Almost Adopted: The H&K XM8 Family

Today we are in H&K’s Grey Room in Virginia, taking a look at the XM-8 program. The rifle evolved form the kinetic energy carbine portion of the doomed XM29/OICW program, and eventually became the G36 rifle. In between those two, however, it was the XM-8, and it came close to adoption by the US military.The XM-8 was designed to be a very modular system, with a variety of interchangeable stocks, handguards, optics and accessories. We will take a look at all of these different elements, as well as the disassembly and mechanical function of the design.

46 Comments

  1. I have the bad feeling that this wouldn’t survive a close encounter with a madman swinging a shovel after dumping a dozen magazines down range in some insane underbrush skirmish. It looks cool but how does it have any advantage over the basic AR-15 family? And just how would it compare with the AK series in terms of user-friendliness?

    • “Cool” very rarely translates into any of these three: “Practical”, “Effective”, or “Useful”.

      In fact, the “cooler” something is, the more you should be suspicious of it. “Cool” is how we wound up with the M16, and what led directly to the SPIW and OICW programs in the first place. Any idea that starts off from someone saying “Wouldn’t it be cool, if…” should probably be thrown out on the face of things, and at the very least, needs to be entertained with extreme caution.

      That whole deal at the beginning of Ian’s presentation, where he’s talking about how the Army authorities wanted something a “…little bit more Starship Trooper’s…”? When I heard that bit of idiocy, back in the day, which came from a guy I knew who was peripherally involved in the program, I knew then it was doomed to failure.

      • Oh, and to add on to that last paragraph…? Here’s the really asinine thing about the XM-8 program, as reported to me by that informant: Significant input into the “styling” of that weapon came out of places like US Army Recruiting Command, and the game developers for “America’s Army”. They wanted something “cool”, like Starship Troopers, and as he put it, “Straight out of HALO…”.

        From my standpoint, that whole aspect was straight-up deranged. Styling? Branding? WTF? How should those even be concerns, and why the hell were we taking cues from the movie and video game industry?

        Yet, per what he was telling me, and as Ian confirms, that kind of BS was fed into the program–Which, I think, led directly to the adults in the room killing it, when they got wind of the whole deal. From what he was telling me, at one of the briefings where they were telling the grown-ups what the deal was with the program, some overly-enthusiastic type made a point of telling the big brass what a wonderful job they’d done with the whole “branding” thing, and the reaction they got from said brass was, shall we say, somewhat less than enthusiastic.

        Can’t confirm that, but those details are what I was told by someone who I’m pretty sure was in a position to at least be aware of what was going on. Until Ian’s saying that bit about Starship Troopers in his presentation, I’ve had no corroboration on that set of anecdotes, and I’m now starting to wonder if I shouldn’t have taken him more seriously…

        HALO and Starship Troopers. Dear God, but the dumbassery is both palpable and painful… All that money, all that effort, and what do we have to show for it? Nada. Not a damn thing…

        • Ian’s comment also reminded me of the problems the SA80 (L85) had from conception, because there were so few people still in Britain at the time who knew much about actually handling and shooting rifles. Hence, neat-appearing (but impractical) ideas were baked in early, and which are STILL being corrected at great trouble and expense.

          • One of the things about the SA80 that has struck me is how the whole idea stuck around from back before WWI. They had a bullpup bolt-action rifle, back then, and someone “in the system” thought that was cool, so when the time came to go semi-auto, wellllll… EM-2. Then, that was killed by Churchill, and then they got another chance with the programs that became the SA80. It’s like the whole idea of a bullpup individual weapon had a life of its own, and the “system” wasn’t going to quit with it until someone actually did it…

            Which, frankly, is nuts. You can see the same thing with the US SPIW and OICW programs, and frankly, I’d bet good money that the idiots are going to keep trying, until they either make the idea work (highly unlikely), or it fails so massively that nobody will ever try a combo individual weapon again.

