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Old musing of mine on an ideal infantry rifle.

After I did a tour in Iraq in 06, I was close to the end of my service, I ended up in a camp guard force. Spend 6 hours on watch, then 6 hours off. Spent that time in guard shacks in 3 walls (and an open side). It is was miserable, we were allowed to wear hooded sweatshirts and keep wool blankets in these guard shacks. During that time I spent a while thinking about how the M16A4 could be improved.


Early 2007ish when I was freezing my ass off in these guard posts (at least they had a roof, better than most USMC accommodations), I had what I thought would be a good product improved M16A4.

My first thought was the free float the barrel. Not so much that the barrel needed to be free floated for military use, but that there were much lighter and nicer tubular hand guards available. The Knight Armament M5 Quad Rail used on the M16A4 works great, but it is heavy and expensive. If I recall correctly, I had learned of the VTAC tubular handguard and thought that would be an excellent replacement for the KAC M5. It would make the gun lighter, free float the barrel, and you could still install rail sections if you needed them to attach accessories.

My next thought was that if the barrel was free floated, we wouldn’t need the silly government profile. The M16A2, M16A4, and the M4 have barrels that get heavier towards the muzzle, instead of any sort of common sense profile. Story goes that M16A1 barrels were failing the barrel straightness tests near the front sight base, so it was decided to strengthen the barrels there. Story then says that it turned out to be copper buildup at the gas port in the barrel causing the barrel straightness gauges to get caught. If we don’t need the government profile, we could use a lightweight barrel like on the M16A1. That would cut some weight off the rifle.

I wanted to keep it a 20 inch barreled rifle with fixed front sight and bayonet lug as back then I still believed all the chatter we were told in the Corps that the M4 was not suitable as an infantry weapon. Having that 20 inch lightweight profile barrel would give up more velocity, less wear and tear on the internals, the ability to mount a bayonet. Lastly, still having a fixed front sight base on a free floating barrel means that if you drop or damage your gun and tweak or bend that barrel. You are likely to still hit what you are aiming at if you are using your iron sights.

I wanted to maintain the ability to use a flip up rear sight, I thought the ACOG would be the best choice for a rifleman’s rifle. I still pretty much feel that way.

Last big change from the stock M16A4 I was thinking about back then was a collapsible stock. I did not like using that A2 stock with body armor.

Picture of Knife_Snipers rifle

It might have looked something like this.

In the decade plus since then, I’ve thought less about making “ideal” rifles, and focused more on purpose built guns. I’ve realized that the M4 is plenty good enough as an infantry rifle, but I still love free floating lightweight barrels. Now my idea of the closest thing you could get to an ideal AR15 would be something like a long freefloat tube with an accurate lightweight barrel. Something like the Larue PredatAR.

What would be your ideal AR15 for fighting?

Click Here To Save $15 at Ammo.com

16 thoughts on “Old musing of mine on an ideal infantry rifle.”

  1. First, define “fighting”.

    The root of most of our problems with small arms is that we have a basically inchoate idea of how we intend to use them. We don’t define the things we’ll need them to do, or how we intend for them to be used, so we keep designing and adopting the wrong damn weapon for our needs.

    Start with the ballistics. What do you need that projectile to be able to do, and at what range? Do you intend to have your guys firing at targets out past 400m? Do you intend to have your riflemen simply provide basic security for the close-in fight, while you leave the long-range targets to crew-served and vehicle mounts?

    Hell, what kind of squad are you planning on integrating this weapon into? What are the other weapons it’s going to work with? How much training are you going to give your individual rifleman?

    Then, there’s the enemy, the terrain, and all the rest of the variables.

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Tell me how you mean to fight, and then I’ll tell you what your weapons ought to look like, and what you should be doing. Can’t tell me how you intend to conduct yourself under fire? I’m gonna point at you and laugh, and tell you to go figure it out.

