Is the G36 a great rifle unfairly maligned? Or is it mealy and inaccurate? Let’s look at the question, and find out what was really going on with the Great G36 Controversy.
Is the G36 a great rifle unfairly maligned? Or is it mealy and inaccurate? Let’s look at the question, and find out what was really going on with the Great G36 Controversy.
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Life threat – live long and continue to speak out. Very interesting talk.
Whilst I know not the full details, when in AFGHAN in 2006 I had gone up to the North to the German contingent in Mazar-e-Sharif to run a training course for the Medical Corps facility. There was a lot of ill feeling towards the G36, relating to its inability to cope with the talcum powder type dust, and the inability of the weapon metal/plastic components to cope with the heat and direct sunlight. The actual combat troops who went out side the wire were using a mix of G3, and H&K 33/53 in 5.56mm, which could cope with the environment. I had a session with the Oberstabsfeldwebel (RSM) of the battalion, he telling of the experience in Cambodia when the troops who were armed with then brand new G36 being trialled in 1993 had many similar problems with the extreme heat and humidity, and the trial platoon went back to using the G3. And while they had changed the metal and plastic composition, it still did not work????
There are no HK33s in the Bundeswehr inventory, much less HK53s.
Also, the G36 was formally introduced in December 1997 – so there were none in UNTAC in 1993.
Troop trials of the G36 were conducted by several combat schools, namely infantry, mechanized troops, airborne, mountain/winter combat and LRR school, not by a contingent of medics (!) in Cambodia.
That Oberstabsfeldwebel was talking out of his ass.
In other words, no amount of advanced super science can compensate for stupid people being put in charge of product design. This is especially true when the manufacturer fails to field test the product in combat conditions (mud, snow, or tropical mess). It looks like the G36 was intended to defend Germany (as in intimidation of potential hostile parties into staying away) and do absolutely nothing else. I could be wrong.
As an Aerospace Engineer I would like to commend you for your critical thinking abilities.
OMG! Science? Clarity of thought? Reason? It hasn’t worked to get rid of religion, and the G36 (+/-) believers are just religions. Perhaps IN RANGE should run a small test.
Religion has nothing to do with the topic, good job edgy Internet atheist.
Having watched the “G36 controversy” as it evolved, what I concluded was this.
1. The G36 was designed for the use of the Bundesheer in Germany. That means in a temperate climate, tending toward sub-Arctic in winter. In such a situation, the rifle’s tolerance for a cool to cold environment was probably considered more important than its “hot and high” tolerances during the development process.
Keep in mind that the Bundesheer’s deployments to first Kosovo (Balkans, similar climate to Germany), Iraq (temperate to desert climate), and AFPAK (high desert) were the first foreign deployments of German forces since…1945.
The problem might simply be that the designers, working to the Bundesheer’s original RfP, never anticipated the rifle being used in such conditions and so didn’t “design” for same.
2. There are a lot of politicians in Germany who simply don’t like the military and will seize on any opportunity to attack it. Most of them also don’t like weapons and pride themselves on their ignorance of same. They can be expected to make mountains out of molehills to please their constituencies- and keep getting re-elected.
3. There are a lot of journalists everywhere who don’t like the military, or weapons, either, and who also pride themselves on their ignorance. Not just small arms, either; check out the number of reporters who refer to any naval vessel as a “battleship”, even today when there are no battleships in service in any navy on Earth. They aren’t just “hostile witnesses”, they are ignorant witnesses to boot. So it’s not surprising that they get things wrong and then refuse to admit their errors.
4. The Bundesheer isn’t blameless. They had a perfect right to set the parameters for what they thought their new service rifle should be, but they failed to anticipate potential conflicts outside of their home turf. Any baseball coach knows you never predicate all your practice on having the home-field advantage, but considering the old joke about NATO’s purpose (“Keep the French in, the Russians out, and the Germans down”) it was probably only to be expected.
I’ve never used the G36, mainly due to not having a need to. Although it does fall into two of my personal pet peeve categories, namely folding stocks and polymer frames. (The other BTW is bullpup designs.)
I would use a G36 if that was all that was available, just as with an M16. If I had my choice, I’d be using a Ruger Mini-14/AC-556, a Beretta BM59, a G3, or best of all an AK in 7.62 x 39. The reduced range vs. a 7.62 NATO isn’t critical unless you’re a DM, and the AK can effectively be burst-fired out to 100 meters or so without loss of control.
That’s assuming, of course, that I couldn’t lay my hands on an M1918 BAR in .30-06. DM rifle and machine rifle in one 14-pound package.
BTW, what ever happened to the “problems” between H&K and the Mexican government over the FX-05 Xiuhcoatl rifle?
eon, with all due respect, I think that you’d find precisely none of your optional rifles would do much better than the G36. I can tell you from personal experience that the wooden-stocked AK-series rifles would have the forends start smoldering pretty damn soon after you put them through the same pace of fire that supposedly triggers the “accuracy and zero-hold issues” with the G36.
The simple fact is that few modern weapons are designed to do what the hell a lot of the troops are doing with them in the current conflict. See “Wanat” for an American example…
And, the problem goes back a hell of a lot further into the procurement/supply chain. The Germans ran into it because they took a weapon that’s essentially optimized for mechanized warfare in Northern Europe, where there’s a Marder with a damn 20mm autocannon nearby at all times, along with a radio in communication with heavy artillery and aviation fire support that’s always within range and available… And, they took it into an austere theater with a tight ROE and nothing else besides small arms to use in fairly intense combat. Scenarios that in Europe would be dealt with by literally blasting the enemy off the face of the planet had to be dealt with by guys with rifles, and ohbytheway, rifles designed as tools meant to work in conjunction with all that other supporting firepower. Like with the M-16, the issue isn’t that the rifle was or is inadequate, it is instead that the damn things are being used way out of the design envelope they were meant for. If you were fighting WWIII in Europe, the G36 would do just fine–Like as not, it would never get stressed past its inherent operational “zone” simply because the slack would get taken up by everything else in the arsenal. It’d do just fine, up until the nukes flew, and then afterwards? Yeah; you’d be hearing about how there were problems with it because it was the only thing left with which to shoot the irradiated hordes of mutants.
The root of the problem here isn’t in the rifles themselves, but in the failure to properly anticipate how they would actually be used. You send a guy into a firefight where the only thing you’re gonna let him use are his small arms that you only ever intended to be used to provide the little bit of firepower needed for mechanized warfare in Europe, well… Yeah. It’s not the rifle designer/manufacturer that screwed up, nor is it the soldier: It’s you, the dumbass who wrote the specifications in an overly-optimistic haze of wishful thinking. Everybody does it–The US has, to my sure and certain knowledge, done exactly this same thing on multiple occasions, going back to both M-1s. By this point, I think it’s pretty clear that our defense establishments are pretty delusional when it comes to small arms, and that they all need a heavy dose of reality injected into them.
