MINDSET AND LIFE

Today we have another  article written  by our deceased friend Kevin O’Brien also know as “Hognose” by his many readers and fans of Weaponsman.com .  We repost or curate some of Kevin’s work in an effort to save it in the event his website goes dark and to honor him.

 

Mindset is life by Kevin O’Brien

Or, sometimes, death.

Faced with a survival situation, some fight. Some flee. Some just freeze and wait to die or be saved by third party intervention. And some are not faced with this situation because they saw it coming and absented themselves. That is, in our opinion, the smartest thing to do if you don’t have to stand and fight. In order, the best outcomes are:

  1. A fight you never have;
  2. A fight you win without fighting;
  3. A fight you win, killing the enemy;
  4. A fight you win, wounding or scaring off the enemy.

The reason (4) is not as good as (3) is that you leave a possibility for revenge out there. Dead guys can’t seek revenge.

Indicators and Warnings

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero at Pearl Harbor. Illustration by Darryl Joyce. (Actually, we think he has the color wrong).

“Where did all those ^%^#*!! Japs come from?!?”.

Every time the national security bureaucracy is caught flatfooted, a rather frequent occurrence, reconsideration shows that there were was a sufficiency of Indicators & Warnings, I&W. They just weren’t read right, or interpreted, or they were ignored.

You don’t have to find big screwups like Pearl Harbor, the Chinese entry into the Korean War, or 9/11, to find examples of ignored I&Ws. Consider two individuals whose demise was reported in these pages in the last few months: a young man in Maine who blew his head off with fireworks, and a young man (hmmm… first indication of a pattern?) in coastal Texas whose last words were, reportedly, “F the gator!” Yes, he was warned about a large alligator in his chosen swimming hole, and yes, he ignored the warning, and yes, the gator killed him. Likewise, the Maine decedent’s friends warned him that setting off a large fireworks mortar on his head was A Bad Idea.

They didn’t heed the indicators.

That’s the biggest problem with human beings and I&W, even when the I&W is pretty obvious: “Hey, setting off an explosion on your brain housing group might be a bad idea,” or “There’s a man-eatin’ gator over yonder.” And the I&W is not that obvious, always. People hear hoofbeats and they’re not looking for zebras.

The US is not the only nation to be get caught napping like this. A couple of patrolling Zekes formed up on two B-25s one sunny morning off the coast of Honshu, and, not believing their eyes, convinced themselves they were looking at two experimental Imperial Japanese Army bombers they’d been told about — and let two of Doolittle’s Raiders go on to bomb Tokyo. That was fair payback for the Air Corps lieutenant three and a half months earlier, who, knowing that some B-17s were inbound, told some radar operators not to worry about what looked like a 50-plane raid on Oahu. Didn’t heed the indicators.

Some indicators are transient, some are durable, some are eternal. Obviously the Kaga and Akagi air wings on Pearl Harbor’s radar is a transient indicator. A durable one? Certain neighborhoods’ reputations. There were four fatal opiate ODs in our little county last weekend, in two separate towns. All four of them happened in streets that would have come up in discussion if you asked a town cop, “If someone OD’d here in your town, exactly where would you find the stiff?” If you’re not looking for hard drugs, you probably don’t want to go to those places, even in these very safe (generally speaking) towns.

The character of a neighborhood only changes over time, and with a change of people. When a neighborhood is improved, it’s not because they built shiny new buildings or added street lamps. It’s because they removed (or the cost of living in a shiny new building removed) the people who made the neighborhood bad.

Judgment

“The superior person uses his superior judgment so as not to have to make a vulgar display of his superior skills.” This has long been a saying among pilots, but we’ve torqued it to fit a more general set of superior persons.

In interpersonal conflict, judgment is displayed best by the party that seeks to avoid, evade, and escape the conflict, and only goes to the gun (or lead pipe, or barstool, whatever) when the evasion phase has failed.

In analyzing any conflict, certain inflection points are evident (in hindsight!) where better judgment might have defused the situation or deflected the juggernaut before the collision point. Consider the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin. There’s no question that the evidence shows that George was in the right by any measure of morality or law when he plugged Trayvon (and made one small contribution to the cause of fighting future prison overcrowding in Florida). But if you mentally “walk” the scene with George, you can see some of these inflection points, even if he didn’t, at the time.  Once the fight started, of course, he had no choices except to take the beating and roll the dice on personal death or serious inury on the one hand, or use force to stop it on the other.

And, while we haven’t spoken to the man, we have no doubt that, in retrospect, George Zimmerman would have rather avoided his fight with Trayvon Martin than, as happened, won it; his victory was the very definition of a Pyrrhic one. His life will never be the same again and he will never be free from intrusive, hostile reporters (who continue to report a false narrative and vilify Zimmerman to this day).

And that’s a case of a guy who won an unnecessary but desperate, life-stakes fight. The guys who lost are not available to tell us what they wish they had done.

We recall that instructor John S. Farnam had (and has, he’s still working) several pithy ways of saying this, but the best fight is the one that doesn’t happen. (Farnam is hardly the only one with such a message. It’s as old as Sun Tzu).

