Q&A 50: Disagreeing With the Premise of the Question

The Kickstarter for my new book, “Pistol of the Warlords” is live – check it out!

00:56 – What is the status of the Chinese Warlord Pistols book?
03:01 – Are open-bolt guns mechanically less accurate?
04:39 – Was Johnson influenced by the RSC?
06:02 – Arms development in totalitarian countries
09:03 – What is #36720?
10:27 – Design features to improve reliability in harsh environments?
13:21 – What if the M1 Carbine was more reliable?
15:06 – More distillery tours?
Tour of the Kyrö Distillery: https://youtu.be/YM7dGuGd404
17:07 – My favorite pre-1950 revolver
Webley WG video: https://youtu.be/tswjqQocbbA
17:46 – Absinthe cocktails besides the Sazerac?
18:30 – Constant Recoil in open-bolt SMGs?
20:04 – Notch sights vs aperture sights
22:37 – Gun development dead ends
25:42 – Iron sight preferences
27:06 – Did anyone succeed in replacing 3 different guns with just one?
29:32 – Naval willingness to experiment more than Armies
32:01 – Prototype design that was *this close* to being really good?
35:07 – How to do an LMG competition?
38:27 – Revolving rifles and gas seal designs
41:09 – Amateur radio
41:58 – Why no .32ACP submachine guns?
vz61 Skorpion video: https://youtu.be/0QUcZjBHq8A
43:48 – Books on Pederson and/or the Pedersen rifle?
44:56 – Adding detailed photography to my video work
46:47 – Did 7.62mm NATO set back Western small arms?
49:05 – Books on Israeli small arms?
David Gaboury’s book on the Uzi: https://youtu.be/qIJXymt7AOY
51:02 – What if the French had not rushed the 8mm Lebel rifle and cartridge?
56:37 – Reproduction PTRD in .50 BMG?
PTRD video: https://youtu.be/cUO3Bmt5XTQ
59:56 – Most interesting delayed blowback mechanisms
Headspace-operated rifle: https://youtu.be/SfuwgVCh79M


  1. I’d like to point out that Browning started with a gas operated machine gun but found great success with his recoil operated guns

    • And also that the MG-42, the designers of which were “forced” to make the same “without understanding” choice of operating system, still serves and excels today. One could argue that a GPMG isn’t an “LMG”, but it served the Germans in that role and is much closer to the LS-26 than the MG-08.

      • There were gas-operated weapons submitted to the competition for the MG42. They weren’t selected because the people doing the selection were predisposed not to pick gas-operated weapons…

        Same-same with the gas-trap mechanisms for the service rifles. At the time, nobody in the German hierarchy wanted a weapon with a barrel drilled out for a gas tap, and that’s why they wanted the gas-trap mechanisms.

        You could probably do an entire doctoral thesis on the how and why of all this–Remember, the US Garand was initially a gas-trap design, as well.

        There are some similar things to what was going on during the transition from black powder to smokeless–The rear-locking lugs that were on things like the Vetterli and the Lee look nuts to us, today… But, when you factor in the fouling issue, and then imagine the impact on design, well… All those choices not to have a tightly locked-up set of lugs up front start to look very much like common sense.

        We have to remember, looking back, that the conditions obtaining back then are absolutely not the ones we take for granted today. Everyone looks at the Browning MG designs, and wonders “Why’d they bother with such a complicated adjustable headspace system…?”, forgetting that the advent of consistent precision manufacture of mass amounts of brass-cartridge ammunition didn’t come in until just before WWII. Another factor to consider, when looking at the question of “detachable box magazines, and why there were so few examples” is, again, that of consistent precision manufacture. Today, churning out millions of functional AK47 box magazines is something that even the notoriously problematic Soviet/Russian industries are capable of, but back when they were making those choices, even the vaunted “American” system of manufacture had issues doing that. I’ve got a post-WWI US Army memoir around here somewhere, wherein the author goes on for several pages about trying to get ready for a BAR qualification/competition, and he and his team had to go through crates and crates of WWI-era production magazines to match BARs with magazines that would work consistently.

