7.62mm ICSR Replacing the M4? Yes – A Brief Review of What We Know About the Program

Original caption: "A Scout Sniper Team Marksman, part of the Recon Platoon from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, 53rd Brigade Combat Team, Florida Army National Guard fires a M110 semi-automatic sniper system rifle at a 600 meter target during a live fire long range marksmanship training and qualification course at the Arta training range in Djibouti, Oct 14, 2015." The M110 SASS is a 7.62mm sniper rifle system, similar to many rifles that may compete in the ICSR competition. Image source: US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Brook. Public domain.

Yes, the M4 Carbine will be replaced by a 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle, and also no it won’t. Ah, I see I need to explain.

This past weekend, I published an article reporting on the ICSR program’s recently released request for proposal (RFP), and there was some confusion regarding exactly what the program is, and the extent to which it will result in the replacement of M4 Carbines. Although the ICSR program is still clouded in secrecy, there are some things we do know about it. The first thing we can say is that the ICSR is intended to be a standard issue service rifle, not (just) a DMR or a gun for special forces. In this way, it is intended to replace the M4 as the standard combat weapon for US troops. However, it is not currently slated to replace all M4 carbines, just those being used by units deployed to combat zones.

We know this because Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley said so in his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) back in May. In that testimony, he spoke about the Army fielding a new 7.62mm round that would be more effective against body armor, and he outlined fairly clearly how exactly this round would be fielded:

It is 7.62, not 5.56, but not everybody necessarily needs – uh – this idea that the entire Army needs the same thing all the time is not necessarily true; there are some units, some infantry units that are much more highly likely to rapidly deploy than others, and conduct close quarters combat, that we would probably want to field them with a weapon – a better grade weapon – that can penetrate this body armor that we’re talking about.

We can also see that the ICSR not be just a designated marksman’s rifle by looking at recent presentations made at NDIA. In PM Individual Weapons LtC Steve Power’s, we see that the Army’s requirement for interim designated marksman weapons is just 6,069 weapons (slide 7), far less than the 50,000 specified in the RFP. The ICSR is also listed as a separate weapons development project in PM Soldier Weapons Col. Stehle’s presentation, shown below:

We see mention of an “Interim Carbine Directed Requirement” in Col. Travis Thompson’s (the TRADOC Capability Manager) presentation, in a separate section from the SDMR program:

We also know from the RFP that the ICSR will be select-fire, not semiautomatic only. This is in keeping with it being a service rifle, not a DMR. The ICSR is not a special forces specific weapon, either, as those programs are typically handled through the PEO SOF Soldier office, not the PEO Soldier office. Also, SOCOM is pursuing its own program for a 6.5mm carbine, from the presentation of LtC. Mark Owens, Program Manager for PEO SOF Soldier.

So, right now, it is pretty clear the ICSR program is looking for a new standard infantry weapon of some sort to replace the M4 – but not everywhere, only in some units. What it clearly is not is a new DMR, or a new SOF-only weapon.

The RFP for ICSR is structured in such a way that it could easily change in the future, however. If the Army decided ICSR needed to be a DMR instead of a service rifle, they could scale back the order according to the rules of an IDIQ contract. Or, if they decided that every soldier in the Army needed an ICSR, they could extend the order (to a point).

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.


  • Derrick Bonsell

    Changing what isn’t broken in favor of something that round for round may at best only a slight improvement ballistically but in total a downgrade sounds Army as hell.

  • Jason Culligan

    In short, they’ve structured the contract in such a way that they can weasel out of it when they inevitably find that arming your units again with a 7.62 battle rifle is an idiotic idea.

    • Dougscamo

      Idiotic only to gun people….not generals….or Congress….

      • Brett baker

        Uh, you have seen some of the posts on this topic before, haven’t You? A lot of gun people support this idiocy.

        • MIke H


          • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

            A frequently deployed soldier lets say he killed 20 enemy personel with his rifle in all.
            I say lets give him a .50 cal and two magazines of 10 rounds. That would be sufficient 🙂

        • Dougscamo

          Okay….you win….a lot more comments since mine….gothcha! :}

      • AC97

        Considering that there is a sizable portion of gun people who buy into the lie that the 7.62 caliber is somehow magical (AK fanboys, anyone?), and that 5.56×45/.223 is somehow just a “poodle shooter”, it’s not just them that are idiots.

  • What’s really alarming about this is the sense of urgency – that we need this illusive 7.62 body armor defeat as soon as possible, and can’t wait a few years for the Caliber Study to be completed, or for LSAT to be completed.

    Given that body armor is hardly a new technology, this seems to imply that the Army foresees getting into a shooting war with a body armor equipped nation in the next few years…

    • mig1nc

      Agreed. We’ve encountered body armor equipped insurgents before in Iraq. But what’s the big rush now? Some PRK units have armor. Of course, Russians and Chinese have armor. It’s all rather concerning.

