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View Full Version : Army Takes HK416 Rifles away from AWG


Addax
03-12-2008, 4:13 PM
Very interesting Article. I found this on the HK Pro Forum...

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http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/0...o416s_031008w/

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.”

brando
03-12-2008, 4:44 PM
Aw crap, don't start this one here. This issue's been beat to death on Lightfighter.

Pryde
03-12-2008, 5:13 PM
Brando,
The discussion on LF is more well thought out and civilized. When this topic hit the other forums like ARFCOM, the end result was "OMG M4 is better than HK in every way, SF only buys 416s because they have been brainwashed by HK marketing, dust test was rigged, DI is more reliable than piston........ yadda yadda"

Addax
03-12-2008, 5:18 PM
Sorry, I am not on all the forums, but I am sure it is being discussed in many different places.

I just thought it was interesting reading about this, in light of other discussion threads around the AR vs. other platforms etc.

Not trying to stir anything up, just found this piece interesting and I wished to share it here.

akjunkie
03-12-2008, 5:23 PM
addax,

thanks for the post. like U, i dont have time to surf every single forum on this planet.

J_Rock
03-12-2008, 6:00 PM
Army Times is VERY VERY pro HK. Grain of salt. Take it

Charliegone
03-12-2008, 6:46 PM
Army Times is VERY VERY pro HK. Grain of salt. Take it

OMG go back to ARFCOM!:p

WallyGeorge
03-12-2008, 6:54 PM
Addax,
Thanks for the post! Info never hurt anyone, neither does a debate...

MEU(SOC)
03-12-2008, 10:03 PM
I wonder what they plan to do with those returned weapons? Also, is there really anybody out there saying gas impingement is better than piston? Doesn't make sense to me. Give the high speed guys the best gear and let them do their job. Seems like some high level politics came into play there.

RECCE556
03-12-2008, 10:25 PM
WOO HOO!! Maybe this means HK will push their US "builder" to output "Civvie" 416's faster to make up for the loss! I'll take TWO!

8200rpm
03-12-2008, 10:25 PM
I wonder what they plan to do with those returned weapons?

CMP.:D Yeah right, I wish.

Solidsnake87
03-12-2008, 11:11 PM
Think they'll sell their uppers? :D

Addax
03-12-2008, 11:32 PM
WOO HOO!! Maybe this means HK will push their US "builder" to output "Civvie" 416's faster to make up for the loss! I'll take TWO!

That would be awsome! Then instead of having to pay around $2600 for just the upper (today's price), maybe we could pick up the whole rifle for around $2k.
I would not mind owning one, but hey, I like things that say HK on them...:44:

RECCE556
03-12-2008, 11:50 PM
TWO WEEKS!!!!


Just kidding...I don't know if these plans have changed with this news but there were talks about the 416's being built in a US plant which would make the complete rifles more price comparable to say a higher end "production" AR (they're not going to be Model1Sales prices...)

Wolfpack331
03-13-2008, 12:01 AM
I know alot of you on this site are real big into the AR style weapon. But my personal experience where it mattered and when it mattered the M4 was a PAPA OSCAR SIERRA. Im an SDM and I keep my weapon clean ALWAYS, but in the box with the fine as.s sand, I would take a piston upper anyday. Cant tell you how many times I wished for my FAL or an M14. Im gettin ready for another tan and I wish I could mount my own upper. At least I have an ACOG.

ar15barrels
03-13-2008, 12:47 AM
I have an HK 416 upper here this week.
It's a well made upper, but not worth anywhere near the amrket value.
If they get under $1000, I would probably pick one up, just to have one, not because it does anything different than regular AR's do for me.

sb_pete
03-13-2008, 1:34 AM
“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.”


Riiiiggghhhht, Ohhkay. They want them using M4s so that they can better pass on tactics to other units using M4s. Sure I believe that. :TFH:

Sounds like somebody with less pull than they thought they had started making noise for 416's and somebody in AWG backed them only to find the politics didn't quite play and big army yanked their 416's in response. Just a guess though, who knows really? Sure as hades ain't got nothing to do with M4s being better or some BS about advising others with M4s.

I'll take the surplus if they don't want em though:D

Pryde
03-13-2008, 1:43 AM
They are gonna destroy the uppers, if not it could be possible that they will go DRMO, either way, us mere mortals will never touch them.

The reasoning behind this decision was a purely political and face saving measure by big green.

I posted this on another forum:

The AWG wanted and got 416s because they are better than the M4s, plain and simple. The problem this presents to the Big Army is that Johnny PFC hears about this and thinks "WTF how come they have better gear than me? Why am I stuck with crappy M4?" When all of the PFCs start thinking this, then the Army is pressured to upgrade ALL of the M4s to 416s because the PFCs will complain to the press and the liberals will start making more stories that our troops are underequipped because your basic fighting man is being deprived of the best weapon on the field.

So rather than go through that whole hassle, the Army chooses to say "The M4 is better" so we are taking away the 416s, and the whole above scenario goes away. Problem solved.

Honestly though, as a civilian a 416 has almost no advantages for our consumption.
The basic strengths of the 416 over the M4 are:

1: Can run reliably with 10" barrel
2: Can run reliably suppressed
3: Will not become sluggish (from carbon buildup) and lose RPM after long strings of automatic fire without cleaning
4: The parts can go 3-5x the round count before they need to be replaced

Disclaimer: I have never fired a 416 :)

RECCE556
03-13-2008, 3:20 AM
Honestly though, as a civilian a 416 has almost no advantages for our consumption.
How so? I think getting a factory built, HK designed Gas Piston system gives me plenty of advantages. The system runs cleaner, it's a proven system with proven reliability, you can clean it less and with high round counts between cleaning, etc...I'm sure most people here probably shoot less than 1K rounds a year but some of us shoot that in a month or two.

Or are you just trying reverse psychology...create less demand to lower the price?:D

Like I said, I'll take TWO!...and I wouldn't want the ones that were headed to the DRMO pile...I want a shiny new ones made here....;)

Disclaimer: I HAVE shot a 416 or two...:D

FallingDown
03-13-2008, 4:04 AM
Very interesting Article. I found this on the HK Pro Forum...

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.


Back in 2001, when I was at Fort Lewis, WA. my team sargeant and alot of the operators in my SF company expressed a strong dislike for the M-4.

Which is very ironic, given how ecstatic, at the same time, all the infantry battalions, were to be receiving them.

Also, ironic given the background and history of the CAR-15/M-16 with SOF in the early days of the Vietnam War when the Army was using the M-14.

The regular Army seems to be ramping up the uniformity crap. In A-stan some teams were pressured to shave beards and remain clean shaven.

It's too bad, there's alot of reasons and good training to be had with weapons familiarization on a variety of systems and platforms.

For example, I was impressed that they still had 2 M-79 grenade launchers in inventory at my company. One of my most memorable days was shooting the M-79 at BMPs and BPRs at Yakima. I was amazed at how much better the sights were than the M-203. Would never had that exposure, in a regular line platoon, outside of may'be OPFOR at NTC. Anyway, I had much more fun on that station, than hitting the 50 cal, SAW, M-60 and all the other standard fare stations.