    This is the fundamental problem with nine-tenths of our small arms. Nobody has taken the time to actually think about what we want to do, or lay out a theoretical framework from which to hang all the subordinate decisions. The individual weapon you give a guy who’s going to be fighting from an IFV in Europe is not the individual weapon you want to be handing a guy who’s humping a ruck in the Hindu Kush, nor is it the weapon for someone who’s going to be on skis in the forests of Finland. Figure out your parameters, recognize that this isn’t a “One size fits all…” or “One ultimate weapon to do everything for everyone…” situation, and then live with the tradeoffs you have to make.

    • That is the problem. Our military wants to issue the same firearm for clearing rooms, caves, and spider holes, to hitting a 500m point target or suppressing a 800m area target. To make something better at one aspect it is going to be worse at another.

      • It’s actually worse than that: The military can’t even articulate in any clear or cogent manner just what the hell it is that it wants its individual or crew-served weapons to do.

        That’s one rather large elephant in the room. The other one is that the military really has zero idea of how to discuss the why and wherefore of those weapons integrating into tactics and operational intent.

        Seems outrageous, doesn’t it? But, it’s the reality–If you doubt me, just go take a look at the ROE in Afghanistan or Iraq. There’s absolutely no discussion in any of them about the effect that things like PID and so forth have on tactics and operations, because all of that is critical to the whole package of weapons/tactics/operational intent being able to work. The JAG officers have limited to no idea of what goes on under fire, and write blue-sky idealism into the ROE, prosecuting anyone who violates the rules they write in the comfort of their offices in the various headquarters. They don’t want any “incidents”, and restrict use of support weapons, ignoring the fact that there are no effective alternatives which offer the discrimination their lunatic ideas require.

        The fact that we don’t have a proper theoretical construct describing this stuff is why the line officers are left totally unequipped to argue the points with JAG–JAG says that you can’t “shoot indiscriminately” at an area you’re taking fire from at 800m, and they prosecute anyone who uses an area weapon without doing the whole “determine likely collateral damage” process to ensure that nobody gets hurt who isn’t the enemy. Which means then that instead of using their individual weapons within the de facto design parameters, the guys wind up having to shoehorn those weapons into doing things that they were never meant to do, like deliver precise fire at 600-800m. The way that our “desire path” weapons design/procurement process has worked things out, that task was meant to be performed by an indirect fire asset like mortars, artillery, or an air strike. Small arms has not been the preferred option for such targets since before WWII, but here we are trying to do it that way–And, mostly because the framework to discuss that is nonexistent.

        Seriously–Go sit down with a bunch of company-grade officers, and start asking questions about the broad swath of the weapons they’re supposed to be working with. “Lieutenant Dan, what weapon is supposed to do what for your unit? How are you supposed to use them, in concert with supporting fires…?”. Nine out of ten will give you a baffled, hurt look, and the tenth will start spouting BS he’s pulling out of his ass.

        Most of the “thinking” in this arena boils down to a whole lot of wishful thinking and sheer delusion. Start asking questions about this whole “lethality” thing that the generals have set as the goal for the new weapons systems they’re getting ready to spend billions on, and you’re gonna find they can’t even define it, let alone use it coherently in a sentence. It’s a buzzword someone latched on to, and something that defies definition. We don’t even have a solid, thoughtfully developed definition of what our minimum numbers should be for how much energy it takes to reliably kill a human being–You go looking, and the data is all over the place. One authority says this, another says that, and most of it is based on purest supposition and fantasy. There are shelves full of voluminous reports and learned papers discussing the idea, but jack and sh*t for actual validated information that didn’t come out of some lab or animal proxy study. The whole thing is friggin’ insane–I’ve advocated for years that we need to start doing real-world data acquisition, and start recovering enemy bodies from downrange to analyze exactly what worked, what didn’t, and begin getting some actual science into this fairy-tale world of fantasy and supposition we live in.

        Ain’t happening, though. It’s going to continue until something breaks in a really big way, and then we’ll be on to the next slap-dash half-ass solution. It’s how we got the M16 in the first damn place…

    • Kirk,

      You raise some great points here and have definitely influenced my thinking on this over the years.

