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Weapons: Iraq Adopts the M16 and M4
   Next Article → COUNTER-TERRORISM: Losing Your Head Over Fireworks
May 17, 2007: The Iraqi army is switching from the AK-47 assault rifle, to the U.S. M16 and M4. Iraqi officers and some NCOs will get the shorter M4, while everyone else will get the M16. The first classes of Iraqi army recruits are already training with the M16. There are several reasons for the switch. For one thing, the M16 is two pounds lighter than the AK-47, and more accurate. It simplifies ammo supply, especially with all the U.S. and Iraqi units working together. There is also a morale factor. Many Iraqis may not like American troops, but they certainly respect their military skills. That respect extends to the weapons, and Iraqi troops see their AK-47s as something losers use, while M16s and M4s are the weapons of winners. You get the idea, so do the Iraqis.

 

On the negative side, the M16 requires more maintenance to prevent jamming. Many tests have been conducted on this subject, and it's quite clear that M16s have more jams, in dusty and sandy conditions, than do AK-47s. Historically, Iraqi troops have never been diligent about keeping their weapons clean. This will have to change, or Iraqi troops will start losing confidence in the M16.  The M16, in the hands of trained shooters, is more accurate than the AK-47, and that could turn out to be a key advantage if the Iraqi army follows through on providing adequate target practice.

 

The M16 is also a more expensive rifle, costing about $600 each. The second hand AK-47s the Iraqis are now using are worth less than a hundred dollars. Given the culture of corruption in Iraq, measures have been taken to try and reduce the temptation of soldiers to sell their new rifles. Each Iraqi soldier that is issued an M16, has his name, fingerprints and retinal scan taken, as well as the serial number of the weapon, and the data is sent to a central database in Baghdad. This attempt at curbing corruption may turn out to be more interesting, and influential, than equipping Iraqis with new rifles.

 

 

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Mike From Brielle       5/17/2007 11:22:19 AM
None of my business but if I were them I'd probably go for the HK version
 
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Horsesoldier       5/17/2007 1:14:31 PM

None of my business but if I were them I'd probably go for the HK version



Would more than double the cost of the weapons, if I'm not mistaken, and put them on a wait list for production which is fairly long as it is.  My guess is that they're getting the M16s and M4s from the US dirt cheap, despite the quoted price in the SP write up (especially if they're getting surplus M16A2s for the bulk of their order).
 
 
Would not be bad for Iraqi Army soldiers to learn how to clean and maintain their weapons.  If they can learn to do it with small arms, maybe they could learn to do it with vehicles and aircraft.  Realistically, as horrible as Arab maintenance usually is, just doing basic PMCS on kit would put the Iraqi army miles ahead of their neighboring nations and the insurgents.
 
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Mike From Brielle       5/17/2007 1:19:39 PM
Perhaps or maybe even probably your right but seeing how they are in the middle of a shooting war, climbing the learning curve might be expensive in blood and money as well as hurt morale. IMHO thats all.
 
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YelliChink       5/17/2007 1:44:36 PM
They should have buy our T65K2 and T91 instead.
 
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Horsesoldier       5/17/2007 2:05:55 PM

Perhaps or maybe even probably your right but seeing how they are in the middle of a shooting war, climbing the learning curve might be expensive in blood and money as well as hurt morale. IMHO thats all.



I suspect that events will probably prove you to be correct, at least in some Iraqi Army units, etc.
 
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Jeff_F_F       5/17/2007 5:32:23 PM
I'm sure it isn't as simple as trading in the old guns for the new guns. I'm guessing that they are going to try to make a morale builder out of it, and set it up as a motivational carrot for the units making the switch after achieving some standard of competence.
 
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andyf       5/18/2007 1:12:33 AM
convieniently of course, m16s aren't free.
it gives the US a market to get rid of the things when they switch to 6.8
 
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Rasputin       5/18/2007 2:27:49 AM

convieniently of course, m16s aren't free.

it gives the US a market to get rid of the things when they switch to 6.8


Definately I agree, it is more than it meets the eye, the M16 is not that hard to use when compared to the AK, so u have to becareful of the bolt disassembly, but the buffer spring stays, and you don't have to remember more than 2 things for bullet drop if not at all when using open sights. If the M16 worked reliably, i won't complain, but heres to cleaning and swabing M16s 2 or 3 times a day.

I wonder if the US is simply giving the M16s as war aid, such as the US$1  M16A1s that it gave to the SEA allies during the vietnam era. Or that they are" getting rid of the things when they switch to the 6.8" and short stroke gas piston????? Belgian, German or the alternative Colt american?
 
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Horsesoldier       5/18/2007 8:18:20 PM
6.8mm Remington SPC was never under consideration for use as a replacement for 5.56mm for the US Army.  The only people who have considered it for official adoption are SOCOM and, more recently, USMC.  SOCOM was the developer and main proponent who shelved all plans for fielding after trialling the round in combat.  The official US military stance on the matter at this time remains that we'll not be changing calibers without also making a change in basic bullet technology (caseless, CTA, etc.).
 
We do have a whole bunch of surplus M16A2s that are being replaced by M4s or M16A4s, depending on the service.  One could effect that change by simply substituting upper receivers with the M16A4 or receiver and butt stock components for the M4.  However, when purchasing things at the .gov or .mil level, it may be preferable to simply purchase entirely new weapons, and so giving Iraqis surplused M16A2s is likely.
 
As for the silly claim that the M16/M4 requires cleaning 2-3 times a day, I will again repeat an earlier question I've posed with no real answer:  what base of experience do you have for making such an outlandish and ridiculous claim?  In 14 years in the US military, I've never seen any performance from the weapon that remotely matches your assertion.
 
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ChdNorm       5/21/2007 10:45:24 PM
According to this;
 
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They're planning on about 50,750 each of M-4s and M-16A2s, 3,442 M-24s, 8,105 M-249s, 3,307 M-240Bs and 10,126 Glock 17s. I would have figured the transition to M-16 series and SAWs/240s was inevitable, but the mention of the Glocks is something I find pretty interesting.
Since that is dated approximately six months ago ... anybody have anything more current to see if the Glock acquisition has moved forward as well?
 
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