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Should the 5.56 be replaced?

This is a discussion on Should the 5.56 be replaced? within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by Waylander One has to add alot of money to rearrange training and print new manuals as well ...


View Poll Results: Should the 5.56 be replaced?
No the 5.56 is good enough. 43 29.25%
Replace it with 6.5mm or 6.8mm. 72 48.98%
Just go back to the 7.62mm. 26 17.69%
Unsure. 7 4.76%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 147. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 18th, 2008   #31
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Originally Posted by Waylander View Post
One has to add alot of money to rearrange training and print new manuals as well as buy alot of new ammo.
One cannot just take the price of the weapon itself.
Oh good lord no, of course there are literally millions of cost factors in making a complete inventory swap. It is a matter of perspective though. Go ahead and double the price, call it two (2) F-22's to buy 90,000 rifles (seesh).

Our soldiers in the field deserve the best, most effective tools available to rip the hearts out of and immobilize our enemies with fear. The rifle is our most basic tool, they deserve the undiluted, most effective, best weapon a free society can devise and afford.
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Old August 18th, 2008   #32
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Yes, but...

For example, I think a well-trained pilot flying an old F16 will still likely be shot down if he came up against a super duper F22 (or an enemy equivalent).

And without air superiority you can armed every soldier with the best rifle money can buy and you'll still lose the war.

...

Whereas I'm not sure a well-trained platoon with 5.56 M4 will definitely be beaten by an enemy armed with 6.5, 6.8 or 7.62.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that the switch to 6.8 is probably for the best.

Because if not for interference, countries like UK were already on to a 7mm round pre-NATO.

But in the end you have to admit the performance gap between a 5.56 M4 vs a 6.8 M4 isn't huge enough to affect the outcome of a firefight.
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Old August 18th, 2008   #33
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For example, I think a well-trained pilot flying an old F16 will still likely be shot down if he came up against a super duper F22 (or an enemy equivalent).

But in the end you have to admit the performance gap between a 5.56 M4 vs a 6.8 M4 isn't huge enough to affect the outcome of a firefight.
F-16 vs F-22:
F-22's don't fight fair. The new era of American fighter planes will significantly diminish the capabilities of older platforms to compete, far more than any other generational change in the history of air combat. The F-16's pilot skill would only matter in how fast he hits "Eject", to save his life.

6.8mm ... affect the outcome of a firefight?
Way too many variables on this open ended one. But, yes I can envision scenarios where the performance difference could very well conclusively win a firefight because of the 6.8mm/6.5mm increased lethality. The only advantages offered by the 5.56mm is cost and lighter weight - not many advantages in a firefight there.
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Old August 18th, 2008   #34
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F-16 vs F-22:
F-22's don't fight fair. The new era of American fighter planes will significantly diminish the capabilities of older platforms to compete, far more than any other generational change in the history of air combat. The F-16's pilot skill would only matter in how fast he hits "Eject", to save his life.

6.8mm ... affect the outcome of a firefight?
Way too many variables on this open ended one. But, yes I can envision scenarios where the performance difference could very well conclusively win a firefight because of the 6.8mm/6.5mm increased lethality. The only advantages offered by the 5.56mm is cost and lighter weight - not many advantages in a firefight there.

You do realise that most (I forget the actual percentage) of combat takes place at ranges shorter than 300m. 5.56 is lethal enough at these ranges. The only thing it is significantly inferior in doing compared to larger calibres is punching through brick walls. But a 6.8 grendel is not going to be that much better doing that anyway. We already have a larger calibre well suited to this task 7.62. Why introduce another?

The old arrangement in Aussie inf sections with 7.62 Mag 58 gave the punch required for this and with the rest of the blokes equipped with 5.56 Steyrs you had the advantages of lighter ammunition, more could be carried and a greater volume of fire could be sustained for fire and movt. Taking the Mag 58's away and replacing them with the Minimi took away the heavier calibre and its increased punch and incredible accuracy of that weapon from the platoon. So instead of introducing another calibre, just slip the Mag 58's back in to the infantry section - be useful in Afghanistan with the occasional longer ranged engagement, and need to punch through mud brick walls. The only people I could hear complaining are the gunners (bugger of a device to lug around).

Look I'm sure the grendel is an advance on 5.56, but only an incremental advance. Bit like last years Honda Fireblade motorbike isn't as good as this years Fireblade that now has the indicator stalks made from Unobtainium. It isn't as simple a change as some of you believe. As Waylander has started pointing out there is the whole training system to consider, spare part inventories to change over, range safety standards and templates to be retested. Do the ammo pouches for instance in the soldiers basic webbing accept the new larger magazines? Perhaps new ammunition storage containers that are not suited to the existing modular storage and transportation systems etc will be required. Do you need to consider where other nations are heading for interoperability reasons ensuring that other countries are moving to this new calibre (the 6.8) instead of say the 7mm.