      Even before we define fighting, we need to define “war.” Roosevelt and his administration had a clear definition of it in 1942, and GHWB had one in 1991, but none of the other wars we’ve fought in my lifetime have had this definition.

      What’s our strategery here? Well, we’ll go fight them until the power of democracy and underpants gnomes overwhelms them and voilà! Democracy will take root and flower!

      You mention the JAGs, and they deserve plenty of calumny in this, but ultimately it comes back to the political leaders that the JAGs nominally work for.

      Wars are atrocity machines. There’s never been a war in history that wasn’t. If the American people aren’t willing to commit atrocities, both directly in the form of the people pulling the triggers or dropping the bombs, indirectly in the forms of JAGs and politicians approving or covering up the atrocities, or the civilian population electing political leaders who are willing to press the war to its conclusions, perhaps we should forego wars of choice, or at least define our aims down as small as we did for the first Gulf War.

      If we keep entering wars with either the intention to lose or at least the intention to tie our hands so far behind our backs that it’s impossible to win, the rifle we choose doesn’t matter.

      And IMHO, an AR in 5.56 is about the least useful firearm for the coming war on American soil.

      • John, I think the basic problem is that the US, as a culture which has currently got this ongoing fantasy that we’re the “good guys”, the “nice guys”, and that everything we do has got to be for morally upright and “good causes”.

        Which is utter bullsh*t.

        I don’t think that it was ever any better going back to that idiot Wilson, with his ideas about the “War to end all wars…”, which just happened to include the creation of internal mechanisms of political control and repression that were so well-wrought that the Nazis and Communists looked to him for inspiration. You think things are bad, now? LOL… Between Wilson and that POS FDR freak that managed to get away with confiscating everybody’s gold, it’s amazing to me that we’re not generations deep into something that would make the Communist Chinese look like utter amateurs of great restraint.

        It’s like I had to tell a lot of junior NCOs who were newly promoted to the rank; you have to embrace your inner asshole. War is not about fixing things, it’s about breaking them. You’re not conducting a humanitarian exercise–You’re killing people and breaking their sh*t because they won’t do what you want them to. You have to kill enough of them and break enough of their sh*t to where they won’t bother you again.

        Case studies proving that? WWI: We didn’t kill enough Germans or break enough of their sh*t to convince them not to do that world-conquest thing again. WWII: Enough Germans were dead and enough sh*t was broken that we did manage to convince them not to bother us, and it’s only now that they’re getting uppity again. Do note that this time ’round, “uppity” does not include putting down the cuckoo-clock and heading out to conquer the world-island for themselves.

        This time, I think they may finally have managed to pick a method of racial/national suicide that’s gonna work, and whatever political/racial entity that occupies the space that was Germany ain’t going to be recognizable by us as “German” in a few short generations.

        That said, the weapons things are outgrowths of this. The military reflects the culture it is recruited from, and when you can manage to recruit an observant Brahman Indian into the Army without that individual ever cottoning on to the fact that the Army is all about killing people and breaking things, well… Yeah. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. Did you know that you can’t apply for a Conscientious Objector status if you joined the Army as a practicing believer in a religion that forbids you to kill? I do. Now. F**king awkward

        It’s all about the mentality and the culture. We don’t want to admit that it’s about killing people, so what we do is wrap our weapons ideas up in this mantle of “sport”–That’s why the Camp Perry matches drove the train on rifle design for most of the 20th Century. We gamified it, to coin a word–No reality here, nosirree Bob. Those narsty, narsty Plywoodians and Pastians are our mortal enemies, and they only pop up in the open at fixed ranges…

        Nobody wanted to admit to themselves that the rifle is a murder tool, or that the basic job of the soldier is to gain dishonest and sneaky advantage over the enemy, and then kill him. Preferably in his sleep, so he can’t fight back.

        This lack of contact with the reality of things in combat is why most of our weapons designs and procurement goals are so ‘effing bad. Nobody wants to be the guy who points out that you’re going to have to get up close and personal, kill the enemy, and get splattered with his blood while listening to him call out for his mommy while he dies in agony. We want it antiseptic and remote, so we keep building rifles that are going to do that killing out of the range of blood spatter and hearing.