Frankly, if you looked at a lot of the engagements where the G36 and M-4 turned up lacking, the sad fact is, they should have all been replaced by something with a belt feed and a quick-change barrel. Don’t send an assault rifle to do a light machinegun’s job, in other words.
I’d say you and I are on the same page. And like you, I believe that most infantry problems are best solved with something with a 250-round belt.
Preferably with a one-half-inch bore, to boot.
I’m with you, right up until you said “…a one-half-inch bore…”.
My own preference is “preferably with a bore you have to carry around on a dedicated armored vehicle or an aircraft…”.
Sadly, I have found that the .50 has its limitations. There are an awful lot of things it can’t get through, and I’m of the mind that what I really want is something that will not only “get through” something, but flatly vaporize whatever it was that needed getting through, along with a statistically significant amount of what was behind it…
120mm or 155mm, bare minimum. I want my after-action assessment to be “Well, not sure what was behind this, but it’s gone now…”.
“(…)120mm or 155mm, bare minimum.(…)”
Here, it is worth noting that Soviet forces during Cold War used various self-propelled artillery, designed to maintain pace of tanks and – in some cases to swim – like 2S1 Gvozdika or 2S9 Nona
… reminds me of Debaltsevo; that was a showcase of mobile artillery use.
“(…)the wooden-stocked AK-series rifles would have the forends start smoldering pretty damn soon after you put them through the same pace of fire that supposedly triggers the “accuracy and zero-hold issues” with the G36.(…)”
Well, it was used alongside RPK, not to mention that technical-technical requirement which lead to it were written in 1940s. Soviet experiences from that time did not implied need for making it working without support from different weapons.
eon, you wrote “Bundesheer” when meaning “Bundeswehr”. “Bundesheer” is the Austrian military (and translates into “Federal Ground Forces”) while “Bundeswehr” is the German one (meaning “Federal Defence”). (And for people who are neither into history nor in geographics – since 1945 Austria and Germany are seperate states.)
There’s a joke in there, somewhere, but I can’t quite bring it out of hiding. I can see the bastard lurking behind what Klaus rightly points out, but I can’t lure it out into the open to share with y’all…
I’ve called it “Bundeswehr” in the past and been not-so-gently corrected that it was actually “Bundesheer”, hence I changed it.
I stand corrected- yet again.
My understanding is that the Bundeswehr is divided these days a bit like the French and Spanish “armies” of the Land, Air, and Sea such that its components are simply the “Heer” army, “Marine” navy, “Luftwaffe” (ouch! The DDR’s version used the older and rather dashing WWI-era Red Baron Luftstreitskraefte), and now some sort of SKB “joint support” interior outfit. I think that while technically the U.S. now has a “Space Force” the Bundeswehr has a dedicated “cyber warfare” outfit that is a new branch of service…
The Austrian army is indeed the Bundesheer, or “Federal army” although the Landesgendarmerie of old was dissolved, much as in unified Germany the old Bundesgrenzschutz was subsumed into a blue-clad Bundespolizei.
Open bolt DMR, come again?
Part of the problem with the G36 isn’t that the gun itself is badly designed, but that the original specifications laid out for it were, shall we say, highly optimistic.
It’s a lot like the syndrome described by Paul Fussell in the opening chapter to “Wartime”. People thought combat looked like one thing, when the reality was that it was actually quite another thing entirely. The G36 was caught on the crux of this misunderstanding, much like the M-14.
The other component to this is purely psychological. The weapon may be fine, but the reality is that the troops perceive it as not being “fine”, and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Again, see the M-14, the M-16, and the L85. There’s a whole field of study out there for someone, wherein they could examine the effects of “weapon confidence” on how well those weapons perform in the hands of troops–And, I would say that there’s also an entire realm of weapons design wherein you absolutely must take into account the issues of user perception and psychology, not to mention that of the effect downrange on the enemy. There’s a hell of a lot more to the issues here than just the sheer mechanics and physics of it all.
After all, take a look at the history of firearms themselves: How many years did it take before the “hand gonne” was actually more effective and more lethal than the bow or crossbow? Coldly examined, it was actually well into our history with adopting the damn things before that was actually an accurate statement to make, to say bow<gun under all conditions. But, because of the loud bang, smoke, and all the rest of it all, the damn things were taken up with an alacrity entirely out of pace with the reality of it all.
Psychology. It's all in our heads.
Well, a lot of it, anyway.
The other damn problem here is that everyone, from the private soldier up to the Defense Minister, need to quit specifying "assault rifle" and then using the tool they get handed as "light machine gun". Look at Wanat, for examples thereof, and that was the venerable M-4 Carbine. The real root of the problem here is in trying to pound a square peg into an undersized round hole, and then going "This is an inferior weapon…". Reality? You're a dumbass who set the conditions to where you had to take a weapon designed to meet light weight standards, and you tried to get it to perform at a level that would have required something two or three times as heavy, given the physics of it all. Unrealistic expectations, and again, go re-read Paul Fussell's book.
Me? In my opinion, the G36 and M-4 are both handy little tools for their intended roles. The real problem is that the envisaged roles aren't realistic, and we probably need to rethink a lot of our conceptions about "how we fight". What we specify in laying out the design criteria and then train to meet are obviously things we've gotten more than a little wrong. If you're going to persist in handing out a weapon that is optimized for short little firefights, and then set the conditions such that they're the only thing available for lengthy ones, well… It's not the line soldier who is the dumbass, here: It's the people that put them into situations like the one at Wanat, and then fail to give them anything other than the lightweight stuff to fight with. If you're going to persist in setting up Wanats, then you need to start designing the weapons and your tactics differently.
Remember, folks: Decide how you mean to fight, and only then start talking about the sort of weapon you're going to design and procure. You work that backwards, and you're gonna spend a lot of time testifying in front of the civilian oversight about how you screwed that pooch…
Rather like my uncle, the M4 Sherman troop CO, said about dealing with German Tiger I and Tiger II tanks. He stated that his primary weapon for that was his radio, by calling up HQ and requesting artillery support and/or an air strike.
From what I saw, most infantry problems in Afghanistan were really armor or CAS problems that were misidentified by the chain of command.
