December 17th, 2009
01:21 PM ET

Key lawmakers express concern over combat gear in Afghanistan

Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

Two top Democrats on a key House committee have expressed concern over the quality of equipment and training for troops heading to Afghanistan.

The concerns came straight from U.S. troops heading to combat, who recently spoke to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, and Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas. The two congressmen relayed these complaints to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen in a letter obtained by CNN.  Read the letter

The congressmen recently met with U.S. troops in Europe, some of them training to deploy and others recovering from combat wounds. Many of the troops passed on some troubling information about their equipment and training that raised concerns with the lawmakers, particularly as the United States escalates its presence in Afghanistan.

Some of the troops complained that a newly designed rucksack has plastic straps that are "cutting off circulation to their arms and hands, making it virtually impossible to fire their weapons," according to the letter.

When they do fire their weapons, the soldiers said, they had problems specifically with the M4 rifle jamming during combat, according to Skelton and Ortiz.

Soldiers have complained before about the M4 rifle, a shorter, lighter version of the M16. CNN obtained an internal military document in which soldiers reported that their M4s jammed during the bloody Battle of Wanat on July 13, 2008.

Afghan militants attempted to overrun a base in the village of Wanat in eastern Afghanistan, killing nine American forces. The base was abandoned days later. The Wanat attack - the deadliest strike on U.S. troops in three years - prompted a Pentagon investigation.

In the letter, the congressmen say that "even though these weapons routinely rank lower than other military weapons in testing, they are still being issued as the Army's weapon of choice."

The Army has issued new ammunition clips that it says provide more reliability for the M4 and M16 weapons. But the congressmen are asking Gates and Mullen to explain what the Army is doing to issue a better rifle.

The congressmen also said some troops are being taken straight from boot camp and sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, without any extensive training at home.

CNN contacted the offices of Gates and Mullen, and officials with the U.S. Army, for their response to this letter but did not hear back.

An aide to Skelton said he had spoken with Secretary of the Army John McHugh, who promised to address the congressman's concerns.

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Filed under: Pentagon • Troops
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Lee

    It all has to do with money. Things are tight and to ask these questions is stupid if you are not asking yourself what can I do to make things better. Will you approve a larger tax on people? Will people in the miitary make sure money is used wisely? On both sides the people need to support the larger army and the military needs to stop wasting money.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. navygrad

    Comment 94: Your son pays for his meals at the chow hall because he is paid (with his normal paycheck) something called BAS (basic allowance subsistence). This is done so that service members have a choice in food consumption. On the enlisted side of the house the BAS shoud be equal to the cost of purchasing three meals a day at the chow hall, this is not true with officers (who receive less money for food). Careful inspection of the LES (leave and earnings statement that your son has access to should show the amount). The problem with seeing a doctor is endemic to the military, always has been and will be.

    January 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kyle

    im am seriously appalled that many people would rather our men and women in uniform be issued poor equipment and poor training and than admit that we need improvement as a veteran of the Iraq war it sickens me to see such ignorance and lack of respect for the views of service members and there lives

    January 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. asher77

    i hope americas hope of bringing democray to countries like afghanistan, pakistan and maybe iran, comes to fruit. without USA the world will be run by backward arabs GOD FORBID.

    January 9, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cwolf88

    Quick summary:

    1. Dragonskin flunked the military tests. The scientists at Natick are honorable guys and they do good work. Any design is a trade-off. Climbing mountains in hot weather wearing heavy IBA is very hard work. The Army has spent/is spending $B on IBA and is constantly pushing the state of the art.

    2. Most Army contracts actually go to the Best Technical Approach bidder, not the low bidder. In any case, they must pass the acceptance testing, and onsite inspectors.

    3. A rifle is a system of systems.

    a. The AK is 'reliable' because it has wide tolerances which the Soviets accepted because it was designed to be a short-range assault weapon. The AK is not configured to mount all the technical equipment we are currently using to great effect (lasers, optics, lights, night vision, etc.). Any new rifle would take years of testing and production ramp-ups (there is no warehouse with 1M new rifles in it).

    b. The SOCOM Mk 262 and the new Mk 318 are more accurate, low signature, and more lethal 5.56 ammo that hits 2,900 out of a 14 inch barrel. The Army ammo analysts argue that improved ammo is not necessary based on fleet sampling and various training tests. This is one area where I disagree.

    c. The Army is basically stuck with the M4 (which passes all tests including the SCAR testing) because acquiring a new rifle would require years of testing and a large procurement ramp-up. They will not accept the SOCOM SCAR test results (the SCAR 7.62 would be a better choice for Afghan). I'm not smart enough to guarantee results, but there might be mods to the M4 bolt/bolt carrier to decrease jamming/carbon build-up (NP3 Plus?), etc. Some companies are now making one-piece bolts. A few studies have documented poor M4 maintenance and, of course, they are being worn out.

    d. The Army is focusing future development on the 25mm rifle (fielding 12,000 over next 2 years) as a significant technological improvement. Recoil appears stiff.

    e. Although BCT/OSUT has dramatically improved, it is my opinion we do not train CA combat marksmanship well. We need more collective training on moving, multiple targets in a high fidelity environment. Part of that should be a 'smart optical sight' with laser RF, auto uphill/downhill, and maybe even predictive focus lead. The black iron sight is close to useless in poor light conditions, etc.

    A final story. You can shoot a deer at 100 yards with a 385 grain slug out of a 3 inch 12 gauge magnum and shoot through the deer stem to stern .... and the deer will continue to run. Some commentators have apparently never hunted and have watched way too many movies/TV shows.

    What would I do differently? I'd accept risk and field the SCAR 7.62 to CA units only in Afghan with Mk 319 ammo. Piggyback on the SOCOM contract to shorten paperwork lead times. Even then, it might take FN a year or more to ramp up. Train the SCAR in-country; use contract NETT to update unit armorers in-country. Use RFI to develop an EOTECH Plus, etc.

    Will that happen? No.

