Bigger is Better? The Bren 2 Battle Rifle (BR)

CZ has taken the Bren 2 design, and scaled it up to 7.62mm NATO as the Bren 2 BR (Battle Rifle). A decent number of military and security organizations are still interested in the larger cartridge, including the Hungarian military and Kenyan game rangers. Essentially this is the same mechanism as the 5.56mm Bren 2, just scaled up a bit. It does use SR-25 magazines (including the Magpul 7.62 pattern), but CZ makes its own 25-round version.

In addition, the Czech military has adopted a semiauto-only version of the BR as its new marksman’s rifle, but that is a subject for a different video.

Thanks to CZ in Uhersky Brod for inviting me to take a look at these and other firearms in their reference library! Make sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram!


  1. Strange choice by CZ. Even leaving aside private sales, I’d think a lot of government customers would see this as a DMR rather than something requiring selective fire.

  2. I’ve got 6 CZ rifles at this point, I would love to make THAT #7. Maybe we could even get them to “differentiate” it from the “no spirting purposes” by putting it out in 6.5 Creedmoor???

  3. Although it seems odd, one can hold these “climbing” weapons on target in full auto by turning the gun on its side! The recoil creates a line of fire horizontally, sweeping multiple targets. I learned this technique firing M3/M3A1s, which also climb like crazy.
    And I would love to have a Bren2 in 260 Remington.

  4. In semi auto only and a variety of calibers based on the 7.62×51 case, it would be a magnificent wild pig hunting rifle. Calibers could include .224 TTH, .243 Win,.260 Rem, 7-08 Rem, .308 Win(yes I am aware that is the HUNTING version of 7.62 NATO) .338 Federal, and the perennial underdog of the bunch-.358 Win. Show me a better rifle for hogs.

  5. As always Iam, you show us stuff nobody else does,I havnt seen a rifle that I was as bad as I want one of them,CZ please bring em out in semi for commercial sale.Another great cz design.your the man Ian.keep ‘em coming

      • I think the term “STANAG Magazine” has evolved to describe the whole family of AR-10 derivative magazine characteristics–Pistol-style push in, side mag catch like a pistol, and so forth. At least, that’s what everyone seems to be describing when they say “STANAG magazine”.

        It’s another annoying little factually incorrect term of art like “Battle Rifle”, but I find it easier to live with. It’s certainly less of a mouthful than “AR-10 type magazine”, which is what you’d be left with without it.

        I suppose I’d have been in the camp that objected to the use of the term “hand gonne” when they first started making hand-held firearms. And, maybe I’m wrong, but… Man, the terminology just sucks when it is allowed to evolve out of common misunderstandings and distortions–Just like with the whole controversy between what we decide to call a “medium machine gun” vs. a “heavy machine gun”. Back in the day, it wasn’t caliber or cartridge; it was volume of fire, and an M1917 was the heavy with the M1919 being the medium. Don’t even get started on the Commonwealth terminology differences vice what usages get half-ass translated from the German language or French… Whole thing is maddening, and you wind up going around in circles. Even the *)$&*!)** NATO STANAG publications are opaque, which you’d think would have some damn clarity. They really don’t, though…

        We really need a world-wide firearms terminology authority like the French Académie Française that could bring some freakin’ clarity to the whole issue, around the world.

        • The value of getting standards right (empowering the right people to make proven best practices into standardized requirements) tempts us to infer that standardized is always better.

          OTOH, I’m confident you’ve seen an instance or two of “standardizing on stupid”. Letting some fool turn a discredited worst practice into SOP is far more destructive than the minor fluctuations and errors you get when competent, experienced people are free to figure things out on their own.

          • QWERTY keyboard, anyone…?

            Installed base gets a vote in everything, even language. Which is why it’s s damn important to get it as “right” as you can, from the get-go. Look at the confusion between “clip” and “magazine” in popular culture, for an example.

          • Kirk,
            I agree with you about the necessity of getting terminology right. I remember once, during a course that remarkably condensed JPME / JPP into about a week, arguing with a colleague who claimed doctrinal terms stifle innovation. Common language enables innovation.

            Also, as much as I agree with the need for specific doctrinal terms (“jargon”), to me they should always be nested within the broader dictionary definition of the term, e.g. the $%^&* AR “DI” debate.

  6. I just want to register my general disdain and loathing for the term “battle rifle”. I first encountered that term back in the 1980s in the usual run of breathless journalistic hackery then prevalent in most of the gun magazines. I totally get the desire to differentiate the categories, but that term just irritates the bejeebers out of me. Perhaps irrationally so.

    It’s a totally useless and redundant term–WTF is a weapon in 5.56mm, then? A “non-battle rifle”? The whole thing grew out of the immature and childish obsession with caliber that still lingers to this day–5.56mm was a “poodle shooter”, “utterly inadequate” and useless in combat. Or so entire generations of soldiers were indoctrinated by the media before they ever joined the armed services or saw combat.

    I’ll admit to holding the opinion that 5.56mm is perhaps a bit “light in the loafers” for combat use, but the fact is, I cannot actually prove that with actual objective data–And, it obviously has worked pretty damn well, for most of the individual weapon purposes to which it has been set. I also happen to think that the 7.62mm NATO is a bit light for the purpose we’re using it for, these days–Mostly support MG fires. If I could go back in time, I’d totally redo the entire effort that got us here and go for a real two-caliber solution for infantry weapons, but that train left the station before I was born. Raw fact is, the 5.56mm/7.62mm pairing is what we have, and it works well enough that I could not even begin to justify changing it just because of my purely subjective opinions.

