For infantry, what is the standard issue firearm?

This is a discussion on For infantry, what is the standard issue firearm? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I understand the primary firearm changes depending on role. Talking in general, what weapons does the average soldier carry. I assume an M-16 or M-4 ...

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Thread: For infantry, what is the standard issue firearm?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    For infantry, what is the standard issue firearm?

    I understand the primary firearm changes depending on role.

    Talking in general, what weapons does the average soldier carry.

    I assume an M-16 or M-4 and a knife. Is a 9mm Beretta pistol also standard issue for every soldier? Does every soldier carry frag grenades or smoke grenade? Why is the M203 grenade launcher not standard issue?

    COD4 is the closest I'll ever come to military training. So looking to hear from those of you who know more.

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    JD
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    Pistols are generally reserved for staff and officers unless there's some specific reason you need (rate) a pistol.

    The general issue rifle is either the M16A2/M16A4/M4 pending on exact billet.

    The M203 is generally attached to the squad leaders rifle/carbine.

    Your basic fire team also consists of an automatic rifleman with a M249 SAW, A-gunner, and rifleman.

    The M203 is not standard issue as there are just some people that shouldn't have one, same with grenades. (I don't know the real reason, but that's just my outlook on it) Generally, everyone may or may not get a frag and a smoke or some other mix. Regarding the M203, that would require everyone to carry a bunch more weight as a grenade vest full of 40mm grenades is not light, as well as the supply and demand issue, outfitting everyone with a M203 is a costly change.

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    ...what JD said...

    IRT M203: It also depends on TO&E for each unit...
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

    martyr is a fancy name for crappy fighter
    You have never lived until you have almost died. For those that have fought for it, life has a special flavor the protected will never know

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    I assumed correctly except:

    1) I did not consider the weight factor (for M203).

    2) I was told most everyone carried a smoke grenade (maybe it was a flare) and two gernades. I always thought it might be dangerous, but then a firefight is not lacking in danger.

    How about scopes. I was watching HBO's "Generation Kill." Why do some have scopes? I understand the pros & cons of scopes (I'm a hunter) but sometimes it appears really random (even in news footage) who has a scope on a M-16 (I think I seen them mostly on M-16s and not M-4s).

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    I assumed correctly except"

    1) I did not consider the weight factor.

    2) I was told most everyone carried a smoke grenade (maybe it was a flare) and two gernades. I always thought it might be dangerous, but then a firefight is not lacking in danger.

    How about scopes. I was watching generation kill. Why do some have scopes? I understand the pros & cons of scopes (I'm a hunter) but sometimes it appears really random (even in news footage) who has a scope on a M-16 (I think I seen them mostly on M-16s and not M-4s).

    That's a newer development, previously, unless you were a designated marksman, there were no optics issued to general infantry. Now you have a mix of ACOGS and AimPoints being issued, that all depends on what a unit rates and what their budget is for that stuff. It all really depends on which exact unit you're talking about. You also have the IR lasers mounted for use with NVGS, most general infantrymen will have those.

    Again, regarding the grenades, smoke, flares....Some people are too stupid to be trusted with them. If you're more worried about Pvt Butt-munch toasting your flank with a flare, you don't give him one, the same goes for that idiot that can't keep his gear secured, you don't want him to have a smoker as you just KNOW that he's going to be rolling around in the hooch, pull the pin and the spoon is going to pop and he'll smoke out your tent. AND YOU as his squad leader will get in trouble by the Gunny.

    And if you have some especially "gifted" comrades, the last thing you want them to have is the phosphorous grenades.

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    In the Army Infantry, a squad is made up of two 4-man fireteams and a squad leader. The standard rifle is now almost universally the M4. One soldier in each fireteam will have an M203 attached (often the team leader, but not always, and almost never a squad leader). The third soldier will have an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and the fourth will have either a straight M4 or some version of a Designated Marksman's Rifle (an M16 variant picked from the inventory for its accuracy, an M14, or similar).

    What you are seeing on most issue rifles are not "scopes" as you might see on a hunting rifle - the majority of them are 0 power red dot scopes (Aimpoints are very, very common issue items), EOTech Holographic Weapon Sights (also 0 power, but with a different reticle design than a traditional red dot) or a 4x ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), which is more akin to a traditional scope. SAWs and M240 General Purpose Machine Guns may use the ELCAN MGO (Machine Gun Optic) as well. Occasionally you will see something else in use, but these are by far the most common, as they are in the supply pipeline and are issue items.