        So, yeah… Anyone who casually suggests that “…they should have done that…” or “…they should have done this…” needs to back up and consider what the actual surrounding environment was, in terms of “the possible” in both industry and design. I don’t blame people back then for doing what looks like “stupid” with things like the rearward bolt lugs on the Lee-Enfield, but I will happily excoriate them for failing to observe that, “Hey, we’re not doing a lot of shooting with individual weapons much past about 300m, maybe we don’t need to be issuing these great big honking cartridges that few can shoot effectively anyway…”. Then there are the questions of “Yeah, are we really fighting like that…?”, and things like the M16A2, wherein the dipshits designing that thing decided to wend their own way through reality, in that absolutely nobody came out of Vietnam saying something like “Yeah, the M16A1 is great… Could we maybe make it a little longer, a little heavier, and give it a super-complicated rear sight that nobody’s gonna actually use in combat…?”.

        There are also a lot of times in the past wherein the idiots in charge have failed to take up improved technology when they should have. Case in point–Main reason the Canadian Colt products were taken up, in Europe? Cold Hammer-Forged (CHF) barrels. The US could have updated its TDP to slipstream that technology into the M16 and M4 program back in the 1970s (and, FN wanted to, with its M16 contracts in the 1980s…), but since the original TDP had button-broached barrels and never was updated… Only SOCOM mandated the changes, and only SOCOM had the improved life and accuracy coming from CHF technology. That’s simple stuff that could have been done, but wasn’t… Because? No idea, but I’ll lay out there for you that it’s down to sheer inertia and stupidity. I’ve no doubt but that were it left up to the idiots we have running a lot of the small arms programs in the US military, we’d likely still be issuing a flintlock. You get the feeling they’d be more comfortable with that…

        • I’m not sure if you’re disagreeing with me, but I don’t really disagree with you

          I put “forced” in scare quotes because I agree with Col Beausabre and disagree with the implication from the video, which I’d paraphrase as

          I believe, on the contrary, that short-recoil operation was and is a perfectly suitable method; that the MG-42 is a good example of a short-recoil MG equal or better (except in weight, which was not really a consequence of the use of recoil operation) to its gas-operated contemporaries; and that many still consider it effective, basically unchanged, 7 decades later.

          • My previous post should have said “which I’d paraphrase as (Recoil operation was an OK first generation idea, which by the 1920s was obsolescent except for 50lb water-cooled guns for static warfare, and Lahti only used it for a lighter gun because he had to / didn’t know any better.)” but it didn’t post properly because I put my paraphrase in angle brackets.

          • “(…)Lahti(…)”
            He did used gas-operation later. L-39 might be example of weapon which went into production, but he also designed weapon supposed to replace Lahti-Saloranta which never went into mass production, see chapter 7,62 mm light machinegun L-34 “Sampo” here https://www.jaegerplatoon.net/ALMOST1.htm
            Lahti personally supported gas-action weapons and managed to get a tough deal (more like a bet) with Minister of Defence Arvi Oksala. Lahti had made the hard claim that he could develop a gas-action light machinegun, which would cost little as half of the price of Lahti-Saloranta M/26 and would also be about 40% lighter.

          • Right. While I was not familiar with this weapon earlier, I’m pretty sure it’s the one Ian discussed in the video.

        • But everyone knows that percussion caps are dangerous! Even flintlocks make sparks which can ignite things! As for cartridge rifles, they allow such rapid fire the gun can overheat and you can have a cookoff when loading!

          We better not even issue any powder. Just use the bayonets.

          • The authorities will be in touch with you about your application. From the sound of things, you’d be a perfect fit for the Ordnance Department…

        • I’ll throw in here that the Brits kept the Lee-Enfield after WW1 because the Lee action worked better in mud and sand than the Mauser derived Pattern 14 with front locking lugs. And that Browning’s semi-rimmed cartridges were a recognition of the manufacturing limitations of the late 1890s and early 1900s.

