it…….and build it right. The M855A! and M80A1 look promising, use the technology to make an intermediate version that is designed for a 16″ or shorter barrel.

    • What does an “intermediate” caliber (in the way you use the term) get you? You say 5.56mm is no good from short barrels, presumably you think that because of the fragmentation range issue. If so, then how do 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel (which have muzzle velocity equivalent to 5.56 from a 10″ barrel) improve on this?

      Is it their projectile diameter and mass? Alone, these factors count for little; Fackler established long ago that 7.62x39mm M43 had poor wounding characteristics.

      Is it their projectile types, like SST, V-Max, TSX, Gold Dot? These are already available for the 5.56mm, and te DoD has already developed two more new projectiles that are even more effective, the Mk.318 and M855A1.

      So what do they bring to the table? Because it doesn’t sound like much, to me.

      • JT303

        As you know, there is no golden bullet or magic gun. What you use depends on what you want to achieve, against what target, to what range. You have to know your military’s fighting doctrine; armoured vehicles, air support etc.

        It is said that you need to dump 200J of energy into a target’s centre mass to incapacitate within 1.5s. 5.56 is a lightweight round no matter how you try to quantify it, and will lose its velocity relatively quickly as a result. This results in poor energy retention. Short barrels exacerbate the problem.

        Intermediate calibres (6.5 Grendel and .280 British etc.) provide a compromise between full power rounds like 7.62×51 and lightweights like 5.56. They provide a greater bore diameter than 5.56 and thus are less affected by short barrels, given the right powder composition. They have greater mass and hence better velocity and energy retention. They have less recoil than full power rifle cartridges. They are liable to have more streamlined bullets with a better BC than either 5.56 or 7.62, which is conducive to good accuracy. They are all around a good compromise between effective range and controllability, hence the interest in these calibres.

        The construction of the bullet is critical to terminal effectiveness. M80 is near-useless against armoured targets at meaningful distance because it lacks anything truly solid to drive through. SS109 with its steel tip and lead core will defeat light armour out to 600m from a 20″ barrel. Its construction means that it will also fragment when travelling at high velocity, though this was unintentional from what I’ve heard.

        • Form Factor

          … its NOT the diameter… ,an aerodynamic shaped 5.56×45 increases energy retention by 200%! And has MUCH lower wind drift and flat trajectory than the painfully slow 6.5 Grendel. It has higher % hit propability at range. And higher supersonic range. Also higher KE/mm² (steel penetration).

          With far less weight, less recoil, far less money.

          • JT303

            Less weight means less velocity retention. Aerodynamics is a contributor, but when velocity is the driving factor behind terminal effectiveness, as in the 5.56, it makes no sense to slow it down from a short barrel. Hence a slightly larger diameter – say, 6.5mm, which will consequently be heavier, and a very aerodynamic projectile, which the 6.5 Grendel makes use of, would make sense to me. I don’t think the Grendel is the ideal military round, far from it, but some of its concepts are worth examining.

          • Form Factor

            OMG what are youre talking, learn some physics……… G7BC= (Weight : (diameter x diameter) : 7000) : FORM FACTOR

            A 5.56 with excellent FF will have a verry good BC while still having far superior muzzle velocity, KE/mm², beeing far lighter, having less recoil, higher supersonic range, lower wind drift, flatter trajectory.

            If you go 6.X mm than not 6.5 (6,7mm) because it will become painfully slow, also for the SAME kinetic energy a heavy slow projectile will have more recoil, due to KE=1/2m x v² while p=m x v.

            A good shaped 6mm projectile will outperform it any damn day.

          • iksnilol

            A good shaped 5.56 projectile can’t fit an AR-15 receiver.

          • Form Factor

            It did not say x45 right…. And no im not planning at slowing down velocity eighter, specific case design and a new type of powder, and an enhanced rifling keeps the same velocity from a smaller case.

            At the end… im not saying the slightest it should be changed, the cost and logistics wouldnt be worth it doing it shortly before CT rounds.
            Im just saying there FAAAR better options than the extremly imperfect Grendel.

          • Aono

            The Nosler RDF 70 is likely* the first actual VLD that can fit inside of AR15 COAL.

            But an M855A1 lead-free penetrator EPR type? No, you’re right about that.

            *Pending Litz

          • JT303

            The goal is energy transfer. 200J to centre mass will likely incapacitate a target in 1.5s. Your bullet has to reach that target and DUMP that energy. Velocity retention is critical for energy retention. Construction is critical for energy transfer. Aerodynamic performance is critical for getting there. I’m not denying what you’re saying in terms of the physics, but you seem to be ignoring what I’ve said.

          • Form Factor

            Well sorry, thats just because youre flat out wrong because you did ignored physic laws…
            Btw, Drag changes with Mach number, from Mach 3 it goes up and up >exponentially< to Mach 1 and than drops again.
            So a lighter and faster projectile with the same BC number, actually is in a much lower drag zone and looses less velocity.

          • JT303

            From what you’ve said to myself and others, it sounds like you’re far more knowledgable about small arms ammunition design than anybody else here. Have you taken any of your ideas to the DoD, MoD etc? Seems like they’re missing a trick having you on board.

          • Form Factor

            Yes ofcourse, working on multiple things for some NATO Member Nations.
            Dont take my words to negative, they arent meant bad at all, you didnt done anything wrong, just a small accidental physic misinterpretation. Have a great Sunday.

        • ARCNA442

          Where are you getting your “200J center mass incapacitates in 1.5s”?

          A CCI Velociter .22LR generates nearly 250J at the muzzle and I don’t think anyone would argue that it will reliably incapacitate a man within 1.5 seconds.

          • JT303

            Transfer of energy. Muzzle energy is not necessarily the same. In regards to source, a retired British army officer who is an expert in military small arms, and some military manuals both recent and dating back to the 70s.

          • ARCNA442

            Define transfer of energy – in gel tests, most .22LR from a rifle will fall right in the FBI’s 12-18″ window which would suggest that all of the energy is being transferred to the target.

          • JT303

            The FBI standard is for penetration to reach vitals, devised in the aftermath of the 1986 Dade County shootout. Most of us aren’t twelve inches thick front to back, but at several angles, we can be, thus the seemingly excessive standard. If that bullet enters your target and doesn’t leave, it’s deposited all its energy, hasn’t it?

          • Aerindel Prime

            FBI standards has nothing to do with rifle rounds, it concerns handgun wounding which is very different than high velocity rounds.

        • Major Tom

          200J is enough? Given 1J is lifting a 100g tomato 1 meter, that means your threshold would be the same energy as if lifting 200 tomatoes 1 meter for a total mass of 20,000g or 20 kg.

          20 kg of tomatoes going 1 meter isn’t very hard to do. I think my left hook of a punch has more energy than that.

      • iksnilol

        Meh, your velocity argument is dishonest. 6.5 has twice the projo weight.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Right on, and a 7.62x39mm copper solid or EPR round would be a monster. It wouldn’t have the range of a 6.5 Grendel bullet, but at reasonable combat distances it would produce horrific wounds.

          • Form Factor

            Well have fun with the stupid wind drift and drop, the stupid weight (much less rounds!), unproportional high recoil to its medium energy. Longer mag for the same capacity. Not even starting about its low supersonic range. In therms of lethality yes but an EPR with high % hit propability like M855A1EPR is more lethal in actual combat.

          • ostiariusalpha

            That’s certainly not wrong, there are plenty of drawbacks to using either the 7.62x39mm or 6.5 Grendel as a combat round. But for terminal effect, the energy budget those two rounds have is extremely impressive when paired with a bullet design that gets the most out of that budget.

          • iksnilol

            Eh, 7.62×39 already produces good wounds with M67, which I’d argue is at least just as easily available as M43 is.

            I like 7.62×39, not really for range. But for being handy and efficent. A 10 inch SBR is still useful out to 300 meters without holdovers (if you zero for 300 meters and then aim at crotch/belt).

        • Dishonest? Why would you think that?

          • iksnilol

            Because saying 6.5 is as slow as a 5.56 from a short barrel is a bit dishonest considering the higher weight and BC of the 6.5 projo will lead it to retaining its velocity farther than a 10 inch 5.56 SBR would.

          • Given the same frag threshold, not really, no.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Grendel hits 2700ft/s from a 14.5″ bbl easy w/100gr and lower bullets.

          • 1. He specified 123gr.

            2. So? That gives it an 80m frag range (w/ 2,500 ft/s thresh) versus 120m (same) for 5.56mm. Or, a 320m frag range (w/ 1,900 ft/s thresh) versus 360m for 5.56mm.

          • ostiariusalpha

            1. Actually, he didn’t say 123gr anywhere in his comment, iksni just generalized that 6.5 Grendel projos are around twice the weight of those loaded in 5.56x45mm.
            2. So what, indeed. Does it really matter that the M855 performs slightly better with one of the least terminally effective bullet designs ever chambered in the M4? It doesn’t, I was only correcting your statement as it stood. In reality, the effective threshold of actual Grendel bullets are all beyond what can be achieved from any equivalent 5.56mm in a 14.5″ barrel.

          • 1. 100gr is not double 62gr , or even close. It’s 60% heavier. That means he was talking about 123gr, which is exactly double (in metric).

            2.

            “Does it really matter that the M855 performs slightly better with one of the least terminally effective bullet designs ever chambered in the M4?”

            It has a longer frag range with all current bullet styles, including EPRs so far as we know. It is also a fact that the 6.5 Grendel does not stand alone as a drop-in solution for the AR-15. It would be very straightforward, for example, to create a new 5.56mm round with a heavier 70gr bullet with a finer form factor and higher muzzle velocity than M855. Such a round would have a frag range of 480m, leaving 6.5 Grendel in the dust.

            “In reality, the effective threshold range of actual Grendel bullets are all beyond what can be achieved from any equivalent 5.56mm in a 14.5″ barrel.”

            Nice statement, now back it up. Let’s see some controlled experiments, wound ballistics tests (preferably live tissue), penetration tests, etc. I doubt you have that (because I haven’t seen it, and I’ve looked). Instead, you probably have this:

            https://youtu.be/BROdbEm5wqA

            That’s not a dramatic ddifference, especially since it’s compared to .223 Remington instead of 5.56mm. So, with that TSX you have maybe slightly better penetration, and in exchange you sacrifice 120m of frag range (no, really!) and increase load weight by 50%. Still a great trade? Not in my eyes.

          • ostiariusalpha

            1. You absolutely did not specify M855 in the comment that iksnilol was responding to; you only brought it up afterwards. You did in fact mention SST, V-Max, TSX, and Gold Dot, all of which have bullets near half the weight of a 100gr .264 caliber. Why are you even arguing this?
            2. “It has a longer frag range with all current bullet styles, including EPRs so far as we know.”
            And where exactly is your evidence for this? Because all the data I’ve seen points out that they all function at ranges well beyond when the even the Grendel’s slowpoke 123gr bullets surpasses the M855A1 5.56 NATO in velocity at 400yds; this includes the EPR bullets, which are well known to function past 400yds.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2bcdd387a318f66065ce6176fe9b9f20fa731c96388c63d9ba7ef627154662da.jpg
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9297d390be09e122dd05df0e5496b921bc7db6df14582c91dc2d9329d48123d5.jpg
            “It would be very straightforward, for example, to create a new 5.56mm round with a heavier 70gr bullet with a finer form factor and higher muzzle velocity than M855. Such a round would have a frag range of 480m, leaving 6.5 Grendel in the dust.”
            Well, let’s take a look at that. Berger VLDs are pretty nice, so we’ll go with those.

            70gr .224 Berger VLD: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/30c72d4f60cf0c446c2b69b807c571810c21558e833b3ff5eefbd1b2e429497a.jpg

            130gr .264 Berger VLD: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8b7be0ab3086614ebcafe17034403acd3e4fa24f65d1beaf8fc2bbd637d5a34b.jpg

            And their trajectories: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fec3d52d694332da0c5d0f43239a5980cac327e2a1d5c08d4c6683bb284633a8.jpg

            Looks like the 70gr holds its own pretty well, but its not exactly smoking what the Grendel can put out.

          • “1. You absolutely did not specify M855 in the comment that iksnilol was responding to; you only brought it up afterwards. You did in fact mention SST, V-Max, TSX, and Gold Dot, all of which have bullets near half the weight of a 100gr .264 caliber. Why are you even arguing this?”

            Os, you’ve been reading me and commenting on my articles for a couple of years now. I would have pegged you for one of the top spots in “list of people who understand that Nathaniel F loves to argue”. 🙂

            I still think Iks was referring to 123gr. He’s welcome to step in and correct me. Even if he wasn’t, it doesn’t change much.

            “2. “It has a longer frag range with all current bullet styles, including EPRs so far as we know.”
            And where exactly is your evidence for this? Because all the data I’ve seen points out that they all function at ranges well beyond when the even the Grendel’s slowpoke 123gr bullets surpasses the M855A1 5.56 NATO in velocity at 400yds; this includes the EPR bullets, which are well known to function past 400yds.”

            Yeah? You got a source on that? I don’t have any confirmation that M855A1 frags past 400 yards. Some rumors, but those ain’t worth nothing.

            I mean, you just said you’ve seen data. So where is it?

            *bunch of charts*

            Couple of minor comments on the data in the charts:

            – Your MV for the 6.5 Grendel is about 100-150/ft/s higher than I think is fair. Even AA’s published data gives 2,405 ft/s from a 14.5″ barrel, and that’s with a 123gr SMK. Remember that EPRs are less dense and take up more room. With a lead-free bullet, 6.5 Grendel will have less internal volume for propellant and therefore lower velocity. Also, you can’t really push the pressure limit for the 6.5 Grendel in an AR-15 like you can with 5.56mm or you’ll have excessive bolt failure rates, so the space to mitigate this is pretty minimal. Therefore, IMO, it is much more representative to use figures of 2,300-2,350 ft/s for the 6.5 Grendel.

            -It was ambiguous, I’ll definitely cop to that, but “new 5.56mm round” meant an entirely new round that used .224″ diameter bullets. I mean, after all, if you’re changing your barrels, bolts, mags, and entire ammo supply anyway, a lot’s on the table right?
            So, for example, a 6.8 SPC necked down to 5.56mm. Such a round could probably put out 2,900-3,000 ft/s with a 70gr bullet from a 14.5″ barrel, and the longer ogive space would allow BCs as high as 0.215 G7. Plug those sorts of numbers into your charts, I bet you’ll be surprised.

          • ostiariusalpha

            1. “…people who understand that Nathaniel F loves to argue.”
            Hahahaha! And I do admire you for it. Yes, iksni can speak for himself, though I should inform you that he upvoted my rebuttal. And you’re right, regardless of what he intended, the basics that some light Grendel bullets have the velocity to fragment a LAP-type projectile from a 14.5″ barrel, but the 123gr does not, remains unchanged.
            2. The velocities are from 123gr Scenar loads intended for shorter barrels, not the factory load, the numbers are actually somewhat conservative. Some tight barrels had higher velocities with the same load. Also I wasn’t trying to predict what the BC of a Grendel EPR bullet would be: could be a 100gr hybrid VLD profile that would pass by the M855A1 even soon than 400yds, could be 120gr. That’s a little too hypothetical, and not super important anyway, since even the most optimal EPR bullet wouldn’t really make the Grendel a better service rifle cartridge than the M855A1.
            We’ve sort of discussed this before, but the EPR jacket can be engineered to separate from the penetrator & core at an array of velocity ranges depending on it thickness and alloy; it isn’t limited to whatever the lower fragmention velocity of M855A1 happens to be (though the majority of rumors indicate that it still does even at 1400ft/s).
            Your thought-experiment round sounds like a real beast alright. What kind of heat flux would be seeing from pushing a bullet that fast from a 14.5″ barrel? This reminds me again of what a saboted case-telescoped cartridge could do while keeping the swept bore volume high enough to alleviate that HF for a super high velocity small caliber.

          • “The velocities are from 123gr Scenar loads intended for shorter barrels, not the factory load, the numbers are actually somewhat conservative.”

            I could believe these numbers for a bolt gun, but I would be very skeptical of them in an AR-15. And I don’t think they’re representative at all of a 6.5 Grendel loaded with a 123gr EPR.

            “Also, I wasn’t trying to predict what the BC of a Grendel EPR bullet would be: could be a 100gr hybrid VLD profile that would pass by the M855A1 even sooner than 400yds, could be 120gr.”

            A 100gr EPR would be about 1.21″ long, based on a quick SolidWorks model. It would have an i7 FF of about 0.93-0.94, as it would be a little less fine than the Berger 130gr AR Hybrid which has an i7 FF of 0.92. That gives us a G7 BC of about 0.219. From a 14.5″ barrel, we can expect a muzzle energy of about 2,100-2,150 J with the Grendel case. So that gives us a muzzle velocity of 2,672 ft/s. Plugging that into JBM, we see that the 100gr VLD-EPR Grendel does have a longer frag range than M855A1 (360m vs 320m). However, it still doesn’t even remotely equal the hypothetical low drag new 5.56mm round I mentioned before in this respect, which has a 480m frag range.

            So I guess my position is, if you’re going to switch to a new round anyway, why bother comparing the Grendel to 5.56mm at all? It should be compared instead to the other potential stablemates.

