1. 1) Ian terrorizes the local squirrel population again (Gila Monsters “We told you about this guy”

    2) Reference the three cound burst limiter and how a “practiced shooter” has no problem limiting burst fire to short bursts in full auto. Remember that this is designed as a military arm. I don’t know about other armies, but back in my day in the US Army, the Regular Army’s infantry spent only a couple of days out on the range a year. Maybe that has changed today and a unit training up for deployment spends a lot more time on the range, but way back when rifle marksmanship training was pretty far down the list – you were supposed to have learned it in basic and retained the skill.

    • The Army never emphasized marksmanship training in any real way. It was mostly a “lick-and-a-promise” affair, done strictly pro-forma. Which used to drive me nuts–If I hadn’t been certain it was literally a career dead-end, I’d have gone into one of the Marksmanship Training Units they used to have, but the handwriting was pretty much on the wall about how that would go, career-wise. None of the guys I knew who did it got past Staff Sergeant, even though one of them was good enough to make the Olympics.

      As another aside–Automatic fire? Never saw a range or a requirement for anyone to fire the M16 in that mode, after the one time we did it as a part of Basic Training. You did it in training, using blanks, all the damn time, but with live ammo? Scored? LOL… Never once. Not in 25 years–And, the times when I brought up doing it as a training scenario? Again, LOL–“No ammo to waste doing that, Sergeant…”.

      Not sure what the hell they thought was going to happen, if anyone ever had to actually , y’know… Use that selector switch in combat, but there you are. Kinda makes you wonder why they bothered issuing fully automatic weapons, in the first place–We could have gotten by with semi-auto, and drastically reduced the security requirements.

      TBH, I’m still not sure why they don’t just design weapons for the military with replaceable trigger packs that you could maintain as semi-auto only in peacetime, and then issue the damn full-auto ones when you went off to war. You’d be able to treat individual weapons a lot more casually; with semi-auto only, you could issue the troops a rifle, let them keep it all the time, and then do away with the requirements of maintaining those massive arms rooms and having to worry about issuing everything out in an emergency.

      Not sure we gain a lot, TBH.

      • Well, Sarge, I thought the whole point of select-fire rifles was to give the average rifleman a fighting chance when unexpected enemy presence jumps into play. Do you really think some random hooligan who wants to mug you will wait for you to line up your rifle sights when he’s only SIX FEET from punching you in the face? I could be wrong.

        • Semi-auto worked just fine for that exact scenario in the Rittenhouse case…

          I’m ambivalent on the issue, TBH. As I pointed out, they never actually bothered to allocate the money or ammunition to train full-auto fire with live ammo. Did it all the time, with blanks, though… Take that for what it is worth; it shows the priority put on it by the system.

          Me? I think it should be trained on and evaluated. They don’t score it, so it must not matter to them. I’m of the opinion that that is a mistake.

          I’d be curious to know–Other NATO armies? Do they train on full-auto live fire at all? I never saw the Germans doing it with the G3, nor did I ever witness the British troops we trained with doing it. I’m not aware of what either army is doing with their marksmanship training standards, right at the moment.

          In any event, the evidence for the priority the US Army puts on it is there in front of you: It’s not trained, it’s not evaluated, and nobody actually does it, other than the odd bunch who find they have a lot of excess training ammo to expend. Every single time I ever did full-auto with live ammo, outside that one time in Basic Training, it was a case where we had to expend the ammo informally–And, it was unusual enough that we normally swore the troops to silence about having done it. On one occasion where we did it, the responsible senior NCO got his ass handed to him for “wasting ammunition”, which made no damn sense because we’d been sent out on that range specifically to “use up” ammunition before the end of the fiscal year… Which was a bit of nuttery that still leaves me enraged and confused, to this day.

      • Kirk, I do not doubt what you said about career end and the matksmanship training unit. It may be the exception that proves the rule, but if I remember correctly, Olympic winner Lones W. Wigger ended his career as a Lieutenant-Colonel.

