After the end of the second World War, there were two fundamentally different approaches to the question of how to arm the infantry.
First of their armament of troops meant a machine gun and a semi-automatic sniper rifle, rifle cartridge, automatically under the crotch special cartridge and a gun under his weakened cartridge. This was adopted in Russian Army concept was based on the need to equip the bulk of the fighter to fight at a distance of up to 600 m (the limit dismounting infantry) universal assault rifle. Stake was not really aimed at the fire with a 200-400 m All targets at a greater distance were affected by fire armor.
This approach was designed for mass army in the global war where conscripts can not handle very complex instrument. He also attracted to the leaders of the Third World guerrillas (and government troops, not much different from the partisans) could easily be used for the dignity of the AK good for this gun ranges, where the smallest than the rifles firing range and accuracy compensated density of fire.
Second approach was to equip the army machine gun and automatic rifle under a single rifle cartridge, also a submachine gun and a pistol.
The concept was based on the well-trained fighter, which fugitive single well-aimed fire striking the enemy at great distances. In the case of convergence to the small distance switched to automatic rifle fire. Crews fighting vehicles, the soldiers were armed units provide comfort for self-defense short range pistols, machine guns. This idea has been implemented in the countries of NATO and a number of third world countries.
Rifles: M14, FN FAL, G3, CETMO, designed in the main to a single fire, gave way to Russian SVD only on the quality of execution. Oh, and chuck them in slightly weaker.
This concept has endured harsh configuration in the 60-70s when these rifles were changed to new weapon of 5.56 x 45 mm. The premise is that war 50's and 60's were somewhat unexpected for Western strategists temper. Specifically, African and Asian guerrillas were not far firefight in the open, and immediately converged on the rather short distance comfort for the fire with a submachine gun in bolshennom amount remaining from the last war and generously supplied from the USSR. Automatic rifle with a forced in this situation firing bursts gave a very low accuracy.
According to the official statistics of the U.S. war in Vietnam, the vast majority of fire contact occurred at distances up to 25 meters. With all of this on the 1st Viet Cong had killed 50,000 spent cartridges! Not the case, and the emblem of the euro mercenary in Africa was not a rifle, but effective in close combat submachine gun "Uzi." In general, when it has spread throughout the continent, the guerrillas were replaced by the PCA, the "Stan" and "Vigneron" on the AK-47. In a guerrilla war, he was out of the competition. Also in Vietnam, South American fighters armed with captured willingly "Kalash" instead of "native" M14 and M1 carbine.
Zagashnika of Uncle Sam
Vietnam has become the U.S. military, a "moment of truth", to identify the difficulties of military vehicles, including those relating to small cannon. The question of the adoption of a assault rifle that is similar in features with AK-47s, stood up with all sharpness.
Meanwhile, in store from Uncle Sam was specifically what was required. Back in the late 50's South American designer Eugene Stoner developed a lightweight assault rifle. But the AR-15, as initially called the M16, was not necessary. Because of the then prevailing approach to small arms and shortcomings of existing designs its recognition was delayed for long years. But there would be happiness, but unhappiness CONTRIBUTE: accepted into service in 1957, the 7.62-mm M14 rifle showed very low efficiency of fire, especially in close combat. In 10 years it took to rearm the army.
Stoner took a truly revolutionary solution — assault rifle should be small-bore. Because of this, the new instrument should provide tremendous accuracy when firing bursts, and the number of portable weapons (small-bore cartridge weighs almost half as much). So Makarov specifically with the brainchild of Eugene Stoner started a global trend to reduce the caliber, the result of which was born and Russian AK-74. Although to date, there is a dispute between supporters and opponents of a small caliber, sustainability trends, certainly confirms the propriety of South American design solutions.
In 1959, the Colt company buys the right to form AR-15 Armalite and the company began developing a commercial version of the rifle. Go with that, she was introduced to the competition tests the choice of a promising army guns.
Task of the competition were as follows: the weight of the rifle — less than 2.7 kg with magazine for 20 rounds and with the possibility of automatic fire capable of at the range of 450-500 meters to get to the head of a target of at least one bullet from the first stage and break both walls of the Iron Army helmet.
The results of the tests were very successful. AR-15 was superior in accuracy M14 1.2 times, and to spend one and a half times less ammo for the same purposes. With a total weight of 7.5 kg (for certain guns and ammunition) fighter could carry a M14 with 100 rounds or AR-15 (M16) with 250. The good points were manifest beforehand.