    As for sidearms - many (though not all) officers get them, machine gunners and assistant gunners often get them, as do medics, snipers/observers, and others who may not carry a rifle or who may need a sidearm to back up an unusual or unwieldy rifle.

    Grenades, smoke, flares, star clusters, etc are issued as the mission dictates. Also remember that things are much different in combat than they are in peace-time training; no one carries grenades as a matter of course in training, but they can become very common indeed (depending on your mission) when in combat.

    If you're really interested, I'll tell you how my recon/sniper platoon was equipped for combat in Afghanistan - keep in mind that this is not a standard infantry platoon, and is organized and equipped differently (no fireteams, for example, and no SAWs):

    Platoon Leader (me): M4 with either an EOTech or a Leupold 2-7x scope, M9, frags, smoke, star clusters

    Platoon Sergeant: M4 with EOTech, M9, frags, smoke, star clusters

    Squad Leaders (x3): M4 with AimPoint or Eotech, frags, smoke

    Assistant Squad Leaders (x3): M4 w/ AimPoint or EOTech, M203 w/ HE, HEDP, smoke, and illum

    Sniper (x3): M24 or M107 w/ Leopold 10x fixed or 10x day/night optic, M4 (usually), M9, frags (maybe), smoke, star clusters

    Spotter (x3): M14 w/ 2-7x Leupold (I had to finagle the M14s, and buy the Leupolds out of pocket, but we needed them), frags (maybe), smoke, star clusters

    Rifleman (x3): M4 w/ AimPoint or EOTech, smoke, possibly frags and/or star clusters

    Now, I had to work a lot of "drug deals" to get my M9s, as none were organic to my platoon - I begged/borrowed them from staff officers, cooks, and medics (guys who basically never left the FOB) so my guys could have them. Then, I had to scrounge the ammo, train the operators, and so on...all the while conducting combat operations. It just goes to show that garrison and theater are different animals indeed.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    And if you have some especially "gifted" comrades, the last thing you want them to have is the phosphorous grenades.
    You have a flare for understatement!
    Rick

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    WP grenades were pretty much non-existent in my AO, though I saw a few here and there. Thermites were floating around for destruction of sensitive equipment, but that was it.

    Thankfully, in my platoon, we had the option of not accepting (or kicking out) anyone we thought couldn't handle a frag...though I have come across of few of those gifted children once or twice!
    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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    Opfor nailed it. M203 is not standard issue because it doesn't serve a purpose for everyone to have it. You usaully aren't in a battle where everyone is lobbing grenades down range. Money and weight are a big reason why. Imagine carry ammo for a weapon where each round weighs about as much as a soda and is half that size. The weight would be too much to hump. The same reason not everyone carries a macine gun.
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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    That was more detailed then I could hope. Thxs everyone, but esp. Opfor and JD. Just one question. I get that weight is an issue (and different ammo). Opfor touched on it a bit.

    In general, do most infantry soldiers want to carry the M9 as a BUG (in addition to their main firearm and other gear) but just don't get the opportunity?

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    That was more detailed then I could hope. Thxs everyone, but esp. Opfor and JD. Just one question. I get that weight is an issue (and different ammo). Opfor touched on it a bit.

    In general, do most infantry soldiers want to carry the M9 as a BUG (in addition to their main firearm and other gear) but just don't get the opportunity?
    You'd be hard pressed to find any combat personnel that wouldn't like to add a pistol to their load out. I actually rated pistol, but it was given up (re: taken away and reallocated) to a new Staff NCO.

    You can never have too many weapons, and a pistol is a nice thing to have, it's not that heavy, and you don't need to be within e-tool range to use it.

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    Indeed, most troops would jump at the chance to carry a pistol. The problem is that the VAST majority of them would be hard pressed to tell you which end the bullet comes out...

    Pistol training for the majority of the military is simply atrocious. Even those troops authorized/issued a pistol receive very little training (SOF and, to a lesser extent, MPs excepted). I trained all my guys up to a minimum standard, and wouldn't let them carry until I thought they were at least SAFE and could hit a red spot on a barn, but I was the exception and not the rule. Boy, the stories I can tell watching troops with pistols...
    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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