Posts Tagged M-16

Weapons: Oh, The Weapons Contractors Use…

This is a fun one. On Facebook I posted a TOTD or Thought Of The Day on what types of weapons contractors have used in the past on contracts. What I got was an incredible amount of feedback on this and it was really fun to see what popped up. Here is the TOTD I posted:

TOTD: Contractor Weapons. I think this would be a fun one. I would be interested in all the various weapon types that guys have seen issued as contractors, or had to use as part of their contract. Or stuff that you saw or heard other contractors use. Everyone hears about AK’s, M-4/ARs, and Glocks, but what are the other rifles and pistols seen issued. Or even the heavier weapons used for contracts. This should be a fun one and I will probably make a post out of it on the blog.

I have mentioned in the past that Facebook has been incredibly useful for interacting with the contractor community. The amount of feedback and interaction is amazing and very useful. I am also able to share more ideas in a more efficient manner there, which also helps to get more ideas in return.

So back to contractor weapons. Guys posted pictures and everything, and it was cool to see any trends in what we are using out there. Obviously AK -47’s and M-4/AR-15 variants are the top primary weapons. But the various types of other weapons issued and their histories are very interesting. Some are just recaptured weapons that were given to contractors by outgoing military units in the various AO’s, or some are weapons the companies were able to ship into that country. Others were bought in gun markets in the region, and it is fascinating to see what contractors we able to get a hold of.

What I will do below is list every gun mentioned and I recommend going to the post on FB to see the various stories behind these weapons. I did notice that the G-3 was mentioned quite a bit. I got to play around with one in Iraq, but didn’t use it for work. In the photo below, Patrick brought up a heavily modified G 3 that I thought was cool.

The other thing to point out is how many copies of weapons were mentioned. Stuff that was either reproduced by Iraqi factories or stuff that was made in the weapon making villages of Pakistan. Lots of junky weapons that fell apart or barely worked, but were cheap and helped to stand up a contract. It is a huge problem in the industry, and companies continue to outfit contracts with junky weapons and equipment, all because of money or because they do not have the connections to get the good stuff into that war zone. That is the one thing that I continue to see and hear from contractors out there, and I have experienced the same, and that companies are horrible at providing good weapons or equipment. It’s why guys become good at fixing weapons or why folks prefer to bring their own kit–because the companies are horrible at this stuff.

Back to the list. There is also the mention of heavy weapons used, or the use of explosives. Stuff that you would not associate with contracting, but was certainly used at one time or another by contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the early days of Iraq, you saw everything. Now, not so much because regulations and contracts have become very specific as to what can be carried. I saw that change during the 2006 to 2008 time frame, and especially in Iraq. But there are contracts that are out of sight or out of control of the Big Military, and you continue to see the heavy stuff come up on contracts.  So here is the list, and feel free to add in the comments section stuff that you used on contracts. –Matt



This is a PDW Patrick McAleer made in 2007, out of an Iranian G3, in Iraq. Photo Credit Patrick McAleer.



Glock 19
Glock 17
HS 2000
Caracal F
M 9
SIG P226
Turkish Kanuni
Walther P 38
Iraqi Berretta
Browning Hi Power
Walther P 99
CZ 75
.455 Webley
Smith and Wesson Sigma
Norinco NP 22 (Sig 226 copy)
FN P35
CZ 70
Zastava EZ9
Ruger P95
.38 Colt Diamondback
Colt 1911
.455 Colt Eley

M 16 A2
AK 47
AR 15
M 4
Colt 722
G 3
G 36
Type 56
K 98
British SMLE
Sturmgewehr 44
Saiga M 3
Benelli Argo
Remington R 25
Remington 700
Browning BAR
Mosin Nagant
FPK Dragunov
AR 10
Ruger Scout Rifle in .308
AMD 65
HK MR 308
FN FAL para
VZ 58
AR 18
HK 416
East German MPi KM 72
SIG 550


NOR 982
Remington 870
Italian double barrel

Submachine Guns

Swedish K
MP 5
Beretta M 12
Beretta PM 12S

Machine Guns

MG 42
FN Minimi Para SAW
FN M-249 SAW
M-240/MAG 58
M 60
MG 3
VZ 59

Grenade Launchers

M 79
HK 69
M 203
M 320/AG 36

Mortars, Grenades and Mines

M 67
M 18 Claymore
Tear Gas/CS
Improvised Claymores For Defense
Mortars for flares

Rocket Launchers

AT 4

Heavy Machine Guns

M 2

Automatic Grenade Launchers

MK 19
AGS 17


Regular Archery Bows
Kitchen Knives
ASP baton

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Funny Stuff: Combat Garden Gnomes

Hilarious. No yard should be without a squad of ‘Combat Garden Gnomes‘. –Matt


Garden Gnomes are widely regarded as friendly, whimsical, peaceful little creatures…
Not anymore!
I don’t know what it was that finally prompted the gnomes to take up arms. Maybe it was one too many gopher invasions. Perhaps it was the overwhelming gaudiness of neighboring plastic pink flamingoes encroaching on their ancestral homeland. Or maybe they just finally got tired of the media portraying them as travelling morons. Either way, they’ve had enough and they’re out for blood.
My gnomes stand just under a foot tall, weigh somewhere between one and ten pounds, and each one comes with your choice of either the ubiquitous M16A2 assault rifle or the venerable AK-47. Your gnome will be delicately packed in the finest imported bubble wrap, laid in a luxurious bed of gourmet packing peanuts*, and shipped directly to your door by a professional, uniformed carrier through USPS Priority Mail. For your ease of mind, you will receive a tracking number once your gnome has shipped so that you can check on his progress as he makes his speedy way from my workshop to you.