            “We’ve sort of discussed this before, but the EPR jacket can be engineered to separate from the penetrator & core at an array of velocity ranges depending on its thickness and alloy; it isn’t limited to whatever the lower fragmention velocity of M855A1 happens to be (though the majority of rumors indicate that it still does even at 1400ft/s).”

            Yes, the jacket could be engineered to separate at different velocities. But, why would you want to engineer it to separate at a higher velocity?

            “Your thought-experiment round sounds like a real beast alright. What kind of heat flux would be seeing from pushing a bullet that fast from a 14.5″ barrel?”

            Slightly higher than 5.56mm. Not too much, though. It also depends what pressure level you’re willing to put up with (and tbf so does the Grendel).

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            Youre smoking him Nathaniel hahaha. Alway enjoy to read if you go technical.

            In therms of jacked, the hypothetical Grendel is slower so might have a bit lower rpm in flight, but also the jacket is further away from the center increasing centrifugal stress again.
            The 123grain is long and has a short nose which gives it a bad center of pressure so needs rather tight twist by my numbers (which in your opinion?)
            The 100grain has a bit better center of pressure, but again at the other hand is faster.

            So i dont think the jacked can be tweaked enough to make a real diffrence. And ofcourse if rounds are changed anyways, an aerodynamic 5.56 to 6mm will totally smoke the slow Grendel with absolute ease, not even starting about the extrem point blank range, trajectory, wind drift, ssr, steel penetration, advantages.

          • Even if you use a 1,900 ft/s threshold, then 123gr 6.5 Grendel is still 20 meters behind 5.56mm.

          • iksnilol

            See? Now that’s a good argument. Context and everything.

          • OH SORRY THE ARGUMENT I MADE WHILE I AM AT AN AIR SHOW WATCHING THE LAST FLYING B-29 WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU. 😉

          • iksnilol

            NO IT WASN’T, BECAUSE YOU DIND’T MENTION THE GOSH DARNED (damn, I’m really keeping it PG-13 here) B-29. HOT DANG, SONNY, I ALWAYS SUPPORTED THE BOOMERS IN NEW VEGAS SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE PLANE!

          • MadMonkey

            There are two flying B-29s.

          • That is true! Pretty sure Fifi was the one we saw today.

          • I was wrong! It was Doc!

          • noob

            article about b29 gun turrets pls

          • ostiariusalpha

            What 6.5 Grendel bullets have a 1900ft/s threshold?

          • None that I know of. The 1,900 ft/s threshold is just hypothetical.

      • Big Daddy

        There’s a reason why all major armies throughout the last 100+ years have looked into an intermediate cartridge. I think ALL my points are valid and are corroborated by facts. One factor is weight the other length another the ability to use the weapon in many different environments and situations. The intermediate cartridge is not an end all cure all for the battlefield it is the evolution of it and a step toward solving some of those issues.

        • By that logic, SCHV is the decidedly superior concept, given that virtually all major militaries have standardized upon it.

          In the ranking of military interest, it should be obvious that SCHV is #1, full power is #2, and “intermediate” is a distant #3.

          • Form Factor

            Yes, And a really well designed, perfected SCHV already beats the current “intermediate” options anyways simply because theyr so insanly imperfected and use outdated technologys.

          • Big Daddy

            No I think you have your mind made up and are not thinking on the same lines as I am. Which is a guy on a battlefield trying to survive and get home. I want a rifle that’s easy to shoot, easy to carry, accurate, lightweight and deadly. That is all and the 5.56mm in a AR15/M4/HK416 or whatever ain’t it. It’s close but not it, neither is the 762 NATO or the 762×39. All close but have too many misses in certain factors. Intermediate, in-between the 5.56 and 7.62NATO. As in having the good of each and as little of the bad.

            Don’t overthink it, bring it down to simple common denominator, battlefield survival for the guy fighting. Kill the enemy, period, do so in a manner as to have the best survival possible and without lugging around a heavy weapon and it’s ammo.

            I own an ARs in 9mm, .45ACP, 5.56mm, 7.62×39, 6.8mm SPC II and .308/7.62NATO. They’re all are great guns, but I’d want the 6.8mm if I had to fight. Add a version of the new M855A1/M80A1 ammo to the equation and man that’s what I want. Not much heavier than the 5.56 and the gun itself is actually about the same with a 25 round mag. The ammo a little heavier but so what considering the firepower.

          • Form Factor

            My god what a bunch of garbage. 6.8spc is an HILARIOUSLY bad round. Its aerodynamics are pure garbage, its weight stupidly high for no reason (=less rounds and less fire superority!). Recoil unessecary high due to KE=1/2m x v² while p=m x v. Its supersonic range is stupidly slow, its trajectory and wind drift is bad.

            A simple aerodynamic enhanced 5.56 already COMPLETLY DESTROYS this garbage round (MORE energy at range, far flatter trajectory, FAR less wind drift, far higher supersonic range, less recoil, much lighter, etc and still excellent terminal ballistic due to the EPR construction.)

          • Sounds like an emotional argument to me, not a fact-driven one.

            So I ask again, what does an “intermediate” caliber – let’s say the 6.8mm specifically to avoid confusion – bring to the table? Be specific, and support your arguments with data and sources.

          • Big Daddy

            There is not enough data because nobody is using it except a group that doesn’t fight with their SIX8s. Why did the French just order Brens in 7.62×39? Why did the English pick an intermediate cartridge only to be forced into the 7.62NATO? Why can’t so many countries pick between cartridges, they have 7.62×39 and NATO and 5.56mm, talkin’ bout India. Why did Turkey stay with 7.62NATO for their battle rifles? Why did the SOF want something better than 5.56mm hence the development of the 6.8mm? So many other examples, all because of politics and economics they were not used. Is that enough? How about the complaints from soldiers since Vietnam to the present about the weakness of the 5.56? Of course that’s anecdotal, but they never complained about 30,06. Whys did the Germans start using the 8mm kurz? Whys did the russians go with 7,62×39 and all other combloc nations including China? Yet they went to a smaller caliber and there has been complaints about them from their troops. Russia develops the 9mmx39 in response for limited use. Why is the army talking about using 7.62NATO rifles more even replacing the M4? It’s all there if you want to look close enough instead of having a belief based on what? Certainly not on what the actual combat troops are saying and have been for years, not on what so many countries are doing or have done. Not on the fact that no country seems to be that happy with the round other than they sure save a lot of money going with the now universal 5.56mm and readily available rifles with it. It’s my opinion on a long history of the search for an intermediate cartridge because a full size is too heavy and the small calibers just don’t cut it in combat. Is that enough? Every soldier I have spoken with that had a lot of combat experience said the same thing, the 5.56mm was OK but they all wanted something more powerful but smaller than the 762NATO/308, especially in the SAW. There’s a reason the 6.8mm is becoming one of the most popular AR cartridges for medium game hunting here in Texas from Hog to deer. There’s a reason 6.8mm SPCII and 6.5mm Grendel isn’t going away so fast and more and more people are investing in it. They work, better than 5.56mm and it’s lighter and easier to use than a .308 based system.

          • Form Factor

            You seem quite dumb to be honest. 8mm Kurz is a pure icepick cartridge its stupidly slow and actually has quite low energy…. While 5.56×45 has since 6 YEARS the M855A1 EPR which totally shreds your organs, lungs, arms, legs, neck and explode youre skull in a fraction of a second!!

            6.8 spc is one of the most GARBAGE rounds ever, its shaped insanly bad. As said before -> Pure garbage aerodynamics, its weight stupidly high for no reason (=less rounds and less fire superority!). Recoil unessecary high due to KE=1/2m x v² while p=m x v. Its supersonic range is stupidly low, its trajectory and wind drift is BAD.

            A simple aerodynamic enhanced 5.56 already COMPLETLY DESTROYS this garbage round – MORE energy at range, far flatter trajectory, FAR less wind drift, far higher supersonic range, less recoil, much lighter, etc and still excellent terminal ballistic due to the EPR construction.

            Get that in youre tiny tiny brain.

          • Big Daddy

            OK so when you have nothing to use as a counter argument you call people dumb and that’s typical of an internet troll. Then throw meaningless formulas at them that mean nothing to guys who have to fight and die using these weapons. they are the only ones that count and they want something more powerful end of story end of argument.

            The guy you shoot doesn’t care about the shape of the bullet or physics or aerodynamics or velocity or another thing, he’s dead. That’s the whole idea, kill the enemy. And honestly all this other nonsense I see doesn’t mention that.

            The only question to be asked is what will kill your enemy? What will kill him faster and with less expenditure of rounds. Hunting is a very good example of KILLING. That again is why many medium game hunters do not use the 5.56mm and are using the 6.8 and 6.5 rounds even replacing the .308 with them. It’s perfect for medium game, .308 is overkill. People are medium game, do you understand this simple FACT.

            The 5.56mm round does not have a lot less recoil than the 6.8mm SPC in the same length barrel. I have both and in different barrels lengths. The amount is negligible. They are the same rifle with a 25 round mag, 30 if you want to use the Barrett.

            So I’ll ask, how many of these rifles do you own? Have you ever been in the military? Did you ever see combat or at least spoken at length with a combat veteran?

            Have you ever marched 20 miles or so with an M16? 100 pound pack? 100+ degree temps? Would you like to know the guy shooting at you will be easier to kill or do you throw a physics book at him and tell him he should die sooner because the book said so.

            I have yet to read any reports of the effects in combat of the new round. if you have please point me in it’s direction. And if it is so what length barrel, longevity of the rifle with that round and many other factors involved to make it an effective round. Plus I will add if the round is so good well like the M80A1 is even better, a bigger round than the 5.56mm would be even more effective as long as it’s smaller than the .308. Also then why is the Army talking about going to .308 again?

          • Form Factor

            You will have a lot of fun after getting shredded by 5.56×45 M855A1 EPR …… No need for the utterly stupid 6.8, its a STUPID diameter to begin with. If you want your magic killing knowdown fairy tale force, no problem, simpyl use the SAME energy but in an EFFICIENT way. Simply a 6mm Bullet with the same energy as 6.8spc and it will do EVERY DAMN THING far better.

            Extremly superior aerodynamics, FAR flatter trajectory, FAR less wind drift, FAR HIGHER supersonic range, HIGHER fragmentation range, FAR HIGHER KE/mm² (steel penetration). Less recoil fot the same energy. Less weight for the same energy (=more rounds to carry and higher fire superority!).
            And it will have one heck of a lot MORE energy at range.
            It will even outperform 7.62×51 with ease.

            As said, if you want a certain energy, put it in an efficient package not a pure utter garbage one…….

          • Stephen Paraski

            .44 Magnum Sub Guns.

          • -There is not enough data because nobody is using it except a group that doesn’t fight with their SIX8s.

            It’s not like there aren’t loads of people using 7.62×39 or anything.

            -Why did the English pick an intermediate cartridge only to be forced into the 7.62NATO?

            Because they were meeting different requirements with different technology?

            -Why can’t so many countries pick between cartridges, they have 7.62×39 and NATO and 5.56mm, talkin’ bout India.

            YES, INDIA, THAT ROLE MODEL OF SMALL ARMS DESIGN

            -Why did Turkey stay with 7.62NATO for their battle rifles?

            Why didn’t they go with 6.8?

            -Why did the SOF want something better than 5.56mm hence the development of the 6.8mm?

            “The SOF” didn’t, that’s why SOF use 5.56mm and 7.62mm still. MSgt Holland did. Holland is one dude.

            -So many other examples, all because of politics and economics they were not used.

            5.56mm M193? Politics.

            5.56mm SS109? Politics.

            5.45x39mm? Politics.

            5.6mm Swiss? Politics.

            5.8mm Chinese? Politics.

            Literally every SCHV round adopted ever? Politics.

            That’s a very convenient narrative for you, but not a very convincing one.

            -Is that enough?

            No, it is a laughably flimsy argument to anyone with a knowledge of the history behind the things you are talking about.

            -How about the complaints from soldiers since Vietnam to the present about the weakness of the 5.56?

            How about the complaints from soldiers since time immemorial about literally everything?

            -Of course that’s anecdotal, but they never complained about 30,06.

            They didn’t, did they?

            -Whys did the Germans start using the 8mm kurz?

            I am curious to hear the reason you think is why they did.

            -Whys did the russians go with 7,62×39 and all other combloc nations including China?

            Why did both nations subsequently replace that caliber with SCHV rounds?

            Hell, 5.56mm was so compelling to the Russians that they had copied it before the US even developed the M193 spec!

            -Yet they went to a smaller caliber and there has been complaints about them from their troops.

            Yet they haven’t changed. So when the do the thing you approve of, it’s for wholesome reasons, but when they do the thing you don’t approve of, it’s because darned ol’ politics got in the way!

            -Russia develops the 9mmx39 in response for limited use.

            Throughout your comment, you have demonstrated a remarkable shallowness of understanding of the history behind the rounds you are talking about. No, the 9×39 was not developed to alleviate terminal effectiveness issues with 5.45x39mm.

            -Why is the army talking about using 7.62NATO rifles more even replacing the M4?

            Why aren’t they talking about using 6.8 SPC?

            -It’s all there if you want to look close enough instead of having a belief based on what?

            No, sir, you’re not looking closely, you’re grasping for fragments to fit your narrative.

            -Certainly not on what the actual combat troops are saying and have been for years, not on what so many countries are doing or have done.

            Combat troops: “Our ammo doesn’t always put the guy down in 1 shot!”

            Wound ballisticians: “And it never will, because that’s impossible to guarantee.”

            -Not on the fact that no country seems to be that happy with the round other than they sure save a lot of money going with the now universal 5.56mm and readily available rifles with it.

            Neat explanation. Now try the Chinese and Russians.

            -It’s my opinion on a long history of the search for an intermediate cartridge because a full size is too heavy and the small calibers just don’t cut it in combat. Is that enough?

            Not even remotely, no.

            -Every soldier I have spoken with that had a lot of combat experience said the same thing, the 5.56mm was OK but they all wanted something more powerful but smaller than the 762NATO/308, especially in the SAW.

            Weird, a lot of soldiers/marines/etc I’ve spoken with said 5.56mm was fine.

            -There’s a reason the 6.8mm is becoming one of the most popular AR cartridges for medium game hunting here in Texas from Hog to deer.

            Dude, most hunters think you need a .300 Win Mag for whitetail.

            -There’s a reason 6.8mm SPCII and 6.5mm Grendel isn’t going away so fast and more and more people are investing in it.

            They possess a negligible percentage of the market and always will.

            -They work, better than 5.56mm and it’s lighter and easier to use than a .308 based system.

            Sure, spend a buck fifty a round to shoot SSTs at pigs and I bet 6.8mm does better than forty cent XM193. Surprise surprise.

          • Big Daddy

            And there are counter arguments to all the things you are saying.

            -Why did the English pick an intermediate cartridge only to be forced into the 7.62NATO?
            Because they were meeting different requirements with different technology? A- What does that even mean..LOL? You lost me on that one. The FAL was designed for the smaller cartridge and very effective as far as I read. So it wasn’t just the Brits, all of NATO had to go with the one the USA wanted.

            -Why can’t so many countries pick between cartridges, they have 7.62×39 and NATO and 5.56mm, talkin’ bout India.
            YES, INDIA, THAT ROLE MODEL OF SMALL ARMS DESIGN….A- again I used it as an example of the lack of a good choice between those rounds and that an intermediate would fit what they need. What does your answer have to do with the reason for their indiscretion? They are locked into one or all of the three. They are in a constant state of limited war and need a good round for different enviroments. I give you an example and you just wave your hand with a comment like that. Your responses are becoming very childish.

            -There’s a reason 6.8mm SPCII and 6.5mm Grendel isn’t going away so fast and more and more people are investing in it.
            They possess a negligible percentage of the market and always will. A- Yes because the ammo is so expensive and the rounds are not as supported by the firearms community. Yet the 300BO, 6.8mm and 6.5mm are still going strong. Less parts, less guns, less availability those are the reasons. if the US Army went to one of those rounds you can bet the demand would explode!!! Again a childish and incomplete response.

            Every soldier I have spoken with that had a lot of combat experience said the same thing, the 5.56mm was OK but they all wanted something more powerful but smaller than the 762NATO/308, especially in the SAW.
            Weird, a lot of soldiers/marines/etc I’ve spoken with said 5.56mm was fine. A- Yes it was fine, that’s what they said but they also said they would have liked to have something better for sure. Like I said they said it was OK. But all said they would have liked a more powerful round and for many practical reasons. This goes for everyone from SOF to combat medics I talked with. Many will not talk about because they are tired of talking about it. So they just say yeah it’s good, fine, ok. But they will continue that they really would have liked something more powerful and did not want to carry a .308 because of the weight, they hated the M14s and despised the Barretts, same for 240Bs. Hey man what if it was the same weight as the M4 and the ammo was just a little heavier but it did hit a lot harder….well yeah that would have been great. I’ve had those discussions with people here, I live right near Ft. Hood. And I have read countless articles with the same sentiment in them as expressed by combat vets. this feeling goes back to Vietnam. I hated the M16A1, it was LOOOONG which was terrible for a mech troop.

            I expected more from you. By your answers I feel even more vindicated with my thought process. You haven’t come up with one good reason that the intermediate cartridge would be a solution to a lot of the problems in today’s military.

