Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The experience gained by US troops during the Second World war showed that the M1 Garand rifle has a lot of things to be improved. The first was the feeding system with 8-rounds en-bloc clips that does not allowed the refilling of the partially full magazine. Others were excessive length and weight of the rifle. The cartridge used in M1 Garand and known as .30-06 (7.62x63mm) was too long and too heavy, effectively limiting the load of ammunition carried by each soldier. First attempts to improve M1 were made during the war, and numerous experimental modifications in .30-06 were built, mostly using the 20-rounds detachable magazines from Browning BAR M1918 automatic rifle. One of such prototypes was the T20 ("T" means "test") of 1944. T20 was basically the M1 Garand rifle fitted with 20 rounds BAR magazine and with selective fire capability. This prototype latter evolved into the T37 rifle, which had gas cylinder moved back a little and was chambered for newest American prototype cartridge - T65. The T65 was no more than .30-06 case, shortened by 1/2 inch (12 mm), but retaining the original ballistic properties due to modern propellants used. It was slightly lighter and cheaper to made than .30-06, and has long effective range and good potential for accuracy, both desired by US Army. The idea of truly intermediate round was not acceptable to the US Military at that period. In the early 1950s T37 evolved into the T44 experimental rifle, which featured redesigned, self-regulated gas system with short stroke gas piston. Further development and tests lead to the slightly modified T44E4 and T44E5 (heavy barreled squad automatic weapon) prototypes, which were finally adopted by US Army as M14 and M15 rifles in the 1957. The M15, a heavy barreled weapon, however, was never brought into production. It must be noted that T44E4 was extensively tested against the only other entree in the US trials, the T48 rifle (Belgian FN FAL rifle made under license in USA by H&R Inc.). Both rifles passed the trials with equally high results, but US finally settled on the T44 because it was slightly lighter, similar to M1 Garand in manufacturing and operation, and, above all, a "Native American" design.

M14 rifle, military issue version with fire mode selector switch installed.

The contracts to produce M1 rifles were issued to some US companies, such as Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge (TRW Inc), Harrington and Richardson Arms Co (H&R), Winchester-Western Arms Division of Olin Mathieson (Winchester) and Springfield Armory Inc (Springfield). Production was ceased by US Government in 1964, with some 1 380 000 weapons made. The termination of the production was the result of combat experience in the SE Asia, particularly in Vietnam. The M14 was too long and too heavy to be carried all day long in hot and wet climate. The 7.62mm NATO ammunition was too heavy, limiting the amount of ammunition carried by soldiers on patrols. The selective fire capability was mostly useless, since the M14 was way too light for powerful cartridge it fired, and climbed excessively when fired in bursts. In fact, most of the M14s were issued to troops with fire selectors locked to semi-automatic mode, to avoid useless waste of ammunition in automatic fire. The squad automatic version, known as M14E2, also was not too successful in its intended role. As soon as those deficiencies of the M14 became obvious for US Army Command, they started the search for lighter rifle, and finally settled on the Colt/Armalite AR-15 5.56mm assault rifle, adopting it as the M16A1. M14 was replaced as a first line weapon in the late 1960s, but is still used in small numbers by US Navy. It also served as a platform to build M21 Sniper rifles. Semi-automatic only versions of the M14 rifle are commercially manufactured for civilian and police markets by the Springfield Armory Inc since 1974 under the name of M1A. Some other US companies are assembling the M14-type semi-automatic rifles using military surplus M14 parts kits. Beginning in the early 1970s thousands of M14 rifles were given to several nations under military aid programs. In the 1990s alone, over 100,000 of these rifles have been given away to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. In USA, for some time M14 was mostly relegated to Honor Guard and similar duties, but during recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan many old M14 rifles were withdrawn from warehouses, dusted off and issued to troops in the field to improve range and lethality of troops armed with 5.56mm weapons. Some M14 rifles are issued as is, some are fitted with new telescope sights to serve as a para-sniper / designated marksman rifles (concept similar to Russian SVD rifle). US Marine Corps also re-issued M14 rifles for use in Designated Marksman role (DMR), and those rifles are fitted with newly made polymer stocks with adjustable buttstocks and pistol grips, and other accessories such as detachable bipods or sound moderators (silencers). Recently US Special Forces, operating under the US Navy flag, stepped forward with the Mk.14 Mod.0 Enhanced Battle rifle, which is an M14 fitted with many new commercially available parts, new stock with adjustable butt and plenty of Picatinny rails, and new accessories such as noise suppressors and optical equipment. The Mk.14 Mod.0 EBR is currently being used by US Navy SEAL's and possibly some other special operation forces within US Military.

M14 Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), as issued by US Marine corps. This particular rifle is fitted with quick-detachable sound moderator (silencer).

In general, the M14 was a controversial weapon. It had the accuracy and range of the "old time" military rifles, but was too long, heavy and lacked the automatic fire firepower of a true assault rifle, often required in the modern close combat. Nevertheless, it was a reliable and powerful weapon, often favored by users for high lethality, long range and good penetration - features much appreciated by US soldiers during recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

US Navy's Mk.14 Mod.0 Enchanced Battle rifle, a heavily modified M14 automatic rifle.