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Weapons: Politicians to Test M4 Alternatives

   Ok, I know it is all about politics, if you want to change a weapons system like this.  But something about this just pisses me off.  Why is the future of our armed force’s fighting rifle, in the hands of some aides to some politicians in DC?  I understand the politics of the matter, but the reality of it just chaps my hide. Anyway….

     Now for my choice of weapons.  The FN FAL and it’s variants are a fine weapon system(DSA made).  It is 7.62 mm, tough, accurate, easy to maintain, and works when you need it the most.  I also like anything from LWRC or HK, if we are going with M-4 design, just as long as it is 7.62 mm or something heavy.  It just doesn’t make sense to have two different types of rifle rounds floating around out there, like we have now (5.56 mm and 7.62 mm).  If it was all 7.62 mm, then you have a round that can be used by everyone in that unit and during that fight.  

   And as far as the weight factor, I think guys would gladly carry that weight if they knew they were carrying something that was hard hitting and deadly.  Oh, and they just might concentrate more on accuracy because they are carrying less ammunition. Or they might actually require less ammunition, because they put the enemy down with less shots.  Do we want a spray and pray soldier, or do we want a precision focused soldier that can actually take down the enemy from a distance with one or two shots?   

    If we were to go with what we have, as far as a two rifle round system(7.62 mm for machine guns and 5.56 mm for rifle), then I would change out the 5.56 mm with the 6.5 Grendel.  The 6.8 SPC is a good enough round, but the 6.5 Grendel is just a more accurate round.  Please see the comparison post above between the two, and make your own determinations. –Head Jundi  


The DSA SA 58 is just an example of what the market could produce for a replacement

Hill Aides to Test M4 Alternatives

July 11, 2008

by Christian Lowe

In a move that could ruffle the feathers of an Army command that views the Colt Defense-built M4 as the best carbine in the world, a select group of top senate staffers is gathering today to look at what could be the future of the military’s standard assault rifle.

About 30 legislative aides have signed up to attend a July 11 demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, just outside Washington, D.C., that will feature weapons from various manufacturers vying to end the reign of the M16 and M4 as the U.S. military’s most fielded personal weapon.

The range day is intended to help familiarize key lawmakers with possible alternatives to the M16 and M4 once the exclusive contract with Colt Defense of West Hartford, Conn., ends in the summer of 2009, a senior senate aide told

“When you re-compete the M4 it shouldn’t just be for the same thing we’ve been building for the last 20 to 30 years,” said the senior senate staffer who requested anonymity because the issue is so sensitive with the Army.

Over the past year the Army has taken fire from M4 critics who say there are better options available to troops, weapons that require less intensive maintenance and fire more lethal rounds. While the Army — which is responsible for procuring small arms for all the services — continues to stand by the M4 and M16, a small group of tenacious senators, including Oklahoma Republican James Coburn, have pressed the issue, forcing the service to subject the M4 to rigorous environmental tests and pushing for side-by-side competitions with several M4 alternatives.

“There’s no urgent need to improve the M4, it’s clearly working better than the M16,” the senior senate aide said. “Our concern is that, urgent or not, we really ought to be improving it on par with technological improvements [and] not be wedded to an older weapon just because that’s the way we’ve always been doing it.” 

While the aide declined to list all the companies participating in the demo, congressional and industry sources say the shoot will feature the standard 5.56mm M4 carbine, the FNH USA-build Mk-17 — which fires a 7.62mm round — and a modified “M4-style” rifle that fires a new 6.8mm special purpose cartridge round, among others.

The 6.8mm SPC round was born of a 6-month program launched by the interagency Technical Support Working Group which looked into how an M4 or M16 could be easily modified to fire a round that had better ballistic characteristics than the current arsenal when fired from a short barrel.

According to the TSWG, the so-called “modified upper receiver group” that accommodates the 6.8mm round “can be installed on [government-issued] M4 carbine lower receivers by operators in the field quickly and without tools for an immediate, considerable increase in projectile weight, surface area, and on-target terminal performance.”

“The 6.8mm MURG offers improved combat capability and user survivability over comparable 5.56mm platforms,” a TSWG statement said.

A consistent criticism of the M4 has been the 5.56 round’s perceived lack of stopping power. A 2006 Center for Naval Analyses report conducted for the Army showed 30 percent of Soldiers surveyed wanted a rifle with a more deadly round.

“Across weapons, Soldiers have requested weapons and ammunition with more stopping power/lethality,” the report said.

And one special operations Soldier who spoke to couldn’t agree more.

“I know that when I’m shooting at someone I want to be confident that when I hit him, he’s going to go down,” the Special Forces operator said during a recent interview. “That’s why I like the AK and its 7.62 round. It’ll drop whatever you’re aiming at.”

The Army brushes off such criticism, saying lethality is closely tied to marksmanship. If you hit a target in the right place, you’ll stop him, Army leaders argue.

The point of the July 11 test shoot is to allow manufacturers to showcase their M4 alternatives before an audience that’s becoming more influential on small arms procurement decisions. The senate group tried to hold a similar demo last year, but the Army abruptly pulled out when news reports of the event leaked out, senate sources said.

Participants will have the opportunity to observe the effects of different caliber rounds in ballistic jelly, be shown how to fire each weapon and, of course, there will be some hands-on time as well.

Colorado Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar is heavily involved in the M4 alternative push and wants a competitive process that rewards the kind of innovation that leads to a host of choices when the M4 is re-bid in June of next year.

“Senator Salazar’s concern is that the process itself could stifle industry innovation, it can result in lower weapons reliability and it can increase costs,” said Salazar spokesman, Matt Lee-Ashley.

“He’s going to work through the Army and the Armed Services Committee to make sure that when [the M4] is re-competed next June the process is open, that it’s based on performance-based requirements and that it encourages industry innovation.”

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