  2. when it comes to the LMG comp, suppressive fire could be assessed by having several large targets that must be engaged in succession within a very short time period with multiple hits.
    large as in 20 ft at 300 yrds

  3. As far as pop-up target ranges go, the US Army (and National Guards) have 300m electronically scored pop-up ranges all over the US. And by Federal law, civilians have access to taxpayer funded ranges when the military isn’t using them. Getting the military to follow Federal law is a different set of issues altogether, however.

    Also, post 1st WW, the National Match teams would field a BAR – until 1934, of course. So there was a National Match course of fire for the squad automatic that might prove instructive.

    • One of my friends was able to have a civilian rifle shoot at the Tank Range on Ft. Drum, NY around 2009. The Post Commander at the time was very supportive of the local target shooting community. It was a wonderful time. Most Field Grades and up in my experience are unwilling to do this.

    • My take on it all? Not even the military does LMG ranges or MMG ranges with any real attention paid to rigorous replication of reality.

      Were someone to actually do this in the civilian world, it’d represent green fields of endeavor, TBH. I have precisely zero respect for the training standards and qualification requirements for the military–None of the ranges or training plans that I’ve ever seen represent even a half-ass replication of the dynamic nature of what you’d really need your LMG teams to be doing, if they were in purely infantry combat.

      Most live-fire MG ranges are really only good for practicing what you need to do in set-piece defensive positions during daylight on flat terrain–The sort of thing you associate with WWI Western Front operations.

      I could set something up, but I’d need to block off a couple of square miles of mountain range for the safety fan, and need maybe a half-million bucks or more in remote portable targetry, plus the radio controls for same. The scoring would be a bitch…

      I think I could maybe do something relatively realistic in terms of doing this without all the high-tech crap, but… Man. That would be one hell of a range to set up.

      And, in all honesty? You’d really have to be worried about crews and teams… No LMG operates in a vacuum by itself; the riflemen and leadership are there to ensure it stays in operation, and not so insignificantly, has the eyeballs and command/control to observe and keep track of the enemy. There’s really too much there to do, for one person serving as the gunner. It’s a systems thing, not an individual deal.

  4. 57:35 – Ian: “…preselling is an idea that effective companies don’t do.”
    Also Ian – “Buy my book on Kickstarter!” Lol.

    I’m buying his book on Kickstarter.

  5. “(…)Why no .32ACP submachine guns?(…)”
    There exist more than one such design, beyond mentioned vz. 61 there is Dineley machine carbine http://firearms.96.lt/pages/Dineley%20machine%20carbine.html

    “(…)Revolving rifles and gas seal designs(…)”
    Interestingly Nagant revolver-carbine idea returned.
    Original made before WW1 https://war-time.ru/item/nagan-karabin-pogranichnyj-inzhenernyj-karabin did used same cartridge as base weapon, however modern execution of this idea http://gunsa.ru/ten-nagana.html does consume 5,45 x 18 mm. It is unknown how or if gas-seal work here.

    “(…)Naval willingness to experiment more than Armies(…)”
    I suspect this might be also effect by cultural conditions or branches rivalry.

    • “I suspect this might be also affected by cultural conditions”

      I agree, in general. As the saying goes, “Navies (and air forces) man equipment, while armies equip the man.” Nowadays, though, the USN just accepts the land forces’ small arms and CSW solutions verbatim – which is unfortunate, not because the Army and Marines don’t meet their requirements effectively, but because their requirements are not our requirements.

      • Also consider that turn-of-the-century naval forces were far more familiar with mechanisms and machinery in general than the general population. Thus, you can sell giving them some complicated device like a bolt-action rifle, because that’s an easier sell to the brass: “They already work with steam engines… How much worse is this thing…?”.