      • “(…)why they don’t just design weapons for the military with replaceable trigger packs that you could maintain as semi-auto only in peacetime, and then issue the damn full-auto ones when you went off to war.”
        AVS-36 https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%B2%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%8F_%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BA%D0%B0_%D0%A1%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0
        do have lockable fire mode selector, key was supposed to be used by commander of unit. however it is unclear it was actually used
        Согласно инструкции, переводчик режима огня АВС запирался специальным ключом, находившимся у командира отделения, который лишь в случае необходимости мог разрешить некоторым из солдат вести огонь очередями (использовалась ли данная функция винтовки на практике — спорный вопрос

      • Kirk:

        Seems strange that the US Army does not have a doctrine for full auto use for their rifles. I thought the rationale behind the M16 family was that they replaced the rifle and the submachine gun. I imagine troops issued with SMGs were allowed to practice with them on full auto? The M3 was full auto only wasn’t it?

        Then again, the army wanted the M14. They only got the M16 because i) Springfield Arsenal was closed a year before the US embarked on a major war, and ii) Curtis LeMay had wanted a neat little chopper for the guys who guarded air bases. If the USAF had not adopted the M16, would the army?

        Military procurement is a strange sort of parallel universe.

        • I wouldn’t say there isn’t a doctrine for it, per se… It’s just that the only thing they actually do about it is talk, and fire a bunch of blanks on full auto in training scenarios. Actual evaluated “shoot fully automatic at targets for actual performance evaluation” is what doesn’t happen.

          From evidence, they don’t think “full auto marksmanship” is actually a thing, with the individual weapon. Me? I’m ambivalent on the issue… At one and the same time, I’m of the mind that if there’s a feature of a weapon, you ought to be training on it and get evaluated for it, yet I also acknowledge that the average guy firing fully automatic with almost any weapon in the individual weapon class is highly unlikely to be very effective with it, no matter how much training he gets on it.

          I would wager that Ian has exponentially more experience and trigger-time on full-auto with a weapon in this class than even some of our most experienced infantrymen actually have. SF Weapons Sergeants are likely the only real exceptions to that statement.

          I’d say that you typically don’t fire on full-auto, or need to, as an “average combatant”. You really only need to do that sort of thing in utter exigency, and I think that some part of the “system” feels that if you find yourself in that situation, well… You’re probably effectively done as a combatant, anyway. Which is why they don’t emphasize training it. Economy move, see?

          As to your paragraph on the M14… Wellllll… Springfield Arsenal kinda got itself closed due to the venal incompetence and outright fraud they perpetrated with regards to the M14 and the M16 adoption. They’d promoted the M14 as this “easy fix” using M1 machinery for production, and that it would do the job. They botched production, which didn’t really get “fixed” until someone brought in TRW, by which time the whole program was discredited. There was also this minor little issue of the M14 not actually working when put up against the Soviet complex of small arms in Vietnam…

          The M16 adoption and fielding were both travesties–They never did a full work-up on it, deliberately ignored advice given them by the designer, and basically did what should have been done before fielding the thing in Vietnam in Vietnam, in combat. We paid the price for that. I still think, based on what I’ve seen and experienced, that the M16 was meant to fail from the beginning–They didn’t want competition for their brain-child, the SPIW. Which they keep bringing back, most recently as the OICW.

          I rather suspect that the Army would have had to do something, anything, about the firepower disparity in Vietnam–Which, ironically, came about because of the ability of the AK-47 to be fired effectively on full auto. The USAF having adopted the M16 meant that it could be taken off the shelf, so to speak, but the reality is that the M14 had failed in its role, and something would have had to be done. What form that would have taken? No idea. Likely, something other than doing that which they should have done, which was go back down the tech-tree to the fork where they’d laughed the UK out of the room with regards to the .280 British and the EM-2/FAL path. That, of course, would have required some humility and an ability to acknowledge they’d fscked up, however…

          So, we got the M16 ‘cos that would show that we weren’t wrong, we were just going with a more advanced Small Caliber High Velocity hi-tech solution. ‘Cos, we’re sophisticated like that…

          And, you are absolutely right: Military procurement is a very strange sort of parallel universe. Namely, the ‘effing Twilight Zone. The more you research in it, the more you expect to hear Rod Serling doing a voice-over as you read.