        What’s so damn annoying about it is that the sanctimony of it all is quite literally killing our troops. You wanna know what ends wars? The other guy deciding that, all things considered, he really would prefer that US troops are somewhere else, far, far away. You don’t do that by coming in all smiling and friendly, building new schools and putting in wells. You do that by being the bad guy that kills them for transgressing on the rules, and doing so with immense gusto and pleasure. That dissuades, and convinces people not to cause trouble for us.

        Which is not to say that I advocate for atrocity for the sake of atrocity, either–What is necessary is the massive and brutal deployment of utterly overwhelming force at the appropriate targets. What the Soviets tried to do in Afghanistan didn’t work, obviously, but what the Muslims did centuries earlier obviously did. It’s on a scale, just like the amount of violence it takes as a measured dose to cure people of their desire to cause problems. Soviets serve as a bad example of how to do things, in ohsoverymany different ways. But, that does not mean that some of the techniques and processes they used aren’t effective, just that the Soviets applied them excessively and improperly.

        After all, Afghanistan wasn’t always Islamic. An examination of how it got that way would be an instructive historical model for how we might get to an Afghanistan that isn’t a world problem child. Muslims would no doubt dislike it, but ya know… It might prove to be a salutary lesson in cause-and-effect for them as a whole. They don’t seem to “get” that whole idea, at all.

        And, we’re profoundly bad at teaching it.

        We have sh*tty weapons because we have sh*tty ideas about war and how to fight them. That’s the root of it, and until we open our eyes and recognize that set of facts and deal with the implications thereof, we’re going to keep having sh*tty weapons.

        • “After all, Afghanistan wasn’t always Islamic.”

          There is a wall right through the middle of Kabul that was (purportedly) erected to keep the Islamicizing Arabs out.

          Right on the other side of the Amu Darya river from Afghanistan, in Termez Uzbekistan is a history museum featuring Buddha statues that look like Greek Gods. Because they were crafted by the Greeks who came along with Alexander the Great. They are called the Greco-Bactrians and they have an interesting history and legacy.

          The city of Balkh, near Mazar-e-Sharif, used to be the preeminent city in the region, until Genghis arrived.

          The place we call Afghanistan has been conquered numerous times, though it is a fact that invaders had to be brutal and tended to go native over time.

          Probably if we’d kicked the Taliban’s butt and largely withdrawn after a few months with a promise to return to oppose the Taliban again if they ever rose again, we’d have been much better off.

          • My own thoughts are that we should have stayed the hell out of Afghanistan entirely, and gone after the Pakistani ISI that was running the place when bin Laden was planning the attacks.

            Most of our problems in the region stem from a failure to acknowledge and deal with the people who are our actual enemies. Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia should have both been presented with an ultimatum: Hand over the parties in the ISI who were responsible for approving of what bin Laden was planning, and everyone in the Saudi government who provided clandestine aid. No handover? Abottabad starts glowing at night, and not from electric lighting. Same-same with Riyadh…

            Frankly, I think Bush should have established a precedent on or about 9/15 or 9/20 2001 that if some fool thinks to use a cut-out to conduct a major attack on the United States or any other power, we’re going to treat that as though the attack came from the people who supported it–In this case, the Pakistanis and the Saudis.

            We’re going to regret not having made that policy clear, in coming decades. The dissolution of Westphalian principles governing war and responsibility for the actions of your citizens is not a good thing, in this coming age of low-level easily produced WMD.

      • Again… To clarify and reinforce what I’m trying to get at:

        What we suffer from is a fatal “paradigm flaw”.

        Go ask a politician or a high ranking officer what the point of a war is. Listen carefully as you hear the sound of wishful thinking, while also paying attention to that which is not heard.

