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Is It Time For The M-4 & M-16 Rifles Be Retired From Service?

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posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 12:27 PM
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Looks like, by what the frontline troops are saying, they aren't performing to the level they should.

Weapons failed US troops during Afghan firefight


In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips' M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn't work either.

When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.

Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?

Despite the military's insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times.



The M4 is a shorter, lighter version of the M16, which made its debut during the Vietnam war. Roughly 500,000 M4s are in service, making it the rifle troops on the front lines trust with their lives.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a leading critic of the M4, said Thursday the Army needs to move quickly to acquire a combat rifle suited for the extreme conditions U.S. troops are fighting in.

U.S. special operations forces, with their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't, already are replacing their M4s with a new rifle.

"The M4 has served us well but it's not as good as it needs to be," Coburn said.


[edit on 10/11/09 by Ferris.Bueller.II]




posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 12:50 PM
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I'm a little suprised about this article...I carried an AR-15 when I was a police officer. Granted I never saw the conditions that the military are exposed to, I'd say my AR-15 was pretty reliable. However, I also have worked as a security officer in Iraq where I carried an AK-47...I don't think anyone will argue that the AK is a more reliable hostile conditions weapon. I don't want to get into the arguments about which firearm is superior...They each have different strengths and weaknesses. But in the context of this discussion, the AK handles dirt far better than the AR/M4,16 and its derrivatives. It is ridiculous that the U.S. cannot find a more dirt tolerant weapon than the M4.



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 12:56 PM
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They certainly tend to be a fair weather firearm from what I've heard from people who used them in less than ideal conditions. From what I've seen and read the HK 416 would be an ideal replacement since its essentially the same gun from the outside, just with revamped mechanics that up the reliability a good bit. Unfortunately the price tag associated with rearming the entire military is going to make a lot of bean counters cringe, however considering how much has probably been spent on the OICW development program I don't see where they should be too put off by simply purchasing a weapon thats already been developed and is made by a company known for quality.



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by PhoenixDemon
 


I don't think it's they can't, it's that they won't. They have quite a large investment in the M-4 and M-16 that they don't want to 'throw away', despite troops dying because of their weaknesses. As stated in the article, units that can acquire their own arms are not going with the M-4 and M-16. Why? And what are they buying instead?

[edit on 10/11/09 by Ferris.Bueller.II]



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 01:08 PM
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9, 30 round magazines in 30 minutes, IMO no rifle can sustain for any amount of time exposed to this, The barrel overheats causing expansion causing gas release hence stoppages,
I thought in arid/desert conditions magazines where meant to be only 2/3 charged..

[edit on 11-10-2009 by foxhoundone]



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 03:39 PM
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The US military works on superiority through maximum firepower.

The M16'/M4 was not and will never be a squad automatic weapon.

Yet in firefight this is what the US military does.
9, 30 round magazines in 30 minutes some units go through 9 magazines in 15 minutes even with the 3 round burst limitation.

There are units that carry 30 magazines per man for a 2 day patrol plus 100+ rounds in strippers. and these are foot units.

The guys in hummers carry a lot more.

The Taliban knows how to get US units to expend ammo with the minimum of there people being hit.

They will hit a US unit from 400 to 500 meters (the maximum range of the M203 is About 400meters)and set there RPGs at 500 or At the maximum range of 920 meters, RPGs self explodes (4.5 seconds from firing) and that's how the weapon is sometime used as a form of "artillery", spraying shrapnel over military troops.

The US units respond with maximum fire power till they start having weapons problems or running short of ammo and then the Taliban ether moves in or increases there fire unless the US units calls in fire support or airpower.

The AK is no better or worse then the M16/M4 its just that its seldom used to fire at the rates that the US military units fire at.

Replace the M16/M4 no just increase the number of SAW in the squads.

In Vietnam the Navy seal teams were "heavy" on belt fed weapons the Stoner M63a and M60 with 4+ per squad.
This allowed them to over power the enemy and if out numbered to break contact by appearing to be a larger unit.

