Oct 30, 2010

Infantry battalion tests Nett Warrior

By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Oct 30, 2010

A battalion of infantrymen at Fort Riley, Kan., is the first unit to test cutting-edge prototypes of the Army’s futuristic wearable computer system, Nett Warrior, designed to boost battlefield awareness and prevent fratricide.
Tests of the system, which shows friends and known enemies on a dynamic map displayed on a helmet-mounted screen, will help the Army discern which prototypes it wants and how the technology will affect small-unit missions, said Col. Wil Riggins, the program manager for Soldier Warrior.
“One thing we found was, this is not just something you hang on a soldier and say, ‘Go ahead and fight,’ because it truly changes the basic methodology of how you fight, how you command and control and how you share information,” Riggins said.
A follow-on to the Land Warrior program, whose deployment was canceled in 2007, the lighter, 5-pound Nett Warrior includes a faster laptop processor and more memory for maps, imagery and graphics. Its battery runs about 24 hours on a four-hour charge.

Leatherman unveils EOD version of Supertool 300

The Super Tool is often referred to as the original workhorse of the Leatherman family. With the new Super Tool 300 EOD we've got those same beefy features and added EOD-specific tools like a military-performance-spec cap crimpers and fuse-wire cutters. Extra strong pliers with cleaning rod/brush attachments have replaceable wire cutters. Comfort-grip handles feature cutouts to make accessing tools with gloves on a cinch. An everyday carry tool, with some not-so-everyday features. The Super Tool 300 EOD is a great way to go easy on your load while beefing up your gear. 

  • 420HC Stainless Steel Straight/Serrated Combo Knife
  • Needlenose Pliers w/ Military Performance Spec Cap Crimpers
  • 154CM Replaceable Fuse-wire Cutters
  • Standard Wire Cutters
  • Fixed Regular Saw
  • Replaceable T-shank Metal Saw
  • Replaceable C4 Punch
  • Electrical Crimper
  • 1/8" Screwdriver
  • 5/16" Screwdriver
  • 7/32" Screwdriver
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Bottle Opener
  • Can Opener
  • 9 in / 22 cm Ruler
  • Wire Stripper
  • Cleaning Rod/Brush Adaptors
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Stainless Steal Body
  • Stainless Steal Handles
  • Black Oxide
  • All Locking Blades and Tools
  • MOLLE Sheath
  • Lanyard Ring
  • 25-Year Warranty
  • 4.5in / 11.43 cm (closed)
  • 10 oz / 283.5 g
  • 3.14 in / 8 cm (blade length)

Oct 28, 2010

ArmorWorks 3D camouflage applique dubbed “TactiCam.”

ArmorWorks is introducing at AUSA an innovative 3D camouflage applique called TactiCam that has the potential to reduce vehicle signature in radar, infrared and visual spectrum.
The new material has already demonstrated effective signature reduction in tests and is undergoing optimization. The outer layer of the TactiCam material is shaped in randomly generated three-dimensional pattern displaying varying geometric shapes, in different depth levels.
This digitally generated random pattern surface reflects energy from the vehicle in an irregular pattern, disrupting the detection of the vehicle by electro-optical and millimeter-wave radar sensors.
The material can be applied with infra-red or radar absorbing suppressing materials, and be filled with insulation that can both suppress emissive spectral frequencies, while reducing solar heat gain.
According to Gary Sopko, Director of vehicle programs at ArmorWorks, the new, lightweight material operates passively, and as an insulating layer, also contributes to reducing the thermal signature emitted by the vehicle’s surface, wheels and engine.
Visual camouflage can be applied over the outer layer matching camouflage patterns used by the military or adapted to operational requirements. Sopko added that the TactiCam could eventually be integrated into armor panels in production, or as retrofit to any ground vehicle.
The company plans to include the material with a ceramic basis layer, providing additional ballistic protection to the vehicle. TactiCam was displayed at AUSA 2010 applied onto the improved Stryker wheeled armored vehicle at the General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) stand.

Revision Sawfly Military Eyewear System

Revision, leading developer of protective eyewear for military and law enforcement forces worldwide, introduces the completely redesigned Sawfly Military Eyewear System. The new Sawfly Eyewear features a redesigned frame, Comms Compatible arms, new Comfort Nosepiece, an extended lens and new retention system. The result is a superior eye protection product that provides optimal comfort, fit and gear compatibility without compromising ballistic performance, optics or durability.

The system’s multiple changes provide significant end-user gains; the Sawfly Eyewear’s redesigned frame not only features an aggressive new look but it facilitates lens changing with the new quick-change lens system. New Comms Compatible arms are leaner and longer for the utmost comfort, equipment compatibility and retention; their overmolded undercarriage provides shock absorption and grip while their thinner profile ensures that hearing protection works as designed.

The eyewear’s new Comfort Nose-piece has been re-engineered for enhanced comfort, retention and durability; it features a softer durometer nose-pad which provides added grip and cushioning. The Sawfly’s new extended lens provides greater lateral lens coverage for full side-impact protection—without compromising airflow and anti-fog performance. Finally, the system’s new Secure-Snap retention band clips firmly into the frame, keeping eye-wear in place, even during high activity missions. 

Like its predecessor, the new Sawfly Military Eyewear System provides the same superior ballistics, exceeding ANSI Z87.1-2010 and military ballistic impact requirements MIL-PRF-31013, clause and MIL-DTL-43511D, clause 3.5.10; the same flawless optics for distortion-free vision; and the same rugged durability to protect and perform through all the rigors of combat.

The two-lens Sawfly U.S. Military Eyewear System makes its debut at the 2010 AUSA Annual Meeting with a retail price tag of $89.99 MSRP—the same best-value price as the previous model. The three-lens Sawfly Eyewear Deluxe Kit retails for $119.99 MSRP, also with no price increase. Available December 1, 2010.
 Click picture to enlarge

Oct 27, 2010


McLean, Va. – In conjunction with the 2010 AUSA Annual Meetings and Exposition being held next week in Washington, DC, FN Herstal is pleased to introduce the new FN Heat Adaptive Modular Rifle (HAMR).

