Page 1

Special Report

Next Generation Cleaning Systems for Force Protection Otis Technology – Changing the Way You Clean Your Gun Weapon Maintenance Critical to Rifle Reliability The Rifle Update Debate and Cleaning Systems in Action Police Demands for Weapons Maintenance Systems Military Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance in the Future

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media



Next Generation Cleaning Systems for Force Protection Otis Technology – Changing the Way You Clean Your Gun


Weapon Maintenance Critical to Rifle Reliability The Rifle Update Debate and Cleaning Systems in Action Police Demands for Weapons Maintenance Systems Military Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance in the Future



Mary Dub, Editor

Otis Technology, Changing the Way You Clean Your Gun


Christopher R. Bartocci

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: Website: Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor John Hancock Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention Rapid Growth Research and Development – The Key to Success Supplying the Military Specialist Kits for a Variety of Weapons More Enhancements and New Markets

Weapon Maintenance Critical to Rifle Reliability 7 Mary Dub, Editor

What Happened? The Congressional, Armed Services Committee of Enquiry into Weapon Cleaning in Vietnam The Sub Committee Questionnaire and its Conclusions

The Rifle Update Debate and Cleaning Systems in Action


Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Debate in the Military Community Campaign Criticisms of the Rifle from Soldiers on Operations What is the Evidence?

Police Demands for Weapons Maintenance Systems 11 Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Afghan National Police Experience of the AMD-65 The Afghan Experience Sequestration, Budget Issues and the M16/M4 Replacement and Update Testing Competitions with Rival Weapon Manufacturers

Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

Military Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance in the Future 13

© 2013. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

References 15

Mary Dub, Editor

The View from 2013 The Weapons of the Future The HK416 Made by Heckler & Koch The FN Scar | 1


Foreword T

he critical importance of cleaning and

ammunition management are critical to reliable firing

regular maintenance of a military weapon is

on operation. For a soldier on patrol, rifle jams can

the theme of this Special Report. The technologies

be a risk to life.

to improve and facilitate the rifle or carbine cleaning

While it would be good to think that lessons learned

process in the field or on operation are central

about gun maintenance in Vietnam were used in Iraq

to reliable firing of all types of weapon in use by

and Afghanistan in the 21st century, this appears not

modern militaries and police forces throughout

to be the case. The fine dust and sand of Iraq and

the world.

Afghanistan have proved as much of a cleanliness

The opening article in the Report traces the history of Otis Technology, developers of the ‘The Whole Kit

challenge to soldiers now as the humidity and damp to the soldiers of the sixties.

and Caboodle®’ portable system for cleaning guns

It is the dream of every weapon designer and

in the field. The company has expanded from its

perhaps soldier to create a technology that does

early customer base of hunters and target shooters

not require the maintenance of weapons and that

to the US Government, to whom it has supplied more

enables them to be fired reliably when dirty. There

than 170,000 of its Improved Weapons Cleaning Kit

are several new products in the market that make this

(IWCK). In addition to supplying the military, Otis has

promise and they have been taken up with alacrity by

developed a law enforcement line of products.

Special Forces and European militaries and police.

Just how important cleaning and maintenance

Their adoption by the US military may take more

routines are for all soldiers is demonstrated in the

time as the effect of budget cuts and sequestration

second item in this report. The rapid introduction of

make the modernisation of the US rifle less likely in

the M16 rifle to the Vietnam War in the mid-sixties

the immediate future.

seemed to be a useful way of improving the odds for an army bogged down in a complex and intractable jungle insurgency. However, the rapid introduction of a new weapon ignored a vital lesson that cleaning and maintenance routines combined with good

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub is the editor of this Special Report. She has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

