US Marines Commandant Resists M-16 Collapsible Stock

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by jumpinjarhead, Aug 15, 2009.

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  1. Conway resists adopting collapsible M16 stock

    By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
    Posted : Saturday Aug 15, 2009 8:48:01 EDT

    Commandant Gen. James Conway is unconvinced that putting a collapsible butt stock on the Corps’ primary service rifle makes sense, but Marine officials behind the idea are building a case for it rooted in research, they said.

    The push to add a collapsible stock to the 5.56mm M16A4 includes plans to test about 2,000 of the stocks on weapons at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., beginning this month, and at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and Marine Corps Base Hawaii later this year, officials with Marine Corps Systems Command told the Marine gunner community Aug. 4.

    “We honestly believe that there is a solution out there that is good and better than the current M16A4 that we have right now,” said Maj. Jody White, a team leader with SysCom’s infantry weapons program. “What we want is to be ready to pull the trigger right off the bat” if Conway approves the change.

    The change is no sure thing, however. Conway has not approved launching a formal contract competition, in part because he is concerned that adopting the collapsible stock will compromise other grunt skills, such as the ability to use the solid M16A4 stock in hand-to-hand combat, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeffrey Eby, the Corps’ senior gunner, told gunners at the 2009 Marine Gunner Symposium on Aug. 4 in Reston, Va.

    At the symposium, White and Eby said SysCom’s Program Manager-Infantry Weapons performed a series of reliability tests in December comparing the M16A4, the M16A4 with a collapsible stock and the M4 carbine, which is also used by hundreds of Marines in every battalion.

    Those tests showed that the M16A4 with a standard 11-inch solid stock was the most reliable weapon they tested, with about one failure to fire for every 1,600 rounds, White said. Made by FN Manufacturing, the M16A4 failed to fire about once every 1,500 times after the collapsible stock common on the M4 was installed. The M4, made by Colt Defense, was the least reliable weapon tested, with slightly fewer than 1,500 rounds between failures, White said.

    Since then, PM-IW, based at Quantico, has sought ways to improve the reliability of the M16A4 when outfitted with a collapsible stock, White said. In February, Marine officials issued a formal request to the industry seeking a replacement for the existing 11-inch M16A4 stock, with four to six adjustable position stops. The Corps received about 10 responses, but most looked and worked like the M4 stock, prompting PM-IW to seek other alternatives, White said.

    “We’re looking for something where if the reliability is reduced, it’s less” than it is with the M4 stock, White said. “That way, we can say, ‘OK, all this has been done,’ and if the commandant makes the decision [to approve the change to the M16A4] and says, ‘Go forth and do great things,’ we can come back with this.”
    Convincing Conway

    The push to swap butt stocks on the M16A4 has support from a number of gunners and at least one two-star general, who see it as potentially helpful to Marines who must shoulder their rifles against bulky body armor, Eby said. The change would be far-reaching — there are about 200,000 M16A4s in the Corps, and swapping the butt stocks on all of them could cost $70 million, Eby said.

    Conway was traveling outside the country and unavailable for comment, but Eby said during the symposium that the commandant is concerned eliminating the solid butt stock will take away a Marine’s ability to use his rifle as a blunt-force instrument in combat and to perform the two-man lift, in which two Marines hoist a third over a wall or into a second-story window using a rifle or support bar.

    So far, the Corps’ Infantry Operational Advisory Group, composed of regimental commanders from both the active and reserve divisions, told those researching the issue that they are willing to lose blunt-force ability but want a sturdy collapsible stock if one is adopted, Eby said.

    Before the change can be made, PM-IW also must find options that improve the M16A4’s reliability when equipped with a collapsible stock so it is on par with the current model, White and Eby said. That means testing additional components and a variety of buffers, which cushion the rifle bolt from the receiver and reduce recoil.

    In September, Marine officials plan to investigate whether the collapsible butt stock the Army uses on its M4s is more reliable than the butt stock the Corps uses, White said. The standard Army M4 has an H6 buffer system, which is lighter than the H2 buffer system used in the Corps’ M4s.

    The Corps also may try a collapsible butt stock made by Vltor Weapons Systems, of Tucson, Ariz., on the M16A4. Although it is not approved, some service members use the sturdier Vltor butt stock on M4s in Iraq and Afghanistan, several gunners said. Marine officials want to see if its design will work well with the M16A4.

    Eby said he also will seek about $500,000 to pay for a controlled experiment with about 100 M16A4s at Quantico to assess the reliability and accuracy of the weapon with collapsible stocks. Those skeptical of the swap have repeatedly pointed out there isn’t enough evidence to justify spending money on a formal industry contract competition, he said.
  2. Should we not be practising close-combat, butt stroking with the SA80? :roll:
  3. With the m16 with full kit on i couldnt hold the handguard properly ended up holding against the magazine as a foregrip, also was a few people who butt collapsed just doing general stuff on the m4. Do they really need it for the 16 if its rifle designation?

    DOnt the USMC use M4 primarily anyway?
  4. I'm sure most of those uses would bend the standard rifle anyway.

    In terms of butt-swiping, I would have thought a telescopic butt if anything has slightly more mass than the hollow shell fixed butt? Anyway, lightweight M16s surely aren't quite in the same biffing league as the much heavier old generation weapons?
  5. No. US Army infantry have pretty much all got M4s, but in the Marines it's still to a large extent M16s- they seem to like that extra bit of barrel length.
  6. All this talk of Butt Stroking people makes me think this Commandant has spent a bit too long watching Saving Private Ryan and not long enough trying to shoot a rifle with all his kit on. And as for using a Rifle as a tool during a 3 man lift? I realise lads have to make do with what they have, but using your weapon as a lifting device/entry tool is the biggest no-no in the book.

    Methinks the Marines MCMAP program has gone a bit too deep, when you're sacrificing your shooting ability for your potential hand to hand ability you know you need your head looking at.
  7. I agree. And in a tight spot they can always use either the old fashioned bayonet or their entrenching tool. This all seems a bit gung ho to me.
  8. USMC current infantry rifle is the M16A4

    The M16A4 differs from the M16A2 mainly in the removable carrying handle, which can be replaced by a universal MIL-STD 1913 rail then coupled then with an M5 adapter rail system, and the inclusion of a flat top upper receiver. The M16A4 can now be made adaptable to a variety of useful mountings that can include specialized scopes, flashlights and target designators (hence the "Modular Weapon System" designation). Like all in the M16 family, the M16A4 can also mount the M203 40mm grenade launcher under the barrel, increasing lethality and offering the weapon system a dual-role capability with direct and target area methods of fire.

    The M16A4 shares performance statistics on par with the preceding M16A2. Muzzle velocity is measured at about 3,110 feet per second. The weapon utilizes the 5.56x45mm NATO round with a 30-round capacity detachable box magazine. Weight increases just one pound with a fully loaded magazine bringing the overall combat weight of the system to a manageable 8.5 lbs. The M16A4 also retains the adjustable front and rear sights, which allow for an effective range of about 600 meters. Firing selections are limited to semi and burst capabilities with a standard safety as well.

    There is no internal difference between the M16A2 and the M16A4 models.

    Also used is the Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle (SAM-R):

    The currently used SAM-R is roughly a modified M16A4 pattern rifle:

    * Upper & Lower Receivers: The lower and upper receivers are standard M16A4. The SAM-R has a standard M16A1 single-stage trigger installed, which allows limited use as an automatic rifle, ammunition permitting (See Mk 262 Mod 1), but there also have been examples using Knight's Armament (henceforth referred to as KAC) two-stage match triggers. The SAM-R is also equipped with a PRI M84 Gas Buster charging handle system and a Norgon ambidextrous magazine release.

    * Barrel: The barrel is a 20 in (510 mm) long 1:7 in (180 mm) twist match grade stainless steel barrel, manufactured by Compass Lake Engineering from Kreiger blanks. Current SAM-Rs are equipped with 'chipped' flash suppressors to allow attachment of the KAC M4 quick detach sound suppressor, while earlier examples were fielded with standard compensators.

    * Sights & Optics: For iron sights, the SAM-R uses the KAC 600-Meter flip-up rear sight. The first SAM-Rs used a custom Quantico-built gas block with bayonet lug and Picatinny rail on top. A KAC flip-up sight was mounted on that rail. Some intermediate models used separate gas blocks and barrel attached bayonet lugs. Current rifles are built with a special KAC-made gas block that has both a flip-up sight and a bayonet lug. The issued day optic is the TS-30A2 (military designation for Leupold's Mark 4 M3 3-9 x 36 mm MR/T Illuminated riflescope) mounted with ARMS #22 high rings, the same configuration used with the Mk 12 Mod 0/1 SPR, though more recent photos indicate the four-power Marine Corps Rifle Combat Optic ACOG is also used at times. The folding front sight mentioned earlier was designed for use with the AN/PVS-22 Universal Night Sight.

    * Handguard: The SAM-R uses the KAC Free-Floating Rail Adapter System, which provides a modular mounting location for all types of equipment. SAM-Rs are usually seen with Harris swivel bipods attached to this rail via ARMS #32 throwlever mounts.



    The M4A1 carbine is a fully-automatic variant of the basic M4 carbine intended for special operations use. The M4A1 has a "S-1-F" (safe/semi-automatic/fully automatic) trigger group, while the M4 has a "S-1-3" (safe/semi-automatic/3-round burst) trigger group. The M4A1 is used by almost all U.S special operation units. The M4A1 Carbine is especially favored by counter-terrorist and special forces units for close quarters combat because of the carbine's compactness and firepower. These features are also very useful in urban warfare. Although the M4 has less effective range than the longer M16, many military analysts consider engagement with a non-specialized small arm above a range of 300 meters to be unnecessary. It is effective at ranges of 150 meters or less and has a maximum effective range of about 500-600 meters.[4]

    In the last few years, M4A1 carbines have been refit or received straight from factory with barrels with a thicker profile under the handguard. This is for a variety of reasons such as heat dissipation, which is useful due to the complaints of high-heat production from test soldiers, which occurs during full-auto and accuracy as a byproduct of barrel weight. These heavier barrel weapons are also fitted with a heavier buffer known as the H2. Out of three sliding weights inside the buffer, the H2 possesses two tungsten weights and one steel weight, versus the standard H buffer, which uses one tungsten weight and two steel weights. These weapons, known by Colt as the Model 921HB (for Heavy Barrel), have also been designated M4A1, and as far as the government is concerned the M4A1 represents both the 921 and 921HB.