Mindset & Judgment Can be Learned

To an extent, anyway. We’re not as confident as the Army is that it can teach anybody pretty much anything, but we do believe that anyone can, by a process of analysis leading to mental and physical drills, improve his mindset and therefore his or her odds of survival.

These odds of survival are improved by training to hone your skills and survive an armed encounter, but they’re improved more by using your superior judgment so as not to have to make a vulgar display of your superior skills. Too few people do the former, and far too few people do the latter. (A lot of cops who are involved in shootings are just unlucky. But there are others, where none of their cop friends are surprised they were in a shooting. Why do you think that is?)

Most of us are not cops, and not soldiers (any more), and therefore, do need to saddle up and go into places where you’re likely to be engaged by gunfire. So here’s our version of some guidelines for fight avoidance:

  1. Carcharodon carcharias: business end of a healthy one.

    Carcharodon carcharias: business end of a healthy one.

    Don’t swim where the sharks feed. Yes, home invaders can come to suburbia, but most criminals live in poor, lousy neighborhoods and prey on each other as well as the majority of non-criminals who have the bad fortune to live there, too. If you live there, leave. If you go there, stop.

  2. If you must go where the sharks feed — you may have reasons; we had a friend whose elderly mother would not leave her house in South Central LA until the Rodney King riots burned it down and settled the question for her — don’t look like bait. Don’t act timid, walk boldly with your head up, like you belong there — and are the baddest mother in the valley. Also, don’t flash stuff that is irresistibly attractive to the sort of people who have been listening to TV and therefore think they’re entitled to take it from you.
  3. When you have to go into the badlands, take a lesson from the cops and don’t walk alone. If you can’t help looking like prey (maybe you’re small, or elderly person), bring a buddy who looks intimidating if you can.
  4. Don’t get distracted. This is the wrong time to be facebooking, texting or reading WeaponsMan.com on your jeezly phone. In fact, it’s the wrong time to be taking calls. You need to be 100% in the analog world. We don’t know what the percentage of mugging victims in NYFC and San Francisco is, who had their ear buds in, but we’d take a guess it’s fairly high.
  5. Be conscious of concealment. Don’t give anyone the chance to ambush you.
  6. Manage the Clock. Most criminals stay up late and sleep late, too. If you have unavoidable business in their precincts, do it at seven o’clock in the morning when they’re down for the count, not at midnight when they’re just warming up.
  7. Be conscious of the fact that you may have to be ready, and always be ready to deliver a violent counterstrike.
  8. Work on avoidance, but once avoidance fails you should immediately execute a drilled, conscious plan. Strike hard and decisively. (George Z. got this bit exactly right, and every day’s life he has now, he only has because he did).
  9. If you err, and are attacked, act. Save regrets and recriminations for later.

 

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

COLT IAR

This short video was sent to  us by Alex, who is a friend to the website.   Alex owns one of the rare Colt IAR uppers and fired it on full auto.     The Colt IAR   was colt’s submission for possible adoption for the USMCs new automatic rifle. Of course the HK  won. Not because it was better,  released documents showed the colt submission performed better, but because HK  has the ability to influence things beyond the actually quality of their firearms.. ahem.

 

Alex fired the gun on full auto with a magazine  about half and half of Federal Fusion  and M855. You can tell the difference in the cyclic rate while he is shooting,

WHEN GUNS ARE OUTLAWED ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE HEAVY METAL

No, not steel. This heavy metal is the kind that pours out of Marshall stacks.   In this case the title is a bit inaccurate but I couldn’t pass up the chance to use it.  It wasn’t the metal itself  it was the heavy metal fan.

Simon Morris is charged with manslaughter after he beat a man to death who tried to steal his wallet, authorities said. (Orleans Justice Center jail)

Simon Morris is charged with manslaughter after he beat a man to death who tried to steal his wallet, authorities said. (Orleans Justice Center jail)
Simon Morris snapped when a man swiped his wallet outside an Uptown gasoline station Friday morning.”
Hey who wouldn’t? With gas prices the way they are who among us wouldn’t snap when robbed at the gas station?
“He chased the thief across the street and beat him to death with his fists and feet, New Orleans police said.Morris, 31, faces a count of manslaughter after the killing of a man identified in court records only by the name Edwin.”

The “victim” in this case being also the perp.    Was given some swift and decisive instant karma by Metal Morris meted out Some Metal Melee Moves and walloped and wailed on the wallet snatcher.

“According to police, Edwin approached Morris and asked him for a dollar outside the Express Mart Gas Station at 4140 S. Claiborne Ave. about 8:20 a.m. Friday. But Edwin then reached into Morris’ back pocket, snatched his wallet and ran across South Claiborne at Milan Street.”

Anyone who knows anything about street crime can tell you panhandling and begging are often a way to approach a target for either a snatch and grab or something more sinister.  The scum bag usually reacting to the body language of the target and judging how soft or hard the targeted person is. In this case it seem the thief judged wrong.

