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Steyr AUG at French trials of 2016   Small Arms <20mm

Started 3/10/19 by mpopenker; 1998 views.
zragon13

From: zragon13

11-Jun

Hi,

Sorry about reviving an old thread but I felt that these questions would be more appropriate here than hijacking a new one.

As the French Army had been using the FAMAS for decades, I am more than a little surprised that there was not preference given for a bullpup rifle to replace it.

 

Can you give any insight on this?

How did French soldiers that had been used to the bullpup feel about switching to a conventional AR format?

 

EmericD

From: EmericD

11-Jun

zragon13 said...

As the French Army had been using the FAMAS for decades, I am more than a little surprised that there was not preference given for a bullpup rifle to replace it.

Well, you should remember that the French army changed it's mind about the role of a rifle during the '80s, i.e. that rifles should be issued only to soldiers whose role is to fight with a rifle, all other soldiers should be issued with a PDW. France was very active during the '80s on that topic (remember that GIAT was the owner of FN Herstal at this time, so the P90 was a Franco-Belgium effort) and the NATO evaluation of PDWs was made in France.

Unfortunately, it was impossible to NATO partners to involve Uncle Sam on this PDW program and finally no decisions were made, neither the 5.7x28 nor the 4.6x30 were standardized at this time.

The decision to stop making small-arms was already made, so for the French army, it was the sign that the PDW and the IW should use the same round, the 5.56x45 mm, the same architecture, and that the next IW/PDW generation program will need a competition (and not an internal development), so could be a bullpup (limited choice) or a conventional design with a short 10-11" barrel for the PDW and 14.5-16.5" for the IW.

zragon13 said...

How did French soldiers that had been used to the bullpup feel about switching to a conventional AR format?

Well, those who need to carry a rifle are very pleased with the 416 F-C, and those who need to fight with a rifle are equally pleased with the 416 F-S, so up to now the transition is smooth and soldiers really like the platform. My only problem came from people who are using the 416 F-C as a rifle, the terminal effectiveness of the M855 from a 11" barrel is not what they expect (some weeks ago, "someone" get 4 torso hits while running and still had the time to take cover, emptied his AK, and finally died while reloading), but they don't blame the gun, nor the cartridge, they just want to get Mk318 or Mk262...

QuintusO

From: QuintusO

11-Jun

I definitely feel France made the right choice among EU-produced rifles.

Bullpups are an interesting idea, but no one in Europe produces one that is worthy of serious consideration. The best, globally, is the F90 probably, but even it could use improvement.

zragon13

From: zragon13

11-Jun

Thanks for your replies. As someone who went from initial military service with Galil, and then 10 yrs later various M16/M4 types in the reserves, and finally about 7 years my unit switched to the Tavor X95, I found the feel of the bullpup quite different. I think the bullpup handles better than the front-heavy conventional rifles when standing or running, but inferior when shooting prone. I feel that the rear heavy weapon is easier for new soldiers to use.

Still, due to my much longer experience with conventional ARs, if I had to choose a rifle for combat tomorrow, it would be the M4.

I am surprised that there was not more "demand" from French soldiers for the bullpup format that they had been accustomed to.

EmericD said...

My only problem came from people who are using the 416 F-C as a rifle, the terminal effectiveness of the M855 from a 11" barrel is not what they expect (some weeks ago, "someone" get 4 torso hits while running and still had the time to take cover, emptied his AK, and finally died while reloading), but they don't blame the gun, nor the cartridge, they just want to get Mk318 or Mk262...

Regarding dissapointing terminal effects, I have heard/read annecdotes about people being hit with 7.62 NATO, 40mm grenades and still not being put out of action. I bet that during WW2, when all sides were using "full caliber" ammo, there were plenty of stories where soldiers shot did not go down immediately.

Of course, when it is you facing the enemy, you want every shot to carry the Power of Thor :-)

 

JPeelen

From: JPeelen

11-Jun

In my view expecting "demand" to keep the bullpup layout is asking too much -- independent of ones attitude toward bullpups.
You have used Galil, M16/M4 and Tavor during your service and thereby you represent the big exception. 99.9 percent of all soldiers only know the standard weapon of their forces and never have any opportunity to gain experience with other weapons. Consequently most of them do not feel competent to "push" for a given layout.

