Small Arms Thread

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Shameek
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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Shameek » 03 Mar 2009 21:59

vavinash wrote:Is it for the army? What variant? Kalantak? carbine? LMG


Not the army. The CRPF and certain police forces. I dont know the variants. Will try and find out.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby RayC » 03 Mar 2009 22:37

On effect of various issue that affects killing the enemy with a rifle:

* Absolute maximum effective range: This the "this round is not considered lethal after crossing this threshold" distance. Neither of the other two common "maximum range" values will be greater than this. Purportedly, NATO defines this as the point at which the projectile's kinetic energy dips below 85 joules (115.2 foot-pounds). This is typically claimed when recounting that the P90's effective range is 400 meters on unarmored targets, as classified by NATO. It's worth noting that while the P90 looks neater than the civilian PS90, the extra barrel length increases the muzzle velocity and thus the civilian model actually has a longer absolute max effective range.

* Maximum effective range on a point target: This is the maximum range at which an average shooter can hit a human-sized target 50% of the time. "Point target" is basically a euphemism for hitting a human torso sized area in this context. If this range were greater than the absolute maximum, the absolute maximum would be quoted (a non-lethal hit may be accurate, but it's not effective).

* Maximum effective range on an area target: This is the maximum range at which an average shooter can hit a vehicle-sized target 50% of the time. In other words, this is the maximum distance at which it would make sense to open fire on a group or vehicle, etc. If this range were greater than the absolute maximum, the absolute maximum would be quoted (a non-lethal hit may be accurate, but it's not effective).
1830m
http://thegunwiki.com/Gunwiki/FactorsOfEffectiveRange

Another site is equally interesting:

A summary of infantry rifle caliber discussions and relevant wound ballistics
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009 ... allistics/

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby manish » 09 Mar 2009 12:59

In the newbie thread and in the Misc pictures thread, there was a discussion on the supply of INSAS to the state police forces. Here's an article that mentions something related:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Assam-cops-given-AK-47s-to-fight-but-no-bullets-CAG/articleshow/4241867.cms
Assam Police, under the modernization of police force (MPF) schemes, got 5200 INSAS rifles worth Rs 13.06 crore from MHA, 1680 of which were withdrawn in December 2007 as the district police were not specially trained to handle the INSAS rifles.

These rifles are now lying unused at the district police headquarters, the CAG reported.

Interesting part is that it also gives a quote on INSAS' price - a bit of madrassa math gives 13.06 crores/5200 = ~Rs. 25115 = ~US$492 @ Rs. 51/$. The article doesn't mention about the ammo, so may be, just may be the cost includes the 5.56 ammo as well because I do recall INSAS' price being put at US$360 or so a few years ago - can't find a reference though.
Now, the AKs were bought for:
The CAG report tabled in the state legislative assembly on Saturday stated that during 2004-05, the ministry of home affairs supplied 2,000 AK-47s at a cost of Rs 1.60 crore without any ammunition.

More madrassa math gives 1.6 crores/2000 = ~Rs. 8000 = ~US$156.

But I do remember the 1995 AK-47 purchase (from Romania) being around Rs. 85 crores for 100K rifles, which again works out to Rs 8500/per rifle.

So INSAS costs nearly three times as much as an AK. Not surprising since those AKs are probably mfged in Soviet era factories in CommBlock countries where fixed costs/R&D costs have all been written off decades ago, but then again, I am not too sure that OFB factors these into the price either!(Of course I am assuming these AKs were bought from one of the CommBlock countries and are not the OFB manufactured A-7s or something similar!). I am also assuming :P that the AK is probably much simpler to manufacture as well considering its design philosophy and origins.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby PranoyG » 09 Mar 2009 14:56

A Sharma wrote:
RAJYA SABHA

..........

Any idea which assault rifle are we buying?
TIA


Could be the M4A1 from the USA as a foreign military sale:

http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw-17.html

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby skher » 09 Mar 2009 16:35

manish wrote:
So INSAS costs nearly three times as much as an AK.