          • “A- What does that even mean..LOL? You lost me on that one. The FAL was designed for the smaller cartridge and very effective as far as I read. So it wasn’t just the Brits, all of NATO had to go with the one the USA wanted.”

            The British intermediates were designed to meet a specific set of requirements that were different than either modern requirements or the requirements around which .30 Light Rifle (which became 7.62mm) were designed. They also did not have the ability to make the kinds of projectiles that are now in common use (even M855 would have been a bit of a stretch for them – as it was, they never got steel-cored .280 to work right).

            So the reason they look different is because of a different set of requirements (chiefly) and also a different technology base.

            “-Why can’t so many countries pick between cartridges, they have 7.62×39 and NATO and 5.56mm, talkin’ bout India.
            YES, INDIA, THAT ROLE MODEL OF SMALL ARMS DESIGN….A- again I used it as an example of the lack of a good choice between those rounds and that an intermediate would fit what they need. What does your answer have to do with the reason for their indiscretion? They are locked into one or all of the three. They are in a constant state of limited war and need a good round for different enviroments. I give you an example and you just wave your hand with a comment like that. Your responses are becoming very childish.”

            Simply put, you’re reaching. India’s military arms selection is completely screwed up by corruption. They cannot even produce an AK clone correctly (which, by the way, is WHY they “cannot decide” between 5.56mm and 7.62x39mm and 7.62x51mm… The INSAS is a trainwreck, and so older weapons in the other two calibers must be issued so that their troops have anything worth a damn). The fact that they have three rounds in service is of no concern whatsoever military small arms planners here.

            “-There’s a reason 6.8mm SPCII and 6.5mm Grendel isn’t going away so fast and more and more people are investing in it.
            They possess a negligible percentage of the market and always will. A- Yes because the ammo is so expensive and the rounds are not as supported by the firearms community. Yet the 300BO, 6.8mm and 6.5mm are still going strong. Less parts, less guns, less availability those are the reasons. if the US Army went to one of those rounds you can bet the demand would explode!!! Again a childish and incomplete response.”

            If there were a significant demand for rifles in 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel, the market would expand to meet that demand. Especially with the state of the market in recent years, manufacturers were looking for any new thing they could do easily that would set themselves apart in the market. Yet, the 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel markets have not exploded.

            If the military adopted .30-30, the demand would explode. That’s what happens when a sudden supply of inexpensive surplus is injected into the market.

            “Every soldier I have spoken with that had a lot of combat experience said the same thing, the 5.56mm was OK but they all wanted something more powerful but smaller than the 762NATO/308, especially in the SAW.
            Weird, a lot of soldiers/marines/etc I’ve spoken with said 5.56mm was fine. A- Yes it was fine, that’s what they said but they also said they would have liked to have something better for sure. Like I said they said it was OK. But all said they would have liked a more powerful round and for many practical reasons. This goes for everyone from SOF to combat medics I talked with. Many will not talk about because they are tired of talking about it. So they just say yeah it’s good, fine, ok. But they will continue that they really would have liked something more powerful and did not want to carry a .308 because of the weight, they hated the M14s and despised the Barretts, same for 240Bs. Hey man what if it was the same weight as the M4 and the ammo was just a little heavier but it did hit a lot harder….well yeah that would have been great. I’ve had those discussions with people here, I live right near Ft. Hood. And I have read countless articles with the same sentiment in them as expressed by combat vets. this feeling goes back to Vietnam. I hated the M16A1, it was LOOOONG which was terrible for a mech troop.”

            Soldiers want more effective ammo? Of course they do. Can you prove 6.8mm would be more effective? No, you can’t.

            “I expected more from you. By your answers I feel even more vindicated with my thought process.”

            Oh buddy, I have a feeling you were gonna feel vindicated regardless of what I said.

            “You haven’t come up with one good reason that the intermediate cartridge would (sic) be a solution to a lot of the problems in today’s military.”

            Right back atcha.

          • Big Daddy

            It seems like anything I say you will twist. So why bother. The facts are what they are and you are the one putting your own twist on them. If this was this than it would be that. I just don’t do that. I guess it’s an age thing. if this is this than it is in fact this.

            I have yet to see any reports about the combat effectiveness of the M855A1. If it does work as it does in gel great that’s a step up. But the same round design in an intermediate cartridge would be even better as proven with the effectiveness of the M80A1. Or is that not true? Will say that an intermediate cartridge with the same design of the M855A1 would somehow be less effective than the 5.56mm even though the .308 M80A1 is by far much more effective in gel testing, much more. Therefore logically the same design in an intermediate would be much more effective in gel.

            A more powerful round is more powerful right. A better designed bullet of a less powerful cartridge can be more effective correct than the larger? The same or similar design made into the more powerful cartridge now is more effective and more powerful right? That’s logical.

            Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. Isaac Newton

            KISS-keep it simple stupid. I try to keep things simple cause I’m stupid I guess.

            The effectiveness in armor piercing of the 5.56mm round is it’s smaller diameter.-Truth. A 6.5-6.8mm bullet is not that much bigger. As an intermediate cartridge the lack of penetration is overcome with power and in fact the velocity is not that much less than the 5.56mm especially, especially out of a shorter barrel. Ballistically speaking a bullet not much bigger in diameter but much heavier at a similar velocity will retain energy. It’s a matter of perfecting the bullet for maximum effectiveness.

            Weight- The 6.8mm SPC II is not that much heavier, I know this as fact I carry it all the time. The gun itself is about the same with 25 rounds. The need for less ammo to get the job done in fact overcomes the extra weight. Much more ammo is expended with 5.56mm in combat situations. A more powerful and effective round would also have a psychological effect on the soldier in a positive way. More confidence in battle due to a more effective and powerful gun and more inclination to aim and shoot instead of spraying. This has been talked about since Vietnam.

            I would happily carry a few extra pounds knowing my gun kicks butt. And that’s a fact. As long as it’s not a .308 which is a beast. I carried an M60 so I know. I also carried a G3 for a day in Germany, it’s heavy. I have experience carrying weapons and a few extra pounds of a gun with an intermediate cartridge is no big deal, a full power one is.

          • “It seems like anything I say you will twist.”

            Twist in what way, and where? “Twist” to me implies that I took something you said or meant and tried to change it. AFAIK, I did no such thing. I am saying you’ve provided no data, have a patently shallow picture of history, and still expect me to just roll over. Not gonna happen. I’m way too stubborn for that.

            “The facts are what they are and you are the one putting your own twist on them.”

            The facts don’t support your position, which you’ve left bereft of your own supporting evidence.

            “If this was this than it would be that. I just don’t do that. I guess it’s an age thing. if this is this than it is in fact this.”

            You don’t do what?

            “I have yet to see any reports about the combat effectiveness of the M855A1. If it does work as it does in gel great that’s a step up. But the same round design in an intermediate cartridge would be even better as proven with the effectiveness of the M80A1. Or is that not true? Will say that an intermediate cartridge with the same design of the M855A1 would somehow be less effective than the 5.56mm even though the .308 M80A1 is by far much more effective in gel testing, much more. Therefore logically the same design in an intermediate would be much more effective in gel.”

            The initial combat reports I’ve heard from M855A1 say it’s great. I’ve also heard excellent things about Mk. 318, 70gr “Brown Tip”, and Mk.2 55. In an EPR, you’d have more jacket mass with, for example, a 6.8 SPC, but reduced fragmentation range. The question is: Is it 50% better than M855A1? Probably not. Is it 50% better than another round that could be developed at about the same weight as 5.56mm? Definitely not.

            “A more powerful round is more powerful right.”

            You’re using “powerful” in a colloquial sense. What do you mean? Do you mean it’s higher energy? Sure, it is. Do you mean it retains energy better? Depends. Do you mean it transmits its energy more effectively? Demonstrably untrue for some loads.

            “A better designed bullet of a less powerful cartridge can be more effective correct than the larger? The same or similar design made into the more powerful cartridge now is more effective and more powerful right? That’s logical.”

            Well, that’s not necessarily true. For example, I could make a .44 Magnum EPR, and it would perform much more poorly than M855A1.

            “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. Isaac Newton”

            Okeedokee.

            “KISS-keep it simple stupid. I try to keep things simple cause I’m stupid I guess.”

            I never said you were stupid. I said you were making emotional arguments and you weren’t bringing data to the fight.

            “The effectiveness in armor piercing of the 5.56mm round is it’s smaller diameter.-Truth. A 6.5-6.8mm bullet is not that much bigger. As an intermediate cartridge the lack of penetration is overcome with power and in fact the velocity is not that much less than the 5.56mm especially, especially out of a shorter barrel. Ballistically speaking a bullet not much bigger in diameter but much heavier at a similar velocity will retain energy. It’s a matter of perfecting the bullet for maximum effectiveness.”

            These are all just words. They aren’t very meaningful. Show me data.

            “Weight- The 6.8mm SPC II is not that much heavier,”

            It’s 47% heavier with a 110gr bullet, to be exact.

            “I know this as fact I carry it all the time.”

            Do you carry around 210 rounds in magazines plus 800 rounds in belts?

            “The gun itself is about the same with 25 rounds.”

            OK, now do a weight analysis for the entire infantry platoon. I’ve given you the figures, I’ve even given you a framework. It should only take you 30 minutes to an hour. Bonus points if you include the weight of links and magazines.

            “The need for less ammo to get the job done in fact overcomes the extra weight. Much more ammo is expended with 5.56mm in combat situations.”

            According to what studies? Whose analysis? What evidence at all is there for this?

            “A more powerful and effective round would also have a psychological effect on the soldier in a positive way. More confidence in battle due to a more effective and powerful gun and more inclination to aim and shoot instead of spraying. This has been talked about since Vietnam.”

            It’s backasswards to change equipment to an inferior configuration because it makes soldiers feel better. If we did that, Marines would storm beaches in their dress blues and die in droves as a result.

            “I would happily carry a few extra pounds knowing my gun kicks butt.”

            Yeah, because you’re not already headed for a 100% disability rating thanks to the 130lbs you have to tote around everywhere.

            And if a soldier were “happy” to carry extra weight, so what? Without a demonstrable, compelling benefit (which you or anyone else has yet to provide), their willingness to hurt themselves is immaterial.

          • Big Daddy

            I just spoke with my friend who is a gunsmith and still in the reserves. He pretty much agreed with me. On the weight issue and like I said about fire disciple, having a better, more powerful rifle having an effect on the infantrymen’s attitude in combat. More confidence and better fire discipline.

            Again you twist things who was talking about a 44 magnum? Out of the scope of the discussion and irrelevant to it.

            Add up the total weight? Who gives crapshoot about that. Ask a SPC or Spec 4 and he’ll just give you a look, even any Sgt or SFC. That’s for the geeks and bean counters at the DOD to figure out. I’m talking about and this keeps on getting lost in the discussion, what is the psychological makeup of the troops involved, what is their effectiveness in combat? Yes too much weight, cut some of that, give me more ammo and less BS to carry, add another soldier to the squad,like an assistant SAW gunner to carry more MG ammo. There are ways to do this and get it right. Think outside the box. Make it work…..

            Design a bullet, put in the right case, put that in a lightweight rifle and go to war. Stop trying to fix what we have, it’s useful life is over there are better things out there on the horizon. But the DOD ignores it for reasons that are typical of them. We’re just not ready for caseless or even polymer cased ammo. Stop waiting for it and give our guys a more effective weapon. The type our troops have wanted since Vietnam.

            If the M855A1 design works, well great!!! I’m sure it will work even better in a more powerful round. Powerful as in energy and ability to have a flat trajectory as well as energy retention, which would be easier with a heavier bullet and a better ballistic coefficient. No need to worry about yaw with this new round as far as I can tell. I’m no expert on ballistics but that is basic.

            My feet were ruined from marching in boots carrying a lot of weight. A lot of the guys I know have bad knees and backs as well as hearing loss from combat. As soon as they figure out how to take some weight off the soldier they add some junk for him to carry. That is a major complaint from them. So there are some problems you are NOT addressing in the way the army thinks. Again twisting it by omitting these facts. they carry too much stuff, they’ll be glad to carry less stuff if they could have a more effective powerful rifle. Just ask them………

            For instance nobody wanted to carry the M203 when I was in. The idea looks great on paper( I won’t go into why, it’s geek and bean counter thing, typical DOD) but this new M320 is worse. They should be separated and individual. But that’s a whole other topic although part of the discussion. The M4 with the M320 is a monstrosity by the look of it. I always seem to see videos of SOF from Afghanistan using them separately. gee I wonder why? I know why but that is another discussion.

            As it stands now maybe yes the M855A1 round is more effective than a 6.8mm FMJ or hunting or LEO round. But like I said use the same or similar design for the 6.8 or 6.5 or a new intermediate cartridge. Teach better fire discipline. Why is it still so poor? Could it be the nature of using the 5.56mm? My friend seems to think so and said it before I mentioned it.

            I have said this before, I’d like to see how a infantry company armed with LWRC SIX8 rifles, SBRs and carbines like them and how effective they would be? In training or even limited combat.

          • “I just spoke with my friend who is a gunsmith and still in the reserves. He pretty much agreed with me. On the weight issue and like I said about fire disciple, having a better, more powerful rifle having an effect on the infantrymen’s attitude in combat. More confidence and better fire discipline.”

            In what way is he a subject matter expert on wound ballistics?

            “Again you twist things who was talking about a 44 magnum? Out of the scope of the discussion and irrelevant to it.”

            It was an example. No, just because something is more powerful does not guarantee better performance with a given bullet design. The individual characteristics of the rounds matter.

            “Add up the total weight? Who gives crapshoot about that.”

            Presumably, the people who have to carry it.

            “That’s for the geeks and bean counters at the DOD to figure out.”

            You mean, the people responsible for ammunition selection.

            “I’m talking about and this keeps on getting lost in the discussion, what is the psychological makeup of the troops involved, what is their effectiveness in combat?”

            I didn’t want to say this before, but you appear to be suggesting that the 6.8 SPC is better because it acts as a comfort blanket.

            “Yes too much weight, cut some of that, give me more ammo and less BS to carry, add another soldier to the squad,like an assistant SAW gunner to carry more MG ammo.”

            Less BS, like what? Night vision? Armor? Boots?

            So you add members to the squad until the weight difference is made up… Then what? Does the platoon only have two rifle squads instead of three? So it’s less combat effective? Do you use 12 man squads instead of 9, something that was abandoned by multiple nations because of the difficulty of command? Do you stretch the platoon to 60 guys instead of 40 by adding another platoon, making it harder to command?

            “Think outside the box. Make it work…..”

            Why!? For what gain? You still haven’t given me a shred of evidence or data that an intermediate round would increase combat effectiveness.

            “Design a bullet, put in the right case, put that in a lightweight rifle and go to war.”

            Yes, that’s generally how things are done.

            “Stop trying to fix what we have,”

            Why?

            “it’s useful life is over”

            Evidence? Data?

            “there are better things out there on the horizon.”

            Sure, there might be better things on the horizon. Now, are you gonna tell me why 6.8mm SPC is the way to go, or not?

            “But the DOD ignores it for reasons that are typical of them.”

            You mean like how they’re funding LSAT/CTSAS?

            “We’re just not ready for caseless or even polymer cased ammo.”

            Not yet. So why should we switch to your intermediate? Give me something to go on here.

            “Stop waiting for it and give our guys a more effective weapon.”

            That’s what the fellas in the M855A1 and Mk. 318 programs did, and hey! They didn’t even need to modify the rifles to do it.

            “The type our troops have wanted since Vietnam.”

            Emotional appeal. Now tell me why it’s better.

            “If the M855A1 design works, well great!!! I’m sure it will work even better in a more powerful round.”

            You’re sure, but have no data for me so far.

            “Powerful as in energy and ability to have a flat trajectory as well as energy retention, which would be easier with a heavier bullet and a better ballistic coefficient.”

            6.8 SPC does not have as flat of a trajectory as 5.56mm, nor does 6.5mm Grendel within normal combat distances. So neither of those are an improvement in that regard. Also, neither would have as long of a fragmentation range as 5.56mm with any style of fragmenting bullet (currently the only method of serious upset that is JAG approved). So they aren’t an improvement in that regard, either.

            A better ballistic coefficient would be great, sure, but there’s a few things that make for a better BC: Mass, diameter, and form factor (shape). So then it’s pretty obvious that if you want to maximize performance while minimizing weight, you want the best form factor and smallest caliber (smaller diameter bullets are less draggy for a given mass) at the lowest projectile mass.

            6.5 Grendel does pretty well in this regard, but it sacrifices muzzle velocity to an excessive degree in favor of using the high-BC target bullets available in that caliber.

            The 6.8 SPC is kind of disappointing. It has a tough time looking good even when compared to heavy 5.56mm.

            “No need to worry about yaw with this new round as far as I can tell. I’m no expert on ballistics but that is basic.”

            Basic? It is not only counterfactual, but defies basic logic.

            “My feet were ruined from marching in boots carrying a lot of weight. A lot of the guys I know have bad knees and backs as well as hearing loss from combat. As soon as they figure out how to take some weight off the soldier they add some junk for him to carry.”

            Right, so how is it that they can afford to carry heavier ammunition of unspecified utility?

