Archive for the 'AR-15s' Category

Note To EOTech

BY Herschel Smith
5 days, 21 hours ago

Soldier Systems:

Over the past few weeks, three separate issues have come to our attention regarding EOTech’s line of Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS). While we initially thought they weren’t related as they came up one by one, we realized they were all connected once we had looked into all three. Consequently, we believe they should be presented together, along with the source documentation.

Although it’s the last one we uncovered, we’ll begin with the most glaring piece of information. On 14 September, the SOF Weapons Program Management Office at NSWC Crane released a Safety of Use Message regarding issues with EOTech’s Enhanced Combat Optical Sights (ECOS), which is how they refer to HWS. This certainly caught our attention as the PMO is responsible for USSOCOM weapons. That message ultimately serves as the linchpin, tying together the other two issues we’ll soon address.

This critical bit of information would have been a stand-alone article, but it added credence to the others and offered coherence to some otherwise inexplicable issues. It also allowed us to concentrate on the facts presented in the various documentation. We will introduce the other issues after you get a chance to read the SOUM, which was obtained by Soldier Systems Daily. The Message has no date-time-group but was transmitted via official email traffic to SOF units on 14 September, 2015 and there are no markings limiting distribution.

Click to view PDF

While there is a great deal of information in the SOUM, two glaring issues stick out. The first is the reliability of the HWS in extreme temperatures, referred to as “Thermal Drift”. The PMO has noted a +/- 4 MOA shift at -40 Deg F and 122 Deg F. Second, is the concern over the claim by EOTech that their HWS are parallax free which was the subject of a previous Safety of Use Message from the same office issued 16 March, 2015. In this case they noted between 4 and 6 MOA parallax error depending on temperature conditions. Despite the PMO working with EOTech to rectify the issues, they still have not been resolved.

Listen to me, EOTech.  Just like we have noted with Remington and the Walker Fire Control System, it would have been better, cheaper and easier for Remington had they noted the problems up front, fixed them, recalled the parts, or refunded the clients.  Instead, the lawyers and corporate executives got involved and things went down hill.  Now, Remington is a shell of what it once was.  And for good reason.  I’ll be surprised if they survive except for government contracts.

Fix the problem.  Come clean about it, explain it, recall it, refund the parts, or do whatever you have to do.  Otherwise, you will lose market share, and permanently so.  You’ve been warned.

Marine Corps Rifles, M1A Torture Test, And AR-15s

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

The U.S. Marine Corps is sticking with its Vietnam-era, M40 sniper rifle series, despite complaints from scout snipers who say they need the modern, longer-range weapons used by special-ops snipers.

Marine scout snipers are considered to be among the best snipers in the world, but many are frustrated at the limitations of the current M40A5 sniper rifle. The A5 is based on the Remington M700 short-action design that’s chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO, like the original M40 Marines used in Vietnam.

Seasoned scout snipers are deadly accurate with the A5 out to 1,000 meters.

Elite special operations units use sniper rifles chambered in more potent calibers such as .338 Lapua Magnum, a round that allows snipers to reach out to 1,600 meters.

U.S. Special Operations Command is currently in the final stage of selecting its new Precision Sniper Rifle for all of its sniper teams. USSOCOM awarded contracts to Remington Defense and another company in 2013 to make two different versions of the PSR – a multi-caliber sniper rifle that allows operators to choose .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum and 7.62mm NATO by simply changing barrels assemblies.

The U.S. Army has watched the PSR program, but for now, it is sticking with its Remington M2010 sniper rifle chambered for .300 Win. Mag., a round that allows snipers to engage enemy targets out to 1,200 meters.

Currently, only the most elite Army and Navy special operations units use the MK21 Precision Sniper Rifle chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum.

Bob Owens is all over this issue, especially in his latest article on it.

The Corps will be upgrading the fifty-year-old M40 to the A6 version, which appears to be little more than a stock upgrade. Don’t get me wrong; the M40A6 will be a fine platform for inside 1,000 meters, against unarmored targets.