In autumn 1961 the AR-15 was sent to the field tests in South Vietnam. All the set requirements have been met, and May 15, 1962 rifle is the USAF.
In 1963 he was awarded a contract with Colt to supply 85,000 rifles to be tested in different types of troops, in all weather zones. Identified some shortcomings that reduce the reliability of the instruments, and measures to address them. So, namely, the receiver appeared pusher for manual return valve in a frontal position in case it does not close by pollution. With these configurations, rifle, received the name of the M16A1, was adopted by the entire Army and Navy of America. The company received an order for 700,000 rifles for the needs of the Army and Marine Corps in Vietnam.
Lesser of two evils
But even after upgrading the M16 was still far from perfect. It was just as sensitive to operating conditions. It turned out that the M16 has a barrel capillary properties, collecting and holding water (to avoid this, it was recommended to use special protective caps). In addition, due to substitution of gunpowder cartridges has increased dramatically in the rate of fire — up to 1000 rounds per minute, which led to various delays in the delivery of fire.
Until now, many Vietnam veterans believe that the blame for the death of their comrades rifle, the failed at the worst possible moment. Without looking at it, the introduction of M16
A1 held at a heightened pace. Since the choice was especially not anything else: a rifle, "Garand", which served as the Yankees during the second World Wars and the Korean is quite obsolete, and the creation of the M14 has been discontinued.
Already in 1978, started programm to upgrade and M16A1 was developed new model M16A2, entered service in 1982. The main differences are: a hard and very long barrel, the substitution of automatic fire mode at a fixed queue (three shots), brand new design muzzle brake — compensator, a new sight and a modified configuration of the pistol grip and fore-end.
"When the M16A2 began to appear in the military, everyone was very happy: the improvements that have been implemented on it, we are offered, it was what was on the mind even when we first met with the gun Stoner. Finally there was an instrument worthy of the men were sentenced experienced sergeants "eyrbonn", by driving at almost 300 yards a bullet in the other. Cannon and indeed could be called "good": thanks to the languid trunk could, in the end, long enough to shoot bursts, which previously was unrealistic, the return was seen almost half the weaker version of an old — because of just a little bit wider and fore-end greater mass.
The sight had acquired the usual adjusting screws, now pristrelyat tool could at least some rookie. Accuracy is typically about 2-3.5 inches at 100 yards, but the individual trunks knocked out, and 1 1 2 of the same distance. Shooting for 300-400 yards now been able to cause a gunslinger megalomania — so just became a target spread apart. This contributed to and more than sturdy and roomy nylon magazine for 30 rounds. Bayonet included in the set A2 looked cool, but the sense of it was already palpably less than from a longish previous modification.
Sight with 2 holes was also, perhaps, to anything: even with a huge fire in the twilight seemed unsuccessful jestingly, as well as mark 800 yards. USM cut-off three-shot also will not name right: we have at Fort Bragg was able to cut off three shots each recruit on the second day of shooting.
But the single shooting because of detail cutoff was even less comfortable, the descent was rough, more languid and with the failure at the end. Because at the moment, many rifles in the Army and Navy, such devices do not have. At 800 yards you can get to the target except that the size of an elephant, although the energy of the bullet still fully sufficient. But it became markedly better zapregradnoe of bullets, formerly of approximately zero "- welcomed the newest rifle officer airborne U.S. troops shooting instructor Dan Shani.
And the brand new modification has not been flawless. Shortcomings rifle listed as before the low reliability of the revertible spring, excessive miniaturization of components, sensitivity to contamination.
Not looking for a significant upgrade on this day M16A2 and A3 represents, in the views of American professionals unpromising model AK74M less than that for safety, accuracy of fire bursts, the action of the breakdown and compactness.
First trophy M16 hit the Russian testing laboratories by the end of 1967. The research identified a number of positive properties: top killer of bullets, excellent ergonomics, superior overall fire. But along with this there is a very low overhead sturdiness and reliability of the automation, especially in complex criteria. In conclusion, professionals emphasized: rifle does not apply to-hand combat, and an accidental fall on a rigid base may prevent her upcoming combat deployment.