    I look at the latest NGSW happenings with a very jaundiced eye–To my way of thinking, they’ve just redone the same series of idiocies that went into the 7.62mm NATO development, and will have the same issues with the weapons being too heavy for really effective individual weapon use and too light for real support weapon effects to be generated. We’ll see–As with anything, the issue is going to be more “software” than “hardware”. I believe that the current perception of our small arms issues is heavily influenced by the fact that most of the people making the decisions are looking out for their own post-military careers in industry, and not the interests of the taxpayers and troops. All of the supposed issues used as excuses to justify this BS could be overcome with better training, more of that better training, and some improved accessory equipment. Just like the revolution in accuracy and effectiveness we created with adding optical sights, you could easily increase the effective range of our current MG fleet simply by developing or buying a better ‘effing tripod that troops could actually haul with them tactically. You can’t effectively tackle a tripod-mounted gun with one you’re forced to return fire off a bipod from… That’s just a fact of life. Factor in piss-poor and unrealistic training, limited to no binoculars or other fire-control aids, and you have yourself a crisis you can exploit to force the purchase of an entirely new and totally redundant small arms suite.

    I think NGSW is going to be a white elephant, and likely abandoned due to the cost/benefit ratio being totally insane. We’ll see, I suppose–I’m also exceedingly dubious of the Marine Corps decision to replace the M249 with the M27, but that’s just me and my fascination with raw firepower.

    I still find the term “Battle Rifle” ridiculous. Are we going to go the route of the tankers, and start talking about “Main Battle Rifles”? Where would the M4 fall, in that sort of usage? “Light Battle Rifle”?

    I mean, for the love of God, what military-use rifle isn’t a “Battle Rifle”? Do we issue some for delivering little love-bites to our favorite opponents? The redundancy here is nauseating. We’ve gotten along fine for hundreds of years with “rifle” and “carbine”… Do we really need another flippin’ term?

          • Your mouth, God’s ear, etc. etc. ad infinitum

            I like to think I’ve attained a fair degree of mastery over the English language, and I am constantly looking at things I’ve written and going “OMG… Did I actually do that…?”. Cast no stones, break no bones. So long as the intent comes through, that’s all that really matters.

          • “I like to think I’ve attained a fair degree of mastery over the English language(…)”
            I lost all hope long time ago. Luckily we are using text, which I can somewhat comprehend. I assure that linkage between text and sound in English language is black wizardry to me. Once upon time I was astonished to learn pronunciation of British Airways. If I would not know that it is written this way I would probably write it as spitbeard.

          • Daweo, you gotta remember… English isn’t so much a language as it is a scrapbook of words, usages, and grammar rules that were accumulated by its speakers over the centuries like so many magpies going after the shiny. The wonder isn’t how conflicted and inconsistent that its “rules” are; the wonder is that we can still manage to communicate with it at all.

            I forget which friend of mine it was (I think she was Polish) that pointed out it was possible for her to read things written a thousand years ago in her native tongue, but trying to go back and make sense of something written in English as recently as the 1700s was an exercise in frustration. English is a river at flood torrent; stick your foot in it today, and the river will likely be essentially beyond recognition in a few hundred years.

      • I’m not sure that the .30-06 was the ideal support MG cartridge, although I do like the .270 or .280 British, on paper. I’d really like to fire them extensively to really say, and I’ve only experienced those suckers vicariously.

        I think the Swedish 8X63mm cartridge had a lot of good things going for it, and I kinda suspect that my “sweet spot” for an ideal support MG cartridge would likely be somewhere in between where 7.62mm NATO is now, and one of the .338 magnums–Although, I’m open to the argument that the heavy end is justifiable. That Swiss .375 looks interesting, as well…

        I think I’ve said it before, though… ad nauseum: There aren’t practical numbers to base any of this on, TBH. It’s all “feels”, and I don’t trust those. We very badly need to do some actual data-gathering, and go out looking for what is really happening in combat. The purely subjective crap-fest of data we’ve been basing all these decisions on is a collective bad joke; we really don’t know much about how efficacious our cartridges are, at range, in combat, on the enemy. We’ve never gathered the data to produce the numbers; we should have been doing investigatory work in Afghanistan and Iraq, actively observing engagements now that we have the ability, tracking who shoots what at who, and then going downrange to recover the actual enemy bodies to examine for actual generated effects. This, however, is too much of a cold-blooded exercise for the powers-that-be to even begin to entertain, and it explains why so many of our decisions around small arms are so bad. We base everything on purely subjective things that aren’t even slightly validated or checked up on. And, if they were, I’m pretty sure that the numbers would indicate that our choices should be different than the ones we’ve been making, and likely will make in the future.

        It’s like with the M27; the Marines chose to go to that weapon mostly because they felt that the M249 was slowing them down, in combat. Okay, I completely get that, but… Where were the objective numbers saying that going that fast was a good idea, in the first damn place? I’ve always held that you move as quickly as your firepower, not the other way around–Which is essentially what the M27 is doing. Frankly, I don’t like basing my tactics and operations on the individual weapon. It’s all well and good, so long as you’re dealing with people who’re basically a few steps up from an armed mob, but what the hell happens when you run into someone like WWII-era German troops who base their tactics and operations on their MG teams…? I want my belt-feds, and my mortars. The idea of basing everything on the individual weapon is, to my mind, utterly insane.

        Opinion, though–‘Cos, again, to reiterate it, we ain’t got the actual data to derive any honest numbers from. Marines could well be right, in that you’re better off moving fast and not hauling the belt-feds around with you. I hope they are, for their sake…

        • “(…)when you run into someone like WWII-era German troops who base their tactics and operations on their MG teams(…)”
          Tanks were developed for dealing with such kind of treat, from Life in a Tank by Richard Haigh available at
          There may be in a certain sector, before an attack, an enormous preliminary bombardment which is destined to knock out guns, observation posts, dumps, men, and above all, machine-gun emplacements. Nevertheless, it has been found in actual practice that despite the most careful observation and equally careful study of aeroplane photographs, there are, as a rule, just one or two machine guns which, either through bad luck or through precautions on the part of the enemy, have escaped destruction. These are the guns which inflict the damage when the infantrymen go over and which may hold up a whole attack.

