Why hasn't a gas piston AR-15 been adopted by the military?

Why hasn't a gas piston AR-15 been adopted by the military?

This is a discussion on Why hasn't a gas piston AR-15 been adopted by the military? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; If the gas piston design is more reliable than the current m-16 design, why hasn't the military made the modification and adopted the new design?...

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Thread: Why hasn't a gas piston AR-15 been adopted by the military?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    Why hasn't a gas piston AR-15 been adopted by the military?

    If the gas piston design is more reliable than the current m-16 design, why hasn't the military made the modification and adopted the new design?
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  2. #2
    JD
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    I doubt we will ever get a factual answer to this...

    But here are the main reasons IMHO:

    1: Cost to re-outfit the entire armed forces
    2: The high up muckity-mucks can't decide on anything.
    3: Cost to re-outfit the entire armed forces
    4: Weapons trials keep getting shelfed. (see #'s 1 and 2)
    5: Insufficient testing due to #4.
    6: Cost to re-outfit the entire armed forces.




    Oh, one more.

    The M4 and M16A2 work pretty darned good.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    I doubt we will ever get a factual answer to this...

    But here are the main reasons IMHO:

    1: Cost to re-outfit the entire armed forces
    2: The high up muckity-mucks can't decide on anything.
    3: Cost to re-outfit the entire armed forces
    4: Weapons trials keep getting shelfed. (see #'s 1 and 2)
    5: Insufficient testing due to #4.
    6: Cost to re-outfit the entire armed forces.




    Oh, one more.

    The M4 and M16A2 work pretty darned good.
    All of these reasons are secondary to this one:

    POLITICS.

    Mel
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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    .....and generally the money goes to the lowest bidder.

    ..and I agree with both JD's and agentmel's posts
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    They definetly won't do it in time of war. Think of all the parts in the supply train. Alll the Armorors you would have to retrain. etc..........
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldshellback View Post
    .....and generally the money goes to the lowest bidder.
    Or the money goes to the bidder who made the most campaign contributions...

    Mel
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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    The magazine is the weakest link in the M16/M4s - the old operating system works fine. I see no reason to change it....although I do think all the work going into developing more reliable weapons is a step in the right direction. I've fired probably 10s of thousands of rounds through issued weapons, and never had a malfunction that couldn't have been prevented with better magazines/followers. I like the piston designs too, but I think JD is right - it just wouldn't be worth the pain of doing it at this point.

    Austin

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Changing to gas piston might mean the Soviets had better engineering then us. We can't allow that! USA! USA! USA!

    I have read a few benefits of the direct gas system. Not sure if they are made up reasons or not:

    -Less moving parts (less things to break and lighter)
    -No piston moving around while the bullet is still flying down the barrel. The piston is off-center and above the bore so having it bang around might disturb the sight picture. Using gas only reduces the weight of moving parts and might be more accurate.
    -ease of cleaning the gas tube (although it requires cleaning more often)

    This discussion is endless, but my opinion is the current AR system works fine. I don't think out solders are being outgunned in conflicts.
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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Because HK fanboys play video games and opine on internet forums ( HEY DUDE!! I saw it on future weapons so it must be true , besides thats what they use in splintercel or ____ insert game name here __). They fortunately are not in charge of procurement .
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Man, you wanna see a bunch of people freak out? Just imply that maybe the M16/M4 isn't the absolutely perfect end-all and be-all of an assault rifle carried by Jesus himself.

    C'mon. No one is saying that the M4/M16 is a bad weapon, just that the piston system is more reliable according to many. Shouldn't it be obvious that keeping blowback out of the receiver is a good thing? Besides, we've known for a long time that the AK-47 is a much more forgiving weapon that requires less cleaning. A lot of the newer rifles being developed are piston-operated, including the XM-8. Besides, you can say what you want about HK, but everyone knows they're the best. You can also get caught up in all that "Cold War, us vs. them , all Russians are evil" crap, or you can recognize that Kalashnikov was, in fact, a genius.

    All of that is to say, if you like the M4, great! If you like the gas-piston, great! Most of us won't be carrying either into jungle or desert combat where it probably makes the most difference. My suggestion to the military would be to do a trial run. Select a couple thousand soldiers. Give half of them a DI gun and the other half a GP gun. Let them use them for a month in combat. At the end of that month they switch. At the end of the two month trial, they vote. The winning system gets the contract.

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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    Or the money goes to the bidder who made the most campaign contributions...

    Mel
    oh so true..

  12. #12
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    While the gas piston system certainly offers an advantage in terms of reliability, the reality is a properly-maintained M-4 is not as unreliable as some assert. Simply put, the increased reliability provided by a gas piston system does not offer a significant enough benefit over a properly-maintained M-4 to justify the cost of replacement.