          • Kirk:

            I don’t think the M14 was a bad rifle, if you are looking for a semi-auto 30 calibre rifle, that is. As a submachine gun, carbine, assault rifle and light machine gun it was of no use whatsoever. It wasn’t even a good pistol.

            If the management genius of Robert McNamara had not closed down Springfield on the eve of the Vietnam War, I expect America would have fought that war with the M14 and the M60. Indeed, the M14 was pretty ubiquitous in the first year of the war.

            But given that Springfield had closed down, and if Gene Stoner hadn’t spent an enjoyable afternoon zapping watermelons with Curtis LeMay, maybe the US would have found a way to restart M14 production. I am assuming all the machine tools were not destroyed in 1964. Then again, you never know. I don’t think they would have bought FALs or G3s. National pride and all that.

            I still find it odd that a country will spend $100 million on one F35 fighter, but begrudge the infantry the ammunition to train with their assault rifles on full auto. An assault rifle is by definition selective fire, but if you don’t train with it, you may as well have a semi-auto. Why not make it 7.62mm and bring back the M14? Maybe I have solved the riddle?

    • Trained on the AK5 in the Swedish Army without the burst limiter and were more or less literally told that the only use for anything other than semi-auto was if you need to hose someone down from a couple of feet away, or -possibly- to lay down some suppressive fire in reaction to an ambush. We barely received any training for automatic fire, we were more or less only allowed to try it once or twice so we knew what to expect. In general, the “A” on the fire selector didn’t stand for “Automatic” but for “Aldrig” (“Never” in Swedish).
      When my brother went through basic training about a decade later, this was even more strongly emphasized. Semi-auto only. Rapid semi-auto in a pinch.

    • In the French military, I had the opportunity to fire my MAT 9mm small machine pistol, 30 round magazine, using 2 shots at a time, keeping the oil cans up in the air. Control shooting is a great way to make sure the opposition stays covert while friends are moving. And the precision of the shots is more controllable. It is also a great way to be able to shoot longer time. Unbeknownst to the brass, we became very adept at precision firing those weapons, having a lot of fun in the process. Sometimes less safe than the bosses knew we were! More fun too!

  2. Minor nit pick: it’s not that submachine guns have a “smaller projectile” (shorter projectile yes typically, but fatter and heavier than a 5.56 projectile, usually twice as heavy) it’s that their cartridge produces less energy. I know Ian knows this better than I. As I said: minor nit pick.

  3. Why doesn’t the FNC lock open on an empty mag? It seems to be an obvious advantage to do so. Is there some wondrous thing that goes along with not locking open on an empty mag?

    • The Swedish Ak5c version of the FNC does lock open, but not with the original steel mags, but requires new plastic mags for it to work. The plastic mags are however reportedly a lot less reliable than the steel mags, and most Swedish troops reportedly used P-mags in when deployed in Afghanistan.
      The hold open is activated by a tab on the magazine follower, and from what I’ve heard eliminating this tab allowed the steel mags to be slightly shorter while still retaining a 30 round capacity. A steel mag fitted with a new follower only fits 27-29 rounds (reportedly) and occasionally trips the hold open with a round left in the mag.
      Why it was omitted in the first place might have to do with shooting style. When I was trained in the late 90’s, the rifle was pulled firmly into the shoulder using the off hand gripping the foregrip and the “trigger” hand only gripped the rifle comparatively loosely, and was also used for reloading and operating the right-hand side cocking handle. Locking open the last round wouldn’t have been much more convenient.
      Nowadays you’re trained to grip the rifle firmly with your trigger ahnd and use your offhand to reload. This means you need you need flip the rifle sideways and reach over the rifle to reach the cocking handle, which is pretty cumbersome with a rifle that’s already on they heavy side and now have mounted optics as standard.