2 |


Otis Technology – Changing the Way You Clean Your Gun Christopher R. Bartocci


he best inventions come not from the engineer sitting at his desk searching for a problem to solve but out of necessity to solve a problem at hand. This is the story of Otis Technology. On a cold winter day, 16-year old Doreen Garrett and her father were deer hunting in upstate New York. She was carrying her grandfather’s Winchester 94 rifle when she hooked her boot on a submerged root and fell forward. The muzzle of her rifle went right into the cold mud plugging the muzzle. After shaking the rifle and trying to unclog the barrel with a stick, bad came to worse when the stick broke off in the muzzle! This day of hunting was over due to a barrel full of mud and no way to clean it out. On the long and cold walk back to the cabin, Doreen reflected on what just had happened, in particular how it would never happen again.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention Coming from a long line of hunters, Doreen had observed her family cleaning their guns all her life but until now paid little attention. She knew, in order to solve the problem of cleaning in the field, the kit had to be portable. Carrying around a standard cleaning kit was not practical because they are so large, not to mention using the rod would have pushed all that mud right down the bore and into the action. After much research, testing and working with many people, Doreen came up with the solution to the problem she encountered that cold day. It was called “The Whole Kit and Caboodle . This was a rather unique system compared to the norm. Instead of using a traditional steel or aluminum cleaning rod and pushing debris back into the action of the gun, The Whole Kit and Caboodle® used a cable. The cable was inserted through the chamber and was pulled from Breech- to-Muzzle®. This drew all of the fouling and dirt out of the muzzle, the same direction as the projectile rather than drawing it back into the action. The entire kit could be held in the palm of one’s hand and easily put into a pocket on your way out to the field. Doreen made

kits for relatives until the word got out. Wanting to grow the business, Doreen attended her first SHOT Show where many knowledgeable people liked the concept and offered suggestions on packaging and most importantly combination kits. They wanted kits that would clean many different types of guns. Since the first Whole Kit and Caboodle®, Otis Technology makes the highest quality cleaning kits in the industry, from .17 caliber to 40mm.

Rapid Growth In 1985, Otis Technology was created on the outskirts of the Adirondack Mountains in Boonville, New York. With business growing the company moved to its current Laura Street property in neighboring Lyons Falls. Otis Technology is a family owned, woman run operated business. As commercial and military sales began to climb at astonishing rates, in 2005 Otis Technology built a state-of-the-art 80,000 square foot manufacturing facility. This facility is second to none in the industry. It has a complete model shop and CNC production. All of the slotted tips, brushes, picks, cables and so forth are made in-house at the manufacturing facility. Otis Cleaning Systems are 100% made in the USA. This not only insures quality but keeps costs down for the end user. Inventory is housed in an automated distribution center insuring organization and efficiency. When an order is placed, the operator plugs the part numbers into the system and the robot retrieves the bins containing that product and modifies the inventory list so it is always known what product is on hand. Robots also deliver parts to various work stations and storage units throughout the factory. Otis Technology is ITAR registered and AS9100/ISO9001 certified.

Research and Development – The Key to Success When Otis Technology first opened, the only employees were Doreen and family. The company around 2005 time frame employed 150 associates at its peak of production. With the growth of the company and especially growth in military sales, Otis Technology was in need of a more focused | 3


As commercial and military sales began to climb at astonishing rates, in 2005 Otis Technology built a state-of-the-art 80,000 square foot Pictured here is the sign at Otis Technology’s headquarters in Lyons Falls, NY placement

manufacturing facility and dedicated research and development group. In May of 2010, Otis Technology opened up their research and engineering center in Phoenix, New York near Syracuse. This location was more optimal for getting the qualified engineers and development personnel closer to a major city. This facility is dedicated to new product development and is at the heart of the solutions based concept which is Otis Technology. Customers present their weapons maintenance needs to Otis and the solution is found at the R&D facility. This facility has also allowed the company to branch outside the cleaning realm. In 2011, Otis Technology designed and submitted to the FRAK (Forward Rail Assembly Kit) which is a free floating handguard designed to replace the KAC RAS currently installed on M16A4 and M4 rifles. The Otis R&D team was able to get this ready within 6 months for submittal for testing. The Otis FRAK fared well in the competition but did not win the contract. This product showed the industry that they are a force to be reckoned with in many other areas than just cleaning supplies. Otis Technology holds 17registered patents for weapons maintenance and has 17 patents currently pending. As the company began, commercial customers were in mind: hunters and target shooters. The original “The Whole Kit & Caboodle®” was first sold to two wholesale distributors at the SHOT Show in 1985, soon to be followed by sales to LL Bean in Freeport Maine.