            “So there are some problems you are NOT addressing in the way the army thinks.”

            Wait, what? I’m not the guy who wants to add weight to the infantryman’s load, here!

            “Again twisting it by omitting these facts. they carry too much stuff, they’ll be glad to carry less stuff if they could have a more effective powerful rifle. Just ask them………”

            The rifle of unspecified additional effectiveness that you want would cause them to have carry MORE weight, not less. That’s my point.

            “For instance nobody wanted to carry the M203 when I was in. The idea looks great on paper( I won’t go into why, it’s geek and bean counter thing, typical DOD) but this new M320 is worse. They should be separated and individual.”

            An M79 weighs 6 pounds. An M320 weighs 3.3 pounds. So you’re not lightening anyone’s load here.

            “The M4 with the M320 is a monstrosity by the look of it.”

            Is this an argument?

            “I always seem to see videos of SOF from Afghanistan using them separately. gee I wonder why? I know why but that is another discussion.”

            With the stock on it’s heavier. So how else do you plan to reduce weight? All I’m hearing are ways to increase it.

            “As it stands now maybe yes the M855A1 round is more effective than a 6.8mm FMJ or hunting or LEO round.”

            Given that it’s 2/3rds the weight, that makes it much, much better, yes?

            “But like I said use the same or similar design for the 6.8 or 6.5 or a new intermediate cartridge.”

            Which will do nothing to reduce weight, but WILL reduce the rifleman’s fragmentation range.

            “Teach better fire discipline. Why is it still so poor? Could it be the nature of using the 5.56mm? My friend seems to think so and said it before I mentioned it.”

            I can hit a man sized target at 800 yards with my Colt 6920 and an ACOG. 5.56mm AR-15s win Hi Power competitions all the time. So no, that does not seem to the the root of the problem.

            “I have said this before, I’d like to see how a infantry company armed with LWRC SIX8 rifles, SBRs and carbines like them and how effective they would be? In training or even limited combat.”

            I doubt anyone would notice a difference.

          • Big Daddy

            Everything you say ignores and dismisses like you do with everything a wave of the hand what soldiers who actually fight and die need, want and would be better warfighters with. I can do this, I know that, me me me, that is your attitude. I am considering what would help the people fighting wars. I am interested in the technological aspect second. Use the technological aspects to support the soldier NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

            Under the stress of battle people do not aim and shoot at targets at 800 yards with an M4, they do not do it. So all your arguments ignore real combat tactics and the needs of the average 11B doing the dirty work of combat. That is all that really counts and you ignore it and dismiss it. I am giving you the counter to the geek bean counter experts and considering the average guy or gal being shot at, you dismiss it completely. Unfortunately many good men have died with your type of thought process by the DOD since the civil war. Countless times the US Military has been undergunned, outgunned and ill prepared because of the type of mentality you have. It’s been that battle between the average soldier and the DOD forever.

            There is a reason the Army is thinking about going back to 7.62NATO to equip their infantry. You ignore and dismiss that because you like little high velocity bullets. You show all your number, equations and fact filled information yet ignore the more important aspects I consider the most important. The human element…….flesh and blood, they do the fighting and dying. I listen to them obviously you dismiss it.

            Again I say equip a company of 11Bs with the SIX8 and I wonder how they will respond, you dismiss it with the statement “I doubt they would notice”, if that doesn’t sum up your attitude toward them nothing else does. You belittle them like they are stupid and wouldn’t know the difference or that the weapon itself is so similar as not to have any difference. That last statement doesn’t make sense and contradicts you whole argument of course. That is the problem with elitists, the same ones who make the decisions about what our troops go to war with and have been shortchanging us for years.

            It’s sad and proves all my points. The elitist attitude of the people who are unable to do anything but use numbers to support their beliefs when the fact is a major part of the equation is the human element.

            Why have the Israelis ditched the 5.56mm for their SAWs and are going with 7.62NATO for their Negevs? Just dismiss that with a wave of your elitist hand.

          • Form Factor

            Again…. if you want more energy put it in a god damn EFFICIENT package. Not a pure utter garbage 6.8

            As said for the same starting energy a 6mm will have FAR MORE energy at range, FAR less wind drift, FAR flatter trajectory, FAR higher supersonic range. Lighter and less recoil. Total fire superority. While having the same point blank terminal ballistics.

            So, will a better round come? YES ofcourse, but it WONT be a stoneage metallic bottleneck cartridge in a bottleneck mechanism Rifle. It will be cylindrical Polymer cased, and totally outperform anything else. THAT is the point (and it comes closer and closer), when a change will happen, -so adopting a pure garbage stoneage round with an completly insane amount of large drawbacks for hundrets of millions and a logistic nightmare for just verry VERRY FEW YEARS, is the biggest waist of potential you could ever do, and just flat out completly retarded.

          • Big Daddy

            Again I use the 6.8 as an example I’m saying an intermediate cartridge of some kind. Try reading better.

          • Now that you’re done labeling me and blaming me for literally every procurement disaster since the Civil War, do you plan to bring any real data and evidence to this argument?

          • Big Daddy

            Wow you really are an elitist who never served a minute in the military, yet you have such opinions on things you never were involved with…..on any level, because you have data. OK you are an expert on all thing concerning military arms. I think not.

          • I’m not sitting here calling you names, I just want you to support your statements a little bit. Is that too much?

          • Big Daddy

            Oh Nathaniel so you have never been in the military. That figures, you have no idea how it all works therefore you have no idea about the way a simple soldier thinks. No wonder you dismiss it and do not consider it. You never did it.

          • Great, now where is your data?

          • Joshua

            Gunsmith in the Reserves lol…….

          • Big Daddy

            You don’t even know the guy or how much experience he has with firearms. He’s one of the guys certain units call for repairs they cannot fix at Ft. Hood. You’re a typical ignorant internet troll.

          • Joshua

            And what units call a Reserve armorer to fix their weapons?

          • Big Daddy

            He’s not an armorer did I say that? Reading comprehension helps.

            He has a FFL and is an experienced gunsmith. He also fixes local law enforcement firearms. We are in the Ft. Hood area.

          • Joshua

            What units are you discussing?

          • Stephen Paraski

            Israel uses all 3, .223, 7.62 x 39, 7.62 x 51. Galil Ace in .308 NATO is getting good reviews. I would now take the Galil over SCAR.

          • Wolfgar

            Nathaniel, please let others have their opinions with out all the insulting rebuttal. Any knowledgeable hunter would pick a 6.8 or 6.5 Grendel over any 5.56 round for hunting deer or pigs if a quick kill is the goal. The 5.56 is a varmint round no matter what people want to believe. There are exceptions and opinions on both sides but the trash talk does not enhance the debate but detracts from it. What happened to having a discussion like one would have with a shooting buddy. Hateful, idiotic back and forth does not interest me at all. The editors of any article should hold themselves to a higher level than the asinine reply’s which always occur, just saying.

          • Where did I insult him?

            “Any knowledgeable hunter would pick a 6.8 or 6.5 Grendel over any 5.56 round for hunting deer or pigs if a quick kill is the goal.”

            I wouldn’t pick a 6.8mm FMJ over a decent 5.56mm soft point. Would I pick a 6.8/6.5 over a 5.56mm for deer? I don’t think I’d see much of a difference if the loads were right. Maybe on hog. Even if I cop and say “sure the 6.8mm 120gr SST is a better hunting round than the .223 Winchester 64gr Power Point”, so what?

            “The 5.56 is a varmint round no matter what people want to believe. ”

            5.56mm is a military round. You could also use it as a varmint round. I have also taken deer with it with no issues.

            “There are exceptions and opinions on both sides but the trash talk does not enhance the debate but detracts from it.”

            I see trash talk from Form Factor, but where did I trash talk Big Daddy?

            “What happened to having a discussion like one would have with a shooting buddy.”

            This is pretty much exactly how this discussion would go with a shooting buddy. Maybe that makes me a worse shooting buddy for some, better for others. Dunno.

            “Hateful, idiotic back and forth does not interest me at all.”

            Hateful? Where!?

            “The editors of any article should hold themselves to a higher level than the asinine reply’s which always occur, just saying.”

            And where did I fail to do this?

          • Wolfgar

            Nathaniel we all have a perfect right to our opinions but as a hunter of many moons I know your 5.56 soft point will more than likely fail to penetrate compared to any 6.8 or 6.5. I have seen many wounded animals by light bullets and stupid hunters. One of the largest Grizzly bears was killed by a native woman using only one shot from a 22LR . That doesn’t prove it is a great bear round but you could probably make an argument for it. Does that make it a great bear round in fact? Big daddy gave a very concise reply on his opinion and did a good job of it which you in my opinion dismissed with zero respect or acknowledgement. Hateful may have been extreme but replying most hunters recommend a 300 Win mag for white tail was idiotic. For example, Chris Bartocci,” who wrote the Black Rifle 2 “has little good to say about the M855A1 round and gives some compelling evidence as you have given a lot of compelling evidence supporting it. I would love to hear you two discuss it but if the disrespectful back and forth prevailed like in many of these reply’s, it would completely distract from the subject at hand. In the end it would still be opinion based but doing it with respectful tact leaves a person with a better taste in their mouths, just saying.

          • “Nathaniel we all have a perfect right to our opinions but as a hunter of many moons I know your 5.56 soft point will more than likely fail to penetrate compared to any 6.8 or 6.5.”

            I guess it’s a good thing I used Mk. 318 instead, then.

            “I have seen many wounded animals by light bullets and stupid hunters.”

            Glad I’m not a stupid hunter.

            “One of the largest Grizzly bears was killed by a native woman using only one shot from a 22LR . That doesn’t prove it is a great bear round but you could probably make an argument for it.”

            That level of hyperbole robs your argument of punch. I shot deer with 5.56mm, not bears with .22.

            “Big daddy gave a very concise reply on his opinion and did a good job of it which you in my opinion dismissed with zero respect or acknowledgement.”

            He presented ZERO data or evidence. Not even a link. He just said “this is what I believe” and acted like everyone else should just fall in line. Sorry, Charlie. No can do.

            “Hateful may have been extreme but replying most hunters recommend a 300 Win mag for white tail was idiotic.”

            You don’t know the hunters I know, I guess.

            “For example, Chris Bartocci,” who wrote the Black Rifle 2 “has little good to say about the M855A1 round and gives some compelling evidence as you have given a lot of compelling evidence supporting it.”

            Where? Are you link-shy, too?

            “I would love to hear you two discuss it but if the disrespectful back and forth prevailed like in many of these reply’s, it would completely distract from the subject at hand.”

            Sorry, I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say someone’s arguments are inadequate.

            “In the end it would still be opinion based but doing it with respectful tact leaves a person with a better taste in their mouths, just saying.”

            Sure, but I can’t make Big Daddy happy regardless of what I say. And I don’t think I was being terribly rude. Difficult, OK, that’s probably fair, but was I supposed to be easy?

          • FarmerB

            > Dude, most hunters think you need a .300 Win Mag for whitetail.

            Heh, heh. Ain’t that the truth?

  • Major Tom

    Ignore the unicorn wishes! M27’s for all!

    Either that, or ditch the AR family once and for all with something brand spanking new.

    • Joshua

      Uh huh.

  • Vitor Roma

    So, with a more modern light hand guard and some tuning on the gas system, the gun becomes ideal.

    • roguetechie

      If by tuning on the gas system you mean ditching the short stroke piston….. Then no.. Still not really

      Though the stupid piston definitely needs to go too.

      I’m a bit baffled and shocked at the way this entire comments section is going so far

      • Vitor Roma

        I think judging a piston bad or good automatically is dumb, it is a matter of execution mostly.

        • CommonSense23

          In the AR15 platform a op rod is rarely a good thing.

          • Vitor Roma

            While I mostly agree with that, given the design of the BCG, I really like the PWS long stroke take on piston ar.

        • roguetechie

          OK… you’re free to think this…

          Personally I think HK did a few neat things in designing the 416/m27 but the price that they ask per gun is stupid and ridiculous.

  • roguetechie

    Nathaniel,

    Your mention that the reduced sear engagement of the 416 hammer increasing bcg speed, and thus increasing wear, am I doing the same thing to my guns by running a cam roller retrofit rather than the standard cam pin?

    • Possibly slightly. Unlikely to be enough to make much of a difference.

      • roguetechie

        Thanks for clarifying that, I wasn’t too concerned but it’s still good to know

        • ostiariusalpha

          The cam pin pocket on the receiver is one of the primary wear spots when you increase the BCG cycling rate, so even if it’s going a bit fast, using a cam roller should more than make up for this in reducing the wear on the pocket.

          • Joshua

            The 416 has a specific cut in the cam pin pocket in an attempt to offset the increased wear.

            However even with the radius and cut out in the pocket it still sees extensive wear in that area, far beyond what the M4 sees.

    • Flounder

      Unless your old cam pin was rubbing against the reciever then it will make zero difference.

  • Johannes von’ Strauch

    Thats the kind of article i like from you hahaha! Well written. Perfect Sunday literature.

  • Andrew Sutton

    I understand there was significant testing done before the M27 was selected on MRBS and MRBF, and that many of the problems attributed to the M4 were to do with worn rifles and their magazines. Is there any info out there publically on how an improved DI AR would perform? E.g. What made New Zealand select the LMT DI rifle over competitors. (I use that example as it is a case of an army selecting a weapon that is at least similar to what you described in the article. )

    • Uniform223

      “Is there any info out there publically on how an improved DI AR would perform?”

      > 20000 rounds…
      https://youtu.be/UvPmJYcgBSo

  • RSG

    Or, just buy POF rifles. They have the best barrel nut in the industry. They can produce both DI and piston guns, neither overgassed (which is a ridiculous problem to have with all the advancements in gas blocks and buffer springs/weights). Also, qpq (i.e.- melonite) barrel treatments are now better than chrome lining for barrels. And finally, a freefloated barrel and handguard system can easily be remedied. These proposed upgrades are commonly found on even some inexpensive rifles found in the civilian market. Smh.

    • Bierstadt54

      That is pretty much the point of the article, without listing a specific manufacturer.

    • Eh POF has it’s own issues, it adds another 0.5″ height over bore, the piston system dumps carbon onto the barrel top, the piston is hard to remove for cleaning (and it requires cleaning every 10k or so despite what they say), and the hand guard is freaking huge.

      When I shot the barrel out on my 9.25″ POF, I went to a BCM 11.5″. The BCM had noticeably less recoil with the same muzzle device (AAC Blackout) and ammo. And it was lighter and easier to wrap my hand around.

    • Threethreeight

      POF submitted to the IAR competition as well. Spoilers, they didn’t win.

      • Paul Labrador

        A lot of companies withdrew their entries because most realized the profit margin was not there.

    • alex archuleta

      I agree with RSG. I have a POF Renegade + which is a D.I. Gun with a the exact rail the author spec’d for this article and its not a piston gun w/a big ass hand guard like other POF’s.
      It has everything the author talked about from a finned aluminum barrel nut that acts like a heat sink, to a tunable gas system, 3.5lbs trigger. Robars NP3 coating on the bolt carrier along with melonite barrel coating and all controls are fully ambidextrous. It also has other features that I haven’t touched on but the POF Renegade + is A true 21st century AR.
      I wasn’t sure about the rifle at first or even the company but after doing research I realized that Pof is one of few manufacturers that are making rifles for the 21st century. Other makers still make a great product but it’s not real evolutionary like what POF has done with the Renegade plus. Just one guy’s opinion.

      • RSG

        That’s my biggest regret of 2017. In January I was in the market for an AR with a $1200 budget. I wound up stretching a bit because the price was incredibly low, and wound up buying a DDM4V11 for $1369 OTD. The renegade plus was $200 more. I’m still kicking myself, but that was all the money I had at the time. Maybe in the fall I’ll have the money together for a POF. It’s definitely my next rifle.

        • Matt Taylor

          Save up some cash. Sell the DD. Buy the POF. It’s how us gun guys look real fancy and such 😛

        • alex archuleta

          This year I got a new AR (POF Ren +) and was looking at DDM4V11 in Grey no less! One thing I did like about DD was the slim rail and obviously the prestige of DD.
          But when I had both in hand one of the major selling points for me was the flat trigger on the POF which was nothing short of amazing!
          I also liked the full ambidextrous of the billet lower and a whole other host of features. Honestly tho until I saw an ad for POF I’d never heard of em.
          I think your DDM4 is still an excellent rifle. I wouldn’t trade it for a POF. But save your pennies. I highly recommend the Ren+
          I just wish they had it in 14.5in barrel. The only downside I can find about my rifle is that with the 16.5 barrel and brake/flash hider or AAC t51 flash hider my OAL length is 18in

        • alex archuleta

          If you want I’ll shoot you my email. If you have any questions about the POF Ren. (Like measurements or stuff you can’t find online) I’d be happy to help you out with finding answers for you. Tombstone tactical seems to have good prices.

    • Paul Labrador

      Or an LWRC (my preferred gun) or Daniels Defense, or any of the other handful of high-end AR manufacturers around today. Any one of them puts out just as good or better of a product than H&K, at a fraction of the cost and for the most part able to use standardized parts (which H&Ks don’t).