    I have no doubt that when the military does eventually adopt a new rifle, it will use a gas piston.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Skygod's Avatar
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    As for the "Big Army" It's more complicated than just "Politics" and resourcing of budget dollars but I will say a couple of things with some humor.

    USSOCOM is very "Platform centric" in it's thinking. How much money has been spent to design, develop and impliment the newer greater SEAL Delivery Vehicle ? I believe it's been estimated at $500,000,000....................all for a little sub while the fighting is smack dead center of the desert of the middle east. Let's give the GO's of SOCOM a big round of applause for that why don't we

    Oh yeah, let's not forget the Osprey. It only took another billion dollars to get that damn thing to actualy fly without crashing and killing troops it was meant for, the SOCOM guys once again. How about a round of applause for that one too.

    Who is the largest component of USSOCOM ? Not SEALs, NOT Rangers, and certainly not the new and improved, don't really know what are role is of the MARSOC and MARSOG forces.......................................you got it, Army Special Forces which make up the greatest componet under the SOCOM umbrella but only recieve about 5% of the totol budget. Let's give the higher ups another round of applause for that why dont we.

    Some units have made purchases of the H&K 416, Army Special Forces that is. COTS purchases.

    Do they really need a new rifle ? If they swapped out all the uppers to the H&K or LWRC piston driven uppers I wouldn't care, but rest assured something will prove not battle worthy with those uppers too and then what ? Refit all the old uppers ?

    Rest assured, when the OP Rods start breaking then what ? The Big Army will no doubt purchase the lower bidder and that may just be the POF piston upper. I've seen one go down after 500 rounds during a carbine tactical class and the student used the instructors back up rifle for the remainder of the course.

    This reminds me of the "I want a .45 ACP" JP program that was scraped. The truth of the matter is, the conventional side of the Army and Marines have little if any real training on the current M9 Beretta, but they want a .45 ACP ?

    Yeah, how long to bring up the learning curve with a weapon system that they are barely issued and don't know how to employ ? Oh yeah, don't forget that an awful lot of NG soldiers never touch the M9 till they get one in the sand box and spend and aftenoon shooting at paper as a "familiarization exercise"

    Rant off, but I think most of you should at least get a lauph or two out this post :)
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    I stand by my humorous post above .. I picked on HK not because it is in any way lacking as an action , and honestly feel it is representative of piston driven ARs . However HK tends to collect fanboys at a rate only slightly slower than Glock does . As a clarification on fanboy: to me its someone with little or no real world experience who adopts a certain brand and then upholds said brand to the expense of any other option.

    Does the direct impingement of the AR platform have issues , well heck yea , you can get loose gas keys on the bolt , carbon/dust restrictions , powder fowling , ect.. the failings of di actions ( specifically and especially in the AR platform are well known.

    However piston actions have an equal list of failings tho some are different . The AK and the FAL are both uber-reliable (IMHO) because they are built loose as a goose , and for the most part in some form of a .30 cal . Even the x39 30 cal has a bit more energy and gas to play with than the 5.56 and this along with the larger form factor of the action makes things a bit more forgiving .

    IMHO no one has yet shown that the AR action as it stands now needs replacement if we are going to remain with the poodle shooter round. And i note that after HK (which has massive resources , and is a world wide arms company ) spent the money to develop the 416 the noise to signal ratio on the current m4 went out the window . The m4 system is a whole other subject for me as what happened to the old standard M16 which has long proven more reliable on a gun for gun basis than any cut down in the history of the action ( much like 1911s lol ) .

    I am not saying the m4 is a bad thing , or a bad rifle , but with my experience with the ar snubbys starting with an original xm177e2 you can bet spanky the farm that if i am issued one weapon cleaning and lube is going to have a higher priority than it will with a rifle . IIRC some specops are using the hk 416 among other piston driven rifles now , time will tell if the hype is right or if piston makers think the time is right to market .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    The piston ARs have some amazing numbers floating around, like x many thousand rounds without cleaning and stuff like that - but if you are using the weapon it makes sense to keep it clean and lubed. If you need to fire even one thousand rounds without cleaning, someone forgot about you multiple times already. A combat load is maybe 200 rounds or so, depending how many mags you want to carry. I know for Marines 7 mags at 28 rounds each is pretty standard, but you can carry more if you want to and have the mags. Is someone going to get re-supplied 4 times while continuously firing their weapon and not stopping to clean or even re-lube? I think the chances are pretty slim. I've fired over a thousand rounds in a day many times during training, with well used guns that had been issued who knows how many times, guns that no one ever cared about at all - they got cleaned before turning in to the armory most of the time, but that was about it. I just don't see a problem with the currently issued weapon that warrants all the pain and heartache it would take to change out every upper receiver in the inventory.....and you'd still have all the crappy magazines! Besides, if you really like gas-piston ARs, then you wouldn't want to the military to adopt them because they would become less available due to production demands....so take advantage now while you can still get your hands on them....

    Austin

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