          It was thought, therefore, that a machine might be devised which would cross shell-craters, wire and trenches, and be at the same time impervious to bullets, and which would contain a certain number of guns to be used for knocking out such machine guns as were still in use…

    • “(…)what military-use rifle isn’t a “Battle Rifle”?(…)”
      Historically there existed SMLE No.1 Dummy Practice Rifle

      “(…)gotten along fine for hundreds of years with “rifle” and “carbine”(…)”
      There were other term used, if I am not mistaken, namely musketoon

      “(…)Do we really need another flippin’ term?”
      I do not know, but more I observe development of military fire-arms in U.S.A. more I think name selection was delegated to

      • Maybe “battle rifle” was a distinction between the rifle the infantryman carried to wage conventional battles in open country (Europe) with a mix of short and long range fire on both defense and offense. Whereas bolt-actions were being relegated to sniper duty, and lighter rifles were becoming recognized as personal self-defense weapons in a world where no one could really see what they were shooting at (jungles, cities).

        But then why would those lighter rifles be called “assault rifles”? Because the Wehrmacht named them first and it liked the word “sturm”?!

        And why would the first battle rifles be the 7.62 NATO guns introduced by the conventional armies of Western Europe AFTER the first Sturmgewehrs already had implied that battle rifles were obsolete?

        But let’s look at it another way. The Eastern Front was different than the Western Front. The former was faster to prove that even in open country shorter ranges were in order. The Germans rushed Sturmgewehrs to the Eastern front, and the Soviets took notes. The Soviet response was, as we know at this site, to design two different rifles, Simonovs to replace bolt-actions and Kalashnikovs to replace submachine guns.

        So even though they both used the same cartridge, the Simonov was the Soviet idea of a conventional infantryman’s battle rifle, and the Kalashnikov was the shock troops’ short-range full-auto assault weapon.

        So if anyone should have invented the battle rifle/assault rifle distinction it was the Soviets, but they didn’t. It seems an accident of Western terminology in response to Allied (i.e. US) hostility to the Sturmgewehr concept. The US indoctrinated NATO infantry to shoot at long range in “real” battles while the Warsaw Pact expected to close quickly with massed fire from Kalashnikovs. “Screw you with your stolen German concepts, we beat the Germans!”

        The jungles and cities came later, and as a surprise.

        • Your explanation makes sense. And, if it had happened that way, I’d have a lot less angst with the whole thing.

          As it actually transpired, the term “battle rifle” came right out of the late 1970s-1980s US gun press, which was notorious for faddish BS like this. The only place I ever saw “battle rifle” was in the pages of the various gun rags, where they’d be breathlessly reviewing things like the HAC-7 as the latest and greatest thing, soon to dominate the small arms market. I never heard “battle rifle” come out of the mouths of actual serving soldiers or Marines, anywhere. Probably because none of us ever saw the need to make the distinction. It’s a rifle; you’re in the military… Of course, you take it to battle. Unlike, say… Well, I can’t think of too many other things you issue and don’t take to war, although maybe the various arms issued ceremonial guards would qualify, like the M-14s the guys at the Tomb in Arlington carry. That being the case, then, what they should have termed them is “parade rifles”.

          I still don’t see the point of the term. For those occasions where you do issue them alongside the 5.56mm rifles, the simple differentiation of “heavy” and “light” would serve a hell of a lot better, and reduce confusion.

          The whole thing annoys the crap out of me, TBH. I loathe market-speak, and I also loathe the entire realm of poseur types that were writing in those magazines back in those days. About the only one I find still valid and readable is Kokalis. Even Cooper now looks a little less like the shining light he was perceived as, back in the day–I look at his rantings about the superiority of the 7.62mm as being as dated as the old-timey gravel-bellies ranting about thousand-yard shots hitting their targets for the average soldier, which in my experience, ain’t happening now, and likely never did, except by accident.

          The problem a lot of people don’t get with this isn’t the cartridge, the shooter, or much of anything they usually think of: The problem is target acquisition and positively identifying it. You see movement on the hillside; what is it? With the modern ROE we have imposed, if you can’t see what the hell it is, and confirm its identity as enemy troops, you ain’t shooting that thousand-yard rifle and cartridge at it, anyway–So, why the hell are you hauling all that mass around?

          Without external aid, you’re really not going to see or be able to ID a lot of things out past 300-400m; once you’ve introduced a guy with binos, then you might as well make him a part of a crew that’s firing off of something that makes sense for that range, which would be…? A mortar or an MG on a tripod, that can drop carefully targeted bursts on those targets past 300-400m. Which, again, should be done, because if you’re seeing one guy at that range, he’s almost certainly got friends, and it pays to expend some rounds on spec in that general area.

          My main objection to these things is that I don’t think these Wiley E. Coyote soooouper-geniouss types have really thought these things through, or observed what modern combat looks like. Individual weapons are mostly for self-defense and close-in combat; trying to use them on things out past 300-400m is just… Nuts. Not to mention, if you’re shooting at something out at those ranges, you’ve obviously got the time to pull a better choice of weapon out of your toolbag, and use that. Inside 300m, sure–Everyone needs to be able to shoot and hit at what you observe. Past that? In the heat and stress of combat, you’re almost always going to be better off picking the mortar or the MG team as your tool of choice.

          The dynamic and fleeting nature of a lot of these engagements are what escapes a lot of these genius pundits. Go look at the helmet-cam footage that has come out of the various modern campaigns; observe how little actual “enemy sightings” you have with those, and now put yourself in the boots of that young man carrying your hypothetical “battle rifle”: How much of that weight you’ve burdened him with is actually being effectively used, given the nature of things? Campaigning in the bare hills of Afghanistan ain’t the norm; the norm is probably a lot closer to what you see in Ukraine, right now. What you need in an individual weapon is something more akin to a “knife-fight” rifle, easily carried, easily handled, and with the ability to get it into operation quickly because most of your encounters where you need the damn things, it’s going to be a surprise. Your typical “battle rifle” does not lend itself to such things, at all. Too heavy, too ungainly, and too likely to be leaning against a tree when the moment of exigency comes.