The usual contenders
Usually, at least some discussion of the M16 family of rifles will inevitably end with a comparison with the coming of their rivals — Kalashnikovs. Since the policy and arms market — things are virtually unbreakable, these arguments are often given its proper coloring. To avoid accusations of partiality and bias of the state will provide an opportunity to compare the M16 and AK South American spices — already mentioned Dan Shani: "An alternative to the M16 From ancient times was the AK. AK can not be called non-personal weapon, perhaps more reliable standard infantry weapons of mass since the Mauser 98. AK extensively tested in the U.S. Army, and even apply a separate special units of the Navy in the process of some local conflicts.
When we got the opportunity to shoot for contrast and an AK, the main Russian AK-47 production, the gun seemed to all something like a sling and bow simple savages, so it just was arranged and decorated, but for 300 yards bullet 7.62 completely pierced the brickwork, and just could destroy a fighter takes cover behind it. This could not fail to impress.
AK modern production is nearly 10-second part of the price of M16A3. But, despite the many positive properties that do not itemize, AK has a number of features that limit the flexibility of its implementation. So, absolutely iron construction enhances the strength of guns, increasing service life and maintainability, but deprives reserve the right tools for the growth of mass firepower. If the M16 after the upgrade, in other words, extending the stock and barrel weighting, began to weigh only 300 grams more, these improvements on the AK increasing its mass to be unacceptable for combat guns — more than 4 kg, which is seen in the M3 Saiga rifles and RPK.
I am sure that in the Russian Union created Kalashnikovs with light-alloy receiver, but they are, of course, could not pass stringent tests to Russian love to stir up their own arms …
Accuracy of the AK is not as bad as people love to read about her inflated turkeys who believe that East Germany in Europe entirely savagery and squalor. AK-47 was not just quite clear, namely that a high-precision instrument.
100 yards across to me most of the AK with milled receiver confidently knocked 2-2,5-3,5 inches, which is a combat weapon such capacity is quite enough. And the results would be better if the AK sight more convenient, and better yet — be in addition to the 1.5 multiple of the collimator. Completely accurate fire from an AK 7.62 can be carried up to 400 yards, at this distance the holes from bullets from an AK-47 are scattered in 7 inch circle. In my opinion, it's perfectly fine. Even better tool 5.45. From it I can effortlessly hit a target up to 600 yards, but a clear shooting with real optics for 400 yards, with all this dissipation does not exceed 4-5 inches. It must be assumed that the firing of the AK-74M with power receiver will have the best results, it's not to mention the modification of the caliber .223 Rem (caliber 5.56 x 45 NATO — approx SS).
The rest of the "shortcomings", attributed AK: the difficulty of contiguity store, no slide stop, awkward Tipo sight, fuse, small butt — it's not defects, but rather features. Shop, maybe Adjoining not as natural as a store of M-16A2 or HK G33, but it is adjacent ALWAYS, even when the soldier with the gun in his hand crept along 500 meters of mud, and then lay down in a ditch in a rice field filled as put these fields, water …
This is a real example, and if you had to pick out at least once gryazyuka of receive window box M16 to shove there accursed shop, you would have thought that, for sure, and you can somehow different … For abutting shop AK does not require any effort or ability. It's no more complicated than sticking a film in the camera, bar of soap, and there is nothing to invent.
Fuse AK generally do not need to be included if there is even the smallest possibility of instant discovery of fire. The gun does not fire, even if it is put on the concrete floor, the descent is quite robust and will not break unnecessarily. It is well-known difficulty to clear the fire — but also corrects the usual skill. Of the AK can sh
oot accurately and with such descent, and the sight, the least successful than the diopter, for far clearer shot simultaneously allows to carry fire on small and medium distances. Diopter in such situations is blocking the entire snow-white light, and it is unlikely to be called comfortable.
Slide catch — it's all stuff for everybody. On the M16, it rapidly goes down from the usual nastrela. In my opinion, no better latency than this, which can skew from the first round, so that it will have to beat. AK butt really small, but when it comes to shoot in tight jacket and gear, it feels noticeably less like "harmony" and fore-end handle.
As for the M16A3, then it has a lot of shortcomings, which immediately begin to irritate. One of them — dimensions that led to those high ceilings and M2A2 M113 (South American armored vehicles — approx., SS), and M4 carbines for a long time is not enough.