I am also assuming :P that the AK is probably much simpler to manufacture as well considering its design philosophy and origins.


manish saar,imo that's the story of 1.5x of the cost difference.
Here's the other 1.5x of the cost difference.

By madrassa math,we can also see that the limited orders and maintenance of old unreliable machine tool equipment drives ups costs significantly.
The union leaders' red brigade also stands guard to ensure high costs.

AK was a constituent of mass production,by mass production and for mass production.
Hence,a very lethal weapon that any musharraf could buy and would swear by.

The OFB otoh has less fortunate.

INSAS is currently a constituent of mass confusion,by mass confusion and for limited consumption.

Hence the potential for rampant politicking.

The INSAS true cost advantage (to become 1.5 times lower than AK/M4) comes when OFB is allowed huge export orders and undergoes massive re-tooling.

What has happened to its proposal to set up a Rosboronexport equivalent?

Although a terrible idea,Reliance is a leader in bringing prices down through bulk production.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby bhavani » 09 Mar 2009 19:48

How many kinds of guns will we acquire, Recently i have seen in the hands of our forces or heard the acquisition of FN P90, Different Ak series, Israeli TAR-21's, some H&K's and many more i cant even remember. I think what makes a best hand weapon, is the availabity of good match grade ammo, rather than the just the weapon itself, I think this is time, some of our local industries starts manufacturing good, ammo in huge quantities, which should make ammo cheap.

That should save us a lot of foreign exchange rather than importing all the ammo.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gerard » 15 Mar 2009 17:16

Designer armour arrives in India
But the Colombian couturier is presenting Indians with an entirely local look, special lightweight kurta-pyjamas - typical Indian cotton pants and tops worn by men and the high-collar Nehru jacket, favoured by politicians across the country. And they're a far cry from the traditional, bulky body armour favoured by police and military forces the world over, as well as politicians and journalists operating in dangerous areas.
Although Mr Caballero will not disclose what his body armour is made of, he says they have been tested against a range of ballistic weapons, from revolvers to Uzi submachine guns.
A number of Indian politicians have signed up, he tells me smiling, but of course he can't tell me who they are.

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Galil in the background?

Postby ssmitra » 26 Mar 2009 04:43



Is that a GALIL sniper rifle in the background held by the cop. Didn't kno that it has been issued to the paramilitary also.
any comments....

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Tilak » 28 Mar 2009 20:16

A handgun to defeat any body armor (Video)

The GSh-18 pistol, the world’s most lightweight handgun, is capable of piercing any body armor. Weapon designers at the arms developer and manufacturer KBP Instrument Design Bureau in Tula say it is a next generation side arm, replacing the legendary Makarov pistol.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Kersi D » 30 Mar 2009 15:35

Nitesh wrote:
nikhil_p wrote:Is it just me or does the Army directorate use a YAHOO id???
what happened to the good old .gov.in domain ids?

It's kinda strange that I have seen lot of people using yahoo id it's not only army but other departments as well. One time I asked the question why they use it? Are they using the free service or paid one. The answer was the mail server is not maintained properly and some times they don't receive the email. Hence they use yahoo as alternative sometimes you can find the id printed on there visiting cards also.


YES

We are a Software Super Power and govermint uses a free e mail software because the servers are nit maintained properly !!!

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Re: Galil in the background?

Postby Anshul » 30 Mar 2009 16:18

ssmitra wrote:

Is that a GALIL sniper rifle in the background held by the cop. Didn't kno that it has been issued to the paramilitary also.
any comments....


Looks like an INSAS derivative....!Not a GALIL.

Counter URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVVUI93I3s4

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby sarabpal.s » 30 Mar 2009 20:14

Look closely supporting arms is close to magzine in first video but in second video it is on barrel grip.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Sriman » 30 Mar 2009 20:50

In the comment section he mentions he tried a GALIL sniper as well. It does not mean he tried it the same day but very likely.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Vick » 03 Apr 2009 06:01

A pretty good site for people interested in contemporary small arms and related stuff...

http://www.defensereview.com/

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 03 Apr 2009 21:12

Italy Battle Tests new Rifle in Afghanistan


Beretta ARX.160

Image

It is Replacing

SC70/90 rifle
Image


Italian Army to Take Lighter Beretta to Field

By matthew cox Defense News

Published: 17 Jun 08:49 EDT (04:49 GMT)


PARIS - The Italian army will begin replacing its current battle rifle next year with a weapon that's far lighter and equipped with a quick-change barrel system.