    January 8, 2010 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tid

    I have shot thousands of rounds out of my M-16 and most of the problems I have encountered were double feeds. I'm sure the Marines teach the same imediate action drills as the army, so any good soldier/Marine should know that tap/rack/bang will fix your problems probably 8/10 times. I can, with the utmost conviction, claim that most of the problems stem from old, overused mags, but this is easily remedied (if you are issued bad ones) by spending some of your own money. I know it sucks. As a Lcpl I know.
    Oh, and I hate the SAW. I had the cleanest weapon in the Company and it failed to fire or jammed incesently. God bless the IAR that will replace it and maybe one day we Marines will see an HK-416/SCAR replacement for the M16/M4 family. Until then CLEAN YOUR WEAPON, REPLACE YOUR OLD MAGS and stop complaining. Get the job done.
    Oorah! S/F

    January 6, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. ed

    "Why can't we give our soldiers the best that there is?"

    Because the best its very expensive, and freedom isn't free.

    January 5, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ricky

    Im an Airborne Ranger qualified infantryman who has served in both theatres. My paratroopers and I have not had a major problem with the M4 because we emphasize maintenace of our equipment. Out of the thousands of rounds I've personally shot the only reoccurring problem stems from cheap old magazines. New magazines and some weapons maintenance goes a long way.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Craig

    to the guy that made the post about dragon skin from pinnical armour, you should get all the facts before you start talking dragon skinn falls apart from a splash or two of diesl fuel meaning you have no armour if you truck is hit and you survive the initial blast and it does not hold up as when in high heat invironments

    January 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sunspot

    I’m always amazed by the negative tone, widespread bickering and underlying arrogance of posters on firearm and army discussion boards. I wonder if this says more about the people or the subject matter itself?

    PS: Not to mention the rampant illiteracy.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. adam

    dragon skin was recalled because when exposed to varying temperatures, like going from an air conditioned hmmwv to the hot exterior it becomes useless. the army did recently have an expo to offer a contract for another companies rifle, and considered the barret m468, but no other word has been issued

    January 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Army LT AFG

    The soldiers dying in Afghanistan are primarily being kiled by IEDs and RPGs. Instances where the results of sustained firefights have been determined by individual rifle reliability are few and far between. For every soldier insisting that the government spend every dime possible to equip us with the best available gear, there are many that understand that the majority of engagements are determined by training, leadership, and communications. Things aren't always ideal in the places where we fight, but no soldier or marine expects it to be. The Marines in particular pride themselves on being asked to do more with less. There are coalition partners who work with unarmored vehicles and no CREW devices (IED Jammers) all over the country, and it makes us sound like prima donnas to complain about having a good rather than great rifle. This is an unconventional war with unconventional objectives. Destroying enemy personnel is not our primary goal. Handing out another weapons contract is just another economic exploitation of the personnel in the field, and would not significantly contribute to the current fight. I would prefer that congress focus on defining clear timelines, objectives, and reduced op-tempo rather than continuing use soldier "needs" as a basis for increased patronage and profiteering.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. wallace

    if the democrats dont cut defense maybe we can have the hk416 for our troops

    January 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rich

    I wish people would stop posting nonsense. I never once had a weapon jam on me in a combat situation. If I did, I was trained to correct the malfunction in an expedient manner and rejoin the fight. Stop posting complaints to for the sake of complaining about something. Our weapons are great. Not perfect but nothing is. Our equipment does the trick too. Yes, the AK47 is a good weapon, but it is not nearly as accurate as the M4. There is a reason we use it. It works. Stop whining.

    January 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carleen

    As a good old girll NRA Member I try to keep up on all types of small arms and their
    development at the FN SCAR and HK are far superior to that puny .223 M-4 Carbine
    as even the old AK-47 is as well. So,why after endless complaints about the never ending
    problems in actual combat do we still arm our Ground Pounder Infantry and US Marines
    with this pathetic joke called the M-16 and the M-4 and not the highly effective HK or
    FN SCAR that our Specisl Ops Troops are getting? And,why as well do we still keep the
    puny 9mm Beretta pistol when the .45 Auto or new .40 Calber Semi Autos are the real
    man stoppers? Oh well after all we had one screw up Sec of Defense after another and
    total losers or Non-Military Service Presidents like Barack Obama or Air National Guard
    AWOL George W Bush and total idiiots for a Congress too,don't we here?

    January 2, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  16. Bob

    I believe the Army should train and issue the M14 (which I sure they have stock pile of)inlieu of the M4. 5.56 round is just a bad round, it doesn't have the require knock (kill power), 7.62 does. The services need to go back the the 30 cal round either 7.62 (308) or the 30-06, doing away with the 45acp was just plain dumb, 9mm is a pip round.

    January 2, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  17. a vet

    I hated using the M16 & the M4. I hate nightmares about it jamming and so I made sure that I carried the SAW on patrols.

    This isn't just a simple question of keeping it clean either. The folks above who mentiopn the cheap bolt and poorly built magazines are on the right track.

    It's really sad that some people here blame the reporter for stating what many soldiers are saying....ann for the morons above stating that we are the best equiped", give your dogma a rest and actually listen to what we soldiers are telling you.

    January 1, 2010 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  18. Darren

    I agree with Jeff (Dec 17). What in Gods name is the media doing releasing weakness' about our Nation's Military tactics, techniques and procedures. (yes that's plural) Last time i checked you exploit the weakness of the enemy, find the pressure point and squeeze. The Caveman discovered this!! That's the one-demension world our civilian counterparts operate in though. However, it isn't there fault, what the American public doesn't know, doesn't hurt them--never rang more true.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. firechicken

    THE JAMMING IS FROM NOT BEING PROPERLY CLEANED ON A REGULAR BASIS, AND THE SAND IS JUST CLOGGING THOSE RIFLES LIKE THERE IS NOT TOMMORROW.

    December 31, 2009 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  20. firechicken

    i agree with the upgrades needed for sure, i was an army solider who saw combat and yes there is problems with the weapons we are using, the other problem has been that we have not seen major combat situations and the soliders are not properly trainined. i was not an infantry man, but i did do communications, and i know personally all our training was going to a spot in the woods in our battle gear and bbqing all day till the training time was over. But if i went to war i probally would not survive. it is ashame that our military thinks money first. they should be thinking how to win and not how to prolong the situation to make money. we dropped a bombs on a country that attacked us, but did we do that to the second county that got the bright idea to attack us. no we didnt we just decided to find a long way to wear them out, corupt their goverment and make them in debt to us for years. this country has alot of problems but our military should never be a problem. AND THEY NEED TO STOP OUTSOURCING MILITARY OPERATIONS AS WELL, THAT IS JUST INSANE. LETS PAY EVEN MORE MONEY TO FIGHT A WAR THAT WE ARE NOT EVEN TRYING TO WIN!

