Nothing says "I'm the boss here" like a gold-plated firearm. Deposed Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein knew it; Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi knew it; even legendary fictional assassin and one-time ruler of Khao Phing Kan island Francisco Scaramanga knew it.

Apparently that tradition extends to the U.S. armed forces as well — sort of.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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Army photo / Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton.

For the first time in three years, Army recruits will have to pass a marksmanship test  during basic training using only the backup iron sights for the M16 rifles and M4 carbines, officials said.

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Decades before the U.S. military transitioned away from the M16 assault rifle in favor of the lightweight M4 carbine, the Army eyed an unusual-looking replacement for the Vietnam-era rifle: The boxy Heckler & Koch G11, the very same weapon that would appear years later as a futuristic energy rifle in the batshit crazy 1993 sci-fi action comedy Demolition Man.

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This story has been updated

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The U.S. Army is an armed force with a truly global reach. At any given time, America’s premier land power operates on several different continents simultaneously, from hot, dry deserts to humid jungles and sprawling cities. Its infantrymen carry a weapon whose lineage dates back to Vietnam but which has been constantly improved to become the weapon it is today. Rugged, simple and accurate, the M4 carbine is the standard infantry weapon of not just the Army but all of America’s ground forces.

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