Archive for October 9, 2013

Weapons Of The Special Forces   1 comment



An example of the right tool to get the special ops job done is the Mk23 (Mark 23) .45-cal. ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) from Heckler & Koch. During the late 1980s, as the rest of the military was embracing its new 9mm M9 handguns, special operations representatives identified the need for an “Offensive Handgun Weapons System—Special Operations Peculiar.” 

Heckler & Koch MK23 This offensive handgun weapons system is designed to provide .45-cal. power during close-quarter battle. 

The new weapons system, which was optimized for close-quarter battle (now called close-quarter combat) operations, included a .45-cal. semiautomatic pistol with a 12-round magazine, sound suppressor and laser-aiming module. Requirements called for ammunition compatibility with the M1911 .45-cal. ball cartridge as well as “enhanced ammunition.” Included in the latter category was the .45-cal. ACP “+P” (Plus-P) cartridge, described in the spec as a 185-grain full metal jacket truncated cone, semiwadcutter-type ammunition of higher pressure and velocity than a standard commercial .45-cal. ACP. 

Deliveries of the resulting Mk23 system began in 1996, with the majority of the special operations systems (approximately 2500) fielded to Navy SEALs. 

In addition to the .45-cal. Mk23, various special operations elements carry a wide range of handguns from 9mm down to .22-cal. 

Fabrique Nationale P90 FN Herstal’s 5.7 x 28mm P90 is one of the new generation of “personal defense weapons” that could have special operations applications. 


Another weapon category for selected special operations scenarios is the submachine gun/machine pistol, with one of the most popular models being the 9mm Heckler & Koch MP5 machine pistol. 

Heckler & Koch MP5 The MP5 is available in over 120 different variations optimized for different tactical applications. 

At one time the MP5 was offered in both .40-cal. and 10mm designs, but those options have been discontinued, with only the 9mm MP5 currently manufactured. 

With over 120 variants available, the MP5 meets the broadest range of tactical requirements. Examples of its flexibility in special operations can be seen in the MP5K-PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) variant, with features like a folding buttstock, vertical foregrip, and threaded barrel for accessory attachments. In addition to these tactical features, various MP5 trigger group options range from the single-fire semiautomatic variant to the fully automatic “Navy trigger group” favored by many U.S. special operators. 

Heckler & Koch UMP The UMP is drawing special operations interest due to its multicaliber flexibility. 

Although the 9mm MP5 remains a popular base system, Heckler & Koch representatives point to their new UMP (Universal Machine Pistol) Submachine Guns as the next likely addition to special operations armories. 

While typical MP5 series 9 x 19mm (9mm Parabellum) options include the Winchester 115-grain Silvertip (muzzle velocity 1225 feet per second) and 147-grain Subsonic (muzzle velocity 1010 fps), H&K offers the same popular weapon design in both .40-cal. Smith & Wesson and .45-cal. ACP. Options for .40-cal. ammunition include the Winchester 155-grain Silvertip (muzzle velocity 1205 fps) and Winchester 180-grain JHP (muzzle velocity 990 fps), while .45-cal. ACP options include the Winchester 185-grain Silvertip and Proload 185-grain JHP (both with a muzzle velocity of 1000 fps). 

Heckler & Koch MP7A1 Developed by H&K, the 4.6 x 30mm MP7 series is another “personal defense weapon” with potential special operations applications. 

According to Bruce Davidson, Military Programs Manager at Heckler & Koch Defense, the flexible UMP design is drawing considerable interest from special operations elements. 

Noting that there are a few UMP models currently in field testing, Davidson says, “I think the biggest reason that UMP is drawing a lot of interest right now is because it does come in [9mm, .40 and .45 cal.]. So the units that are out there using different-caliber pistols have the ability to select the caliber of sub-machine gun that they want to use to match their pistol ammo.” 

Heckler & Koch MP5N The MP5N is popular with Navy special operations forces. 

Posted October 9, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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High-Tech Guns for Next-Gen InfantrY   Leave a comment

Developer FNH USA (USA)
Caliber 5.56mm
Features More accurate and less prone to jamming than the standard-issue M16 and M4 rifles, the SCAR uses quick-change barrels that can be swapped using a minimal number of tools.
Progress The manufacturer had initially expected the weapon to be deployed in 2006, but after a limited production run last year, there’s hope for the SCAR.

The effort to replace the M-16 rifle, as well as its more compact variant, the M4, has been a long, epic and largely tragic tale. One attempt would have created a modular weapon system, called the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), with an integrated grenade launcher and laser-rangefinder. That all-in-one system was scrapped because of excessive weight, and subsequent attempts to salvage the core of that weapon—the XM8 assault rifle—have also failed, highlighting some of the worst aspects of the weapons procurement process. 

Fed up with the rest of military’s inability to replace the M-16 and M4, and apparently uninterested in an OICW-type multipurpose weapon, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) held a competition for a new assault rifle, to be deployed with special forces personnel. Having passed muster as a more accurate and reliable weapon than the M4, FNH USA landed the contract with its FN SCAR, which comes in two calibers—5.56 for the SCAR-Light, and 7.62 for the SCAR-Heavy. The weapon also meets SOCOM’s requirements for quick changes in the field. Within a few minutes, a SCAR-Light’s 18-in.-long, precision-fire barrel can be replaced with a standard-length 14-in. barrel, or a shorter, 10-in. barrel for use in cramped, urban environments. Although the SCAR-Light is likely to be more common than the more powerful SCAR-Heavy, the two weapons share 99 percent of the same parts, making field repairs easier and streamlining the overall logistics. 


