Army Carbine Competition
From a story in the Military Times, the Army earlier this week announced details of the new parallel programs to upgrade the M4, while also developing a potential replacement.
A few things from the article that stood out for me:
No caliber restriction has been placed on a new design. It will be at least a 500-meter weapon and have a higher incapacitation percentage.
So something other than the standard M855 5.56 is at least possible. Whether this would be an improved 5.56 cartridge, an existing round in a heavier caliber (something in the 6.5-6.8 range) that fits the existing M4/M16 magazine envelope, or an entirely new round apparently will be a matter to be tested. More on this in a bit.
It can have a gas or piston system.
I think the author means direct gas or piston system. I'd love to see the actual Army solicitation, to see if other operating system types (such as the Kiraly lever-delayed blowback, a la the FA-MAS and TKB-517) would be allowed.
Once the carbine competition’s winner is determined, the Army chief of staff will determine whether the service should go with the top carbine or the improved M4 as it recapitalizes the force. In an era of diminishing budgets, the winning carbine must hit financial goals as well as it hits targets.
Now I keep seeing echoes of the .276 Pederson - even if a new cartridge were to prove better suited than the existing 5.56, the suggested new cartridge may well fall victim to budgetary concerns. Just like in 1932, the Army again faces tightening budgets, and has significant stockpiles of existing 5.56 ammo and weapons. Even a somewhat compromise of a new round that fits the existing M4/M16 magazine envelope would entail significant costs to convert existing weapons (not just the M4/M16, but also the M249 SAW) and build supplies of the new round.
Another strike against both a new round as well as a new carbine design is the LSAT program, which may well provide the Army's long term replacements for both the rifle/carbine and light machinegun.
In sum, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on some sort of product improved M4/M16, with at least a 50/50 chance of the addition of something like the Mk 262 Mod 1 being adopted as a new 5.56 round.
Gunnies According to Cracked
Actually, it's not bad at all. Found at WTA.
Rate me somewhere between Paranoid and Because I F***ing Can!