The M14 is a gas operated, magazine fed, selective fire (originally) design. The gas system is located under the barrel, and has a short stroke (about 1 1/2 inch - 37 mm) gas piston which operates the M1 Garand style action rod. The gas system features an automatic gas cutoff feature, which limits the amount of gases used to operate the weapon. The rotating bolt is quite similar to one found in M1 Garand but it has a roller instead of the simple lug, which connects the bolt to the operating rod. The fire mode selector is located at the right side of the receiver, above the trigger, and could be removed if rifle should not be fired in bursts, or re-installed if required. The rear receiver bridge features the stripper clips guides, so the detachable magazine could be refilled in place by using standard stripper clips. The bolt stop device is incorporated into the left wall of the receiver and holds the bolt open when last round from the magazine is fired. The safety switch is similar to M1 Garand and is located at the front of the trigger guard. Standard sights consist of the blade front sight with two protective "ears" and diopter-type adjustable rear sight, mounted on the rear of the receiver. Barrel is equipped with long flash suppressor. To be used in selective fire mode, M14 can be equipped with light detachable bipod. The M14A1 Squad Automatic rifle differs from M14 in the following: the fire selector is always installed. The standard wooden single-piece stock with semi-pistol grip is replaced by the "straight line" wooden stock with separate pistol grip and with folding front grip under the forearm. The hinged shoulder rest is attached to the buttplate. Special removable muzzle jump compensator is fitted to the barrel, as well as lightweight bipod.

Close-up view on the controls of the military M14 rifle, including fire mode selector switch (on receiver above the trigger).

M14A1 "Squad automatic weapon". Note the different stock with folding forward grip and detachable bipod.

M14S semi-automatic rifle, as made in China by Poly Technologies.

Springfield M1A semi-automatic rifle with polymer stock and 10-rounds magazine.

T37 experimental rifle.

Caliber: 7.62x51 mm NATO (.308 Winchester)
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Length: 1120 mm
Barrel Length: 559 mm
Weight loaded: 5,1 kg (6.6 kg M14A1)
Magazine: 20 rounds, detachable box
Rate of fire: 700 -750 rounds per minute

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Colt M4

The Colt company developed various carbine versions of the basic AR-15 / M16 rifle since 1970s. These carbines were intended for all markets - military, law enforcement, civilian. US Military (and some other armies, most notably - Israeli Self-Defense Forces) had adopted the Colt CAR-15 Commando and XM-177 carbines during the 1970s and 1980s. But early in 1990s the old idea of replacing the pistols in the hands of the troops with some more effective, shoulder fired weapon, rise again in the heads of the US Military. In fact, this idea can be dated back to the US M1 Carbine of 1941, but good ideas never die. So, in the 1994, US Army adopted the Colt Model 720 selective-fire carbine (basically, a shortened M16A2 rifle), as the US M4 Carbine. This weapon was intended to replace in service some M9 pistols, as well as some aged M3A1 submachine guns and some M16A2 rifles. New weapon was much more handy and comfortable to carry, than the long M16A2 rifle, so the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) put its eye on the M4 as a possible universal weapon for all Special Operations community. For this purpose M4 was latter modified with the M16A3-style flat-top receiver with integral Picatinny-type accessory rail instead of the M16A2/M4-type integral carrying handle. This modification retained the M4 index. The only difference between the M4A1 and M4 is that its trigger unit of M4A1 is modified to fire full-auto instead of the three shots bursts in M4. Specially for the SOCOM M4A1s US Naval Surface Warfare Center developed a SOPMOD M4 kit, that consisted of the M4A1 carbine equipped with Rail Interface System (RIS) instead of the standard handguards. The kit also includes a variety of the add-on goodies, such as various sights (ACOG 4X telescopic, ACOG Reflex red-dot, detachable back-up open sights), laser pointers (visible and infra-red), detachable sound suppressor (silencer), modified M203 40mm grenade launcher (with shortened barrel and improved sights). The kit also included a detachable front grip and tactical light.

Colt M4 carbine, current issue model with removable carrying handle, left side

At the present time, the M4 carbine is used as a front-line weapon by US Army, Marine Corps and SOCOM operators in Iraq and Afghanistan. Combat experience with thos weapon resulted in update program, which will, as of now (mid-2010) following steps. First, Army wanted to install heavier barrel to allow more sustained firepower, combined with full-automatic mode of fire instead of 3-round burst, and ambidextrous safety/selector switch. Second stage will see improved rail adapter and a new, improved bolt carrier, and a possible third stage will include change of operating system (most probably, from direct gas to the gas piston).

Colt M4 carbine, current issue model with removable carrying handle, right side

At the present time, the Colt company still is the the prime M4 carbine manufacturer for US Armed forces, but many other companies build similar "milspec" weapons for other US and foreign customers, such as government and private security organizations, law enforcement etc. To name just few, M4-type carbines are manufactured by Bushmaster Firearms, Olympic Arms, THOR Global Defense Group and others.

Colt M4 carbine, old version with fixed M16A2-style carrying handle and M203 grenade launcher

The M4 carbine differs from the M16A2 rifle only by having a shorter barrel and a telescoped, 4-position buttstock. The M4A1 is a similar modification of the M16A3 rifle

Colt M4 carbine, current issue model with Trijicon ACOG telescope sight installed over the integral Picatinny rail and M203 grenade launcher mounted onto the RIS forend.

Colt M4 carbine with Mk.18 CQBR upper receiver, fitted with Aimpoint red-dot sight and additional back-up iron sights (BUIS)

THOR Global Defense Group TR-15 carbine, manufactured along the lines of US GI M4, but fitted with a number of accessories such as AAC silencer, Vltor rail forend and buttstock, and Trijicon ACOG 4X optical sight



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