In the thread on the state of medical care during the Civil War some discussion on the lethality of some weapons ensued.
It got me to thinking if the M-16 is the best the American military can come up with. Is the evolution of the rifle over?
I understand that different weapons are chosen for different uses. A sniper rifle is better at what it does than an M-16 would be. I’m asking about the basic weapon that most foot soldiers in our army would be carrying.
The M-16 is over 30 years old. Beyond some modifications I think it is still basically the same weapon today that it was 30+ years ago. With all of our computers and technical knowhow today we can’t improve on that design?
Also, how does the M-16 measure up to its counterparts such as the AK-47? In this case I’m asking about both how they compare on paper and how they compare in real world usage. For example, a weapon might sport better statistics on paper but that’s not much use to a foot soldier who’s weapon jams as soon as it gets a bit dirty (I’m not suggesting that this happens to an M-16…it’s just an example).
One would think if the M-16 is superior it would be copied the world over but it seems to be the AK-47 that is ubiquitous outside of the US.
One last thing as an aside. I was reading up on a computer game based on some Tom Clancy novel that is modelled after the United State’s new ‘Land Warrior’ concept. Basically this is an overhaul to the common foot soldier. While not in effect yet the future American foot soldier will have a computer in a thigh pocket, GPS, integrated communications and a bunch of other goodies all designed to make him/her more effective. They mentioned some scope that will allow the soldier to shoot around corners (i.e. he only has to hang his gun around a corner to see what’s there and fire at it). Is this just an add-on to an M-16 or do they have an entirely new weapon in mind?