Army takes HK416s from special unit

Army takes HK416s from special unit

This is a discussion on Army takes HK416s from special unit within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Does not surprise me. Army takes HK416s from special unit By Matthew Cox - Staff writer Posted : Monday Mar 10, 2008 17:04:44 EDT The ...

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Thread: Army takes HK416s from special unit

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array EW3's Avatar
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    Army takes HK416s from special unit

    Does not surprise me.

    Army takes HK416s from special unit

    By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
    Posted : Monday Mar 10, 2008 17:04:44 EDT

    The Army has stripped the Asymmetric Warfare Group of its weapon of choice — the Heckler & Koch 416 — saying that its mission requires the unique outfit to carry the standard issue M4 carbine.

    The decision reverses a policy that allowed the AWG to buy 416s instead of carrying M4s when it was established three years ago to help senior Army leaders find new tactics and technologies to make soldiers more lethal in combat.

    Members of the AWG have declined to comment on the issue, but sources in the community told Army Times that the unit fought to keep its several hundred 416s, arguing that they outperform the Army’s M4 and require far less maintenance.

    In a response to a March 6 Army Times query, the Army acknowledged initial approval of the AWG’s move to the 416.

    “The AWG is empowered to procure, on a limited basis, select non-standard equipment to assist in identifying capability gaps and advise on the development of future requirements. To this end, the Asymmetric Warfare Group did purchase H&K 416 rifles,” said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Downie.

    “The AWG also advises units on training, tactics and procedures. In this capacity, the use of the standard issue M4 is required. In support of this mission set, the decision was made to transition to the M4 and the AWG is now turning in its H&K rifles.”

    This is the latest round of controversy surrounding the M4 since late November, when the weapon finished last in an Army reliability test against several other carbines.

    The M4 suffered more stoppages than the combined number of jams by the three other competitors — the Heckler & Koch XM8, FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) and the H&K 416.

    Army weapons officials agreed to perform the dust test at the request of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in July. Coburn took up the issue following a Feb. 26 Army Times report on moves by elite Army Special Forces units to ditch the M4 in favor of carbines they consider more reliable. Since then, Coburn has questioned the Army’s plans to spend more than $300 million to purchase M4s through fiscal 2009 rather than considering newer and possibly better weapons available on the commercial market.

    Army officials have downplayed the test results, maintaining that soldiers using the M4 in combat praised the weapon in a recent study by the Center for Naval Analysis.

    But this isn’t the first time the M4’s performance has come under fire.

    U.S. Special Operations Command decided nearly four years ago that it wanted a better weapon than the M4. After a competition, it awarded a developmental contract to FN Herstal to develop its new SCAR to replace all of the command’s M4s.

    But even prior to USSOCOM’s decision, the Army’s Delta Force replaced its M4s with the H&K 416 in 2004 after tests revealed that its piston operating system reduces malfunctions while increasing the life of parts.

    The M4, like its predecessor, the M16, uses a gas tube system, which relies on the gas created when a bullet is fired to cycle the weapon. Weapon experts say the M4’s system of blowing gas directly into the receiver of the weapon spews carbon residue that can lead to fouling and heat that dries up lubrication and causes excessive wear on parts.

    The AWG followed Delta’s example when it stood up in March 2005 to advise the Army’s senior leadership on how to identify and counter emerging threats on the battlefield. With Army approval, the unit bought several hundred 416s for its members to carry when they deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots.

    Many senior sergeants in the AWG were angered that soldiers in the unit had to turn in their 416s, a process that began last fall, said a U.S. Military officer with knowledge the special operations and AWG communities.

    “They were outraged,” he told Army Times. “It’s a reduction in capability. It’s a waste of money that was already spent, and it makes the job more difficult since [the M4] is much more maintenance-intensive.”
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" – George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array cdwolf's Avatar
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    That is just stupid!!! No reason whatsoever? I love my M4 but the 416 is a better platform. They have already been using them, they still want them, and we take them away? Explain this logic..? anyone?
    GUN CONTROL= I WANT TO BE THE ONE IN CONTROL OF THE GUN

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    Member Array Spenser's Avatar
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    Sounds like someone's in bed with the M4 company.
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    VIP Member Array deadeye72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spenser View Post
    Sounds like someone's in bed with the M4 company.
    That's how the contract's work.
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    This is one of those where I just scratch my head. I've always been a firm believer in trusting the guys you've got on the ground, that are actually DOING the work. Instead we've got the army turning them upside down because of a CONGRESS CRITTER's concerns... WTH?
    Last edited by JD; May 2nd, 2008 at 06:43 PM. Reason: corrected language workaround...
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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Politicians and muckety mucks are more concerned with savings and contracts than troops lives and safety.

