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No. The Army Won’t Go Back to 308

5.56 and 7.62 shot at mild steel. Courtesy US Army May of 2017.

I have been getting hammered with inquiries and comments about the Congressional testimony of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on the US Army switching to 7.62 as a standard service round. That in conjunction with the recent DOD RFP for 5.56 caliber alternatives has the gun-geek community pegging the DERP meter.

Here’s the problem: DC is a shit show. And staff officers at the Pentagon giving advice on weapons selections is akin to pencil-necked ESPN anchors telling 300lb linemen how to do their jobs. I acknowledge both are in, “the business”. But recognize no greater disconnect between these two worlds. And the same can be said here.

SCAR-17. Probably the best 308 “battle rifle” ever made. Principally due to light weight and simplicity of design. Good choice as a standard service rifle? Likely not.

So What is Really Going On?

In my opinion, the DOD is engaging in a technology check. What is that you ask? Simple: every decade or so, the government will put out a commercial solicitation for some parameter of new weapon. The usual suspect companies will cobble together some responses and mockups, and when the bean counters discover their proposed new service rifle isn’t a, “Phase-Plasma-Rifle in the 40 Watt Range”, they’ll cancel the program and march on with a AR based 5.56 rifle.

But the gun-blogs and gun-dorks don’t want to tell you that. They get more traction out of dropping, “breaking news” and sensational headlines than giving you sensible analysis. Translation: Click Bait.

Knights SR-25. The gold standard of the AR-10 design? Some say yes. Some say no. While others say the AR doesn’t lend itself well for a high-volume 30 caliber round.

So What is Going to Happen?

Truthfully? Nobody actually knows. I suspect you “might” see some tweaking around the Sniper / DMR platforms caliber wise. And the Army will develop even, “more better” AP 5.56 ammo. That’s about it.

“But…but…but…my buddy who’s Tier 1 call sign was Black Mamba says…”. But nothing. Consider a few interesting data points from US Weapons Procurement History. Or…maybe that’s rewriting of history: The M-14 was actually a failure and was hated by most SME gun folks in the US Military. The F-14 way before Top-Gun was an overcomplicated, flying piece of shit with under-powered engines. The M-16 was a terrible rifle and never would truly replace 30 caliber weapons until it did. The F-4 Phantom was a flying coal furnace with it’s exhaust visible from here to Hanoi. The Stryker system was an outright joke among the armor folks until it proved it’s worth in Iraq. Shall I continue?

What’s the point? No matter what you do, there will ALWAYS be people complaining about X,Y,Z being better than 1,2,3. It’s the nature of military service. Ain’t nobody ever really happy. So keep that in mind whenever you hear anecdotal stories about particular weapons systems. Good or bad.

Example of a M-14 pressed into the DMR role. The rifle basically sucks by today’s standards.

Complaining Isn’t a Reason

Nothing will come of this. Rifle technology hasn’t really progressed beyond where we are at now, service weapon wise. It’s just the gun-dorks don’t want to see it. Instead like ESPN anchors, they are invested in hyping teams over analysis. What has changed is body armor. So put your think’n caps on and riddle me this. Take two as of yet undesigned AP bullets. The only difference is one is 22 caliber at 3100 or more FPS. And the other is 30 caliber at 2500 FPS. Without using some kind of explosive EFP warhead in these rounds, which one has “more potential” for penetration? Physics tells us the 22 does because of increased velocity across a smaller area.

5.56 and 7.62 shot at mild steel. Courtesy US Army May of 2017.

But…but…let’s just say I am dead-ass wrong. Let’s just pretend the Army decided to go back to a “manly” caliber like 7.62×51. Guess what? It’ll be in semi-auto only. Why? Because…again… physics, that’s why. A 30 caliber rifle, lighter in weight than the uncontrollable select-fire M-14? Yeah, giving that a 3 round burst makes all kinds of sense (sarcasm). So…it will be in semi-auto. A semi-auto SCAR-X, BREN-80X, 417 type rifle? All will be right with the world? Yeah! That’s going end the complaining(more sarcasm).

So for the next 30 years, the same people calling for dumping the M4 as it sits today, will be telling us all how 5.56 M4’s were “the best” choice and more appropriate for the future wars in MEGA cities. Dumping it was a mistake. And how the 30 caliber, semi-auto battle rifles that supplanted it were looking backwards to the last war in Afghanistan.

The original M-14. You can tell it’s a M-14 by the small control at the rear of the receiver.

Go Make Your Bed

Gun-Dorks hear what they want to hear. It’s a giant echo-chamber of circle-jerks. Why suddenly wait with baited breath on every word some staff officer in DC utters? Because it fits their agenda, that’s why. We call it, “Selective hearing”. Makes you wonder how many of them actually started making their beds everyday? I mean…Admiral McRaven…DERP…DERP….Navy SEAL…DERP…DERP…make your bed everyday…DERP DERP.

Whatever. It’s a big waste of time. As soon as every “industry professional” starts his day bouncing a quarter off his perfectly made bed, I’ll start taking advice from them about how the DERP-Factory, I mean DOD, REALLY works.

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