        Same era, they were a little skeptical of the usual sort of person who became a soldier being able to cope with all that “complication”. The Army didn’t do machines; it did people and maneuver. All that only changed once mechanization and industry took over.

        • One would think that technical skills would be taught to soldiers once weapons became more industrial in the latter half of the 19th Century, but no, it appears that even basic mathematical literacy or fine-motor skill tuning wasn’t part of the curriculum in America. Instead, the US Army still went for the formula of demanding “ONE RIFLE SHOT, ONE KILL PER SHOT.” Any infantry weapon that required someone to carry it on a wagon and/or required maintenance beyond flushing the barrel out with water (after using a screwdriver or whatever else was on hand to disassemble the entire weapon) was handed to a professional armorer and left to rust back at base. One can only imagine how a platoon of men with Trapdoor Springfield rifles (AND NO OTHER WEAPON) fared against a camouflaged Hotchkiss Mle. 1895 heavy machine gun (assuming the machine gun crew was crafty enough to disguise their gun as a bush).

          I could be wrong…

        • Kirk,
          Very well said (as usual)!

          Another cultural as well as practical consideration: the Army at the time was a thin-spread frontier force. While the Navy was starting to deploy worldwide at that time, every Sailor was constantly accompanied by hundreds of shipmates on a miniature industrialized “city”.

      • If you look at United States personal arms, it’s been the Air Force that has driven weapons changes. The AR-15/M16, M9 pistol, and M17/M18 pistol were USAF requirements. The AR-15 and Beretta 92 were adopted by the Air Force before general Navy, Army, and Marine adoption. The M4 carbine is a GAU5A/A with a 14″” barrel and a 6-position collapisable stock.

        • Perhaps this is because the Air Force is more technically oriented than the Army. If you work around fussy things that require lots of touching up before you even get ready to work at the start of the day (READ: AIRPLANES), you’d like your stuff to be in good working order at all times. A bad mechanic, bad pilot, or bad ground crewman will generally cause disproportionate damage with regards to negligence. I’ve heard tales of lousy pilots-in-training carrying parachutes wrong and then having their chutes open (and drag them quite a ways) because they accidentally snagged rip-cords on the environment and then walked into somebody’s prop-wash (which means some idiot walked RIGHT BEHIND A PLANE THAT WAS ABOUT TO TAKE OFF). I could be wrong on a whole ton of things.

    • I have a hellofa what if question WRT this subject. What if, instead of scrapping the Pedersen devices the US would have matched them with low number Springfields. Milling the ejection slot and installing the new trigger and finally cutting off the barrels of the rifles to just in front of the barrel band and installing a new front sight. This would give a 12″ barrel and a weight reduction of just about the weight of the device and a 1/2 loaded magazine. Now a place to store them. How about Malinta tunnel on Corregidor. The first attempt by the Japanese to land on the Island was a failure. If subsequent attempts had been met by a storm of .30 cal bullets the American and Phillipino forces might have held out quite a while longer. Especially if some of the food that was abandoned to the enemy had been transferred to the Island

      • I’ve long thought that such a dedicated “machine carbine” version would have been an entirely reasonable weapon for trench warfare Flanders 1917-style.

        Note that with a change in propellant powder, muzzle velocities in the range of the .30 USC round of 1940 (about 1900 F/S with a 70-grain bullet) would have been entirely feasible.

        And it certainly would have been a way of actually getting some use out of all those single heat-treatment Springfields sitting in armories at a time when the U.S. Army was desperately short of pretty much everything.



  6. On replacing three+ guns at once with a single do it all, there’s actually a very good answer: The AK! It replaced (at least) bolt-action rifles, semi-auto rifles, and SMGs and not even just one pattern of those three classes due to the nature of WW2. There’s also likely a GPMG out there that replaced an automatic rifle, light machine gun and heavier machine guns.