        Once you’ve parsed it all out, you’re going to realize that all you have is a mass of platitudes and meaningless buzzwords. You will also realize that nowhere did anyone talk at all about the minor side-effect of the whole thing, that we’re deliberately going to kill a bunch of people, and that some of them may not deserve it, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        The whole problem permeates our society. The politicos and flag ranks merely ape the desires of the public, and keep telling the lies and platitudes that they do because it’s all one big self-reinforcing circle. We don’t have a Sherman who’s going to tell anyone that “War is hell…”, and who will clearly enunciate and then execute a plan to inflict that hell on everything in his path.

        Not to discuss Sherman as a virtuous sort of man, or say he did the right thing, but… That bloody-minded bastard did understand the root nature of war, how to fight one, and more importantly, how to end one. Decisively. And, he was up front about it: “We’re going to make them howl…”.

        Do note that people still remember Sherman in Georgia, and that nearly all of them came away from the experience with the attitude of “Well, ain’t gonna try that again…”.

        That’s the true nature of war. You don’t unleash one with “humanitarian intent”, like we did in Bosnia or elsewhere. You need to recognize that you’re basically at the point where it’s now a sensible course of action to murder a bunch of people, preferably in their sleep so as not to risk the lives of your own troops, and that there’s no other acceptable alternative to the situation.

        And, along with all that, you need to be absolutely frank with your recruiting, your training, your indoctrination, and everything else: “Johnny, we’re hiring to you to go kill people for us. Preferably with an unfair advantage, so you come home. We may make mistakes, you may make mistakes, but the deal is that we’re hiring you to kill people in job lots. We’re not sending you to Tanzania to conduct “humanitarian” missions; that’s what the Peace Corps is for. If we send you to Tanzania, it’s going to be with orders to kill everything that needs killing, and then kill it again, if need be. We’ll tell you when it’s enough. You OK with that? Great… Welcome to the team.”.

        See what I’m doing there? No bullsh*t, no weasel words, no ambivalence. Johnny is gonna go be a contract killer, and since I’m telling him that up-front, the odds are pretty good that he’s not going to have any angst over it all, lessening the risk of PTSD. No worries about the fantasy notion that there’s a “Good War” out there, like Grandpappy fought in, against those Godless Nazi scum… Who, when you get down to it, really weren’t all that different from us. Hell, the only real difference, when you get down to it, was FDR and the Democrats didn’t have the balls to put the Nisei into actual death camps. They were a much more cuddly bunch, far more touchy-feely, but they were just as OK with atrocity and killing, so long as the right platitudes were mouthed, and it was done out of sight of the media.

        The source of most of our problems in this arena stems from the total lack of realism in our thinking about it. We don’t want to acknowledge that our causes for killing other people who talk funny in job lots aren’t always going to be morally pure, and that things happen once you cry Havoc! and release the dogs of war. We want our moral purity, and at the same time, we’re completely OK that we’re compromising it all just by doing what we’re doing.

        I think it’s a definite indicator that we haven’t had a declared war since ’41. The dipsh*t touchy-feely virtue-preening fuzzy thinkers have been running the show, or providing way too much influence ever since. They first came to the fore under Wilson, and I think it’s about damn time we went back to Sherman’s mentality: War is hell.

        I’d love to pull a Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, and slap the collective hood of the establishment taxicab: “Hey!! We’re murderin’ people, here!!!”.

        They really need a friggin’ wake-up call, and a recognition of what the hell we’re doing, and how to do it most efficiently. Then, maybe mindless idiocy like the XM-25 and the latest BS “NGSW” program won’t happen. “Overmatch” and “lethality” are two buzzwords that come right out of the fuzzy thinking I’m talking about here.

  2. You arrived pretty much where I did – 5.56 16” lightweight barrel, decent free-float forend, adjustable stock, 1-? variable optic, BUIS, flashlight. I don’t have LaRue $$ but I’m pleased with what I built. Might not answer all the questions but it covers a lot of ground.

  3. I’ll preface my comments by saying, a) I’ve never served, b) I’ve never been in a firefight. So I don’t know jack about the job.

