Amid this excellent bit of photoblogging by Michael Yon, there is an insightful comment. He was right there during a firefight with insurgents, who almost escaped:

The lack of power of the American M-4 and M-16 rifles is astonishing. So many people and cars shot-up, but they just keep going and going. For a moment, it appeared the terrorists might get away.
That's right. The engine block of even the least well-constructed vehicle will absorb 5.56mm rounds. This is one reason why cars "stopped" in this fashion by American forces are frequently shot with hundreds of rounds. It's not bloodthirstyness: it's necessity.

This may be a useful piece of advice if you should ever find yourselves being shot at by anyone: the engine block will stop pistol and light rifle rounds. Your door will not. Your window will slightly deflect bullets sometimes, but not reliably. Choose your cover accordingly.

Unfortunately, the military is planning its new weapon in the usual, bid-taking and tech-oriented fashion. The proper way to choose a new battle rifle is by polling actual Marines and combat soldiers. If there's one piece of equipment not to skimp on, this is the one.

If they did, I will bet you this one is the one they would choose. Notably, it's exactly the opposite of everything the military thinks it wants in a battle rifle: it's heavy, it chooses tons of power instead of being able to carry lots of ammunition, and it involves very little of 'the latest technology.' Plus, it's long and solid rather than modular and collapsible.

Nevertheless, it has every advantage over both the M-16/M-4, and the suggested replacements. It comes of a good family, whose battle record is as solid and proven as it is possible to find. And the long, solid concept has advantages as well as disadvantages, if you will only take the time to train to exploit them: we have seen bayonet charges on quite a few occasions in Iraq, and -- as USMC pugil stick training indicates -- even an unloaded rifle, if it is long and solid, makes an excellent weapon.

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