We're still finding out more details on the report that weapons failures plagued the Soldiers defending positions in the battle of Wanat.
I wanted to pass along some thoughts from a very tapped in source of ours who warned me that A) The final report has not been released and that I am basing my take on the "draft" version and B) don't confuse jams due to recirculated gas with malfunctions resulting from high rates of fire.
My source said that he suspects the NCOs interviewed in the report are probably being "taken to task by their peers" for not enforcing fire discipline. He said this issue could be more of a training and leadership problem rather than a weapons one and added that despite its current unpopularity in the face of new Gucci guns, the M16 family of weapons has served the U.S. military very well "longer than any other rifle."
Absolutely agree 100 percent.
I'm cautious about blaming the preliminary findings on the M4s operating system and can understand how, like Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder, you can "do it deliberate" by running the gun so hard it can't take anymore. But another source who was in on the political side of the debate early on last year told me there is a problem with the M4's system that when it's operated under high rates of fire, it melts the gas tube, where as the short stroke gas-piston design can run longer on high rates of fire without degrading.
Again, this is a debate with many facets. I'm hoping to talk to an Army small arms official very soon who can help provide the service's perspective on what might be going on here.
On another note, my tapped in source said that the SCAR has been received with limited enthusiasm by special operators in the field. He says that the SCAR, to him, is a step backward. He's freaked out by the reciprocating bolt and other features that make it "just nuts, ergonomically." He did say however that his gouge says that the Mk17 7.62 is a "tack driver" in the precision gas gun role and that the Mk16 is only being used in special circumstances and not as a general patrol rifle.
...his $.02 that I thought I'd pass along.