23:01 22 May 2003
According to a May 14 story on Strategy Page, the troops aren’t terribly happy with their weapon selection for city fighting. Among the main points:
- They want more pistols. Many times a rifle is to unwieldy and cumbersome in close-quarters fighting, and the longer range and greater accuracy at range isn’t much of an issue. Also, they are a handy back-up weapon for when your primary weapon is out of action.
- The M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) got heavy use and had quite a few problems over the long haul. Many simply wore out and fell apart. Not good when it’s the primary fire support weapon for your infantry squad. At least give the guy a pistol or something.
- However, the 9mm automatic pistol had problems, as well. The spring in the magazine was too weak, which caused problems when trying to fire. (Which is the whole point, isn’t it?) And bullets apparently fell out of magazines that weren’t loaded into the pistol.
- Along the lines of the request for more pistols, the infantry and crews of vehicles want something smaller and easier to use than an M16. Many used the M4 carbine (a true carbine, being basically an M16 rifle with a shorter barrel and stock.) But even this was a bit big, and many resorted to using captured AK-47s, which are about six inches shorter than an M4 and didn’t cost US taxpayers one red cent.