But we simply don’t live in a world where that is is “enough gun” for either anti-material or  anti-personnel use, now that so many of our opponents are issuing body armor that can stop the 7.62 NATO round at point-blank range, much less at preferred sniping distances.

Why are the Marines being stuck with using the same short-action cartridge in a military sniping landscape now dominated by magnum-class cartridges?


Factory match-grade ammunition for the 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester family is cheap to manufacture, and the military already has tons of it contracted. Upgrading the M40A6 to even another short-action cartridge with better range and down performance such as the 6.5 Creedmoor would cost more than the meager Corps budget allows. Upgrading to a .338 Lapua Magnum, where both the gun and the ammunition cost more?

[ … ]

But snipers only destroy enemy soldiers and equipment, wreck their morale, cripple their battlefield leadership, and take out key infrastructure while providing a protective overwatch for our Marines on the ground and vital real-time intelligence for our commanders. They don’t create post-retirement jobs for generals, nor line the pocket of defense contractors, or contribute to the reelections of politicians.

The Marines on the ground will be forced make do, as they always have, with outdated equipment.

Thanks, Congress.

And of course, that’s just how the Marine Corps wants you to think about the issue.  Thanks Congress!  The problem is that this isn’t the whole story.  When the U.S. Marine Corps deployed the 25th MEU to the Persian Gulf in 2008, they deployed several Scout Snipers, one of whom I know.  He deployed with a .50 “Sasser.”  The Marine Corps armory is full of a broad array of weapons, including not only the .308 rifle for DMs, but the .50 Barrett as well.  If a Scout Sniper is qualified to the .50 and chooses to, he can carry it on deployments.  Be warned.  It has to be taken apart and carried on your back, but you can carry it.

As for the venerable .308, Carlos Hathcock made many of his kills with a .30-06 Winchester Model 70 (albeit not a .308). and only used a .50 (modified M2 for his longest kills).  Considering the traditional tactics of stalking, shooting and egress, Hathcock is still the most prolific sniper in U.S. history.  The ballistics data shows that there isn’t much difference between the .308 and .30-06, and if I was going to chose a new round to shoot as a Scout Sniper (and it wasn’t going to be the .50), I would probably choose the .300 Win Mag.  Of course, none of these compare to the effect of the .50 in range, power or capability against armor.  Suffice it to say that if the Marine Scout snipers cannot accomplish kills with their .308 rifles, they can with the .50, and they certainly have access to the large caliber rifle if they want it and are qualified to it.  They aren’t left wanting when it comes to firepower.

As for the Marine Corps’s decision to train exclusively with the M4 rather than the M16A2 or M16A4 (via Mike Vanderboegh), it must be remembered that the difference between them in muzzle velocity is negligible.  In fact, I cannot imagine having deployed my son to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007, with anything but his SAW or M4 (he was a SAW gunner who sometimes used an M4 if the specific mission called for it).  Again, I cannot imagine him having to swing an M1A or M14 through a doorway clearing rooms.  It would have been a reprehensible thing to issue something like M1As or AR-10s for CQB (the .308 being much slower to recover sight picture).

The Marine Corps always makes the decisions they need to make to support the mission.  When I deployed my son in 2007, his entire Battalion went with M4s, SAWs, M4s with M203 mounted, or Scout Sniper rifles of some sort.  The M16s were nowhere to be found.  So what’s all this stuff about the Marine Corps leaving the M16 for M4s?

It’s propaganda.  The Marine Corps want everyone to think that they are the poorest of the poor, when in reality they threw billions away on the ridiculous EFV (Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle), pretending that we are actually going to perform a land invasion from the sea with full armor capabilities like we did in the South Pacific.  They Marine Corps has wasted enough money (every MEU is a waste of money) that you shouldn’t feel too sorry for them when it comes to sniper rifles, Owens and his views notwithstanding.

When it comes to the M1A, you should spend some time watching these M1A torture tests.

Recall that we have showed you a sand torture test of an AR-15, we’ve made it clear that you can’t blame the gun for the battle loses at Wanat, and explained the simple things you must do to ensure reliable operation of your AR-15.

Finally, you’ve seen about AR-15s in sand, mud and operating bone dry.  For the final twist, see them operate with Twinkies installed inside the moving parts.  Yes, Twinkies.