      So I’d say it doesn’t lock open because it was of little benefit at the time and omitting it made the magazines simpler and slightly more compact. Changes in shooting style, brought on by changes in body armor AFAIK, has made the lack of last round hold open more inconvenient than it used to be.

      At least, that’s my understanding of the issue.

      • “…grip the rifle firmly with your trigger hand and use your offhand to reload…”(C)

        Cool looking, useless show-off.
        Any weapon (like any tool) should be used as intended by the author.
        It would never occur to you to hold, for example, a hammer, with a “reverse grip”?
        Although some may use another nail to hammer in one nail… LOL

        • The designer often doesn’t fully grasp the necessities, when it comes to “how to use the damn thing” that they themselves designed. The users often have to come up with work-arounds to facilitate actually using the tools effectively.

          I’d suggest that the manual of arms which was envisioned by the folks at FN probably didn’t include a lot of the “gunfighting” techniques that modern carbine technique developed; the lack of a bolt hold-open and the right-hand charging handle probably come from that fact. It’s a lot like the issues with the whole bullpup idea; nobody who was a part of designing the L85 likely ever used a rifle in combat the way you do with a 5.56mm carbine; because of that, the whole concept of how they laid the weapon out didn’t support how you actually have to use the rifles. Key thing that’s wrong with the L85, to my way of thinking, is that you can’t “run and gun” with one without having to take your eyes off of your current situation; if you can’t clear a stoppage or load the thing without distracting yourself from what’s going on around you, it’s a lousy design. Never mind the magazine release, the selector, the safety, and all the rest of the issues. Stoner somehow got more “right” with the M16 to make it a superior fighting rifle than the knuckleheads at Enfield apparently ever considered. The multitudinous locations for all the controls on the L85 just shows how little “design acumen” and insight into rifle combat technique that they had.

          You watch the poor bloody British infantry using the L85, and what you’re watching is the triumph of “technique not envisioned by the designer” over piss-poor design. Even so, you can’t overcome the inherent flaws in it all, no matter how much practice you have at manipulating the rifle. There are some similar issues, although more easily overcome, with the AK series of rifles.

  4. The fnc reminds me of the beretta ar70/90 its very similar in external appearance. Or maybe its the other way around but i need an fnc now.

    • “…beretta ar70/90…”(C)

      Probably because both rifles have the same parent, the Swiss SIG.

      And one should not jump to conclusions. Such early maturing products, moreover, made to please the customer, are almost never perfect.
      There have always been questions to these rifles, many of which have remained unanswered for half a century.
      For example, an unpredictable violation of the stability of the automation and a predisposition to accidental discharges when falling, EVEN with safety ON.

      • I don’t know that you can actually trace the design back to the SIG 540. I think it would be a lot more accurate to say that all three rifles came out of the same antecedents, because SIG and Beretta were working on a joint project that both rifles descended from–Beretta withdrew from the joint program in 1968, after five years of work. At the time, SIG was working on the 530, the predecessor to the 540. The 530 was another roller-delay weapon, but the Swiss found that 5.56mm didn’t do well in it, so they went to a gas-operated roller-locked design, which they eventually gave up on, transitioning to a rotary bolt design in the 540 that eventually became the Stg90. I think, reading between the lines, that the breakup between SIG and Beretta came because SIG was married to the roller-delay system, and Beretta didn’t see that working out. After SIG couldn’t get roller-anything to work, then they went down the same path that Beretta had already, to a degree, blazed with the rotary bolt.

        This whole thing is just more grist for the mill, when it comes to saying that roller-delay actions are really only ideal for certain bands of cartridge characteristics, and that the 5.56mm is just plain outside any of those bands. The raw experience-derived fact is that the 5.56mm was designed for a rotary bolt, gas-operated system, and that’s pretty much all that works reliably with it. Gas pressure, the curves it develops at, and the short, sharp recoil impulse that this cartridge has all militate against roller-delay or anything else functioning well with it. If SIG can’t make a roller-delay system in 5.56mm work, well… Handwriting on the wall, there…

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