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The Small Arms Thread, Part 8: 2018; ICSR to be replaced by US Army with interim 15mm Revolver Cannon.

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Matt Easton makes a worthwhile point in this video:

 

 

Quote: "They knew that any type of sidearm that they gave out to regular infantry was gonna get abused; it was gonna get used for chopping wood, it was probably gonna get used for breaking and levering and all sorts of jobs that it wasn't really ideally designed for, so they kind of partially designed it for those jobs to make it more effective at doing the things that it wasn't really supposed to do, which is an interesting design ethos when you think about it, and I think this applied to firearms as well."

 

As in everything, firearms design is a tradeoff. Do you sacrifice the handling and speed of a weapon to make it a better maul or club? Do you refine the weapon as much as humanly possible, or do you keep a bit of "meat" on it to add toughness and strength - even when it may not be required? There is no right answer here, to be honest. We see both ends of the spectrum being very successful; the AR-15 and AKM on one end, both being pretty refined and more or less "lifed" by when their components are expected to wear out, and things like the Valmet series of milled Kalashnikovs on the other - where receivers are so durable and tough that individual rifles can be expected to serve for over 70 years.

 

One of the most instructive examples of this is the change from the M16A1 to M16A2. While the M16A2 is much maligned, what cannot be seriously claimed is that it did not provide a meaningful improvement in durability and resilience over its predecessor. It certainly has received valid criticism for its lack of full auto mode, longer stock, and "heavy in the wrong places" barrel profile, but the rifle did close the door on the durability issues that had tarnished the M16A1 even through the 1970s. And while the M16A2 is now considered an overly heavy and cumbersome weapon (a reputation exacerbated by the heavy railed M16A4 variant), at the time of its introduction it was still one of the lightest service rifles in the world, adding in total less than half a pound over the fully mature M16A1.

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L1A1/SLR. He liked ergonomics compared to G3. Didn't had time to shoot.

_uiLMlHCae4.jpg

 

Spoiler

6TeYpYtNBD8.jpg

 


 

Quote

XM5A
   Shortened G3 from Pakistan.

   One of the earliest prototypes of the POF plant. Now they have better-made shorties, I'll show them later.

   Plenty of kolkhoz'ed modifications - they used handguards from early MP5, wooden ones. In order it to fit, they welded mounting point for handguard pin. On the receiver on the left you can see "neatly" welded latch of the folding stock.
   Charging handle was lost.  

5cZAjRWN3II.jpg

 

Spoiler

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a0U0F9iFKWI.jpg

 

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Pr6QqyWWnLM.jpg

 

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Tests of M995 AP3 (52 grain), M995 AP4 (62 grain), M948 SLAP and a 152 grain 7.62 projectile from Lenox against level IV ceramic armor.

 

 

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16 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

XM5A
   Shortened G3 from Pakistan.

   One of the earliest prototypes of the POF plant. Now they have better-made shorties, I'll show them later.

   Plenty of kolkhoz'ed modifications - they used handguards from early MP5, wooden ones. In order it to fit, they welded mounting point for handguard pin. On the receiver on the left you can see "neatly" welded latch of the folding stock.
   Charging handle was lost.  

 

Someone was having too much fun doing the HK slap 

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Kalashism during work:

Quote

AK-15 with 1PN93-2 AK

hfRgUVQsDZg.jpg

 

Quote

AK-203 with PO1x20 PM and GP-34

P2A4uDOy2uo.jpg

 

He didn't liked this pseudo collimating sight, big, cost too much, not very good aim point/mark.

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21 minutes ago, Sturgeon said:

AK-203 is what they are calling the 100-series upgrade kits now, I guess?

Not exactly, 200 series designation is used when AK upgrade kit was mounted on a factory, instead of upgrade being done in a unit itself.

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I don't know if this is an ignorant question or not since I know exceedingly little about small arms, or if this is the right place to pose it, but on at least some forums the M14 rifle is viewed as a bad rifle, while the FN FAL seems to have a positive perception. Why is the M14 so much worse than the FN FAL for military use? Surely they can't be that dissimilar, both being gas-operated rifles firing the same cartridge from what looks like roughly the same weight, and entering into service just a few years apart?  What's better about the FN FAL?

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15 hours ago, AdmiralTheisman said:

I don't know if this is an ignorant question or not since I know exceedingly little about small arms, or if this is the right place to pose it, but on at least some forums the M14 rifle is viewed as a bad rifle, while the FN FAL seems to have a positive perception. Why is the M14 so much worse than the FN FAL for military use? Surely they can't be that dissimilar, both being gas-operated rifles firing the same cartridge from what looks like roughly the same weight, and entering into service just a few years apart?  What's better about the FN FAL?