It sounds impressive, but the Beretta ARX160 assault rifle didn't have to outperform any other rifles to replace the Italian's current, AR70/90, also made by Beretta.

The Italian army chose Beretta without holding an open competition, Christophe Bannier of Beretta told Defense News at the 2008 Eurosatory trade show June 17.

Bannier, the director of marketing and defense for Beretta, said the service began working with Beretta to build the new rifle in late 2003, but would not say how much money the Italians invested in the program.

Beretta will begin delivering the first 30,000 ARX160s in mid-2009, Bannier said.

The ARX160, chambered in 5.56mm, weighs 6.6 pounds, compared with the 9.9-pound AR70/90.

"The major improvement is the weight" reduction, said Bannier, adding that the ARX160 also lets soldiers change barrels with a single latch release. "In five seconds, you can go from a 12-inch barrel to a 16-inch barrel."



http://world.guns.ru/assault/as90-e.htm

Sanjay M
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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Sanjay M » 04 Apr 2009 13:14

Wow, this thing looks pretty badass:

http://www.gizmag.com/aa-12-combat-shot ... tic/11393/

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gerard » 08 Apr 2009 04:20


KBDagha
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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby KBDagha » 08 Apr 2009 09:38

Yesterday Zee news had a special report on Piglets building concrete bunkers on the J&K border. In the footage they showed Indian positions on this side of LOC. This footage showed Indigeneous Anti-material rifle Vidhvanshak (did I pronounce it correctly?) being deployed on frontlines to target these bunkers.

Regards,
Khambat Dagha.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gaur » 10 Apr 2009 02:24

This video was posted a while back in one of the BR forums.
http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/mar/050309-Defense-Research-Development-Organisation-news-Pune-weapon-systems-mordern-warfare.htm
Does anybody have any further info regarding the multicaliber weapon mentioned in the video?
Also, why are we developing 6.1 caliber ammunition? I have not heard of this caliber before. :-? Is there any particular advantage of this?
The video also mentions that the rifle will be able to use 7.62 ammo. Most of the modern weapons do not use this caliber (only ak-47 and SLR comes to mind). So why this choice? Perhaps to take advantage of commonality with our Ak-47s and SLRs?

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby ParGha » 10 Apr 2009 06:56

Parijat Gaur wrote:Also, why are we developing 6.1 caliber ammunition? I have not heard of this caliber before. :-? Is there any particular advantage of this?

The video also mentions that the rifle will be able to use 7.62 ammo. Most of the modern weapons do not use this caliber (only ak-47 and SLR comes to mind). So why this choice? Perhaps to take advantage of commonality with our Ak-47s and SLRs?


It was a misspeak about 6.1mm, I think, as he corrects himself to 6.8mm a few seconds later. The 6.8mm is a pretty common hunting round for 100 to 300 lbs game (approximately man-sized). In the West it is seen as possible middle-ground between 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO rounds, but you won't see any major military switching to it anytime soon. And "7.62mm" is a vague term, it can refer to WP's 7.62x39mm, or NATO's 7.62x51mm or scores of other possible cartridges. If only DRDO spent half the time making INSAS production "OFB"-proof and more modular... it would be a lot better investment than these experiments.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gisse » 16 Apr 2009 04:31

As a foreigner, it is hard to understand wich formations use wich rifles. Is this correct?

-The entire Indian Army is equipped with INSAS.
-CPMF usea mixture of A-7, AK-47 (mixture of German, Bulgarian, Romanian and Czech versions) and AK-103s.
-CPO use Enfields, SLRs and other older rifles.
-Zittara, Tavor, Galil, SIG and M16s are only used by Paras andSpecial Forces.
-State Police use revolvers.
Last edited by Gerard on 16 Apr 2009 04:40, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: username changed to conform with forum guidelines

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gaur » 16 Apr 2009 05:11

Gisse wrote:As a foreigner, it is hard to understand wich formations use wich rifles. Is this correct?

