For decades, troops have been complaining about the limitations of the M16 rifle and M4 carbine, both of which are hindered by the same flawed operating system that makes the weapons jam easily. But after years of ignoring small arms in favor of expensive aircraft and warships, the Pentagon is taking a long, hard look at how to give the Army 11 Bang Bangs and Marine grunts a better weapon.

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U.S. Army photo by Spc. Thomas X. Crough

The U.S. Army is often viewed as a no-nonsense organization, as it should be, given the awesome responsibility that lies with its members to protect and defend the people of the United States. As such, military jargon usually reflects this, which words such as, “Roger,” “Affirmative,” and “Execute.” These all conjure up images of hard-bitten soldiers giving orders in combat or communicating vital issues over the radio. And for the most part, this image of a professional organization is exactly correct.

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