 

 

Good question!  This gets into something that I call "the problem with Jane's."

Jane's source books tell you a lot of information about military hardware, and most of that information is correct (I have seen them make mistakes).  But Jane's guide books are usually limited to easily quantifiable statistics.  A lot of what makes or breaks a combat rifle isn't obviously quantifiable.

 

The axis of the bore on the M14 is much higher, relative to the shooter's shoulder, than it is on the FAL.  Both rifles jump quite a bit, but the M14 is somewhat worse in this regard.  This is something that you could reasonably determine from a picture, but it's not something that usually gets written up in a stats block.

The control layout of the FAL is significantly better.  The safety/selector can easily be manipulated with the right thumb, and the rifle taken from safe to semi to full auto without having to look down and take the sights off target or otherwise do anything unsafe.  The M14's safety is inside the trigger guard, which increases the chances of mistakes.  The M14's selector is this weird can-opener thing on the side.  The FAL has a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the rifle, which allows for very quick manipulation of the rifle, at least if you're right-handed.  If you had an eye for this sort of thing, you could probably pick it out from images.  But even then, images can be misleading.  The safety and fire selector on a G3 looks very easy to use, but actually holding a G3 will thoroughly disabuse anyone of that idea.  The designers of the G3 had some very strange ideas about how human hands are proportioned.

The FAL has a few features that make it very suitable for the rough and tumble life of a service rifle.  A number of evaluations of the FAL, including the US evaluation from the early 1950s, sing the praises of how easy it is to perform basic disassembly of the FAL.  The M14 is not particularly difficult to disassemble, but it's not as easy as the FAL.  FN also thoughtfully included an adjustable gas system on the FAL.  In theory, all 7.62x51mm ammunition ought to be interchangeable, so all NATO weapons could draw from a common stockpile.  In practice, there are significant differences in propellant composition between different countries' ammunition, and the adjustable gas system allows the FAL to be tuned to whatever is being used to feed it and get optimal function.  The M14 has no similar provision.

The moving parts of the FAL are much better enclosed than the moving parts of the M14.  The raceways in which the bolt travels are very exposed in the M14, but they are entirely enclosed in the FAL.  The M14's bolt carrier to bolt mass ratio is quite low.  The FAL's isn't great either, but it's still better.  The M14's moving mass is quite far off center, hanging off the right side of the rifle.  The axis of the bore and the axis of the center of mass of the moving parts are quite far apart.  The FAL isn't great in this regard either, but it's better, and its moving mass is at least centerline.  The more enclosed moving parts raceways mean that the FAL has less chance of having shit gum up the works, and the higher bolt carrier mass ratio means that its primary moving mass has more energy reserve to push through any shit that does get in the gun.  The adjustable gas system is also a factor here; if the rifle starts to get dirty inside, a few clicks of extra adjustment will send more power to the moving parts and help the rifle power through sludge (there is some expense to rifle fatigue life if this is done, however).  By modern standards neither rifle is that reliable, but the FAL is better.

M14s can probably be made more accurate than FALs, but actually keeping M14s accurate is a chore.  I know someone who shot M14s in High Power competition.  In practice this meant keeping three rifles in rotation, as they rapidly un-tune themselves and need to be sent back to the gunsmith.  A specialized sniper or DMR variant of the M14 I would concede is probably a better weapon than an equivalent FAL variant.  However, for line infantry the accuracy advantage of the M14 will be small, if it exists at all.  By modern standards neither rifle is that accurate.

On top of that, the history of the FAL took some twists and turns, but the history of the M14 is almost unmitigated disaster.  The development of the M14 took years longer than it should have, and the final design proved difficult to mass-produce.  Early M14s had serious quality control problems as well.  The modern mythology of the M14 as this trusty, old-fashioned type of weapon that got replaced by a fancy, unproven high-tech M16 pushed by out-of-touch technocrats is made completely the fuck up.  The M14 program was an embarrassing disaster nearly from start to finish.  I say "almost" and "nearly" because, by the end, TRW had figured out how to make pretty good M14s, but the rug got pulled out from under them when the M14 was replaced wholesale with the M16.  The FAL wasn't production optimized, but plenty of countries with modest industrial bases, like Venezuela, managed to produce them under license without undue difficulty.

None of this is stuff that you could easily tell from reading a blurb in Jane's.

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1 hour ago, Collimatrix said:

A specialized sniper or DMR variant of the M14 I would concede is probably a better weapon than an equivalent FAL variant.

 

It's worth emphasizing that I think colli what colli means by "specialized" would be something like a gunsmith-maintained M21, not the M14 EBRs the Army slapped in chassis and issued to poor saps in Afghanistan. Those have been pretty much a trainwreck.

