MO’s traffic has been down a bit lately, sooooooo…
Robert Douglas (of Backroad Blog fame) tipped me off to a thread on AR15 by an 82nd Airborne soldier about test firing the XM8. With pics.
As you can see, this is the “compact carbine” version of the modular weapon, and it’s sporting the new sliding collapsable stock. This will probably be used mostly for vehicle crews and other non-front line units for self-defense. As we know, this war has no front lines. And everyone is on the front lines.
The sight is just a normal red dot that has brightness adjustments like an EOtech (2 buttons on top). The only issue is there are no Iron sights and if the battery goes dead you are SOL. The sight has a built in IR laser that is calibrated with the red dot. The XM-8 has no rail system but it has oval shape mounting holes on the receiver for lights etc. To my suprise they finaly have put a bayonet lug on the rifle. The XM-8 definately needs a vertical grip (for full auto anyway) Disasembly was easy, remove the pins and it pretty much comes apart. The only thing it needs are captive takedown pins, (its all fun in games until you lose a pin). The grenade launcher was pretty inpresive it replaces the handguard and is mounted with one pin. The trigger is double action so there is no need to open it and recock in case of a malfunction, basicaly you could continue to pull the trigger until it fires or you decide its a dud.
It was my understanding that one of the things that came out of the big tests this past winter was the need for a back-up sight. Maybe these demos didn’t get them yet?
And notice the long-barrel automatic rifle variant in the background of the pic. He got to play with that one, too.
In this configuration it could be used as a SPR/designated rifleman or a SAW. Due to my lack of patience and wanting to throw as much lead downrange as possible I decided I would fire it full auto only (Uncle Sams bullets are free) I picked it up I thought wow! this thing is light! less than 10lbs if I had to guess. I had one of the Soldiers hand me C-mag to see what she could do. I then flipped the happy switch and let her rip!! very nice!! little recoil and very little muzzle climb, needles to say I was impressed. I was equaly impressed by the C-mag, it had zero malfunctions. I was told it was an improved model, maybe C-mags are getting better. This rifle is light and it was easier to keep on target than a SAW IMO.
Someone asked about the rubber end on the grip.
Not sure something to keep the bottom of your hand from hitting the ground during 3-5 second rushes I suppose. They said it can be used to store batts as it will pop off.
Later, he notes that the barrels on the automatic rifle version are not quick-change. Not cool.
A number of folks, here on MO, on the thread I’m discussing in this post, and pretty much everywhere else on the internet are wondering why we are going to a new rifle instead of adapting the current M16/M4 system with new uppers. HK (who make the XM8), in fact, has a piston-based upper for the M4 that would bring all the ballyhooed reliability of the XM8 to the current weapons. Why not take that route?
I was told HK will not be relesing the upper as it might interfere with the Army buying the XM-8.
That doesn’t sound outlandish at all. Similar thinking explains the curved “futuristic-looking” handle instead of the current flat-top integrated rails. How much you want to bet that HK or HK’s close, personal friends, will be the only ones offering any sort of gadgets that are compatible with the curved handle and lack of standard mounting rails?
As for the stocks, a different board member writes
From my experiences, I think HK’s collapsible stocks stink. Too much wobble straight from the factory and after heavy use, the thing starts to permanently droop like an 80 year old man who’s out of viagra. Cheek weld is uncomfortable and awkward, length of pull isn’t great and isn’t adjustable. The MP5F stock is a bit of an improvement, but not enough. Oh, and did I mention that H&K is greedy? $300+ for a shitty stock.
I always laugh when I watch the scene in Die Hard when John McClane uses his MP5 and a sling to rappel down into the ventilation shafts.
That’s funny, because the first time I saw him do that I said “Wow! Guns sure are tough!”
Another observation from FREEFALLE6 the poster who tested the weapon:
The safety was a little on the big side I could see were this could be snagged on our body armor.
[bad joke] That might not be a problem if you’re in the Reserves or Guard. [/bad joke]
Also noted is the new grenade launcher. It has a double-action trigger:
They use this so if their is an misfire you dont have to open the breech/recock it, all you do is resqueeze the trigger.
Good stuff. Go check out the entire thread for more pics and a lot more commentary.
Also, Airborne Combat Engineer notes a FtBraggNC.com story about what appears to be the same round of demonstrations. He’s got links to a photo gallery and a great video from local news coverage. Also covered is the XM312 .50 cal MG/25m grenade launcher. Go check it out.