Afghanistanveterans say one of the most important aspects in any new piece of individualequipment is to make it as lightweight as possible. I spoke with a former NavySEAL at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas last month who told me they would often goon raids in Afghanistan carrying just 3 mags for their M-4s because weight wasmore of a concern than how much ammo they could carry when trying to run down fleetof foot Taliban fighters on goat trails winding through the mountains.
The Army's 2011 budget request includes $5 million toresearch new lightweight materials for small arms and component parts such as optics, weapons mounts and ammunition. PEO soldier is fieldingnew lightweight weapons, such as lighter versions of the venerable .50 cal (pictured)and M240 machine guns. According to service budget documents, new starts for2011 will also include: suppressors, lead free barrel twist and sub-compact weapons.
I'd be interested to hear where readers think weaponsmanufacturers can shave some weight, even a few ounces, from small arms.