      • Really hopping we’re not getting into a shooting war with Russia or China in the next few years, but that’s the vibe I’m getting from this sense of rush to battle rifles.

        If this was some hundred Billion dollar boondoggle to “deter the commies” I’d be much less apprehensive, as that’s just basic military industrial complex trough feeding pr. But in the grand scheme of .mil spending, battle rifles are spare change – and small arms designs typically aren’t the bread and butter of think tanks or lobyists.

        Which means this isn’t just some tax funded get rich quick scheme, but rather the reflection of some perceived, imminent need by war planners. And since only two non-allied countries field body armor in any significant numbers.

        • b0x3r0ck

          We may as well be since they sell gear and equipment to anyone willing to buy from them.

        • raz-0

          If battle rifles are spare change, why do we see congressional reps call for an m-4 replacement every six months or so. Usually from reps with companies that might benefit form that in their district.

          I would also argue that disrupting logistics in time for a war sounds like awesome war planning.

          • Spare change to General Dynamics and Raytheon is still a fortune to small arms companies.

        • MeaCulpa

          In a shooting war with China I honestly don’t think that .338, 7.62, 5.56 or.22 will matter one bit! In a war with an opponent that’s at near parity individual soldier weapons won’t matter as air superiority, AA,armour and artillery will be the name of the game. The over emphasis on individual soldiers capabilities and firearms is, IMO, the results of Western nation getting involved in drawn out low intensity wars in sandy places.

          Or,maybe, they’re planing ahead for the great collapse of civilisation after China and the US is finished with the nuking and everybody has to shoot their own dinner; in that case I’m all for this as the 7.62 is better than 5.56 for hunting.

          • Tassiebush

            I’d rather carry 5.56 in the post nuclear wastelands.

          • MeaCulpa

            Given free choice I’m in the 9mm in my own skull camp in the case of a post apocalyptic wasteland

          • Tassiebush

            Not trying to be argumentative but 5.56 weighs a similar amount per round 😉

          • MeaCulpa

            Yeah but with most 5.56 guns you usually have a hard time reaching the trigger while maintaining the aim against your skull.

          • I believe the popular way to shoot oneself with an M4 is down the left calve / left thigh, leaving a leg that looks like a plate of spaghetti. Single point slings, unused safety and poor trigger discipline has done hideous things to a surprising number of soldier in that manner. the blood loss would quickly do the trick if you are suicidal.

          • DChrls

            Or find a tall structure and jump. That way you get to enjoy the free fall before the sudden stop.

          • Joshua

            I think SoF is overplayed on their importance in current times.

            However grunts are extremely needed and despite what a lot of people say they play a major role in hold and taking strategic positions.

            Positions that could win a war.

          • MeaCulpa

            For sure BUT given the choice between more howitzer and mortar rounds or new rifles I’d go for the first every time.

        • int19h

          I dunno about China, but level 4 plates are definitely not standard-issue equipment for Russian infantry. They’re in service, sure, but the idea that American soldiers would be “outmatched” by a bunch of ceramic-clad Russians screaming urrraaaah and shrugging off bullets like they’re nothing is pure fantasy.

        • GasThenSmash

          A major problem in Afghanistan has been body armor equipped Jihadis outranging the M4. I suspect Iran is actually the enemy we have in mind.

      • noob

        Heavy winter coats. Heavy winter coats make .30 carbine change directions in flight and completely miss the target.

    • Yep, I agree. One of my sources indicates confidence that the ICSR program provides a sound roadmap for future solutions to that and other problems, but… I’m gonna remain skeptical for now.

      • GaryOlson

        The new Administration ; eg DT, has given the military less micromanagement and more freedom to make decisions. This usually results in re-discovering bad ideas. Looks like generals learning to be generals again instead of middle management echo heralds. We’ll probably see a couple more of these scenarios.

        • Yay…

          • crackedlenses

            Hey, this could be a good thing if the generals get their act together after a few mistakes. “If” being a big “if”.

        • Scott Willbanks

          Probably true. It is, unfortunately, a bad idea, though. Armor is defeated by velocity, not energy. 5.56mm more readily defeats armor than 7.62mm, because it is faster. Any argument about projectile is moot. If it can be made for 7.62, it can be made more effective (armor defeating wise) in 5.56

          • Stuki Moi

            Unless someone has figured out a way to make saboted, or perhaps explosive tipped, small arms rounds viable, it’s hard to argue with what you are saying.

            You want high speed, high SD, hardness, and a sharp point, concentrating impact forces on a small area of the armor. Hard and high SD really calls out for tungsten, which is expensive. Hence, reason one for light projectiles. But still with high SD. Hence small caliber.

            Reason two, is that armor, in order to absorb a hit, is built sacrificial on purpose. Hence a weakness is multiple, repeated hits. Which argues in favor of light recoil, huge capacity and a light weight round allowing for large loadouts.