  • loopydupe

    “higher muzzle velocity […] than […] the M16A4 Rifle”
    ?

    • Form Factor

      The slightly larger bore that tapers down slightly increases velocity. But its far from perfect.

      • loopydupe

        I’m surprised that the taper has more effect than the barrel length difference.

        • Form Factor

          He meant for the same barrel lenght a slightly increased velocity.

          • I actually just meant the velocity stays truer longer, but it was not well constructed and I fixed it.

      • Flounder

        It should… And i bet it does… But it beats out 4 inches of barrel?!?!?!? I doubt it. But there is probably a lot more to that equation than barrel length and tapered bore.

        • Form Factor

          As said… for the same barrel lenght, not diffrent ones….

          Yes theres cartridge chamber volume, powder type, burning rate, kind of rifling, etc. The slightly tapered bore surly is a small plus ,but its rifling isnt that great.

    • Syntax error. It has been corrected. The M27 produces higher MVs than the M4, but not the M16A4.

  • Bierstadt54

    Good article. I always enjoy seeing what is going on in military small arms.

  • CJS

    As much as I get the point of the article, I’m left with one constant….
    M27’s are old and USMC shouldn’t waste money updating them.
    M4’s are old and USMC should spend money updating them.

    • Twilight sparkle

      The difference between the two is the after market available to them, I guarantee you that there are a lot more civilians with le6920s than there are with 416s

    • Joshua

      M27 costs $3000
      M4 costs $678

      Completely overhauled M4A1 would cost $1500.

      • Uniform223

        It urks me that people will so easily slam the USMC for procuring the F-35B yet will say the adoption of the M27 is a good idea. As someone who is interested in both military aviation and modern small arms, it should be the other way around. People should slam the USMC for the M27 and applaud the F-35B. One completely revolutionizes USMC aviation and the other offer nothing substantially note worthy for more than half the price.

        As many have pointed out, the cost of an improved M16A4 or m4 with COTS parts is a much more economical and faster. I guess the good idea fairy is strong in some offices in the Marine Corp.

        • valorius

          The F35B is an ENORMOUSLY expensive platform that gives a capability for a mission that i have never seen one credible explanation as to why the USMC needs it- Air superiority.

          The USMC needs tough as nails close air support platform, not a gold plated supersonic stealth air to air fighter. It is an absolutely stupefying waste of money for a service that never has any to begin with.

          • Uniform223

            The bait was set now all I had to do was wait for someone to bite… haha

            In all seriousness though.

            “The F35B is an ENORMOUSLY expensive platform that gives a capability for a mission that i have never seen one credible explanation as to why the USMC needs it- Air superiority.”

            I guess you never listened to the pilots fly them…

            https://youtu.be/zxK6O5–9Z0

            https://youtu.be/QTgDTC8_PM0

            https://youtu.be/08Qr3Yt1xNg

            https://youtu.be/Q9ITH4lDfEs

            http://www.sldinfo.com/the-moment-pilots-first-realized-the-f-35-was-something-extraordinary/

            Simply put, the F-35 isn’t just another air superiority aircraft. It is something much more than that.

          • valorius

            The F-35B is to the marines primary air support mission as a .416 rigby is to an infantry rifle.

            Also, i can find you just as many comments by just as equally many qualified experts (such as the F16 pilots who absolutely thrashed the F-35 in WVR ACM) who say the F-35 is a complete and total turd.

            Whether it’s great or not, the Marines need a navalized A-10 of sorts, not a high mach supersonic stealth air superiority fighter.

          • Uniform223

            “Also, i can find you just as many comments by just as equally many qualified experts”

            > in my experience most of these comments are often by individuals who are in fact far from the truth and are either self proclaimed, biased, or using older metrics. Most websites or articles of the F-35 are often blown out of proportion and/or taken out of its true context.

            “such as the F16 pilots who absolutely thrashed the F-35 in WVR ACM”

            > I am assuming you are alluding to an event where an F-35A flew with an F-16C with 2 EFTs. That story right there is proof of my earlier comment concerning “experts”. The event that was reported was blown out of proportion, taken out of context of what it actually was, and it was perpetuated by a very out spoken critic of the F-35 who very often (If not always) calls for its cancellation.
            The event in question WAS NOT a dogfight between two aircraft. What it actually was, was a test event to refine the F-35As flight CLAWs software.

            (Skip ahead to time index 5:20)
            https://youtu.be/9re9tJckTlk

            The actual report itself even backs this claim. The F-16C in question was meant as a visual marker/aide to maneuver with and against. This is akin to a race car driver taking a preproduction model on a track and chases the prior model. The driver goes back to the mechanics and engineers on what can be improved upon. Publicly released report of the pilots comments was in an article titled “F-35 losses in Dogfight”. By reading the headline and linking the report to the article, people already went in with a predisposed thought/belief that it was A dogfight when in all actuality, it wasn’t.
            The test it self took place earlier that year in January. The pilot’s AAR report of the event was leaked in July. Because of the bias stance of the person who first launched the article, he created a false narrative in which all other reporting entities ran with. By doing so he reinforced an pertuated a falsehood.

            Sorry about my soap box rambling…

            Here are what pilots actually think…

            http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/operational-assessment-the-f-35a-argues-full-program-procurement-and-concurrent

            “The F-35A was not designed to be an air superiority fighter, but the pilots interviewed conveyed the picture of a jet that will more than hold its own in that environment—even with its current G and maneuver restrictions. In the words of an F-16C Weapons School Graduate and instructor pilot now flying the F-35A, “Even pre-IOC,[26] this jet has exceeded pilot expectations for dissimilar combat. (It is) G-limited now, but even with that, the pedal turns[27] are incredible and deliver a constant 28 degrees/second. When they open up the CLAW, and remove the (7) G-restrictions, this jet will be eye watering.”

            https://theaviationist.com/2016/03/01/heres-what-ive-learned-so-far-dogfighting-in-the-f-35-a-jsf-pilot-first-hand-account/

            “The final «textbook» for how to best employ the F-35 in visual combat – BFM – is not written. It is literally being written by my neighbor, down here in Arizona! We have had many good discussions on this topic over the last few weeks, and it feels very rewarding to be part the development. I would emphasize the term “multirole” after experiencing this jet in many roles, and now also in a dogfight. The F-35 has a real bite! Those in doubt will be surprised when they finally meet this “bomber.”

          • valorius

            The F-35 should do well going in low and slow to provide close in CAS in the face of 23mm and 37mm AAA and IR MANPADS with it’s massive IR signiture, dont you think?

            This is the exact wrong bird for the USMC’s mission needs.

            They would literally be better off with WWII F4U corsairs, which were heavily armored and which had virtually indestructible air cooled 18 cyl engines.

          • Uniform223

            “The F-35 should do well going in low and slow to provide close in CAS in the face of 23mm and 37mm AAA and IR MANPADS with it’s massive IR signiture, dont you think?”

            > You’re trying to use an old way of thinking as justifiable. The most recent trend in close air support by fixed-winged aircraft is to strike from on high (medium or high altitude) with PGMs. Flying low and slow isn’t the norm (unless you’re a rotary-winged asset) any more but rather the exception… rare exception.
            The USAF saw what happened when A-10s flew against the Republican Guard during the Gulf War. The A-10s were getting so shot up that they were pulled from striking Republican Guard units. Even more recently we see how flying low and slow against even a determined for can be dangerous. Syrian Su-24s being show down by Daesh with AAA and MANPADS. Russian Mi-24 trying attempting to do staffing runs shot down by Daesh with MANPADS. Ukrainian Su-25s (the closest analog to the A-10) being shot down by Russian armed/backed separatists.
            The most current A-10C has far more stand off and high altitude strike capability than previous A-10s. The F-16C in Afghanistan provided more CAS and air to ground missions then the A-10C.
            Marines have their Harriers and they don’t complain about not having the A-10 in their inventory. The F-35 will provide CAS when it is called upon, it will just do it differently. That doesn’t mean it will be bad at it. It won’t be the we’re learning that the platform is becoming a small part of the equation. What is most important is the training, tactics, and the tools (weapons and sensors) used by the pilot that really makes the difference…

            http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/dynamic-duo-how-the-10-f-35-stealth-fighter-can-work-15914

            **The F-35 was not a formal part of the test,” Davies wrote, “but became involved only when the squadron commander needed an A-10 ‘Sandy 1’ pilot and the only one available was a current F-35 pilot.”

            “In the middle of the test, we threw a couple of F-35s into the fray,” Lt. Col. Joshua Wood, the 422nd TES’s commander, told Davies. The lead F-35 pilot, flying an older F-35A with rudimentary Block 1B software, wound up coordinating the entire mock rescue.

            And excelling. “No kidding, he shows up and within five minutes on station he’s quarterbacked the whole thing,” Wood recalled. “They’ve rescued the survivor and everyone goes home.” Wood attributed the test success to the former A-10 pilot’s deep experience as a Sandy 1 — and to the F-35’s high-tech sensors.

            “I’m not worried about the future of … CSAR,” Wood said, “because if I were looking at a scale of how important the platform is versus how important the training of the pilot is, I would say 75 percent is the pilot.”

            So in Wood’s assessment, the F-35 not only can do CSAR, it can do it very well — provided the pilot possesses the right training and experience. In that sense, according to Wood the stealth fighter can adequately replace the A-10, despite Congress’ reservations.**

            “This is the exact wrong bird for the USMC’s mission needs.”

            > Do you know what the USMC needs of their aviation? Are you stating personal opinion or fact. In case you didn’t watch it, here it is again. USMC Commandant of Aviation Lt.Gen Davis testimony before congress.
            https://youtu.be/Q9ITH4lDfEs

            “They would literally be better off with WWII F4U corsairs, which were heavily armored and which had virtually indestructible air cooled 18 cyl engines.”

            > if you’re going to say that, then the better option would be to use the P-47 Thunderbolt aka “Jug”.

            “The F-35 is the F-111 of the 21st century.”

            > That’s a false analogy. If anything the F-35 is going to be like the F-22 as in it will completely change the way we fight. It isn’t just something that is evolutionary but rather revolutionary and transformational. We are just barely starting to scratch the surface about how effective it really can be.

            https://youtu.be/HXRjNtpjb2Y

            https://youtu.be/zgLjNsB_hyM

            https://news.usni.org/2016/09/13/video-successful-f-35-sm-6-live-fire-test-points-expansion-networked-naval-warfare

            “Pierre Sprey, designer of the A-10 and the F-16 is on my side in this debate.”

            > That part just had my head shaking in utter dismay. The fact that you are willing to use him as a “supporting” element shows your level of knowledge in this area.

            In NO respect to Mr. Sprey, the man is proof that you can’t fix stupid. He is a self proclaimed “expert” that rides on the shoulders and reputation of people far greater then him to gain notoriety. He wasn’t an aeronautical engineer. He wasn’t a fighter pilot. He was a number crunching analyst (and not a very good one at that). Yes he was part of the famed fighter mafia but he didn’t really contribute to it. All he did was put out specifications. Anyone can put out specifications on what they want. He’ll I can do that…

            I want an Air superiority fighter that is very stealthy. I want it to have two engines that can reach and sustain mach without AB. It should have good all around maneuverability that meet or exceed anything current. It will also need very powerful and advanced avionics.
            Does that sound familiar?

            http://www.historyinorbit.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/go-tab.jpg

            Want an example of how bad of an analyst he is?

            http://pogoarchives.org/labyrinth/09/07.pdf

            His conclusions aren’t based on any form evidence, research, or sound reason but merely his own incredibly ill-informed opinions. This coming from a man who called the F-15 “is loaded up with a bunch of junk. A bunch of electronic stuff that has no relevance in combat”. More to the point he claims that radars are too expensive and heavy and are not useful for combat. He claims this about a fighter aircraft that has a 100:0 win loss ratio in air combat. Wins afforded to the aircraft by missiles… according to him another expensive useless thing in combat. He constantly argues against complexity and that it has no place in any military.
            He constantly claims that he is the designer of the F-16 and A-10 (something I see you believe). The man for most responsible for the F-16 is this man…

            http://www.codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=37

            Sprey’s “baby” would turn out to be the exact OPPOSITE of what he believes a fighter should be. Matter the fact, EVERY aircraft after the F-16 is the exact OPPOSITE of what Sprey thinks makes a good fighter. I wonder why?

            “Active duty pilots and personnel will never bad mouth whatever plane they’re assigned to…as it’s career suicide.”

            > I constantly see that “argument” when people really don’t have anything of real substance to contribute. Essentially they lost the debate and now fall back on this weak tactic of conspiracy within the ranks. Pilots aren’t stupid. They know what is a good aircraft and what makes a good aircraft. These pilot have to entrust their lives to this aircraft. If it’s a complete POS, do you honestly think they would keep their mouth shut about it? What do think is more important to them? Their career or their lives?

          • valorius

            Fast movers strike from medium altitude because they CAN because the environment is so permissible. If you think that our planes are going to be able to strike from medium altitude against a near peer threat using modern MANPADS and battlefield SAM systems, you’re out of your mind.

            An A2A kill ratio, good or bad, is entirely irrelevant to the mission of Marine aviation.

          • r h

            yep..

          • Hoosier Ed

            I totally agree with you!!! The F35 is WAY TOO expensive! I don’t care what all the supposed aviation experts say. The USMC needs aviation assets to provide effective ground support, not for SAC missions.

        • n0truscotsman

          Ive long been a proponent of the Marine Corps working with the Army to standardize the newest variation of M4 upgrades. Just get it done and over with. The 416/M27 doesn’t do anything that a M4 cant already do.

      • Paul Labrador

        Yup. What most folks aren’t getting is that the M27 is nothing more than a hot-rodded M16 with proprietary parts and a Ferrari price tag. You can overhaul all existing weapons to something comparable at depot level (and even at unit level) for a fraction of the cost.

        • Hoosier Ed

          Agreed.

  • DanGoodShot

    Lol. I just finished up a “pistol” build(use of “” is due to the use of a “pistol” brace.;)) and it matches most of your specs. But mine is 9.5″ and 300 blackout. Great little cqb for home defense. Despite some of the other comments I really liked this article.

    • RSG

      I don’t care what the haters say. I have nearly 25 years of extensive firearm experience/training, with all my concentration on civilian defense (as opposed to hunting or games). In my opinion, a 9″ 300blk braces pistol is the best and most versatile home/personal defense weapon available. The diversity of the cartridge alone, ranging from 110 supers to 240 grain subs suits just about every need for civilians. The fact that it can be suppressed to Hollywood levels is just a bonus. For those that complain about distance….there isn’t going to be a shot taken past 75-100 yards that won’t be adjudicated as murder. But the 300blk is still very effective out to 250-300 yards. Fwiw.

      • DanGoodShot

        I couldn’t agree more! A buddy pushed me into 300 blk. I’m glad he did. Besides it now being my primary hd caliber for the exact reasons you gave. It’s hellalodda fun to reload for given it’s insane versatility.

      • Aerindel Prime

        Only problem is price of ammo…..which is a big problem if you do anything with it but literal home defense.

      • Twilight sparkle

        You’re not worrried about how much 300 blackout tends to go through walls?

        • RSG

          No. For self defense, check out the Lehigh defense control fracturing rounds. Both super and subs. They are expensive, but unmatched. I have 10 boxes of each in reserve.

      • iksnilol

        Why not just get a 9mm or .45 subgun then? I mean, they won’t go father than 100 meters anyways.

  • Joshua

    It’s really this simple.

    The Marines want to be PM on their own weapons.

    That’s why the selected the closest rifle to the M4 to be the M27.

    I’ve said for years this was the end game.

    • FOC Ewe

      Praise Jesus, I’m not the only one saying it!

      The Corps needs to get stuck with SCAR-H’s for ~30 years as payback for the A2/Burst FCG as well as the MINIMI and M855.

      • Joshua

        What’s interesting to me was when they decided to issue everyone the M4, they chose not to pursue the M4A1 because of the cons of the S-1-F FCG….Yet now they want everyone to have that exact same FCG…

        • FOC Ewe

          You’d think they would have learned something from their Reising experience.

          Realistically the Corps wants the autonomy of SOCOM which has become the Nation’s 911, not them. It would make sense if they had the budget and were utilized appropriately.

          • Hoosier Ed

            Good point.

    • n0truscotsman

      There was a contender that beat both Cold and HK offerings, yet it was not adopted. I have no idea what IAR it was, but to me, thats proof of some other motive adopting the M27 than actually wanting the ‘best IAR’.

      I was very skeptical of such claims initially. But it seems they have been proven correct, unfortunately.

      As if the Marines didn’t have enough money problems as it is.

      • Joshua

        It’s actually funny. I had a lot of people criticize me a few years back when I told them HK was not the best performing rifle and even that the rifle Colt entered was far more durable.

        Then someone went and got the data and it lined up perfectly with what I had been saying.

        • Rob

          In what way was it more durable? I know the 416 suffered more stoppages than the top performer but it was it was close to the top of the pack. The recent FOIA request revealed that HK barrel life was three times longer than 2nd place(which was FN) during the trials. I’d say that is pretty good durability. I don’t really know why everyone likes to try to knock on the 416. The most serious units across the west use it and the USMC has been very pleased with its performance.

          • Joshua

            Ignore the barrel life aspect of that report.