Derived from the innovative FN SCAR™ weapon system, the new FN HAMR is a revolutionary, lightweight, magazine-fed, 5.56x45mm infantry weapon that enhances the automatic rifleman's maneuverability and displacement speed while still providing the ability to suppress or destroy both area targets and point targets in today’s fluid battle space. In addition, the visual profile and the firing signature of the FN HAMR are virtually identical to that of the standard infantry rifle, thus reducing the counter-fire threat from enemy forces.

The high-tech FN HAMR platform is a unique, highly adaptable, fully-modular selective fire weapon system that bridges the gap between an individual battle rifle and a squad automatic light machine gun in one compact package. For enhanced accuracy and greater first-round reliability, the magazine-fed FN HAMR initially fires from the closed bolt in either semi-automatic or full-automatic modes. For added safety during sustained fire situations, the FN HAMR automatically transitions into open-bolt operation in both semi-automatic and full-automatic modes before reaching the cook-off temperature of the chambered cartridge. Once the chamber temperature has dropped to a safe level, the FN HAMR automatically transitions back to closed-bolt mode. These transitions between closed-bolt and open-bolt modes are thermally regulated by the FN HAMR and occur without any manual intervention by the operator.

“We are extremely enthusiastic in presenting the revolutionary technology incorporated into the FN HAMR,” noted Mark Cherpes, Vice President of Military Operations for FNH USA. “The FN HAMR is truly a leap ahead in small arms technology that immediately provides the U.S. Military greater insight into our concepts for the development of a lightweight, multipurpose machine gun / automatic rifle using conventional ammunition. The FN HAMR will provide a springboard to further advancements in weapon designs and high capacity feeding concepts.” 


Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
Operating Principle: Short-stroke gas piston; firing from closed or open bolt
Bolt: Rotating with multiple lugs
Mode of Fire: Semi-automatic, full automatic
Feed Device: 30-round steel (detachable box) magazine
Barrel Twist: 1 in 7” (right-hand twist)

Maximum Effective Range
Individual/Point Targets: 500 meters
Area Target: 600 meters

Complete Weapon: 11.2 lbs
(Unloaded with Grip Pod™ and Iron Sights)

Stock Extended: 38.80”
Stock Collapsed: 36.34”
Stock Folded: 28.80” 

Oct 26, 2010

MadBull BB Showers

About 6 years ago, MadBull started its business from a small BB shower, M381 6mm 18 rounds.
6 years passed, Madbull made more shells than anyone else in the world.
MadBull also have more varieties than competitors.

MadBull have more than 15 different models.
Our calibers start from 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 0.68”, 40mm to foam rocket.
Our power sources start from green gas, red gas, to CO2.
Our capacities start from 1 rounds to 204 rounds.

All our product are using the highest quality materials and the “right” materials.
“We use the right materials on the right components”, Mr. Lee, Phd. Chief engineer said

Thanks for all your supporting in the past 6 years.


ATK begins full rate production of U.S. Army’s new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR).

ATK has received orders from the U.S. Army’s Program Manager for Maneuver Ammunition Systems (PM-MAS) for nearly 300 million rounds of the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR). The EPR is an enhanced version of the M855 5.56mm cartridge, used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s. ATK is producing the new cartridge at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo. ATK produced the initial 20 million rounds of M855A1, which were delivered to the troops in Afghanistan earlier this year.
“This is a significant breakthrough in ammunition performance for America’s war-fighters,” said Mark Hissong, ATK Small Caliber Systems Vice President and General Manager. “To ensure optimal performance, ATK and the Army put the EPR through the most rigorous and thorough test regime of any round we have ever produced. The result is the successful fielding of a high-performance round that is in theater today, and capable of providing superior firepower in any combat condition.”
ATK partnered with the Army to develop a flexible manufacturing plan to rapidly transition the EPR program into high-volume production. The new round offers a higher velocity for more energy on target, improved hard-target capability, and greater accuracy and consistency for effectiveness at long range. The round’s technological advancements, coupled with ATK’s innovative approach to ammunition engineering, have delivered what the Army calls “the most significant advancement in general purpose small caliber ammunition in decades.”
ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with operations in 24 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. 

Oct 25, 2010

Heeding the call: Medevac crews in Afghanistan

Crews carry out a vital mission, often under enemy fire
By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 25, 2010
Kandahar, Afghanistan — As a Black Hawk helicopter bearing a red cross lands, medics, pilots and crew members surge forward to glimpse a shard of shrapnel sparkling in the sun near a tiny puddle of blood.
“What happened?” yells a pilot as soon as the blades stop spinning.
Spc. Charles Williams, cheeks gray with a sheen of dust and sweat, grins from the back of the bird.
Adrenaline makes Williams’ hands shake as he starts to tell his story. It was his first hot landing zone on his second day on the job, and telling the story was his first lesson in putting the pieces in order in his mind so they wouldn’t come back to haunt him.
It’s that moment — culled from hundreds of other moments playing cards, training and honing a morbid sense of humor — that defines everything for a medevac crew.
They see themselves as saviors of a sort, and that belief helps them deal with the images of pain and carnage that necessitate their medical prowess. In their world, there’s no politics; people just need to be saved.
The adrenaline that makes it difficult for infantry soldiers and Marines to come back down after deployment also flows through the blood of the medics in C Company, 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, known as “Shadow Dustoff.”