Morris caught up with him in the rear driveway of Hi Class Customs, an upholstery and window tinting shop at 4201 S. Claiborne. Morris wrested his wallet back and then began beating on Edwin with his fists, police said.”

“At least two people tried to restrain Morris. But he kept punching and then started kicking Edwin, who “was begging Morris to stop and was attempting to cover his face and body,” police said.

No doubt Morris would have been in a lot less trouble had he stopped at this point. Or at least in most parts of the country not run by the democrat party.   Continuing to stomp the thief into a mud puddle after he was no longer capable of putting up a fight and while at least two other people tried to  pull him away.  This was be akin to shooting a home invader after they ran out the house, you ran outside and half a block to shoot them.  No matter how righteous and deserved it may be.

Morris battered Edwin’s head and body “for a duration of five minutes or more,” police said. He didn’t stop until one of the witnesses managed to pull him off. The witness said he feared Morris would try to beat him up as well, according to police.”

Metal Morris may have a touch of madness it sounds like it.  Or he really had his blood up.   Had this happened in the mid 90s  Pantera would not doubt be getting the blame  for this. Unfortunately both founding brothers of the Grove metal band  are now dead.  Though their music will live on longer than the robber will.

 

“Paramedics took Edwin to University Medical Center for treatment, but he died there not long after arrival.

Officers detained Morris and later secured a warrant to jail him on a count of manslaughter.

I would almost bet some of those officers  felt some what sympathetic to Morris.   But in this case they had little choice.

In Louisiana, manslaughter is defined as a killing that is carried out in the heat of passion following a provocation that would cause an ordinary person to lose self-control. The crime calls for a maximum of 40 years in prison but doesn’t include a mandatory minimum punishment.

40 years for a reaction to something the law  says  would cause an  ordinary  person to lose self control.   I would bet the rice paddy that there are “victims of society” who have had 30 year records of more heinous crimes that haven’t served 40 years between any 5 of them in New Orleans.    Morris being  himself a victim in this case will no doubt result in him having the book thrown at him. Maybe he needs the same lawyer as  The Zimm-Zam Man!

Morris made an initial court appearance Friday evening in front of Orleans Parish Magistrate Commissioner Brigid Collins. She set his bail at $150,000.”

https://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/crime_police/article_8f6dc1b4-9d05-11e8-9dc0-fbf4050ab83b.html

WHEN GUNS ARE OUTLAWED ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE MAN’S BEST FRIEND

https://www.dreamindemon.com/wp-content/uploads/pit-bull-face.jpg

Once again we have an attack from the breed of peace.

A woman who went on a routine walk in her North Carolina lakefront neighborhood on Thursday never returned home, officials said.

The 66-year-old woman is believed to have been attacked and killed by two pit bull dogs in her Lake Tillery subdivision, Montgomery County Sheriff Chris Watkins said in a press release on Friday.

“This is a very tragic event, which has deeply affected the family, friends, deputies and first responders,” Waktins said in the release. “Our thoughts and prayers are being extended to all.”

 

 

“An investigation involving medical and animal and wildlife officials determined the woman was attacked by dogs, Watkins said in the release. Officials then “searched the neighborhood and located two pit bull dogs with physical evidence reflecting the dog’s involvement,” the statement said.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess it was thew mauling that gave it away as a dog attack.   And that the dogs were covered in the victims blood and viscera

“The owner agreed for the dogs to be euthanized so they could be forensically examined to see if they suffered from rabies,” Watkins said in an interview with The News & Observer on Saturday. Medical examiners also wanted to study the animals’ jaw sizes, Watkins said.

People grow might attached to their pets but I don’t know many normal citizens who would have put their own dogs down in an instant if they were found to have killed some one out for a walk. Though  when one buys the breed of peace you better prepare for the likelihood they will turn violent on some one at any moment

The woman’s body was sent to Raleigh for an autopsy, according to the press release.

Watkins said as of Saturday the case remained a death investigation and not a criminal investigation.

Read more here: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article216508575.html#storylink=cpy

 

A look at the LaRue RAT stock

Lets take a quick look at the LaRue Tactical RAT stock.  The stock has an ambidextrous QD swivel socket and a slot for standard slings.  To adjust the stock, you pull the “trigger” in it to the rear.  This makes for quick and easy adjustments.

There is a little rotating dial that can be easily turned 90 degrees.  When it is vertical you can pull the trigger back farther and easily remove the stock from the weapon.  When the knob handle is horizontal the stock won’t come off the firearm.

This stock has a hard plastic buttpad, and a profile like a subdued SOPMOD stock.  Perhaps more like the B5 Bravo stock in shape.

Pushing a recessed button with a tool, such as a rifle round allows you to remove the buttpad.

Then you can push on these inserts in the stock revealing the stored cleaning rod sections.

The left and right plastic inserts each hold two cleaning rod sections.  The 4 sections screw together to be 24 3/4 inches long.  Then you can screw it to the buttpad to give you a handle.

I really like the idea of having a cleaning rod on the weapon but I don’t understand why Larue Tactical decided to put the rods in holders in the stock.  It seems to me that they could have just had holes in the stock to hold the rod sections and it would have been a little quicker and simpler.  I thought perhaps these inserts might have been to prevent noise or rattling when the weapon is moved, but you can still hear a little noise when this stock is shaken.