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    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    Wonder if it's going anything to do with the stink that Boeing is making about the USAF awarding the contract for the new tankers airframe to a French company?

    Perhaps they're trying to head off any negitive press about american troops using foreign made "M16s" instead of the "exact same american made gun"
    Yes...I know there's a difference in the 416 and the M4..the " " are me putting words in the medias mouth
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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    Common sense was secured awhile back.
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    Senior Member Array gwhall57's Avatar
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    History repeats itself again. Don't ask any shooters, just make blanket decisions based on bean-counting and kick-backs.

    It happened when the Army adopted the Berreta 9mm (because the ladies couldn't qualify with the 1911). It will happen again....
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  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdwolf View Post
    That is just stupid!!! No reason whatsoever? I love my M4 but the 416 is a better platform. They have already been using them, they still want them, and we take them away? Explain this logic..? anyone?
    Explain OK it's not that hard it is called the government
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  11. #11
    Member Array dang.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packinnova View Post
    This is one of those where I just scratch my head. I've always been a firm believer in trusting the guys you've got on the ground, that are actually DOING the work. Instead we've got the army turning them upside down because of a CONGRESS CRITTER's concerns... WTH?
    Just so we're clear here - I assume you are referring to congress critter Coburn, and he is one of the folks questioning the Army's decision to order more M4s.

    I wouldn't be shocked to find out that other congress critters are supporting the Army, but it doesn't look like the only one mentioned in the article - Coburn - is one of them...
    Last edited by JD; May 2nd, 2008 at 06:42 PM.
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  12. #12
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Looks like I will be the lone dissenting voice...

    First, let me begin by saying that as a member of the military, I am thankful that so many people are outraged at the perception that soldiers are operating with sub-standard equipment. I sincerely mean that.

    Second, I think the H&K 416 is a great weapon system and is an improvement to over the M-4. I will admit the M-4 has its shortcomings. However, the M-4 has repeatedly demonstrated that it is more than capable of delivering and I do not think the benefits the H&K 416 justify the cost, with certain exceptions. If we are going to adopt a new rifle, I believe it should be one that significantly enhances performance. Apparently, on this "Big Army" and I are in agreement. Go figure.

    As it relates to the AWG, while they are classified as a Special Mission Unit, they are NOT a special operations unit. They do not hunt the enemy. They do not operate in austere conditions. They observe other units as they operate on the battlefield, observe/experience the success/failure of current techniques, tactics & procedures (TTP's) and provide advice to units on TTP's they can implement to be more effective. It is an imporant mission to be sure, but it is not one that demands specialized weapon systems. In fact, I believe it demands the use of the same weapon system everyone else is using.

    For example, when I worked with Iraqi forces I occasionally carried an AK-47. Why? Not because I was concerned about the M-4 but rather because I otfen felt somewhat hypocritical. It is one thing to preach the importance of using sights while armed with your M-4 topped with some type of optic. It is something altogether different to preach the importance of using your sights after you just put an insurgent down, a block and a half away, with the same crappy AK-47 everyone else is carrying. It drives home the point that it is the operator, not the equipment, a fact often lost on our own Military. (You will note that after several years of American advice, the Iraqi security forces are abandoning their AK-47's for M-4's despite the fact that the AK-47 is more than capable of delivering the required performance.)

    Simply put, the AWG is being required to carry the same weapon as the individuals' they support do. I see nothing wrong with that. It makes sense to me. Additionally, the fact that maintenance support is available from almost every unit in Army is not a bad thing either.

    Were I a member of the AWG I would probably be upset that my H&K 416 was taken away too. However, my life would not be in any greater jeopardy because I carried an M-4 nor would our war effort be compromised. I would simply have to spend a few minutes cleaning my rifle every day...

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array cdwolf's Avatar
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    I wonder if I could get a good price on 1 used from our Govt.??
    I will trade them a M-4 for it! I don't see how taking a weapon out of a soldiers hands that wants it is good for anyone!! It's there life on the line and yours! oh yea Thank you !!
    GUN CONTROL= I WANT TO BE THE ONE IN CONTROL OF THE GUN

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    Member Array Boeruine's Avatar
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    I know quite a few people at Ft Lewis that would happy to receive a bundle of these items after turn in. I'll gladly sign the hand receipt for mine...

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    I'm with Blackhawk6. The 416 offered nothing to this unit except CDI factor, and at the cost of ease of maintenance and interoperability with the units that they are supporting, and the weapons could be put to better use elsewhere...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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