Supplying the Military Jerry Williams, Doreen’s father, first presented Otis cleaning gear to the US military in the very early 1990s. The culture of the US military is a 4 |

The Buttstock Cleaning System was the first kit sold to the U.S. Government and fits inside the stock of M16 rifles

difficult one to change; this took nearly a decade of persistence and product innovations before being awarded their first DoD contract (Army). Otis kits did find their way into the military by soldiers purchasing them on their own and using them on duty. As the merits of the Breechto-Muzzle® cleaning system became known, there was interest developing in the military channels. This is not an easy market to get into, particularly for Otis. Forever the military had used its traditional steel cleaning rods. The military manuals always showed breech to muzzle cleaning. In U.S. weapon technical manuals, they showed removing the slotted tip, pushing the rod through the muzzle and reattaching the slotted tip to the rod inside the receiver and then pulling the patch through. The Otis system allowed the cable to be fed into the chamber and down


the bore and the patch then is pulled through the barrel. The cable eliminated the long and cumbersome rod. The patch itself was unique. Unlike traditional patches, the Otis patch could be used up to 6 times by flipping the patch and going through each of the three slots on each side. Tradition dies hard in the U.S. military; the history of Ordnance Corps documents that time after time. Otis was able to break that cycle; they changed the doctrine of how US soldiers clean their weapons. The quality of the Otis kit is also seen in the lifetime warranty of the non consumable components (cables, scrapers, pics and slotted tips). If any of these parts become damaged or broken, Otis will replace them. In order to offer this type of warranty you have to be highly confident on the high quality of your product. The first kit sold to the US Government was then MFG-224, which is the buttstock cleaning kit. This kit fits inside of the stock of the fixed stock of the M16A1/M16A2/ M16A3 and M16A4 rifles. It contains the cable, patches, bore brush, chamber brush, slotted tip, obstruction remover, all purpose brush, T-Handle, 3-pipecleaners and a bottle of CLP. This was introduced (supplied) in the late 1990s to early 2000s. The next kit to be purchased by the US DoD was the UCK or Universal Cleaning Kit (NSN# 1005-01-560-0131). This kit is designed to clean 9mm, 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 cal small arms. This black case came with a Gerber Multi-Tool, Tool Set, bore brushes (5.56mm, 9mm, 7.62mm, 45 & 50 cal), lens cleaning gear, cables (rifle and pistol length) , Slotted tips (5.56mm and all others), all purpose brush, obstruction removers (5.56mm, 7.62mm and 50 cal), scraper tools, M16/M4 chamber brush and patches (2 and 3 inch). This kit was later replaced by the IWCK or Improved Weapons Cleaning Kit (NSN# 1005-01-5627393) in 2008. The kit was updated to reflect lessons learned to optimize the use at the platoon and squad level. The main changes were the change to a different Gerber Multi-Tool and the elimination of the Gerber Tool Kit. The .50 cal tools were removed due to the squad and platoon level did not have .50 cal. The insert holding the attachments was changed to an improved molded plastic insert compared to the foam insert originally put in the UCK. This was a suggestion Otis received from the field and acted upon to give the customer what they needed. It was decided that the government wanted a set of metal rods to be included. This was more for obstruction removal. There is a lens dust brush, lens cleaning solvent, muzzle cap and refillable solvent/oil bottle added. This kit would prove to be Otis’s crown jewel of their entire line. More than 170,000 of these IWCKs have been produced for the US Government.

Pictured here is the IWCK. More than 170,000 of these have been produced for the U.S. Government