I haven’t tried cleaning or clearing a stuck case with one of these rods and I tend to prefer lighter smaller stocks, but this is a cool option available to us.

Right as I was about to submit this, I see that there is a small storage compartment in the stock, just large enough that you could probably fit an eyelet or borebrush and some patches.  I wonder if the RAT would be more popular had it come with an eyelet, borebrush, and a couple of patches and sold as a stock with a cleaning kit.

When the Army Resisted the M16A2, Part 1-3

Today  is our traditional day of re posting some of the best articles of our friend Kevin O’Brien  better know as Hognose by his many admirers and readers of his website weaponsman.com. Kevin left us too early  in spring of 2017 and we repost his work here to honor him and preserve his work.

 

By Kevin O’Brien

The M16A2 was adopted by the Marines in 1983, and then by the Army three years later, but all of its development was done, largely on a shoestring, by the Marines.

For example, the finger bump on the A2 pistol grip? The very first prototype was built up by a Marine officer on an A1 grip, using plastic wood or body filler! Most of the modifications to the A2 were aimed at:

  1. Increased practical accuracy;
  2. Increased effective range;
  3. Increased durability; and,
  4. NATO compliance (adopting a NATO round equivalent to the FN SS109 round).

In a brief overview of the service life of the M16 series for American Rifleman in June, 2012, Martin K.A. Morgan encapsulated this history well:

In November 1983, the U.S. Marine Corps adopted a product-improved version of the M16A1 chambered for the 5.56×45 mm NATO round. The new rifle was called the M16A2 and it differed significantly from its predecessor: improved rear sights, a brass deflector, a heavier barrel and 1:7-inch rifling were among the changes. The M16A2 also replaced the M16A1’s “AUTO” selector setting with a “BURST” setting delivering three rounds with every trigger pull. The Army followed the Marine Corps’ adoption of the improved rifle in March 1986 when it ordered 100,176 M16A2 rifles from Colt. In September 1988, the U.S. government placed an initial order for 266,961 M16A2s with Fabrique Nationale’s North American subsidiary, FN Mfg., Inc. of Columbia, S.C. Late the following year, when 57,000 U.S. military personnel conducted the Operation Just Cause invasion of Panama, the M16A2 was used in combat for the first time.

For practical accuracy, the A2 had new sights, with a square front post; for range, a new round with a heavier bullet, and new rifling to match; and for durability, new stocks and handguards and significant metal reinforcement in the lower receiver’s weak areas, the pivot pin bosses and buffer tower.

The rifle was not without controversy in the Army. Indeed, contractors for the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences examined the rifle and concluded that, as their paper’s abstract notes:

[U]se of the M16A2 rifle by the Army would be extremely problematic, a-fact due, in part, to the vast differences between the marksmanship training philosophies of the Army and the Marine Corps.

(The paper is here: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a168577.pdf)

The Army had been researching improvements to the M16A1 for years, but hadn’t actually implemented any. In the foreword to the Army Research Institute paper, the word “problematic” crops up again and one gets the sense that the problem was this solution was Not Invented Here, and moreover, not developed the way the Army wanted to develop one.

Referring to earlier research, they wrote:

A detailed evaluation of M16Al performance was conducted to determine adequacy, peculiarities, etc. The findings clearly indicated that the M16Al was an adequate combat rifle; however, many shortcomings were identified that should be addressed in a new rifle or any rifle Product Improvement Program (PIP).

They considered that the improvements in the A2, listed below, were suitable only for the peculiar circumstances of Marine Corps service.

The Marine Corps test results stated the following advantages for the PIP [Product Improvement Program -Ed.] rifle:

  • Ease of training (handling and ease of sight movement).
  • Improved safety (no hazard when adjusting elevation on the rear sight even with loaded weapon).
  • Increased effectiveness at long ranges (more hits, better accuracy, and greater penetration).
  • Improved handling characteristics and durability in hand-to-hand close combat.
  • Reduced barrel jump and muzzle climb during automatic and rapid fire.
  • Increased contrast and less glare with square front sight post.
  • Stronger, more durable and improved grasping characteristics of front handguard.
  • Stronger barrel with quicker twist to take advantage of increased effectiveness provided by new ammunition.
  • Improved sighting characteristics providing quick target acquisition for moving targets and better detection of targets in low level light conditions at close ranges, and more accurate long range fire by use of two modified rear sight apertures.
  • Increased ammunition conservation and more effective use of ammunition with burst control device.
  • Conformity to human factors standards by lengthening stock (alleviating bruised eyebrows, noses, and lips).
  • Stronger, more durable stock.
  • Stronger, more durable buttcap which also reduces slipping on the shoulder during firing.
  • More controllable and comfortable pistol grip contoured to the shape of the hand.
  • Improved brass deflector which protects left handed shooters from hot ejected brass casings.
  • Can use NATO type improved ammunition (XM855) which provides improved performance and penetration at long ranges.