I’d take it a bit further up the chain: Most “problems” in Afghanistan were not infantry problems in the first place, but political ones. You want to solve the problem of Afghanistan, you don’t start by going after the minions gulled into becoming insurgents by the Taliban: You go after the paymasters and the “leaders” in Islamabad and Abottabad. The center of gravity for the Afghan problem is not in Afghanistan, it’s in Pakistan and consists of the ISI and the Pakistani military.
You give me control of the theater for an afternoon, and I’ll stop the entire Afghan “problem” with an afternoon of bombing. I won’t drop even one inside Afghanistan–Every one of them would be falling inside Pakistan, and when it was over with, the country would be a howling wilderness filled with rubble.
Of course, that would create a whole other set of problems, but Afghanistan would be “solved”…
The thing you have to acknowledge with all of the issues in that region is that there really are no “quick and easy” solutions to be had. They are simply not on offer–It’s all a set of choices between “lesser and greater evils”, short of gritting your teeth and applying the policies of Ghenghiz Khan.
I’d also point out that even his policies didn’t really “solve” things in any permanent manner, although they did tend to damp things down a bit for a few hundred years…
TL; DR? Ain’t no real solution to the problems of Central Asia, not that man can apply. My guess is that the bleeding sore of Afghanistan is going to keep right on bleeding until they manage to either grow up, or kill themselves off entirely. Or, they’re gonna piss someone like the Chinese off, and it’s gonna be “Uighur” time for the Afghanis…
I take your point that you should not expect an assault rifle to do the job of an LMG. Sadly, that lesson seems to have been lost on the British Army.
They seem to have convinced themselves that the L85A3 is so good that they can retire the FN Minimi. The Minimi had been bought as an urgent operational requirement because the L86 light support weapon turned out to be useless. Maybe the army ordnance people resented the Minimi because of that. Similarly, the bean counters will have worked out that money can be saved on training and spares by deleting the entire system.
Looks we are busy unlearning all the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. Good job there are not going to be any more wars eh?
Hits and near misses per unit of time are what counts.
If one can do that better with a semi-automatic (or at least set to semi most of the time), magazine-fed gun and less ammo spent on top of that, why not do it this way?
I think the British Army as well as the USMC (with the latter partly replacing the M249 with the M27 and subsequently looking at using the M27 as an assault rifle for infantry MOSs as well as DMR and IAR, only differentiated by optics and other accessories) might be on to something here.
To me, the LMG is a rather quirky concept.
With “firepower” being such a nebulous quantity, does it really make sense to use a significantly heavier (especially when loaded) and thus less manouverable, not quite as accurate gun and carry a lot more ammo because you have to spend more of it for the same kind of effect you could get from a few well-placed semi-auto shots?
And with the belt, you see a lot of guys fumble around under stress to reload – much more so than with magazines. Having a lot of ammo directly available is an advantage in some situations, but there are constellations where I’d happily accept the need to reload more often if it gets me a much faster, more reliable reloading procedure.
To keep this from being too theoretical, you’d have to put all that to the test, of course.
But I can easily see the IAR/assault rifle come out on top in such tests, as it apparently did in the USMC and British Army.
I think the issue boils down to, again repeating myself, “how you mean to fight”.
The Marines and the British Army have this idea that they’re going to be maneuvering little groups of riflemen all over the battlefield in a blaze of rapid shock movements that are going to win by getting those riflemen up close and personal with the enemy in very close combat. They don’t see combat as being the maneuver of weapons systems, down at the close-in infantry fight level of things. It’s all about moving your manpower, and getting it stuck in, good and fast.
That’s a technique, as our instructors used to tell us. You can make it work.
However, the enemy always gets a vote. Always. Also, the environment, which includes a hell of a lot of things besides just the weather and the terrain–Your combat environment also includes little factors like “Can I get air support in, with ubiquitous UAV assets on the enemy side?”, and “Gee, what is the enemy actually armed with…?”.
I personally don’t like the IAR concept, and I find the British idea equally unlikeable. That’s just me, though–I have this strange belief that while maneuver is a wonderful thing, it has to be maneuver with a purpose, and if you’re not able to effectively maneuver real firepower into those positions that you’ve just stratagemized yourself into with your ohsoclever lightly-armed infantry, I don’t think you’re going to be able to hold that for very long.
Thus, my preference for heavily armed and equipped forces that may not be quite so quick-and-clever, but who are going to be a motherf**ker to try to clear out of whatever terrain I put them into. I look at the guys with the IAR and the LSW, and what I’m thinking is “Man, I hope my opponents are that lightly armed…”, because I know that when I catch those poor bastards out in the open with my organic 7.62mm MG systems, they’re not going to be getting up again.
Horses for courses, though–Light has its place. Heavy has its, and I am by prejudice and preference that guy you talk to about blasting people out of their field fortifications and building our own.
And, again, to emphasize: Decide how to fight, then design and procure to meet same. And, don’t be like the Bundeswehr and whingingly complain that you made the wrong choices about what you wanted your weapons to be able to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for more firepower, i.e. heavier weaponry, especially from the German/Bundeswehr perspective.
To clarify (and forgive me if I go almost all the way back to the beginning, also for the sake of other readers):
Back in WW2, the machine gun provided most of the German squad’s firepower (meaning in this context: bullets going toward the enemy per unit of time). If it needed to maneuver, it was covered by another machine gun or – quite badly – by the whole rest of the squad with their bolt-action rifles.
You had the MG as the support element and the riflemen as the maneuver/assault element.
With the advent of the assault rifle, the riflemen were better able to provide covering fire in a pinch and could fire and move in two smaller groups over short distances on their own (i.e. without machine gun support) much better than before.
But still, the MG provided the fire support and the riflemen closed with and destroyed the enemy.
Starting after the war, the machine gunner was put right with the squad. Granted, they gave him an assistant gunner as a fig leaf, but in the end the MG had not nearly enough support, leadership and manpower to really do its job. Having the MG element not as a dedicated support element, but as a rather undefined part of the squad made it a bad MG element and at the same time made the machine gunner a generally abysmally bad rifleman with a slight advantage in very specific situations.
With the LMG and the newer generations of machine guns in 7.62×51 mm, the machine gunner is less of a bad rifleman, but all that really led to was to provide an excuse to take away his assistant gunner, too.
If we have a machine gunner do a rifleman’s task and measure the according performance, it is no wonder he does badly at many aspects of it.
The Bundeswehr needs dedicated fire support elements at the platoon or company level with well-mounted and well-equipped machine guns (including field mounts and optics) as well as anti-tank and anti-structure munitions (which would also mean getting rid of the Panzerfaust 3 and its derivatives – to me, they are a conceptual dead end).