8 enemy KIAs, 46 shootings: War by the numbers

By Todd Pitman - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Oct 24, 2010

MARJAH, Afghanistan — In the first two months of a seven-month tour, Marine Cpl. Chuck Martin has been in 16 firefights.
He's done laundry twice, mailed five letters and received two. He's spent 378 hours on post and 256 hours on patrol. He's crossed 140 miles of thorny bomb-laced farmland and waist-high trenches of water on foot.
Along the way, he's ripped eight pairs of pants, ruined two pairs of boots, and downed 1,350 half-liter bottles of water. His platoon has killed at least eight militants in battle and nine farm animals in crossfire. The rugged outposts he's lived in have been shot at 46 times.
"Tiring would be the best word to describe it," the lanky 24-year-old native of Middletown, R.I., said, summarizing his time in the insurgent-plagued southern Afghan district of Marjah so far. "There's no downtime. It's a constant gruel."
Martin's list, stored on spreadsheet on his laptop, offers a snapshot of American military life in this rural battlezone, where a new generation of young troops are growing up thousands of miles from home.
Since arriving in mid-July, troops from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines' Echo Company have spread out across 13 small, spartan outposts in northern Marjah, a vast patch of fields and ancient hardened mud homes without running water or electricity that one company commander likened to "200 B.C."
At one outpost called Inchon, a droning generator provides power for laptops loaded with movies and iPods, and just two lights — one for the Americans, the other for their Afghan counterparts. Troops have knitted together several shaky chairs from the metal fencing of discarded Hesco barriers.
At many bases, Marines sleep outside on cots inside hot-dog shaped mosquito nets. There are no toilets — just "wag" bags, no showers — just pouches you can fill up with water warmed by the afternoon sun. Fleas are such a problem, many Marines have taken to wearing flea collars made for cats or dogs around their wrists and belts.
"It's definitely a culture shock," Lance Cpl. Benjamin Long, 21, of Trussville, Ala. said of life for incoming troops. "Some people come here and they think we're living like cavemen."

For Sgt. Jeffrey Benson of Medina, Ohio, the hardest part is being away from his wife and two-year-old son.
"Every time I call home, I feel like I'm missing something, missing another milestone," said Benson, 34-year-old squad leader.
On the front, Benson said, his biggest fear is of making a decision that will lead to one of his Marines getting hurt. He said he worries about varying routes and patrol patterns to avoid insurgent attacks.
"I'm constantly double-checking things," he said. "Marines want to get into gunfights. But it's the small details — running into an ambush or running over an IED — that I worry about most."
The dangers of Marjah became apparent shortly after the Marines touched down. On one early patrol, six of them were wounded when guerrillas sprayed machine gunfire down a canal they were moving through.
The first time Benson led troops outside the wire, a Taliban fighter set off a fragmentation charge that blew up an Afghan soldier and wounded his radio operator. A few minutes earlier, he had been squatting on a knee in the same spot as his squad passed by.
There have been many more close calls, including one Marine who walked into a trip wire across a canal that didn't go off. Another survived a burst of gunfire where a bullet pierced his radio and then the Camelbak hydration pack strapped to his back, before finally stopping at his armored plate.

Lance Cpl. Patrick Cassidy remembers bullet rounds kicking up dust just six inches from his head during a morning firefight — after he had already hit the ground to take cover at the start of an ambush.
"Some days it sucks, but I can't complain," said the 23-year-old native of Stroudsburg, Penn., after lugging around a mortar tube for hours on a patrol that thankfully turned out quiet. "I signed up for it. I knew what I was getting into."
At one patrol base, a dinnertime conversation turned to this: is it better to be blown up or shot?
The two American Marine battalions deployed in Marjah since this summer have lost 21 men so far, according to a Facebook page that tracks casualties.

Lance Cpl. Damon George, 21, of Northville, Mich., remembers two of them in particular. As he walked away seconds after a military memorial service for a fallen friend, he was told by his commanding officer that another comrade had been killed.
Despite the danger, George, a driver, said it was crucial to ferry supplies to the troops. "Even if it's Pop Tarts or Rip-its ... or mail ... It's a morale factor."

Lance Cpl. Matthew Gallant, 21, of Cape Cod, Mass., was in a convoy that hit two roadside bombs in 24 hours, one of which was the biggest blast his unit has seen. That explosion broke his ankle, ripped the driver's leg apart, and severely wounded his truck's gunner, who was hurled into the road.
"It's not fun," Gallant said of driving on Marjah's roads. "It's waiting to get blown up again for the most part."

Marjah has no paved roads and 90 percent of U.S. military operations are on foot.
Troops routinely patrol weighed down with 80 or 90 pounds of gear — armored jackets, rifles — traversing a harsh terrain of water-filled trenches. The canal system was built by American aid money half a century ago; today both insurgents and coalition forces use them as cover to avoid or stage attacks.
"All the guys out here have lost weight," Martin said, speaking of the pace doing three patrols a day, then back-to-back six-hour post shifts the next. It "really beats you up."

Oct 23, 2010

ESS is introducing the Crossbow Suppressor

The ESS Crossbow Suppressor is the first spectacle frame designed for use with ear cup hearing protection and communications devices. Featuring Z-Bend Geometry, the frame's ultra-thin temple arms help keep noise out by minimizing the effect on the padded seal of ear cups. The slim temples eliminate the hot spots and pressure points that commonly occur when normal eyewear is worn under ear cups.

The Suppressor frame is compatible with all Crossbow lenses. These 2.4mm Polycarbonate lenses feature distortion-free ESSOPTICS and ClearZone FlowCoat technology to combat fogging on the inside and scratches on the outside. The frame's DedBolt Lens Lock provides quick lens interchange and rock-solid retention under impact.

Crossbow Suppressor 2X Kits include two fully-assembled eyeshields: one with ultra-thin Crossbow Suppressor frames (for use with ear cups) and one with standard Crossbow Tri-Tech Fit frames (for normal use without ear cups). Both frame options provide a universal fit.

Crossbow Suppressor ONE Kits feature one fully-assembled eyeshield with ultra-thin Crossbow Suppressor frames for use with ear cups. Universal fit. 