    December 31, 2009 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  21. McEvire

    Wow, this is absurd. The AR platform will work just fine if you clean it. I was in Iraq, and Afganistan for a total of 8 years combined, I carried an AR(M4) for half that, and had 3 jams. The guy downing the M9s reliability needs to check his facts, while it may be underpowerd, its dead on reliable. The M14 the M16/AR15 replaced was a much better rifle, but it was to powerful for smaller people, and wasn't cheap(and still isn't).

    December 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Brent Smith

    How is the M4 jamming? What is it doing or failing to do? That is what I would like to know because the Canadian Army may have faced a similar problem and may have a solution for it.

    December 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  23. eric g

    There will always be problems with gear. The M4 is a fine weapon. Those above who said it jams are, as the marine sgt stated, not cleaning their rifles often enough. I carried the M4 in Fallujah. I also carried the M16 there. As well as the m249. The m16/m4 jam's are most often the result of a bad magazine. I did, like many other guys, buy my own mags and never had a problem. weapons need to be cleaned daily, several times a day. 60 seconds of wiping down and lubricating can go a long way. As far as armor goes, it worked for me. Was it heavy? Of course, But we are marines and so we deal. Combat isn't comfortable. another problem is that many soliders/marines just don't know how to use their gear properly. I spent many a days training my marines on how to manipulate their packs/flacks/pouches etc... so that they could be as comfortable and effective as possible. The first time I was in Iraq we didn't have armor on our trucks. The next time we had a little bit and the time after that we had uparmor.... these things take time. Instead of telling our troops that we don't have the right equipment, we need to tell them that we are working on it, and in the mean time train them to use what we have as best we can. I survived. My flack worked. My best friend and room mate was shot in the chest and his armor stopped it. Is it all perfect? No. but please, before people go running to our congressmen asking for more and more gear(and money), Make sure our troops know how to properly use their equipment. In my experience, it is almost always the fault of the operator, not the gear.

    December 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Ed

    ,,...As a former Army Solder, I know that you need to keep your weapon clean...it not the only the weapon that wins the war, it's the people that fight with them that does.....WW1 & 2 and Korea....Vietnam our fellow brothers at arms served with honor and courage, too bad the our Government in charge at the time did not have the political will.

    Also let's not forget that most of the men that fought in these wars were DRAFTED, not volunteers. So to all those that are complaining about the weapons or their gear you need to read up a little more on our US military history (20th Century)....

    As for (Comment# 66 made by Jim)...I'm sure glad the the US constitution does not make any mention that a person must have "miliitary service" as a requirement for folks to run for the Office of US President......Jim having military service does NOT make you a better Commander in Chief....boy that was real made clear by George Bush (H & W), just too mention two recent Presidential examples that did not deliver or provide any good results in this area for our country. Don't get me wrong, they are both very honorable men, but it did not make them any better of a President or a Commander in Chief.

    December 26, 2009 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  25. Marc

    Amen Jeff –

    The American public does not need to know about this and neither do our enemies... I am confident that our military forces "are on it"

    Haha, let me laugh. The whole world knows about this problem. Intelligence is not an American invention. Please do not underestimate the rest of the world.

    December 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Michael

    First, it's completely inadequate to say that the AK is a superior weapon to the AR. That's simply not the case. The AR is the superior weapon at ranges greater than 100 yards due to it's accuracy and better flight ballistics. It's also allows a soldier to carry many more rounds for the same amount of weight. Terminal ballistics are debatable with evidence favoring both rounds. On that subject, the AR can be chambered for 5.56, .338, 6.0, 6.5, 7.62, .458 SOCOM, 6.8mm, and several others. It's not likely that you'll find an AK in anything but 7.62. Those folks advocating addition of a piston system to the M4 have a point...improved reliability and less fouling. The cost per weapon is small and the increased weight is minimal. Probably well worth the modification.

    December 24, 2009 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  27. mike

    we can compare and contrast weapons ,supplies ,and armor ,and different strategies we could be taking all we want
    but there's a vital flaw, no matter how much money our government (and others) likes to spend we always want to go for the cheapest method .a few yeas back a man made a suit he deemed to be the safest thing to wear in any fire-fight and it was near bullet proof fire proof and (if memory serves me) bear proof and with out a doubt it was but i cost 5000 dollars to make and including other supplies plus weapons it was a little unpractical and was quickly dismissed
    the government is always looking for something quick and simple to produce as quickly as they can so it honestly doesn't surprise me if they chose the poorest p.o.s they can
    but it would be nice to get new equipment

    December 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Scott762x51

    HA HA its no wonder there are so many problems with the equipment used by the military. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi making a decision on what kind of rifle you can take into a fight. Or what type of body armor you can have. She and those other circus performers have probably have never been, nor will they ever get within 10 feet of any military or civilian firearm. However, I do have reservations about using a non-US made rifle as the standard for our military even if it is superior. COlt = Fail anyway in my opinion they wont even sell to civilians anymore and thats a sign we need to use someone else. I vote to bring back another redesigned springfield rifle as the standard using a round that is closer to the 762×39 for power and versatiltiy, 6.8SPC maybe?

    December 22, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  29. CKR

    Dragon Skin Body armor is what saved my brothers life in Iraq. The individual soldier can choose to buy their own but their SGLI Life insurance wont pay if they are killed while wearing it,
    Its the best but way more expensive than the Standard Issue.
    Write, Call, Email your government and demand they replace the body armor on these kids now!

    December 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Amir

    A lot of people overlook the fact that the magazines being issued to us are the real reason that weapons are jamming. When I was issued my magazines they had a 30 round capacity with rusted springs. At the PX I was able to buy 45 round magazines with reliable springs. It seems as if we are stuck buying all the best reliable gear. I don't rely on anything issued to me, most of it is cheap crap.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  31. Jim

    America wins because of our people, not our equipment. Our equipment has always been bad. As long as politicians run the military budgets, as long as we have Commanders in Chief who have never served and as long as Congress sets the rules of engagement from their comfortable Washington offices, our equipment won't matter. What matters is the men and women who defend us. Let's make it so that to be elected President, you must serve. Let's make it to be on a committee that decides who gets all the money for making junk military equipment, you have to serve. In the mean time, let's listen to the soldiers. No one knows better what they need than they do.