In my opinion, the squads would be much better off to have no “own” machine gunners at all and instead closely coordinate with the support element.
But MG-based fire support is, ironically, even more of a lost art in the Bundeswehr than in other Western armies.
The one thing the Bundeswehr’s Jäger and Fallschirmjäger do right in this regard is having good weapons on “Waffenträger” (weapon carrier) vehicles.
Wiesels armed with 20 mm autocannons or TOWs can make up for the missing foot mobile support element – WHEN they are available and feasible to use for the task at hand.
But purely foot mobile troops need 1) a maneuver/assault element that is not slowed down by a rifleman dressed up as a machine gunner and 2) a support element that has all the equipment and training it should have instead of giving someone a machine gun on a bipod (and maybe a spare barrel) and expecting him to somehow do everything a “real” machine gun section can do.
I find it rather suspicious that as soon as Britain pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq, the army brass decided the Minimi was surplus to requirements, when it had been an urgent operational requirement a few years before.
I cannot imagine the ordnance people were too keen on it, as it rubbed their noses in the crass failure of the L86 LSW, and from an accounting point of view, losing the Minimi saves money otherwise spent on training and support of the weapon.
I don’t know if anyone bothered to ask the squaddies.
The GPMG is too heavy to carry as a SAW, so without the Minimi the L85A3 will have to work wonders and shit miracles, as we say in this part of the world.
I am sure that any opponents we meet in future, faced with a British squad armed only with L85A3s, will be sporting enough to stow any belt fed weapons they may have, and have a fair fight, assault rifle v assault rifle. That’s what will happen right?
Make a barreled action, fit it Into a plastic Shell, place the sights over that Shell, give some heat… And wait for accuracy.
I am neither a fanboy nor a hater, but HK and their fans have trotted out numerous false dichotomies in the rifle’s defense. Framing a problem as a series of benefit / risk / cost tradeoffs makes it clear that some situations just aren’t tradeoffs.
“It’s a cold weather rifle.” Do the numerous competing rifles without the G36’s heat issues fail to work in the cold? No – certainly not in the moderate chill of Central Europe. Does buying both the “cold weather option” and the “hot weather option” make competitors cost significantly more than the G36? Again, no; generally quite the opposite.
As one YouTube commenter put it, “I think the Argument ‘It is always a compromise and do you want a rifle that can take 10 consecutive magazine dumps but weighs 4 pounds more every single minute you carry it?’ is very valid.” It would be if it were true. Which of the many assault rifles capable of firing off ten magazines weigh four pounds more than the G36 (8 vs. 12)? Was the StG-44 the only possible alternative? The M16A3 upper, including the optics rail, weighs seven ounces; plastic isn’t weightless, so realistically about a four OUNCE difference for the one relevant component.
However exaggerated the heat issue may have been in the G36, it isn’t an issue in numerous competing rifles – including the G36’s direct ancestor! – none of which were significantly heavier, either.
HK designed to specification, which included price. The way they went about meeting specification included designing the weapon to be as “affordable” as possible in terms of manufacture. That meant (ta-da!!) overmolding polymer around the trunnion. Thus, the problem.
If the Bundeswehr had not written their specification in a blur of wishful thinking and delusion about what that rifle would need to do, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
As proven by the lawsuits, HK delivered exactly what they asked for, nothing more. It’s not on HK, it’s on the idiots who laid out what they thought they’d need. And, since your opponents rarely pay attention to your fantasies, well… The Bundeswehr paid the price.
And, again: Decide how you intend to fight, make sure it is in agreement with how your enemy is going to let you, and then start your design/procurement cycle. If you don’t know what the hell you’re going to do, well… I can’t really help you. I suppose you could do it in an evolutionary manner, the way the US did with the M-16, but I’m here to tell you–That shit’s expensive, in manpower and economic cost. You’re way better off gaining a clear-eyed idea of how you’re going to fight, what the conditions are going to be, and then working from there. Anything else is sheerest folly.
You go look at all the multitudinous weapons design “failures” down the years, and what you are going to find as a common factor is that the people doing the specification and design were generally clueless about the things they needed. The folks with the Ross? Failed to take into account a bunch of factors, not least the mud of the trenches. M-14? Those feckless morons thought that war was like the Camp Perry National Matches, and designed accordingly. Turns out, not so much. Similarly, the Bundeswehr wanted something cheap-and-cheerful, “modern”, and specified accordingly. The Taliban could have cared less–All they wanted to do was kill German troops trying to play humanitarians-with-guns. The specs laid out by the Bundeswehr synergized with the ROE specified by the politicians, and here we are: We now know that the G36 is a crappy design to go out and cosplay as an LMG…
You make many outstanding points, in your response to me and across the board. I 100% agree, and stand corrected, that the fault lies completely with the Bundeswehr RDT&A community rather than HK.
In fact, I agree with all your main points except one: “HK designed to specification, which included price . . . as ‘affordable’ as possible . . . cheap and cheerful . . .” I’m sure your first statement is true in the narrow literal sense, and I understand (based on experience with the procurement folks) both the reality and even the advisability of buying inexpensive “meets standards” systems rather than spending one’s country to death in pursuit of gold-plated perfection – but I don’t think that’s what happened here.
Again, no HK hate (call it a “mixed compliment” 😉 ), but like several other companies (and better than most) they have managed to master the least expensive mass-production processes (first stamping and then polymer) while simultaneously convincing the whole market that they’re a premium / top-dollar manufacturer. I don’t have any official Bundeswehr contracts in front of me, of course, but even the neutered civilian clones of the G36 cost as much as 2-4 ARs. Same for the 416, SP5, etc.
HK has always had a bit of arrogance, thinking they had a captive market. And, unfortunately for that market, they kinda do–Who is there to compete with them, these days? They can get away with murder, when it comes to pricing. And, in some cases, they have.
That doesn’t mean that the weapons they sell are going to necessarily be built to the maximum potential within that price, though. The G36 was just what the Bundeswehr wanted, and that’s what it got. I don’t think I’d have written the specs the way they did, but that’s because I’m a “worst-case” kind of guy, and I would give free rein to my pragmatic side when it came to writing these things out. To my way of thinking, you just don’t put melty things next to heaty things, not in small arms design. I’d have insisted on at least a metal-to-metal design, going from the barrel/action group to the sights. That’s just common sense, and I’ve been highly dubious of the G36 since the first time I saw what they’d done. Plastics have come a long way, but to put them where they did? Sheerest engineering and materials hubris.