The Army evaluators were impressed by that list of solutions, but thought they all traced back to four specific USMC objectives or requirements:

The above list of advantages is very impressive. It appears that the rifle meets the primary requirements stated by the Marines:

  • A sight adjustable to 800 meters.
  • A bullet with better accuracy at 800 meters and the capability to penetrate all known helmets and body armor at ranges of 800 meters.
  • A rifle with more durable plastic parts and barrel which will take a beating during bayonet training and extended field exercises.
  • The replacement of the full automatic capability with a burst mode which fires a maximum of three rounds with each pull of the trigger.

…but they thought that the requirements were too Marine-centric.

The list, however, represents the objective and subjective evaluation of Marine Corps personnel who are emphasizing the most positive aspects of rifle characteristics as they pertain to envisioned Marine Corps requirements.

This is the first of a three part series. In the second part, tomorrow on WeaponsMan.com, the Army contractors damn the A2 with faint praise and list a litany of A1 shortcomings that they believed that the A2 did not resolve. In the third part, the modifications that they suggested in lieu of or in addition to the A2 mods are enumerated.

As it was, the contracting officer’s representative approved the paper in February, 1986. In March, and probably before any of the responsible officers read the paper, the Army went ahead and adopted the M16A2, just the way the Marines had shaken it out.

That makes this paper a time capsule.

When the Army Resisted the M16A2, Part 2 of 3

The M16A2 was adopted by the Marines in 1983, and then by the Army in 1986. Shortly before its adoption, an Army contract analyzed the M16A2 — and found it all wrong for  the Army. The report is here: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a168577.pdf

This is the second of a three part series. In the first part, yesterday on WeaponsMan.com, the Army contractors noted the specific solutions implemented on the A2 and the problems the Marines solved thereby, but complained that the problems and solutions were too USMC-specific. In this part, we’ll discuss just what they thought was wrong about the Marines’ product. In the third part, which we’ll post tomorrow, we’ll list the modifications that they suggested in lieu of or in addition to the A2 mods.

M16A1 (top) and M16A2.

As we recounted in yesterday’s post, the Army let a contract to analyze the Marines’ product-improved M16A1, originally called the M16 PIP (Product Improvement Program but in November 1983, type-classified as the M16A2. Did the A2 meet the Army’s needs for an improved rifle? The contractors recounted 17 improvements in the A2 versus the A1, and traced those improvements back to four or five fundamental goals of the Marine program: more range, accuracy and penetration at that range, more durability, and a burst-fire capability in place of the full-auto setting.

The Army contractors recognized what the USMC had done — and damned it with faint praise.

The M16A2 rifle was developed and tested by the U.S. Marine Corps. The purpose of this present analysis was to evaluate M16A2 rifle features as they relate to U.S. Army training and combat requirements. It was found that the M16A2 did not correct major shortcomings in the MI6Al and that many M16A2 features would be very problematic for the Army. Accordingly, this report provides several suggested rifle modifications which would improve training and combat performance.

The A1 shortcomings that the paper’s authors thought went unameliorated, or were worsened, by the A2 included:

  1. 25 Meter Setting: The M16A2 does not have a sight setting for firing at 25 meters, where zeroing and most practice firing occurs.
  2. Battlesight Zero: The M16A2 does not have a setting for battlesight zero, i.e., 250 meters.
  3. Aperture Size: The M16A2 probably does not have an aperture suitable for the battlesight, e.g., the single aperture used for most marksmanship training, the record fire course, the primary aperture for combat, etc. The 5mm aperture used for 0-200 meters is probably too large and the 1-3/4mm aperture used for 300-800 meters is probably too small.
  4. Sighting System: The M16A2 sighting system is too complex, i.e., elevation is changed three different ways, leaving too much room for soldier error.
  5. Sight Movement: Sight movements on the M16A2 result in changing bullet strike by different amounts; .5, 1, 1.4, and 3 minutes of angle (MOA)*. The sights intended for zeroing, .5 and 1.4 MOA, are not compatible with old Army zero targets or the new targets being fielded.
  6. Zero Recording: The M16A2 does not have a sighting system which allows for easy recording of rifle zero. Also, the zero cannot be confirmed by visual inspection.
  7. Returning to Zero: The M16A2 does not have a reliable procedure for setting an individual’s zero after changing sights for any reason, e.g., using MILES or .22 rimfire adaptors.
  8. Night Sight: The M16A2 does not have a low light level or night sight.
  9. Protective Mask Firing: The M16A2 has not been designed to aid firing while wearing a protective mask.
  10. Range Estimation: The M16A2 sight has not been designed to aid in the estimation of range

Let’s consider those, briefly. Note that every single one of those objections relates to the sights. There are no complaints about the other Marine improvements (not even the hated burst switch). Most of the sight squawks were because the sight was different from the sights of the A1, which were pretty much as Stoner, Sullivan et. al. designed them circa 1959 (the earlier AR-10 sights are different, but the later AR-15 prototypes and their descendants all used something extremely close to the M16 and M16A1 sights. (The USAF/USN M16 and the Army/Marine M16A1 differed only in the absence and presence respectively of a forward assist). Even the protective mask issue is basically a sighting problem — with the then current US M17 gas mask, the rifle had to be held canted to use carrying-handle based rear sights.