            In practical terms, high velocity, high SD, light recoil, large capacity, low per round weight, expensive per weight projectile materials, largely vindicates the reasoning behind HK’s 4.6. It certainly makes little sense to go in the opposite direction, towards a slower, heavier, generally low-SD-for-caliber round designed back in the pre armor era.

          • Timmah_timmah

            You sir, speak too much sense! My brain is rejecting this… 30 cal! 30 cal! 😉

          • What!!?
            Ke = M * V^2 !!?
            Get off my lawn!!!

          • Dan Hermann

            Really? Then why will a 7.62 go thru both sides of a car and the 5.56 won’t.

          • That’s a matter of projectile choice not cartridge type.

          • Dan Hermann

            Actually the 6.5 Grendel would be a good choice but it would cost money to gear up. They won’t do that. The 6.5 will out perform the 7.62 past 600 yards because of it’s better B.C.

          • ActionPhysicalMan

            That is a bit of an oversimplification. As you undoubtedly know, some armor requires more mass (and harder more impact resistant materials) as well as more velocity. Note that the PzB 38 & sPzB 41 did not set the anti-armor trend in WWII even though they had the highest velocities by significant margins. Yeah, I know they were encumbered by a scarcity of tungsten, but they wouldn’t have lasted as primary weapons even if the krauts had had plenty of it.
            The M995 also isn’t terribly terminally effective on humans even if it can handily punch through level IV armor, no?
            BTW – I am in no way arguing for 7.62×51.

      • nova3930

        I’m thoroughly convinced this is a political play to ditch the AR platform and the limitations of it’s magwell early in order to avoid fielding both a new platform and a new cartridge concurrently. The penetration argument lets them sell it to congress because lets face it, the typical congress critter is too ignorant of weaponry to know better.

        They conduct the competition, award the contract for X number of rifles (possibly even an LRIP contract for VERY limited numbers), 6-12 months later the R&D guys toss out some new whiz bang cartridge(possible CTA), a quick PIP is done so that new deliveries of the rifle are in the new cartridge and they either make the initial delivery DMRs or retire them.

        • ARCNA442

          Sounds great until you remember that the M16 was an “interim” solution that lasted 60 years.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          You act like the top military brass doesn’t think .308 is a better cartridge. They actually believe it because they are as dumb as the congress critters.

        • Yes, but the problem with this apprpach is that any new round will have exactly the same recoil and weight problems as 7.62.

          • nova3930

            If you stay 7.62 class. My line of thinking is that once you have a larger OAL to play with you have more trade space to optimize a cartridge without necessarily staying 7.62…

          • I suppose theoretically you could do something considerably smaller, but then you’re still saddled with a gun of 7.62mm size.

          • nova3930

            Yeah that is the downside of that plan. I suppose they could go “full MHS” and require proposals to be a combination of platform and cartridge lol

          • Joshua

            That’s not a bad thing now days.

            Look at the size and weight of guns like the Remington GII, Colt 901, pof revolution, etc.

            Most are barely larger than a M4.

      • LilWolfy

        MacArther 2.0 / .276 Pedersen impending war known at the higher levels, used to justify killing new developments to hold onto that .30 bore. 12lb select fire 7.62 NATO service rifle before accessories….what could go wrong? And they want to keep a 210rd basic load. These people should be taken out and shot whoever is advising in this direction, because they are morons.

    • Bobby McKellar

      Nope, it’s simply responding to the NEED for a supplemental battle rifle that can do a little more than the standard M4. Folks are getting way to wrapped up in some of the SPECIFICS (like the body armor penetration requirement) and. Ot paying attention to the fact that there’s a NEED for a supplemental BATTLE RIFLE in 7.62 that can do a bit more than the 5.56 can (especially when engaging targets at distance). The Army is finally listening to some of the lessons learned and some folks are WAY, WAY, WAY OVERTHINKING the whole matter.

    • rabrooks

      Armalite’s AR-10 has been waiting for how long? WHat’s wrong with it?

  • Brett baker

    “The 7.62 units are stealing guns from 5.56 units! The 5.56 units are stealing guns from 7.62 units!” Thus the US army adopted the 6.5, which we are now informed, sucks worse than either. This wss a minor controversy, though, compared to the adoption of the Kel-Tec shotgun.

  • Adam D.

    First I thought this was a joke. The Army really is crazy.
    At least there could (stress here) be some advantages coming from this to us civilians as well. After long years of proprietary AR10 systems, very low parts compatibility and a lot of times pretty bad reliability, finally we could see some sort of widespread standard.
    If the Army really adopts a regular 7.62 service gun (and not a DMR) of certain specs,
    and let’s say FN starts producing it, everybody and their uncle would rush to put a “mil-spec” gun to the market.
    Would be fantastic to see a short frame mil-spec AR10, although it seems highly unlikely.
    But then again, this is the Army, and in the following 5 years this program could change 21 times. Maybe they’ll buy some SCAR-H or 417 guns for the “not-so-special” ops guys, and that’s it.

    • Since they’re chasing a sole-source contract, I doubt it will rein in the different standards.