I was just thinking of a response to Denny’s “will and ingenuity” comment when yours came in. I hope to address both.
I’m sure you’ve heard what is commonly called “the definition of insanity” as repeating the same actions and expecting a different result – by implication, repeating an unsuccessful course of action, expecting success. To me, that is simple ignorance (repeating the familiar / comfortable), forgivable because one likely doesn’t KNOW the right answer, and may even succeed in the end through sheer persistence.
To me the real insanity is the converse behavior: knowing what is proven to work and rejecting it, injecting failure into already-solved problems for the sake of being “different” / “out of the box” when there is no clearly identifiable offsetting advantage for the deviation. That’s what I see at work here.
Again, I could respect an actual tradeoff even if it wasn’t optimal for me, or the conditions of the (unforeseen) Afghan campaign. When I was young and inexperienced, I made such a trade: the Carbon 15 is no sustained-fire champ, but it weighs <5lb. The G36, OTOH, isn't that light, isn't that cheap, and has no apparent upsides vs. numerous non-melty rifles in service at the time of its adoption.
Camp Perry matches and the M14 Rifle? The M14 began production in 1958 after a long development period (it was the T44 before becoming the M14 in 1957). Rack-grade service rifles using issue M59 or M80 ball ammunition just were not competitive against the older M1 Rifle (National Match) using match-grade ammo. Before being used in competition, the M14 was first tested for accuracy and then modified to make it more accurate by careful glass bedding of the stock to the action. That, and using M118 match ammunition, made it Camp Perry-ready.
It can be argued that the M14 wasn’t up to Camp Perry national match standards. It can also be argued that the M14 didn’t have time to fully mature. The best argument was that rifle match rules and combat were different worlds.
Alan, you’re missing the point I’m making with that–Studler and his coterie all thought that combat looked more like Camp Perry than it actually did. They then designed to that.
The fact that the rifles themselves weren’t actually capable of that sort of thing is another huge clue to just how flawed the M14 program really was.
Tactical and operational aspects of that failure really weren’t apparent until the US ran up against the Soviet small arms complex in Vietnam, and I’d submit that if they hadn’t, and instead had that fight in terrain more like Afghanistan, then the M16 might never have happened. We’d still be issuing a rifle more suited to service in an infantry square, awaiting cavalry charges.
As ever, the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data.’
Given the nightmare economics-politics-logistics of military firearm development and deployment (Lebel? 7.62X54 rimmed? M14? etc.) its surprising that major militaries aren’t fielding infantry armed with sticks and stone.
Anecdotal evidence that contradicts carefully plotted “data” oftentimes indicates that there’s something wrong with the gathered data or the models used to analyze it. If you’ve got seventy-eleven people telling you that there’s a problem with M855 out of an M4-length barrel, maybe your models and testing aren’t actually, y’know… Correct?
There’s theoretical, there’s laboratory tested, and then there’s what actually happens out in the real world. The theory and lab work have to be validated in order to ensure that the thinking and data gathering that went into them were both pertinent and useful; there’s all sorts of things that data and theory can tell us, and which are utterly irrelevant to the end-user who’s stuck trying to pry a cartridge case out of the chamber of his trap-door Springfield or M-16. Some things only show up in the field, under the actual conditions, vs. what the lab rats and theory wonks thought.
There’s some validity to that phrase you open with, but having been out on the pointy end of someone’s carefully worked-out theory, there’s also a converse: Data ain’t reality, either. There was someone who was very sure that the MICLIC was a great idea for mine clearing. Many of us who have had to work with the system will tell you that isn’t quite so…
There’s that GIGO factor again:
Were the right questions being addressed during the testing (lab, range, and troop trials)? The M1 Carbine addressed an issue found with the M1 Rifle during troop trials–the M1 Rifle was too heavy and bulky for troops with primary jobs other than direct rifleman combat.
Politics is 90% of the factors in weapons selection. Logistics is 9%. How the weapon functions on the battlefield is a mere 1%. My numbers are also garbage–but politics predominates, followed by getting the weapon onto the battlefield with adequate ammunition supplies and in the hands of trained soldiers. The AR-15 was ordered by the Air Force after Curtis LeMay shot a few watermelon.
The G-36 came about because an Air Force bomber general shot up a couple of water melons–and wanted his boys to have the 5.56mm select-fire rifle to replace the mix of M1 Rifles, M2 Carbines, M3 Submachine Guns and M1918A2 Automatic Rifles arming his Air Police. Or you can blame the special operations people, Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets. Robert McNamara is the politician (Secretary of Defense) who cancelled the M14 program and forced adoption of the M16 over the howling of Army brass (and there was a minority position among Army brass that the M14 was worthless and outdated and that something better was the M16).
Politics has more to do with it than does “science.” Then there’s the issues of getting the troops trained with the weapon, appropriate tactics and doctrine, and having sufficient serviceable weapons with ample ammunition on the battlefield when shooting.
I agree with you about the politics of it all.
However, your construction of LeMay leading to the G36 is a bit inaccurate; what led to the G36 was not LeMay or his little foibles. It was the abject failure of the politically-motivated BS surrounding US small-arms procurement. They’d knifed the .280 British intermediate cartridge concept in the back ohsoverythoroughly, and there was no face-saving way to go back and say “Oh, hey… We wuz wrong ’bout all that…”. So, on to the “superior” SCHV idea, which I’m pretty sure was meant to be a mere stopgap on the way to the Ultimate Wunderwaffen, the SPIW program product. Only, that turned out to be more of a failure than the original M14, and we should have taken a clue from that and shut down the entire sorry edifice, then salting it with salt.
The essential problem is that the people behind all of this do not grasp how combat worked or works. They sit in their ivory towers, and conceptualize, pontificating on what the combat soldier needs. This is how the M16A2 happened–There ain’t nobody that came back from Vietnam and said “Yeah, it’s a decent rifle… If only it were a little heavier, a little longer, and had way more complicated sights on it…”.
They still gave us the A2.
A weapon that I will continue to insist was actually built more for Camp Perry and the Marine Corps known-distance qualification than actual combat.
The entire system of small arms around the world has been irretrievably warped due to the prejudices and small-mindedness of a bunch of a**holes who never deigned to dirty themselves in actual combat. Studler was always a behind-the-scenes guy, and pulled many of his decisions and influences out of the clear blue sky, as near as I can tell. There’s an interview out there that someone did with an actual veteran of WWII and Korea, who talked to Studler about some of these issues, and what that gentleman describes in that interview is illuminating. Supposedly, he’d say one thing, Studler would nod his head in apparent agreement, and then Studler would repeat back what the subject of the interview had said, but phrased and framed in such a way that it was the diametric opposite of what he’d said: “Fire bad…” “So, you say that fire good for burning things…?”.