Complaints 1-5 relate only to the M16A2 sights, but 6-10 are just as applicable to the then-issued Army M16A1.

Even at the time, it was clear that optical sights were better than irons — scopes for distance and red dots for close-in work. Army special operators had already tested — on the flat range, in the tire house, and on the two-way range — such early red-dots and both-eyes-open sights such as the Single Point and the Armson Occluded Eye Gunsight (OEG). In the early 21st Century, universal optics would end the long run of the M16A2, and sweep away all these problems the 1986 Army contractors worried about. But there was no way to predict that in 1986, not with any certainty.

And that’s Part 2 of our story. Tomorrow, we’ll cover the modifications to the M16 that the authors recommended in place of the A2

When The Army Resisted the M16A2, Part 3 of 3

The previous two stories set the stage, for a look at a report drafted for the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences the Army was still pursuing the “best” (an upgraded M16 meeting all Army objectives) instead of the “good” (the M16A2, which was developed and revised to meet Marine objectives). Of course, we all know the spoiler aleady: the Army accepted the Marine M16A2 as is, leaving the report as an orphaned artifact. The report is here: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a168577.pdf

Colt factory shot of the M16A2. The A2 was developed by the USMC, but was manufactured by Colt and FNMI.

This is the third of a three part series. In the first part, Thursday on WeaponsMan.com, the Army contractors noted the specific solutions implemented on the A2 and the problems the Marines solved thereby, but complained that the problems and solutions were too USMC-specific. In the second part, posted yesterday, we discussed just what they thought was wrong about the Marines’ product. In this, third, part, we’ll list the modifications that they suggested in lieu of or in addition to the A2 mods.

Most of the Army’s problems with the A2 related to the burst mechanism, and the sights, especially the complicated rear sight. (This is actually an A3/A4 or M4: note the knobs, left, for removing the carrying handle. The A2 handle was forged as part of the upper receiver.

Reliability

We should note that the Marines’ tests, as reported in this document (p,7), demonstrated significantly lower reliability, and increased fouling in the A2 compared to its older brother. These tests are suspect because the early lot of XM855 used was considered bad ammo, but the M16A1 did outperform the A2.

Thirty Ml6A1 rifles firing 26,010 rounds of M193

Failures to fire – none
Failures to feed – 3 (Not locking magazine in place)

Thirty M16A2 rifles firing 26,010 rounds of XM855

Failures to fire – 52 (27 – bad ammunition) (25 – mechnanical [sic] malfunctions)
Failures to feed – 3 (Improperly loaded magazines)

Those failures to fire that were not attributed to bad ammo were thought to be caused by the A2 trigger system’s Achilles’s heel, the burst trigger mechanism. The A2 performed even worse in a cold weather test, but again, it was with the questionable ammunition, and many of the failures to fire were also laid at the feet of the burst mechanism.

The report has an interesting discussion of the burst mechanism and its rationale in Marine, but not Army, small arms doctrine:

The M16A2 has less combat capability due to the elimination of full automatic fire. Full automatic fire enhances the ability of Army units to clear and defend buildings, to conduct final assaults on enemy positions, to defend against an enemy final assault, to conduct an ambush, to react to an enemy ambush, to engage an enemy helicopter or fast moving vehicle, etc.

While the Marines claim greater accuracy and conservation of ammunition for the 3-round burst control, no data were generated during the test to support these contentions and no supportative [sic] data are known to exist.

Also, it should be noted that room-to-room fighting was conducted with blanks, no close-in firing was conducted, no firing with short time limits was conducted, no firing at aircraft was conducted, etc. In other words, for all of the automatic/burst firing conducted during the test, a semi-automatic mode of fire would have probably resulted in a greater number of target hits.

Finally, to be given very serious consideration, is the fact that the burst control requires nine (9) new parts in the lower receiver, evidently contributing to the large number of weapon malfunctions during testing of the M16A2.

They also took issue with the heavy barrel (“heavy in the wrong place”), the twist rate (preferred 1:9), stock length increased when even the A1 stock was too long for small soldiers, and the fast twist’s incompatibility with the .22 subcaliber system.

The article includes an extensive comparison of the pros and cons of Marine KD vs. Army Trainfire marksmanship modalities. These training differences result from the different combat envelopes for the rifleman: the Marines need to engage with rifles in the 300-to-800 meter space, because they don’t have the supporting arms that the Army can count on, at least, not in the same quantity. A unit that must fight with just its organic weapons needs to get the very most out of these weapons. The Army of 1986 did not consider a 500 or 600 meter target a primary rifle target, but a crew-served-weapons target.

In the end, the recommendations the contractors made were mostly about the sights. They put their recommendations in a table with the M16A1 and M16A2 stats. Since the latter are probably familiar to most readers, we omit them now to save time, and just show the contract recommendations.

