1 Aug 18
After decades of piously assuring us the 5.56×45 round was “adequate” for military purposes, despite mounting complaints (unsatisfactory range and penetration), dating back to Vietnam, the Pentagon has apparently finally changed its mind!
In spite of a dreary series of failed “wonder bullets” that have, every few years, come forth to “upgrade” the 5.56 round, faith that the 5.56 can ever be “adequate” is fading!
Just as the Marines are buying the HK 416 (M27), a gas-piston AR (in 5.56×45 caliber), to replace aging M4s, Congress and the Army are putting the breaks on that project!
After fifty years of pointless hope that the 5.56×45 round might really be “adequate,” a new, bigger military caliber may now be about to make its debut!
When the AR (in 5.56×45 caliber) first reared its head, and garnered the attention of then Secretary of Defense McNamara, it was slated to gradually replace only the M1 Carbine, never the M1 Garand, later the short-lived M14.
The M1 Carbine, manufactured by the millions during WWII, was originally intended only for read-area defense and police actions. It was never intended to be a front-line, battle rifle, although it eventually found its way into every corner of the campaign during WWII and Korea.
When I was in Vietnam in 1968, M1 Carbines were still around in large numbers. I saw (and used) plenty of them!
Yet, the AR (in 5.56×45 caliber) somehow eventually became the main, battle rifle of all US Forces, and remains in that status to this day! This, despite continuous misgivings about its adequacy that have been desperately voiced since Vietnam!
Up until now, the Pentagon as assured us that these qualms about adequacy were all in our imaginations!
That is apparently about to change.
Of course, the Pentagon will never admit they’ve been wrong all this time. They’ll simply say “It’s time to move on!”
It was “time to move on” fifty years ago!