The XM-5 and Fantastic Fudd F*ckery

This is a rant. I’ll preface it by saying I am not an expert on modern military conflict. My experience in the Army was so long ago as to be basically irrelevant. But I read, I watch, I have a sense of history and an awareness of it’s lessons, and I think critically about what I see. The following is a result of that; I make no claims to being an authority on the subject. This is just my (hopefully informed) opinion, and should be taken as such.

Rant Commences

We went into World War 2 with the perfect infantry rifle for World War 1. When the M1 carbine was introduced for rear-echelon troops the front line troops wanted them too. When we acknowledged that conditions had changed in the late 1950s and started looking at the AR15 the Fudds in procurement went so insane they deliberately engaged in a strategy designed to get US service men killed to stop it.

Now they are fighting the XM-5. The XM-5 may not be the all-around perfect weapon system, but there are reasons the Army feels they need it. In a bizarre reversal the Fudds are now fighting against a battle-rifle rather than for it.

The Sig Sauer XM-5 rifle.

In the Middle east we discovered that there was a need to engage enemies at distances where the M4 was not effective, so we adopted the Squad Marksman’s Rifle to fill that need. There were also the usual logistic issues with providing troops with multiple calibers for different weapons; not too bad because we’re used to it, but not ideal either. There’s no argument that it will be a bad thing if we can simplify logistics.

Then there’s ballistic armor. Our soldiers wear it, sooner or later our enemies will too. Russians have it even if they can’t afford to make enough for it to be a general issue item yet. The Chinese have it, and while it’s not in general issue they’re working on it. Near-peer enemies will issue ballistic armor; it’s a question of when, not if.

Of course these days anyone with money and an internet connection can buy effective ballistic armor. It’s going to show up, not just on near-peer enemies but on individual enemy combatants as well. Not to mention that near-peer enemies can afford to equip special operations soldiers with it, and do.

You simply cannot make a 5.56x45mm cartridge that will penetrate this armor and be safe to use in existing weapons. We’ve tried and failed. If we are going to encounter this armor we need a weapon that can penetrate it. That means a bigger, more powerful cartridge. That means a heavier weapon. Deal with it.

Another objection is that in the modern combat environment if you wind up in an infantry engagement it’s a failure of your combined-arms strategy. Um, really? Because Combined Arms includes infantry. In most combined arms scenarios you still have guys with guns shooting at other guys with guns. Sure they have armored vehicles, aircraft and artillery on-call but there are still guys with guns shooting at other guys with guns. Not to mention that you can’t take a tank with you into a building and helicopters aren’t going in with you either.

We’ve stuck with the AR15/M16 platform for sixty years for a good reason. It met our needs and we couldn’t come up with anything enough better to bother with the expense and difficulty of replacing it. But technology marches on, warfare evolves and we anticipate scenarios where the current weapons will not meet our needs so we’re looking for a weapon that will. So now the Fudds are screaming about it and pulling every argument they can out of their ass to stop it. We have needed to engage enemies at longer ranges. Enemies will have ballistic armor. It’s smarter to deal with that reality now than it is to wait until we face it before starting a decade-long fight to adopt the weapon we need now.

There are a lot of reasons to adopt a new rifle based on a couple decades of recent combat experience, and the Army has acknowledged that the hodge-podge of stop-gaps we’ve been employing may not cut it in future conflicts. They are attempting to come up with a weapon that will better suit our anticipated needs. Is the XM-5 that weapon? Maybe, maybe not. But we’ve come far enough along that it’s time to find out, so people need to shut their flapping Fudd mouths and find out.

Rant Ends.

There, I feel better. Stay safe and take care.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 5 May 2022

6.8x19mm Video!

So, it works and I’ve got a load that’s pretty dam close to my target! The grips looked awful and I can’t readily justify spending the money to replace them. I decided to stipple them and I gotta say, it really changes the look of the gun! It’s also comfy but very ‘grippy.’

Once I get more small pistol primers I’m going to load up some ammo and really wring this thing out. When I’ve got it settled and and I’m confident in it’s performance I’ll likely strip it down and GunCote it.

Animal Attacks

Recently a 65-year old man was mauled by a pack of dogs and severely injured in Oklahoma. In another case an Oklahoma woman was similarly attacked by dogs and required hospitalization. Last year in Texas a woman was attacked, killed and eaten by feral pigs. All of these happened in rural areas, of course. But you live in a city, so it’s not a problem right?

Sure. Last year a man was attacked by a dog and seriously injured in a Miami coffee shop. Two days ago a woman was attacked in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood. A few years ago my son was attacked and bitten by a dog in our driveway. It happens in cities and suburbs too.

A lot of us carry bear-spray and a powerful handgun when going into the deep woods as protection against bears and other predators. But the fact of the matter is you are probably more likely to be attacked, usually by a dog or dogs, in an urban or suburban setting.

Bear-Spray is useful… but it’s best to have a back-up!

Check with your local laws, and if it’s legal where you live carry bear spray when prudent and possible when you are out and about on foot. Trust me, dogs have sensitive noses. They seriously don’t like pepper sprays. If more discretion is required civilian self-defense pepper-sprays can work, but are shorter-range, lower capacity and less effective overall.

There are conditions where aerosols are not the best choice; high winds, heavy rain and other circumstances might dictate it can not or should not be used. In those cases a defensive handgun may be a better choice. The handgun you normally carry ought to suffice.

The handgun you carry for self-defense will likely be quite adequate for dealing with a dog attack if needed.

Dogs can often be sent packing with a warning shot, but this can be a dangerous practice in urban or suburban areas. If you fire a warning shot make very sure it goes someplace where it will not ricochet or hit an innocent bystander, or for that matter do significant property damage. You are responsible for that bullet and it’s effects. Again, check your local laws; it is possible that warning shots might not be legally advisable where you live.

If you have to shoot…

Try to make damn sure that the bullet will not over-penetrate or strike something important if you miss. I know, I know, you don’t get to choose the ground in a case like this but be mindful and do your best.

OK, this next bit might sound silly, but you’d be surprised how often it happens and who it happens to. If you have shot and incapacitated a dog it does not magically become your friend.

Humans don’t just own dogs, North American, European and many other cultures have evolved with them as a partner-species. Most people have been ingrained with a natural sympathy and regard for dogs. If you react without thinking to your injured canine attacker that reaction might be, ‘Oh! Poor doggy!’ and you instinct could be to render aid and comfort. Don’t. It’s the same dog that made you genuinely fear you were at risk of death or grave bodily harm, and odds are good that it still wants to hurt you. Wait for the police and Animal Control, or if it is reasonable and prudent put it down yourself with another shot from a safe distance.

We naturally feel empathy with dogs and if you aren’t prepared mentally you can fall afoul of this. As I said, you’d be surprised at the sort of people this happens to; often people that you would never expect it of. If this impulse occurs to you, well frankly that speaks well of you. Just be ready to override that impulse.

Most likely you will go your entire life without ever being attacked by a dog or dogs. But if you are it behooves you to be prepared both mentally and in terms of equipment.

Stay safe and take care;

Michael Tinker Pearce, 9 May 2022