Army Seeks Gun Industry Help On M4 Carbine

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 1 week ago

The U.S. Marine Corps led the way.  At the time I said this:

Recall that I told you “that Rock River Arms, Knights Armament, LaRue Tactical and Daniel Defense isn’t the Colt produced under milspec for the Army and Marine Corps (these are all superior to the Colt M-16 and M-4)?”  And recall that John Jay and I have both discussed Milspec and what it does (and doesn’t) mean?

It should also be pointed out that there are many things that can be tweaked on the Stoner platform (Milspec design) that can make it much more reliable than the Colt.

Fouling in the M4 is not the problem. The problem is weak springs (buffer and extractor), as well as light buffer weights (H vs. H2 or H3). With the abovementioned drop-in parts, the M4 is as reliable as any weapon I have ever fired, and I have fired probably every military-issue assault rifle fielded worldwide in the last 60 years as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B). An additional benefit of the heavier spring/weight combo is that it transmits the energy impulse of the firing cycle to the shoulder over a longer duration, lowering the amount of foot pounds per second and dramatically reducing the perceived recoil. Follow-on shots are easier to make effectively, and much faster, especially at 50 meters and beyond.

I reliably fired 2400 rounds (80 magazines) on a bone dry gun, and I would bet that is a lot more than any soldier or other armed professional will ever come close to firing without any lubrication whatsoever. So, disregard the fouling myth and install a better buffer spring, H2 buffer, enhanced extractor spring and a Crane O-ring (all end user drop-in parts). With normal (read “not excessive”) lubrication and maintenance, properly-built AR-15/M4 type rifles with carbine gas systems will astound you with their reliability and shootability.

The high quality AR-15 manufacturers know all of this and generally make their parts better than Milspec.  But now the Army wants in on the game.

The Army is asking the gun industry to build new components for its soldiers’ primary weapon — the M4 carbine — a move that experts say is a tacit admission that the service has been supplying a flawed rifle that lacks the precision of commercially available guns.

At a recent Capitol Hill hearing, an Army general acknowledged that the M4’s magazine has been responsible for the gun jamming during firefights.

On the federal government’s website, the Army announced a “market survey” for gunmakers to produce a set of enhancements to essentially create a new model — the “M4A1+.” It would include a modular trigger, a new type of rail fitted around a “free floating” barrel and other parts. The upgrade is supposed to improve the rifle’s accuracy and reliability.

The Army last year took the significant step of beginning to convert the basic M4 into the special operations version, the M4A1, with a heavier barrel designed to better withstand the heat of rapid fire.

The Washington Times reported in 2014 on confidential prewar tests that showed the barrel was prone to overheating. The Times also quoted active-duty soldiers who said the M4 is inferior based on their experience in battle. A Green Beret said he takes the extraordinary step of rebuilding his M4A1 on the battlefield by using components from other gunmakers — technically a violation of Army regulations.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, an artillery officer and decorated Vietnam combatant, is one of the M4’s most vocal critics. He also believes the 5.56 mm M855A1 ammunition — an environmentally sensitive, or “green,” round — is wrong for the gun.

Gen. Scales said the Army’s new solicitation is further proof of the carbine’s shortfalls.

“It’s another attempt by the Army to make the M4 look good,” he said. “If the Army wants to improve the M4, fine. But it’s not a weapon suitable for high-intensity, close combat in extremes against an enemy who is basically matching us in weapons performance in a close fight. Everybody knows the weapon has flaws.”

Mr. Scales said the M4’s basic shortfall is that it uses gas, or direct, impingement to extract and expel its shells as opposed to a piston system. A piston firing mechanism is in the prolific AK-47, which runs cleaner and cooler but is considered slightly less accurate.

This article is a complete mess.  It goes from things that we’ve discussed before that should be obvious (such as a floated barrel to avoid interference with [natural frequency] barrel harmonics by fixed points), to old battle philosophy (such as the notion that Solders and Marines today shoot Carbines fully automatic as if they are some sort of area suppression weapon like a SAW – seriously, this is thirty or forty year old battle tactics, the stuff of Vietnam rather than the professionally trained fighters of the twenty first century).