Specialist Kits for a Variety of Weapons For the individual soldiers, Otis would go on to design kits for specific weapons platforms. Staying with the trademark round case, Otis introduced their 5.56mm Soft Pack (NSN# 1005-01-448-8513) in the early 2000s. Right around the 9/11 time period when the US military was gearing up for war on two fronts, procurement began for this kit. The kit comes in a government specified tan case with a larger zipper. The kit has the needed tools to maintain the M16/M4 carbine (or any other 5.56mm caliber assault rifle). This kit included a 30 inch cable, 5.56mm bore brush, obstruction remover, slotted tip, specialized precision tools for complete breakdown and fine cleaning and lens cleaning gear. Similar kits were made for 9mm pistol and 7.62mm rifles/ machine guns. Otis Technology has produced hundreds of thousands of these kits for the US Government. Otis developed a combat shotgun cleaning kit which has a unique rubberized patch saver for complete 360Ëš cleaning of the barrel. This is the most thorough way to clean a barrel with a patch in the industry. This technology was carried over to make a cleaning system for the 40mm grenade launcher as well. This kit featured two disks/ nylon brushes that scrub the inside of the launcher tube and then a patch over the patch saver is run through thoroughly cleaning debris from the launcher barrel. There are many combination kits as well for instance a combination 5.56mm/9mm, 5.56mm/.45 Auto for instance. Otis has provided the US Navy with buttstock cleaning kits that fit in the back of the stock of their M16A2/M16A3 rifles. This kit has all of Otis trademark components and a significant improvement over the standard GI cleaning kit. | 5


This kit would prove to be Otis’s crown jewel of their entire line. More than 170,000 of these IWCKs have been produced for the US Government

More Enhancements and New Markets The latest kit Otis is providing to the US government is the I-Mod and T-Mod cleaning system. The I-Mod system is an updated and enhanced MFG-223-2 cleaning system. The enhancements include the addition of a 5.56mm Ripcord™ along with the Memory-Flex® cable. The Ripcord™ may be used for field cleaning or clearing an obstructed muzzle. Also there is the addition of a multi-tool, M16/M4 chamber brush, 5.56mm IDT brush and the addition of an M16 Solid Rod Obstruction Remover with T-Handle. It also includes a refillable oil/solvent bottle and a military grade case with MOLLE webbing. The T-Mod is an updated IWCK cleaning system. The major difference is the addition of .45, 9mm, 7.62 and 5.56mm Ripcords™. The multi tool was removed and the case was replaced with a military grade tan case with MOLLE webbing. In September 2013, Otis Technology was awarded a $39,200,000 firm-fixed-price, non-option-eligible, non-multi-year contract to procure the new I-Mod and T-Mod system. This contract (W15QKN13-D-0090) was a competitive acquisition via the web with four bids received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command-Picatinny Arsenal, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity. Otis also has a law enforcement line of products which are more cost effective than the military cleaning systems. Many additional cleaning systems are included in that line such as 300 Blackout, 6.8mmRemSPC, 5.7mm amongst others. One of the finest is the MSR/AR cleaning system which is the ultimate cleaning system for the AR15-series weapon. The system includes a chamber brush as well as the new Mongoose brushes. There is a 5.56mm bore brush with a cotton mop on the tip. This brush is excellent for in the field cleaning. The entire AR15 scraper set is included. The new kit includes Otis’s newest cleaning tool, the B.O.N.E. Tool®. This revolutionary tool cleans the hard-to-get areas on the bolt carrier/bolt. One end of the tool is inserted into the bolt carrier and removes the hard to reach

The I-Mod Cleaning System is one of the newest cleaning systems Otis will produce for the U.S. Government

carbon in the back of the bolt carrier. The other end of the tool, the tail of the bolt is inserted and the carbon is removed from the back of the bolt. Also on the side of the middle of the tool, the firing pin is dropped through and the face of the firing pin hood is cleaned. Otis Technology has been recognized for excellence in innovation, delivery, and manufacturing within industry and military agencies. These awards include: DLA Bronze Recognition for Excellence Award (2 times); DLA Silver Recognition for Excellence Award (4 times); DLA Gold Recognition for Excellence Award (3 times); Progressive Manufacturing Award (2 times); NDIA Small Arms Systems Ambrose Industry Award for support and commitment to US Armed Forces; DoD Award for outstanding support. Tradition is very difficult to compete with, even when the technology is better. Otis Technology continues to educate and listen to the needs of the end users in the commercial, Law Enforcement and Military markets to make proper gear so they may complete their hunt, shift and duty with properly functioning weapons. Otis Technology has moved into other markets and continues to search for new ventures to assist their customers. Otis has been and continues to be a solutions based company serving the global market.