      • b0x3r0ck

        The P320 is starting to pickup in the aftermarket and that just came out. What ever gun is picked is going to get aftermarket support.

        • Timmah_timmah

          For better, or worse……

      • Joshua

        Sole source or not. If it’s an AR-10 pattern rifle it will unify the market since the AR-10 is no longer patented.

        Some things will of course be proprietary, but the main benefit of this could be a unified receiver dimension.

        • I dunno man, I doubt it. The AR-15 became industry standard because a bunch of old tooling got sold off. That’s not gonna happen here.

          • Joshua

            It already kinda is though.

            Issue is though you still have two pattern receivers dueling ala Blu Ray vs hddvd.

            This could settle that debate.

          • Timmah_timmah

            Possibly, sure. Probably, maybe not. But the basic idea makes perfect sense to me.

        • Timmah_timmah

          Makes sense to me.

      • Timmah_timmah

        How do you mean sole source? Single award? Not entirely the same thing, in my world. It can be a competitive open bid with a single award. That’s not really “sole source”. Sole source implies there was only ever one option possible. Am I missing something? (Wouldn’t be the first time haha)

    • RSG

      We could also see law enforcement adopt the same caliber, which I would find to be disconcerting, to say the least. I’m not ok with their current trends of militarization, this would exacerbate that.

      • Hah hah hah hah .308 patrol rifles. Hahahahahah. Oh man.

        • b0x3r0ck

          I only see swat ever getting something like this.

          • int19h

            The problem with “SWAT” in US is that, more often than not, it’s the same cops, just dressed like mall ninjas and told that they’re doing something commendable and heroic by executing pre-dawn no-knock raids on potheads.

          • Timmah_timmah

            Let’s hope not. There is absolutely zero need. At all.

      • raz-0

        why would they do that with boatloads of free M4s rolling in form the federal government?

    • Brett baker

      Everybody else will sell their “better than mil-spec” .308.

    • Timmah_timmah

      While the gun enthusiast part of me would like to see a standardized small frame AR10, I don’t think it would necessarily be the best choice for a common infantry rifle. It’s been pretty well proven 5.56 with the proper ammo will do the job. Maybe we should finally get rid of the idiotic FMJ limitations and use modern ammo on the battlefield. Why do hunters get better bullets? I’ve always found that stupid.

  • vwVwwVwv

    It’s not
    only the body armour.
    The 223 was a kid of the jungle wars,
    while facing a 7.62 x 53 Russ with a 223
    in open lands like Afganistan, Iraq and
    Syria shows the need for a longer
    reaching and killing load.

    The average size of a soldier changed to from Vietnam till now. In the 60’s 180 cm was a tall man, today 190 is.
    with this in mind any soldier of now is like
    the Guys you called B.A.R.-Man
    In WW2 and can handle
    a 7,62×51 easier
    than his Grandfather did, taking his enemy earlier under fire.

    All this changes in inner city confrontations.

    • Michael

      You mean the 7.62x54r, and just like not every Soldier is equipped with a DMR or 240, not every Talib (or whoever) is equipped with a semi-auto or full auto 7.62x54r. When a squad/platoon/company encounters an adversary that can outrange its m4’s, they engage it with MG’s, SDM’s, mortars, arty, aircraft, etc.

      Iraq and Afghanistan taught me that 5.56 (not 223) works. And that every ounce sucks the life out of you in the mountains (where these longer range engagements usually occur).

      • vwVwwVwv

        Thanks for your service buddy.
        Using better material for the infantry
        can make the difference. I used the 223 in other
        different operations and if you are caught by an PK instead
        of an AK it can be lets say bad, I wouldn’t jump
        on a 7,62 neither but I understand
        how the idea comes up.

        I rather would work on a load out of explosives than pyrotechnic material,
        It would reduce the size of the ammunition and would make
        the waight of the system lower.

        The explosion in the bulett is caused by pressure in the brass,
        there are explosives, extremely reliable ones,
        which don’t need pressure
        and generate much more pressure than the powder we know from ammo.

        I have no idea of the think process in the military but they are not allways stupid.

        This is not a critic to what you say, you are right but it’s just a attempt to understand what the byrocrats think.

        • Michael

          Yeah, the PK is a greater threat than the AK in many circumstances. But we have the 240.

          Using he propellants vs current smokeless propellants does not appeal to me, and here is why:
          1) you would have to make the weapons waaay heavier, which would take away any weight savings from the brass and propellant. Additionally, the weight savings would be in propellant only, which is not the heaviest part of the round, thus making cartridge weight savings insignificant.
          2) The loaded rounds would have to be controlled more tightly, and this would cause our training to be close to non-existent. The beaurecrats would freak about the idea of explosives that can easily fit in a pocket being used at everyday rifle ranges.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Advances in grain geometry of smokeless powders is a lot more promising than turning to HE propellants. The Rheinmetall-Nitrochemie Cubic/4-perforation (C4) ball powder is very promising.