Oct 16, 2010

The Dual Path Strategy for the Next Generation of Army Service Rifles

The U.S. Army is implementing the most dramatic overhaul of its service rifles in nearly 50 years.   Our own Project Manager (PM) Soldier Weapons division is currently pursuing a “dual path” strategy that will result in significant changes to the one system that is critical to all Soldiers – their standard issue service rifle. The dual path approach consists of the continuous improvement program for the M4 Carbine, paired with a full and open carbine competition.
According to Colonel Douglas Tamilio, PM Soldier Weapons, the intent of the dual path strategy is to allow the Army to continue its practice of upgrading the combat-proven M4 while simultaneously challenging industry to develop the next generation carbine. With nearly 500,000 M4s in the Army inventory, it is critical to strengthen the M4 platform while the Army invests the time necessary to properly develop, test and field a new weapon system. The Army has already made more than 60 refinements to the current M4 Carbine since its introduction and, not surprisingly, 94 percent of Soldiers rate the M4 as an effective weapon system in Post Combat Surveys. That said, PM Soldier Weapons will continue its search for advanced small arms technologies to match Army requirements and better serve our Soldiers.
Our PEO, Brigadier General Peter N. Fuller, first communicated the dual path concept in October 2009 to foster a better understanding of the PEO Soldier strategy. The first path is the improvement plan for the M4, which is broken into three phases. For Phase I, the Army will purchase 25,000 M4A1 Carbines with ambidextrous fire control assemblies (FCA) and is preparing additional solicitations for the fall to purchase kits to convert up to 65,000 fielded M4s into M4A1s with the new FCAs. Compared to the M4, the M4A1 has a heavier barrel and is fully automatic, improvements that deliver greater sustained rates of fire. Phase II improvements will compete forward rail assemblies, bolts and bolt carrier assemblies to increase accessory integration while enhancing durability. Phase III will evaluate commercially available operating systems against the M4’s current gas impingement system. The Army’s long-term plan is to improve the entire M4 fleet.  Implementation for all improvements and competitions is contingent upon funding and demonstrated performance gains over current capabilities.
The second path is the carbine competition, which received Army Review Oversight Council validation back in April and Joint Review Oversight Council (JROC) validation this August. Now the final approval authority has returned from AROC to allow work to begin on the “Request for Proposal” from industry. The carbine competition is already fully funded for research, development, testing, and evaluation. With the final approvals nearly in place, the stage is set for an inspiring competition.

Small Arms Series
Considering that millions of Soldiers have carried the M16 or its M4 sibling since the 1960s, this is naturally a topic that generates great interest in the veteran community – not to mention Congress, industry and leadership at the top levels of all the services. In light of this interest and of the significant Army small arms developments to come, PM Soldier Weapons will be publishing a series of posts over the next several months that discuss the concepts inherently tied to issues of weapon selection along with deeper dives on the M4 improvements and the carbine competition itself. The small arms series will cover the following topics:

 1. Small Unit Armaments: Just as our Soldiers’ combat activities are synchronized, so are our weapon systems. M16/M4 weapons are employed alongside larger caliber 7.62mm rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers for a combined effect. This article will provide insights as to how small units are organized and armed with various individual and crew served weapon systems that serve particular roles to enhance unit firepower and effectiveness.

2. Lethality: For decades, the “better bullet” debate has raged as to whether the 5.56mm or 7.62mm cartridge reigns supreme. While it’s impossible to close the door on this debate, we will explain that there’s more to the lethality story than just the bullet. This article will examine the aspects that contribute to Soldier lethality, including the weapon system, ammunition, optics, training, and shot placement. 
3. M4 Product Improvement: This article will discuss the evolution, performance and future of the M4 Carbine that is currently the standard for our Brigade Combat Teams. The article will detail the Army’s three-phase improvement plan for the M4 Carbine and discuss how the Army will expand partnerships with industry to arrive at an even better M4.

4. Carbine Competition: The final article in the series will discuss the imminent Army test and selection of a new carbine resulting from a full and open competition among the finest weapon manufacturers in the world.
The intent of this series is to educate and inform our readers’ thinking on these matters. We look forward to sharing with you our progress and welcome your ideas on this important topic. If there are particular aspects you would like us to explore in this series, please drop us a note and we will work to address your suggestions where possible. 

Fight-changing gear

By Lance M. Bacon - Staff report
Posted : Saturday Oct 16, 2010

Whether you are a grunt kicking down doors, an engineer clearing roads or a medic saving lives, the Army has a host of cool new gear headed your way. And the gear runs the gamut — from safer parachutes and lighter, sawed-off shotguns to bomb detectors and sensors that see through walls.
The influx of new gear is largely the result of Big Army’s willingness to sacrifice service-wide uniformity for mission-specific adaptability. Most of the resulting gear is in response to soldier experience and input, but the Army has key commands leading this charge. Among them are the Asymmetric Warfare Group, which remains on the battlefield to identify how best to repel and overcome the enemy’s ever-changing tactics and weapons. Program Executive Office Soldier hosts a cadre of experts whose mission is turning ideas into reality. And the Rapid Equipping Force navigates the red tape to ensure soldiers get the gear in months, rather than years.

Oct 13, 2010

Study: Marksmanship program majorly flawed

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Oct 13, 2010

The Marine Corps Marksmanship Program is a disorganized “hodgepodge” plagued by inadequate oversight, decrepit ranges and insufficient live-fire training, according to a controversial study that includes months of interviews with Marines across the fleet.
The study, “Battlefield Standards for Marksmanship and the Training Implications,” calls for an overhaul of the annual re-qualification process, extensive equipment upgrades and a new agency to oversee it all. It was overseen by the Operations Analysis Division of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and commissioned by Weapons Training Battalion, both out of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Marine Corps Times obtained a copy of the Nov. 10, 2009, final report through the Freedom of Information Act.
Strikingly, while the service lives by the credo “Every Marine a rifleman,” the study finds that the Corps lacks focus and consistency when it comes to handling rifle quals, one of the most significant building blocks in a Marine’s training.
“The most striking part about listening to Marines express their opinions regarding rifle marksmanship was that there was no consensus across the Marine Corps as to what the purpose and objectives of the rifle marksmanship program currently are, or what they should be,” the study says.

