The Army Is Considering A Temporary Upgrade In Rifle Calibers

Gear
Pvt. Jesse Smith, infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fires an M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System at a distant target during a sniper familiarization range, Sept. 10, 2014.
DoD photo

The Army plans to field a 6.5mm intermediate caliber rifle around 2020 — but in the meantime, some riflemen feel the service’s current standard 5.56mm rifle cartridge isn’t giving them enough bang in the field. “The troops feel like they’re in a street fight with a guy with longer arms,” according to Soldier Systems.


One solution the service is reportedly considering is to arm infantry rifle squads and brigade combat teams with the 7.62mm NATO round until Army officials settle on a new 6.5mm rifle. Of course, if you’ve ever played with a Ruger SR-762, you’re probably familiar with 7.62mm NATO — it’s both common and devastating.

Related: Should Soldiers Be Able To Choose Their Barrel Length? »

Adopting the ubiquitous 7.62 ammo means the service could lean on any of several “government off-the-shelf” firearms chambered for the big NATO round. And upgrading to those arms could be a quick process, meaning American troops will enjoy an immediate boost in firepower without waiting for committees to pore over various specs. (They’ll also enjoy an immediate boost in gear weight — that 7.62 sure isn’t light, especially when you’re lugging around 210 rounds of it).

According to Soldier Systems, officials have three serious GOTS options in 7.62mm NATO: the Mk-17 SCAR-H (covered by T&P; here), the M110 Semi-Auto Sniper System, and the M110 Compact Semi-Auto Sniper System.

The Army could also decide none of these options meet the soldiers’ needs and solicit bids for new weapons from commercial gunmakers. Of course, Soldier Systems points out, if the service went that route, the resulting 7.62mm weapon could become a soldier favorite once it’s issued, and the planned 6.5mm rifle may end up scrapped.

Either way, American troops facing new deployments abroad could be hitting the ground with a fresher, bigger-caliber rifle very soon.

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article stated that the AK-47 was a 7.62mm NATO rifle. The AK-47 uses 7.62 x 39mm ammunition.

A Syrian commando-in-training applies the safety on his rifle during basic rifle marksmanship training in Syria, July 20, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Alec Dionne)

The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.

Read More

On Feb. 19, 1945, more than 70,000 U.S. Marines conducted an amphibious assault to take the Island of Iwo Jima from fortified Japanese forces. Over the next 36 days nearly 7,000 Marines would be killed during the battle, which is regarded as one of the bloodiest of World War II, as they faced hidden enemy artillery, machine guns, vast bunker systems and underground tunnels. Of the 82 Marines who earned the Medal of Honor during all of World War II, 22 medals were earned for actions on Iwo Jima.

Now, 75 years later, 28 Marines and Sailors who fought on Iwo Jima gathered to remember the battle at the 75th and final commemoration sunset ceremony Feb. 15, 2020, at the Pacific Views Event Center on Camp Pendleton, California.

Read More
REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.

Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.

Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.

Read More
Barrett's bolt-action Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) system (Courtesy photo)

The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.

Read More
The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon (U.S. Air Force photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Air Force gunsmiths recently completed delivery of a new M4-style carbine designed to break down small enough to fit under most pilot ejection seats.

Read More