Operational Requirements for an Infantry Hand Weapon (1959)

    Fred Ray went to some lengths to find and obtain a legible copy of a 1959 Department of the Army research paper entitled “Operational Requirements for an Infantry Hand Weapon”. The author interviewed 602 veterans on their use of the M1 Garand during the Korean War. Tests were also done with rifleman using the M1. It is a very interesting to read what was going though the minds of the Army command prior to the M16 and 5.56x45mm cartridge being adopted.

    As you can see below in TABLE 1, “expected fraction of hits” is a probability of the two independent events “probability of seeing target” and “probability of hitting target”. Today the “probability of seeing target” is greatly enhanced with modern high-quality optics such as the Trijicon ACOG.

    ACOG mounted on a Marine’s M16A4 in Iraq.

    The paper also advocates using toxic ammunition to increase the probability of a kill. Today, of course, nobody is advocating this. Toxic ammunition would probably endanger the troops themselves, would significantly raise the cost of manufacturing, be an environmental hazard at military ranges not to mention the ethical and legal ramifications of using chemical weapons.

    I highly recommend you download the PDF. If can be downloaded from the CFS Press website. Fred’s comments on the paper can be found on his blog.

    [ Many thanks to Fred for taking to time to obtain this paper. ]

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!