There was an awful lot of wishful thinking that went on in the American small arms establishment, and very little attempt to get at ground truth. Which is how we got where we are, in a fog of accidentally fortuitous happenstance–If LeMay hadn’t have wanted to re-arm the Security Police with a modern weapon, the M16 would likely have not been ready to be pushed into service as an interim weapon, and we’d have been unlikely to have gone down that path, for good or ill. It’s mostly worked out, which is a miraculous result, considering it all.
God apparently takes care of drunks, small children, and the US military. I would, however, prefer not to plan on his munificence continuing on into the future.
“(…)its surprising that major militaries aren’t fielding infantry armed with sticks and stone.(…)”
C.f. Constant Tactical Factor that is: every improvement in warfare is checked by a counter-improvement, causing the advantage to shift back and forth between the offensive and the defensive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._F._C._Fuller#Armament_and_History_(1945)
A question of curiosity – how well is doing Beretta ARX160? It was purchased by Kazakh armed forces. You can hardly get any hotter and cooler, in relative variations (save for equatorial Africa) climate than in Kazakhstan. https://guns.fandom.com/wiki/Beretta_ARX160
Beretta solved the issue rather elegantly – they made barrel replaceable, therefor not firmly cast into receiver. Rifle gets hot? Pull barrel out, let it cool off and shove it back.
And another one:
let’s look at IWI’s Tavor. IWI went around the task a bit smarter; they created solid link in form of 2 pylons between barrel and sight rail, both together molded into polymer housing. Result is that the rail will move WITH barrel, IF such event takes place. I wonder IF H&K took notice and were moved to create usual A or B+number version of their rifle.
Rarely anything is perfect from start; it can be fixed, if there is enough will and ingenuity.
From a German perspective, Ian did indeed do a fair job in describing the situation.
The G36 acceptance specification document, like U.S., French and British rifle specifications over the last 100 years, did not have a single requirement regarding accuracy (a.k.a. targeting) or dispersion of a HOT weapon. Only function was ever tested in hot conditions.
That leads me to think: did customer anticipate it will shoot into “god’s windows” when plastic goes soft?
Oh, by the way, how did Ms. U. Von-der-Leyen handle the affair, in your opinion?
Knowledgewise, Mrs. von der Leyen is at the level of the generals surrounding her: no idea at which end of the rifle the bullet comes out. What do you expect? Our real problem is the loss of expertise in the wake of the end of the Cold War.
In our small arms industry, including HK, the experts were sent home as no longer needed. Modern management, in one case literally from a waste-management company, was seen as all that was needed to ensure future prosperity.
Bundeswehr basically made the same mistake, economizing at all cost, including destructing valuable infrastructure.
Our industry creates things like the Walther CCP, believing the customers will cheer to needing a special tool for disassembling it for cleaning. Its designer, as per the patent text, seriously believes that the slide does not move until after the bullet has left the barrel.
Bundeswehr is ignorant of the very core of German machine gun employment ideas and “forgets” to request a high rate of fire for the MG5. HK designers in their inexperience create what many consider a mechanical nightmare, among other things prone to developing cracks in the receiver.
Bundeswehr at least seems to have recognized that ignorance is not the way to success. In industry, managers clueless in basic small arms facts and blinded by greed are still at the controls.
Frankly, as a leading nation in small arms technology, in my view we are done.
Right first sentence… very well put. Thank you!
And it is not even funny…
….anyone can draw their conclusions. Lucky they do not have true enemy at their border.
“(…)MG5. HK designers in their inexperience create what many consider a mechanical nightmare, among other things prone to developing cracks in the receiver.(…)”
This lead me to suspect that it might be designed by person on (unpaid) internship.
Okay, let me try to summarize what eon, Kirk, Denny, and everyone else just said:
Popular misconceptions: An assault rifle (select-fire weapon chambered in the intermediate “average grunt” cartridge) is exactly what it is supposed to be: A rifle issued to your average soldier, intended to be a jack-of-all-trades, but not a master of anything. Assault rifles are intended to work in conjunction with bigger weapons like machine guns, mortars, proper artillery, and armored vehicles (to say nothing of requesting air support). Assault rifles are NOT “master everything” weapons, and thus should not be treated as general purpose machine guns, sniper rifles, pistol-caliber submachine guns for room-to-room brawling, flak-cannons, or as anti-material rifles. And yet too often, we see popular media think of the standard infantry rifle as some sort of magical wunderwaffe intended to TERRIFY the enemy into submission just by showing up in their faces (like in Private SNAFU)!
Design and development: You get what you request, but failure to stipulate proper performance in VARYING FIELD CONDITIONS can get you killed. I’ve yet to see the G36 go through the field tests that were applied to single-shot breech-loaders of the previous centuries, namely having the weapon physically abused half to death (thermal stresses included) before a single shot was even fired. Having a weapon that performs well in clean laboratory conditions seems great until your soldiers have to go through extreme climates without support from your infantry fighting vehicle or helicopter gunship. We can now ridicule many “modern” military procurement organizations for failing to stipulate field testing of equipment. I will defer to Kirk, Denny, and Daweo for the rest…
Please don’t try to kill me for this post.
Basically, it is as you say – result of contents of contract. Substandard contact – substandard product. What is more serious is that grunt’s confidence is shaken. They are not in mode (and mood) to engage in next wars. Perhaps one of reasons they refused France’s call for help in Mali against Boko Haram.
BUT, France is there for a reason: they need Uranium!
Learning a huge amount from the commentariate 🙂
Yup, given equal design skills (seldom a given) you get what you are willing to make the user carry in weight
Going back a few steps, WTF are Germans British and yanks doing in Afghanistan?
The British empire got tangled up in Afghanistan in the 1890s
Something about an extension of an extension of an extension of empire, perhaps being threatened by the over extension of the over extension of the over extension of the Tzar’s unsustainably over extended empire and the “great game”…
Yeah, got the T shirt, but didn’t learn the lessons
Best leave well alone! Alexander the Great was the last one to take Afghanistan, and that didn’t work out too well for him either. It grows some good opium poppies and has lots of little boy sex slaves, if you are not into either of those, stay out.
