New Carbine Blues

Sooooo…… here we go again. The Army is starting up a competition for a new carbine to replace the M4, which is getting a bit long in the tooth.

The blogs were all over this last night, mostly on the angle that lots of contractors were hiring lobbyists to get the inside track on the competition. Big surprise there.

Frankly, what surprised me was the piddling sums the manufacturers were spending on lobbyists. I mean, $100,000 for a lobbyist? That’s chump change. LockMart spends that much making a 3 minute YouTube video telling us yet again that the F-35 is doing just fine.

I’ve heard some rumblings on what the scope of the comptetition will be, but haven’t really looked hard to get into specifics. What parameters will be open to the competitors? Can they choose any caliber, or will it be restricted to the current 5.56mm cartridge? How will results be weighted? How will reliability be tested?  Is there severability between the design and procurement sides of the competition? This is, might one manufacturer win the contract to build based on another company’s design (much as FN won the contract in the 90s to build M16A2’s)?

In spite of being one of the most visible items around, the fact is, small arms purchases are chump change compared to other contracts. What’s a couple billion for small arms compared to a fleet of trucks? But the small arms purchases are ALWAYS some of the most emotionally charged contracts.

What do you want?

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6 thoughts on “New Carbine Blues”

  1. What I want is an M14. When you limit it to carbine, I vote HK416. I don’t care for M4s so much, but a simplified version of it is okay. Procurement costs might be relatively low, but I am of the opinion that we don’t need to field a new system right now.

  2. The M14 is a fine weapon and with todays high tech materials could lighten the wght…I hear tho alot of casualties are fingers while gripping a weapon, so to devise a type of reflector or guard would protect troops hands, as long as it is not restrictive. I think it might help troops while patrolling streets and villages. Maybe I am asking for too much.

    1. I carried one for four years, since The Old Guard used them for both field training and ceremonies.
      I agree that I wouldn’t mind it weighing a bit less, but I honestly can’t recall anyone ever hurting their hands while training with it. I am curious what injuries that they might have incurred.

    2. I think he means injuries to the hands are common in Iraq/Afghanistan. Which would make some sense, as they are very exposed, particularly when in a firing position. But I’m hard pressed to think of any solution that would provide sufficient ballistic protection without compromising mobility and practicality.

    3. I don’t recall any higher instance of hand injuries in theater; just the same things you see in any training environment. Pinches, jams, hatches/doors (you’d be amazed at how much FRAG 5+ armor doors on a HMMWV weigh, and they do some damage).

  3. I’m not sure how you could fit an AH-64D in a 3-point tactical sling, but I’d really love to see someone try and solve the problem. Plus, just think of the increase in firepower over the M4!

    Therefore, I voted Longbow.

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