I just want my M-14!
Maddening article the other day in the Associated Press. Seems, to almost nobody’s surprise, that the 5.56mm 62-grain SS109 bullet is next to worthless at ranges beyond 300 meters when fired from the M-4 Carbine. As the article explains, the 14.5″ barrel of the M-4 in place of the 20″ barrel of the M-16A2 makes a barely adequate round entirely inadequate.
The AP article mentions the M110 sniper rifle, an AR-type design in the 7.62 NATO. I am sure it is a fine weapon, and has been well-received by the users. However, it is a sniper rifle and not for general issue. The M110 also weighs a robust 15 pounds.
It is high time to replace the M-4 and M-16A2 with something better. Not a new and “transformational” design taking decades and billions to develop. But by re-starting manufacture and updating the venerable M-14 battle rifle.
While no shrinking violet either, the M-14 fires the powerful 147-grain M80 7.62 NATO round effective as far as the eye or the scope can see. Update the design by eliminating the full automatic and by fitting a modern and lightweight fiberglass stock to the action. The loaded weight of the M-14 is just shy of 11 pounds, and this figure could be cut significantly (The M-16A2 weighs nearly 9 pounds loaded) . The M-14 is a rugged, reliable, accurate, and lethal rifle. And it is available. If necessary, begin a robust training program for unit and depot-level armorers, and restart manufacture of spare parts and replacement components.
Bring back the M-14. It belongs not in warehouses, but updated and refurbished, in the hands of US Servicemen who are at present being outgunned by weapons designed up to a century ago. And it can give us time to design an intermediate caliber weapon that will take us successfully onto the battlefields of the future.