            That was an estimated barrel life. I don’t know how they came to that data but it goes against anything else I’ve seen on barrel life comparing the two.

            Actually this quote from the OP is 100% spot on.
            “One area where a new rifle might improve over the M27 is in the bolt and gas system configuration. Our source told TFB that with M855A1, the M27 achieved an average bolt life (measured to the first lug shearing off) in official high round count tests of 6,000-7,000 rounds, and a barrel life (measured to 200 ft/s velocity loss) of 9,000-10,000 rounds. In those same tests, the M4A1 achieved a barrel life of just 7,000 rounds due to its inferior steel and construction (though the carbines continued to group well for thousands more rounds). However, the M4A1 Carbine beat the M27 in bolt life, with an average of 9,000 rounds before lug shear. One M4 bolt even went 13,000 rounds before its first lug sheared!”

            Aside from that if you look back at the released FOIA, the Colt Type B entered, which is the one Mexico adopted had more Class I/II stoppages(however still passed the required MRBS the Marines requested), however it had a Class III stoppage rate triple that of the 416.

            3x the durability is a huge difference, even when minor stoppage rate may be one extra magazine over the course of 60,000 rounds.

            Stoppage rate was round 34/60,000 for the 416, and 61/60,000 for the Colt Type B.

          • valorius

            I knock on it because it is MASSIVELY overpriced.

          • Hoosier Ed

            Agreed.

      • Amplified Heat

        Hey, you gotta spend money, to beg for more money (government version of the investment cliche)

      • Irfan Zain

        I think it was the Ultimax 100

      • valorius

        The Corps is using 50 year old vehicles and they want new rifles. They should’ve just stuck with the M16A4 to begin with. SMH.

  • Longrange

    One can tinker with the m-16 system another 60 years but it is not very wise or cost effective. Even the 5.56 caliber is not so hot out of short barrels.

    No major components should need replacement every 7000 rounds as that kind of weapon system is defectice from the get go. The bolt should last the life of the barrel at minimum.

    France and Norway adopted M416 and Germany is now looking for a replacement gor G36. Interesting to see what Germany chooses. One thing is for sure: It won’t have a Direct gas impengement system on AR-15 basis. Too old, too expensive, too fragile.

    • Joshua

      Germany won’t pick a DI platform because it’s open only to EU companies…Guess where the M4 and C8 are made?

      Not the EU.

  • DaveC79

    Great read, thanks!

  • Porty1119

    Op-rod ARs are an answer to a question nobody asked.

    • Spike

      Actually, Larry Vickers said that “people in his community” asked.

      • FOC Ewe

        And after extensive field trials they decided the DI MK18 from Daniel Defense was adequate 🤔

        What I find interesting is the fact that the Corps is trying to replace a turd (FN Minimi) they insisted upon in the first place.

        • Spike

          Yes they (probably rightly) went with the mk.18 but till its teething troubles got sorted they asked Porty1119’s question, so my response is still valid.

          • FOC Ewe

            Did you just get here from a distopian future where the Colt M4 Commando never existed?

          • CommonSense23

            The MK18s came after the 416s.

          • Spike

            I was under the impression that the mk.18 was around the 2000ish timeframe and the hk416 was 2005ish, but as above, problems getting it to work right forced the introduction of the HK until fixed.
            Is this wrong?

        • CommonSense23

          The MK18 is a colt gun.

      • Porty1119

        That is vague to the point of meaningless. If an op-rod system is desired, there are others out there that won’t beat themselves to death with carrier tilt and overgassing/excessively-high cyclic rate.

        • Spike

          Maybe vague, but its what he said.

  • Bearacuda

    Excellent article, Nathan. I think people underestimate DI but I’m interested to see which IAR entrant performed the best based on the list you provided a couple weeks ago.

    I’m no general but I do like the idea of the IAR concept. If it doesn’t work out at least we’ll have the SAWs mothballed.

    • Paul Labrador

      I find the IAR concept a bit obsolete in the day and age of assault rifles. Put a full auto trigger pack back into an M16 and bingo, you have an IAR.

      • Bearacuda

        I was under the impression that was the goal–did the program change? I’m not a tactician and I haven’t served but I would think having a more flexible system for suppressing fire like the IAR idea would be useful, especially since a heavier barrel would be beneficial as a DMR as well. If they upgraded the M4 with the features Nathan mentioned I think the IAR concept would be a winner. If it fails, back to the SAW I guess.

        • Paul Labrador

          What the Marines wanted was to create something akin to the old BAR. The Marines claimed they were not happy with the SAW saying it was heavy and inaccurate, and wanted something that was lighter, had rifle accuracy in semi-auto but had the capability to lay down effective suppressive fire in full-auto. Essentially they’re wanting to turn an AR platform into a light machine-gun. The issue becomes that the IAR is fed from a 30rd magazine (they aren’t using larger capacity mags), so you don’t have a lot of ammo when it comes to suppressive fire like you would with a belt fed gun, and it does not fire from open bolt or have a quick change barrel, so you are going to have over-heating issues when you do try to lay down suppressive fire. A heavy barrel mitigates that somewhat, but it doesn’t alleviate it.

          Again, in the day and age of assault rifles (which are selective fire weapons to begin with), why do you need a whole separate and “dedicated’ automatic rifle when essentially every grunt in the squad is carrying an automatic rifle? That concept made sense back in the day when a rifle squad was armed with bolt action rifles. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense now. Instead of going out an buying an overpriced rifle like the M27, it would have been cheaper to simply throw heavy barrels and full-auto trigger packs onto existing M16s.

          • Bearacuda

            Glad to see I understood correctly. I see the IAR concept as being more of an approach rather than a role since they seem to be back-dooring the rifle in. No need to rigidly define roles, just adapt as the situation dictates since everyone would be using the same weapon platform. Only downside is I would think drum mags would be a must. Hopefully we’ll see some extensive reviews on that end too.

  • Gun Fu Guru

    @nathaniel_f:disqus: Essentially “I’ve never been in the military but you ought to listen to me because I’m an internet gun expert!”

    • Johannes von’ Strauch

      Bring your list of counterarguments smarta** ….

      Most people in the Military are lucky to have 1% of Nathaniels Smallarms and ballistic knowledge, you just simply learn nothing of that in a normal military job so whats even your point.

    • Joshua

      His article hit the nail on the head just FYI, and I’ve been in the military…Probably more than you.

  • tiger

    Sorry, I did not hear any real reason not to support the M27. Some nitpicks, but nothing deal breaking.

    • CommonSense23

      Cause it cost more than a M4A1, breaks more, and doesn’t really offer anything special other than being a program the Marines own.

      • mosinman

        and the fact that the M4 could be made to function better than the M27 for much less, benefiting the entire USMC

        • Paul Labrador

          AAaaaaaaand THAT is exactly the point. M27 is a good gun….but is nothing more than a hot-rodded M16. You could BUILD a rifle in your garage that functions just as well or better than an M27 at a fraction of the cost.

      • tiger

        We spend more on importing goats to Afghanistan.Where were the check book watchers then? The Corps seems like it has other fish to fry than rifle costs. Like a new amphibian IFV & the F-35B.

        • Form Factor

          The point is an truly enhanced M4 simply will perform BETTER for half the price.

          • tiger

            The Corps does not agree.

          • The Corps is a bunch of people, many of whom have different opinions. Don’t pretend to speak for all of them.

          • tiger

            You still have no great argument that would make the Commandant

            Walk to his desk on Monday & ditch the M27? That enough people?

          • We’ll see.

          • Joshua

            There are decision makes who are butting heads on this.

          • n0truscotsman

            Just like with the Colt M45 program. Many Marines disagreed with it strongly, some were firmly entrenched in the idea.

          • valorius

            Everyone knows Marines are stupid.

          • r h

            please bear in mind oh mighty genius, that the policy makers and procurement people in a given branch are not all the people IN that branch..
            i have met ALOT of idiots in Army fatigues. but i wont call them all stupid. and dont get me started on Air Force..

            also “everyone knows people who make sweeping generalizations are bed wetters”

          • valorius

            Sorry, until i see written orders otherwise, all Marines are stupid.

          • CommonSense23

            Socom does disagree. The corps also pushed a 1911 in the 21st century and we all know how well that worked out.

          • Paul Labrador

            Well there are also politics involved here too which clouds the issue.

          • Jack

            But the form factor is garbage!! Isn’t that what you’re supposed to say here?!

        • CommonSense23

          Don’t forget the American dairy cows, ducks, and turkeys also. Which most die within a month.

          • tiger

            If there was a Major issue with the M27 I’d be on the bandwagon. We can cut something else to balance the books. Less bad school lunch pizza, nobody eats perhaps?

    • trjnsd

      ? I heard “$3,000 vs $1,500” ! As a tax paying supporter of our military I think that is a big deal ! My wallet doesn’t like nit picking, especially in the tens of thousands of $1,500 differences !

      • Joshua

        The taxpayer could have a M4A1, with a CHF taper bored barrel, Geissele rail and CH, improved bolt/bcg, and a SOPMOD stock for around $1,500.

        So half the cost of the M27 and you get a superior rifle.

        • Paul Labrador

          Stop using logic…. ;o)

  • ReadyOrNot

    Personally, I think the M4/M16/5.56 platform has come as far as it can go for the standard conventional unit. At this point, it’s just not cost effective to ‘upgrade’ for diminishing returns. A real conversation among the services needs to be had about moving to a new caliber..

    • Form Factor

      New projectiles will come anyways with new weapon plattforms that cant chamber bottleneck cartridges anymore. So adopting some junk “caliber” with a ton of tradeoffs for a bottleneck platform wont happen and dont make any sence.

    • Joshua

      M855A1 is good for the entire Infantry half kilometer. You don’t need more for a general issue rifle.

  • TheUnspoken

    Saying what is the best possible weapon is tricky, because there will always be a better weapon or package as things go along. However it seems if they open up for an all new, perfect next gen rifle competition… They spend a bunch of money and maybe get nothing to show for it.

    Maybe they should get scars, or mcx, or 433, all chambered in 6mm Nifty-new- caliber. BCM, or lwrc uppers, or colbalt kinetics match guns.

    I guess they may be thinking in the M27 they could sneak in a weapon quickly, which they see as a proven advantage without having to pick new features, test, validate, etc. That may be well worth the time cost and maintenance cost vs a new weapon program.

  • Devil_Doc

    Nathaniels next article. “Why the Martini-Henry should be the next USMC service rifle..”.

    • GS5414

      Why the next article? Is his current summary not clear in that he believes a modified M4 is a more sound choice?

      • Joshua

        Yeah but, the Martini Henry is a one hit kill in BF1! Can’t you see it’s clearly the superior rifle?

        • LCON

          Tell that to the Zulu.

    • .45

      Yes. A Martini Henry made of modern materials, rails, scope mounts, etc, and chambered in 6.5 Grendel or something similar. Could be made very light and a free floating handguard should be easy enough. Enough guys standing back and taking carefully aimed shots while waiting for the air strike would be great.

  • vwVwwVwv

    hard to decide considering the possibility
    you, your son, brother must go into battle with it.
    would one give his only son the second best gun if he
    can afford the best? there are excellent guns
    in the market but deciding it must be
    a really hard job for the USMC.

    • Right, that’s why I would rather give him an upgraded M4 than an M27.

      • vwVwwVwv

        you are right as the m4 is proven and not really worse than the new models.
        i have a son and two daughters who finished service
        and a 16 year old who will soon (not in the US)
        and i wouldn’t know even if i know
        for sure, but it’s just me. 😉

    • Paul Labrador

      The M27 is nothing more than a hot-rodded M4 with proprietary parts. You can build a rifle with comparable capabilities using aftermarket parts in your garage for half the price of an M27. And that is the point of the article. Just because it costs more doesn’t mean it “better”. It just means it costs more.

  • McThag

    Colt’s been using CMV steel for a long, long time. So has FN. I guess that, technically CMV is a 4150 steel, but…

    H&K’s has to be as well.

    Why don’t you write about something you know about for a change?

    • GS5414

      Considering the current length of the article, I can see why he wouldn’t go into percentage increase of vanadium and moly content. He did correctly touch on several elements of the barrel.

      Considering some of the comments below, and some of the mindless internet pontification, wouldn’t it seem that he’s closer to the mark than most? I see no major issue with this article.

      • Joshua

        It looks pretty spot on across the board.

    • Well, I spent a good deal of time and effort to compile and present real substantive data. You’re more than welcome to contribute, yourself. Nobody’s stopping you.

  • mig1nc

    So, basically they should adopt the KAC SR-16E3 Carbine MOD 2 14.5″ configuration. I’m cool with that.

  • MNOR

    Coming from a issued HK416 user(Norwegian army since 09′), having shot severeal thousand rounds trough my first issued rifle, and around 14-15k rounds trought my current one:

    the 416 is an absolute workhorse, holding solid groups up to the 20-22k round mark(observed trough my units armorers).
    HK’s CHF barrels are superb, and more or less unmatched in the service rifle category.
    Norway has no serious issues with the rifle at current times.

    However, as the article pointed oit, I don’t see where it is enough of an improvement over the the latest increments of M4A1’s issued to SOCOM to where the USMC is justified to make that change..
    Add a COTS monolithic upper reciever, better trigger , handguard and improved gas-system and perhaps buy barrels straight from obendorf,, the USMC would end up with a comparable(if not superior) system for 50-70% of the total cost,

    • Frank Benavente

      Where are the Marines justified? They do more actual combat then Norway. I guess thet know what they are doing when it comes to weapons. I am also an Infantry Marine. They got the funding and don’t have to follow the Army. People that actually go to combat should have the best weapon they can get

      • Joshua

        Must be why the SOPMOD Block III is requesting a direct impingement upper.

        But I’m sure you will argue the Marines shoot more than USASOC.

        • Core

          Those of us in the know, have known for years that DI is better for the M4 platform. I would say however, that Colt Defense’s piston system is probably better but you have added weight so it doesn’t pan out for the M4. The weight savings could be mitigated if they approved a lighter railed system with a large barrel nut like a DD light with M-lok or something to that effect. Other mods should be entertained to increase reliability and means round between stoppages. Lightened fore-end with enhanced barrel nut, CrSil springs, coated BCG, coated FCG, H2 buffer, 14.5″ CHF Nitro-carbonized barrel (yes maybe with chrome-lined chamber, + rifling)…

      • MNOR

        Frank. My statement wasnt meant as fact.
        I meant that I dont quite see how it would finacially make sense to rearm to a rifle which, however good, isnt that much of an improvement over what already exists in DoD Stocks.

        If the can get equal or even better performance put of upgrading legacy platforms, why buy the most expensive platform on the marked?
        Ofcourse this is provided that buying COTS products from several different vendors dosent turn out to add to much administrative cost(which is a real possibility). In that case buying a completely New platform might be me more cost effective.

        Regarding Norways combat record:
        Well, we’ve been involved/are involved in every major theater of conflict that the US ha since 9/11, what are You getting at?

        • Frank_B

          I did not see Norwegians in Ramadi, Falluja or Samarra Iraq. I saw none in Baghdad either. But Norway is a better NATO partner then the majority especially Turkey. But experiences varied for all that were in the different theaters. Nothing personal I have been to Norway . A place by Lakselv and Nordkapp. My point is I am sick of people nay saying when the HK is better ghen what I had. And guys that are on the cutting edge should have the best gear. Don’t mind me just a tad of ptsd coming out. Tak.

          • MNOR

            Well, a lot of countries decided to sit out Iraqi freedom, due to the lack of evidence of WMDs.
            We did however put combat engineers and advisors in 03-04.
            Then theres Afghanistan(01′-present day) ,Libya, Syria, Jemen, kosovo and others.
            NATO is a big alliance. I didnt see the Poles when I was deployed, but GROM surely pulled their weight regardless of whether I personally laid eyes on them or Not.

            But You know, I’ll be sure tell my Wounded buddies that their deployment didnt count because some random US grunt didnt lay eyes on them in country.

          • Core

            I think Frank_B was a touch confused to your original statement. What MNOR was getting at was the M4 SOPMOD is a cost effective fix with some minor upgrades. I too agree, as someone who stays abreast with the SOPMOD program fairly well. I have several SOPMOD’s from different generations BlkI and II. I also have a pre Blk gen. with the original M4 configuration with A2 upper etc. I worked with GROM prior to and during the invasion in 2003. I also worked with Delta, DevGru, and Force Recon. With that said I tip my hat to Norwegians and thank you for your service in helping fight the GWOT. The Marine Corps and the SEAL folks have been using some older M4’s for some time. It’s because the M4 works damn well, setup properly. We were using better M4’s than the Army for a while, and the flexibility of SOCOM budgets extended the lifespan of older M4’s for some time. Now everything is blk and setup and shipped to the units/teams on the Navy side with less armory activity less personal customization. Not sure how the Corps is doing it these days as I’m retired and don’t follow it. But MNOR’s comment was spot on about the prospect of upgrading existing legacy platforms and saving tons of money. I don’t know why folks want to waste a shitload of money on platforms that have not been proven to hold up over time like the Colt M4. A possible recommendation would be an upgraded trigger FC, 14.5″ nitro-carbon CHF medium contour barrel, an upgraded milspec barrel nut similar to HK416. I might also suggest having the BCG and trigger coated with NIB or something to that effect. I’d also replace the extractor, ejector, and extra power buffer spring with a shot peened CrSil cryo treated version as made like Sprinco. This would be an excellent upgrade to make a blk3. I might also consider using a more robust BCG like the NIB coated ones with dual extractor springs used in early SOPMOD. All ordered in bulk contracts would not be too costly. And the commands could upgrade the legacy stuff both at the armory level and back stateside. All of this stuff is plug and play.

