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Author Topic: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4  (Read 6430 times)

Hock

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Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« on: April 08, 2005, 06:48:08 PM »

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED: Small Arms and Individual Equipment Lessons from Operation Iraqi Freedom

Source is USAJFKSWCS, Army Special Operations Battle Lab. Note the lessons on M9 ineffectiveness (again), M4 round's lack of range (again), and XM-107/M-82A (Barrett .50 cal semi-auto) effectiveness (again). Lessons noted have certainly not been turned into lessons acted upon in the cases of the M9 and the 62-gr. 5.56 NATO round.

Introduction
The following is a gathering of lessons learned on items of equipment either within the PEO Soldier domain or closely related to current or planned PEO programs. I gathered these lessons while serving as the PEO Soldier Liaison to the ASA(ALT)-SWA Operations Cell. I accompanied a team from the Science and Technology community conducting a similar mission for GEN Kern, Commander, AMC, and MG Doesburg, Commander, RDECOM, consisting of Mr. Bill Andrews, MAJ Rob Johnston and SFC Sam Newland.

The lessons were gathered from 5 through 10 May 2003 from soldiers serving in the Baghdad sector during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Comments came from Brigade Commanders down to riflemen. The following units were interviewed:
* HHC/1-187 IN, 101st ABN  * 2d BCT, 82d ABN  * 3-325 PIR  * 2-325 PIR
* 3-7 CAV  * FSB  * 1st BCT, 3 ID  * 3-69 AR

...on 9-mm. Beretta:
There was general dissatisfaction with this weapon. First and foremost, soldiers do not feel it possesses sufficient stopping power. They desire a modification to allow for more accurate firing during limited visibility - tritium on the sight posts was a specific recommendation.

The 9-mm. magazine performed very poorly. Soldiers were stretching the spring in order to provide sufficient force to feed rounds into the chamber. Soldiers were not satisfied with the guidance from higher to not stretch the spring and only load 10 rounds in the 15-round magazine.

The issued 9-mm. holster is not used. Most soldiers/units purchased thigh holsters because of comfort, access and availability. If the 9-mm. is your personal weapon, you don't want to have to always wear your LBV in order to have your weapon with you. The leather shoulder holsters did not hold up well in this environment. The thigh holsters came from a number of different commercial sources such as Blackhawk.

...on the M-4 carbine:
Soldiers were very satisfied with this weapon. It performed well in a demanding environment especially given the rail system and accompanying sensors and optics. As one Brigade Commander said, "The M-4 with PEQ and PAC provided overmatch over our threat equipped with AK-47s and RPGs." The general consensus is that every rifleman wants the M-4 vice the M-16A2.

The most significant negative comment was reference the M-4's range. In the desert, there were times were soldiers needed to assault a building that may be 500+ meters distant across open terrain. They did not feel the M-4 provided effective fire at that range. The 82d Airborne soldiers wished they had deployed with M-14's at the squad level as the 101st did.

There is also a significant safety issue that bears further investigation. Apparently when the M4 selector is in the "Safe" position and the bolt is allowed to ride forward, the firing pin still makes contact with the bullet primer. A CSM in the 101st related a story of a soldier who had an accidental discharge while his weapon was in the safe position - the CSM personally witnessed this incident. Numerous soldiers showed us bullets in their magazines that had small dents in the primer. There may be a "Safety of Use" message out on this issue but it is not well known at the battalion-and-below level.

The flip-up sight on the M-4 allowed the soldier to engage targets out to 600 meters. However, the plastic grommet that formed the small aperture was prone to falling out. Soldiers "super-glued" the aperture to the sight.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 08:36:53 PM by HockHoch@aol.com »
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Contractor

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2005, 09:04:19 AM »

Hock,
Read this report a while ago, along with one from Afganistan.  It seems to me that the Army's one size fits all policy is flawed again.  The M-4 is a great weapon when utilized in the role it was designed for.  The M-16 is a great weapon as well, they just fit different roles on the modern battle field.  In the open terrain of the Iraqi desert or in Afganistan the M-16 is going to give the soldier better range, while the M-4 is better suited to CQB and fighting from vehicles.  I understand that logistically it is hard to keep an inventory with the two, but it is also more practical to have a weapon system that is identical.  If you can operate an M-16, you can operate an M-4.  This is easier than training the troops to operate two different systems.  One of the suggestions from the Army's Markmanship Unit is to carry an A2 or better an A4 upper complete with optics.  When operating in an AO that requires longer distance shots, switch out the uppers.  Designated marksmen comes to mind.  Once again it is the been counters calling the shots for the grunts.

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Kentbob

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2005, 10:02:34 AM »

     As far as the 9mm is concerned, we have been saying this kind of thing for years.  Ever since the Army replaced the 1911, back in the 80s as I recall.  I never did get the full skinny on why they switched.  The 1911 was a fine weapon.
     As far as the M4 vs. M16 goes, neither one is all that great past 600 meters.  We have squad designated marksmen, and they have scopes.  However, if we have to hit something past 600 meters, which is probable, we only have 2 m-14s, 1 m24 sniper rifle, and one barrett in the company.  In order to maximize our use of this weaponry, I have suggested numerous times the formation of a scout squad.  However, as I have said before, the folks running this rodeo don't know their fourth point of contact from a whole in the ground, and wouldn't know decentralized operations if it bit them. 
     The range issue came up before I went to Afghanistan, and that was my first experience with the M-14.  It is a fine weapon, plenty of range, and takedown power.  We got a report from the lessons learned crew about the range of the M-4, so they dug up some Korean Era M-14s, that probably where in the 501's inventory last time it deployed, in Vietnam.  Again, a fine weapon, easy to maintain, easy to shoot. 
     As silly as this may sound, we could bring our own weapons, and just have the Army provide the ammunition and cleaning supplies.  I miss my Glock! :(

Kent
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Contractor

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2005, 08:16:58 PM »

Kent,
Korean war surplus - that is funny, sad but funny!  Only because its true.  I remember all of the unit level Arctic gear like tents, stoves ect.  It was all old enough to be from the Korean war as well.  When will the military give the soldiers what they need?

You are right about the M-14 though.  I have seen more here in Iraq than I ever saw while I was on active duty.

Stay safe my friend.

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Kentbob

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2005, 02:15:30 AM »

Kent,
Korean war surplus - that is funny, sad but funny!  Only because its true.  I remember all of the unit level Arctic gear like tents, stoves ect.  It was all old enough to be from the Korean war as well.  When will the military give the soldiers what they need?

You are right about the M-14 though.  I have seen more here in Iraq than I ever saw while I was on active duty.

Stay safe my friend.

Contractor

     It is even funnier when your unit that takes them hasn't been deployed real world in many, many years.  You should have seen some of the looks I got.  One Chinook crew asked us, "When was the last time you guys deployed anywhere?".  They seemed a little less than thrilled with the answer.  Oh well.  Thanks for the good wishes, Contractor.  Don't bunch up.


Kent
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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2005, 04:02:35 AM »

A little of the 9mm and M-4 subject, but worth posting some place.  Although this is an After Actions from Falluja, it has many important lessons for the civilian or LEO.  Such as the top down or bottom up clearing, casuality evacuation ect.

http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Defensewatch%20Special%2010.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=741.2799252082547

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Trembula

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2005, 12:38:35 AM »

It is interesting to see that in Iraq the favored small arms on both sides are about the same as forty years ago in Vietnam... AK-47's vs. M-14's and m1911's - the M16 design is still disliked...

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Dan
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Kentbob

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2005, 07:15:41 AM »

It is interesting to see that in Iraq the favored small arms on both sides are about the same as forty years ago in Vietnam... AK-47's vs. M-14's and m1911's - the M16 design is still disliked...

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Dan

     You got that right.  I just finished reading Col. (Ret.) David H. Hackworth's book about the 4/39, and near as I can tell, we are still fighting this war just as in the dark as we were back then.  You'd think we would have learned something in the intervening 20 some odd years.


Kent
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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2005, 04:03:37 PM »

Policy is decided (what equipment to use, invade or not ect.) in cozy offices.   Then it is up to the soldier to carry out that policy.  So when it comes down to listening to the soldier, they just don't want to listen.  "They" make up this and that, and point finger in this direction and that, while the grunt is left expected to do or die.

That is the way it works.  I am not saying I like it, I am just saying that we are given the short end of the stick.

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kayakpirate

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2005, 06:00:45 PM »

The "dents" in the primers are a result of the  inertia firing pin.this is nothing new. There are a number of weapons that use this system. The primer dent can lead to an A.D. if the dented round is chambered again and again. The best way to avoid this is to not rechamber the round more then a couple times. Thereby reducing the risk of a slam fire as the primer becomes more and more sensitive.
Remeber your weapon handling rules,and hopefully the risk will be minimized

Be safe,or at least accurate
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gumbey

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2005, 04:19:54 AM »

Unlike the M-16, security personnel, including my self, found the M-4s somewhat difficult to shoot at long distances (250 yds.) than the standard M-16s. Even the best shooters flunked the course. The ones that passed, even myself, barely made a qualifying score. With more practice and a few adjustments (tighter stance), it should get better. Before I left the command though, we were allowed to decide to shoot the M-16s or M-4 at the rifle qualification course. So I stuck with the M-4s. Besides, we're not allowed to go on patrol with a rifle anyway so what's the use? The only place we carry a rifle is at a gate/guardshack.
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Professor

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2005, 09:34:00 PM »


....Besides, we're not allowed to go on patrol with a rifle anyway so what's the use? The only place we carry a rifle is at a gate/guardshack.



