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Old July 6th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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Default US Army rifles going semi-auto now?

My stepson just completed Basic Training, and had two days of passes (one on-post, one off) before shipping out to AIT. During one of our conversations, he mentioned that the rifle he trained on (M-4 rather than M-16) did not have full-auto or burst settings, only semi-auto w a light trigger. He explained that the Army is trying to limit the instances of soldiers just holding down the trigger until the magazine is empty, and said that with the light trigger pull they can fire almost as fast as on auto, but w more control.

I had not heard of this before, and wondered if it is a change in doctrine, or maybe something only used in training but not combat (although Cody said this was taught to them as the way their rifles would be used in combat). Also, his MOS will be technical, not infantry, so maybe that makes a difference as he will not be expected to use his rifle daily except in emergency.

Anybody know the scoop on this?


(PS: He learned his shooting well enough to earn his Basic Marksman badge! )
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Old July 6th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SpaceBadger View Post
I had not heard of this before, and wondered if it is a change in doctrine, or maybe something only used in training but not combat (although Cody said this was taught to them as the way their rifles would be used in combat). Also, his MOS will be technical, not infantry, so maybe that makes a difference as he will not be expected to use his rifle daily except in emergency.

Anybody know the scoop on this?
They lied to him. They are going to single & 3 burst settings.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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I hadn't heard that one. I know from watching the military channel that 3 round bursts and single shot semi-auto was put into rifles several years ago. The concern was waste of ammo.

But, from the watching of WW2, etc. documentaries, some of the infantry fired high volumes of rounds to keep the enemy heads down while a small unit moved around and took them from the flank.

Technical wouldn't matter as enemies get behind the lines. Anyone has to be able to defend an area.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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They lied to him. They are going to single & 3 burst settings.
Yeah, pretty much since the 1980s and the M16A2, the whole M16/M4 family has been safe-semi-burst.

I didn't know anyone in my nine years of being in the airborne/special operations world that ever used burst, anyway. The huge gain in accuracy of semi made up for the slight drop in speed compared to burst.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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Thanks, guys.

So really, the only difference now between a civilian AR-15 and a military M-16 is the lack of burst setting?
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Old July 6th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Thanks, guys.

So really, the only difference now between a civilian AR-15 and a military M-16 is the lack of burst setting?
I don't know. Mine if full auto. Same with my M-2 carbine.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Technical wouldn't matter as enemies get behind the lines. Anyone has to be able to defend an area.
Oh, yeah. He was taught the M-4, M-60, SAW (M-249??), and various grenades in Basic. Also some tactical stuff as in moving through buildings and outdoor terrain, obstacles, etc. But now he will go to 20 weeks of AIT to learn networks and electronics, as opposed to someone in infantry who would get more combat training (actually I believe infantry now just combines Basic and AIT into one long course rather than dividing into two).
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Old July 6th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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From my experience a few years ago, it was single and burst. During training, we were not permitted to use anything other than single due to competency concerns: Why allow inexperienced shooters to fire multiple rounds if they can't hit with a single one? From my understanding the more competent units were given the rifles with full auto capability.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceBadger View Post
Thanks, guys.

So really, the only difference now between a civilian AR-15 and a military M-16 is the lack of burst setting?
Yes and no.

A civilian AR-15 (Armalite Rifle - 15) now is what the original M-16 came from so long as you are talking about the full-length rifle. Originally it was made to be a civilian semi-auto sporter rifle but nobody bought it. The select fire capability made it into the military grade M-16 and the Army made it famous. As a civilian you can own an M-16 with full autofire capability so long as you live in a state that allows it and you pay the federal ATF fees and fill out the Class 3 license paperwork. Otherwise your AR will look like an M-16 but be semi-auto.

An M4 is shorter (the military real M4 has a 14" or even 12" barrel), different ramp cuts, a lighter barrel, and various other tweaks. It has cutouts on the barrel to attach a grenade launcher to. It has select fire for burst. Its handier for the sort of built up environments the military is engaged in these days. Reputedly, anyway, but I've heard differing opinions form friends coming back from the wars. I think a lot of those complaints may have more to do with the weapons being used a lot more than expected in environments that required a more robust design.

The civilian M4 (or "M-forgery" as it is sometimes called) is merely a short-barreled carbine (16" is the legal length - anything shorter needs that tax stamp from the ATF) that is semi-automatic. Sometimes the barrel is shorter than 16" but the pinned and welded on (it has to be for this cheat to fly) flash hider gets is to the 16" length by adding an extra inch or two. The barrel cut-outs for the grenade launcher are there, and sometimes the same ramp cutouts as a real M4 as well. It will look like an M4, but unless you have the Class 3 license and live in the right state it won't really be an M4.

But they are handier than a full rifle length AR-15 when clearing buildings and all which is why this is what the LEOs use. To get the best of both worlds I have an AR lower with three matched uppers in full 20" rifle length (.308 cal) with the match barrel and scope for distance precision shooting, a 14" .40SW upper for close in shooting, and the 5.56 cal 16" M4 style upper for everything in between (both carbine uppers have iron and reflex sights). So you can see the platform's real strength is it's easy adaptability.

Hmmm....I guess that is a sufficiently pedantic answer. You may kick me now and throw cabbages.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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speaking as a serving soldier in the British army.

we are taught to use semi-auto fire almost all the time. I, personally, can count the number of times I have fired my rifle full auto, live or blank, on my fingers with several to spare.

however, the L-85A2 (aka the SA-80, the standard British assault rifle) is full auto capable, and we use that ability in certain, clearly defined situations, like the front man in a room assault.
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