    December 20, 2009 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  32. Jay Miller

    Our troops deserve the best of the best. So, Congress spend as much as you want on our troops, instead of pork!

    December 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Joe

    To the Main Reporter.

    I'm in the service. I do believe that we are not getting the best equipment that is available. Our clothing goes to the lowest bidder and always has. We have to constantly change out uniforms for new ones because they get worn down to easily, they tear easiy and fade fast. As for our weapons. They Jam....Plan and simple. its terrible. You have to put about a quart of oil in the chamber for them to work right, Now if we had teflon coated bolts that wouldnt happen. The AK47 is a better weapon than the M4 Carbine. The 9MM could barely put down a rabbit. Thank you. I hope this helps.

    December 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  34. frank

    obviously, id rather spend a few x-tra bucks and have a strong army, than use the $ on other stuff & loose freedom.

    December 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Viking

    I am a retired combat soldier, and have seen some nasty field condition where it was a chore to keep weapons running. Besides reliability in adverse conditions, more range is needed, especially in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. I agree with the notion expressed that we should bring back the M14 and go with the 7.62x51NATO (.308). The newer versions of the M14 keep the reliability of the original weapons platform as well as adding the versatility of different barrel lengths down to 16 inches in the SOCOM models, which could be used in CQB/buildings. Using this proven platform with magnified optics on longer barrelled versions for designated marksmen and non-magnified or minimially magnified scopes (Aimpoints, Eotechs, etc) on shorter versions (say 18 inch barrells) for grunts would increase hit probability of the weapons, and with a .308, one hit is generally enough to take an enemy out of the fight.

    If we don't change back to that reliable platform, we should go with a piston driven system M16/M4 firing the 6.8 SPC cartridge to increase range and lethality of the weapon, but still maintain a platform that our soldiers are familiar with, (i.e.: the M16). This would entail changing uppers and magazines, but greatly increase lethality. Add to this that all the "gee wizz gizmos" that the "Geardos" like to add to their rifles would still work with this one, this may be the better option in terms of cost.

    December 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  36. bob

    i think that the congress iz being dumb.

    December 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Koil

    In response to the post by commenter "Adam": If we ignore potential threats such as Iran, Korea, etc. now, we will not be prepared to win a war (or even better, deter a war) with them in the future. Weapons systems such as the B-2 and the F-22 were designed with such threats in mind. You CANNOT say that these threats no longer exist. Just by having advanced weapons systems such as these, we are helping to deter possible conflict with those threats...they fear the stealth fighters and bombers. Deterrence through ownership is priceless, wouldn't you agree?
    Next, before you go quoting price tags, get your facts correct first. I have first-hand knowledge that the price for a new F-22 is now down to close to $100 million ($105 million last I saw, about 1/3 of what you claim). That is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the health care bill, the government bailouts, etc. Oh by the way, by cancelling the F-22 early, we may save a little money, but we also cancel thousands of jobs early too. I agree that funding troops on the ground doing the job today is very important, but we cannot make the mistake of ignoring future threats to the country by totally cutting in other areas. This is why military experts at the Pentagon get paid to make decisions about funding priority, not you.

    December 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  38. James Hasik

    In comment #44, someone named David called the MRAP a "death trap". I challenge him, or anyone of a like mind, to provide data that proves that case. (And as Sponge Bob says, good luck with that.) He may have been referring, from his comment about Mississippi, to Navistar's MaxxPro vehicle specifically. That wasn't clear, but either way, there's no proof offered.

    Oh, and Dennis Mathes (comment #2) should learn to spell "military" and "personnel" before commenting. That doesn't exactly help the argument.

    December 18, 2009 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  39. Matthew

    I have 4 combat tours and have come back from hundreds of missions and unless you have been there and done that you should spend less time on line making comments about things you don’t know about.
    The M4 is a good weapon but needs to be maintained. Yes we have had some issues with it but this is the same old story about jamming we have always had. Clean it and it will function.
    This weapon kills just fine, you "ballistics" and so called "weapon" experts need to stop with the nonsense. You think because you own an AR-15 your some expert? Carry it in combat and then talk to me.
    Soldiers complained to elected officials about the weapon, fine, did these soldiers bother going to the armorer for the latest updates on the weapon? Were the parts identified by the Army 6 years ago as an issue replaced as instructed? This is a first line leader issue, not a systemic failure of the weapon.
    Piston system vs. gas 5.56 vs. whatever. This weapon was designed and selected for a reason. It has nothing to do with bribes to government officials, or the Army doesn’t care.
    Is there now a better weapon, yes, sure, can we field it to every soldier, no. You complain how much you pay in taxes but you want an entire weapon system and all the logistics and training required to field it today. Ask for the money and you get upset and protest.
    Dragon skin was tested by the Army in the lab and on the ground. It works great in the lab, not so great on the ground. My armor is too heavy but it worked when I needed it. Make it lighter.
    The Mollie rucksack is junk, the Army knows its junk and we the users know it’s junk. It will be redesigned again or replaced but other things need to be fixed that have a higher priority.
    Bottom line, Stop listening to the weapon manufactures and whiners. We are the best trained, best equipped and best fed Army hands down. We have issues but it’s the soldiers that are our strength, not the equipment.

    December 18, 2009 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  40. A Marine.

    There will never be enough protection in war. I promise you that. There is never a perfect flak, there is never a perfect kevlar. Your rifle jammed, that means you arent cleaning it. I know. Ive been there. Clean your rifles, take care of your gear, and train hard. You fight how you train. Its not the gear, its the discipline and attention you give your gear to ensure its in working order.

    And whoever said over penetration was bad, think of it this way, our rifles NEED to be capable of penetrating layers of armor. Just because they arent wearing armor doesnt make our rifles too powerful and inhumane. If that happened, its called a casualty of war. Theres nothing you can do. Would you rather that or for your 5.56 round to be stopped by a cheap flak and end up being shot yourself? Your choice.

    December 18, 2009 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  41. CHRISTY

    FYI it's no secret for the enemy to know what hand weapons we use. Pictures are posted in many defferent ways, it's just the times where diploamatic procedures need to be used.our info. tech is smarter than we are....it tells all.....a 3500 yr.old war will never be won–just redirected.may god bless our troops and bring them home soon!!!!!!
    good luck to al milliatary families!!!!!!!