    When I want to reach for a rifle that I “throw up to my shoulder and put a round on target in less than two seconds,” none of my AR’s are the rifle I reach for. None of them. I own over a half-dozen in various configurations, and none of them feel comfortable to me. None of them give me the cheek weld I want, none of them handle the way I want.

    If I’m reaching for a rifle where I have to react fast-fast, here’s what I’m reaching for in my collection:

    1. Browning BLR in .308. I can throw that little aluminum-action rifle up to my shoulder, ignore the sights, and own anything under 100 yards. Snap-shot, I’m able to nail a sporting clay nearly half the time with that rifle on the first shot. It fits me, and for that reason, I will not ever part with it. There’s plenty about that rifle that I detest: It’s got an aluminum receiver anodized to try to make it look blued (yuck – it scratches far too easily), a dodgy box magazine (loose as a goose), but the action is slick and fast, and it points for me. It has a rotary bolt like an AR, and it just works. When I’m hunting in tight timber, it is the rifle I pack. Open buckhorn sights, no scope. It “just works.”

    2. Yes, I know I’m going to get a ration of feces from your for saying this, but my Springfield M-1A. I can also throw that rifle up to my shoulder, and now I can nail a man-sized target outline, standing off-hand, out to 300 yards on the first shot. I know you think it’s a POS, but it works for me. I agree the op-rod is prone to failure, it is harder to clean, etc, etc. But on mine, I’ve refined the sights to a National Match blade/peep, I’ve worked the trigger over to where it breaks at a perfect 4.8 pounds, and I can hold 1.5 MOA off the bench with it with ball ammo. I’ve won more than one turkey or other informal match with that rifle and ball ammo, shooting standing off-hand at 200 yards. It works, and it works well. My wife has said that all the turkeys I’ve won with that rifle “have way too much salt,” so she’s not as enthused with the results…

    3. A Remington 1903A3, made in ’42. Again, a post/peep setup. 1.5 MOA rifle. I’ve slicked up the bolt a bit. Again, it “just works.”

    After that, I have a Model 70 in .270 Winchester that “just works,” but when I re-stocked it (using a solid piece of walnut), I tried some ideas in stock fitting that, while they feel comfortable and make the rifle fit, don’t make it a “rifle that snaps to my shoulder.”

    Issues I have with the AR:

    1. I don’t like pistol grips on a rifle. I just don’t. Never have. They feel awkward. I spend a lot of time shooting rifles and shotguns of all sorts – most all of which have classic stock profiles. My AR’s are the red-headed stepchildren of the collection with the pistol grip issue.
    2. The adjustable buttstocks for AR’s all pull hairs out of my beard. This pisses me off to no end. I mean, really pisses me off. Why TF cannot someone design an adjustable buttstock that doesn’t depilate the right side of my face? Why? It’s a very simple question.
    3. When I go to sling up in an AR, it doesn’t feel right. I prefer 1907 slings, and when I reef down on a 1907 sling on an AR, even with a free float barrel, there’s too much bending coming off the front tube for my taste. It reminds me of an English match-grade .22LR rifle, the BSA International Mk III, which had a two-piece stock and the foreend hung onto the receiver with an aluminum mount:

    https://www.rifleman.org.uk/BSA_Martini_International_Mk.III.html

    Accurate? Sure, as long as you were just holding the foreend. Reef down on a sling, and you’d start to feel the foreend move on you.

    • We can always argue over what piece of kit is best, but in the end what matter is what the individual can do with the equipment. If someone is more competent and confident in a particular piece of equipment, it is far harder to advocate against it.
      Now, if you are talking about something like department use, it can make sense to have everyone using the same piece of gear. But an individual buying for them selves, personal performance is critical.
      Still, I think all too often individual preference is based off bias instead of performance. To paraphrase someone else, “Only when there is a handgun with a grip shaped like a breast will I agree that it handles better than another pistol.”

      • Fully agree on outfitting an army. I can’t fault the M16/M4 at this point in time – it has good accuracy, reliability, cost, lots of improvements in the pipe and already implemented. It’s our longest-serving battle rifle.