It ends (for me, simply because I couldn’t bring myself to read any more) when that loud mouth, washed up old coot General Scales started begging for the piston system again.  Good grief.  He weighs in against the Eugene Stoner platform for CQB, which is ironically the situation in which it is the best weapon on earth by far.  My message is clear.  Just stop.  The main stream media needs to stop being a day late to the story.  We’ve already worked this one over until it’s bloody.  General Scales needs to go home and stop advocating for whatever armament company he’s working for today.  The Marine Corps and Army need to stop telling the world what they are going to do about non-existent problems with their weapons.  They have diarrhea of the mouth.  Wanat and Kamdesh were not caused by weapons problems.  They were caused by the idiot general who deployed Platoon-size U.S. forces to ensconce themselves in valleys to fight off Battalion-size Taliban forces who had the high ground.

But what does need to happen is with the Marine Corps and Army.  The procedures need to change to allow the armorers the freedom and latitude to arm the men with the weapons they need.  If they want Magpul magazines (with the no-tilt follower), then they should get them instead of the ridiculous Milspec magazines with the follower that binds and sticks (yea, it’s happened to me too).  If a free floated barrel is better (and it is), then change the Military specifications to allow a free floated barrel and replace them all.  If stronger buffer springs are better, then replace them all.  Just go do it.  Adapt, improvise and overcome.  Don’t be bureaucratic pointy-heads.

And something needs to happen with Patriots too.  We should all learn from the intransigence of the Army and Marine Corps.  If there is a better part, buy it.  Test it.  Work your weapons systems.  Learn them.  Practice with them.  Procedures are good insofar as they help you.  If they become a hindrance, defenestrate them.  You control them – they do not control you.

And by the way, around these parts we speak the name of Eugene Stoner with hushed reverence.  Do otherwise at your peril.


Army And Marine Corps On M855 Ammunition

Marines To Get Rifle Makeovers

Blaming The Gun For The Battle Losses

The Reliability Of The Eugene Stoner Design

AR-15s In The News

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

The Washington Post:

“Daesh has M16s and M4s, and we only have Kalashnikovs,” said another police officer, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. He said he had fled his home in Ramadi’s Soufiyah neighborhood with his wife and 1-year-old child. “I don’t think I will ever see my house again.”

In the eyes of the Iraqi Police, the Stoner platform wins.  In my eyes too.

The Hill:

Police in Washington, D.C., have been referred materials for a possible investigation into two Republican congressmen who posed for a picture with an assault rifle in a House office building.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) last week tweeted a picture of himself and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the leader of the House’s Benghazi investigation, holding an AR-15.

Having the AR-15 in the District could be a violation of the city’s strict gun laws, and the city attorney general’s office has referred the matter to police, a spokesman told The Hill.

“The matter has been referred to the Metropolitan Police Department for further investigation,” he said.

Buck said in the tweet the assault rifle is his and the picture was taken after Gowdy “stopped by.”

Buck told The Hill the rifle is “inoperable” and that he received approval from U.S. Capitol Police to bring it to his office, where it is on display in a locked case.

“I have a very patriotic AR-15 hanging in my office. It hangs directly above my Second Amendment flag,” Buck said.

“While safety protocols call for all guns to be treated as if they are loaded, this one isn’t. Further, a close inspection of the only public photo of the rifle will show that the bolt carrier assembly is not in the rifle; it is in fact in Colorado.”

“It is a beautiful, patriotic paper weight,” he added.

If it’s a paperweight, it’s useless.  Get one that works.  And both Congressmen should have told the D.C. attorney general to blow it out his ass.

Army And Marine Corps On M855 Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

But the Marine Corps and the Army’s decision to use two separate types of 5.56mm ammo is not a simple oversight.

The Army adopted the M855A1 in 2010 after years of struggling to find a lead-free replacement for the Cold-War era M855.

In recent years, troops also criticized the M855, saying it often delivered ineffective results on enemy behind battlefield barriers such as car windshields.