Weapons Training Battalion officials disputed many of the study’s key findings, saying in a statement that the report “misses the mark for several reasons.” The study does not explain the difference between current and previous requirements for ranges and units, makes comparisons to the Army’s requirements and “infers that some Marines should be proficient marksmen while others merely need to be familiar” with a rifle, battalion officials said in a statement.
“This is not the Marine Corps mindset,” they said.
Four major recommendations are made in the study, which a Marine official said cost the Corps about $1 million:
• Establish a new central organization to oversee marksmanship. Weapons Training Battalion at Quantico now oversees service-wide directives on marksmanship. Base and station commanders interpret them on a local level with the help of marksmanship training units. The result is “inconsistent training procedures and confusion,” the study says. It recommends that Lt. Gen. George Flynn, deputy commandant for combat development and integration, establish a new service-wide organization overseeing all marksmanship issues under the command of Quantico-based Training and Education Command.
• Overhaul annual rifle training. Initial rifle training for recruits at boot camp and new lieutenants at The Basic School is widely considered a strength, and should not be altered, the study says. However, investigators found that week-long sustainment training held once a year means that too much time is spent relearning basics. It recommends holding sustainment every six months, possibly for two or three days each time, or every three months for a day or two each. The study also suggests that sustainment training needs to focus more closely on combat situations, posing one future option that would include firing at targets of unknown distances, moving targets, night firing and Marines wearing full combat gear.
• Remove rifle range scores from the promotion process. Many Marines currently go to the range “with a ‘qualifying’ mindset, not a combat training mindset,” because their scores are factored directly into their chances for promotion, the study says. It recommends that Manpower & Reserve Affairs remove the scores from the promotion process, saying Marines use a variety of weapons on the range, creating an “unfair” situation.
• Upgrade the Corps’ ranges in an extensive overhaul. The Corps’ ranges “are based on old, outdated technology” that needs an extensive upgrade plan, the study says. Like the Army, the Corps should have automated ranges that provide automatic feedback to shooters and coaches. No longer should Marines be required to pull “pit duty,” in which they pull targets as they are used and mark them. That’s a “blatant” misuse “of valuable people resources for any 21st century military organization,” the study says.

Leadership speaks out

Flynn, who also is the commanding general of Combat Development Command, addressed the study in an interview with Marine Corps Times. Without weighing in on the specific recommendations made, he said the service needs to do a better job of incorporating the standard rifle combat optic, or RCO, into the re-qualification process, and will be releasing a Marine administrative message soon that lays out new guidelines.
“We have enough data to suggest that the optic does improve your score,” he said. “It does improve the shooter’s ability. But the key to that is the sustainment training that goes with the annual re-qualification. That just doesn’t happen,” he said, referring to the training Marines need on the RCO.
TECOM also is working on a number of projects that could enhance marksmanship training, including online classes and motorized moving targets, Flynn said.
“It’s hard to develop a moving target range,” he said. “You know when you hit, but you don’t necessarily know where you missed. That’s one of the challenges, and that’s one thing we’ve [been] trying to do better for the last few years, to better engage moving targets.”
Attempts to interview Weapons Training Battalion officials were unsuccessful, but they defended the current structure of marksmanship oversight in their statement. The program currently gives individual commanders the flexibility to complete intermediate and advanced combat marksmanship training — commonly known as Tables 3 and 4 in the program — as it fits into pre-deployment training, they said.
Improving the combat effectiveness of each Marine is a never-ending goal, and there are always efforts underway to improve rifle accuracy across the Corps, battalion officials said. They acknowledged there are some variations in the way individual ranges work, but said it is “due in large part to the layout and design of older ranges.”
“Over the last several years, many upgrades and improvements have been made to improve the ranges throughout the Corps,” officials said. “More continue to be submitted each year.”
The study suggests that Marines generally want more live-fire training, and it proposes two approaches to future sustainment training. The first would likely resemble the current program and its KD, or known-distance, courses of fire at 200, 300 and 500 yards. But it would be conducted either twice a year or quarterly for each Marine.
The second approach suggests that Marines — including those outside the infantry — would benefit from more training that includes unknown ranges, moving targets and night firing while wearing full combat gear. It does not make any suggestions about whether to keep the four firing positions.
Weapons Training Battalion vigorously defended the program as it is, especially KD marksmanship training, which has been used for decades to train Marines for combat during previous wars.
“Likely more so than any other institutional training package, the marksmanship program is routinely reviewed for possible improvements,” officials said. “Bottom line: Weapons Training Battalion wholeheartedly disagrees with the report’s alleged implication that KD has no value for combat preparation.”
No marksmanship overhaul is being considered, Weapons Training Battalion said. The unit “would refer to what we propose as a refinement; as was originally intended when the Marine Corps Combat Marksmanship Program order was written,” officials said.
“As Marines, we constantly self-evaluate and self-review to ensure we are on point with our training programs,” officials said. “A more concise chain of responsibility and reporting is being explored.”

Rank-and-file weigh in

Rank-and-file Marines — including some with significant street credibility — are not universally down on the marksmanship program. In interviews with Marine Corps Times, they also said nearly universally that they want range scores to remain a part of the promotion process, a plan that goes to the culture of every Marine being a rifleman, they said.
Marines did acknowledge the marksmanship program has flaws, however, including something not mentioned in the study: cheating.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Murphy, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of a designated marksman course for Marine Corps Forces Regiment, out of Virginia Beach, Va., said shifting to service-wide automated ranges would prevent Marines from covering up their misses by swapping out used targets.
“Technologies are needed and exist within the Marine Corps to automate target systems, doing away with Marines pulling Marines’ pits,” he said. “It would blow your mind if you could be a fly on the wall in the pits during a qualification course and see how many of those Marines are cheating. Automated systems don’t lie — a hit is a hit and a miss is a miss.”
Cpl. Alisa Hilton, an aircraft maintenance administration specialist with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36, out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa, Japan, also said cheating is an issue. Adopting more ranges like the automated one at MCAS Miramar, Calif. — the only one of its kind in the Corps, according to the study — would help in that regard, she said. It tracks hits or misses, providing quick feedback to the Marines firing.
But Col. Timothy Armstrong, commanding officer of Weapons Training Battalion, rejected the notion that automated ranges would be an improvement. In a statement, he said Marines cannot swap used targets to help other Marines because the action “would be seen and halted by range personnel.” He also questioned the wisdom of using automated ranges, saying they are prone to malfunctions.
“Pit duties continue to provide the qualifying Marine with the fairest, most accurate and reliable scoring system; ensuring his or her performance is respectfully captured and recorded,” he said.

