Soldiers Will Carry More Weight, Less Ammo

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Military.com.

The new guns and ammunition the Army just married and is expected to issue to combat arms units within the next decade will require soldiers to carry an even heavier load.

But information on how those weapons should outperform the guns they’re replacing — the justification for troops to shoulder extra weight on top of mountains of gear already injuring soldiers — is classified.

In April, the Army announced that Sig Sauer will produce replacements for the M4 rifle and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW, starting with a trial run of about 40 new guns late next year. Production is expected to ramp up when the Army opens a new ammo plant to produce the new 6.8mm rounds for those weapons around 2026.

Army officials have touted that the new XM5, the M4’s replacement, and XM250, set to replace the SAW, pack a much harder punch and will improve the combat performance of ground troops. But thus far, the service has declined to disclose evidence that those weapons outperform the M4 and SAW, including how far they can shoot accurately. And it’s unclear whether the Army has verified the ranges at which those new weapons can engage an enemy before committing to a multimillion-dollar contract.

[ … ]

The M4, the Army’s current standard-issue rifle used in the post-9/11 wars, can effectively engage targets at 500 meters. The SAW can suppress targets at around 800 meters.

For comparison, the standard-issue rifle for the Chinese military is the QBZ-95, which has a maximum effective range of 400 meters for a target.

Carrying weightier ammunition and less of it is a defeater for the notion of an area suppression weapon to begin with.  It verges on having another medium machine gun (the M240 as opposed to the light machine gun, the M249).

I suppose I should modify the statements above with the observation that the light machine gun is usually used by a single infantry fighter regardless of the fact that it is considered a “crew served weapon,” and the medium machine gun is in actual fact a crew served weapon.

I predict this won’t change a thing regarding the lethality of the armed forces, and that they should have focused on military and physical training rather than diversity.

They’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

If they really wanted to return to increased lethality, perhaps they should consider a legitimate role for grenadier in each squad again using the M79 rather than the shorter under-the-barrel design.

Via WiscoDave.


Comments

  1. On May 4, 2022 at 10:03 am, Drake said:

    Whenever they talked about going to intermediate cartridges, it was supposed to replace the SAW AND the M240/M60.

    I was watching this video on the PDW trials the other day – they slipped in the fact that normal 5.56 ball can’t penetrate standard Russian body armor. Everyone has know this for decades, but just getting around to it now because we spent the last 20 years turning the Army into a giant SWAT.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py9MJUmdQ4o

  2. On May 4, 2022 at 10:18 am, Furminator said:

    On paper the commercial 6.8 Fury 150 gn has the same mv and only 5% more energy than a 145 gn 270 WSM. To achieve these ballistics they had to raise pressure to 80k and design and build a bi-metal case to handle it. The 6.8 Fury round is twice as expensive as the 270 WSM.

    A Saturn V had to be almost insanely complex to put men on the moon. Making guns ain’t rocket science.

  3. On May 4, 2022 at 11:24 am, Red Man said:

    AMMO! it’s all about having ammo. Lots of it. As a former Airborne Grunt and a 60 gunner to boot, adding any extra weight just sucks. Hard to fight when you are sucking wind completely smoked!! My time was pre body armor as well. I cannot imagine jumping and humping the load they guys had in the two useless wars. Raising chamber pressures will increase the weight of the receiver. To get the benefits of this ammo, you need a longer barrel. Bigger ammo, bigger gun, more weight, less ammo carried. Just sayin’.

  4. On May 4, 2022 at 11:58 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Solutions to problems – real or imagined – which don’t butter the bread of DOD/Pentagon brass or fill the coffers of defense contractors, won’t get past the starting line, no matter how economical or sensible they may be.

    Barrett Tillman wrote about the need for more and better training for our grunts way back in 2007 in his book, “What We Need,” but the more things change the more they stay the same.

    Lengthening and improving training for the troops would cost a drop in the bucket in Pentagon terms, as would building more and better firing ranges for them – but for some strange reason, the higher-ups won’t green-light those things. It makes no sense, because no one flinches when the latest sub or aircraft carrier is funded… but there we are.

    Just asking for a friend: How are those “small-stature soldiers,” a.k.a. women, going to react to the newer and heavier weapons?

    Oh, and speaking of which: If you want to make the military much more-effective and lethal at the stroke of a pen, ban women from all but their traditional roles in rear-area service and support and healthcare. A female “mechanic” who can’t lift her own toolbox or change out the tires on a truck without the help of men – shouldn’t even be there in the first place. And calling a female a “soldier” who can’t even rack the action on a machine gun is an insult to all of the men who are the real thing.

  5. On May 4, 2022 at 1:54 pm, George said:

    As John George said in his book “let the soldiers who have to carry the weapons say how much they should weigh.”
    I think we have too many “idea men” who have no background or cost restrictions.
    Mega packs are a bitch to hump and gotta be dropped in a combat assault.

  6. On May 4, 2022 at 3:45 pm, Drake said:

    As a former infantry Marine, more weight to hump does suck. If I had been asked back in the day, asking for a lighter gun wouldn’t have occurred to me. Not when I was carrying a radio the was like a cinder-block, body armor, helmet, gas mask, sleeping bag, canvas shelter half, steel e-tool – all places I would have suggested to find lighter alternatives.

    I actually asked for an M-14 before the first Gulf War and the armorer was going to give it to me – but some Vietnam Vet NCOs had already grabbed them all.

  7. On May 4, 2022 at 9:07 pm, W.F. O'Hara said:

    Totally on your side sir. We could definitely use a caliber with better penetration than the 5.56 but the Diversity & Woke kick is a complete waste of time. Besides, my beloved USMC was diverse long before it became “cool” with the politicos. More physical training is in order now; but especially if going to a heavier rifle. Bringing back the M-79? Another winner.

  8. On May 5, 2022 at 8:23 am, Drake said:

    There were still a few M-79s in our National Guard arms locker 20 years ago. We loved them.

  9. On May 6, 2022 at 1:20 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    I started to write something about the subject, but realized that maybe the former soldiers and Marines here would be much better-qualified to discuss the question than I could ever be. So here goes…

    Does the U.S. military “get it” where light infantry are concerned? Does the U.S. military, in any of its branches or units, have any genuine light infantry? I’m just a civilian with his nose pressed against the glass, but every time I see a grunt headed out into the field on the news or whatever, he looks like he’s weighed down with enough crap hanging off of him to sink a decent-sized ship. And I suspect that isn’t light infantry… so what’s the score, guys? Thanks!

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