“America! Ahhhhh!” roars Chief Warrant Officer Christian Wade as he unloads with the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle — and not with any of that wimpy “pew, pew, pew” slow and steady squeeze stuff. The 2nd Marine Division gunner goes full auto in his latest fact or fiction video, before pausing to ask: “Is that really necessary?”
The answer: Sometimes.
From 5, 30, and 80 meters, Wade and Cpl. Gerald Trado, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, take turns sending rounds down range in semi-automatic and fully automatic. In terms of accuracy, the results are mixed.
While shooting on automatic at the closest distance, the vast majority of rounds fired hit right on target, but as the Marines move further away, their shot placements start to veer off. By the time they’re at 80 meters, just the first two or three rounds are landing center mass, with the remainder trailing up and to the left. As for what Wade calls “aggressive semi-automatic” fire? Well, there’s fewer rounds — no shit, right? — but all are either dead center or in the T-box, which is what you expect when you have two infantry Marines on the range.
It’s no mystery why the video features the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. The Corps’ long-sought-after replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon is also expected to replace the majority of M4s for infantry Marines, Marine Corps Times reported in August. The rifle offers a shooter the ability to provide heavy suppressive fire, or accurate semi-auto fire, and outranges the M4 by 100 to 150 meters. Though as Wade points out in the video, just how accurate those rounds will be depends on what mode you’re firing in.
“So here's the point,” Wade says. “There are some times when fully automatic fire is appropriate: up close and personal, very extremely violent engagements. But at some point when you regain fire superiority you might want to transition back over to aggressive semi-automatic fire.”
Automatic fire may be fun, hell it definitely is, there’s a time and place for it — close in, or when you need to send a lot of “fuck you and die” downrange to keep the bad guys' heads down. And once that’s done, you can switch back to semi-automatic fire and finish the job.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."