Despite Fears, Army May Just Buy a Subcompact



We wrote about this back in March...that industry was skeptical that the Army would seriously pursue a subcompact rifle for Joes who can't carry an M4 but need the punch of a rifle in a pistol package (truck drivers, tankers, pilots, officers).

Well, after talking with Col. Doug Tamilio yesterday about the Wanat report, I came away with the story that the service seems as least to be pretty enthusiastic about the weapon and will move forward on its development.

You saw the teaser yesterday, so I'll give you a bit more, but I ask that you read the entire story over at

I'll post more on my interview regarding the Wanat report and other topics later this morning.

The Army's preliminary evaluation tested a host of weapons in different scenarios and conditions, their accuracy at different ranges and how well Joes could control the small weapons with a big punch while firing.

"We tested how Soldiers worked with those weapons and what seems to work form, fit and function better than others," Tamilio explained. "We got some great data on that."

Though Tamilio wouldn't say who participated in the evaluation, an industry source said that about six manufacturers may have submitted weapons for the shoot.

The search for a weapon that delivers a Mike Tyson punch in Sugar Ray Leonard package was included in an Army solicitation last year for a possible alternative to the M-4 carbine. The solicitation left open size, weight, barrel length and caliber, but many companies had already developed so-called personal defense weapons, or PDWs, for contract security teams and other covert operators.

"We found out a lot of good things," Tamilio said of the early summer evaluation. "There are a lot of good weapons out there [and] Soldiers can hit accurately, hit very well with all of the weapons that were out there."

"So now it comes down to what are the best parts of all of these?"

Officials with the Army's soldier weapons office said the Army Infantry School is working on final requirements for the subcompact weapon, and while it may be two years before a Joe commanding a supply convoy gets to sling one of these bantam bad boys, Army officials are moving with deliberate speed to get the program in gear.

"We got a lot of great data," Tamilio added. "So, now as the Infantry School writes the requirement they'll be more informed on what they're looking for."

-- Christian

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