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  1. #1
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Better than M4, but you canít have it

    Military Times article on the HK416, which according to the article (which appears to be heavily sourced from HK itself) is superior to the M4 in wide use among U.S. forces in Iraq & Afghanistan.

    Comments?

  2. #2
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Well, it's not in as wide use as the Times would have us believe. Employment is relegated to only certain tier 1 units and personnel.

    As one of those operators has commented on another board, the Times also proclaimed that the Army was making a wholesale cutover to the XM-8

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    Council Member CPT Holzbach's Avatar
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    Default LOVE this weapon.

    From what Ive seen and read the thing certainly is superior to the M-4. They had it on that show "FutureWeapons" on the discovery channel a couple nights ago. Very cool. Id give anything to get one. Hopefully they'll produce a civilian version eventually.
    "The Infantryís primary role is close combat, which may occur in any type of mission, in any theater, or environment. Characterized by extreme violence and physiological shock, close combat is callous and unforgiving. Its dimensions are measured in minutes and meters, and its consequences are final." - Paragraph 1-1, FM 3-21.8: Infantry Rifle PLT and SQD.

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    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    Reading the incident with CPT Self reminds me of similar stories from the Vietnam war of soldiers found dead with cleaning rods in their hands as they tried to clear jammed M16s. It sounds like the HK 416 is close in price and far superior to the M16/M4 family. Anyone know if disadvantages to the HK 416 other than the fact we would need to start replacing the M4 family of weapons?

    Seems like an interesting rifle.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Many choices

    There are a number of gas piston rifles out there, Sig 556, Magpul Masada, the defunct XM-8.

    I don't think any of the qualities of a gas piston rifle would prevent the problems that Capt Self or Sgt Miller had, nor the slew of problem that were supposedly marched out by the soldiers in Afghanistan.

    The gas piston rifles do one thing particularly well, and that is they release gas and carbon fouling outside the weapon somewhere near the front sight. Just before the gas and carbon is ported out, the gas impinges on, and activates, the piston, driving it into the modern version of the bolt carrier's gas key. All this does is reduce the amount of crap getting into the receiver. It has nothing to do with keeping foreign matter out of the weapon, so if a weapon is dirty with sand/dust, the gas piston rifles are only going to have a longer time before carbon fouling becomes a problem at the chamber (compared to an M4).

    If the weapon isn't lubricated, the gas piston isn't a silver bullet. If a cartridge case ruptures in the chamber, a gas piston rifle still isn't the silver bullet. If you find yourself in a running gun battle and putting a lot of rounds downrange, and don't have time to perform a fieldstrip cleaning, then a gas piston rifle definitely has its advantages.

    As for the cleaning rod secured to the rifle forearm, I do not know of any unit that has an SOP like that, Ranger or otherwise. It seems totally impractical.
    Last edited by jcustis; 02-22-2007 at 01:52 AM.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    This whole thing is screamingly similar to the problems the M-16 experienced in Vietnam, although at that time it was due to DoD's insistence on a type of propellant that was not within the original design specifications as well as misinformation to the troops that the M-16 didn't need to be cleaned. If memory serves it took them almost three years to correct that problem, and I don't see the wheels moving any faster in this case.

    The interesting thing about the Vietnam case is that it was two-tiered problem: improper propellant AND improper training. One of the difficulties with anecdotal evidence such as the article presents is that it's very compelling reading, but it often doesn't address what happened prior to the engagement (was Self's weapon damaged during the initial action? did Miller do routine cleaning and maintenance on his weapon? and so on). I'm not saying "competitions" are the way to go (since they are often stacked in favor of a particular weapon), but that you need a broad spectrum of input, including some that could be considered unbiased and fully tested. Anecdotes are often neither, and the same can be said for "trials."
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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default The MP5 was or is also better

    When Delta units visited us in Zaire in 93, their sidearms were modified (Wilson combat) 1911s and two versions of the H&K MP5 in either 5.56 or 9X19. Another version was a 7.62, but never saw one.

    Personally, my Colt Commander's model in .45ACP is still my favorite and I don't have to carry a cleaning rod around with me, nor perform double taps. One will do just fine

    I wanted the MP5, but can't buy one

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sullygoarmy View Post
    Reading the incident with CPT Self reminds me of similar stories from the Vietnam war of soldiers found dead with cleaning rods in their hands as they tried to clear jammed M16s. It sounds like the HK 416 is close in price and far superior to the M16/M4 family. Anyone know if disadvantages to the HK 416 other than the fact we would need to start replacing the M4 family of weapons?

    Seems like an interesting rifle.
    Very tragic and horrifying. But didn't they narrow that down to the powder used in the ammo? Not to take away from the underlying weakness to begin with. I don't know the difference between an M4 and the GAU-5 I was issued in the Air Force. But I did like it better than the M-16 rifle for obvious reasons. It was smaller and better suited for airborne jumps. Ironically, I scored better with the GAU-5 than the standard M16 rifle. The HK416 is an improvement of design and if it is good enough for Delta than it is good enough for my ladies. I find it a little strange that Delta is even being advertised as promoting this weapon. We normally don't have a need to know about such things.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
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  9. #9
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpeper View Post
    Very tragic and horrifying. But didn't they narrow that down to the powder used in the ammo? Not to take away from the underlying weakness to begin with. I don't know the difference between an M4 and the GAU-5 I was issued in the Air Force. But I did like it better than the M-16 rifle for obvious reasons. It was smaller and better suited for airborne jumps. Ironically, I scored better with the GAU-5 than the standard M16 rifle. The HK416 is an improvement of design and if it is good enough for Delta than it is good enough for my ladies. I find it a little strange that Delta is even being advertised as promoting this weapon. We normally don't have a need to know about such things.
    The army changed powder without informing/asking the manufacturer. Add to this mix no training, lack of chrome bores and chambers and no forward assist, and you have a recipe for disaster.

    HK has a history of failing to meet Army approval for their products, and then trying to force the Army to buy them anyway by running media circuses (is that circii?). HK also has a history of poor product support.

    The XM8 was just a repackage of the HK36, which exhibited poor plastic strength over 120 degrees F and whose primary sight had the quality of something found in a gumball machine. The USP continues to be a horrendously overpriced, problemmatic, finicky piece of junk, and the HK416 looks "crude" and offers nothing over the other piston uppers being offered as an improvement to Mr. Stoner's desing. Colt has offered more than one piston-operated version of the M16. But the Army continues to say "no thanks", and frankly, I agree with the Army. Each and every criticism of the direct-impingement, 5.56 system has really good counter-points.
    Last edited by 120mm; 06-26-2007 at 04:02 AM. Reason: Head removed from rectal region

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Military Times article on the HK416, which according to the article (which appears to be heavily sourced from HK itself) is superior to the M4 in wide use among U.S. forces in Iraq & Afghanistan.

    Comments?
    In three tours to Iraq, I've never come across anyone who complained about the performance or reliability of their M4.

    Fix it until it's broke.

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