          • vwVwwVwv

            Yes but giving billions for crappy nonsense they can, I have seen an
            from Israel who used TNT instead of prowder, it was
            interesting and he fitted it in to a 223 brass.
            I was astounded about the reduction
            in waight and volumina he got.
            now this was like game, if the industry would go after this…..

            Still the infantry is winning the war but they fear to pay for a soldiers equipment.

    • SPQR9

      When were we fighting Finns?

      • Kivaari

        You caught the X53 reference as well.

  • venku

    The picture of ICSR on the slide is a G28.
    Dear God, I hope that isn’t going to be their actual choice.

    • Giolli Joker

      Well, there’s also a Kel Tec KSG as Future Tactical Compact Shotgun…

    • No, it’s just a representational image.

      I mean, until it’s not anymore…

    • Joshua

      It’s not, they always do that.

      Whoever makes the slides either picks random guns from the internet or does horrible 3d max images of guns that make no sense.

      • The horrible 3D images are my favorite.

        • Joshua

          They were the best. I miss them.

  • Joe

    I hope it ends up being a small frame like the POF Revolution, which might limit the overbearing weight to ammo alone.
    In reality it comes down to the HK 416 or SCAR-H.
    But since prevention is better than managing a disease… how many letters to Congress do we have to write to stop this?

    • I’m already writing letters. It would be good if others were, too.

      • Joshua

        This is the best thing to do.

        This is one of the worst ideas in us small arms history.

        Write and call and complain.

        • Timmah_timmah


      • Timmah_timmah

        Good man

  • A Hill

    Curse you TFB! I’ve already been wanting a G28 in Patrol configuration (in RAL8000 ofc) and you have to go and post a slide reminding me of that. Especially considering HK’s release schedule is “when we feel like it”.

    • Joshua

      Skip the G28, it’s a crappy weapon.

  • Pete Sheppard

    I’m reminded of the original M14 concept; a light, selective, powerful rifle to replace the BAR, M1 rifle, M1/M2 carbines and…the M3 subgun. :p

    • ARCNA442

      Except light is out the window – they’re accepting guns that weigh up to 12 pounds empty.

      • Pete Sheppard

        What was old is new again.

    • Kivaari

      Don’t forget it was to replace the M1911A1 as well. It was a totally stupid concept.

    • Bucho4Prez


      “It’s called the F-111, and it can do everything…yes even that…”

      • Dougscamo

        That’s 1 guy I wish I could forget….

      • To be fair, ol’ Bob the Greaser Suit killed M14.

        • Dougscamo

          Along with a bunch of other things….

    • int19h

      Can you make an obrez out of M14? Then it could replace handguns, too!

      • Pete Sheppard

        I bet someone’s tried…

  • Risky

    The real question is what is the platform they’re going to adopt (because we all know they don’t really compete platforms without having picked on beforehand)? I’m, guessing the FN SCAR, though I guess it could be H&K 417.

    • nova3930

      My $ would be on the 417. Lots of parts commonality with the M4 so some existing spares inventory an be reused. Same basic design already in use as the M27 and just won the CSASS contract. Manual of arms is the same as the M4 so you don’t have to retrain. Overall unless H&K goes nuts on their pricing, it should win out in the value assessment….

      • Joshua

        The CSASS is unfunded and is remaining that way due to field trial performance by the HK G28E.

        They would be retarded to repeat the same mistake and buy another 417 when the G28 did so poorly in the field.

        • nova3930

          was not aware of that. in that case I don’t know that I would lay $ on any potential contender

          • Joshua

            The HK only won the CSASS contract because it was the best package.

            It wasn’t the best rifle, it barely passed the bare minimum requirements, but it had the best optic, suppressor, and other accessories according to those who downselected the rifle.

          • nova3930

            Good, bad or ugly the goal in procurement isn’t to get the “Best” of whatever. It’s to get the “best value” in an item that meets the requirements.

            They determine who meets the requirements, usually with extra points for meeting Objective requirements if they exist, then stack them up based on the selection criteria generated at the start of the program. The SSB doesn’t have to pick the lowest bidder, but they have to be able to sufficiently justify cost increases over the lowest bidder. No paying 200% more for 1% increase in performance.

            Everybody talks about wanting the troops to have the “best” of everything but ultimately nobody is willing to pay the taxes required to do that so we in procurement have to do the best we can with the $ available….

          • Joshua

            No doubt, however in this instance it didn’t work out.

            The CSASS is similar to the PSR.

            Both rifles were not the best rifle but best value package, and both failed their limited field trials, then both quietly went unfunded.

          • Brett baker

            So, we can adopt a lousy rifle as long as we accessorize it properly? And, doesn’t m855 outpenetrate m80 and m80a1?( Ignoring the fact the next people we fight won’t be wearing heavy armor.)

          • CommonSense23

            M80A1 out penetrates M855A1 with ease.