    December 17, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Logan

    ABH you have a good point, if you can hit what your shooting at the weapon is deadly, but my father is a homicide detective, a couple months ago they were isued .40cal handguns. Magazine size=15 rounds and thats about the size mag for a 9mm. With the .40cal it has more stopping power than the 9mm and higher capacity than the .45cal they use now in the Military. If you were to compare the 9mm and the .40cal
    1. They have the same capapcity
    2. Small and compact for both
    The .40cal on the other hand has more stopping power with still being compact and having a large mag.

    December 17, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  43. ABH

    "The 9mm about the same as a thrity eight is to small for combat. Nothing less than a 45 or 357 should ever be used. The Army left the 38 because of its inefectiveness". comment 39 by walter.

    Please do your research. ballisticly the 9mm is far suppierior to the .38. Many many people have died thanks to the good ol 9mm. British special Froces and SAS still use the 9mm. There is also no convincing evidence that bigger is better. If you can hit what your shooting at effectibley, 9mm will do the job all day not to mention you get way more ammo. Accuracy is the name of the game.

    December 17, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  44. LP

    Ryan- I like your thinking. Those improvements would make our rifles much more effective and less of a problem.

    Dennis- We have tested the Dragon Skin and it simply doesn't stop all bullets; from certain angles bullets can get past the scales. In addition, it becomes brittle and falls apart in hot weather. It is just way too expensive of an investment to improve. Besides, the equipment we have right now is good enough for the mean time.

    We all just have to do what we must with the equipment we have. We have done it before and we're going to do it again.

    December 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  45. ABH

    Maybe when high raking officials and congressmen aren't invested in companies like COLT who supply nearly all of the suspect M4s will the militarty invest in a new rifle systems. Would you vote to change something that has been a standard for over 30 years if you were going to loose a lot of money?

    December 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  46. winston

    Kudos L. Cambell!

    You are spot on. (Cambell's comments at 35). That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say…. See my comments at 22 and 33… BTW: I am not only an ex-government procurement official, I am also an ex-AF and Army active duty airman/solider… But I guess people are missing the message… Latest news, the enemy can acquire software to track our drones for $25 off the shelf… REALLY Sad…

    December 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Ted

    I have heard about this new weapon HK416 and have seen it being put to extreme tests on a number of programs on cable. I am not a expert but it is stunning to see it being submerged in mud, sand and water and still having the capability of firing off rounds of ammo. Correct me if I am wrong but this seems to be he weapon our soldiers really need.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  48. 'Soup'-R-Troops!

    Civilian Testimony:
    Recently my friends and I went to the local shooting range in the capital of Texas, where we rented the 'house' AK-47. None of us had shot anything more powerful than a .22 rifle. Not only had I not shot anything more powerful than that, it had been well over 5 years since that experience. Point of the story:I am a civilian, amateur shooter with a pretty fundamental understanding of how to aim and shoot a rifle accurately but managed to have lethal accuracy at 75+ yards on a human-form target in semi-auto mode. I am not naive enough to think that the battle-weathered insurgent fighters grab their full-auto AK's and blast aimlessly into targets( that's what the Afghan Military is for..:) they have built-in "3 round-burst" from experience/patience...so to strip the AK of its precision based on its full-auto ability is kinda skewed....It can be very accurate. Even in the hands of a complete amateur! Please make mod's and better weapons available to our troops! Our military should find a superior weapon that ends this debate and defeats the deadly history of the AK-47 and its symbolic, rogue status as a rifle that 'cant be defeated', 'The Peoples Rifle', a rifle that turns the untrained civilian into a rebel soldier capable of delivering causalities...in a way a, "civilian-class assault rifle". we must defeat the AK-47:)

    December 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  49. SGT of the ARMY

    Our superior strength lies in our superior soldiers, not our equipment. Rest assured that we have the tools we need to get the job done. Oh yeah and Sgt of Marines, There are plenty of Marines who would rather get on the X-box than clean their rifle. I've seen quite a few first hand. So don't put the blame on everyone else. You are right it does come down to discipline, but don't for a second believe that just because they are marines that they are any better at it. My soldiers beg to differ. Hoouah!

    December 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Logan

    Sgt. of Marines lets say you are in a close combat situation, and there hostiles and civilians in the building. You have the M4. There is a hostile that is up strafing against the wall and you shoot him and he dies, no biggy right. You walk in the next room to find that the bullet had gone through the hostile trhough the wall and had hit and killed the civilian in the next room.
    Overpentration is the only bad thing, they fixed the problem with how big it is and made it more agile in tight situatuons, but they didnt consider penetration

    sgt and i have nothing against marines (hoping to join them someday to be a sniper) i love the marine core sgt OORAH

    December 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  51. WR

    Dragon skin armor is vaporware..

    Anyways – Why are we worrying about equipment and firearms when the ROE is what the real issue is. We're at war, let us be at war instead of setting the ROE to satisfy liberal politics back in the US.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  52. geno

    Walter, the 9mm .357 magnum & .38 special are all the same caliber, ie: .357 inches.

    L. Campbell, how on earth does it help the enemy forces to know M-4 carbines sometimes jam?? You would need to know precisely when & where a particular rifle would jam to be of any tactical advantage. "Rashid, I'll jump up & see if the Americans M-4 rifles have all jammed... Rashid is shot to pieces. Nope ... they didn't jam that time..., Mohamat you jump up &...."

    December 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  53. David

    Dragon Skin is not better than what is issued. It falls apart at temperatures above 100 degrees. Stop watching and believing everything on the Discovery Channel or History Channel.

    The M4 is a fine combat weapon. Soldiers begged to have M4s in lieu of M16A2s in 2003-2004, Soldiers will always complain about something. The ruck sack is a legitimate complaint. The problem when Congress gets involved is we get disasters like the MRAP. A death trap vehicle that pads someone's constituency in Mississippi with thousands of jobs for an inferior vehicle. If Soldiers had any sense at all, they would no complain to Congress, because these are the people who will screw them hardest and fastest!