            I’m a big believer in the idea that there are ideas (memes?) whose life is entirely separate from the people who come up with them. Same with organizations–There are things that are like mental viruses, which are communicated and spread at a level below our awareness, and which have incredible effect on how we approach and think about things. The bullpup idea? That’s one, right there–And, you can trace out its life from the pre-WWI Thorneycroft through the EM-2, to the SA80. Same with the SPIW and the OICW…

          • “The bullpup idea? That’s one, right there–And, you can trace out its life from the pre-WWI Thorneycroft through the EM-2, to the SA80. Same with the SPIW and the OICW…”
            Bullpup, as any technical solution, need considering of advantages and disadvantages its give and if first outweight last. In case of inter-mediate cartridge firing rifles dubious, but in big calibers might have some sense cf. https://modernfirearms.net/en/sniper-rifles/large-caliber-rifles/hungary-large-caliber-rifles/lynx-gm-6-eng/

        • “HALO and Starship Troopers. Dear God, but the dumbassery is both palpable and painful… All that money, all that effort, and what do we have to show for it? Nada. Not a damn thing…”
          Wait, does this mean if they would be more inspired by Star Wars we would end with copy of… Patchett machine carbine?

          • On the plus side there, if we ended up with the MG3 (MG42 in 7.62 NATO) as the SAW, we’d be doing well. Lighter than M240 (MAG58) and your choice of RoF (550 R/M ground, 750 pedestal, or OMG 1,200 for AA) depending on which buffer you stick in it.

            Even better, the MG45 alias SiG 710-3.

            cheers

            eon

  2. Sidenote:
    The G36 (or HK50, as it was internally called) was developed first – the kinetic part of the OICW as well as the XM8 were derived from the G36/HK50, not the other way around.

    • And the G36 come from the AR18 trough the SA80. The MoD contract gave HK the opportunity to get away from their delayed roller action.

      • Although the G36 was clearly inspired by the Armalite AR18, H&K engineers changed AR18 (Tokarev) gas system. They reversed the gas cylinder and piston. In the AR18 the piston is fixed and the cylinder is a cup attached to the operating rod (and then a moving part) whereas in the G36 rifle the gas cylinder is fixed to the barrel, in a conventional form.

  3. Very impressive set of interlocking components. Material selection is courageous as HK apparently had trust to Beyer plastics quality. Good show by Ian, as usual.

    • “Material selection is courageous as HK apparently had trust to Beyer plastics quality.”
      Trust? If they are acting like stereotypical Germans, than I am pretty sure that they measured everything 🙂
      Anyway, this must lead to question about our attitude towards plastics. I think some prejudice might appeared due to experiences with Tenite stock as used by Stevens in 1940s. But these data might be… out-dated.

  4. HK was always good at designing modular (or quite modular) families of weapons.
    Looking the whole stuff disassembled at the end of the video, it looks like you simply put a standard rifle stock on the grenade launcher to get it as a stand alone. All other systems I can think of need a specific stock or frame for this purpose.

  5. If the Army wanted a ‘Starship Troopers’-looking rifle, they could save a ton of money by going with Mini-14s in bullpup stocks. :p

    • They could have saved a ton of money by outsourcing the whole thing to a small committee of SF weapons sergeants, and then we would have gotten something that actually worked, and was cost-effective.

    • And, you’ve put your finger on the root of the problem, and the reason why we’re still issuing that “interim” weapon, the M16.

      The powers-that-be want a blue-sky, paradigm-shifting, game-changing new weapon that’s going to “…improve lethality at least 100%…”. Thing is, though? When you ask them to even do something simple like, y’know, define this thing they term “lethality”, what you get back from them is a bunch of nebulous bafflegab that bears little relation to the real world. If you want even more BS, just start asking where they got what few numbers they are using for all this, and from whence they were derived. What you hear will leave you wondering how on God’s green earth these people were ever let out of whatever institution they were in, before becoming small arms procurement people for the Army…

      The root of the problem is that we are not at a point in small arms technology where there are any low-hanging fruit; you’re not going to get massive improvements like we did when we moved to smokeless powders and breechloading designs. Those days are behind us, and small arms design is a relatively mature field of technology. So, to start off from the standpoint of saying you’re going to somehow attain 100% improvement? LOL…

      Ain’t happening. Period. Not until there are massive improvements in materials technology, chemistry, or energy storage for things like portable rail guns. Until that happens, it’s all going to be itty-bitty incremental improvements in the state of the art and practice. Things like sights, better command and control, and the like–That’s where the money ought to be going, and the basic small arms design process that underlies the whole thing ought to be undergoing constant evolutionary improvements, with those flowing into incremental design updates.