          • Brett baker

            M855, what we’re using now. (The original we are facing body armor-equiped opponents round.)

          • CommonSense23

            M855A1 or MK318 is what we are using now. M855 was never meant for penetrating chest armor so much as a steel Russian helmet at 600 yards.

          • Brett baker

            Ok. I remember reading somewhere the switch from m193 was because the Soviets were issuing level 3 armor, and m193 couldn’t penetrate that after going through an AK mag in a chest pouch. Must have been wrong.

      • venku

        Pretty much everything HK makes is proprietary. So good luck with that…

    • b0x3r0ck

      Could also be the “POF Revolution” or the “MDR” little less likely since its a bullpup. There could also be other rifle that went a similar path as POF and reduced the weapons weight/length. Making the only problem ammo weight. Give the fact that predictions state that most armed forces are going to have body armor in the next 20-30 years. The 5.56 is going to be down graded to something like a police round against civilians.

      • Joshua

        The MDR is a prototype and the Government is only accepting COTS rifles that they can buy right now.

        • b0x3r0ck

          Seems more like they are producing the number to fulfill there orders for release.

          • Joshua

            Which puts it in the “prototype” category for the ICSR.

          • b0x3r0ck

            OK that is true

    • john huscio

      Updated LWRC REPR

  • Fast Forward
  • Malthrak

    Im wondering, given the conflicts the US had been involved in for the last 15, 25, 50, etc years, where this sudden concern about body armor comes from for general infantry.

    Under what circumstances does the US Army see itself engaging another near peer foe in large scale conventional combat, who will be routinely equipped with extensive coverage of advanced body armor that will stop a 5.56 round, and that conflict not almost immediately escalating to a point that infantry rifles and body armor are quickly irrelevant?

    To me this just feels like an exercise in complicating logistics for a what would appear to be a relatively niche use case, much like other absurd requirements they force on stufd that turns out to be irrelevant (e.g requiring a 5.56 round that be able to penetrate a russian steel helmet hundreds of meters beyond whete anyone is capable of making such a shot).

    • raz-0

      The concern about body armor comes form the last time representative porkbelly floated this idea but said our soldiers were dying due to 5.56 not having enough range. That was like what? 2… 2.5 years ago?

      • Brett baker

        It sounds like a good reason, instead of our people need additional range they can’t use.

        • raz-0

          except that their excuse for body armor is a pull quote of

          “we developed this new round that defeats class IV armor in 7.62”

          The full quote would be

          “we developed this new round that defeats class IV armor in 7.62 and could just as easily deploy it in 5.56 as well”

          The technology has been developed for both cartridges.

    • Tassiebush

      I’m not really a fan of this move but it’s worth pointing out that armed forces rarely use all of their capabilities yet they still have an obligation to have them.
      In some ways the reluctance to escalate matched with the nonetheless growing tensions between Russia and NATO members or China and anyone who doesn’t appreciate Chinese annexations, could mean a number of small scale clashes might occur. In such a conflict troops might grab bits of land without much air support lest it escalates. This might mean the level of armour and the performance of their arms might be some of the deciding factor in who prevails. That’s just my theory trying to second guess their logic in this move though and it doesn’t address the issue of not being able to carry as many rounds.

      • Brett baker

        If you are in a no air or artillery support situation, you be better off having the extra weight in the form of 40mm grenades, aCarl Gustav round, or if you insist on 7.62, a belt for a 240. Alternatively, less weight on the guy carrying a Javelin or Stinger reload.

        • Tassiebush

          All good points

  • Joshua

    Oh trust me, the end goal of this is to eventually replace the M4 across all IBCTs with Milleys pet protect rifle.

    Yes currently it is worded as only going to the most rapid deploying, but have the ability to raise the ceiling of the contract to whatever they want.

  • Jack Donnelly

    Clearly, the military needs this ASAP to fend off incoming nukes from the east!

  • Anonymoose

    Needs moar Glock and SCAR on that chart. The Gen3 17, 19, and 26 aren’t going anywhere. Also, why is the KAC M110 shown as the CSASS and SDM, and the HK417 as the ICSR?

    • Joshua

      Because those charts mean nothing and never reflect actual arms in use.

      • Anonymoose

        I thought that milled Type 56 looked a bit suspicious.

        • Brett baker

          It would probably be better than what gets adopted.

  • gunsandrockets

    If fear of current or near future body armor equipped enemy is the real driving motivation of the 7.62mm ICSR, than some elements of the RFP make perfect sense.

    As a 7.62mm rifle with a 20 inch barrel, it has easier growth potential for defeating armor than a 14.5 inched barreled 5.56mm carbine.

    • Kivaari

      Re-issue 20″ M16s. We have them already.

      • 🦑 🐙

        That seriously sounds like the ideal gun they are imagining, but just can’t quite put their finger on it…

      • gunsandrockets

        Still doesn’t have the AP potential of 7.62mm

        • Timmah_timmah

          How you figure, mate? Care to elaborate?