    Yes, Soldiers are sent to theater within a month or two of completing basic combat training. They receive a short train-up at their home duty station and then go to war. Their units ensure they are trained on theater/area specifics before they go out on missions. Ask the fellas who went into the beaches at Normandy how much time for "train up" they had.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  54. edward

    I cannot comment on the m-16 or m4 as I have not used them. Howerver as a solldier of the 60's I say bring back the M-14 as that was the equilivent to or better than then the ak-47. I also trined on the older M-1 garrand. it was a great weapon also, but those limited clips were not as useful as the magazines of the m-14.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Tarvin

    The flaws of the M16/M4 are legendary. CNN broadcasting this information does nothing to harm our troops. The Afghans and Iraqis use captured/bought M4s as well.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Logan

    I may not be a rifle wizz but the M4 is a reliable weapon, only one down side, it just doesnt (in some cases) have the power to bring down the enemy. The jamming factor makes it worse, like ryan up thier said if we just changed up the operating system 1. To decrease jamming and 2. to make it able to hold a bigger round like the 6.68mm round instead of 5.56mm that way they will be able to take down the target in less rounds. We are inventing all these new vehicles and other weapons that will help our military to help in situatuions were there is no requirment for soldiers, but when there is requirements for men they get no new weapons, they still have there M4's but some day an M4 aint goining to do the job. We are going to have to have more better and more reliable weapons for our military.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Sgt of Marines

    I'll tell you why they "Jam". It’s because they don’t clean their weapons like they are suppose to. I've seen it first hand from soldiers that are out there with us. Its called not being disciplined enough to do proper weapons maintenance religiously and knowing like breathing the immediate action you need to take(Tap, Rack, Bang and your back in the fight quicker than the enemy can get a round off). A rifle is a delicate piece of machinery, what happens when there are gobs of sand and carbon? Anyone remember Jessica Lynch, I'm sure she could tell us. Oh that’s right your weapon "jams" and you can't get off a single shot. M4's are awesome and effect weapons especially fighting in close range proximities and house to house. Marines have the EXACT same weapons and gear, but yet we don’t have that problem. You know why? Because we are Marines. Semper Fi

    December 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Walter A. Murray, Jr.

    Here is the nitty gritty of the subject. The M$ is to short, the M16 was good for the jungle for which it was made. The NAZI style helmet when fasten is not good around explosions as it can break a neck or cause truamatic brian injury. A vest will never give complet protection and needs to open and close from the front for easy on and off plus needs to be opened in extreme heat. I has been known for a long time that enclosed vehicles like the Humvee are death traps. The only enclosed vehicle should only be a Tank. None of our curent rifles aregood in hand to hand. A 308 or 3006 is needed to reach out. The 9mm about the same as a thrity eight is to small for combat. Nothing less than a 45 or 357 should ever be used. The Army left the 38 because of its inefectiveness.
    Walter

    December 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Kevin

    its disgusting. this has to do with military contracts and kickback deals...to put our troops at this risk is horrifying...all to make a couple extra (billion) bucks on defense contracts

    December 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  60. RJ

    I never understood why the US never adopted the AK-47 design, given it's great track record. Was it Cold War pride? We were pretty quick to adopt the MG-42 design on the M60 after WW2, since the MG-42 is arguably the best machine gun ever made.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Pete

    The M4 rifle will jam if the barrel gets too hot because of hundreds of rapid automatic fire rounds being fired through it. A hot barrel expands on the ID of the barrel and the bullets can no longer pass through them. It has nothing at all to do with the magazine. Perhaps instead of trying to re-invented the wheel and find a new rifle, our fighting soldiers need to understand some basic physics and getter better training on how to be more efficent with their shot selection. AK 47's have the same problem as well as any hand carried field weapon that see hundreds or rounds of automatic fire in a short period of time.

    A paniced soldier in the heat of a fire fight will randomly shoot of hundreds of rounds with out having hit a single target. I will say I could not do any better and I don't blame them. The real solution is to have better inteligence so that our bases are not over run with out our forces being better prepared.

    Better yet I like the idea of fighting the enemy by remote control from a preditor drone where none of our boys are at risk and the results to the enemy are devistating. Fewer ground troops more drone missles and air strikes.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  62. L. Campbell

    Why don't you go ahead and list the flaws in our equipment and while you're at it list off everything else you can supply to the enemy. You don't think the enemy doesn't have Cnn access . You bunch of idiots

    December 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Adam

    It seems the technology exists to construct a superior wepaon, but the problem is cost. Perhaps then the root of the problem is spending priorities. The Pentagon has for the past decade been investing billions in weapons systems that address threats that no longer exist, i.e. $2 billion each for a B-2, $300 million for an F-22.

    For the cost of 1 each of these aircraft, we could spend an additional $4600 on each of 500,000 troops, more than we currently have in Iraq & Afganistan. That money could easily pay for the correct body armor and upgraded weapons, and that is just ONE of each plane. Imagine the savings if we really limited these programs to levels actually needed?!?

    I am disgusted when I hear of troops purchasing thier own weapons, uniforms, armor, etc. I persoanlly think our military policy reeks of expanionsionsim and will factor into our downfall/bankruptcy (see: Great Britain from 1700 to the early 20th century), However, if we have made the decision to send them there, for God's sake, protect and arm them as best as we possibly can! Their blood is, and contines to be, on the hands of Congress and the DoD procurement offices.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  64. winston

    As an ex-government procurement official, there is no reason we cannot obtain the best equipment in the world. The Government used to obtain supplies through a “sealed low bidder process.” That changed several years ago and the Government adopted a “Best value” approach to acquisitions.

    Although great in concept, our Government is not utilizing this approach effectively. Why not? Because it’s back to policy and politics and budgetary constraints. The given agency can only work with what the purse string holders give them.

    So don’t blame DOD, instead, take direct aim at the proper target, Congress… Sure, we can bailout banks and auto industries, but we cannot take care of our own troops? And yet we send more, Shameful…

    December 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Miff

    As a prior service scout that served twice in Iraq I have used both the M4 and M16 in combat. I agree with others that these issues should not be told to our enemies on cnn.com, which i'm sure is a major source of information for them. From what i have read, military procurement has little to do with which is "better" and more to do with who owns the company that makes the equipment, and who they know. This wont change, the system is broken, Its too bad that news agencies care more about a "breaking story" than the people the story affects. I say bring back the M14.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  66. prior

    you all worry too much... AR-15 type rifle does jam more then some rifles out there but it has its good points... the bullets go where you put them... which saves ammo... plus when were over there we can pick up a romakIII or an ak47 whenever we feel like it because we do what were supposed to do and kill people.... and you prolly had some newbies fresh outta basic that just got there orders to the sand box complaining.... but there is alot of training they will go to before then...