    In-fact, saying the AK actually brings up a key to a lot more: Rather than looking for something merging distinct types of arms, instead look for cases where three+ less standardized arms of various patterns were in use at one time as “primary” weapons, that then got replaced by a single standardized arm. Even among countries who had their own continuous arms production (rather than having a mess of purchased, captured, and aid guns that then start domestic production or make a big purchase) I can think of a few examples. The Single Action Army replaced a whole assortment of percussion revolvers (and maybe even a few single shots). The 1853 Enfield replaced the Baker Rifle, the Brown Bess, a few less common rifle patterns, and various less numerous percussion conversions of the above.

    As for .32 SMG, C&Rsenal mentioned JMB proposed a .32 SMG but the Pedersen Device won over it. Was going to use hotter ammo though.

    • Rather could be said that assault rifle concept replaced these guns, and any type could, not just AK, but it is technically correct.

    • Ian is not talking about replacing individual weapon design types, but of filling multiple classes. If you replace your vz.24s, M91-30s, and various Mausers with an AK47-pattern design, that is not an example of what he’s getting at. If, however, you try to replace your SMG, your individual weapon, and your LMG with the same weapon, that’s the idea he’s getting at.

      I’m dubious of the entire proposition, TBH. Too much mission-oriented difference; while you may bridge two classes somewhat imperfectly, trying for three is just a bridge too far, and that’s what everyone who’s tried to implement that chimeric “intermediate cartridge to do it all” has discovered.

      It comes down to cartridge power; what will work in the individual weapon space, wherein you need to be able to deliver controlled full-auto fire on the move, when necessary, will not provide you enough “oomph” to serve in the support weapon role. You’re way, way better off trying for a controllable intermediate cartridge for your individual weapon alone, and then something larger for the support weapon role.

      I would speculate that were you to issue out an individual weapon in a good intermediate cartridge alongside a DMR/AR that was in something the same weight as your support weapon, you’d be in a good position. I’d go so far as to suggest that the support weapon might well be something to consider designing in a format that actually allows for both magazine and belt feed with minimal parts swappage. Maybe a flap-covered hole in the feed tray cover that disconnects the belt feed and then allows the magazine to drop in from the top through the feed tray cover…?

      Either way, I don’t think you’re ever going to get a “one cartridge to rule them all” solution. The physics just don’t allow for it–If you can control it on full-auto in a weapon light enough to serve as a general-issue individual weapon, then it ain’t gonna be powerful enough to serve in the support role. And, if it can do a support-role job, then the individual weapon will be like the M14 and utterly useless as a full-auto individual weapon in close-quarters battle.

  7. The totalitarian question cracks me up. Ian says that politics have nothing to do with weapons design. It’s all math. Then explains how good the Soviet system was. Which produced epic guns Then goes onto discuss how much politics steered western weapons design. And the original question implied how western weapons design was so free of politics. Ha.

    • One of the things to bear in mind is that the Soviets are fairly unique in that they actually stood up an entire academic field surrounding weapons design, and provided good careers to those who followed that path. In the West? LOL… It’s all artisanal and entirely without any overarching rigor or theory. There are good reasons why the Soviets churned out so many excellent MG and autocannon designs, compared to the US. Weapons design is a discipline they actually bother to teach, as opposed to what we do here in the US. I dare say that there isn’t a single university or college-level program devoted to that field of study in the entire West, outside of your gunsmith programs in trade schools.

      I’m sure some of our Russian informants can tell us if those programs are still running, but I’d wager that they likely aren’t what they were, back in the day. You can’t really afford to devote that level of societal effort to these things for very long, unless you’ve got a really productive underlying economy with an awful lot of excess available to support it all.

      So… I’d say that if a totalitarian regime with the right set of “choices” made by it were compared to the typical haphazard Western approach to these things, wellllll… I’d wager the totalitarians would look pretty damn good. You’re only going to get university-level programs in weapons designs in a culture that is either highly militaristic or totally focused on arming itself to the teeth.