The key point in gun design seems to be what a bureaucrats thinks a soldier should be doing on the field where confrontation takes place
Naturally the bureaucrat has almost zero skin in the game
Neither do the
war pigsstatesmen who send the conscripted and the gullible half way around the world, equipped with the right tools to die pointlessly
(The pointlessly is from the viewpoint of the ones doing the dying)
We know that the usual suspects from the military industrial complex can produce vastly over priced and under performing products
Perhaps shorten and lighten a barrel, up chamber pressure to make already marginal extraction even more sticky, add a gas piston and some fragile plastic trim…
Like the F35 aeroplane, it promised a lot, and delivered not very much
Let’s get the flock out of Asia and the Middle East
They’re well enough capable of screwing up their own back yard without outside help
“Going back a few steps, WTF are Germans British and Yanks doing in Afghanistan?”
Are you kidding 🙂
Poppies, lithium, Coca-Cola market and what else you have…. oh, I almost forgot: knife in back of China. All in all – clear win. Sure, they got the guy in Abbotabadd
… but so what; when you are at it, just keep plugging!
Speaking of which…. I do not recall details, but German contingent over there went loose at one point and used “excessive force”. The commanding officer was given disciplinary ruling for it and was recalled back home. He mixed A-stan with Stalingrad, probably 🙂
It stated by commentators that the German military first overseas deployment was to Kosovo, as I wrote in my first posting in fact this was to Cambodia. The was intially to United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) in 1991, which retitled to
UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) the following years, and after the main UN mission finished they kept small elements in country dealing with the problem of land mines. From the beginning of the 1990’s the contributed troops in small units initially to mixes of units and observers, while the Federal Border Police contributed very good civilian police. In Cambodia such were literally the best on the ground, along with the French and Dutch Gendarmarie, with the small English language police from the Commonwealth, but the bulk of the police were utter rubbish. The US sent civilian contractors to provide policing (did the same in the Former Yugoslavia) and not belonging to a disciplined and formally organised body showed in the lack of ability. And they were supposed to provide a role model from those of third world countries such as India, Pakistan. Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Egypt etc etc.
Other posters are spot-on that if you put LMG expecations on a rifle, you will be disappointed. SOCOM burnt M4s in half early on because some of their drills (eg break contact) required oodles of full-auto. Twenty ish years ago.
I’m increasingly of the view that if you want an LMG, use a bloody LMG, not a rifle, even if modified. Compare Bren with L2A1 FAL.
So, idea. Restructure the squad/section properly around the LMG/SAW. If an eight-person section, make it two fire groups each based on an LMG, not one on an LMG and one on rifles/carbines.
We know that volume of reasonably accurate fire (ie LMG) works.Wheras GPMGs, while great, are also a compromise between LMG and MMG. And too heavy and bulky. Why are we not thinking about prioritising the LMG?
Generally, it’s because the magazine-fed light machine gun isn’t capable of going through long periods of sustained spray without burning out the barrel within dumping ten magazines’ worth of ammunition. To this end, NATO designated the belt-fed machine gun a better idea for any form of suppressive fire or static defense.
The GPMG has been used for flexibility’s sake. Would you use a magazine-fed Bren to try and shoot down low-flying makeshift helicopter gunships? ABSOLUTELY NOT! A belt-fed MAG or MG3? More likely! Would you try to hump the M1919 AND its tripod on your back during some madcap nonstop assault? NO!
I’m probably wrong.
Well, in WW2 an American SAW gunner might have been humping an M1919A6;
If the idea was “supporting fire equivalent to an MG34 on the other side”.
And there was actually a 100-round AA magazine for the Bren;
Which looked suspiciously like it was inspired by the Lewis mag.
Note that Brens were used vs. Hind gunships by the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the Eighties, mainly due to there not being anything better available before they began getting FIM-92 Stinger systems. Apparently, the trick was to set up in a rock sangar way up a hillside, and when the Hind jock brought the chopper in low to hit targets at ground level, shoot down into the top of the bird, which wasn’t as well-protected as the sides and bottom.
Now if someone would just explain the logic behind trying to use a 5.56 LMG like the M249 to do the job of a 7.62 GPMG out to 100 meters…
Nice discussion here! Another aspect… The G36 was offered by HK as the “reasonable” (= cheaper) solution after the G11 had crashed and burned. Germany politics have been rather… swampy in regards to the army and their armaments ever since WW2. Or should I say incompetent and corrupt?
Anyway. The G36s “failure” came up when the worst minister of defence (to this date) was in office. Leyen*, a lady of nobility, far from any reality, was “honored” with this office and a political career only due to Merkel’s grace (aka: useful idiot) – not for ANY sign of competence (now ruining the EU).
Lyer, I mean Leyen, had been a disgrace in ANY office up to this point. So, why should the G36-“affair” be any different?
Sorry, but the G36 does what it is supposed to do. No more and no less.
* Yes, there is a title, but, no, Germany hasn’t been a monarchy ever since 1918. So no need to call her “von der”. Only for some brown nosing press and officials that is. Beside, it’s not HER family’s title, like true nobility, she just married the “right” guy…
They sent (appointed) her recently to top unelected post in EU. Hold your breath!
Only G-36s I’ve seen were in Spain and Miami (police).
I thought that one of the issues involved with the controversy or even “scandal” was discovering that H u. K in Oberndorf supplied rifles to the Bundeswehr that did not meet the “as adopted” requirements? Thus, it is a bit like the Ford Fiesta automobile? The company signed an agreement to give the Bundeswehr its shiny new wunderwaffe, but then supplies a somewhat inferior-as-manufactured product? Perhaps I’m misinformed.
Then again, the Christian Democrat politicos might have kept Wiesa open, lessened the massive unemployment in the “new Bundesländer” as German Sicily, met the proposed Wieger DDR-era contracts to Peru and/or India, while still selling the inventory of the old NVA und so weiter to Poland (MiGs), Finland (Kalashnikov “MPiKM”), etc.?
Thus far the discussion has centered on the G-36-as-designed, and the G-36-as-requested and its misapplication in a multinational foreign deployment–the 21st Century’s Boxer Rebellion perhaps? My question is the G-36-as-actually-delivered?
Awful gun; look at it, eeew…
It is not only in molded-in barrel where G36 has its weakness. As I recall, many years ago at one major gun show I was able to put my hand on it. First thing, of course, I wanted to see the guts. Pull out but pins, pull out bolt carrier, trying to separate them and oops,…. something bad happened – I lost control of firing pin. Pretty embarrassing.
It was the only gun on stand, so right away everyone was on floor searching for lost firing pin 🙂
I tell ya, it was a chore. Why, it is shiny, is it not? Well no, someone decided to make it black; make sure enemy does not see it.
That is comical!
This accident makes the blade-change process of a metallurgist’s saw unit look really easy! No need to fumble around on the carpet for hours if you accidentally drop a large locking nut, as it is made of stainless steel.
