2 months 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?
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 FedBizOpps.gov 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.