      One rather wishes that the US had put similar effort in, and maybe the long interregnum between the Browning M1919 and the M240 wouldn’t have happened. One does wonder…

      It would be interesting to think about the results, had someone possessed the wit and wisdom to talk John M. Browning into starting an academic program at, say, BYU. You could have had Pedersen and Garand as visiting professors, and if men like Stoner and Sullivan had had the advantages of a fully-realized small arms engineering academic background…? Where would we be, one wonders?

      Of course, on the other hand, the whole thing would likely have gone to shit the way most academic programs have, under the weight of Frankfurt School idiocy and “Social Justice”.

      There is a serious dearth of actual, y’know… Academic rigor or thought, underpinning an awful lot of our small arms development, here in the West. The Soviets, at least, tried to do something along those lines. Of course, they felt the need, being the victims of multiple invasions down the centuries–Impetus for such a thing here in the US is minimal. No screaming need seen for it, outside a few cranks like most of the readers here.

      • I agree, arms design seems to be purely drama-driven in America. Honor before reason, and sadly, victory disease contributed to this.

        Victory disease: “We won, so we must have done EVERYTHING better than the other team.”

        • Well, too… It’s not a fit subject for study, to our effete intellectual class.

          Just like military history isn’t. Among many other things.

          It will eventually bite us in the ass, but on the other hand, I have great faith in the non-intellectual parts of the US population. John M. Browning was mostly self-taught, and entirely bereft of the academically-approved engineering background that all the men at Winchester and Colt had, the ones who wound up putting his designs into production. The genius that was Browning might have been eliminated, had they forced that into a narrowly channeled furrow in an academic program.

          More I see of the mess the “intellectuals” have made of things, the less I think of their self-vaunted “qualifications” and “attainments”. As a wise man once said, there are things so stupid that only an intellectual will believe them. Which, sadly, is about 90% of modern “thought”. Which is mostly… Not.

          • As someone who graduated from Case Western Reserve with my degree in Aerospace Engineering, I have to agree with you. Science is a study by observation and experimentation, not by “cultivated intellectual enlightenment.” Science is not learned through “feeling within your subconsciousness” that you are smart. True science does not favor the socially elite. It shuns them because it calls us to be humble, not proud.

          • Kirk:

            It must help if your country has a “gun culture”. If that culture is eradicated by the government, as it is in the UK, then you will not have the environment in which young people can begin to imagine a career for themselves in firearms design. The result is the SA80, which proved that by the 1970s Enfield had lost the ability even to copy an AR18.

            Now the UK just has no indigenous arms industry. The SA80 was the end of the line. We have no manufacturing capacity at all. When the last SA80 is retired, I expect we will buy our stuff from H&K like the French. The only decent military small arms we make now are Accuracy International sniper rifles, and that is a niche product. Sad, but inevitable, given the policies of the government.

          • JohnK,

            TBH, I don’t think it’s a function of “gun culture”. Look where “gun culture” got the US, with regards to the 7.62 NATO debacle and the M14. The majority of that came out of the NRA/Camp Perry/National Match gravel-belly mentality, right along with the similar playing out of the M16A2 program. You can have just as much distortion flow out of your “gun culture” as you do the distortion flowing out of unfamiliarity with it all. As well… Did not the problems with the SA80 at least partially flow out of the animosity between the then still-existent “gun culture” at Royal Ordnance Enfield and Sterling?

            Dysfunction is dysfunction. I’d wager that you could probably get relatively decent small arms out of a “non-gun culture” matrix, provided you didn’t screw things up with politics, mendacity, and an inability to recognize reality. Look at the Japanese, for example–Howa doesn’t do a bad job of arming them up, and Japan really doesn’t have a hell of a lot, in terms of “gun culture” going.