          • MNOR

            Excactly what I was getting at(english isn’t my native language so my grammar and sentencing buildup isn’t all that great I admit).

            In short, what the USMC(and other branches) needs is perhaps the Colt Canada’s latest C8 IUR with the SFW’s CHF barrell.

            mmmm, damn that thing is sexy(and this is coming from someone who is spoiled by Gucci HK’s)

          • Hoosier Ed

            Didn’t the Nazis invade and conquer your country? You sound just like a French soldier I talked with in country who was going on and on about how great France and her military was. Do I really need to mention WWI and WWII? You Europeans have selective memory. If you’re jealous of the U.S., just say so. No shame in that. Most countries are jealous of us, but we earned it!!! Didn’t read about any Norwegian soldiers fighting on Iwo Jima or Okinawa. Just sayin’

          • tsubaka

            Battle of Bataan
            well looks like everyone has selective memory.

          • Hoosier Ed

            Bullshit!!!! Show me where any “Norwegian troops” fought in the Battle of Bataan!

          • tsubaka

            battle of bataan were the 8th US army surrended
            funny since there’s no film today about this iconic battle
            so americans also have selective memory.

            could you have some respect about soldiers who died for their country and not pissing on their grave.

          • Hoosier Ed

            Uhhh….yes smartass, US forces surrendered at Bataan. We lost that “battle,” but won the “war.” So, what’s your point? You want to bring up the “Battle of Little Bighorn” as well? US forces have lost many battles, but won our wars (except for Vietnam), and no foreign forces have invaded the US since 1814 (…and don’t think about mentioning that criminal Poncho Villa).

            As far as respect you pansy, practice what you preach. Have some respect for the country who saved the world from tyranny!!!

          • tsubaka

            i’m french so you could develop an ignorant critic

            so before you start talk bullshit
            as for WW2 it’s exact to say the french gov’t and part of people collaborate with nazis, the free french army (fully equiped by US army) stood against nazis and were about 1 million in 1944 being the fourth-largest allied army and defeated the 8th german Army and won other battles as well

            Gentlemen, in the last war, I acquired a great deal of respect for the word of a French officer.
            -Gen. George S. Patton

            “Have some respect for the country who saved the world from tyranny!!!”

            excuse me but the USA weren’t the only one to fought against Axis countries
            The Soviet Union had a bigger role in defeating Axis countries

            I respect USA and thank it’s role during WW2,grateful for, America’s liberation of France and it’s help to the french army during WW1
            but if you wonder why americans are considered ignorant and arrogant you have answered this question yourself

          • MNOR

            I’ll add that I too got a little to screwed on here, no worries bud.

    • Core

      Good analysis. I was thinking the same. The milspec Stoner barrel nut could be made far more robust, and the barrels could be contracted to be CHF machine gun steel with chrome lining or nitro-carberized. The single stage milspec coated triggers could be contracted similar to the ones used in MK12’s made by the company that makes many of Colt’s triggers. I guess if a piston system is required it would be best to go with HK’s barrels/system. I don’t see any issue with DI systems in the SOPMOD setup. I use a SOPMOD and follow its strength’s and weaknesses. The only thing I would like to see improved is the barrel made CHF with a nitro coating on the outside and chrome on the inside. If nitro is proven to hold up better on the inside I guess that would be acceptable.

  • Nero

    how about you read after action reports and how many marines almost lost their lives to the faulty and unreliable m4 systems.
    There’s a reason for the USMC to do what their doing. Your opinion is not remotely adequate or accurate other than stats.

    • GS5414

      Those AARs you speak of really don’t exist.

      Unless you bring them to the table, as the author brought facts to the table.

      Chest thumping and emotion doesn’t invalidate anything he said.

      • Joshua

        I hear it was in a book and on the internet, so it must be real.

      • Paul Labrador

        Kinda like the “AAR” of M1 carbines failing to penetrate frozen jackets in Korea. Makes for good campfire stories, but it just aint’ so…..

  • Amplified Heat

    Eh, the real problem at the end of the day is the AR platform’s widdle bitty bolt, and short magazine well. Both were designed for a gentler rifle-length gas system using shorter/lighter bullets at more reasonable pressures than we desire today. It seems every ‘advancement’ of the AR platform involves hot rodding (higher pressures or bolt thrust) or wildcatting (cheating the length/width restrictions of the magwell/bolt face). When the platform is fundamentally holding back the desired path of development…that’s the sign it’s time for a new platform.

    • Form Factor

      Which is coming, but simply not in a stoneage bottleneck system.

    • GS5414

      Is that not his very point of the article, that a ‘new’ system does in fact exacerbate issues, and that incremental improvements are a more logical pathway?

      It seems to me that the author is advocating for an evolutionary model, i.e., improve what we have as we go, refining what we have because nothing markedly better is out there, and the ‘next big thing’ may be on a distant and shifting timeline.

      Author, is my assessment of your article correct?

      • pretty much.

      • Amplified Heat

        Problem is, you can’t evolve your way around those dimensions; it requires enough other changes as to be a major leap.

        I’ll just sit back and watch smirkishly as not one proposed replacement incorporates the allegedly superior Stoner gas system.

        • GS5414

          What is the demand signal that requires a major leap, and what constitutes a major leap to you?

          ‘Major’ being a subjective term here, I’m interested to see what you identify as a leap.

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to write a thoughtful and provocative article. It is much better than the all to common “hey, watch me shoot this cool gun” pieces.

  • Joe

    My proposal for the USMC’s new rifle, the M17.

    Upper Reciever Specs:

    – Standard M4/M16 Upper
    – KAC URX 4 MLOK 14.5″ Handguard with Integrated Barrel Nut.
    – KAC Improved Intermediate Gas System with Gas Block and Tube.
    – KAC High Reliability Bolt.
    – KAC Micro Sights.
    – KAC Muzzle Device.
    – KAC Suppressor. (NT4, or QDC).
    – Geisselle Super Precision Optic Mount, (RCO, SDO, SSDS, T-1/T-2,
    etc.)
    – Bootleg Industries Adjustable Carrier.
    – Proof Research Barrel.
    – BCM Mod 4 Charging Handle.

    Lower Receiver Specs:

    – VLTOR A-5 Reciever Extension, Buffer, and Spring.
    – Geisselle SSF Trigger.
    – BCM Gunfighter Grip.
    – Magpul MOE SL Stock.

    • tiger

      There is a world beyond the M16/ M4 after 60 years. Let it go already.

      • Joe

        What would you suggest then? The U.S. Military is not going to adopt a Bullpup as a service Carbine in our lifetime.
        The ARX, SCAR, 416, 433, 805, MCX, and the G36 all are derivatives of the Stoner AR15, and the Armalite AR18/180. Nothing superior in terms of reliability, durability, longevity, precision, or cost to the SOCOM Block II M4A1.

        If we are stuck with brass case, or even hybrid poly/brass cased ammunition 5.56 is still the logical round for 95% of all Infantry and SF engagements.

        Electro Magnetic, Pulse, Laser, Plasma Phase weapons that weigh sub 10 lbs and don’t require more than 7 additional pounds,(weight of 7 fully loaded 30 round PMAGS), for energy source/reloads are still decades away from reality/feasibility.

        So again, what do you propose?

        • Major Tom

          Tavor X95, MSBS Radon (bullpup edition), HK433 (yeah right)…

          Or ya know, BE INNOVATIVE and design something brand spanking new! The one thing the gun industry has LACKED in the past 30 years because of this slavish adherence to AR’s.

          Then again the LSAT/CTSAS program is showing promise from a cartridge and component standpoint. Maybe we could use that as a baseline to build a new rifle around.

          • Joshua

            You should stick to Sister Claire – Missing Moments.

        • tiger

          I have a few good years left , Waiting for the Starship Trooper bug killer M-3 and handy nuke RPG’s.

        • iksnilol

          40mm grenade launchers. EVERYBODY GETS A GRENADE LAUNCHER!

          • ShooterPatBob

            It… follows the logic 😳

          • iksnilol

            They should use that caseless technology to make more practical grenade launchers. Some sort of 10 shot semi auto 40mm carbine. As long as it weighs like 4-5 kg it should be usable.

          • DW

            Comrade, yuo forget Russia grenade launchers are of caseless already, and bulgarian comrades have the avalanche revolver launcher using said caseless rounds. Short blyats those things.

          • iksnilol

            I know, those things are awesome.

        • Paul Labrador

          Joe: Bingo. The AR has durability and is STILL considered the gold standard for western assault rifles because of it’s ergonomics and modularity. Why re-invent the wheel when the rifle is STILL pretty much state-of-the-art today. As you pointed out, outside of bullpups, there really isn’t much new territory to explore with assault rifles. The next leap in weaponry will be to energy weapons…and that’s still pretty far off.

          • Form Factor

            (rewritten) Youre generally right, but “energy weapons” haha wth.
            At first, Rifles are kinetic >energy< weapons.
            And cylindrical polymer cartridges with aerodynamic projectiles, and rising/tilting chambers are the next thing.

            Storing energy in nowhere near to propellant in energy/weight ratio.
            But putting propellant in a lightweight case with 1,2 g/cm³ instead of 8,7 g/cm³ is verry efficient! Also the weapons perform much better, the polymer also isolates the heat better (less weapon heating, far later cookoff, less propellant for the same energy, slightly less recoil). Combining it with an verry aerodynamic and fast projectile (5,56 to 6mm) and you have a verry efficient round with excellent energy retention, verry flat trajectory, minimal wind drift, high supersonic range, etc.

            So upgrading M4's instead of buying some overpriced verry imperfect HK's is the best option, until the new technology is 100% ready.

          • Paul Labrador

            Dude, semantics. When we talk “energy weapons” it’s pretty much understood that we are speaking of “directed energy” weapons like lasers, plasma and other such tech. Second, I would argue that polymer cases, while an evolutionary improvement, is not a revolutionary leap, as it is still uses a kinetic energy penetrator as it’s wounding mechanism.

          • Form Factor

            Just nitpicking haha. And an like 9gram round that totally outperform 24gram rounds, in a weapon with longer barrel, higher capacity, far less recoil (due to no large bolt carrier bouncing around), beeing extremly sealed from mud and dust, later cookoff, far flatter trajectory, far less wind drift, higher supersonic range, less barrel heating, etc absolutly is a leap.

  • Smedley54

    Similar to what happened with competition in the pistol market producing the Sig P320, civilian MSR sales have produced improvements that can feed back into the military. Many years ago, the Corps had an earned reputation for wasting nothing; worn and outdated gear filtered back to POG and training units, while Fleet and 03’s (units that actually needed the stuff) got the latest and greatest. If the same practices held here, and line M4’s and M16’s got the upgrades, then nothing would be wasted. Sounds like good use of tax dollars to me, so it’ll probably never happen.

  • E.D. Sartin

    Very interesting, is the M27 barrel available as an upgrade for an M4 from any commercial vendor?

    • You could certainly buy the same steel from Aubert & Duval, or the same alloy from a domestic supplier. At that point, roll it into a barrel and go.

  • Lance

    Good article. I agree a none H&K firearms are way cheaper and can do the same job. Why pay $1500 more for HK stamp when a M-4 candidate do the same job for 1/2 price.

  • Joey JoJo Jr.

    This was actually a well-researched, well-thought-out piece.

    Hey, if you don’t like the conclusions, or a sacred cow or two are slaughtered, that’s all right. It’s still America and the Internet, and everyone is still allowed to have differing opinions.

    • Joey JoJo Jr.

      Here’s a couple of other points to ponder:

      1. The “small-arms-expert” cited in the story talks about inherently higher stress levels on the bolt head in a piston-driven system, due to no gas flow pushing the bolt away from the carrier during unlocking. THIS IS SPOT-ON. In fact, Eugene Stoner himself identified this as a problem with converting the M-16 to piston power, in one of his last published interviews. This is why he sought other solutions to the primary extraction problem, rather than convert the M-16.

      2. Not mentioned in the article is another downside of the M-27 IAR as a general issue rifle: It is bigger and heavier than an M-4. If a bigger, heavier, general-issue rifle were desired, there are plenty of M-16A2’s in storage at Anniston and other places… but that isn’t the direction we’re headed. Lighter and smaller are the objectives.

  • Anonymoose

    Maybe switch to a 16″ mid-length DI HBAR and free-float it, and use the A5 buffer system?

  • LazyReader

    Getting to the point, the Marines are using their IAR’s like machine guns when they’re not machine guns. Heckler and Koch is like Mercedes-Benz that damn logo is a third the price of the car. They’re still rifles, beefed up or otherwise after thousands of rounds require rebuilds or replacement. The Army did not abandon the M249 and while the weapon is aging and wearing, an extensive overhaul is underway. The Minimi MK 3 is a vast improvement over any current model. Or they can give the ARES Shrike a chance.

    • Bjørn Vermo

      Expensive logo or not, Mercedes Benz still won the F1 constructors championship. If you are not better, your logo will not be valuable.

  • b. griffin

    Number of points:

    Why stick with a 14.5″ barrel? If carbine gas is an improvement over pistol gas, going up to just 16″ gives you midi gas and 18″ gives you rifle gas. Also improves muzzle/terminal velocity ergo improved chance of yawing/tumbling/fragmenting lethality (complaint against M855 amongst others).

    Why keep chroming it? Modern nitriting is supposedly just as good for corrosion but better for accuracy.

    Why a mid-heavy profile barrel? Faxon claims their pencil barrels don’t have heat distortion problems prev. pencils did. If they work and are lighter weight, why not? See InRange’s Q&A with Faxon on youtube.

    Just my 2c.

    • Form Factor

      M855A1 completly nullifies the M855 argument. (even tough ofcourse you get a slight trajectory, wind drift, penetration diffrence with a longer barrel).

      But in actual combat ranges this mostly doesnt matter, so you rather go with a far more ergonomic urban combat Carbine. And mix in some DMR’s.

  • Dario B.

    For me this is a good article.

    I don’t even see the point of a squad automatic rifle, that is literallyalmost nothing more than the standard rifle with a bipod. It can shoot precisely automatic fire for 30 rounds? Yes but mount a bipod on your (upgraded) m16 and you’ll get comparable results.

    In the swiss army we are trained not shooting automatic fire, we have the panic mode on our rifles, but we also have guys wit belt feed lmg’s for this purpose, and it works just fine.

    Really i don’t get the point of having a 30 round magazine IAR when every soldier has a 30 round rifle capable of the same things. While you had the capacity of a suppressive fire of at least 100 rounds with the SAW

    • Paul Labrador

      Dario, you’ve pointed out the obvious. The M27 is nothing more than a hot-rodded M16 with full auto capability. And given the role the M27 was projected to take (replacement of the M249 SAW) it doesn’t even do THAT every well. The weapon has too small a magazine capacity, so now you have decreased suppression capability and no ability to change barrels for heat management.

      • Dario B.

        I know, but sometimes politicians, high ranking officers and people can’t see it. They see a new “gadget” and decide that the soldier needs it,

    • JamesDrouin

      “In the swiss army we are trained not shooting automatic fire, we have the panic mode on our rifles, but we also have guys wit belt feed lmg’s for this purpose, and it works just fine.”

      The US military removed the fully automatic function from the M16 (and its descendants) in the early 1980s because they found that pretty much every round after the first three ended up pointing at God.

      It would seem that with some desiring to reinstall the fully automatic function that the war on God has entered a new phase

      • Dario B.

        Poor God!
        There is a little difference, on our rifles we have an integrated bipod, so when you’re prone shooting full automatic fire( mostly isn’t useful) can be controlled easily

      • Paul Labrador

        James, the 3 rnd burst on the A2 and subsequent models was a mechanical solution to a training deficiency problem. Nowadays, troops are better trained for fire discipline and hardly anyone uses burst fire anyways. The main reason why most want to ditch the 3 rnd burst is that the way it was designed causes it to “stack” in semi-auto. Meaning the trigger pull gets heavier and heavier with each subsequent shot until it resets after the 3rd shot. You go from a rifle with a 5lbs trigger pull to one with a 13lbs trigger pull. The full-auto trigger doesn’t stack, and stays a consistent pull all the time.

  • Stephen Paraski

    How about moving Gas Block forward? How much weight will 4-6″ of additional Gas Tube add? Add a modular Hand Guard Cover Extension and I think we are at a few ounces. I am a Engineer, send me money.

  • Peter Nissen

    I learn more by reading the comments than what is sometimes written in the article – thxs everyone.

  • inchang

    Yeah I was thinking, why not just upgrade M4 parts? Like freefloat it, give it a socom/heavy barrel…etc. instead of spending millions on a whole new gun.
    Also are they really going to use 30 or 40 round mags for the M27? Because that poses as a serious drawback.
    On another note, shorter barrels are a no go in my opinion for a squad automatic. Less penetration and shorter range and velocity.