      The M16 is perfectly adequate; that’s why it hasn’t been replaced. What should have been done with it, though, over the years, is that the design should have been tweaked to include things like improved coatings, better manufacture technique, and the like. Instead, we’re still buying the same TDP that they had back in the 1960s; button-broached barrels, and the like. FN and Colt both offered to upgrade the design to modern CHF barrels, but the powers-that-be in the system were not willing or capable of making that leap in thought. Which is why nobody but the US military buys Colt USA products, and prefer Colt Canada…

      The mentality that it’s only worth replacing something like the M16 if you can make a paradigm shift is insane, at this state of technology. We should be looking at it from the standpoint of “OK, we’ve got to recapitalize the small arms fleet… What lessons have we learned from the old fleet, how do we correct those problems, and what is out there that we can incorporate into the next tranche of weapons buys…?”.

      It’s like with buying computers; you know the damn things are gonna wear out, and you know that there are going to be improvements to the state of the art; why not take advantage of that fact, and get better gear when the old stuff wears out? If we bought small computers the way we buy weapons, the military would still be running everything on heavily modified GRID laptops, with all that implies. CPM, anyone…?

      • Problem with M16 and derivatives as I see it (as yes I have mfg. eng. experience with it) is enormous amount of labour put into making not one, but TWO receivers per single weapon. Can something be done with it ? I suppose yes, but it could end up it completely different looking firearm.

        The trend as it stands now is to simplify / economize. Shining example are SCAR rifles and lately BT of Switzerland. Their receivers are form extruded aluminum with little to machine afterwards. You can tell me that they are awfully expensive anyway, but that is not for their intrinsic value reasons – their cost adds to profit margin for sure. Some other people do it like CZUB – by hogging receiver out of solid bar. I am not very enthused about it, but they like it and their customers apparently too.

        • Well, the M16 series represents the very cuttingest of edges for 1950s manufacture, so… Yeah.

          Personally, I’m not sure what I’d do to replace the damn things. They’re the modern-day version of the Brown Bess, and will probably soldier on about as long. The various attempts to replace it have all foundered on that “good enough” factor, and while it’s not the easiest thing in the world to build, it is sufficiently “manufacturable” to allow nearly everyone and his brother to build the damn things in their basements or garages…

          If you were to have sat me down, back in the day, and asked me to design or select the primary infantry individual weapon for the US from 1965 forward to 2020, I’d have been very unlikely to have chosen the AR-series of guns. And, I might have been very, very wrong, just as the geniuses who came up with the whole M14 fiasco were. Foresight ain’t easy, while hindsight is all too clear.

          The thing I would say, going forward? They first need to figure out how we mean to fight, and then design to support that. The current 6.8 insanity is notable for not first defining those things, and I predict, with confidence, that it’s all going to end like the XM-8.

          What really shocks me is that I seem to be the only person who clearly sees this stuff–Doctrine and tactics need to be supported by the weapon, not the other way ’round. You go back and look, and that’s precisely what the US military does most consistently–Buy or develop a system, and then figure out what the hell to do with it. Sometimes it works, sometimes… Well, it flatly does not.

          We are also at a point in history that I suspect we’ll look back at and say “Yes, there it was… That’s the cusp of it all, when everything changed…”, just like with WWI. The current set of developments with regards to things like ubiquitous UAV and RPV assets, the command/control pieces, and all the rest of the “new way of war”? They’re going to have tremendous effect on how we fight, and we’re only kinda-sorta feeling our way along into it. Which may come to bite us in the ass, on some future battlefield.

          If I had to guess, I would say that the biggest thing in small arms to come is going to be the sights and command/control systems. Imagine the effect on a firefight, if everyone’s sights were networked, and you were able to exchange targeting data seamlessly between the individual riflemen and support weapons. One guy may have a perfect view of the enemy, yet be unable to do more than watch, while his buddies may be unaware of what’s going on. With total information about the engagement being available, and being passed around…? Yeah; that set of enemy targets may just find itself brought under fire by assets they never even saw coming. The integration and data transmission features of the individual weapon may well become far more important than the kinetic energy they can deliver, and that’s going to be a very interesting situation for all concerned. Support weapons may be mounted on these developmental robotic platforms, like Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog. Me? I’d spend a few million turning one of those things into the ultimate tripod for the MG team, integrated in with sights and everything else I could pack in. Ideally, a machine gunner would be able to serve his gun from a tablet, while the gun was up on a robot well away from him. Key in robotic ammo bearers, and everything else, and you might be able to get away with having just a few actual riflemen, whose main job would be to provide security for all the people operating the various robotic platforms…

          The next twenty years in military technology are going to be very, very interesting, for a certain value of “interesting”. It’s analogous to the days around WWI, in terms of new tech that’s not quite online yet, and whose implications are not yet well-understood. Look around you–The next war’s version of barbed wire and the machine gun are already here. It’s just that picking out which technology or capability is going to be most influential isn’t at easy.

