The Low Maintenance Rifle Project

    Medium has published an interesting article on the Pentagon’s search, back in the 1970s, for a rifle that required little maintenance. Joe Trevithick writes ..

    DARPA asked TRW for a rifle that would solve these continuing problems. The new weapon had to be simple to build and easy to use and must resist corrosion.

    The gun also had to have “semi-permanent solid film lubrication.” Solid film lubes are effectively painted-on … and only require periodic touch-ups.

    By contrast, soldiers had to regularly grease up their M-16s. Dirt, sand and other debris could cling to the lubricant and gum up the rifle.

    The new LMR also had to be accurate, even when firing on full-automatic. Reports from Vietnam suggested soldiers were not shooting accurately, even if the exact reasons were unclear.

    They were, of course, solving the wrong problem. It was far easier to simply fix the M16 issues. Still, I do wonder if concepts from the prototypes could be adapted into modern maintenance free survival-type semi-automatic rifles.

    Thanks to Fred for the tip. 

    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!