The others of those who know only one weapon type, consider this very type the best thing ever invented. I call that the German-pre1914 syndrome: knowing absolutely nothing about the world outside the own borders but being convinced to know better how others should run their business.

Another aspect of soldier attitudes is well illustrated by Emeric's example. There is the wish for ever shorter barrels. The handling advantages are obvious and the invisible consequences regarding lethality and hit probability are treated as non-existent. If somethig like the "4 torso hits event" happens, the reaction is neither "randomly in the torso is not enough for fast incapaciation" nor "short barrels weaken bullet effectiveness" but asking for perceived wonder bullets like Mk318 of Mk262. In 99 out of 100 cases, the outcome with these bullets would have been the same. If the shot location is bad, they only destroy more tissue that is irrelevant to fast(!) incapacitation. These bullets do not by some magic turn an ineffective hit in the wrong place into a fast incapaciting hit. Depending on kinetic enery as wounding mechanism, they are of course paralyzed by short barrels the same way as conventional bullets are.

One has to be careful, when listening to what soldiers say they want/need.

EmericD

From: EmericD

12-Jun

zragon13 said...

Regarding dissapointing terminal effects, I have heard/read annecdotes about people being hit with 7.62 NATO, 40mm grenades and still not being put out of action. I bet that during WW2, when all sides were using "full caliber" ammo, there were plenty of stories where soldiers shot did not go down immediately.

Of course, when it is you facing the enemy, you want every shot to carry the Power of Thor :-)

I agree that you could find "horror stories" with every ammo, but it's generally an exception, not the norm.

With the SS-109 fired from a 11" barrel, this kind of story is more the norm than the exception...

poliorcetes

From: poliorcetes

13-Jun

Emeric, could you explain why it was decided to stop designing and making rifles in France?

 

It is a West Europe trend that I just cannot understand entirelly

 

Thanks in advance!

QuintusO

From: QuintusO

13-Jun

EmericD said...

 

zragon13 said...

Regarding dissapointing terminal effects, I have heard/read annecdotes about people being hit with 7.62 NATO, 40mm grenades and still not being put out of action. I bet that during WW2, when all sides were using "full caliber" ammo, there were plenty of stories where soldiers shot did not go down immediately.

Of course, when it is you facing the enemy, you want every shot to carry the Power of Thor :-)

I agree that you could find "horror stories" with every ammo, but it's generally an exception, not the norm.

With the SS-109 fired from a 11" barrel, this kind of story is more the norm than the exception...

 

How quickly people forget that M2 .30 cal Ball was entirely reliable - it always produced pass-through wounds!

(In fact, M2 Ball was used as a control in the Goat Labs because its wounding ability was considered so poor.)

EmericD

From: EmericD

14-Jun

poliorcetes said...

Emeric, could you explain why it was decided to stop designing and making rifles in France?

 

It is a West Europe trend that I just cannot understand entirelly

 

Thanks in advance!

Well, all those MAS / MAC / MAT... armouries take their roots to Louis XIV and were state owned from the beginning.

During the 20th century,  the Communism Party and the "CGT" syndicate started to gain huge influence in all those state-owned Arsenals. The tradition of centralization is very old in France, and the difference between "Colbertism" and "Communism" is thin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colbertism

So, to keep a long story short, those Arsenals were nearly governed from Moscow, with acts of sabotage during WWII and during all "low intensity" conflicts afterwards (Indochina, Algeria...). Add a very, very advantageous status of the "Ouvriers d'Etat" (life employment, retirement at 55 years, huge pension...) combined with the complete unreliability of those state-owned manufactures, and the politics were in search of the first opportunity to close them.

During the '90s, the Communist Party was highly active in the reduction of defence budgets, and the other parties agreed that closing those manufactures was a way to reduce the defence budget AND reduce the influence of the CGT / Communism Party.

The capability to equip troops with a domestic rifle was considered less important than being still able to deploy nuclear weapons.

autogun

From: autogun

14-Jun

EmericD said...

The capability to equip troops with a domestic rifle was considered less important than being still able to deploy nuclear weapons.

Well, they certainly solve the body armour problem.... wink

 

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