The M855A1 features a steel penetrator on top of a solid copper slug, making it is more dependable than the current M855, Army officials have maintained. It delivers consistent performance at all distances and performed better than the current-issue 7.62mm round against hardened steel targets in testing. It penetrated 3/8s-inch-thick steel at ranges approaching 400 meters, tripling the performance of the M855, Army officials said.

The Corps had planned to field the Army’s M855A1 until the program suffered a major setback in August 2009, when testing revealed that some of the bullets did not follow their trajectory or intended flight path.

The earlier design of the M855A1 featured a bismuth-tin slug which proved to be sensitive to heat, prompting Marine officials to stick with the M855 and also the Special Operations Science and Technology round developed by U.S. Special Operations Command instead.

Commonly known as SOST ammo, the bullet isn’t environmentally friendly, but it offered the Corps a more effective bullet, Marine officials have said.

I confess that until this article I didn’t know that the Army and Marine Corps were using two different types of ammunition.  If I’m not mistaken, the SOST is an open tip bullet with a lead core and copper shank.  It expands much like a hollow point should.

Saying that the better penetrating capability of the M855A1 through car windshields was the reason for transition from M855 to the M855A1 (with copper slug instead of lead) is like a recapitulation of the reasons for transitioning from the FMJ lead ball to the M855 in the first place.  It’s more likely that environmental concerns caused the Army to transition to the M855A1.  I cannot think of a worse excuse.

I will also remark that when I learned of the copper slug in place of the lead ball for M855A1 my thoughts immediately went to barrel wear and loss of rifling.  It appears that this is in fact a legitimate concern.

So in summary, the SOST is much like the .223 pointed soft point for game hunting, except that it has a copper shank.  If a reader would like to weigh in on the effects of the copper shank, please do so (in an educated fashion – and do not allow this to become yet another worthless argument over 7.62 v. 5.56).

Finally, don’t forget the main reason for the lethality of the 5.56 mm round, which is the fact that it is frangible and immediately fractures into pieces leaving multiple tracks through ballistics gelatin.  See the excellent paper Small Caliber Lethality: 5.56 mm Performance In Close Quarters Battle.  It appears that the Army has forgotten the simple things.

ATF Wants To Go After All 5.56 mm Ammunition, Not Just Green Tip

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 4 weeks ago

Recall when we speculated about why the ATF had decided to hold its “green tip” ban in abatement?  Well, the questions are answered.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Thursday raised new concerns about surplus military ammo used in popular AR-15 rifles and pistols just days after pulling back on a proposal to ban the ammo because it could threaten police safety.

In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, ATF Director B. Todd Jones said all types of the 5.56 military-style ammo used by shooters pose a threat to police as more people buy the AR-15-style pistols.

“Any 5.56 round” is “a challenge for officer safety,” he said. Jones asked lawmakers to help in a review of a 1986 bill written to protect police from so-called “cop killer” rounds that largely exempted rifle ammo like the 5.56 because it has been used by target shooters, not criminals.

His agency’s move to ban the 5.56 M855 version was condemned by the National Rifle Association and majorities in the House and Senate and as a result was pulled back though not abandoned. At the hearing Jones said that nearly 90,000 comments on the proposal were received, many negative.

As a result, he said that the ATF will suspend rewriting the “framework” used to exempt armor piercing ammo from sale or use. “It probably isn’t going to happen any time soon,” he said. Jones also said, “We are not going to move forward.”

The 5.56 M855 round, he said, is military surplus, typically has a green tip and was used in the M-16. There are several versions of the 5.56. The M855carries a bullet that can penetrate police body armor, though shooters often debate that.

The ATF singled it out for a ban because more AR-15 style pistols that can shoot the ammo are being produced and presumably could be used by criminals in police shootouts. The AR-15 can also shoot the less lethal .223 round, which was not targeted by ATF in the ban proposal.

My God, this is one messy article.  There are too many confused issues to sort through in a short amount of time, but I’ll mention just a few.  The 5.56 mm cartridge and the .223 cartridge are very similar but not identical, with chamber leade being the main difference.  There isn’t enough of a difference to distinguish between 5.56 mm and .223 for purposes of this article.  This would be of interest in the gun community for things like slight differences in muzzle velocity, chambering, shooting a cartridge in a gun specified for another, etc.  Presumably, the author of the article inserted this confusion and not Mr. Jones.