      • “Musketoon” originally simply meant a short-barreled musket, mostly used by cavalry. The derivation apparently came from the same root as “pantaloon” and “cartoon”.

        The latter word originally meant an artist’s sketch of a fresco, done on paper at a much smaller scale than the final product. If you’ve ever seen how large some frescoes are, it’s easy to understand why the artists wanted to get all the elements worked out on a sketchpad first. Not least to avoid problems with the customer, generally the church or monarch.

        The Italian word “moschetto” means “musketoon”, and was official Italian military terminology for a “short” rifle right up through World War Two. Hence the Moschetto Modello 91 da Cavalleria, a short version of the 1891 Carcano rifle with a folding epee’ bayonet. The word “carbine” did mot exist in Italian military usage until the 1950s.



      • Don’t get me started… The M-14 and its derivatives have the singular quality that whenever I look at them and/or talk to anyone who had to maintain them in a military setting, there’s a strange sense that I might just have developed more loathing for that weapon than I ever did the M-60.

        Buddy of mine had an early variant Springfield M1A, one that was mostly GI parts. That rifle… Swear to God, watching him with that thing was physically painful. He’d get it zeroed, before going up to a match, get it carefully packaged up and take it off in a case, drive or fly to the range, and then… It’d be so far out of whack in terms of where it was hitting that quite often he wouldn’t have it on the paper at 100m. Mechanically, it was a lemon–He paid someone back in the early 1980s, a well-known “tuner” for those rifles, somewhere around $3,000.00 for them to go over it and make it “the ultimate Service Match Rifle”. He got it back, same issues that had plagued it from day one, and he sent it back. The guy doing the work eventually returned his money and said he couldn’t help that particular rifle, it was cursed…

        When you have to resort to the dark arts to bed the damn things in, and field-stripping requires undoing your bedding job and re-bedding the action…? I think it is just inside the realm of the possible that you’ve got a really crappy design on your hands.

        M-14 is a solid rifle if all you’re going to do with it is bayonet fighting and randomly either scaring the hell out of people at 300m or killing them. Asking much more of that design is gonna leave you intensely frustrated.

    • I think “battle rifle” came along mainly because Col. Jeff Cooper didn’t like 5.56 x 45mm. At least he was the first one to use the term in its now accepted sense, i.e., a self-loading rifle with detachable magazine in 7.62 x 51mm.

      Interestingly, he never seemed to have much use for the 7.62 x 39mm either. And conversely, he liked the Ruger Mini-14 in .223.

      You may recall that Ruger’s efforts to build a scaled-up Mini-14 in 7.62 x 51mm did not end well. They mainly showed that the M1 Carbine type short-stroke piston gas system has limits as to the stresses it can tolerate.

      Cooper also reserved the term sturmgewehr for selective-fire “battle rifles”. Due to having experience with such, I question the logic of selective fire on a 7.62 NATO rifle, as opposed to an LMG. The Bren and M1918 BAR seemed to make quite good “rifles” on single-shot, for example. The M15 and M14A1 made terrible LMGs on full-auto.

      The “sweet spot” of the selective-fire “battle rifle” seems to have been hit with the old RPK plus a drum magazine. A bit of an armful, but it did provide a base of fire out to reasonable infantry ranges (about 350-400 meters), beyond which you should already have the GPMG set up on a proper bloody tripod and have the gun team going to work.

      And no matter what the good Colonel thought, while the 7.62 x 39mm was and is not up to the .30-30 WCF in either range, accuracy or power, it’s an efficient man-killer out to 400 meters, which was the whole point of it to begin with. When it comes to hunting, the Russians have always sensibly stuck to things like 7.62 x 54R, a cartridge that looks like a .30-30 or a .30-40 but performs more like a .30-06.

      The main reason for a 7.62 x 51mm self-loading rifle as opposed to an LMG or GPMG is accurate aimed fire out to 400 meters. I consider it fairly foolish to shoot at anything beyond that with any sort of rifle not specifically built for long-range marksmanship. Which to me has always meant a bolt action with a decent barrel and telescopic sights. More to the point, it should be a .30-06, not a .308. There is a difference beyond 500 meters, trust me.

      The one thing I think Col. Cooper and I would agree on is that 5.56 x 45mm is not enough cartridge for a DMR. I do find it interesting, though, that most 5.56 NATO case-based “improved” rounds such as 6.8 Creedmore seem to mainly be re-inventions of the 7 x 57mm Mauser or similar .276 bore cartridges going back a century or more.

      We seem to keep spending a great deal of time, money and effort re-inventing the wheel.



      • “You may recall that Ruger’s efforts to build a scaled-up Mini-14 in 7.62 x 51mm did not end well. They mainly showed that the M1 Carbine type short-stroke piston gas system has limits as to the stresses it can tolerate.”
        I would say that this indicate that scaling weapon up is not simple as one might think. Not that M1 Carbine must not be scaled up. Carbine Williams himself designed Short-stroke gas piston, rotating bolt for 12,7×99 mm cartridge.
        It was not procured en masse due to lack of need rather than inherent flaws.

        Gordon Ingram developed 7,62 x 51 NATO derivative of M1 Carbine, see lower third of 1st image from top

        There also existed W.A.R. which was selective fire weapon using 7,62×63 mm cartridge, whose name imply that it was mainly to be used in full auto mode (competed with BAR 1918 which by that time become selective fire – full – full weapon), which passed trials but never went in production due to end of war (which result in sufficient store of already produced instruments of war).

      • We are actually busy reinventing the 6.5×55 Swede in the later M41 (140gr. spitzer) loading.