            I think we have to look for other reasons for the various and sundry dysfunctions in our small arms realm, rather than blaming it on “gun culture” or the lack thereof. Incompetence and wishful thinking do far more harm than anything else…

          • Kirk,

            Good points, but I am saying that a young person in the UK with an interest in firearms design has nowhere to go. We have given up the manufacture of firearms. The government has destroyed “gun culture” so effectively that there is no industry, even for the government to exploit when they need guns.

            As to Royal Ordnance and Sterling, I think RO resented the very existence of Sterling. They stole Sterling’s design for the SMG and made them without paying royalties, thinking they could not be taken to court as they were part of the Crown. Sterling fought back and won compensation, much to RO’s disgust. When they came to design the SA80, they stole the AR18 design and tried to bullpup it, and made a right mess of it. Sterling were making AR18s then, but hell would freeze over before RO would ever ask Sterling for advice, or indeed pay them a royalty, so we ended up with a piece of junk. It would have been cheaper and easier just to have bought AR18s from Sterling, but no civil servant would ever have recommended that course of action.

  8. For a light machine gun match simulating suppressive fire, my first thought is a dozen or so large targets, maybe 6′ x 6′ at 200 yards, closely spaced and some of them adjacent, then fire for thirty seconds and count the number of hits on the three *lowest* scoring targets. No credit for concentrated accurate fire on 1-2 targets while leaving ten enemy unsuppressed.

    It would probably be possible to instrument steel plates to register and count individual bullet impacts even if they come too fast for the human ear to register, but that may be too much trouble compared to manual scoring.

    Also, allow each shooter a designated assistant gunner, both to reload and to point out when they’re focusing too much on one target.

    • Yeah, but here’s the thing: LMG fires need to be evaluated on a “fire and movement” basis. Static firing-line courses of fire? Nuh-uh–That’s not how the weapons are used, and that’s not the way you find out whether or not your design, training, and crews are worth a damn.

      The way I’d do it? First, you’d need to include the team. The usual run of LMG is just enough heavier than the individual weapon that the gunner is often far more focused on his own personal hell of weight and suffering; he’s rarely gonna be “the guy” who spots the enemy. Nor is he the one who should prioritize the fires of his weapon; that’s for the team/squad leader, because he’s the guy who has to do the dance of fires in order to win the battle. The LMG gunner and other crewmen are only concerned with one thing and one thing only: Getting that gun into operation and keeping it there, following the instructions of their leadership.

      If I were gonna set up a course of fire, I’d find a nice valley somewhere, one with plenty of trails and flat spots. You’d need at least a good half-mile or so of maneuver space to run the crews up, and you’d have to have a bunch of different potential target areas so that the first crew through could not tell the next ones where the “enemy” was. Then, once you’d set up your targetry, you run the gun crews and the rest of their teams up with them, engaging the “enemy” in succession. You’d really need something to provide signature, as well–Enemy MG fires shown by flash and dust. Done right, you could probably run two-three crews through in a morning session, followed by AAR at lunch, then another two-three in the afternoon. What daylight you had left would be required for picking up targetry or resetting.

      And, you’d need real arrays of targets that looked like squad- and fire team-size elements that you could “ripple” to simulate movement. That is, if you want real fidelity to reality.

      If you were a sufficiently sick and sadistic trainer, you’d set the scenario briefing as situation wherein the squad or fireteam was tasked with a relief of another engaged element at the head of the valley; task being to fight your way through to them, and then withdraw under fire. To add versimilitude to the scenario, you have the “victims” they’re rescuing done up with full-scale moulage kits to simulate some really nasty wounds, and you force the squad leader or team leader to do a full-scale MEDEVAC somewhere in there, while also doing things to really mess with their heads like having your range cadre off in the hills making noises like a thousand ulullating demons…

      Usually, when I got done with my lane for whatever I got tasked with, the poor bastards were lucky if they didn’t wind up with nervous breakdowns. I once set things up such that the guys doing a mine clearance had to clear a road up to a vehicle that had taken a mine strike, and they had to deal with the casualties once they got there–To include one of my guys in a real body bag that would spastically twitch while the element going through the briefing for the lane was getting their Operations Order for the lane. I was not a well-liked trainer, but a bunch of people came to me after they’d gone into Iraq the first time, and told me that I was one of the few people who’d actually done training for them that even came remotely close to being as stressful as real life had been in theater.