Meanwhile, the experience of the first clashes in the Gulf showed that this firing range when firing pins does not exceed 300 yards. This event is nullified the concept of a "longish infantry rifle", which occupied the brains of our commanders since the 2nd World War, and partially reinforced by the experience of fighting in the mountainous regions of Vietnam.
Personally, I think the "longish" rifle with a barrel .20 inches just had to be a "special" tool mountain rifle parts, and for all the other with a longish 14.5-inch barrel and folding butt, how to modify the M4.
Another very significant drawback — the overall fragility of the structure. Not just from hitting the ground in the fall (which is also not uncommon), and at random shocks on housing armored vehicles, on handrails of the stairs, on the other fighter on the rifle receiver cracks appeared. In most cases, this change were treated only receiver. This meant not only the loss of true state $ 200, and a week in the studio, and the latest sighting. And it happens quite often, much more often than it should be with a conventional combat weapon.
On the reliability of AR-15 rifles and army general namely speaks a lot. I can only say that my M16 has never failed me in a difficult situation. But! In general, the reliability of instruments comparable low. In experienced hands, the M16 will never sink into gryazyuka, even if the shooter would be in it for the most domes, never hlebnet water will always be cleaned and lubricated. But the inexperienced fighter always will find a method to increase tool to complete worthlessness. Examples of the Persian Gulf was a lot of … When the mechanism of the M16 got the sand, it does not always stop shooting, but soon could completely drop out of order due to breakage. There is an excellent method to avoid this — do not disassemble the rifle on the other as in a closed room. But since it is often necessary to do right in HAMVEE (army vehicle "Hammer" — approx. SS) or in a tent, the dust got in the right quantity.
Hence the conclusion — the rifle is of little use for a long stand-alone campaign. Another "little thing": the water in contact with the barrel of the M16 does not always shake out in one motion because of its small diameter, long length and a typical type of rifling. The result — a trunk fails after several (2-or 3) shots, and requests the change. Interestingly, the AK-74, with almost the same caliber, this defect completely devoid of …
We often hear that the M16A2 is an instrument of experts, for which accuracy is more important than the possibility of a transfer of pollution.
This, to put it mildly, is not it. The war is entirely composed of episodes, not quite fall under the statutes that civilians called extreme. Specialist in combat should grow together with the instrument, it must be specifically that is 100% reliable, and the 1st pros can not be convinced that the main thing in the war — to keep track of the condition of the rifle. Hurry M16 can be called a good sport rifle, which is limited can be used as an army. "
Not only practitioners, such as Dan Shani, and weapons experts of many countries, including the United States, the M16, even after the latest upgrade is obsolete.
But the creation of numerous sample the latest assault rifle did not lead to the desired result. And therefore, by implication, M16A3 will be in service with the U.S. Army is still quite a long time. So far, despite all their own patriotism, U.S. special forces soldiers are increasingly use foreign-made weapon: a German submachine gun MP-5, "Uzi», G3, Israeli "Galil" or even AK, as, for example, now in Afghanistan and Iraq .
With all of this M16, M16A1, A2, A3 are the armies of the 27-states, among which, Honduras, Guatemala, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mexico, Bimbo Zealand, Iran, Oman, Panama, Taiwan. She performed with some changes in South Korea, Canada and China. In addition, the M16A3 is in service with an elite British SAS. The fact that the British assault rifle, "Enfield" L85A1 is even worse: the reliability of instruments was below any acceptable standards. For example, during "Operation Desert Storm" it showed the highest sensitivity to clogging devices, and in prone flow of gases from the flame arrester raised dust accumulation. During the Kosovo operation massive failure guns British soldier forced hastily rearmed part of the contingent of South American rifles.
It seems that it was, but the M16 and its following modifications occupy the second, after AK highest prevalence in the world. There really should be explained that by purchasing one or other weapons, the government was forced to manage not only the military aspects, but even more by political considerations. After all, what weapon armed fighters, indicates the general orientation of the country.
It is worth noting that small gun was not the main direction of development of military-technical thought the United States. The last decades have been the priority of military-space gun, aircraft and missile technology and a number of other areas — in which the Yankees success is much more impressive.
But the recent actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown impressively that there are situations in which the geophysical weapon, fighter aircraft or satellites, stealth bomber can not change the reliable assault rifle, or, as they say here, the machine.