          • gunsandrockets

            Seems obvious to me.

            Any projectile small enough that a 5.56mm could fire it, could be modified so that a 7.62mm could fire it too but with double the powder behind it.

          • Chrome Dragon

            Saboted light armor piercing, baby!

  • Hassan

    The Army is barking up the wrong tree, and I hope they come to their senses regarding this program and either cancel it or use it to select a DMR. It has been proven time and time again that it’s more advantageous for soldiers to carry light 5.56 ammunition in 30 round mags than it is to carry the heavier 7.62 NATO in 20 round magazines. At Ia Drang, the only reason the US won was because it was able to maintain fire superiority because they had more ammunition that could be expended quicker. If the Army is truly worried about fighting properly armored enemies, then they should further develop 5.56 AP ammo for general issue instead of wasting money on the dead concept of a full power battle rifle.

    • Matt_from_Colorado

      Yeah, but an actual 7.62 DMR program that has battle rifle capability, and retaining the 5.56 while adopting ammunition with better armor piercing capability makes too much sense.

      • Hassan

        Even if 5.56 AP is deemed not enough, going back to 7.62 is not the right way to improve our capabilities against armored opponents. 7.62×51 ammunition is simply too large and heavy for a soldier to carry the same amount of rounds as they would carry if they were issued a 5.56 rifle. Ounces turn into pounds, and pounds turn into pain. While I do believe 5.56 sufficient enough, switching to a 6.5mm round of some sort would be a better option if the Army was really set on replacing 5.56×45. While 7.62×51 makes sense logistically as it’s already in service, it would greatly hinder the ability of our soldiers to achieve and maintain fire superiority against an enemy using 5.45 or 7.62×39 weapons.

  • Arie Heath

    Or you could just have a couple dudes per squad with 20 inch M16’s. That, with the new ammo, would work just as well.

  • ties

    we should by the newer Russian made guns, it will save us the money and we will get better weapons plus they will not have as many…..

  • Blurb

    Posleen must be coming.

    • Brett baker

      I want a 7.62 AUG, left-handed!

    • schizuki

      Need at least .50 cal to take down a Tenar.

  • Brad

    Someone must need an “above center mass” OER.
    While 5.56mm may not be the best it is much better than most. They trade off going back to 7.62×51 is going to be huge. Most of the time, as a rifleman, you are just transporting (carrying) ammo until it’s needed.
    A basic load of 5.56mm is 210 rounds per rifleman. That’s 5.7lbs just in ammo, not magazines too. That much weight equals 101 rounds of 7.62mm. So either your going to have to increase the load on an already overloaded infantryman or they will have to have resupply readily available.
    Glad I’m retired and don’t have to deal with these knuckleheads anymore.

  • Brett baker

    When do they propose all the 240s and DMRs need to be .338 Norma? I apologize to future grunts if that occurs.

    • Brad

      I think SOCOM was already testing that out.

      • Joshua

        .338 is being looked at as a replacement for the M2A1 .50 and 6-7mm is being looked at for the 240/DMR.

  • 🦑 🐙

    Cmon! We all know the M14 was a big heavy gun and was practically useless as a select fire weapon. So they must mean an intermediate cartridge in 7.62 right? But even the AK-47 is terribly uncontrollable in full auto. So what gives? We surely aren’t going to have a heavier rifle than an AK-47 in order to control recoil right? Am I crazy for thinking this can only be a step backwards? If enemy armor is the only reason we are forced to use a larger caliber then why not just make a more powerful 223? I mean, smaller calibers are known to penetrate armor even better than larger ones, so from that standpoint the only thing I see as an advantage to 7.62 is increased range. I’m perplexed. Maybe they have made some secret breakthrough in small arms design that changes the game?

    • int19h

      Read the document, it’s publicly available. They mean 7.62×51.

  • Treiz

    More wasted money

  • Max Müller

    In what scenario would a 7.62 rifle be usefull? The only ones where it would have been of some use were 100 years ago. You don’t gight advanced infantery with level 4 plates with your own advanced infantery with level 5 (guess they are goint to want that next year) vests and 7.62 rifles. You just don’t. Why, where and when shoumd that take place?
    Who even has level 4 vests asides from Nato, Russia and China? And why would you want to fight their infantery? And why on earth would you do that with a 7.62 rifle?
    Currently we don’t kill people with 5.56 rifles. We supress untill air support or mortars bomb the enemy position. For that use a light bullet is great, because much ammo. It’s not like anyone would start putting his head out of cover to shoot accurately just because his bullet is a little better at penetrating a level 4 vest. And probably even sucks at creating a large wound cavity if no armor is worn which is what most current enemies do because they are terrorist organisations or rebels or something along those lines.

  • LilWolfy

    I’m starting to think this is MacArthur 2.0 with the .276 Pedersen. The leadership knows a war is brewing soon, and don’t want to be caught in the middle of a new cartridge or technology, so in order to kill the new cartridge or technology, they make it seem like they’re awarding a new rifle contract in 7.62 NATO albatross.