-The entire Indian Army is equipped with INSAS.

By and large, yes. Although a small number of SLRs are yet to be replaced. Sterling SMGs are also quite common.
Police (both central and state) , to a certain extent, is also equipped with INSAS.

-Zittara, Tavor, Galil, SIG and M16s are only used by Paras andSpecial Forces.

Other than special forces, some other forward units are also equipped with Zittara.

-State Police use revolvers.

Refer http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORCES/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=12&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=26&vmcchk=1&Itemid=26

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2009 15:32

-The entire Indian Army is equipped with INSAS.
-CPMF usea mixture of A-7, AK-47 (mixture of German, Bulgarian, Romanian and Czech versions) and AK-103s.
-CPO use Enfields, SLRs and other older rifles.
-Zittara, Tavor, Galil, SIG and M16s are only used by Paras andSpecial Forces.
-State Police use revolvers.


CPMF - Also INSAS and even SLR. you have to understand that the CPMF term includes many disparate forces with widely varying roles

CPO - No enfield, INSAS and SLRs mainly. also sterling SMG in some cases.

para and SF - also the MP-5 PSg-1 and SVD. in fact they have virtually anything they want. IIRC IAF SF (garuds) are also armed with newer ak's among other things.

state police : a combination of revolvers for officers, lee enfield .303 and smg for armed components. the specialised forces may use anything from regular SMGs, ak-47s, insas to SIG.
varies from state to state.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby HariC » 16 Apr 2009 21:35



didnt notice the land-forces urls till now - whats with all the shop browsing and virtual marts? what are you guys selling? :lol:

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 20 Apr 2009 15:53

how could you miss her ??

viewtopic.php?p=655097#p655097
btw, that's a one-point sling is it not ?

as an aside, could someone give me a primer on the types of slings and their advantages/disadvantages ? In the small arms thread, not here


Rahul M

This link should help

http://demigodllc.com/articles/tactical-slings/

Btw there are a number of different ways of wearing the Single sling.

The picture above has a women with an machine pistol with no Butt. From what i have been told if you have a rifle with a butt you place it on your shoulder make your body compact and squeeze the triger. Helps give stability to the rifle via your body.

However if you have a machine pistol (Mp-5,etc) with no butt. You have to extend the gun till the Sling is taunt at the back of your shoulder. This is how you give stability to the Gun.

In the first case the The trigger hand is closer to chest. Second way its as far away as possible. (Arms fully extended).

Also IMO a single sling for a Personel Body guards also help with Concealment of weapon if possible. Not so wasy with 2 or 3 point slings.

A 3 Point Sling was the innovation of Navy Seal Master Chief Dennis Chalker. (Served with Marchinko . was Founding member of both ST-6 and red cell)

Chalker is also credited for inventing and developing a tactical rifle and submachine gun sling known as the Chalker Sling while at SEAL Team Six. The Chalker Sling attaches the long gun to the shooter via a harness which enables the operator to quickly transition to a secondary weapon or perform another task while using both hands and keeping the weapon in a close-ready position as the weapon "hangs" from the chest, leaving just enough slack to be able to quickly bring it to firing position with little effort.[2]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Chalker

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Sanjay M » 23 Apr 2009 12:12

The US has been experimenting with High-Powered Microwave bombs, which can be built from primitive materials:

http://www.gizmag.com/portable-e-bomb/11522/

What is the danger of terrorists making use of such weapons?

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby khukri » 25 Apr 2009 10:57


Div
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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Div » 25 Apr 2009 22:27


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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gaurav_S » 01 May 2009 15:43

Future Weapons: The XM307 Auto-Grenade Launcher

Grenade launcher firing air burst rounds gets converted to machine gun withing 2mins. Very uselful in urban warfare with least collatarel damage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHf_vMd5 ... re=related

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gaur » 17 May 2009 11:53

Initially, INSAS lmg was was not extensively used in IA because of various problems including bulging of the barrel. I have read in some places that these problems have been rectified. Can someone, preferably from the army, tell if IA is currently happy with it? If yes, then have they replaced most of the bren lmgs? And if not, what problems are still remaining in the insas lmg?

