posted on Jan, 20 2006 @ 10:41 PM
I don't know if I'm reviving an old threat but I have to say that IMO the M-8 and to a degree the FN F-2000 are both old generation firearms. A
generational leap requires some sort of major improvement over the last generation. Take the case of fighter aircraft for example;
The Su-27 is widely regarded as the best 4th generation fighter aircraft. The Su-30MKI is a highly upgraded version of the Su-27. Its near twice as
maneouvreable, has 50% extra missile range, 100% extra radar range and world class avionics compared to 1980's era Russian avionics. Yet it is only
considered 4.5th generation.
In the case of the M-8 here is how I see it. The G-36 was Germany's last ditch attempt at a 4th generation rifle after funder for the G-11 was cut.
The G-11 was attempting to make a 2 generation jump cutting out the 5.56x45mm and 5.45x39mm generation altogether. Its high rate of fire, caseless
ammunition and armour piercing rounds were all major new concepts. In the end the G-36 was one of the best of its generation but it was only 1
generation ahead of the G-3.
The M-8 is only a series of small adjustments to the design of the G-36, most of all visual adjustments. This means it is a better looking 4th
generation rifle based off one of the best around. Its rate of fire, performance, ammunition and reliability don't exceed other similar generation
rifles by much on average and there are better rifles in each specialisted category;
M-16A4 has a higher rate of fire
Ak-74 has lower recoil
The old generation M-14 has higher accuracy
Ak-47 is more reliable
To truly make a generational leap a whole new concept needs to be applied to the rifle. The G-11 is probably the best example that comes to mind.
There are certain other specialised rifles that have moved into new categories with their own independent generational challenge. The Russian 9x39mm
super-quiet rifles are an example of this.
As for the AN-94, that is damn close to a new generation of rifle. It has a new sight system, no recoil on the first 2 shots and is still not
considered a finalised design. At the moment, of rifles likely to go into service, I'd have to say that this is the only one that comes close to been
classified as next generation. Its drawback of course, that Russia does not have the finances to make a new, better suited ammunition for it.
Oh and on the subject of plastics, there is nothing wrong with it. I've held a Steyr AUG and it feels just as solid, if not more so then the mostly
metal FN Minimi (M249). Another advantage to plastics, asides from the previously mentioned issued of dinting is they don't warp. Much like the
reason for making so many old rifles out with part wood. A warped casing on a rifle results in in-accurate sites and over time and usage all purely
metal rifles warp. Of course sites can be adjusted to account for that but sometimes people are lazy and / or don't know how to. So plastics, just
like wood, makes sense in rifle design and I agree with it 100%
[edit on 20-1-2006 by Senor Freebie]