But Mr. Jones did indeed insert obfuscation and confusion, and then asked the Congress to use that confusion to add to the regulatory and legal burden placed on citizens.  There is no reason to debate the issue of green tip, despite the URLs the author inserted into the article.  As I’ve explained:

Common 5.56 mm ammunition will penetrate soft body armor, all of it, period.  Kevlar will not stop 5.56 mm ammunition (lead ball) shot at 3200 FPS.  Nor will soft body armor stop most rifle rounds.  Soft body armor is [routinely] tested for 9mm pistol ammunition, not rifle ammunition.

ESAPI (enhanced SAPI plates, or the ceramic ballistic plates worn in ballistic plate carriers) are designed to stop rifle rounds, and are specifically tested for M855.  No cop today (or anyone else for that matter) wearing Kevlar is protected from any rifle round (unless it is from something like a pistol caliber rifle), and the existence of M855 or lack thereof doesn’t change that.  Likewise, a cop (or anyone else) wearing ESAPI plates is protected from rifle rounds, including the M855, and the existence of the M855 round or lack thereof doesn’t change that.  Finally, even ESAPI plates must stop a certain percentage of rounds (so there is some probability of fracture and penetration even with tested and specified rounds regardless of type).

So you understand, don’t you, that the M855 ban has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with LEO safety, the liar in the White House notwithstanding?

Banning green tip does nothing to prevent anyone from using a rifle round (shot from any weapon) to penetrate soft body armor, and wearing ceramic ESAPI plates protects against both frangible 5.56 mm ammunition and green tip ammunition.  Furthermore, a so-called 5.56 mm “pistol” is nothing more than a SBR (short barrel rifle) with a barrel length of less than 16″ and no stock.  It isn’t concealable.

So speculation of course ran wild as to the exact intent of the ATF.  Are they stupid?  Do they not really understand the technical issues they are dealing with?  But today B. Todd Jones answered those questions.  They are concerned about all 5.56 mm cartridges.  Of course they are.  But that .270 pointed soft point, shot from a necked down 30-06 cartridge from my bolt action deer hunting rifle?  Yes, that’s the one.  It will penetrate soft body armor too – lead ball, soft point, all of it.  So will lead ball 30-06.  So will lead ball .308.  So will lead ball 7 mm.  Virtually all rifle rounds (except .22LR and .22 WMR) will penetrate soft body armor because kevlar is specified to 9 mm rounds (as regards mass and velocity).

Jones knows that.  The ATF at large knows that.  What Jones is telling the Congress is that he wants their help in banning rifle ammunition.  Rifle ammunitionAll of it.  They will start with 5.56 mm ammunition, green tip, lead ball, pointed soft point – all of it.  Then they will make it clear that all other rifle ammunition is as lethal as 5.56 mm ammunition, so they need a ban on that too.

Here’s a warning flag to all the Elmer Fudds out there who only care about your bolt action hunting rifles, and think this stuff about AR-15s is all just a bunch of made up theater to bother pampered folk like you.  They want your rifles and ammunition too.  You do understand that, don’t you?

Josh Sugarmann On The M855 Green Tip Ban

BY Herschel Smith
7 months ago

I know, about now you’re thinking “what can Josh Sugarmann teach me about M855 green tip ammunition?  Not much, except that it pays to understand just what the enemy thinks.  It’s also important to know just how behind the times they are in understanding what we think, but more on that in a moment.

This is despite the fact that ATF is only doing what the NRA and other members of the gun lobby consistently argue should be done: enforcing the gun laws already on the books. Opponents also allege that no law-enforcement officer has been shot with one of the cartridges fired from a handgun. Testing the veracity of that assertion is challenging, but the whole point of the ban on “armor-piercing” ammunition is to prevent law enforcement and first responders who rely on body armor from ever having to face assailants wielding handguns loaded with armor-piercing rounds.