Item Recommended
Front sight (day) Fixed blade, 0.090″
Front sight (night) Luminous dot on each sightguard
Rear Sight (day) single 2mm peep. A single elevation knob marked for 200, 250, 390, 25, 400, 500, 15, 600, 700, and 800 meters. Windage knob at rear. Each click equal to 1 MOA
Rear Sight (night) Two luminous dots on upper portion of receiver (or a single flip- up luminous dot located forward of the carrying handle) are aligned with front dots for shooting at night
Zero Recording Yes
Zero Inspection Yes
25m setting (day and night sights) Yes
Mechanical Zero Yes
250-m battlesight Yes
Firing mode Semi and Auto
Barrel 20″. Slightly heavier than A1 at receiver and mid-barrel. 1:9″ twist
Handguard Same as M16A2 except held in place with a securely fastened ring nut to provide rigidity.
Buttstock Same material as M16A2. Same length as M16A1. Option for adjustable length.

There are several interesting observations to make here. First, the contractors recommended that the Army make changes that would decrease the mechanical accuracy of the proposed M16Ax relative to the Marines’ A2. Specifically, these changes included the wider fixed front sight blade, the 1-MOA adjustments on the rear sight (A2 offers ½-MOA), and arguably the simplification of the rear sight. The trade-off was simplicity and ease of training, instead of superior bullseye performance.

Second, some of the proposals would definitely improve the utility of the firearm, including restoring the short stock, or replacing it with an adjustable one; increasing the barrel diameter towards the chamber rather than the muzzle, thus improving sustained fire accuracy and reliability; reverting to automatic fire from the burst mechanism (which also has side benefits, in improving the trigger’s feel and consistency). The night-sight proposal was truly ingenious.

Third, in some of these road-not-taken proposals, the Army was reverting to the original AR-10 design and rejecting changes that were largely imposed on the AR design by the Army in the previous decade. These include the rigid fastening of the handguard, and the fixed front sight blade.

Finally, these proposals were almost the last gasp of the iron-sighted military rifle. As this  document passed from the contracting officer to file cabinets across the service, without action, special operators were already wringing out scopes and single-point sights, and a few visionaries were already arguing that the day of the iron sight had run its three centuries, and was now at an end. A new generation of optical technology was eliminating the two objections that had kept optics off the rifles of most soldiers: less durability than irons, and slower target acquisition. Many men’s efforts went into winning over the Voices of Experience who still said “no” to anything with a lens, thanks to memories of Uncle Joe’s elk lost because his scope fogged up, or the VC that got away because somebody attached an unauthorized 4×32 Colt scope to the carrying handle of his M16.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Where are they now? Monolithic Uppers

 

I was looking at a picture of the LMT MARS-L as adopted by New Zealand and I was remembering how not that long ago I read all sorts of people saying that the future of the AR was going to be monolithic uppers.

Greater rigidity, accuracy & precision, no top rail gap interfering with optics mounting, simpler and less parts, and all manner of other improvements were the reasons why the monolithic upper was the future.

I tended to point out that if the handguard got damaged, then you had to replace a whole larger more expensive assembly.  Don’t get me wrong, I like monolithic uppers and I own a few.

For example this Colt LE6945 pictured has a monolithic upper.

So what was it we were suppose to have by now?

There was going to be this M16A4 Product Improved(Sometimes referred to as M16A5).  This was going to be the USMC new rifle which would be a collapsing stock(Some sources said VLTOR A5, others Magpul UBR) and a VLTOR monolithic upper.  It might have looked something like this:

Photo found on AR15.com

The USMC ended up moving to the M4 and the M27 IAR.  We don’t know how seriously the Corps ever really considered the Product Improved M16A4.  But that didn’t stop rampant speculation by gun nuts.

Anyways I think that the ultimate customization available to the AR is what killed interest in the monolithic upper.  For example some years back Noveske barrels were extremely popular on high dollar custom AR15s.  The more popular monolithic uppers like the LMT MRP used proprietary barrels and so people couldn’t use what ever is the flavor the week.  Similarly preferences in handguards changed.  We went from people wanted a M4 barrel with KAC RAS, to a long free float quad rail, to long slick tubes.  Now MLOK and Keymod are everywhere(but it looks like MLOK is winning).  Someone who bought an expensive monolithic upper is locked into their choice.

I think the monolithic upper has lost out in the AR market, but I expect most any new competitor to the AR15 will likely have a monolithic upper with perhaps something like a removable or interchangeable side/bottom section.

HOG SADDLE

The Hog Saddle has been out for a few years now .  It was developed by a former sniper  as a better mouse trap for shooting a sniper rifle  when  the terrain or urban environment will not allow the use of more traditional positions and methods.

The Hog saddle is a professionally done version of the  home made camera tripod, foam and craddle made out of whatever the maker thought best and could get.  You can google image search hundreds of picture online of USMC snipers using home made shooting tripods during the first decade of the  war on terror.  Mostly seen being used  inside buildings in Iraq for urban sniping.

Designed by a Marine Scout Sniper and OIF Veteran, tripod systems tailored to special operations, PRS shooters, and the modern outdoorsman.”