        I own and reload for an M96 Mauser and a CZ sporting rifle in 6.5×55 as well as an AR10 variant in 6.5 CM. The only improvement the “new” cartridge has to offer is the more standard cartridge base and slightly shorter case and OAL, with working pressures increased to compensate for the lowered case volume. Having witnessed perforated primers in several AR10 variants which were SUPPOSED to need only a different barrel for the caliber conversion- But had such issues with commercially loaded ammunition unless one installed special “high pressure bolt faces” and matching firing pins with thinner tips and tightened bolt aperture tolerances for clearance? I’m not thinking the higher pressure spec was all that great an idea.

        FYI: There is 6.5mm CM and 6mm CM I have not yet found a 6.8mm CM SAAMI spec, though several are catting about with that type of mod.

        “I do find it interesting, though, that most 5.56 NATO case-based “improved” rounds such as 6.8 Creedmore seem to mainly be re-inventions of the 7 x 57mm Mauser or similar .276 bore cartridges going back a century or more.”

      • To my eye, it’s not so much that they’re reinventing the wheel, but that they’re repeating the same process that got us the highly-flawed wheels we already have, yet again…

        Swear to God, listen to the folks with NGSW, hear what they say, what they write about the program. Does that or does that not sound precisely like what the bright lights behind the 7.62mm NATO and the M14 were saying, back when? Aside from them having some new terms inserted, the whole NGSW thing is basically the 7.62mm NATO thing redux.

        The problem, as I see it, is that the idiot class seems to think that it makes sense to force-fit a cartridge that’s powerful enough to be lethal out past 400m into an individual weapon, on the theory that you have to be able to engage at those ranges, ‘cos something called “overmatch”. It would be my contention that the real issue is that there are idiots out there who think that a.) everyone can be a sniper, and that b.) engaging in that band with individual weapons makes any kind of sense.

        My take on it is that if you manage to identify and distinguish a worthwhile enemy target at those ranges, and only shoot at it with your individual weapons, you’re an idiot. Why? Because, believe me, if you see one guy moving on a ridge, there are probably at least three or four more around him you haven’t seen, and it would be worth your while to just dump a burst or two of MG fire on that general area on spec. That’s how you fight real wars, not wasting your time in what are the modern-day equivalents of knights facing off in individual combats with “overmatching small arms”. We may not be willing to admit it, but the individual weapon is tactically limited to certain roles in modern combat: Establishing local security out to about 300m against identifiable individual targets, self-defense, and then combat in built-up areas–Clearing buildings, and so forth. Past that, the weapons which ought to be used are machineguns and mortars, which are both area-effect weapons. Trying to use individual weapons on targets out past that 300-400m range is a chump’s game, and only to be seriously undertaken in exigencies.

        I really don’t know why these arseholes have fixated on this use of individual weapons; it makes no damn sense, given the nature of things, which should include the essentially random nature of target exposures in combat.

        Look at all the various videos coming out of Ukraine and other modern combat actions in even slightly closed terrain like the forests and towns of Ukraine–Do you see any clear sightings of the enemy? Any situations where it’s unambiguous what you’re shooting at, past 300m? At that range, you’re pretty much shooting at generalized movement and other signatures, so why the hell would you only fire a single projectile at something like that? Would it not be a hell of a lot more effective to drop a few bursts or mortar rounds on it?

        I think the majority of the thinking behind NGSW is delusional, TBH. Average soldier can’t hit squat in combat past about 400m, and his opportunities for doing so are extremely limited, despite what the fantasists want to believe. I think you’d be far better off taking the money out of NGSW and putting it into better training and support for the existing small arms suite.

        I also don’t like the entire “one cartridge to rule them all” mentality, because I really don’t think you can shoehorn an effective MG cartridge solution into something that can be fired effectively out of an individual weapon; it’s a fool’s game to try it, and we have the evidence before us. It’s no accident that the US and the Russians have both gravitated towards a full-power 7.62mm cartridge in light support weapons, and an extremely controllable lighter round for the individual weapon in 5.56mm or 5.45mm. That’s practical experience, the “desire path” of small arms development. All apologies to Tony Williams, but I think that his decades-long advocacy for the “Universal Cartridge” is so much Don Quixote-esque lunging at windmills. The raw fact is, the two roles demand two entirely different sets of characteristics to perform, and the limited benefit you gain from cartridge interchangeability just ain’t worth it.

        • If the Ukrainians had an infinite supply of store-bought drones carrying an infinite supply of grenades, they’d use those for everything.

          I once read that the last time Israel invaded Lebanon, they never saw armed Hezbollah. Just teens on scooters carrying smartphones. The mortar barrage would soon arrive.

          Maybe that’s the future of infantry.

        • They’re extrapolating the unique characteristics of Afghanistan to peer competition where those conditions (highly constraining limited-war ROE) will not be relevant.

  7. The non reciprocating charging handle seems looks the same idea as the new US-made FN SCAR. I wonder who copied who or is it convergent evolution at work?

    • It’s all incestuous, at this point… Just like the “tactical nylon industry”, for example.

      Try tracing out the history of the now-ubiquitous “assault pack”, for example. People say that Eagle Industries made the first ones, but… I have it on reasonably good authority that the original design came from someone taking them a Gregory Three-day climbing ruck and telling them “This, but in OD green…”. Then, everyone from Blackhawk to London Bridge Trading started making their interpretations of it all, and poor Gregory got screwed out of any credit or derivative design payments.

      I’ve got an actual Gregory Three-day I bought back in high-school; set that sucker next to an original Eagle Industries version, and the commonality of design and features is impossible to miss.

      And, if you go back further? Gregory was basically making a bigger, more capacious version of the original Jansport day-pack…

      It’s all incest, all the way down. Firearms or other gear…

  8. So why is the Army buying the NGSW in 6.8mm, and AT THE SAME TIME buying stockpiles of 6mm ARC?! A round designed to maximize the range of short-receiver rifles like the AR platform?