    December 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Ed Moore

    The military doesn't have to buy the H&K 416 rifle. They just need to replace all of the M4 uppers with a long stroke or short stroke piston system. This is just the upper portion of the rifle that needs to be replace. Besides H&K 416 is way to expensive to purchase the entire weapon for just the piston driven upper section. I've read where units currently in Afghanistan have purchased short stroke uppers for their weapons out of their own pockets.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Sam321

    The Dragon Skin is not better than what our troops are issued and there were no bribes involved. The manufacturer of Dragon Skin has been making those false claims for years and using shills on the Internet to repeat them in an attempt to get a government contract. Their body armor does not meet the military specificatiions.

    The M4 is a great rifle, but there are better. The Army has stated that is not going to replace hundreds of thousands of rifles and ancillary equipment and training to gain only a small improvement. They want a weapon that is 300% better than what they have now. When they find something that is leaps and bounds better than the M4 then they will request funding for it.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Todd

    I've seen this first hand and its true; the military goes for the lowest bidder. But not everyone uses cheap equipment. If you look at the equipment our Special Forces use, you'd see a huge divide not only in quality, but also practicality.
    And the story about the rucksacks is another example. Since at least Vietnam the Army used the ALICE pack, an exterior, metal framed backpack. Then around 2002 they began issuing everyone the MOLLE pack; a plastic framed pack supposedly designed to be more comfortable and provide more room to pack equipment. Problem is the more equipment you pack, the less comfortable it becomes and the more susceptible the frame is to break when you drop your pack.
    And the M4/M-16 debate; it is a shame that they still won't issue our soldiers a better weapon. That rifle is a piece of junk, unless your in the rear with the gear where you can keep it nice and sparkling clean.
    Last point. If you really think that this is revealing news in anyway to our enemies, think again. We're the ones who are late to the party. They know more about our short-comings than we do theirs and it isn't because of the media.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  70. worriedairborne

    Let's modify the M-4 rifle now. Why do we have to wait? I still believe that if we did not change our rifle during Vietnam war from BAR; M-14's; M-1's; Tommy-guns; M-1 or M-2 Carbines to unreliable M-16's, it would have been a different outcome in the war.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  71. matt

    If you people actually believe the timelines that are being stated then you have no idea about the military and how we work. Someone can give us a timeline but what you all failed to look at is that we'll leave if certain guidelines are met. Those guidelines aren't posted so we don't give out too much info. I wish they wouldn't even print anything so I wouldn't have to read these comments. You make no sense.

    The Ak-47 is a great weapon for short burst to spraying an area. The M-4/16 are pretty good too if you take care of them. The AKs can be buried in dirt/mud/whatever and still fire.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  72. John

    Why don't we stick some of these lawmakers over there in the old body armor? Why can't we give our soldiers the best that there is. We have access to the best equipment in the world but why can't we use it? Our air force and navy have amazing weapons, but the people doing the real work are playing with Vietnam era guns. I'm only 21 but have heard enough about it from my professors to know that our weapons SUCK. Give our soldiers the best body armor, the best weapons, and the best support of any country in the world. If an AK47 works better then our M4 or M16 give that to them.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Paul

    @John – sometimes you would actually be surprised. The AK-47 of the Russians has routinely proven itself to be much more reliable than the M-16 in deserts (where the dust can make the delicate M-16 mechanisms to jam) or in jungles (where the M-16 experiences problems due to humidity). In fact I have heard stories of US soldiers in Vietnam throwing away their M-16s if they could get hold of trophy "Kalashnikovs"

    December 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  74. matt

    The M4 and M16s do jam occasionally but have proven to be very effective if you properly maintain the weapons. I was deployed and had only 1 malfunction. I cleaned my rifle religously and it came through for me. I know its harder in harsher climates such as Afghanistan but if people take their weapons for granted then the weapons won't work.

    AK-47s although made very cheaply work great in regards ot consistent firing. After the first 2-3 shots the firearm will begin to come off target if the operator doesn't maintain proper control.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  75. winston

    Amen Jeff –

    The American public does not need to know about this and neither do our enemies... I am confident that our military forces "are on it"....

    As I just told a friend of mine who works for DOD, I'm all for "transparency" but not to the detriment of our National security... Enough already... BTW: I am Usually a huge CNN fan... But for the moment I am extremely disappointed... Dont' you guys run your articles through DOD public affairs office first?!...

    December 17, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  76. KA.LARSON

    As a former FFL Dealer i was able to aquire many Assault Rifles over the last 30 yrs. I own 6 ak47's 3 ar15's hk91 uzi ect. The ar15 has it's limits. It's a good system but not the best. I think in sustained fire it will have problems. A piston driven system runs cooler ,less carbon buildup ect. How often are troops in the field able to clean & lube their weapons? The ar15 platform requirs more coddling and care than a ak47 , G3 ect. That's my point. In battle one may not be able to clean his/her weapon for quite some time. It needa more constant attention than others. There's not much one can do to stop an AK from firing, except run over it with a Tank.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Herb

    The M16/M4 is a 1950's design that in spite of constant upgrades, is badly outclassed by newer weapons systems. It is long past time to put this gun to rest and actually field – not test for eternity – a new design. Our G.I.'s deserve better!

    December 17, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  78. vic petris

    There are some well thought out comments here but the truth of the matter is the 5.56.cal round does not have the stopping power in a combat setting.We need to move to at least 6.8 cal to insure proven stopping power.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  79. TJ

    We need to know about these things. If our govt is not giving our military the proper equiptment then we need to know so we can rally and fix the problem! This has been an issue for this country for the longest time and it is really sad that these men and women risk their lives for us, and we give them half/arsed equipt that doesnt work properly!

    December 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Bob

    What? The M-4 malfunctions in a sandy hot combat environment? I'm shocked! Say it ain't so!