    They distract enough companies to focus on a 12lb (before accessories) select fire service rifle in 7.62 NATO, to extend the life of 7.62 NATO in the system under a BS justification for armor defeat with ammo that can’t be mass-produced. Once everybody wastes their money on answering this RFP, they can kill it and not award anyone.

    This will sour everyone on development of 6.5mm, and they can keep their current mix with 5.56/7.62 NATO, keeping us well-rooted in the boat anchor that 7.62 NATO is on the system.

  • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

    Ironic talking to old Vietnam vets, most hated the m-16. and were envious of the National guard and marine units still issued the M-14.

    • noob

      the grass is always greener until you get there and it’s gone.

  • Ken Bradford

    Maybe it is implemented in the same way we have it(bundeswehr). In Mali half of our squad carried the g27p(hk417,13 inch barrel I think) and the others had a g36 or mp7. The g27 wasn’t intended to be a dmr, rather than just a upgrade to the weaponmix in terms of range, if we need to engage at further distances the g27 would be used. To be honest I rather carry the g36, a lighter gun and I could carry way more ammo.

  • Brett baker

    And let’s be accurate, They’re really SR-25s, not AR-10s.

  • Timmah_timmah

    How is the number of possible options/bidders relevant in any way? If you have an open solicitation that is competed to 10 bidders or 100 it doesn’t matter in the end. You down select to a smaller and smaller group of compliant bids until you reach a winner. Simple.
    The whole point is, a govt award to one design would standardize the field further than the current free-for-all. This would seem very common sense. I am not sure what I am missing in your logic. Obviously you know far more on this topic than me.

  • Allan

    this article should be retitled could AR fanboys get anymore upset , what I don’t understand is the complaints about weight from people who have 556 AR’s with quad rails , red dot sights, magnifiers , back up iron sights , heavy barrels , lights , lasers , forgrips ECT that weigh in at 11.5 lbs.

  • Guido FL

    Seems the days of the “mouse caliber” are almost over, about time !

  • bthomas

    Boys want new toys. What else is new? Oh well, you wants’ want kill you. Just issue M-4’s … ammo … etc.

  • survivor50

    I got the M16 civilian version, Slab Side, A1 and A2, and M-4 civilian style, gas and piston, also Sig’s version with an AK action, etc, etc…
    Then for FUN…a 7.62 AR… Now that’s a 600 yard fun gun and I don’t mind the ammo weight ! Hell, I need the exercise !!!
    Where was this thing back in Vietnam ???

  • Mark Brockway

    I don’t understand why they just don’t employ tungsten core 5.56 mm NATO that can defeat armor. Seems like a much more cost effective way to go and probably much better for the soldiers.

  • Bobby McKellar

    Reading some of the comments it is continually obvious that some folks just don’t get it. All the lessons learned from Iraq & Afghanistan (and every conflict since Vietnam) say that a heavier BATTLE RIFLE SUPPLEMENTING the STANDARD ISSUE M16–M4 is needed. The SOLDIERS THEMSELVES in Infantry/COMBAT units deployed have long expressed the NEED for a LARGER CALIBER BATTLE RIFLE to supplement their M16’s/M4’s. This IS NOT a DMR/SNIPER/AUTO-RIFLE for a specialized role. Why 7.62 NATO…? Because it’s the STANDARD cartridge. All the arguments for all kinds of other silly calibers, the argument over “body armor” and specialized ammo to defeat that body armor, etc…COMPLETELY miss the point.
    Again…reading the comments I just wonder why some can’t understand it.

  • MichaelBolton

    Wow, a fully auto .308 battle rifle? What is this Nam all over again with the M14!?

    Who are these morons making these decisions? .308 is a terrible battle rifle cartridge. Our guys barely make hits with 5.56. How is that supposed to improve with .308?

  • kenbay2020

    Wait. So we may go back to 7.62/308. 7.62 is definitely more potent than a 5.56 in every way. However, the reason the military stopped using that caliber was that the rifles were too big and too heavy and they also hold less rounds than 5.56 chambered rifles. Plus it’s also more difficult to shoot in full auto. I think a much better option would be a new caliber–something in between a 5.56 and 7.62 performance wise–but that is still capable of piercing most standard body armor.

  • Michael I.

    With the way the Politicians/Military move, 1 step forward, 5 steps
    back, this ‘urgency’ will still take years. So getting things going now
    sounds good to me.
    Plus something My Grandson tells me, after 2 years
    in Afghanistan, is that more and more of these animals are so loaded up
    on drugs that it takes head shots with the 5.56mm to put them down. He
    often wished he had something larger, in caliber, to deal with this and other
    problems. So perhaps this, and many other things, are why the 7.76mm is
    Question. Why do we hunt a 120 lb. whitetail with the .308 (7.76mm) but fight 150 lb. men with a 5.56mm?
    Never made sense to me.