    Are they going to mix them in squads? Are they going to segregate them by unit mission? How does the also-contracted .338 Norma MG338 fit in? Are we going to have five infantry calibers at once?

    • If “we” (in the five-sided Fortress of Solitude sense) had any noticeable brains, we’d stick to 5.56 x 45mm or similar for the IW, with a choice of single shot or five-shot burst without that wacky M16A2 cam setup. And every individual soldier would be trained to actually hit something with it out to 100 meters on burst and 300 on single. Beyond that, leave it to the GPMG or etc.

      The “SAW” would be a GPMG chambered for something ballistically close to 8 x 63 Swede or 8 x 59 Breda(Mo.37), with an actual MG team running it, including training them to set up the friggin’ tripod and break it down in the dark, in the rain, in the snow, and ideally in their sleep in full MOPP. Not to mention knowing how to use it to rake a group, deny an area, or put a short burst directly on a single target out to about 1,200 meters- and never run out of ammo doing it.

      Next, the DMR would be chambered for something that can actually hit a man at 1,000 meters and actually kill him with that one hit. So far, that seems to be the .338 Lapua (8.58 x 70mm). And it would be a bolt-action with a scope that’s actually useful out to 1,200 meters. When he’s not otherwise occupied, the DM can play spotter for the GPMG team.

      Why not 8.58 x 70mm in the GPMG? Like all high-velocity long-range rounds, it eats barrels like saltwater taffy. A typical “sniper rifle” in .300 Win Mag , 7mm Rem Mag, .338 Lap, or whatever can have its barrel leade’ worn smooth in 1,000 rounds, and by 5,000 the rifling is pretty much gone clear out to the muzzle. That’s a Hell of a lot of range time with a bolt-action; in a GPMG, it’s about four barrel changes and eight belts.

      Finally, the most important guy in the bunch from now on is going to be the guy with the laptop. He’s the one who is going to be scrolling his map, left-clicking on the bad guys, right-clicking and pulling down the menu to whatever the hell kind of bad guys they are (tangoes/tanks/IFVs/arty/etc.) and then clicking “SEND FIRE HERE”. Resulting in regards from those guys behind you with the 155s or whatever.

      The trick is going to be keeping the bad guys from figuring out which one of the guys in the infantry section he is, because you can bet your bottom bitcoin that if they do, they’re going to be very determined to kill him first.

      Never assume your enemy is stupid. And never assume he’s less technically capable or savvy than you are. Ukraine today is a case in point.

      In the future, we will not always be fighting a bunch of primitivists who think all answers may be found in the Qu’ran.



      • Hear, hear… I am on board with this, 100%.

        I would add that there’s also a very important bit that people seem to keep forgetting: Fire control. You need to have an NCO with those guns to direct fires, and that NCO needs to know what the hell he’s doing, correcting and observing.

        I think that they ought to be looking at things differently than they do; most military forces “qualify” soldiers on individual weapons and crew weapons–Nobody that I’m aware of “qualifies” their leaders on their units, and we really ought to be doing that. Just as an individual soldier takes his weapon out and fires on a range to prove he knows what he’s doing, a fire team leader, a squad leader, and a platoon leader need to demonstrate that they know how to “fight their unit”, using all of its organic weapons effectively and appropriately. Leaders should, of course, still be judged on their individual weapons skills, but they also need to be evaluated on how well they direct their unit’s fires.

        I think the ground combat paradigm is shifting as we watch; the Ukrainian experience is what I’ve pretty much been predicting for years–A small, agile force that was at a disadvantage in terms of traditional military power was going to weaponize drones and use those to trounce some larger, more ossified opponent. I was thinking it would be someone like Estonia or Singapore, but Ukraine makes sense, as well. I’m really intrigued by what this one outfit, Aerorozvidka, has been up to. I think they’re pointing the way forward, for what ground combat is going to look like in years to come–And, it won’t be small-arms centric. Most of the small arms mission is going to be local security, and devoted to keeping the guy with the drone controller alive and functioning. Just as we have MG teams in the platoon, you’re going to have to have drone operators down that low, doing the gnats-eye view recon work, and dropping rounds where necessary. The squad is going to be more about keeping that guy alive and doing his thing, while also maintaining local security and coms with higher.

        Some of that stuff coming out of Ukraine is just… Wow. I can’t understand why on God’s green earth the Russians attacked when they did, given the typical spring weather conditions that the Ukrainians were able to use to channel, block, and then destroy so much of the Russian forces. Truly a tour-de-force of such operations, and the guys with the drones hunting down logistics vehicles in the woods played a huge role in making that work.

        We are used to thinking in fairly narrow terms for what combat weapons are down at the squad and platoon level; I am pretty sure we need to drastically open our minds, and start considering that the intel advantages alone for drones are game-changers, let alone what an armed one is capable of.

        • The evolution of warfare that started with balloons for direct artillery fire control (by telegraph from the balloon) in the American Civil War, to aerial reconnaissance and FC (WW1) and so on to GPS making shooting an arty fire mission “off the map” almost accurate enough that you don’t even need ranging shots before you TOT the bastards, has just about reached the point at which infantry’s main job is keeping the Redlegs up to date on where the enemy is moving to next.

          In short, direct infantry engagement above the skirmish level is likely to be of lessening importance in the future.

          This conversely makes unit C&C increasingly important, as you said. And it’s something that most armies simply do not practice. There’s The Manual, and everything is in it, go read it, is the attitude.

          Great. I didn’t learn to fieldstrip a 1911, a Garand, or a Carbine in the dark by reading the friggin’ manuals. I had to practice on each one. Shocked the hell out of somebody forty-five years ago when I did it to an AK with my eyes shut in under a minute, including reassembly. Like the old saying goes, it’s how you get to Carnegie Hall.