    You mean to tell me that a direct gas impingement design gets dirty? /sarcasm
    Every AR15 owner in the country knows that. And reliability is a function of MAGAZINES. That's where the US Govt always went cheap.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Zach

    I strongly agree the military should use the HK 416 for a new standard issue rifle.i have personally used an ar-15 many times and it has jammed on me almost every time.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Mark

    Mike: You raise a great issue with procurement. Congress has a impermissably large say in contracts since a large contract - like a weapons contract - will generate jobs in their district. They will come to the table with the constituent contractor at their side singing the praises of quality, workmanship and price. When the item breaks, it is DOD's fault. As one of the previous posters said about Dragonskin. The Army, among other DOD agencies, feels the budgetary pressure when the agency does not satisfy one of these arrogant, narcissistic Congressmen/women. Don't buy from my guy, we'll see about the budget and about getting your Generals and others through the Congressional nomination process. If you think procurement is about buying the best, you are wrong.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Hadrian

    While A Teams, Seals and SFOD-D are running around with SCARS and HK416's the infantry guys that do the heavy lifitng are stuck with the m4 and the SAW as their main armanments. Disgraceful.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Brad A.

    Glad to hear that lawmakers are listening to troops, but come on now, what good is it. It's all just political posturing whether they (the lawmakers) have the ability to see that in themselves or not. Like an earlier comment stated, " but yet the militry baned the armor WITH OUT even proving their own testing for it simply because they had somone bribe them to keep the old contracts." I agree! I have completely lost faith in the US Government.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Frank

    December 17th, 2009
    2:35 pm ET Best equiped, best trained, best fed military in the world. If our weapons are jamming then you can be sure theirs are blowing up in their faces. We'll never hear any reports of this. Where are the stories of these "insurgents" droping their weapons and using ours whenever possible. Talk about slanted stories on CNN...
    -John

    John, the above statement is false. Going back to Vietnam to the present there have been many more occasions of our weapons being dropped, in favor of soviet rifles. The AR platform has struggled with reliability since its inception. The defects of the system are amplified when shortened into a carbine.... good for target, bad for combat. The M9 pistol is underpowered and often jams.

    I would recommend visiting a combat area before you make these misleading statements, that make you feel good but are actually false

    December 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Miliarty Mom

    Maybe our "Best Equiped" military is what is because our service men and women are purchasing decent equipment out of their OWN pockets!

    December 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Paul

    Jeff,

    I agree with you and I'm happy to see that someone else voices their sentiment about this. Why does the media continue to broadcase and write stories that give details of our military intensions. Everyone tell the media to do the patriotic thing and hold back on publishing stories like this. I don't even like the fact that Pres. Obama and company are publicizing the troop surge and giving timelines. We might as well post a note on the Taliban's web site telling them "we'll be there in August...make sure you've moved on to Somalia or somewhere else without rule before we get there. By the way, Iraq might be looking pretty good to you in about 2 years because we're leaving and the Iraqi army won't be ready to handle you on their own."

    December 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  88. KA.LARSON

    Several spec ops units are currently useing the new HK 416 assault Rifle. It's a piston driven system insted of direct gas impingement. The hk 416 can tolarate all kinds of dirt , sand, water- yes i'm talking abot the Weapon firing while half under water. I saw it being tested on toutube. The German solder than tried the same test with the M4 and the Weapon Exploded. The entire bolt broke in half! I own a Bushmaster M4 A3 semi auto and i like it. But from everything that i've read about the HK 416 it's hands down the winner. If special ops units have it, then issue one for every solder in the US armed Forces!

    December 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Earl

    "then you can be sure theirs are blowing up in their faces. We'll never hear any reports of this. Where are the stories of these "insurgents" droping their weapons and using ours whenever possible."

    John:
    Seriously, what are you talking about. The AK-47’s (or variant) that insurgents are using is far superior to the M4 or even the M-16. It is obvious by your comments you no nothing about firearms. You might want to do some research on the topic before you comment.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Robert

    Tell me what has changed since the Vietnam war? Almost the same exact weapons used on both sides and the same problems persist. Very sad, seems the MIC wants to protect it's breadwinners at the expense of military lives.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Ryan

    Actually, owning both an M4 and an AK47 (both semi-auto only), I am not surprised by all the weapon failures being encountered by our troops. I will say that with proper maintenance, any AR-15 type rifle (which includes the M4) can be quite reliable, however sustained battle conditions are often not conducive to "baby-ing" your rifle. I do find it humorous that an assault rifle designed more than half a century ago by a Russian mechanic is still arguably the most reliable assualt rifle in the world.

    It would actually be fairly easy for the military to switch over to gas-piston type M4's. The main problem with AR-15 type rifles is the direct gas-impingement operating system, which allows all of the gasses from the explosion of the cartridge back in the chamber of the weapon, causing a rapid buildup of residue on the internal parts of the rifle. A simple modification that mimics the operating system of the AK-47 can be done to any M4 and could make it a much more reliable weapon. Multiple companies already have piston-driven AR-15 type rifles in production. I'm still baffled as to why the military has chosen not to adopt such a simple modification.

    While the M4 is still an outstanding weapon, I believe that our troops deserve only the best. Good just doesn't cut it when your life is on the line.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  92. mike

    Don't totally blame the military on this one, most of the blame is on the congress and how they fund the military, they tell the military what to but, from who, and where from. Congressmen don't care about the end products, they care about keeping jobs in their districts and the congressmen with the most power gets the contract in his district or state, doesn't matter if there is a better system out there. its all politics, and when it hits the news that the products that are made in said district fail, they never take the blame...they blame the military on the system that congress told them to buy

    December 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Corbett

    Jeff- They are reporting on public documents handed to the government, not top secret files. Reports like this pressure civilian legislators to do right by soldiers. So unless you think that war decisions should be made by Capitol Hill politicians with no input from soldiers or their families, then you are absolutely wrong for asking CNN to stop posting stories about it.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  94. John

    Best equiped, best trained, best fed military in the world. If our weapons are jamming then you can be sure theirs are blowing up in their faces. We'll never hear any reports of this. Where are the stories of these "insurgents" droping their weapons and using ours whenever possible. Talk about slanted stories on CNN...

    December 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Dennis Mathes

    This is not a big shock there is a body armour out called Dragon Skin armor. This armor has been indepentily tested and PROVEN to be better then the "normal" bullet proof armor but yet the militry baned the armor WITH OUT even proving their own testing for it simply because they had somone bribe them to keep the old contracts. The militery does not care about its own personal they would rather do things cheaply and cost lives instead of buying better gear for our men and women that are willing to lay their lives down on the line for the freedoms that we all enjoy.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Jeff

    Why do you continue to post stories about our military shortfalls and upcoming campaigns? Have you all completely lost your minds?

    December 17, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |