06 April 2007

Ok, here's my first rant.

It fires the same round as the M-16 family, 5.56 x 45mm NATO, but replaces the otherwise crap-tastic direct-gas impingement system with a piston system like an AK-47. It's dependable and will work in the harshest environments (I.E. Dust, dirt, sand, and about anything Iraq & Afghanistan can throw at you).

That means less to no carbon gases being blasted back into the upper receiver making it foul and susceptible to jamming.

The HK is purported to be currently in use by Delta Force, with SF using the S.C.A.R.

So the HK has a better feeding system. But if that wasn't enough, it turns out you don't even have to buy an all new rifle! You only have to replace the upper receiver!
Military.com stated in its 6 Apr 07 article about the 416:

"According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 "allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon's interior."
Now, I've never fired the 416, but come on. It is basically a piston driven M-4. Fires the same round, just has a different and dependable way of feeding the rounds. Can it be any different?
And it can be obtained cheaper than a complete rifle. Take the old M-4 upper receivers and fit them to the M-16 lowers. Sell the M-16 lowers to Law Enforcement at a discount price, REMFs get an M-4 and feel high speed low drag, operators get a more reliable carbine for the good fight.
Every one's a winner. And if THAT'S not enough for ya, they come with a rail system already in place! Saves the soldier a little cabbage. The only thing I don't agree with is what appears to be the lack of a bayonet lug. I might be old fashioned, but I like the ability to "fix bayonets"!
Makes sense, don't it? But unfortunately, I'm just an E-4, I'm not in charge of nuthin' (though maybe I should).

But after wasting around $33 million on the XM8 system, which was dropped back in '05, the Army is, "still spending money looking for another technology while Soldiers use what many say is an inferior weapon in harsh combat conditions."
Am I the only one who is pissed about this!?! I'm going back to Iraq soon and I want/need /deserve the best there is to do my best in the War on Terror.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Army (that's right, this is MY Army). But this is a plain bone head move. You burn through $33,000,000 on a weapon system that never even made it out of the lab, but you're going to ignore what is proven by professional shooter's as a better weapon!?!
Okay, I need to calm down. I can always just buy a civilian version for myself. If you are reading this and HAVE fired the HK 416, please drop me a review so that I can get first hand info on this.

At least they appear to have gotten something right with the new body armor that will begin fielding soon. But would it have made more sense to go with the controversial Dragon Skin?
I'm still thinking about that. I'll post on it later. Not that I'd be the first.
So thank you for sitting through my first rant. PLEASE drop a comment and let me know if I'm bitching for no reason or if I have a valid argument. I love hearing from you guys. So until the next time I get my knickers in a twist....
JB2D out.


SFC Chuck Grist said...

Supposedly Colt has a piston system already designed that could be adapted to the existing M4s. It would take a high-level command decision to modify the existing contract. Although this would be a fast and simple solution, it probably won't happen in the overwhelmed beaurocracy of the Pentagon. SFC Chuck Grist (www.AmericanRanger.blogspot.com)

Matti said...

Well, I think your rant is valid. I don't know what my opinion here is worth because I know jack about the specifics of firearms you've mentioned, but Mr. Logic says it's in both your best interest and the country's best interest if you have the best equipment available. Giving you guys anything less is in the terrorists' best interest.

I think that pretty well settles the matter.

Murdoc said...

Chuck and all: Colt DOES have some piston-driven M4 options available, the LE1020 and the M5. I checked the LE1020 out at the SHOT Show in January, and as far as I could tell the upper receiver would be a simple drop in on an M4. Looks like the same for the M5. (I think the main diff between the two is the rail system.)

Virtually every AR manufacturer had some sort of piston-driven carbine on display. I suspect that once the SOF guys get their HK416s and SCARS, the clamor for regular Army piston systems is going to go through the roof.

thebronze said...


You are correct. From everything I've read, the 416 uis a far superior system and all it would take is replacing the M4 uppers with the 416 uppers.

Unfortunately don't hold your breath on buying the civ. version anytime soon. HK has said that they won't release the 416 (uppers or complete) to civvies, only mil.
Hell, they won't even let LE have them!

Way to go HK! Tards...

Luckily lots of other manufacturers are jumping on the gas-piston band-wagon, so you'll will be able to get something now. Or wait a yera or two until they (non-HK) work their bugs out.

BTW, ex-Delta guy Larry Vickers helped HK develop the 416.

Cowboy Blob said...

Gas piston uppers are only as magical as the M-16s, when first introduced, that "didn't need cleaning." Sure, your bolt carrier group stays nice and clean, but the piston parts get dirty enough to cause stoppages nonetheless. Of course, I've been using dirty Wolf ammo in my POF-USA upper...I hope the GIs who get the gas-piston uppers don't get lax with keeping the piston parts clean.

Anthony said...


I can't say I know much about the 416. Pretty much my knowledge extends to the articles you have read as well.

However, I am an avid supporter of the Dragon Skin system. I think it is a bonehead move to not put Soldiers in it. I can't stand these damn plates. Why won't the Army go with the more durable, more flexible, light weight dragon skin? It's anyone's guess. I've seen that damn Dragon Skin hold up under 30+ rounds and point blank grenade explosion.

Heartless Libertarian said...

Mechanical note: the HK416 uses the same feed system as the M-16/M-4. Feed system refers to the parts involved in stuffing the rounds into the chamber: magazine and bolt mostly, also the feed ramp and maybe the bolt carrier. There are minor differences between the bolt and carrier of the two weapons, but those have to do with the operating system differences, not the feeding.

The differences, technically speaking, are in the operating system-the replacement of the tube with a short-stroke piston.

There is also a component to the M16/M4 family's problems with dirty environments that the HK416 and other gas-piston AR variants don't solve, and that's the close clearances between the moving parts-especially that tube-shaped bolt carrier moving in the tube-shaped receiver. More generous clearances give dirt and grit space to get pushed out of the way by the moving parts. (It's the generous clearances-not 'generous tolerances'-that allow the AK to handle being dirty so well.

Eugene Stoner largely solved both of these problems back in the 60s, with the AR-18, but the Army didn't buy it.

Personally, I think an AR-18 upper receiver suitably modified to fit on the standard M-16/M4 lower would be an ideal stopgap measure, with the long term solution being the SCAR-L chambered in 6.5 Grendel (6.5x38mm).

Anonymous said...

Combine the HK 416 upper with Mk 262 Mod 2 77 grain bullet also already in use with the Special Forces and you have solved the reliability and stopping power issues of the M4 for very little money.