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Old 11-19-2015   #8
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Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
To paraphrase I, Robot, "Those are the right questions."

Culturally, there are many ways to frame "reliability".

In engineering terms, reliability = predictability

If a machine fails, but does so predictably with relatively simple repairs, it is still reliable.
That seems a sensible approach for firearms in the modern context. Actually in the case of the M4 systems it may have become more so in the last decades.

A simplified view it's classic counterpart, just taken from Wikipedia:


The AK-47 was designed to be a simple, reliable automatic rifle that could be manufactured quickly and cheaply, using mass production methods that were state of the art in the Soviet Union during the late 1940s.[40] The AK-47 uses a long stroke gas system that is generally associated with great reliability in adverse conditions.[30][41][42] The large gas piston, generous clearances between moving parts, and tapered cartridge case design allow the gun to endure large amounts of foreign matter and fouling without failing to cycle. This reliability comes at the expense of accuracy, as the looser tolerances do not allow for precision and consistency.
According to already sibling thread from the already mentioned author:

- This may sound crazy but it's fair to say that they finally suffer a catastrophic failure (cracked trunion) at 80,000-100,000 rounds. Also, we have WASR's that have suffered a catastrophic failure and we just pull out the old trunion and barrel, grab one from a parts kit, re-rivet, re-barrel and get them up and running.

- The AK is the most reliable but after seeing how many have broke over the last two and half years on the range, it's not the indestructible weapon everybody talks about (and I always thought it was).
Considering the harsher impuls inflicted on the system this is still very durable. Perhaps one of the most revealing aspects is the following:

What makes is reliable is it's simplicity. My guys clean/service 4-5 AK's for every M4 or MP5.

Now why did I write that the 'M4' approach to might have become more sensible compared to the past in recent times?

a) The vastly increased use of various combat optics which have become overall cheaper, lighter and better makes it easier to use more of the high precision potential of the system. Magnified ones also provide the increased ability to spot and identify at longer ranges which in terms dovetails with the precison potential.

b) The highly modular nature achieved with precise specs due to modern manufacturing (CNC) combined with the huge US civilian AR15 market enable a huge amount of working products at surprisingly low prices.

i) Cheap parts of high quality which are interchangeable across all 'M4' should make it far easier to get high reliability because worn or dubious elements of the system could be quickly and cheaply replaced.

ii) It would make it easy for the military to react to feedback from the troops and proper test and make (acquire) modifications in general or specific for the theater.

c) More broadly the long experience with the system in the military and the huge civilian market in combination with modular design should have facilitated the elimination or at least great reduction of practically every initial flaw. Maybe the only downside is the information overload through all that widespread use.

All in all this weapon system might be for those reasons and a very important additional one the smartest choice for a small allied country with a relative low-funded military. The additional one is of course the vast production capability and huge supply with no development costs attached.

P.S: How they keep the guns economically going:

Weapons are inspected every morning and afternoon and that's also when they are lubed. We use Slip 2000 on all of our weapons. It's safe, non-toxic and keeps the weapons running properly.


Each weapon has it's own maintenance log that records the last cleaning, who cleaned it, headspace and any parts that required replacing. The weapons, depending on model and volume on the range, are cleaned every 2-7 days. The MP5 SD's are the dirtiest of the weapons and the M-134 "miniguns" are probably the cleanest.
I really like his disciplined common economic sense approach to business.
... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

Last edited by Firn; 11-19-2015 at 08:25 PM.
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