        Which is why I, as a taxpayer, I find the constant and futile projects to ‘replace’ the M4/M16 to be such spurious efforts. As Kirk has laid out in detail and with savagely good reasons, we’re failing to evaluate “a) how we fight b) what do those fighters need in the way of a weapon?” when we’re pouring money into these ‘replacement’ projects.

        I think there are damn few improvements I would make to the M4/M16 platform, other than perhaps jumping up to a 6mm bullet to gain a little more Bc and kinetic energy downrange.

        In engineering, we have a saying: “The enemy of the perfect is the good enough, and vice-versa.” The M4/M16 is ‘good enough’ and has been for some time now, and it will be until the DOD undertakes some soul-searching as Kirk suggests needs done. Until that is done, I can’t see how pissing 10’s of millions into these ‘replacement’ projects for our primary infantry arm is going to even achieve ‘good enough’ status, never mind ‘perfection’ status.

        As for my own preferences: I’m not giving up any of mine anytime soon. They might not be as good a fit as I want, but they work and work well when I need them to; eg, whacking a ‘yote off the side of the road at opportune times. I will add this: The ACOG is one of my very favorite bits of optic kit ever made. I wish all optics served their mission as well as an ACOG.

        • I think you’re absolutely right about the M16/M4 being “good enough”.

          I think there’s a problem with them, in that the cartridge is not as powerful as I’d like. I also think that the 7.62mm NATO isn’t as powerful as it should be, as a support-weapon cartridge. It’s fatally flawed in that it was another one of those “Be-all, do-all” intermediate caliber concepts that wound up being neither fish nor fowl, and left us with a support weapon round that was originally biased towards making an individual weapon solution work, fantasizing it could be fired on full-auto from such a platform.

          However, huge ‘effing comma… I can’t actually prove any of that. It’s opinion. I have no numbers, no data, no research–And, what’s worse? I can’t get any, because we haven’t ever bothered to do the dirty work to get it.

          The reality is that much of the work in this area is based on fairy tales. We have no idea what the actual numbers should be–Go looking for validated energy levels about what you need to dump into a human body (of average composition, say…) over what period of time, in order to get a quick CNS or blood loss kill. The data simply doesn’t exist. It’s all guessing, with no real-world validation. Our proxies are utter shiite, because we’ve never bothered to validate them or compare them to the real world of a firefight against live human beings.

          Because of that, it’s all “opinion”, purely subjective, and I’m not about to advocate changing over from the M16/M4 for billions of dollars because I’ve got a damn hunch. The work simply has not been done, one way or another. The 5.56mm/7.62mm combo could represent the ideal set of calibers for how we fight… Or, they might not. We can’t say that, because a lot of the work to determine that answer is simply not being done.

          I’d call it criminal, but I sadly have to conclude it is just due to sheer stupidity and inertia.

        • All this about pissing money away is kinda ironic considering the ACR program gave us the ACOG.
          Mind you I’m not denying that it was still extremely wasteful.

          • ACHTUALLLY…

            ACOG was a private venture that AAI co-opted. Trijicon had those out and available before ACR. I know, because like a dumbass, I traded my Valmet M76 off for the first one I saw in the wild, because I didn’t think they’d be around–Too high a quality to be successful without a government contract to support ’em, and I figured they’d be a one-and-done flash in the pan. Meanwhile, they would still be bringing in Valmets, and… Yeah. Thaaaaaank you, George Bush Sr. .

            Goes to show ya, sometimes you read the tea leaves wrong.

  4. I would say I’m with you on you pick mostly H. I would do a folding front sight al la YHM or the Colt one. And then barrel length would just depend on what ammo was in the systems. If it’s stuff like M193 or M855 then I would lean toward an 18″-20″ barrel too. If it’s something newer and loaded for shorter barrels then I would lean toward some nice and short like 12″-14″. Or just just say the hell with it and split the baby with a 16.” And really all we’re doing is tweaking the platform. The M16/M4 platform really does cover the spread pretty darn well.

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