One big problem the military has now is they have banned the use of most cleaning solvent that were good for cleaning weapons.
One of the best i found in Vietnam for cleaning the M16 was a mix of alcohol and acetone this would dissolve any smokeless powder residue (by the way this is the only thing that really cleans the gas tube on the M16/M4)



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 03:56 PM
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posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 04:05 PM
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M16's was made for the jungle conditions of Asia not designed for the desert climate of the middle east. The M4 is basically an upgraded version of the M16 with the M4 being much shorter being more suitable for close quarters combat and easier to fire from inside a Humvee. It takes a lot of work to properly maintain these weapons in the sandy conditions of desert climate. Overall I still think the M4 is very good weapon of choice by the military.



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 




Is It Time For The M-4 & M-16 Rifles Be Retired From Service?


As for the M-16? yes. That POS weapon was DOA the day it made service on the ground in Vietnam. The action does not lend itself to a battlefield environment. It has always been problematic and even had to have a 'forward assist' handle included to reduce the number of jams from a regular, clean environment.

The venerable M-14 was a far better rifle and with a few modernizations, it would have been and still be the equal to the AK-47 in any situation.

The 5.56mm NATO round is... or at least, was also less than preferable. The round is over-charged for the currently loaded, FMJ projectile. A redesigned version was offered around 1970 that would have improved ballistic stability but was rejected at the time. Whether it has since been upgraded, I cannot say.



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 04:19 PM
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Originally posted by Smurfwicked
M16's was made for the jungle conditions of Asia not designed for the desert climate of the middle east.


The M-16 was a waste in the Nam, in that jungle environment. The best anyone could ever figure was that it was designed to be used in a sterile environment because the slightest hint of dirt will shut the action down.



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 05:30 PM
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Originally posted by redoubt

Originally posted by Smurfwicked
M16's was made for the jungle conditions of Asia not designed for the desert climate of the middle east.


The M-16 was a waste in the Nam, in that jungle environment. The best anyone could ever figure was that it was designed to be used in a sterile environment because the slightest hint of dirt will shut the action down.


I live in the Mojave desert of Calif and my AR never has had problems with dust or dirt. i run it dry (no lube) and rarely clean it
The only problem i have ever had is from the gas tube getting plugged
this causes weak cycling of the bolt and jams till the tube is cleaned.
Over heating a M16 will cause a large buildup in the gas tube.

Much of my problem is from using a Ceiner M16/AR15 .22 conversion kit. once in a while.
.22 rim fires are very very dirty and plug the gas tube because they don't have the pressures to blow the unburnt powder out of the gas tube

changing from a gas tube to a piston system would help a lot.
www.brownells.com...=26744/Product/AR_15_M16_DROP_IN_GAS_PISTON_CONVERSION_KIT
www.tactical-life.com...



posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 05:35 PM
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Aside from the fact that the M-16 series should have a piston/rod setup to make it more reliable, you still have the same problem.

The .223 sucks.

The .308 kills.

The combat effectiveness of the .223 after only 200 meters is mixed.

The combat effectiveness of the .308 is great.

Pocking the countryside is not combat efficient.

Hitting enemy combatants is efficient.



posted on Oct, 13 2009 @ 06:11 PM
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How do they expect to win with these faulty/inificient guns that contributed to the defeat in Vietnam. what about the XM8 wasn't that slated to replace the m16 family , why didn't they , they felt much better.

I hear it's BIG GUNNY that messed up that deal.

And that's not the only thing the U.S Army needs to overhaul. Our whole strategy is in question. Do we even use strategy these days . When I hear a leader say endless war , I hear a leader who has no strategy , as you fight a war to WIN. And you plan your strategy around that goal. I see good tactics but no GRAND STRATEGY. Especially in Afghanistan.

LIKE A CHICKEN WITH NO HEAD.

If it's to win hearts and minds to reform the theocracy into a secular society you need another KEMAL ATATURK , an inside operative. Basically he wiped out one of islam's most fundamental bases , the Caliphate. It's like getting rid of the Papacy.

[edit on 13-10-2009 by De La Valletta]



posted on Oct, 13 2009 @ 06:22 PM
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reply to post by De La Valletta
 


There was no real reason to replace the M16 with the XM8, since they are essentially the same thing. The XM8 is flashy, and has the advantage of behing able to change for the role it's needed. But so does the M4.