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 17 May 2009 14:51

Initially, INSAS lmg was was not extensively used in IA because of various problems including bulging of the barrel. I have read in some places that these problems have been rectified. Can someone, preferably from the army, tell if IA is currently happy with it? If yes, then have they replaced most of the bren lmgs? And if not, what problems are still remaining in the insas lmg?



The INSAS is deployed with the Army from Siachen to the Deserts and from the Jungles of NE to the Deccan plateau.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Indrajit » 17 May 2009 15:25

Parijat is referring to INSAS LMG.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 17 May 2009 18:34

^^^ My bad..

On that lol. No the army does not particularly like the INSAS LMG. Not because of any faults but the weapons system as a whole. An army trooper will still take the Bren over the Insas LMG. THe Insas has however made it to a few number of troops but mainly to Paramilitary organizations. The Army maybe forced to adopt it if another viable option (replacement for the Bren and FN-Mag) is not found. I got the above from a Major at OFB Jabalpur. The Army is not too keen on a Negev ToT either. (The Negev was bought for SF requirements and a ToT was suposedly on the cards but never happened).

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gaur » 17 May 2009 19:03

^^ So what is IA doing in this matter? Almost all lmgs used by IA are obsolete. If we are to be lacking in such basic weapon systems, then it is really sad.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 17 May 2009 19:16

^^ No idea on what the IA plans to do..but the Bren and FN-MAG are still some of the best GPMGs around even if they are decades old. The Bren in India has undergone so many modifications that its hard to even count. Hell i have even heard of brit troops missing their Brens and Mags in Astan. (Read the book 3 Para)

Alot of IA opinion has also to do with the Calibre of the weapon.

IMO from whatever little i have gathered (i agree alot are from old timers) the Army still loves its Bren and FN-MAG and does not really see them as obsolete. They get the job done better than most. However the Brens do need to get replaces

IMO the Army has the following Options..

Stick to the Same 7.62mm Calibre in which case they can

- (What we can do is get ToT to make the next generations of MAGs
The American M240 is a derivative of the MAG. The FN-MAG is made in India at OFB Kanpur (i think))..

FN-MAG in American M240 Config with Picatinny rails.

Image

- Or move to a 5.56mm Derivative Weapon like the FN MINIMI or the Negev LMG (which the Army isnt all that keen on).


Lastly I have rarely seen Assault Rifle Derivative LMGs work with other armies. The British Army current SA-80 LMG was kinda forced down their throats.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 17 May 2009 19:19

BTW the Bren is also in production in India.

http://ofbindia.gov.in/products/data/weapons/wsc/16.htm

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby Gaur » 17 May 2009 19:48

FN-MAG and FN MINIMI seem to be only good options. I am personally more inclined towards FN MINIMI. I hope a decision is made soon to replace brens.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby ssmitra » 18 May 2009 02:40

I think there is now a 7.62 minimi
http://www.army-technology.com/contract ... fnherstal/

Also exactly what does the army like about the BREN. This is a serious question and not a sarcastic one. it is simply because the only other one offered to them is the INSAS LMG or was a SAW like weapon also tested at any time. To my untrained eye I would be surprised to find the BREN providing any better suppressive fire than a full auto AK and that to for just about 30 rds.

were the russian LMG ever tested I mean the RPK etc..
There are some excellent online videos of the Sri Lankan army using RPK's in rapid fire and maneuver actions.

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby manish » 18 May 2009 18:24

Gurulog, wouldn't INSAS LMG and MAG/Bren all fall into different categories of MGs?
My knowledge is quite limited as I am just a layman, but I always thought that INSAS LMG would be a typical SAW meant to give a bit more suppressive firepower for the rifle teams and the MAG would be more of a Medium MG - is that correct?

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Re: Small Arms Thread

Postby rkhanna » 18 May 2009 20:00

^^ got this off another forum.. Hope it helps in some way.