Developer Alliance Techsystems (USA)
Caliber 25mm
Features A computer-aided targeting system that allows the user to quickly aim at a target and to adjust the range of the air-bursting round.
Progress The XM-25 is still in development, but in this industry—and particularly for a system that survived the OICW debacle—that amounts to very good news.

As the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW) program withered on the vine, the system’s most revolutionary element—microchip-embedded explosive rounds that could be detonated at precise ranges, raining fragmentation down on enemies hiding in foxholes or behind barricades—has managed to put down roots. Once envisioned as an under-the-barrel weapon attached to an assault rifle, the self-contained XM-25 is an entirely new take on the grenade launcher. Using the onboard ballistic computer and laser rangefinder, the firer can quick set the exact range at which the 25mm round will explode. 

This is precision-guided munitions for infantry, with the goal of negating nearly any kind of cover a target could find, particularly in urban environments. Rounds could be set to go off, in midair, just past the corner of building, just inside a sniper’s window, or directly above a group of hostiles hunched behind a concrete barrier. Alliance Techsystems, which is developing the XM-25, credits overhead airbursts with the potential for five times greater lethality, compared with the current M203 grenade launcher, because shrapnel will be more likely to drop onto the target’s head. It’s a ghoulish point of pride, but, as with other precision munitions, a more precise grenadier could also mean fewer civilian casualties. 

 SAR 21

SAR 21
Developer Singapore Technologies Kinetics (Singapore)
Caliber 5.56mm
Features Integrated visible/ infrared laser sight and 1.5x optical scope, translucent ammo magazines.
Progress The SAR 21 became standard issue for Singapore’s armed forces in 1999, but there are no plans for adoption elsewhere.

While the United States has repeatedly—and spectacularly—failed to replace the aging M-16, Singapore has been using a newer and possibly better-performing assault rifle since 1999. The SAR 21 replaced Singapore’s licensed version of the M-16, and has gained a reputation among gun experts as one of the best “bullpup” assault rifles—where the action and magazine are behind the trigger—on the market. It has a smaller overall profile than the M-16, without sacrificing barrel length (the shorter the barrel, the less accuracy at longer ranges) and significantly more manageable recoil, due in part to the weapon’s center of balance. The recoil tends to drive directly back against the firer, instead of pushing the barrel upwards. 

All of this is useful in an assault rifle, but particularly for urban warfare, where more compact weapons are crucial to maneuvering indoors, and where close-range, fully-automatic fire is more common. The SAR 21 has a Kevlar cheek plate to deal with chamber explosions occurring next to the user’s face, a regular safety issue for bullup weapons. It’s also one of the few assault rifles in the world equipped with an integrated laser aiming device. 

  Corner Shot Launcher

Corner Shot Launcher
Developer Corner Shot (Israel), Dynamit Nobel Defence (Germany)
Caliber 60mm
Features A collapsible firing-post, which is fitted with a camera and video screen, attaches to a disposable, one-shot 60 mm grenade launcher. Rounds can be fired at a 90 degree angle—other Corner Shot devices fire at up to 60 degrees.
Progress Unveiled in 2004, the system does not appear to have been deployed yet.

The Corner Shot is a brutally simple contraption: a modified gun that, thanks to a hinged frame, under-the-barrel camera and handy video screen, allows the user to shoot around corners. Currently, there are three versions available, each with a different weapon at the business end of the frame—a pistol, a compact assault rifle or a 40mm grenade launcher. The device is designed for urban environments, where the ability to peek around corners with impunity is useful, but being able to open fire while behind cover is even better. 

With the Corner Shot Launcher, the concept is the same, but the result is less subtle. Essentially a sideways-firing rocket launcher, it allows the user to aim with the same kind of integrated camera and video screen, and fire a massive 60mm round into an enemy vehicle or reinforced position, such as a bunker. This device, which could be an overwhelming weapon in urban engagements, is a collaboration between Israeli and German defense firms. 


 FMG9 Folding Machine Gun
Corner Shot Launcher
Developer Magpul Industries (USA)
Caliber 9mm
Features Spring-loaded design transitions from box to gun with a single button-push, with a 31-round Glock 18 magazine loaded and ready to fire.
Progress Nonfiring semiautomatic prototype shown in March 2008. No word yet on when a firing model—much less a fully automatic one—might be available.

The concept of a discreet, foldable submachine gun is at least two decades old. Legendary gun designer Eugene Stoner developed one in the 1980s, but Magpul Industries made news this past March with its own updated take on the lethal cult classic. The FMG9, short for Folding Machine Gun, looks like some sort of toolbox with a flashlight mounted on top. 

One moment, that flashlight is in your eyes, and one moment later—one very pregnant, James-Bond-by-way-of-Cyberpunk moment—and you’re being fired at by a 9mm submachine gun. It’s a quicker transition than anything Stoner was able to pull off, and that could make the weapon an effective tool for lightning raids on terrorist hideouts where surprise could play a major part. The gun also has an integrated laser sight, and can be carried without the handle and flashlight, for a sleeker, more pocketable profile. 


Posted October 9, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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