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2 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

 

 

Good question!  This gets into something that I call "the problem with Jane's."

Jane's source books tell you a lot of information about military hardware, and most of that information is correct (I have seen them make mistakes).  But Jane's guide books are usually limited to easily quantifiable statistics.  A lot of what makes or breaks a combat rifle isn't obviously quantifiable.

 

The axis of the bore on the M14 is much higher, relative to the shooter's shoulder, than it is on the FAL.  Both rifles jump quite a bit, but the M14 is somewhat worse in this regard.  This is something that you could reasonably determine from a picture, but it's not something that usually gets written up in a stats block.

The control layout of the FAL is significantly better.  The safety/selector can easily be manipulated with the right thumb, and the rifle taken from safe to semi to full auto without having to look down and take the sights off target or otherwise do anything unsafe.  The M14's safety is inside the trigger guard, which increases the chances of mistakes.  The M14's selector is this weird can-opener thing on the side.  The FAL has a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the rifle, which allows for very quick manipulation of the rifle, at least if you're right-handed.  If you had an eye for this sort of thing, you could probably pick it out from images.  But even then, images can be misleading.  The safety and fire selector on a G3 looks very easy to use, but actually holding a G3 will thoroughly disabuse anyone of that idea.  The designers of the G3 had some very strange ideas about how human hands are proportioned.

The FAL has a few features that make it very suitable for the rough and tumble life of a service rifle.  A number of evaluations of the FAL, including the US evaluation from the early 1950s sings the praises of how easy it is to perform basic disassembly of the FAL.  The M14 is not particularly difficult to disassemble, but it's not as easy as the FAL.  FN also thoughtfully included an adjustable gas system on the FAL.  In theory, all 7.62x51mm ammunition ought to be interchangeable, so all NATO weapons could draw from a common stockpile.  In practice, there are significant differences in propellant composition between different countries' ammunition, and the adjustable gas system allows the FAL to be tuned to whatever is being used to feed it and get optimal function.  The M14 has no similar provision.

The moving parts of the FAL are much better enclosed than the moving parts of the M14.  The raceways in which the bolt travels are very exposed in the M14, but they are entirely enclosed in the FAL.  The M14's bolt carrier to bolt mass ratio is quite low.  The FAL's isn't great either, but it's still better.  The M14's moving mass is quite far off center, hanging off the right side of the rifle.  The axis of the bore and the axis of the center of mass of the moving parts are quite far apart.  The FAL isn't great in this regard either, but it's better, and its moving mass is at least centerline.  The more enclosed moving parts raceways mean that the FAL has less chance of having shit gum up the works, and the higher bolt carrier mass ratio means that its primary moving mass has more energy reserve to push through any shit that does get in the gun.  The adjustable gas system is also a factor here; if the rifle starts to get dirty inside, a few clicks of extra adjustment will send more power to the moving parts and help the rifle power through sludge (there is some expense to rifle fatigue life if this is done, however).  By modern standards neither rifle is that reliable, but the FAL is better.

M14s can probably be made more accurate than FALs, but actually keeping M14s accurate is a chore.  I know someone who shot M14s in High Power competition.  In practice this meant keeping three rifles in rotation, as they rapidly un-tune themselves and need to be sent back to the gunsmith.  A specialized sniper or DMR variant of the M14 I would concede is probably a better weapon than an equivalent FAL variant.  However, for line infantry the accuracy advantage of the M14 will be small, if it exists at all.  By modern standards neither rifle is that accurate.

On top of that, the history of the FAL took some twists and turns, but the history of the M14 is almost unmitigated disaster.  The development of the M14 took years longer than it should have, and the final design proved difficult to mass-produce.  Early M14s had serious quality control problems as well.  The modern mythology of the M14 as this trusty, old-fashioned type of weapon that got replaced by a fancy, unproven high-tech M16 pushed by out-of-touch technocrats is made completely the fuck up.  The M14 program was an embarrassing disaster nearly from start to finish.  I say "almost" and "nearly" because, by the end, TRW had figured out how to make pretty good M14s, but the rug got pulled out from under them when the M14 was replaced wholesale with the M16.  The FAL wasn't production optimized, but plenty of countries with modest industrial bases, like Venezuela, managed to produce them under license without undue difficulty.

None of this is stuff that you could easily tell from reading a blurb in Jane's.

Wow, thanks for the excellently detailed answer and the easily comprehensible presentation! I appreciate it a lot as well as the linkage to the broader problem of describing military equipment. 

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14 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

"Our newest weapon!"

YwJdTIC_I54.jpg

 

 

 

 

Maybe this is an exhibition of weapons captured from russian soldiers fighting in the Donbass with the separatists?

 

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