'splain please...    :-\
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Kentbob

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2005, 12:54:15 AM »

Unlike the M-16, security personnel, including my self, found the M-4s somewhat difficult to shoot at long distances (250 yds.) than the standard M-16s. Even the best shooters flunked the course. The ones that passed, even myself, barely made a qualifying score. With more practice and a few adjustments (tighter stance), it should get better. Before I left the command though, we were allowed to decide to shoot the M-16s or M-4 at the rifle qualification course. So I stuck with the M-4s. Besides, we're not allowed to go on patrol with a rifle anyway so what's the use? The only place we carry a rifle is at a gate/guardshack.

     Where did you work, that they gave you M-4s and M-16s?  I'm regular army, and we still don't have enough M-4s.  Again, I have never had a real problem shooting the M-4 at long distances, as long as I am getting enough practice in.  Which I'm not, these days.  The highers ups have seen fit to close down our test fire range, for an undertermined length of time.  Oh well, I guess.  Just another reason I don't like officers.

Kent
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gumbey

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2005, 11:04:46 AM »

I was working a special duty as a security policeman at a weapons station. Lots of woodsed areas. Don't get me wrong. Its good to have them on patrol but we are not allowed to keep them in the police cruiser with us except to transport a relief to the gate. Only the 2nd guard (show of force) is assigned either an M-16 or M-14. As far as practice, we never were trained in the academy for rifles since some base security departments carried no rifles. So we only got trained at the academy on shotguns (Mossberg 500) and pistols (Beretta M-9). The only training with rifles are qualification courses, which is held every 6 months, twice a year. One is a target qual course, the other, a rilfe sustainment course. To maximize my training, I go to the private range and shoot a rental AR-15 (once every other month) as well as fall back on my air rifle skills. As far as M-4s, we were not told that they were part of our new inventory of weapons. And that made us got caught off-guard and I thought I could shoot it just as good as the M-16.
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Bujinkandas

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2005, 06:37:34 AM »

I agree, I carried the Berretta for most of my 23 years in the military (All but the last 8, in which I carried the Sig 9mm as a CID agent and AFOSI agent.)  The 9mm round was just too small to be effective.  Remember when guys would carry a 38or 357.  Shootouts would end with few shots fired.  When the 9s came along you would here about shootouts with 20-30 or more rounds in the suspect.  Now I carry a Glock 40 in my day to day carry and I have a GLock 45 for personal carry.  These pack the power we need to effectivley stop a threat...I hope. ;D
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Bujinkandas

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2005, 06:46:40 AM »

As for the M-16, I carried and trained with it some and I liked it, but since I was a protective service agent I only carried an MP5 or Uzi for operational purposes (depending on the country).  I know that in training the M016 was very accurate, but others tell me they like the punch and accuracy of the M-14 better.  Hmmm, with all the mordern technology we have you would think we would be operating with a more advnaced weapon system.

Hey guys, do any of you carry knives operationally, and if so what kind.  Also, what type of training did the military give you because I have been in the Navy, Air Force, and Army and never recieved any type of kinfe orientation.
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Professor

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Re: Unclassified info on 9mm and M-4
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2005, 08:38:55 AM »

Bujinkandas,


I've moved your side topic to the military forum (Topic:  military knife training) as a stand alone subject:


"As for the M-16, I carried and trained with it some and I liked it, but since I was a protective service agent I only carried an MP5 or Uzi for operational purposes (depending on the country).  I know that in training the M016 was very accurate, but others tell me they like the punch and accuracy of the M-14 better.  Hmmm, with all the mordern technology we have you would think we would be operating with a more advnaced weapon system.

Hey guys, do any of you carry knives operationally, and if so what kind.  Also, what type of training did the military give you because I have been in the Navy, Air Force, and Army and never recieved any type of kinfe orientation."


No harm meant, I just want to make sure that you get the needed attention to the side-topic.

Jeff
« Last Edit: May 05, 2005, 08:43:28 AM by Professor »
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