 

HOG Saddle Specs:

  • CNC machined from a solid block of aluminum
  • Black oxide stainless steel bolt and guide rods
  • Hard anodized finish (a resilient surface which serves as an excellent base coat for custom camouflage paint)
  • 1/4-20 stainless steel mounting threads and 3/8-16 back up threads
  • CNC machined torque knob assembly with retention button screw to prevent disassembly in the field (opens 1/4in wider than previous model)
  • Stainless steel noise dampening tension spring
  • 1/4 inch thick, recessed urethane pads specifically engineered to absorb rifle recoil and reduce muzzle jump
  • Anti-rotation slots to accept tripod QD plates that have video pins
  • Superior resistance to corrosion
  • Weight: 15.8oz

As you can see  and read from the specs above the Hog Saddle is one tough solid product.  It is pretty self explanatory.  You put the rifle forearm in the middle and turn the massive knob to tighten.  It will tighten on a large variety of shapes  including AR15 pattern hand guards.  And of course it will easily accept bolt action sniper rifles.

The saddle itself attaches to a ball head  mount that allows for a very flexible range  of motion for  just about any shooting angle  need.

The ball head has adjustment knobs and markings for setting and resetting or whatever you think you need.  It is pretty simple and easy to grasp quickly. As you can see below the set up will allow extreme angle shooting. If needing to take a very steep shot from the top of a 10 story building or a rock cliff, it will accommodate you.

The tripod  is pretty heavy duty and  its weight is appreciated when the legs are extended.  As far as its adjustment it is no different than any other camera tripod in that the legs extended, they can fold in and the main beam can be raised and a nut tightened on it to hold it in place as well as rotate 360 degrees.  Though this one is different in that it looks and feels like a 40mm grenade fired at it wouldn’t hurt it.

 

You can adjust it for standing and sitting and every where in between.  You can’t get it down low enough to shoot while prone on the ground of course.

 

So how steady is it for shooting  when standing or sitting?   Well, its ok.  You get the best results if you can brace the legs against something  and if you can support your arms.  If you  rely only on it for support it is  not a miracle worker.  Below are some 100 yard groups shot with only the hog saddle  with no other support from standing. Obviously it is not as solid as prone with a rest or bipods but it is a huge improvement. With a little extra bracing it can be extremely stable.    If your job is sniping, I can say it is a piece of kit worth the money.

WHEN GUNS ARE OUTLAWED ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE AIRPLANES

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-man-crashes-plane-own-house-after-assaulting-wife-police-n900236

 

The scene where a plane crashed into a home in Payson, Utah

The alleged intentional crash in Payson, Utah, came hours after Duane Youd was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of domestic  violence

When you are soooooooooo angry at you wife that just beating her like most normal pieces of trash?  why, you follow the example set by the Japanese in WW2 and get a plane and kamikaze the thing into the house she’s in.

“PAYSON, Utah — A Utah man flew a small plane into his own house early Monday just hours after he had been arrested for assaulting his wife in a nearby canyon where the couple went to talk over their problems, authorities said.”

The pilot, Duane Youd, died.” Excellent reporting.  I don’t think anyone would have been sure a dive bomb into a home inside of a giant piece of aluminum full of aviation fuel was deadly

“His wife and a child who were in the home got out and survived despite the front part the two-story house being engulfed in flames, Payson police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval said.”

Luckily the wife and boy escaped  death. Had they been in the wrong part of the house it would probably been a case of needing dental records.

Image taken before the headfirst smash into a house via airplane.

Youd had been arrested about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after witnesses called police to report that Youd was assaulting his wife, Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. The couple had been drinking and went to American Fork Canyon to talk about problems they were having.

How did I know booze had a part to play in all this.  Or has Hognose called it, “judgement juice.”  We have seen some pretty crazy things over the past two years.  A man flying a plane to his own death in an attempt to kill the  old bal and chain out of spite ranks right up there with  “free bleeding”.

Youd was booked into jail on suspicion of domestic violence and then bailed out, Cannon said. Youd requested an officer escort to go to his home so he could get his truck and some belongings around midnight. That occurred without incident, Sandoval said.

If he had requested an officer escort him to the home and told him they would take plane ride would he had agreed?  Maybe if he was a member of the LEO investigating the Las Vegas concert shooting..

Within hours, Youd was taking off in the plane from the Spanish Fork-Springville Airport about 15 miles north of his home. He flew directly to his neighborhood and crashed into his house, Sandoval said.

Photos of the wreckage showed the white plane charred and in pieces in the front yard nearby an overturned and crushed car. Most of the upscale house was still intact, but heavily burned in the front.

In case the image above wasn’t all you needed to see.

Police had responded one previous time to the house on a domestic violence incident, Sandoval said. Online court records show that Youd agreed on July 23 to attend marriage and family counselling sessions for six months as part of a plea agreement following an April 8 domestic violence incident in which he was charged with disorderly conduct.”

Flying a machine into a house is pretty disorderly.  Luckily though Youd would have been prohibited from owning a firearm due to the domestic violence charges.  Goo thing or otherwise some one could have been hurt!