Range training questioned

Murphy, an infantry unit leader, has deployed six times, most recently in 2009 with Lejeune’s 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines. He backed the Corps continuing to use KD courses at boot camp, but said a shift in sustainment training to include unknown distances would be wise.
“In my six combat deployments, not once has an enemy shot at me with a sign on his head that says, ‘I am at 100 yards,’ ” Murphy said. “The one marksmanship skill that the Marine Corps is failing to train to standard on is range estimation.”
A gunnery sergeant with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command and trained as an advanced sniper said the basics taught at boot camp are “good for the foundational aspects of marksmanship,” and the RCO — also frequently known as an ACOG, or Advanced Combat Optic Gun-sight — can give Marines a boost later on.
However, other problems need to be addressed, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of his spec-ops background. Commanders frequently do not devote enough time to preparing their Marines to use optics, he said, describing what he saw on one of Lejeune’s Stone Bay ranges.
“The problem I just witnessed this week was that almost every command failed to train their Marines in the required ‘grass week,’ ” he said in a Sept. 16 e-mail, referring to the classroom preparation and training on safety and techniques that come before rifle quals.
Additionally, many range coaches are sergeants and below, and few “really seemed to understand how to teach or correct marksmanship,” said the gunny, who leads a MARSOC element and is preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan.
“I was not always a good shooter, and it took some time for me to learn,” he said. “The coaches needed to spend more time on shooter position and set-up on the line.”
Armstrong acknowledged that most marksmanship coaches and trainers are lance corporals and sergeants, but suggested that shouldn’t be a surprise.
“In fact, the greatest population segment of the Marine Corps is lance corporal through sergeant,” he said. “These are the same lance corporals through sergeants who boldly lead Marines in battle.”

Oct 10, 2010


Provides extended range capability and incorporates the latest in weapons technology for the Army Sniper.

The Army recently awarded a contract that will result in the near-term fielding of 250 XM2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle (ESR) weapon systems chambered for .300 Winchester Magnum (Win Mag) ammunition. The new chambering significantly extends the weapon’s maximum effective range over existing 7.62mm sniper weapons. The Army expects to begin fielding the upgraded weapons to deployed U.S. Army Snipers by the end of 2010.
The XM2010 is distinguished by its advanced design and represents a quantum upgrade over the M24. The shooter interface can be tailored to accommodate a wide range of shooter preferences and its folding stock provides Soldier flexibility in transporting the weapon during operations. The weapon also incorporates advanced corrosion resistant coatings to ensure longevity. The aluminum, steel, and high impact polymers used in the weapon’s construction are lightweight and rugged.
The ESR is equipped with a Leupold Mark 4 6.5-20x50mm scope. The variable power scope includes a first focal plane reticle so when the user dials in, the reticle pattern scales with the zoom enabling the sniper to estimate range at any power setting. The scope also employs a reticle pattern that facilitates faster and more accurate range estimation and utilizes mil turret adjustments to eliminate MOA to mil conversion. The targeting stadia reticle allows for simultaneous elevation and windage holds that eliminate the need to dial in adjustments.

Upgraded weapon features:
  • Bolt action rifle chambered for .300 Winchester Magnum ammunition to increase the effective range
  • 5-round box magazine to make the system easier to load and reload
  • Rail endowed chassis and free floating barrel that allow for easier mounting of weapon accessories and greater accuracy
  • Folding and adjustable stock that includes comb and length-of-pull adjustments
  • Leupold Mark 4 6.5-20x50mm Extended Range/Tactical riflescope fielded with the AN/PVS-29 Clip-on Sniper Night Sight
  • Quick attach/detach suppressor to reduce audible and visible signature with an available thermal sleeve that reduces mirage effect on heated suppressors
 Click picture to enlarge

Oct 9, 2010

Multicam now available from 5.11 Tactical.

The 5.11 Multicam Rapid Assult Shirt 65% Polyester 35% Cotton Ripstop Multicam pattern sleeves have double articulated elbows for maximum durability. Angled shoulder pockets offer easy access and a loop patch on both arms allows patch application. A lighter weight 5oz knit body with back and side mesh inserts has wicking and moisture management perfect for wearing alone or as a base layer under body armor. The ¾ zip front allows added ventilation and zips to a full mandarin collar to prevent chafing from body armor. The hardwearing 5.11 Multicam Rapid Assault Shirt are available in sizes Small to 3XL and prized starting at $59.99.
One of 5.11’s most requested styles, considered by many as the new standard and a replacement for the old style BDU, the 5.11 TDU, is now available in Multicam. The 5.11 TDU Pant has all the features an operator needs. Utilizing 65% polyester 35% cotton ripstop Multicam material, which resists tearing and abrasion, 5.11 Multicam TDU pants are triple-stitched and bartacked in all stress areas. A self-adjusting comfort waistband with no metal buckles helps you bend and stretch with ease. The double-layered knee pockets fit neoprene kneepads for on-the-ground activities on the range or in the field. Front pockets are strong and roomy. Large side pockets are designed with an added inside pocket containing a divider allowing each side to hold two AR mags securely. Two rear pockets round out the storage needs of any assignment. Genuine YKK® zippers and quality PRYM® snaps stay zipped and snapped even under the most strenuous activities. 5.11 TDU pants in Multicam are available in sizes Small to 3XL and prized starting at $69.99.

U.S. Army orders firearms simulator.