          • “Doctrine and tactics need to be supported by the weapon, not the other way ’round.” Well yes – unless a new tech comes along, e.g. machineguns needed new doctrine and tactics to be effective.

            In our time an example might be precision guided small high explosives, like a precision guided 60mm mortar, or the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) System, which did quite make it but someone will get it right: a 25mm grenade that can be auto-set to detonate at a precise distance. And in that world of precision micro-high-explosives Kirk’s point about information sharing during a firefight becomes extra important.

            Anyway my point being that a new tech will sometimes result in new doctrine

          • Your point is refuted by multitudes of historical examples–The one that springs first to mind is the Montigny mitrailleuse, where we see where a truly innovative and entirely new weapon never reached its full potential, and because they had no damn idea at all how to use the thing in combat.

            Granted, the mitrailleuse was not perfected at the time it was deployed, and it had significant technical issues that were never resolved because the feedback that might have led to those issues being identified and solved didn’t happen, but the fact remains: New, innovative weapon, no real tactics or operational idea of how to employ it, followed by failure. And, another twenty-thirty years of people saying that the concept of machine gun fire was a failure…

            You have to have a decent set of doctrine and underlying operational intent to make a new weapon work, or you’re going to find that you’ve wasted a lot of your money, and probably not an inconsiderable number of lives while conducting on-the-job-training for using your visionary weapons. You could, for example, think of WWI as an extended (and, very painful) experiment in working out the issues inherent to modern weapons. Nobody had a really good or effective idea of how to best utilize the machine gun or artillery, and almost all of that got worked out on the fly.

            Again, you absolutely must have a solid idea of how you intend to fight with a weapon before you put it on general issue; anything else is almost certain to be a waste of lives, effort, and money. There are some things, like smokeless powder, that are relatively simple and obvious, but many of the implications from those weapons innovations are going to have to be worked out before you wring full potential out of everything. With regards to smokeless powder, one of the things that wasn’t readily apparent was just how much effect on maneuver the lack of black powder smoke was going to have on the battlefield, as well as how much more difficult it was going to be to locate the enemy. The men adopting smokeless powders intuited some of all that, but the full range of implication was not realized until there was widespread use of the technology, and it changed a lot of things about war that nobody had really considered.

            Doctrine, tactics, operational intent–And, only then, start thinking about what weapons you need to support all that. Some technologies will change what is possible, but you will still need to have a framework within which to realize that potential and possibility, and that framework is something you have to build in the mind of the leaders and led, before the weapons are going to do you a damn bit of good.

          • “The current 6.8 insanity”

            Part of the “taking back the infantry half kilometer” doctrine, as per this;

            https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a512331.pdf

            Originally, the idea was “use the infantrymen’s rifles to control a 300 meter radius, leave everything else to the SAW”. A doctrine which, BTW, was straight out of the WW2 Wehrmacht playbook, and one still followed by the Russian and Red Chinese armies among others.

            (NB; The 7.62 x 39mm cartridge and AK rifle were designed to be able to inflict at least debilitating wounds out to 400 meters; beyond that, the work was to be done by the support MGs firing the old, .30-06 class 7.62 x 53R.)

            The present-day 6.8 mania reflects the ideas of a century ago, with the .276 inch class of rifles developed as “ideal military caliber” proposals between 1910 and 1930. The British .276 Enfield, American .276 Pedersen, the various 6.5 and 7mm rounds, and etc. were all intended to provide adequate accuracy and killing power out to about 500 to 600 yards (500 meters more or less) with low enough levels of recoil, etc. so as to make rapidly training conscripts easier.

            What actually happened was that the accuracy and marksmanship advocates wanted higher velocities for flatter trajectories. Ending up with unacceptable blast, flash, and recoil, not to mention bore wear. (Notable example; the .280 Ross.)

            What got overlooked was that working to the original specifications re velocity, bullet weight, drop at various ranges, and etc., the various “ideal cartridges” were essentially ballistic twins of the 1892 vintage 7 x 57 Mauser.

            Maybe a lot of time and effort (and money) could have been saved by simply developing self-loading rifles, etc., around that one. Which, interestingly, begat the .257 Roberts and the .300 Savage, the latter of which begat the 7.62 x 51 NATO, aka “.30-06 Lite”, which in its turn begat the sporting 7mm-08, bringing things full circle, more or less.

            Today, the 6.8 proposals all seem to be once more reiterations of the 7 x 57, just with a slightly different bore spec. And of course designed to work through the AR-15/M-16 action, which limits case dimensions.

            Which is just fine; you could do a lot worse in developing a military rifle round than duplicating the 7 x 57’s characteristics.

            But don’t pretend that it’s anything new. We’ve already fallen off that bridge once.

            cheers

            eon

          • Without being unduly partisan (and yes, you are right about this ‘avantguard of 50s’) the M16 had become an epitome of stalemate of U.S. forces small arm development. Some may keep saying it is “good enough” and they are not wrong. It is basically an offshoot of the type of product company was making at the time – aircraft landing gear. And it actually looks like one. They had experience with aluminum forged parts with pistons and springs inside and that’s what you get.

            However, the times are moving on and that brings with it new technological applications (word “technologies” is often exaggerated or too generalized). As I mentioned before-look at designs by BT, there seem to be direction into near future.

          • Second part of your writeup, discussing intercommunication and data sharing is intriguing and I’d give it high degree of credence. I would also ad to it use of drones. Yes, this makes sense, mostly in situation when your side has things under control.

            However, if you were up to opposition of comparable capability (such was case in WWI on western front) you will find yourself sooner or later in ‘managed chaos’ and I cannot tell you with certainty if even the best of training will help a lot. We are all prone to panic and act in accord with highest of instincts – self-preservation.

          • “The current 6.8 insanity is notable for not first defining those things, and I predict, with confidence, that it’s all going to end like the XM-8.”
            Which is contrast to Soviet 6×49 which was developed to provide low recoil impulse and shooting at least as flat as 7,62x54R. Despite promising designs were developed none went into production due to fall of Soviet Union.

          • @ Eon,

            Since we seem to have bottomed out the comment system, I’m replying to you here…

            Vis-a-vis that “taking back the infantry half-kilometer” thing–I’m right there with the whole idea, right up until they start talking about the universal intermediate cartridge. That is a particularly bad idea, and if you look at the actual track record, it ain’t happening.

            Germans tried it, giving everyone in the rifle squad a Sturmgewehr. Didn’t work out well; wound up supplementing liberally with their old-school MG34/42 family. Soviets tried it, post-WWII, and found that their intermediate cartridge didn’t quite cut the mustard, so they put the PK-series down in the squads to supplement. Vietnam? Same stuff, different army–We learned the hard way that there was a requirement for a 7.62mm MG in the squads, and so the M60 abortion happened.

            The fact is that the characteristics you need in an individual weapon cartridge are not the same ones you need in the support weapon role. Because of that, attempting to come up with a “one cartridge to rule them all” thing is never, ever going to work. The Chinese are trying it, right now, with their 5.8mm whatzit round, and they’re having to have two different loadings for the MG and the individual weapon. Even with that, the odds are pretty good, in my mind, that once they garner some actual combat experience with that system, they’re going to go out shopping for a PK-equivalent MG to use in their squads–Especially dismount light infantry.

            Until someone figures out how to do dial-a-yield with the propellants, we’re going to be stuck here, where two cartridges are necessary down in the squads. You’re either going to do that, or you’re going to have to suck up the grief of having an over-powered individual weapon cartridge. Alternatively, you could have an under-powered support weapon cartridge. Up to you… Me? I want something slightly more powerful and more effective than 5.56mm, while still being controllable on full-auto, and a MG cartridge for support that is more like the old Swedish 8X63mm M/32 round. I can’t really justify or see the need for gawdawful oversized .338 Magnum system that they’re touting now, but something more than the current 7.62mm, and still less than that would be about my sweet spot…

            Experience has shown that a dual-cartridge system down in the squads is what works; why argue with physics? There are reasons why everyone has wound up defaulting to that solution via hard-won experience, and I would love to hear justification for why we’re trying for a universal cartridge, yet again…

  6. This all comes down to the old wisdom about muti-purpose, Jack of all trades, master of none. Compromise will never afford excellence, and in your weapon, excellence is essential.

    • Mmmm… I dunno about that, to be honest. I’m with the “Better is the enemy of good enough…” school of thought, when it comes to small arms design. Yeah, excellence is nice, and it would be just wunnerful if we could all have the “perfect” weapon, but the fact is…? That’s both unaffordable, and entirely unnecessary. If you can’t afford to buy everybody that StG57, then you’re better off buying what you can afford enough of to make a difference. Same-same with training–We won WWII by building more, equipping more, and having more troops to fight. The Germans concentrated on that “excellence” thing, and got their asses handed to them because they had an overall suck-ass war-making system. For the love of God, 90% of das Heer was foot- and horse-borne, not on vehicles–And, despite all their elegance and expertise with the machine guns that they based their infantry tactical and operational procedures on, they still wound up being quite literally attrited to death by our less-elegant system of systems…

      “Excellence” in small arms alone is not enough; you have to have that as a component of an overarching system of systems, or you’re going to recap the German experience in WWII. Which is one reason why I’m so cynical about our emulation of what they did, with all these gold-plated uber-waffe that we keep procuring.

      You can keep “excellence”; I want “effectiveness”. And, if that means I’m giving my infantry slightly less-than-optimal weapons, well… That’s the way it works. I’m a pragmatist, and I think I’d rather have a weapon I can use as a club to beat you to death with, if necessary, rather than some delicate little plastic lightweight thingy-mabob like the XM-8. Sure, it’s easier to carry, but when the time comes, I want to be able to crush skulls with it.

      Of course, I suppose it’s all about how you decide to define “excellence”. To me, with all the BS the Army inculcated me with, every time I hear that word, I keep thinking of all those bullshit “Centers of Excellence” signs they used to plaster all over everything on post, and which usually denoted precisely zero improvement in services from those agencies and offices. So… For me, “excellence” basically translates into “meaningless buzzword” that I want nothing to do with. Gimme “functional utility”, every day of the week, and keep your “excellence” in your ISO 9001 seminars that don’t accomplish squat for actually fixing or improving anything.

      • I think that the whole excellence vs. effectiveness debate is inseparable from the particular conditions of your country and the sort of war it has to fight. If these arguments could be reduced to math, they would have to be specific to the type of weapon. In air warfare, quality of plane and pilot crush all other factors, which is why WW2 air superiority bounced back and forth as Allied and Axis air forces rushed product-improved versions into the fight. A few squadrons of the latest model could suddenly run up a huge kill ratio, for a while. In infantry warfare, inferior soldiers and weapons often stalemated better ones. Why is this? I say it’s because of concealment. In the skies, there’s not enough places to hide if you and your plane are just a little too slow. On the ground, inferior soldiers learn fast how to survive by stealth and cunning or are weeded out of the gene pool. Tank warfare and naval warfare exist in between these two extremes. If you’re going to try to win a big ground war by depending on excellence against numbers, you damn well better have a plan to win fast, and shift the emphasis to tanks over infantry before you’ve suffered too much attrition to wage another war. If you’ve got numbers instead of excellence, you take the blows and the survivors on the ground become the cunning squad leaders of your giant stupid vengeance horde next year. Acquire weapons to fit.

  7. Doggone it Kirk, this is the cutest little rifle thingie I ever laid eyes on and here you are talking about getting it all muddy and bloody.
    It has STYLE!
    You are never going to get a date with Kamala Harris with that attitude.

    • Style? When you’re at war, you need more BANG for your buck, and it’s got to be able to deal with bad conditions. I don’t think your opponent wants to play nice when a war’s going on. He’ll admire your rifle after reducing you to hamburger.

  8. Lot has been said here from different viewpoints, according on particular person’s orientation. I am a technician and therefore my thought and observations are directed in that way. I am interested in technology more than anything else. And of course I like weapons history and that’s why I show up on FWs 🙂

    From what I see here, kindly presented by seemingly tireless Ian I gather that there are/were some possibilities, which were clearly not exploited as yet. Will procurement return to them at one point in future? Quite possibly – yes. The HK designs are solid and well proven.

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