Sunday, July 25, 2004

News on the XM8

I'm a big fan of HK and the XM8 assault rifle looks to be an outstanding bit of kit by all accounts- so it's not good news that funding has been delayed. Having said that, HK also makes a product improved M4- why not go ahead with production of these M4 uppers (and a full length M16) and deploy that instead? One of the plus features of the XM8 is the ability to change the weapon length at the troop level to make it more mission specific- you can do exactly the same with the M16 by changing the upper. Surely it would be cheaper for the US Army to only purchase uppers rather than entirely new weapons- and all the retraining that it entails?

Sure, the XM8 in 6.8mm would be a cool weapon, but why not make a more effective 5.56mm round and stick with the M16 platform (HK have also developed a more reliable magazine for the weapon and the Marines have just bought a number of M16A4s)? Not so long ago it was reported that ammunition production was being ramped up- so I can't see 6.8mm being adopted any time soon. Wouldn't it be easier to develop a round with better terminal ballistics (I'm sure Black Hills could run something up) and then use up the existing supplies of 5.56mm in training, keeping the good stuff for issue to combat troops?

For more on the XM8 check out the always good Murdoc Online.

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