The U.S. Army has ordered a VirTra Systems multi-tiered, multi-system firearm simulator, the company announced.
The Army also contracted the company for a firearms simulator at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
“Being recognized by the United States military as the absolute best option for the most ultra-realistic, use-of-force simulation is indeed a great honor and testament to VirTra’s tireless team; however, we are not motivated by recognition. Our objective is to save lives and by creating the best simulation product on the market, we are doing our part to keep our troops, law enforcement and civilians safe,” said Don Andrus, president and chief operating officer of VirTra Systems.

About the contract:

According to the award, the U.S. Army has purchased one of VirTra’s world-class VirTra 300 MIL simulators with an elevated deck and HD sound effects for complete auditory immersion. This fully immersive five-screen, ultra-realistic military enhanced use-of-force simulator, is equipped with recoil kits, return fire simulation (Threat-Fire™ II) devices, multiple tetherless firearm recoil kits, a full Taser package, firearm refill and recharge stations, M16 rifle kits with Smart Magazines as were recoil kits for M-9 Berettas, M-16’s, M-4’s and Crew Served M240’s and M249’s. VirTra’s proprietary Recoil Refill Stations were also included in the award. The VirTra 300 is the only 5 screen, 300° simulator with seamless video available in the marketplace today. This fully immersive, ultra realistic training environment is as valuable in the Military community as it is in Law Enforcement.
In addition, the U.S. Army has awarded VirTra Systems the contract for a firearms training simulator at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. A mere 15 miles North of the Mexican border, Ft. Huachuca was used as headquarters for the campaign against Geronimo and tasked with guarding the U.S. border. The Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) provides police, fire, security and emergency services for the mountainous southern Arizona base. The organization chose the VirTra 300 LE over all others due to VirTra’s unparalleled immersive and effective training environment. Along with the simulator, several recoil kits and VirTra’s Threat-Fire™ II return fire simulator were purchased. The Threat-Fire™ II provides instant performance feedback via an acute biofeedback stimulus. This increases the intensity and effectiveness of the training, which aligns with the high standards of proficiency demanded by the DES.
Source: UPI.com.

Magpul’s EMAG gets 2nd window; Brits sign up for 1 million

We just heard from Magpul that they’ve added a second window on their EMAG. So, all 1000 of you in the US using EMAGs in your HK416s can now check your round count from the right AND left side, should you choose. This is an inline change, so all EMAGs going forward are going to have windows on both sides once the single windows are sold out.
The bigger news is that Magpul is shipping 1,000,000 of these updated EMAGs to the Brits to fulfill an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) which is the Queens’s slang for a UONS. The EMAG was designed to work with foreign made STANAG 4179 rifles such as the UKs bullpup SA80 assault rifles and the HK 416, FN SCAR, Beretta ARX-160, IMI Tavor. While it’s optimized for use in foreign arms, it also does just fine in an AR/M16/M4 platform.

Oct 7, 2010

Spoils of war for sale in Pakistan border town

By Chris Brummitt - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Oct 6, 2010

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — In this town along the road to the Afghan border, you can buy U.S. Army gear, computers and manuals instructing soldiers how to avoid roadside bombs. Traders are coy about where their stock comes from, but much is stolen from trucks carrying military supplies into Afghanistan.
Not only does the trade include materials of potential value to insurgents, it also illustrates the challenges of securing supply lines into landlocked Afghanistan, a task underscored in recent days by the closure of the main route through Pakistan and subsequent fiery attacks on convoys.
Islamabad stopped NATO and U.S. convoys from crossing the Torkham border along the famed Khyber Pass last week in protest after a NATO helicopter killed three Pakistani troops.
Seven days later, more than 100 oil tankers were lined up along the road into Peshawar, the main city in the northwest. Their drivers and assistants have been sleeping beneath them, and frustrations are mounting. They wait in fear of the insurgents, who appear to have stepped up their attacks since the closure in a bid to further expose the vulnerability of the mission in Afghanistan.
At one container terminal, frozen chickens from the United States, eggs from Canada and meat from India are piling up, unable to journey on to Afghanistan. The manager of the complex says the goods are not intended for foreign forces and he fears they will be ruined if the closure continues much longer.
On Wednesday, more than two dozen tankers were attacked, this time close to the other border crossing in the southwest, officials said. The attack on the outskirts of Quetta town left one driver dead and was the sixth since the closure.
The Sitara Market, on the outskirts of Peshawar, is some 100 yards from the border that separates the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan from the rest of the country. Across the frontier, there are no courts or regular police. Hashish and heroin, smuggled goods and firearms are big business, and al-Qaida and other Islamist militants have long found haven there.
The market's proximity to the crossing is no coincidence. For more than 25 years, scores like it have sprung up, dealing in Western goods such as diapers, food and electronics either smuggled from, or headed into, Afghanistan.
In 2002, several small shops in the two-story, rundown complex began selling looted goods from the several hundred containers that rumble across the border each day. The boots, torches, tools, medical equipment, office supplies, food and military uniforms are in demand because they are of better quality and cheaper than similar goods for sale in northwest Pakistan.
"American goods are No. 1," said one shopkeeper who gave his name only as Muhammad. "Everything is the best."
Earlier this month, Pakistan's Frontier Corps raided warehouses in the tribal regions and recovered helicopter spare parts, medical instruments, flak jackets and photos sent by the family members of U.S. soldiers. The head of the Pakistani Taliban was filmed last year driving a U.S. Humvee seized from one container.
Gangs, sometimes working with militants who are in control of parts of the region, are behind most of the raids.
One trader said some of the material came from Afghanistan, where there are also markets in Kabul that sell similar goods. He suggested that some NATO soldiers or contractors might sell off unwanted supplies there.
NATO officials in Afghanistan say militant attacks and looting have no effect on operations there.
The vast majority of goods that arrive in the seaport of Karachi and make the five-day trip to Kabul through Peshawar and the Khyber Pass to Torkam or through Chaman in the southwest arrive safely. Weapons, ammunition and other sensitive materials are flown into Afghanistan.
A rummage through some of the roughly dozen stalls at the market in Peshawar unearthed several documents that would be of potential use to militants, perhaps most alarmingly a booklet showing in words and pictures how "jammers" on military vehicles can stop remote-controlled bombs.
The 171-page manual is marked "for official use only" and urges the information in the book not to be talked about in an open area and destroyed rather than thrown away.
The owner of the market, Hanif Afridi, pointed out a shop, closed during a recent visit, that sold army computers and other electronic equipment he said were "so heavy you need a truck" to lift them.
Traders said it was possible to order most goods, including bulletproof glass and fortified vehicle chassis.
Rumor has it that firearms, even American-issue ones, are also for sale. While an Associated Press reporter had no luck finding any, occasional bursts of gunfire could be heard in the distance.
"That is people trying before buying" at stalls just across the frontier, explained one man who asked not to be named.
U.S. Navy Capt. Gary Kirchner, a spokesman for NATO forces in Afghanistan, declined to comment on specific items for sale.
The market has no problems with the police, but Taliban militants visited last year demanding store owners with signs reading "American Goods" paint over them, which they did, Afridi said.
Afridi, who once traded tea from Africa to Pakistan, said he also took down a sign outside the market advertising the fact that U.S. goods were available for the same reason.
Traders said business was not as good as it used to be, which most people put down to the precarious security situation in Peshawar. The same lawlessness that saw many of the goods reach the market is now scaring customers away.
Pakistan's closing of the Torkham border to NATO convoys was a sign of the anger in the Pakistani military establishment at the NATO helicopter strike and other recent incursions into Pakistani airspace.
It was also bad news for Anwar Saeed, the manger of a logistics company that on a normal month transports 500 containers of refrigerated food from Karachi to Afghanistan. He has containers stuck at the border and about 100 piled up at his terminal.
He said his food is for regular Afghans, part of an import business that has been running since 1965, but authorities mistakenly branded his containers as NATO ones.
Authorities have not said much about the blockade and few local officials are willing to give details on exactly what is being held up. Saeed and Shakir Khan Afridi, president of the Khyber Transport Association, said non-NATO goods were being allowed to cross the border.
This isn't the first hit to Saeed's business. In July the border was closed for two weeks because of a truckers strike. Then the worst floods in Pakistan's history washed away a bridge on the route, causing further delays. He now has angry Afghan businessmen waiting for orders that are costing him thousand of dollars to keep frozen at his terminal.
"We are losing customers — not just us, but the whole country. The Afghans will start looking to Iran," Saeed said. "How can we make money with the border closed?"
Back along the road to Peshawar, stranded drivers anxiously wait for word of the border reopening.
Zulfikar Ali said truck stop owners no longer let he and other drivers stay there because of the risk of attack. He said there were poisonous snakes in the forests by the side of the road where they forage for fire wood, and he and others were running out of money.
"I don't know what the trouble at the top is, but it's dangerous here," he said.
Associated Press writer Heidi Vogt in Afghanistan contributed to this report.