Now if the 6.8mm round was a guided round or some other type of game changing technology (such as the F22 is in A2A combat) then it would be a question of 'when' not 'if' we change, but its not and we won't.

Last edited by Marc 1; August 18th, 2008 at 09:24 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2008   #35
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The only thing it is significantly inferior in doing compared to larger calibres is punching through brick walls.
If that is "all" it does better, an (6.5/6.8/7.62 - whatever) upgrade for our forces could and probably should be in order. I've heard a few of those low distance firefights in Iraq had brick walls involved.

It's really simple, a 5.56mm shot to the chest of a drugged up Jihadist in body armor isn't going to drop him. That's why the foot sloggers in Iraq have been dusting off the M-14's, buying them on Ebay and bugging their Congressmen to equip them with hotter, more powerful ordnance.

M-14's (4.62) are kick-butt powerful, but you can't keep them on target - they jump up, hard. The M-4 platform modified to accept the 6mm rounds are much more effective to shoot. If an enemy stands a 1% better chance of being dead with a 6+ than the 5.56, argument over. We buy Billion dollar bombers, 0.2 Billion dollar fighters, why squawk about upgrading rifles?
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Old August 19th, 2008   #36
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Gryphon, what percentage of these jihadists wear body armour? Why does this body armour stop 5.56 (even the AP variants) and yet allow 6.8 through? Whats to say that you go through the expense and exercise of equipping your soldiers with this new calibre - whats to stop the insurgents 'up armouring'?

As to the brick wall issue - remember for an insurgent to shoot at you they need to move into a window opening or doorway - cover those effectively and you'll still get your man (basic MOUT premise). In this type of assymetric warfare with insurgents taking shelter inside homes with non combatants inside, you cannot equip everybody with 7.62 and go blasting indiscriminately through brick walls. That type of action results in massive civillian casualties which is only going to work against you. However, as I have noted in my last thread, one weapon (such as the machine gun) per section equipped with 7.62 is handy for those occasions where you do need this ability.
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Old August 19th, 2008   #37
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I've heard a few of those low distance firefights in Iraq had brick walls involved.
There are plenty of OTHER weapons available to a squad/platoon besides 5.56 M4 - like LAW, M203, M240, hand grenades, claymore mines.

You want big calibre? How about a bandolier or two of 40mm grenades?

A lighter basic rifle package allows you to carry more of those important stuff. These things determine the outcome of a fight much, much more a minute difference in calibre/performance of basic rifle.

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It's really simple, a 5.56mm shot to the chest of a drugged up Jihadist in body armor isn't going to drop him.
Is every Jihadist on drugs?

Was every Jihadist (on drugs or otherwise) not "stopped" despite being shot in the chest?

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That's why the foot sloggers in Iraq have been dusting off the M-14's, buying them on Ebay and bugging their Congressmen to equip them with hotter, more powerful ordnance.
If you believe the Future Weapons guy pluggin another LWRC product, then yes - the 7.62 should replace the 5.56.

There will always be people who think a certain piece of issue equipment isn't good enough.

But the 6.5, 6.8 isn't so incredibly better that you want to replace the several million 5.56 rifles in the US arsenal. Not to mention training, logistics and ammo.

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We buy Billion dollar bombers, 0.2 Billion dollar fighters, why squawk about upgrading rifles?
Wow.... Do you really need the fighter plane thing explained to you again?

Another thing, the US doesn't "squawk" about upgrading rifles. The M16 has been upgraded so many times with so many variations I've lost count. Even the basic 5.56 round is different from the one used in the 70s. The M16/M4 with all the gadgets hanging off it is more than a match for anything in any calibre.

Some people will keep fighting no matter what you shoot them with. It's all propaganda sales pitch that arms maker spread to help plug their marginally better products.
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Old August 19th, 2008   #38
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Is every Jihadist on drugs?

Was every Jihadist (on drugs or otherwise) not "stopped" despite being shot in the chest?
Perhaps they should have been, but they were not dropped effectively especially when wearing body armor designed to stop the lame 5.56mm. As I mentioned earlier, headshots render the argument moot. Still, the chest is a bigger target and why not equip our guys with weapons that defeat that defense?

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If you believe the Future Weapons guy pluggin another LWRC product, then yes - the 7.62 should replace the 5.56.

There will always be people who think a certain piece of issue equipment isn't good enough.
Actually, I prefer the Knight's Armory SR-25 7.62 (.308) system. I don't know if "Mack" has done a show on that yet, perhaps you can tell me when to watch?

http://www.knightarmco.com/images/sr25.html

I have never liked the M-14, except for the ruggedness of the platform. But the .308 is a very effective round, worth the weight penalty. The M-4 architecture of the SR-25 platform reduces the barrel jump and recoil effects of the heavier round, so 2nd and 3rd shot accuracy is not an issue.