  9. Haven’t watched the whole video yet, but figured I’d write down a thought I had about suppressive fire competition targets.
    This might be absolute nonsense-sauce to someone with actual gun/match experience as I have had very little exposure to real-life firearms.

    Here’s the idea:
    You have those targets that fall down when shot, but you also have an electronic trigger/timer that stands them back up after X amount of seconds (fixed time that’s the same for everyone, for competitive fairness), meaning you have to keep breaking from whatever other course of fire also is on the stage (if that is a thing? My lack of knowledge kinda shows here… I’m thinking it could involve something from the Brutality matches, like lugging heavy ammo cans from emplacement to emplacement or the like) to “keep” the targets suppressed.
    There could be a thing where after falling down X amount of times, the targets are counted as downed and thus give score/extra score.

    I’d love to hear from someone more experienced if anyone’s got any feedback! 🙂

    • Remote-controlled pop-up targetry:




      Look at their live-fire range offering, and see the sort of thing you really need to have set up:


      Doing this right would require an easy half-million or million dollar expenditure just in the targetry. Then, you’d need the control systems and the land itself.

      To my way of thinking, the military’s unfortunate predilection for canned scenarios on set-piece ranges is destructive to effective training, once you get past the very basic level of “shoot weapon at enemy”. The whole thing needs to be dynamic, and conducted in the same sort of way your soldiers are going to fight and do missions in theater. Every range ought to be integrated with other training, or at least, have other training integrated into the live fire. Things like MEDEVAC, First Aid, and all the other allied tasks like “call for fire” need to be built into the scenario.

      Back when I was doing IPSC-like stuff, a couple of us sick bastards would throw things like “Oh, dear… You shot a hostage; now they’re bleeding out… Quick, what do you do?” into the scenarios. If you want to see brainlock, watch a highly competitive shooter-guy find himself in a situation where he’s suddenly got to administer First Aid and then control a prisoner at the same time… Much humor was to be had. I absolutely loved the look of shock on the faces once we pulled out the Resusci-Annie trainer and told them that they had to administer CPR to the “hostage” they just shot…

      It isn’t just the shooting. It’s the fire control, the management of those fires, and all the associated tasks that go into it all. Especially once you go past individual weapon proficiency and into the LMG realm, because that’s really a “team” weapon system that has to have way more than just the gunner shooting at targets to evaluate the weapon system.

      There are a lot of little things you never really consider–Can the guy shooting the LMG see the targets in order to acquire them? Can he maintain situational awareness enough to avoid being handily flanked by the enemy? Can he hear the orders his team leader is issuing…? How quickly can he displace, after firing? Does his team leave a huge signature for the enemy to observe?

      All these things represent tradeoffs, oftentimes totally overlooked by the designers. I’d wager that there are LMG systems out there that are not at all effective at much more than making a lot of noise, but which are a lot less use than “lesser” systems that allow for better command-and-control due to factors which are not even under consideration by designers today, simply because they do not take a sufficiently holistic view of the issues.

      Which fact stems entirely from the unrealistic training we do, TBH. Better, more realistic training means better feedback to the labs and developers…

  10. Two examples of recent long-recoil I know of are the GM6 Lynx (go check out arm and gun if you want some good video on it) and the Mars M-19 Mustang, the latter of these seems to just be vapor-ware unfortunately even though they had a working prototype.

  11. On weapon and distillery/brewery traditions, Belgium is a strong candidate. For an unusual brewery to visit, there is the ‘Brasserie à Vapeur’ (Steam Brewery) in Pipay that runs with a 1895 steam engine.

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