Thread: SIG wins NGSW
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Old 05-06-2022, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Spartan198 View Post
Yeah, true, but this is the first time a new standard cartridge has been seriously considered and I've always been of the mind that changing platforms without ditching 5.56 was pointless because one 5.56 rifle is really no better than another of comparable barrel length. Every so-called "M4 killer" (XM8, SCAR-L, ACR, etc) has been more or less a dud in that regard, while the HK416 only managed an in-road when it did because CAG needed a 10" gun that could run reliably with a suppressor and the CQBR hadn't quite matured enough to do so at the time.
This is a legitimate point; certainly, changing cartridges is a better reason to switch platforms than simply getting a newer platform for the sake of the new. That being said, I don't even think changing cartridges is enough of a reason to switch platforms. So long as assault rifles with intermediate-power cartridges are the standard-issue infantry weapons in all modern militaries, it makes little difference what caliber or platform is issued from a bigger strategic picture. Whenever something like caseless ammo becomes available and the M41A Pulse Rifle becomes a reality, then maybe there will be a reason to ditch the AR*. I also think it's telling that every time a new platform or cartridge has become available in the past 20-25 years, SOCOM has (mostly) stood by the good old M4.

*On that note, it's kinda weird to say this, given that the MCX itself is still heavily rooted in the AR platform.

Originally Posted by Spartan198 View Post
That said, the XM5 and XM250 are still technically in the experimental stage, so there's still the distinct possibility that (A) the 6.8mm round doesn't perform as well as hoped against modern body armor or (B) the DoD just up and cancels it out of the blue because reasons.
Agreed, and I do think that's going to make the biggest difference between whether the NGSW becomes standardized, or goes the way of the SCAR.

Originally Posted by Spartan198 View Post
Plus, you probably recall the XM25 grenade launcher that was popular among troops and performing well when a single faulty cartridge detonated inside one and killed the whole program.
I think that in retrospect, the XM25 was more a victim of sequestration-era budget cuts, combined with the catastrophic malfunction, which enabled the bean-counters who write the NDAA to conveniently write it off.

Originally Posted by Spartan198 View Post
Edit: On the more philosophical side of things, though, I do question that if body armor is that much of a concern, why do prospective near-peer enemies like Russia and China not seem to share it? They seem to be perfectly happy soldiering on with their existing service calibers rather than beating the "bigger stick" drum that NGSW and 6.8x51mm ultimately is. On TFB, for example, there isn't a single comment defending the new round. Everyone there seems to think we should stick with 5.56 and keep upgrading the M4 platform.
In the case of the Russians, I think it's because they've been more concerned lately about slapping down their neighbors than fighting near-peer adversaries, and most of their neighbors aren't fielding the latest body armor. With that being said, I am sure that their experiences in Ukraine (where the U.S. has shipped quite a bit of high-end vests and helmets) will change their attitude in the future.

Perhaps we're just a bit more forward-thinking than our adversaries. Not sure. I certainly wouldn't be surprised, though, if what you've said above proves to be yet another excuse that Congress uses to axe the entire NGSW program.
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