  • Uniform223

    I can’t help but feel that the USMC is being ripped off…

  • The real question is, once they adopt the 416 as a general issue rifle, will they finally adopt a real Infantry Automatic Rifle?

    416’s and Ultimax 100’s would be pretty swag.

  • Form Factor

    I know, still youre on point with it.

  • Treyh007

    Wow Who would’ve thought there were so many USMC weapon specialists among us…….. a piece here a piece there and bunch it all up and you’ve got the “facts”!

    • Form Factor

      Its called arguments.

      But that a highly upgraded M4 for just 1500$ performs much better than the old and verry imperfect 3000$ HK, is a fact.

    • JamesDrouin

      How many USMC weapon specialists have actually built and tested firearms?

  • The USMC’s IAR solicitation and testing process was kind of odd,
    especially in contrast to what you’d see from the US Army. Given the
    NDI nature of the IAR solicitation, it wouldn’t surprise me that
    MARCORSYSCOM let HK submit whatever barrel steel it wanted, regardless of MIL-B-11595E. Of course, the test performance results would end up locking down the expectations for the production weapons.

    Is there even a Mil-Spec document for the M27 IAR, or is the USMC simply buying it as a service-peculiar, COTS item? The stainless steel barrels on the M40A6 and M45A1 aren’t MIL-B-11595E compliant either. How many parts used in the previous MEU(SOC) pistol builds met the Mil-Spec for the M1911A1?

  • forrest1985

    Great article but won’t happen because even when its presented as clearly as this, its still old fashioned common sense which procurement types don’t seem to have or appreciate!

  • Ummm… Wolfgar? The “childish and incomplete” thing you quoted? That was something Big Daddy said to ME, not the other way around.

    So again, where did I cross the line?

    • Wolfgar

      You got me on that one. My point is you have some eye opening opinions and information that I have learned from and enjoyed. Your M-1 Garand piece is still the best I have read. It is the snarky and idiotic rebuttals which I have already covered and I have experienced in the past which detracts from your in depth and intelligent subjects that you cover. Your opinion on the German STG44 was not one that I agreed with but you got very defensive as I did until I used your own logic comparing the French semi auto and the M1 Garand as a perfect parallel comparing the Russian Fedorov and the German STG44. In the end there is a tactful and respectful way of agreeing or disagreeing without being a butt H from either side. When we differed on the 6.5 Grendel you labeled me a Grendel fan boy which I am not. I know for a fact people do not talk to each other this way in person like they do on this forum or there would be a lot of people visiting dentist and hospitals, at least in my neck of the woods. All it turns into is who’s information source is the most dependable with abundance of insults thrown into the mix. New information and experience can decide a persons opinion and disregarding these from others without respect leads to a free for all that solves nothing. Just my observation.

      • I’m not saying I’ve always had a perfect attitude in the past. I’ve definitely flubbed my PR on more than one occasion. I guess my question is, what is it about my current attitude that you take issue with?

        • Wolfgar

          I think it would be becoming of you to cut some people a little slack with their experiences and opinions. You don’t have to push people into the ground proving your stance . You have the potential to become one of the best new gun writers I have seen lately and getting into the mud lessons what you have to bring to the table, which is a lot. I love a good discussion about firearms, even heated ones but when it starts to get condescending and to the point of back and forth dismissive quips, it becomes a battle of egos rather than one of knowledge. That gets old real fast and an exercise I have no desire to participate in. There are plenty of forums for the Jerry Springer types and if that is your thing knock yourself out. I just think it is a waste of your researched knowledge and unique way of seeing things the majority of us tend to miss. People with differing opinions would feel more welcome to engage if they felt like you were trying to help rather than confront them. Even the most knowledgeable experts don’t agree on everything . Being able to have a heated debate and both sides leave with a smile, is an art form all its own.

          • Constructive criticism noted. Ultimately, I’m a young guy and a pretty new public writer, so I gotta find my own way through the territory. Some of the stuff I write, it’s just gonna piss people off. Nothing I can do about that. And sometimes, I’m just being an a-hole. Tough for me to tell which is which sometimes, but the reality checks from my readers help. Thanks.

          • Wolfgar

            I never said it was easy LOL. Experience will fine tune you, I’m confident of that.

  • Joshua

    Chris knows a lot but his information of M855A1 is running off lessons learned during 2009-2010 when M855A1 was just coming online.

    Chamber pressure has been moved down to 54,200 PSI since around 2013/2014.

    The old issues of early parts breaking have been fixed for years now.

    • Wolfgar

      I have been told that but I cannot find any links to that information. Any info would be appreciated.

  • valorius

    The M16A5 is the right rifle for all US infantry forces. But then, i repeat myself.

  • idahoguy101

    For the cost of a Marine F-35B or two, the USMC could equip all it’s infantry with the M27.

    • Form Factor

      The M27 is extremly imperfect, and performs piss poor for 3000$ compared to a highly upgraded 1500$ M4.

      • John

        $3,000?

        Is… is that the official price? Is that listed somewhere?

    • Uniform223

      Trying to compare the price of a high tech 5th gen fighter aircraft to a individual weapon system is like trying to compare a sports car to a bicycle. It’s not even a fair comparison in the slightest.

  • This was interesting and all Nate but when will there be more Heartblood?!

    • Johannes von’ Strauch

      Gute Frage.

    • When my life is no longer capsizing.

      • Johannes von’ Strauch

        Is everything ok? Or do we need to worry. I hope you are well.

        • I’m OK. A lot’s been going on. Nothing I can discuss publicly. Don’t worry about it.

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    in the end firarms dvelopment has hit a stalemate……. we have seen no improvement since the hk416/17, fn scar and tavor family of rifles were developed (that in reality have done no better than the m16, ak74 type and aug rifles before them) we have seen that a 60 year old short stroke gas system is more reliable than a 65 year old di system which we already knew…… the rest of it is so minor in performance (life span etc) that has more to do with materials than actual design…… that really these articles just keep chasing their own tails decade in and decade out…..

    • Form Factor

      Hahaha “stalemate”, ever heard of cylindrical polymer cartidges, aerodynamic projectiles, rising and tilting chambers. That do literally EVERYTHING better than stoneage metallic bottleneck cartridges and rifles.

      30years some where made already, and now Picatinny Arsenal (Textron/AAI) works since 15years on it. Theres no stalemate, just a waiting time until change.

      • JamesDrouin

        Well, when a polymer is developed that can replace brass, I’m sure it’ll be looked at

        And, for a fact, all projectiles are aerodynamic, and a lot of research over the past hundred years or so has been expended on maximizing a projectile’s BC, and aerodynamic technology has gone just about as far as it can.

        Further, rising / tilting chambers were developed just about 120 years ago and lasted less than ten years on the market, so …

        • Form Factor

          “far as it can” .. absolutly not even nearly, you have literally no idea

          Because the the rising/tilting chamber weapon back in the day where verry imperfect. Absolutly uncomperable with what is coming.

          • JamesDrouin

            Hey dumbass, and no, that’s not an insult, it’s a statement of fact, ballistic coefficients are a measure of a projectile’s ability to move through air. I won’t bother listing the various formulas for determining a projectile’s BC because you’ve obviously planted your head up your diseased rancid colon and won’t understand them. But feel free to explore the subject as best you can, with all due consideration to where you’ve parked your head of course.

            As to your assertion on coming improvements on rising / tilting chambers, you should take that magic crystal ball back to the Five and Dime you bought it from.

          • Form Factor

            Its a simple fact that 99% of all commercial and military smallarms Projectiles have a completly hilarious Form Factor. They are not even anywhere near to your “far as it can” bs.

            I know all these formulas and more. Also i have serval ways to further improve BC even over the current absolute maximum. As said the aerodynamic of 99% of current available Projectiles is a pure joke, and you cant change that fact in any way.

            You seem to have no idea on tilting chambers and advanced firearms…

          • JamesDrouin

            You ‘mis-read’ my post, try again. Also, it’s a well publicized fact that people of your ‘mental stature’ are frequently able to improve their reading comprehension by moving their lips while reading, so you should try that as well (if you’re unsure of the proper amount of lip movement, ask your boyfriend(s) for ‘input’).

            “Hey dumbass, and no, that’s not an insult, it’s a statement of fact, ballistic coefficients are a measure of a projectile’s ability to move through air. I won’t bother listing the various formulas for determining a projectile’s BC because you’ve obviously planted your head up your diseased rancid colon and won’t understand them. But feel free to explore the subject as best you can, with all due consideration to where you’ve parked your head of course.

            As to your assertion on coming improvements on rising / tilting chambers, you should take that magic crystal ball back to the Five and Dime you bought it from.”

  • cwolf

    1. Assuming current conflicts continue, at 1.5B rds of small arms ammo/year, rifles are almost a disposable item.

    2. There is a secondary issue of lead exposure with direct impingement which is significant for high volume shooters. Current blood testing is inadequate because lead gets bound into bone (see the VA tests).

    3. The 3rd option would be to improve the HK design (which could be a retrofit package).

    4. If the USMC infantry in combat are confidant and effective with the M27 for the short term, the money isn’t that important. One bomb/missile can be more money.

    5. I’d rather invest in smart sights because that is the area with the biggest payoff.

    6. The ‘perfect’ rifle is a moving train. There will always be a better caliber/gun and features/accessories ‘real soon now.’

  • Core

    So basically going to a M4 SOPMOD. Or the HK416 with a 14.5″ Medium Contour barrel? that’s what I use.

  • Wow!

    The M27 is basically an overpriced M16A4. H&K laughs to the bank.

    • Paul Labrador

      Bingo

  • ToddB

    Here the military is talking of going with a whole new caliber and rifle to use it, but the military wants to lay out a bunch of cash for new M16s. Why an whole new M27? Has the US military not been to a gun show? They want it automatic, seems pretty simple to fix that. More barrel life, um put a different barrel in them? A quick goggle can find a 100 different free float barrel nuts and hand guards. If bubba can do the work in his garage with a minimum of tools, surely the US military can.

    • Phil Hsueh

      That’s the Army, not the Corps. The Army is talking about going back to 7.62×51 and a new rifle to fire it but the Corps is talking about sticking with 5.56 and adopting the M27 wholesale.

  • Paul Labrador

    Article is spot on. The M27 is nothing more than a product improved M16 loaded with proprietary parts that aren’t compatible with anything else in the inventory. You could BUILD a gun that is just as good in your garage with standardized commercial parts for about half of what H&K wants for the M27. I totally concur that a better way to go would be to simply upgrade all the weapons in the inventory with better barrels, enhanced BCGs, and full auto FCGs. That could be done faster, cheaper and with less headaches than going to a totally new gun. What’s the point in having a modular gun if you simply throw the whole thing on the scrap heap instead of improving it modularly……?

  • Frank Benavente

    Were you in the military?

    • Form Factor

      And yet all his points are valid and facts. An old an extremly imperfect 3000$ HK will perform piss poor compared to a highly upgraded M4 for just 1500$.

    • Do you work for UPS?

  • JamesDrouin

    Good article … not sure how much it’ll effect the entrenched bureaucracy, but good nonetheless.

  • Aono

    Go innawoods for a few days and miss all the fun.

    Nathaniel, did you catch a certain Arfcom thread regarding a certain Marine Corps officer’s pro-HK gun article in (IIRC) The Marine Corps Times? The thread went like 80 pages in two days and was then deleted because the admins thought it had entered loose lips sink ships territory. It was *too good* to live, yes, I know, on Arfcom of all places. Two SMEs weighed in on that thread, and the officer who wrote the original article actually showed up for a healthy back and forth, and now this article you’ve written is a very close recapitulation of everything the two SMEs said. One of them is even a Grendel guy, go figure.

    OR, it could be that there’s not simply one or two specific SMEs who could tell you this and have been singing this song, but that literally EVERYONE WITH A CLUE already knows this to be true, and couldn’t agree more with what you put to paper. One of the more interesting points made in that thread in regard to the wisdom of the civilian/competition AR crowd, was the notional carbine configuration’s resemblance to the CWAR guns.

    • Hi Aono,

      No, I’m afraid I don’t frequent ARFCOM.

      I think it is interesting that there are two competing narratives about the HK416: One, that it is overgassed, has a lot of power, but breaks often. Or, that it’s the most durable and reliable AR-15 variant that there is, and literally crushes other ARs for parts life in every way.

      I note that the latter narrative is common to those who have some sort of investment in H&K, and indeed it appears to originate from HKPro (possibly from the late Jim Schatz, pbuh). I also note that this narrative seems to be common to other H&K firearms, such as the G3 and G36.

      The former narrative I encounter most often from folks who have experience with the 416 but no direct connection to H&K.

      I am not saying H&K are making this up, or doing this deliberately, and I am certainly not trying to dirty the good name of Jim Schatz, but this is a discrepancy that I’ve noticed. There are possible innocent explanations for it. However, I will preferentially listen to those who have experienced the 416 “in the wild”.

      • Aono

        my reply went to moderation again.. sigh

  • Eric B.

    Military acquisition of replacement weapons seems to c-r-a-w-l at a snail’s pace, thus the fact that the M27 IAR is now outdated in several of its sub-systems. FIX IT and give it to the troops. MNOR said it well.

    One thing the Marine Corps should supply with M27 is the Beta Company C-Mag, a dual drum, 100 round magazine. It is in current use with the US military and has its own National Stock Number (NSN).
    After all, it you want the M27 to replace the SAW then give it some real firepower, not just 30 round magazines.

    But if the Cased Telescoped (CT) cartridge is successful we may be looking at an entirely new light machine gun.

    • Beta C-Mags are notoriously twitchy and fragile. TACOM-Rock Island sent out multiple Ground Precautionary Messages warning against their use starting in 2001.

      • Eric B.

        Daniel, thanks for the heads up.
        I was going to get one for my AUG. Now I’ll look elsewhere. Maybe a sturdy “X Products” (real name) single drum 50 round mag would suffice.

  • ketanchand

    A nerd that has probably never served a single day in the military. Yes, the Marines should listen to HIM.

    • RetiredSOFguy

      It might interest you to know that most of the engineers who build the F-15E, F-22, M177, M1 Abrams, etc didn’t serve a day in uniform.

      And if he’d served in uniform but as an admin clerk, would that give more credence to his analysis?

      My experience from a career in uniform and just life in general is to weigh what folks say based on their knowledge and experience, the facts and logic of their ideas and then see what holds water. Uniform, titles, credentials etc are just one piece.

      And hey, fun fact…half the generals in history have lost their wars. And those weren’t just snuffies, those were generals.

      I don’t know the author, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of his and his research and analysis have taught this old dog some new stuff, but hey, whatever works for you.

  • RetiredSOFguy

    Really enjoyed the article. I would offer one thing regarding DoD procurement, and that is even with COTS to use procurement dollars (rather than something like O&M) I think it’s still likely for the quantity and total dollar amount some sort of requirements and source selection process is necessary. Not a reason to not move out on improvements, and the process doesn’t have to be slow or bound up by protests, but just a thing for expectation management for the shooters who might be following this.

    Regarding staying with the 14.5″ barrel, it’s my understanding (which could be wrong and I can’t recall the source) but I thought years ago I’d read/heard/learned that was because Colt needed to make the old XM177/CAR types compatible with a bayonet. Whether true or not, what are you thoughts on a 12″ barrel just to save some room if running a can? When we first got the 10″ barrels (actually 10.1″ I think, but we called them 10″) they were somewhat problematic, but mine worked like a champ. It was interesting to see the difference in effect on LaRues even at just 200m compared to a 14.5″ (velocity difference and therefore kinetic energy imparted). Anyway, I have my thoughts but just really wondered why you stayed with 14.5″ as your recommended solution.

    Thanks. I enjoy your writing and thanks for some of your links to some of the ballistics site resources I was previously unaware of.

  • John Smith

    The difference between theory and practice… The rifle is being adopted all over the world because it is a workhorse and the rest of the world must be just plan stupid right? Take it form those who have abused it to the max: It is a great choice!

  • MichaelBolton

    It’s sad that something this obvious seems to elude the military leadership of multiple branches.

  • Joshua

    Notice they specifically want a Stoner driven upper.

  • lbrack

    While not knowing if it is true, I would assume that barrel life of an AR-15 would be significantly longer than a military version made with the same material and finish because the semi-auto barrel would not get as hot during firing as a full-auto version would. This probably applies to a bolt also, not only because of heat but the abuse the lugs are subjected to in full-auto mode. If the failure of the lugs is due to metal fatigue, which I would assume it is, then radiusing the base of the lugs where they join the bolt body should increase the round count before failure. Radiusing the lugs at their base might require that the barrel extension be modified slightly to clear the radiused lugs.

  • CavScout

    The marines only picked up any of the HK’s due to corruption in their procurement process.

  • Hoosier Ed

    Well the Norwegian started it. Thinking that Norway pulls the same weight in combat deployments as the U.S. in general, and the USMC in particular. Pleeeeze! When NATO starts deploying 500,000 plus troops, THEN I will be impressed. ……and of course the European/Norwegian has to reference WMDs. Really? Typical liberal attitude from across the pond.

  • Hoosier Ed

    Neither are you “SimpleJack.” 0311? I don’t believe you. Probably REMF.

    • SimpleJack

      Lol k