They could make the M4 much more reliable by replacing the upper receivers with a gas piston system.

Or replace the current uppers with the HK416 uppers.



posted on Oct, 13 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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reply to post by Miraj
 

What about the overheating and clogging?

You'd think we'd be fighting with lasers and plasma cannons in this day and age!




posted on Oct, 14 2009 @ 02:04 PM
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replace with hk 416 upper recievers would significatly cut cost its csupposed to be compatible with m4 lower. or rearm the iraqis with m4 right them off and buy kn416 or 417



posted on Oct, 14 2009 @ 02:37 PM
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Originally posted by dooper
Aside from the fact that the M-16 series should have a piston/rod setup to make it more reliable, you still have the same problem.

The .223 sucks.

The .308 kills.

The combat effectiveness of the .223 after only 200 meters is mixed.

The combat effectiveness of the .308 is great.

Pocking the countryside is not combat efficient.

Hitting enemy combatants is efficient.


Your no longer correct Ive used the Mk 262 this 77 grain load will kill you with 1 shot up to 700 meters there currently being cycled through Afghanistan.This may be one of the reasons the m5 is overheating the other reason is people getting scared in a fire fight and just dumping rounds down range.Suppression fire is fine but m5s are not saws and were not meant nor should they be pushed to the point the barrel becomes whit hot like i read that was poor training.The m5 and m16 have better accuracy than an ak47 and if in the hands of a well trained squad will win every time.



posted on Oct, 14 2009 @ 02:56 PM
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reply to post by dragonridr
 

dragon, I think this is the first time we've ever disagreed.

I'll not disagree that one can make a killing shot at distance, even with a .22 rifle. But the possibility does not equate with the probability.

The .223 is still a hot-rod .22, it still sucks, and it's effectiveness beyond 200 meters becomes increasingly questionable. The AK shares a similar problem, and they really start running out of gas at 300 meters, nor are they aren't as accurate as the AR.

Right this minute, the mountain forces in Afghanistan are being given the Mark 48 to replace the 240B's.

Two reasons.

The Mark 48 which is a Special Operations squad automatic light weapon fires the .308, enabling our forces to reach well beyond the range of the AK's they are running up against.

Second reason is the weight benefit - 18.26 pounds verses the 240B that weighs 27.5 pounds.

Big difference.

The "downside" is the receiver of the 240B is good for 100,000 rounds, while the receiver of this Mark 48 Mod 0 is 50,000 rounds.

Which brings us back to the original problem. It doesn't matter how many .223's you shoot, if you can't effectively and reliably reach out at distance and not only hit targets, but bring them down.

So you won't need as many of the 7.72/.308 rounds as they are much more efficient.

Oddly, the Special Forces and other Special Operations groups have abandoned the 9mm and have picked up the old, reliable Model 1911 in .45 ACP.

Some things just work.

Some things just get the job done.



posted on Oct, 14 2009 @ 03:23 PM
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I'm not old enough to remember the M14 family. I have, however, noticed that many are being dusted off and returned to active duty. This, I think, would be an indication that maybe, just maybe, the 7.62/.308 is a better choice.



posted on Oct, 14 2009 @ 03:35 PM
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reply to post by dooper
 


Your talking about a machine gun not an assault rifle. Yes there sweet and very effective problem is theres usually only one in a squad. I think 2 should become standard but this would harm mobility as well. But as far The M4A1 carbine is a fully-automatic variant of the basic M4 it was not intended to be used full auto for prolonged periods in fact if we went full auto we were advised never more than 3 clips.This feature was added for clearing a building and was not intended to be used in an open air fire fight.

Perhaps its nostalgia but that weapon saved my but on multiple occasions will not jam do to sand contrary to popular belief. And the rounds do an incredible amount of damage as the round fractures and causes seriously nasty wounds. The gas tube needs to be cleaned but you'll get sufficient warning and isn't a problem unless you overheat the barrel.

This fire fight they were talking about they were obviously m4a1s and were mis used.




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