Tomorrow’s Forgotten Weapon: the OICW

OICWWe often get email asking if we are going to write about some forgotten weapons that are relatively recent developments, like the OICW for example. We would like to have more coverage of some of those sorts of guns, but our experience and access tends to be with older items. However, the fine folks over at Weaponsman (who are much closer to ongoing arms development than we are) just recently wrote an excellent article on the OICW, and so we’re going to weasel out of writing something and suggest instead that you drop by over there and read The Past is Another Country: Objective Family of Weapons.


  1. Typical of the R&D theoreticians who never went through basic or carried a 10lb rifle along with a 50lb pack in the heat of summer, marching through sandy soil..Underthought, overengineered – watching way too many war movies and/or reading too many Sgt Rock comix…if it’s too heavy or cumbersome the GI will ‘lose’ it the first chance he gets or some guy who should be carrying an individual weapon will get detailed carrying the extra load instead.

    • The craziest part was they were thinking in terms of it being a general-issue weapon. It weighed 18 pounds loaded, double an M16’s weight. There might have been some promise to it as a specialized grenadier weapon (after all, we have machine gunners carrying a 22-pound M249), assuming the “smart grenades” proved to be as good as advertised. But replacing the M4 and M16 with it was an insane concept.

  2. Hey, Ian,
    thank you kindly for the link. That post has occasioned a follow-up on the Daewoo K-11 (same idea with a Korean accent, combat tested in Afghanistan and found to have some issues. That post is here:

    There are also some great comments. Daniel Watters has offered a correction in comments to the original post, and a new poster points out in the K-11 post that China is working on a similar weapon. I am working up a post on Israeli efforts in the same direction.


    the reason for weapons like this is that the Army’s 100-pound brains concluded that dumb, solid shot was pretty much at the pinnacle of its potential (I disagree about this, but at the timeI was a private first class and to my shock they did not consult me). Therefore (if you accept their premise), the only way things can be improved is with smart, programmable, bursting munitions.

    The Army ultimately peeled off the carbine module from the OICW and made a version of the grenade launcher as a 25mm stand-alone weapon. The troops loved it (it was carried as an individual weapon, with only one per patrol) and it was reliable but the combat evaluation was inconclusive. Certainly the engineers behind these things expect their capability to increase and size to shrink as Moore’s Law works its magic.

    Not ready for prime time now. And the Army moves very slowly. The Germans were widely issuing optics in 1944, it took us another 70 years… when I retired there was a battle raging over whether it was “cheating” to let the troops train and qualify with the optics. There was an actual line of thought that they should do all the training with iron sights and just put the optics on when deploying.

  3. Would be interesting to revisit that concept with a PDW like the P90 integrated instead of a full separable rifle system. Gives the launcher operator a close defense capability without adding much in weight.

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