          The thing is, most armies don’t even bother to read the manual. They’re too busy working out correct pronouns, because that sort of thing is what gets people promotions.

          If you think it’s bad in armies, you might want to not look at navies, especially the U.S. Navy today. There, it’s all about getting the protocols correct and climbing the promotion ladder by doing so. Rather overlooking the small detail that a warship requires a lot of very skilled operation and ship handling that can only be acquired by actual exercises.

          When you don’t do the due diligence of practicing, and couple it with over-extension of ops plus “putting off” maintenance, you get this;

          The U.S. Navy today has managed to make Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon (RN) and HMS Camperdown look less inattentive than previously perceived. That happened once; this sort of thing happens so often today that it hardly even gets noticed. It should; it’s a red alert that there’s a serious systemic “issue”.

          As with land armies, today there is too much “gaming the system”, and nobody is learning to “fight the ship”.

          Or even steer it.



          • I am confused about point.
            Do you criticize U.S.Navy staff for being compliant to procedures or do you criticize Tryon, which directly broke procedures which dictated minimal distances between ships?

          • Read the article at the link. Nobody knew what correct procedures were. Especially not lookouts, helm, avoidance, etc.

            In short, nobody knew what they were doing, or even what they were supposed to be doing. At night. In a seaway. With other vessels in close proximity.

            Tryon screwed up once, and lost his ship, a lot of his crew, and his life. But the Royal Navy learned from his mistakes.

            The modern-day U.S. Navy makes the same mistakes over and over again, because the correct procedures are not being taught, learned, or practiced.

            As I said, this is dangerous enough in land warfare. At sea, it makes even non-combat ship movement a recipe for disaster.

            Do something stupid with a Humvee, you could hurt or kill yourself and a few other people.

            Do something stupid with 9,700 tons of Arleigh Burke class destroyer, and you can kill a few hundred people at one go.



      • Eon-

        While we are getting ready to have a “smart” battlefield, laptops snd drones for directing fire, assassination drones, mechanical dogs, digital encrypted commo as the backbone of all command & control?

        Someone with serious budget constraints but lots of bodies and the willingness to take casualties is stockpiling small explosively driven EMP devices and flint tipped spears & arrows…

        • Where are those bodies gonna come from…? How’re you going to motivate them to do and die?

          Fact is, we’re not in the midst of a population boom, but a bust. The lying liars who lie have been telling us for decades, now, that Soylent Green was the future. Go look at most of Eastern Europe, or rural Japan; see the crisis? It’s not “too many people”, it’s “too damn few”.

          Russia has gotten itself into a demographic self-destruction loop, like a lot of the industrialized world. It’s just that, with them, it’s way more visible, and way more pathologic. They’re not going silently into the night. Ukraine is an expression of this–Putin wants to rebuild Russia’s population, so he thinks he’ll do it through conquest. That’s not happening–Ukraine has already lost a huge chunk of its productive population, and this invasion is going to make it even worse. Then, too, there’s the fact that the people who’re currently unassing Russia are the ones he needs to keep the lights on, the low-level “smart guys” who know how to make things happen. Who realize that working hard to make money so some plutocrat can come in and confiscate it is a chump’s game–Which is why so many of them are immigrating.

          Russia is, I’m afraid, a modern-day counter-example to what Singapore did back in the day. You’d think an enemy was making their decisions, because everywhere you turn, it’s long-term self-destructive. There’s a reason why Russia isn’t competitive industrially anywhere but in resource extraction, for which they also need external help.

          Long-term, I suspect that the real “way forward” is going to look a lot like a combination of what’s going on in Ukraine right now, and that Adam Roberts novel, New Model Army. One of the things I think you’re going to see is a lot more of this “citizen soldier” reserve, where you hand out rifles and AT weapons to everyone. What I suspect is going to come along, akin to the ideas in New Model Army, is going to be some sort of app or even a dedicated handheld device that serves as a “just add water” sort of thing for just such combatants–Electronic advice about how best to conduct an ambush, use the AT weapons issued, field sanitation, first aid… All that crap. Do it right, and you’d literally have reasonably effective combatants spring up like the dragon’s teeth of myth and legend.

          Smart countries like Singapore, Estonia, and others? They should be pioneering this stuff and getting it out there. Along with the instructional app, the potential for diffuse intelligence and command/control is there to be taken up. Put these apps on everyone’s phone, stockpile munitions about the countryside, and God help anyone out wandering around in a tank or APC. Modern production could crank out simple small arms and AT munitions in sufficient quantities that you could probably put weapons into the hands of half your country fairly easily, and if you’re smart? You’ll get out in front of this. After watching what Russia’s been doing in Ukraine, I strongly suspect that all of her potential victims are looking at what has happened, and will take care of arming themselves, whether or not their government wants it.

          I think the way forward for infantry is two-track: One, highly professional on the level of Rangers or SF today, and the other one is “Every man with a rifle, behind every blade of grass…”. Russian BMP goes rolling up to a village to get in on the looting, and finds that everyone is armed and shooting back at them…? What happens then? Wherever you have potential victims, you get atrocities. Don’t be a victim–That’s the key lesson learned by the Jews of Israel.

        • That “someone with serious budget constraints” was the Taliban. And they, like Islamists everywhere, were pretty much helpless without the very “Western” technology that came from the advanced technological culture they (and our own primitivist, neo-feudalist progressives) loathe.

          If not for the Internet and YouTube, Usama bin Laden would have been just another weird holy man sitting in a cave ranting to himself. The 9/11 hijackers could not have flown airliners into buildings if somebody else hadn’t built and operated the airliners.

          And terrorists everywhere would be nothing without the AK and the RPG.

          You need to worry about the guys who have something to kill you with so they can take your weapon. A Jonny Quest style pygmy wave attack isn’t going to do much more than get the attackers killed. And it’s been that way for a long time; see Rorke’s Drift, 1879.