Yet left unstated is the fact that ATF’s proposal, as detailed in a new report from my organization, the Violence Policy Center, is the direct result of the gun industry’s own actions.

Facing a continuing decline in household gun ownership, the gun industry is constantly engaged in efforts to create new product lines to sell to a shrinking consumer base. In recent years the industry has aggressively marketed AR-15 assault pistols that use common rifle ammunition, such as the 5.56-by-45-millimeter round used in AR-type assault rifles.

So it’s possible that Josh doesn’t really understand anything about rifle ammunition, or perhaps he does and is playing dumb (or lying) in order to deceive his idiot readers at Huffington Post.  But just to make sure you understand, let’s cover this for a moment.

Common 5.56 mm ammunition will penetrate soft body armor, all of it, period.  Kevlar will not stop 5.56 mm ammunition (lead ball) shot at 3200 FPS.  Nor will soft body armor stop most rifle rounds.  Soft body armor is [routinely] tested for 9mm pistol ammunition, not rifle ammunition.

ESAPI (enhanced SAPI plates, or the ceramic ballistic plates worn in ballistic plate carriers) are designed to stop rifle rounds, and are specifically tested for M855.  No cop today (or anyone else for that matter) wearing Kevlar is protected from any rifle round (unless it is from something like a pistol caliber rifle), and the existence of M855 or lack thereof doesn’t change that.  Likewise, a cop (or anyone else) wearing ESAPI plates is protected from rifle rounds, including the M855, and the existence of the M855 round or lack thereof doesn’t change that.  Finally, even ESAPI plates must stop a certain percentage of rounds (so there is some probability of fracture and penetration even with tested and specified rounds regardless of type).

So you understand, don’t you, that the M855 ban has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with LEO safety, the liar in the White House notwithstanding?

As for the notion that gun owners are demanding that existing law be enforced, who is doing that?  No seriously, who is doing that?  Not me.  Are you?  If so, why?  Okay, perhaps the NRA has used that stupid argument, but we want open, constitutional carry in every state in America, and we want the Hughes amendment repealed, as well as prohibitions on things like SBRs in the NFA repealed.  That’s just a start.  We don’t want the existing laws to be enforced.  Every federal gun law is a violation of the constitution.  Every one.

Sugarmann then shows us a screen capture from the Rock River Arms web site.  Perhaps this will be good advertizing for them.  One can only hope.  Sugarmann ends with his usual propaganda that gun sales is down and ownership is increasingly focused on a smaller and smaller percentage of people.  Whatever.  If Josh wants to think this that’s alright with me.  The less they know about us and our beliefs, the better.

Read also Kurt Hofmann:

One (presumably very much unintended) argument against banning “armor piercing” handgun ammunition for private citizens came a while back from a very surprising source–the Violence Policy Center. As that group’s director, Josh Sugarmann, was cited in the U.S. News & World Report:

Gun control advocacy groups like Sugarmann’s say the body armor worn by the shooters in Newtown [which wasn’t “body armor,” anyway] and Aurora undermines the argument made by gun advocates that shootings can be stopped by someone with a handgun.

In other words, Sugarmann seems to be arguing that armed private citizens would have a reasonable chance at stopping mass shootings, if only they were not denied handgun ammunition capable of defeating body armor.

Yea, he is arguing first that guns are of no use against body armor so why would ordinary citizens have guns?; and second, there are millions of rounds in circulation that can defeat body armor, so they must be banned.  Sugarmann doesn’t care about consistency.  He’s just parroting the latest talking point.

Marines To Get Rifle Makeovers

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Recall that I told you “that Rock River Arms, Knights Armament, LaRue Tactical and Daniel Defense isn’t the Colt produced under milspec for the Army and Marine Corps (these are all superior to the Colt M-16 and M-4)?”  And recall that John Jay and I have both discussed Milspec and what it does (and doesn’t) mean?  And at Western Rifle Shooter’s Association I have had this discussion in even more detail.

While some features of some AR-15s (that don’t match Milspec) are positive, like the Wylde chamber which is highly acclaimed), some not so much. For example, RRA uses red Loctite on the Castle Nut, a feature many guys who do their own build don’t like much.