FN-MAG ..Aka GPMG

The thing about the GPMG is that is is "general purpose" – the usual definition of this is that it can be light enough to accompany the squad in normal ops, whilst also being "heavy" enough to provide sustained fire support from a tripod when required.





SAW
- shares ammo with assault rifles
- carry more rounds per unit weight means more ammo
- shorter effective range compared to GPMG
- less stopping power compared to GPMG
- changeable barrel (but not done as much in practice?)

Bipod-Mounted GPMG
- rifle caliber ammo can't be shared
- fewer rounds per unit weight means less ammo
- longer effective range compared to SAW
- more stopping power compared to SAW
- changeable barrel (done more often in practice?)

But on the other hand the US still maintains 2-3 platoon level GPMGs and I've read that units in Iraq and Afghanistan prefer the "greater firepower" of the M240 (whatever they mean by that.) Are these expected to deliver more firepower and at a greater range compared to the SAWs or are they merely intended to augment raw squad-level firepower (while using fewer men) with no real difference in range or volume of fire?


As I understand it, the tactical difference is that the SAW is a fireteam level weapon and therefore moves and fires as part of a fireteam, laying down short bursts as and when neccessary.
The GPMG/240/M60 is a support weapon and spends most of it's time stationary laying down sustained fire in support of it's platoon. They carry at least the same amount of ammo as a fireteam's SAW (probably more) as the men are dedicated support weapons crew rather than riflemen and aren't (usually) expected to run about and get into close range firefights. If fielded as a separate, platoon level, team I'd make these weapons at least twice as powerful as a fireteam level SAW and probably more.



"The enemy is hitting us with everything he has. AK-47s bark. Machine guns rip off long bursts. Our wall becomes torn and pitted alont the west and north sides. Figures dart between buildings and race across the street below. The M240s rock and roll, and their incredible firepower makes all the difference. This is standoff combat, a machine gunner's fight. The enemy istrying to pin us down so they can rush us again. We must stay up and on our guns or we will be overwhelmed."

Bell has plenty of automatic weapons, but it's the 240s which he says makes all the difference in keeping fire superiority.

So SAWs are the light automatic weapons that maneuver with the squads and give them more fire weight, but it's the GPMGs that provide the platoon with it heavy automatic weapon capability. They just have better range, hitting power, and sheer weight of fire (by having larger and more belts of ammo) than the SAW. When you think SAW, just imagine a belt fed assault rifle.


I always sum it up with this.

SAWs are for short term suppression. GPMGs are for area denial, often for prolonged periods of time.


AND PENETRATION. A guy behind a small tree may be safe from 5.56 but 7.62 will plow right through the tree!

SAW is an important component of the house clearing as it is lighter and the round is less likely to penetrate into friendly rooms indirectly, while still giving the high volume of firepower. During the approach, the G-PIG is an important component in suppressing the house so the clearance teams can approach in safety.

In the open defensive, the first statement applies. MGs are designed into the defensive plan in terms of their fighting range and firepower. The G-PIG covers the medium range and the SAW covers the closer range. If equipped, HMG (M2 50 Cal) covers the long range, otherwise, most nations now use either 20mm, 25mm or 30mm chain gun or auto cannon for that purpose.

In open offensive, the SAW accompanies the assault group and provides point firepower to the section commander in overcoming single strong points, while the G-PIG covers the whole assault group with suppression fires and depth fires to suppress then isolate the position being assaulted.


First, SAW and GPMG are not mutually exclusive categories; second, neither category is defined by calibre.

The American doctrinal distinction between the automatic rifle and machine-gun roles is left over from the French WW1 doctrine the AEF adopted. In British usage, "automatic rifle" simply means a rifle that is capable of automatic fire, but in USA terms it is a much chunkier beast, a squad (UK: section) weapon, what the French call a Fusil-Mitrailleur (FM), which might also be termed a machine-rifle, section automatic, or light machine gun (LMG). At one time the distinguishing feature of an AR as against an MG, in USA terms, was that an AR had a magazine feed and an MG a belt feed; thus the Bren would have counted as an AR. This distinction has fallen by the wayside since the adoption by the USA and USMC of the Minimi, which is capable of both belt and mag feed.

