Despite initial industry suspicion that the Army would let the effort die a slow death, the service is moving forward with the development of a compact weapon that shoots like a rifle but slings like a sub gun.
According to the Army official in charge of fielding new weapons for the service, the search for a so-called “subcompact individual weapon system” is moving ahead in earnest. In May, the Army sponsored a user evaluation where Soldiers put subcompact weapons through their paces to see if the idea would stick.
“To some people [the issues] are fundamental, to other people they’re on the margins – it depends on who you talk to,” he added, declining to be more specific.
The service is also waiting for the final version of the fiscal 2010 Pentagon budget to be signed by the president, releasing nearly $10 million to start the program.
Army officials have said that if all the benchmarks are met, Joes could potentially see a new rifle or redesigned M-4 by 2012.
The more important question is if they are willing to adopt a new cartridge. I don’t think anyone would argue that the 5.56mm NATO performs well out of a sub-carbine (11″ or shorter) barrel.
My 2c: develop a 9mm +P+ round that is compatible with the M9 pistol (lets call it the 9mm Steve), then develop a short barrel, foldable stocked, sub-carbine which chambered the 9mm Steve. Deploy it. [ Army officials : contact me for the address to which you can send my hefty consultant’s fee 😉 ]
Discuss in the comments …
The word sub-compact usually refers to small pistols, not rifles. Sub-carbine or PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) would be better terms to use. ↩