Listen, as an engineer (PE), I can tell you how I would approach it. I would take several rifles from different lots and measure the crap out of each and every tolerance (including head space, chamber, leade, etc.) before passing the design and saying it met my specifications. If I say that some specific part used SS304, I would send that part out of rifles with different lots to be melted down, and a spectrographic analysis done to determine if the Mn, Cr, Co and other elements were within tolerance. One slipup means the whole lot gets rejected.

And that’s the way the mechanics and engineers at the Picatinny Arsenal will approach it too. Milspec means something very specific, good in some instances, perhaps not keeping with current design improvements in others, but simply meeting the original order specs sent by the engineers.

Well, the Marine Corps is upgrading their rifles.

If the Marine Corps’ top marksmanship experts get their way, Marines are going to get a rifle retooled with an array of upgrades that will make them deadlier shooters. They recently directed the study of a number of significant changes to the service’s weapons, ammunition, shooting curriculum and ranges and have approved new competitions.

Most eagerly anticipated are recommendations to study overhauling M16A4 rifles and M4 carbines with a host of new features, including a new trigger and barrel, all of which will be a hot topic at the next Combat Marksmanship Symposium in October.

[ … ]

Current M16A4 rifles and M4 carbines could get a significant overhaul with mostly inexpensive components already available to consumers. The upgrades would drastically improve accuracy and function without incurring the expense of procuring an new rifle.

Those updates could include a free-floating barrel, rifle compensators, new reticles for the Rifle Combat Optic, more ambidextrous controls and a new trigger group. With significant advancements in rifle technology for the civilian shooting market over the past two decades, those are all features commonly seen on competition rifles and those carried by elite operators.

[ … ]

Standard-issue M16A4s and M4s use hand guards and rail systems that are directly connected to the barrel. As a result, any force exerted on an accessory like a rifle sling used to achieve greater stability also exerts force on the barrel. That can ever so slightly bend or pull the barrel off center relative to zeroed optics. The movement can translate into big variances over distance. The longer the shot, the further the external pressure exerted on the barrel will throw it.

A free floating barrel is achieved by using a hand guard and rail system that does not contact the barrel at any point. So any force exerted on a sling or other rifle-mounted accessory attached to the rail system does not translate to the barrel which contacts the rifle at only one point – the upper receiver. That ensures the barrel and optics which are also mounted to the upper receiver point in precisely the same direction.

“Free floating barrels have been seen in the competition world since the ’90s,” said Layou. “In combat you are not able to apply the same sling tension every time. You are shooting in different positions at different targets. So it’s not a training solution, it is a material solution needed to reduce barrel flex.”

This is a very odd way of explaining it.  Rifle optics can be set up with the assistance of a bore sight to zero at about 25 yards (which zeros the 5.56 mm at 100 yards too without BDC), even given the small undulations in the barrel.  That’s not really the issue.  The issue has to do with the fact that if it is not a free floated barrel there is a hinge point, or a fixed point beyond which the barrel cantilevers.

This point interferes with the natural frequency of the barrel and thus alters the harmonics of the system.  The vibrations send the projectile off directions other than the direction of the bore (at static conditions) without the vibrations from the explosion.  With an anchor point for the barrel, this smooth sinusoidal wave of vibrations becomes an interrupted mess of multiple competing and non-metered or oddly-patterned waves.  The point is this: barrel anchor points = bad, free floated barrel = good.

As I said before, purchasing something Milspec isn’t always the best option, and in most instances today with the progression of technology since mid-twentieth century, it leads to inferior design and manufacture.

WeaponsMan also has a good article on Making an M4 Run Like A Gazelle.

Long Range Shooting From A Bench With Jerry Miculek

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

I like to provide training videos when I can, and since I can’t train you to do much, Jerry Miculek has to stand in for me.

AR-15 Torture Test

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 3 weeks ago

We’ve covered the AR-15 and its adherents and detractors in The Reliability Of The Eugene Stoner Design and Blaming The Gun For The Battle Losses concerning the battle of Wanat.  In the test shown below, this AR-15 endures a test of greater than 800 rounds in a short duration of time.

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