Back in the 1970s, USA infantry used the M-60 GPMG in both squad automatic and platoon MG roles. Each squad carried one M-60 (squad automatic role), and the platoon had two more M-60s assigned (MG role).

This slightly quaint distinction is not shared by any other major army that I am aware of, with the exception, in recent years, of the British. Traditionally, the British Army has done what most armies do (an unusual case of the British Army not being unusual), and issued light machineguns as section automatics -- originally the Lewis, later the Bren (and for the Indian Army the Vickers-Berthier), and later still the FN MAG as the L7 GPMG. No distinction was drawn, tactically, between the mag-fed Bren LMG and the belt-fed MAG GPMG when employed in the light role. In the mid-1980s the British Army had a terrible rush of blood to the head, and decided that it could do without a proper section LMG -- the "nerveless rifle", and "the essence of infantry". Instead, we adopted a course that has I believe failed to work well in all the armies that have ever tried it, and produced an LMG substitute (or "Light Support Weapon", LSW) by slapping a bipod and a bigger barrel on a standard rifle. Fortunately some vestigial measure of good sense prevailed (thanks to some studies at ITDU in which an acquaintance of mine was involved) and the Minimi was procured under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR); although we may now be embroiled in two land wars in Asia, at least the infantry has adequate low-level firepower at last. Better yet, bunches of the good old GPMG have been hoiked out of store and issued to platoon fire support sections, so that, by a devious and circuitous route, we now have a mix of section and platoon MGs curiously similar to that of the USA.

The distinguishing feature of a GPMG is that it is capable of being used in the light role, fired off a bipod, or in the sustained fire (SF) role, fired off a tripod (and probably equipped with a dial sight). This is a wonderful thing for standardisation, but in fact does not make a great deal of difference at the section level.

A section (US: squad) automatic might be, then, either a heavy-barrelled automatic rifle, a mag-fed LMG, or a belt-fed LMG or GPMG. The factors that influence its performance are, in my opinion:

1. Feed mechanism. A top or side mounted mag or hopper makes it easier for a no. 2 to load. Belt feed makes it easier to keep up continuous fire (and was the factor identified as making a belt-fed section weapon desirable in a British WW2 OR study).

2. Barrel. To maintain continuous fire, one needs to be able to change the barrel, ideally without specialist tools.

3. Calibre commonality. If the section LMG uses the same calibre of ammunition as the riles, and ideally the same mags, then the whole section (US: squad) can supply ammo for it from their own stocks. In any case, it is almost universal practice for the riflemen to carry ammo for the section automatic.

4. Crewing arrangements. The gunner on a section automatic might have a no.2, and perhaps a no. 3 or a gun controller. The more blokes in the team, the more ammo can be carried. A heavy-barrelled automatic rifle with a bottom-feed mag might be handled adequately by a lone man, but a proper LMG with changeable barrels really needs at least a no. 2 not just to carry and feed ammo, but to lug the spare parts wallet (SPW) and spare barrels.

Any section automatic of any calibre ever devised can shoot well enough to worry people at at least 600 metres, beyond which you aren't going to get many targets. What the above factors determine is how well the weapon can sustain that fire without overheating or running out of ammo.


In the Book 3 Para. The British Troops discarded their SA-80LMGs and started using the GPMG (Fn-Mag) in a LMG role. This way the Machine Gunner could keep up with the rifle squad and yet provide the fire power of a heavier machine gun. May not work for us so well in the mountains (weight).. Probably the best way to maintain firepower in our platoons is a mix of SAW/LMGs and FN-MAGs in the platoon.


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a 3 Para soldier armed with GPMG configured for personal carry - the bipod is folded beneath the barrel.

Israeli Soldier with FN-MAG
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Israeli Soldier with NEGEV LMG

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options on reducing weight.


Para Version of the FN-MAG

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M-60 GPMG

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The Britsh operate Both the FN-MAG GPMG and the SA-80 in the LMG role

The Americans have the FN-MAG in the GPMG role and the M249 (MINIMI) in the LMG role.

Both have .50cals for the HMG role.


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