          As for EMP, we do EMP-harden electronics.

          To expand on Kirk’s response, Red China is experiencing a worse demographic crash than Russia. Their forty-year “One Child Policy” to reduce the country’s agricultural shortfalls (collective farming is almost as ineffective as pre-19th Century style “organic farming”)has resulted in a society top-heavy with males.

          Traditional Chinese culture called for sons to care for their elders in old age. To achieve this under the “One Child Policy”, in most of China girl infants were quietly “disposed of” so the “legal” son could be born.

          Today, according to the World Health Organization, the male/female ratio in China in the primary childbearing age group (under 40) is eight to one. Yes, eight men to each woman.

          That simply is not enough wombs to generate a large enough next generation to keep Red China’s economy, industry, or Army afloat. There just will not be enough taxpayers, workers, or soldiers to go around. And the Chinese population numbers are already beginning to decline in a snowball effect.

          The Western Roman Empire collapsed under similar conditions in the 5th and 6th Centuries AD, in that case due to ever-rising taxes to support an ever-growing bureaucracy, resulting in a falling birth-rate and an ever-shrinking taxpayer base. (See Chapter Four of Connections by James Burke.)

          Red China has accomplished the nearly unbelievable feat of doing in one generation what it took the Romans seven (about 180 years) to do to themselves.

          Faced with an ever-shrinking tax base, an ever-declining level of productivity, and worst of all an army that is “aging out”, the Beijing crowd is likely to go into “use it before we lose it” mode.

          It has long been their dream to rebuild the “tribute empire” of the Yuan and Ming dynasty periods (13th-17th Centuries AD), with EFT replacing the need to send a heavily armed “treasure fleet” around each year to collect their cut. Call it “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere Vers. 2.0”, and yes, they see the Japanese plan of 1939-42 as a playbook to achieve this.

          But they have to move soon (within ten years) or their army won’t be in any condition to get the job done.

          I’d worry more about that than about somebody who wants to play “Quest For Fire- the LARP”, no matter how many friends he has.



          • I agree with your first point entirely. As regards your second, China is similar to the US or Canada in land area, but has about 4.5x the US population and 36.5x the Canadian population. Are they doomed if they fall below the 36x threshold? 35 maybe?

            Underpopulation was real, weakening lands where vast resources lay fallow for want of labor to work them. Under those conditions (like our frontier period), every growth in population grew power and wealth. Does China (or even the US) have too many unexploited resources and too few mouths to feed today? Are prices too low, and wages too high? Or are those the exact opposite of the problems there, and pretty much everywhere in the world?

            Malthus incurred criticism for his thesis of natural limits on population growth when his too-detailed calculations failed to predict later agricultural developments – but that doesn’t mean there are no natural limits. For just one example, right down the road Lake Mead has a “bathtub ring” over 50′ above the current water level, and counting.

            In WWII the US mobilized 16 million from less than 45% of today’s population (and without today’s opportunities). Advances in technology (and cost) mean that it will never be feasible – much less desirable – to equip forces anywhere near that size.

          • I hear ya… I really do. Demographics and the likely course of world history aren’t the purview of this site of Ian’s, though.

            My take on the small arms thing is that the powers-that-are are yet again badly miscomprehending the things that are going on out in the real world. The de facto desire path of what people are actually doing out there is what matters, and none of that aligns with what the idiot-yet-educated class running things are doing.

            I keep going back to the key issue actually being target acquisition and identification, mostly because nobody is emphasizing that enough. What they need are drones that can be used as recon and fire assets down at the squad level, little polyvalent things that can either serve as scouts or as munitions. A squad needs to be able to put drones in the air and on the ground, in order to secure their zone and to find the enemy. They need to have a dedicated drone element that will likely become the centerpiece of the squad, much as the MG became the centerpiece for the Germans.

            Small arms are pretty much at a culmination point, in technological terms. The cartridge weapons suite we have is adequate to needs; what isn’t, and which needs drastic improvement is the Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence pieces. Every squad ought to be moving within a cloud of intel and fires drones, seeking the enemy and countering enemy drone assets. Those drones need to be feeding into a synthetized intel/fire control solution that extends across every member of the squad such that if Rifleman Jones sees an enemy target, then everyone knows about it, where the target is, and then the appropriate fire-control solution can be applied. The drones need to feed that system such that you have true 360-degree awareness 24/7 in all conditions, and the control systems need to be able to designate targets for each weapon in the squad on the fly, running threat algorithms that work to identify and prioritize targets.

            You’re already seeing the bare bones of this, and it’s only going to get more complex, more deadly. I think we’re about to see some very interesting things happening in Eastern Ukraine, as this nascent new-order military tackles an older-generation foe. I suspect that we’re going to look back at what happened to the Russian-armed and -supported Armenian forces as precursor indicators for the way things are going to be going. The Russians have angered a lot of people over the years, like the Azeris, and I think they’re going to be passing on a lot of knowledge and some equipment to the Ukrainians who’re likely to do educational things with those. The recent course of the conflict does not seem to indicate any form of damping down of nationalist spirit in Ukraine, and that’s a really bad thing for Russian ambitions.

            In short, I think that small arms are really not going to be the main thrust of modern infantry combat. They’re almost becoming irrelevant accessory items–You could grab whatever there is on the shelf, issue it, and that solution would be good enough, so long as your supporting pieces of C3I are in place and operational. Absent those bits and bobs? You’re screwed, and your troops are so much dead meat wandering around, waiting for the butcher’s blow to take them between the eyes.

  9. hope kenia wildlife protection get a nice little budget due to the cause. heck I’d love that job. not a bad one for the task it looks.

    yeah I’d want a semi of those but makes little sense with only 10rd mags to get west of cz borders.

    rare I hear anybody call it a colt 1847 instead of walker i.e., too. I like good old battle rifles. a lot.

    what does it weight? the sights seem very decent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.