Trijicon RMR

When precision is the only option, your best option is the Trijicon RMR™ Sight. Built to provide optimum red-dot visibility against the target, you can acquire and hit your target quickly and more accurately.
The new Trijicon RMR™ (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) has been introduced to match the legendary toughness of the Trijicon ACOG® (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight).
It can be teamed up with the ACOG® or AccuPoint® for the ultimate in fast target acquisition or precise aiming at extended distances.
The RMR™ offers two illumination configurations. One choice is an innovative LED (light emitting diode) insert that automatically adjusts for brightness in any lighting situation and ensures optimum visibility of dot against the target. The second option is a dual-illuminated, battery-free model featuring Trijicon fiber optics and tritium. Accuracy is further enhanced with adjustments for wind-age and elevation and clarity is assured with the sight’s ultra-clear, hard-coated lens. 

Click pictures to enlarge

Oct 4, 2010

Fighting in martial-arts course to be reduced

By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 4, 2010

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps is creating new guidelines for its top martial arts instructors that will dial back fighting and place greater emphasis on teaching.
Marines who attend the seven-week Martial Arts Instructor Trainer Course at Quantico’s Martial Arts Center of Excellence learn how to train and certify Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructors, but “some things had crept into [the curriculum] that weren’t really about training instructors,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commanding general of Training Command.
Brogan, who took over at Training Command in July, declined to discuss prospective changes, saying the new program of instruction will be sorted out in a course curriculum review board this fall. He did, however, hint at a couple of reasons for the revision.

Oct 1, 2010

Photo of the Month September 2010

AT4 Back Blast
Click picture to enlarge

Rover gets a post-apocalyptic makeover

The makers of Rover, a mobile “smart” target based on a Segway platform, have given the robotic target a makeover. The target, which can autonomously zoom around live-fire ranges and mimic the behavior of insurgents or civilians has been given more armor, more speed and more computing power.

The target is now under testing by the Marine Corps which hopes the robots could soon provide Marines with training scenarios that are more unpredictable and more realistic.
Rover, also called “Autonomous Robots Networked for Live-fire Training” or A.R.N.L.T. – which sounds a lot like “Arnold” as in Arnold Schwarzenegger – has had its sensitive electronics encased in a more robust metal casing to protect them from repeated hits. The new armor was added as a result of Marine Corps requests to beef up the robot which was originally developed in conjunction with the Australian Defense Force for use as a precision sniper training tool.
Marines, however, hope to use it for training in close-quarters combat scenarios, said Ralph Petroff, a Marathon Robotics spokesman at Modern Day Marine. Those types of scenario increase the chances that the robot’s more sensitive components will take repeated hits. Other updates include more computing power to accommodate future updates to artificial intelligence software and an improved mechanism that controls the way the robots torso drops when hit, said Tobias Kaupp, director of Marathon Targets.

At Modern Day Marines, A.R.N.L.T also got a face lift. The robot always sounded like something straight out of “Terminator.” Now, it looks the part.
By early summer, Marathon robotics hopes to deliver robots for the final phase of testing by Marine Corps Systems Command. If they pass muster, Marines could soon have A.R.N.L.T. in their sights by next fall. Other services could also procure the robot for use.

 Click picture to enlarge

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