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Wow.... Do you really need the fighter plane thing explained to you again?
Please amaze me with your brilliance on expanding the lame argument on how airplanes are so much more important than basic soldier equipment. Perhaps we should sell all of the Army's night vision scopes and replace them with Iron Sights to buy another 1/352 of an F-35 for the Air Force ... that'll strike fear into our enemies!!
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Old August 19th, 2008   #39
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The SR-25 would still suffer from the unreliable gas impigment system. I find both 6.8mm and 6.5mm to be wothy. I personally prefer the 6.5, but yeah, give me a nasty 6.8 over a wimpy 5.56 any day. The 5.56 works fine if hits on the chest or some other vital part, but would lack damage on non-vital areas, unless it expands/fragmentates, what the M885 is really bad at doing.

So yeah, A Sierra Mk262 or a Barners Copper 5.56mm would be much better than the current M885.
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Old August 20th, 2008   #40
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And without air superiority you can armed every soldier with the best rifle money can buy and you'll still lose the war.
Nobody is talking about cutting fighter programs in order to fund new rifles. We are just trying to say that the Army should get the best assault rifles in the world just as the Air Force and Navy gets the best aircraft and ships in the world. And of course you have to have air and navel superiority.

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6.8mm ... affect the outcome of a firefight?
Way too many variables on this open ended one. But, yes I can envision scenarios where the performance difference could very well conclusively win a firefight because of the 6.8mm/6.5mm increased lethality. The only advantages offered by the 5.56mm is cost and lighter weight - not many advantages in a firefight there.
I think it has to do with the rate of fire and/or volume of fire our guns put out that affects a fire fight. And I know the M16/M4 and M249 have very high rates of fire. Though a bigger round is needed.

Here is how I would organize our fire teams in the U.S. Military. Upgrade the H&K 416 and M249 to 6.5mm or 6.8mm,

8 man squad:

2 H&K 417 7.62 NATO
2 H&K 416 in 6.8mm or 6.5mm
2 H&K 416 in 6.5/6.8 with M203 40mm
2 M249 in 6.8/6.5 with 100/200 round belts
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Old August 20th, 2008   #41
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2 H&K 416 in 6.5/6.8 with M203 40mm
... perhaps veering of the specific subject just a tad, but isn't the M203 getting long in the tooth as well? At the risk of taking a few more "Future Weapons" hits, wouldn't something like the M32 multiple (6 shot) launcher be a possible substitute for one of the belt fed machine guns?

http://www.milkorusainc.com/
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Old August 20th, 2008   #42
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... perhaps veering of the specific subject just a tad, but isn't the M203 getting long in the tooth as well? At the risk of taking a few more "Future Weapons" hits, wouldn't something like the M32 multiple (6 shot) launcher be a possible substitute for one of the belt fed machine guns?

http://www.milkorusainc.com/
WTF? Replace a machine gun with some weird 6 shot grenade launcher? LOL you are kidding right?Dude the M203 will be replaced by the new M320 and as for what you just said you can't replace a machine gun with a grenade launcher. There both built for different roles and missions. One is for suppressive fire to ether kill the enemy or keep his head down well the other is for blowing the enemy up. You can use them for complementary roles but not to replace one another.

And other a different subject, this question goes for anybody who can answer. Can anyone tell me which has more gunpowder, the 5.56X45 NATO or the Russian 7.62X39mm? One is slightly fatter and the other is slightly taller but which has more volume for gunpowder?
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Old August 20th, 2008   #43
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WTF? Replace a machine gun with some weird 6 shot grenade launcher? LOL you are kidding right?Dude the M203 will be replaced by the new M320 and as for what you just said you can't replace a machine gun with a grenade launcher. There both built for different roles and missions. One is for suppressive fire to ether kill the enemy or keep his head down well the other is for blowing the enemy up. You can use them for complementary roles but not to replace one another.
Laugh all you want, the Marines bought 9000 of them in 2006. I doubt they are carrying these and machine guns. 9000 isn't a prototype buy, or a test, they are integrating them into their baseline structure. That's why I asked the question.

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...e-field-02042/
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Old August 20th, 2008   #44
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Please amaze me with your brilliance on expanding the lame argument on how airplanes are so much more important than basic soldier equipment. Perhaps we should sell all of the Army's night vision scopes and replace them with Iron Sights to buy another 1/352 of an F-35 for the Air Force ... that'll strike fear into our enemies!!
No, we don't need to further the childish airplane vs rifle discussion as it is would be a tedious waste of time for other forummers.

A few of us are patiently trying to explain things to you even though you are just a kid and have never served a day in the military. So please mind your manners.
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Old August 20th, 2008   #45
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No, we don't need to further the childish airplane vs rifle discussion as it is would be a tedious waste of time for other forummers.

A few of us are patiently trying to explain things to you even though you are just a kid and have never served a day in the military. So please mind your manners.
Just replied in kind, "return fire" I believe is the military term. But I did not reduce myself to juvenile personal attacks and name calling, which I would think would be above a career military type.

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