Boils down to building up stronger, tougher soldiers like those that saved the world from nazi germany so nobody is bithching about how heavy their little plastic bb guns are while real men are eating their lunch with all steel, proven durable weapons. People nowadays are just a bunch of wussys.
“(…)stronger, tougher soldiers(…)”
But you are aware that Rifleman2017Load is actually heavier than Rifleman194445Load? See 1st chart from top: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/08/19/world-war-ii-vs-today-comparing-soldiers-load-two-eras/
Forgotten Weapons is good at myth busting because the actual weapon can be demonstrated.
The G-36 controversy reminded me of the M16 disaster of the 1960’s. I entered boot camp during the summer of 1975 and by that time the M16’s bugs had been worked out. Mostly. One of the “bugs” was that the facts of the M16’s success or failure weren’t made public. For example, the Viet Cong happily used all the M16 rifles they could buy, beg, borrow or steal as long as ammunition held out. The past was repeated in the Middle East by insurgents using large numbers of M16’s when they could have stayed with Kalashnikovs –possibly because victorious Americans mostly carried the M16.
Ian demonstrated that the Chauchat automatic rifle could be made to work–even though surviving examples are more than 100 years old and the 8mm Lebel cartridge isn’t easily available. More impressive–getting the 30-06 edition of the Chauchat to work. There’s something in common with the G-36: when overheated, the Chauchat does something very French and goes on strike until it cools off!
The more I learn about weapons, the more ignorant I feel because the unknown always vastly exceeds the known. It’s just the more I learn the more stuff I realized I don’t know. What happened in Afghanistan?
Once enough end users lose confidence in a weapon system that confidence won’t return. The Reising submachine gun was panned by John George in his book, “Shots Fired in Anger.” There were some quality control issues–but the Reising Model 50 had several advantages over the Thompson. If the Reising had been available by the thousands in 1918 it might have been fondly remembered–or not.
John George held the M1 Carbine in high regard. So did Audie Murphy. However, the reputation of the M1 and M2 Carbines crashed and burned in Korea during the disasters of 1950 and 1951 during the arctic cold winter. Forgotten during that same winter was how often the BAR quit working. The M1 Rifle (Garand) suffered during the retreat from Chosen–some Marines armed themselves with captured Chinese rifles. The BAR issue was fixed by training, cold weather lubes and procedures, and fixing the buffers and worn-out springs. The Garand issues were cold weather lubricants and training in cold weather operations. The Korean disasters with cold weather directly affected the M16–original rifling twist was 1-in-14 inches and when bullets keyholed during Arctic warfare testing, the rifling twist was sped up to 1-in-12 inches so that the bullets were stable at low temperatures.
I’ve seen some G-36 rifles (don’t know if they were semiautomatic only or select fire) at the county range where I work as a volunteer range safety officer. I was too busy making the range “safe” to examine someone else’s weapons in detail, and they weren’t MY weapons. That’s about as close to a G-36 as I’ve gotten. The controversy over the G-36 wasn’t my problem and I lacked information enough to form an opinion. Experience with the M16 and experiencing animosity towards the M16 when I was training others on M16 maintenance and marksmanship motivate me to get more information before forming an opinion. The Reising and M1 Carbine service problems only add to “get the facts.”
Thank you Ian for providing facts.
I still don’t know what the truth about the G36 rifle is, but I have some idea. I mentioned America’s M16 rifle and the many problems with it. There are some still in the US armed forces who swear at the M16 (and the M4 now) and want to replace the M16 with something else–often a piece of junk. Time for my 90%, 9% and 1% lecture: weapons selection is 90% politics, 9% logistics and 1% actual effectiveness. At the very least, the G36 demonstrates why the M16 hasn’t been replaced by the H&K 416–there isn’t enough increase in effectiveness to nullify the logistics factors in favor of keeping the M16 in service.
The political factors are another fur ball!
Speaking of effectiveness, good luck measuring it! There’s a problem with how the Scientific Method gets corrupted and it’s part of the M16 story:
President Eisenhower’s farewell address’ warning about a “military-industrial” complex was hammered into my head while I was in high school back a half century ago–but not the entire speech. Left out was the warning about letting public policy become “captive of a scientific-technological elite” and the entire speech can be heard here:
Modern military weapons do undergo extensive testing–have for more than 150 years in the USA. Great weapons such as the Model 1903 “Springfield” Rifle, the Model 1911 Pistol, the Model 1918 Automatic Rifle (aka the BAR) would fail modern testing. The truth is that the Tommy Gun and “AR-15” FAILED to meet military standards when tested.
Yes, the M16 didn’t make the grade when tested during the first few years. Now the M16 is the standard that other rifles are measured against. The bias and prejudice of the test process demonstrate conclusively the GIGO principle: garbage in, garbage out.
“…the G36 demonstrates why the M16 hasn’t been replaced by the H&K 416–there isn’t enough increase in effectiveness to nullify the logistics factors in favor of keeping the M16 in service…”(c)
IMHO It’s not only (and not so much) in logistics.
HK416 is a good example of simulating an elegant solution to a problem that does not exist.
What is the purpose of the conversion of M4 to HK416 declared? Reliability improvement?
What is the result?
No real improvement happened. Yes, some improvement was recorded in the tests.
And in real life, since the basic design of the Upper has not changed, the main scourge of M16 (sensitivity to dusting) has not gone away.
The most outstanding achievement was…
…the ability to shoot under water.
Which, of course, is vital for a rifle. 😉
Not to mention that such a solution has existed since Vietnam, but for some reason was considered not so important for a linear rifle.
Another “achievement” was the reduction in bolt’s service life. It remains only to believe that they made this as a conscious sacrifice (though it is not clear for what reason), since the occurrence of such an effect was predictable in advance.
And all this against the background of the loss of generality of the service base with existing rifles and other “minor” inconveniences.
The situation looks like “to do anything to do nothing.”
I don’t presume to judge motivation, but it looks like a person comes to a beauty salon and says “my feet stink”.
And they answer him “how good it is that you turned to us! We know the reason! This is a fungus.
But we cannot cure it…
But we can rip your nails…
And put decorative… ”
It is not surprising that the army did not fall for this.
And regarding the allegedly “HK did exactly what was ordered” …
What can you say about the auto mechanic who changes your oil without changing the filter?
It’s the same here.
Or HK so degraded that they could not foresee the problem.
(Personally, I can’t imagine how this is possible)
Or they did it consciously, in the hope that “The client will have to return, if not tomorrow, then in a week.”