Contact Address: Otis Technology, 6987 Laura Street PO Box 582, Lyons Falls, NY 13368, USA Orders and Customer Service 1-800-OTISGUN (684-7486) The T-Mod Cleaning System is one of the newest cleaning systems Otis will be providing to the U.S. Government

6 |

Phone: (315) 348-4300 Fax :(315) 348-4332


Weapon Maintenance Critical to Rifle Reliability Mary Dub, Editor

“Today we have ‘naming of parts’. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning, We shall have ‘what to do after firing’. But to-day, Today we have ‘naming of parts’. Japonica Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens, And today we have naming of parts.” A poem: ‘Naming of Parts’ by Henry Reed written in (1942)


or the 21st century infantryman or warrior, the issue of preparing and cleaning the rifle, the M16 or M4 carbine, is as central to survival now in Helmand province, as it was to the Second World War poet, Henry Reed when he was writing his poem about basic military training in Britain in 1942. However, while during the Second World War daily cleaning happened ‘yesterday’ in the poem and was early in the list of items to be mastered, cleaning lost and has now regained its central place in the soldiers’ duties and fighting capability. How and why is cleaning a weapon in military service so important to reliability of firing and accuracy? The recent history of the United States Army in Vietnam demonstrates cogently how the United States army had to rediscover the lessons of the Second World War and re-learn the importance of weapon cleaning.

What Happened? The Vietnam War is a powerful illustration of the consequences of not prioritising basic weapon cleaning. In 1965 Commander US Military Assistance, Command Vietnam General William C. Westmoreland asked for an extra 170, 000 rifles. The request was approved and large numbers of new M16s were sent in 1966. In the fall of 1966 excessive stoppages and malfunctions were reported by USARV (United States Army Republic of Vietnam). Military leaders thought, “lack of proper training and maintenance was the probable cause of the problem”. “The team taught maintenance in every major USARV unit except the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Soldiers brought their own weapons, magazines, ammunition, cleaning materials and accessories to class.

A detailed inspection of each student’s equipment revealed that …all the weapons were poorly maintained, the most common faults were; excessive oil on the weapon, carbon buildup in the chamber, bolt, and bolt carrier group. There were also problems with overloading of magazines with 21 rounds of ammunition, oil and grit inside magazines (frequently accompanied by lubricated ammunition) and failure to replace worn or broken extractors and extractor springs. Other deficiencies were shortages of technical manuals, cleaning equipment and repair parts and a general lack of knowledge of the M-16 rifle among officers and non-commissioned officers. But ignorance of the need to maintain regular cleaning routines with weapons was not universal. The 1st Brigade, the 101st Airborne Division, the 173d Airborne Brigade and the 5th Special Forces were the only units surveyed that had received training for a significant period of time prior to deployment to Vietnam. Men in other units had had training in marksmanship but little or no instruction in care and cleaning of the rifle.”

The Congressional, Armed Services Committee of Enquiry into Weapon Cleaning in Vietnam The House of Congress, Armed Services Committee, appointed a sub committee to look into the M16 rifle program and the reasons behind the reliability issues experienced in Vietnam. No official report was published. However, Colonel Crossman and the team escort, Col Paul B Henley, wrote up the findings of the congressional research group. Their conclusions, as a result of interviewing officers and men on the ground in Vietnam were insightful: at least 50% of the men interviewed had encountered serious malfunctions with the | 7


The recent history of the United States Army in Vietnam demonstrates cogently how the United States army had to rediscover the lessons of the Second World War and relearn the importance of weapon cleaning

M16 rifle, most of them failures to extract. The bolt closure device was used frequently enough to justify the Army’s insistence on this product improvement. Extractors and extractor springs required replacement fairly often. While there was no general shortage of cleaning and preserving equipment, many individuals were short of the critical cleaning rods and chamber brushes. Many cases of stuck or jammed selector levers were reported. It was not possible to correlate the kind of lubricant or method of lubrication with malfunctions.1

The Sub Committee Questionnaire and its Conclusions The Congressional enquiry team asked the men they interviewed about their weapon maintenance routines: only 71% replied ‘Yes’ to the question ‘do you clean your rifle daily?’. Only 69% carried cleaning equipment with them, and not enough of them had received sufficient instruction in special training in the maintenance of the M16 under field conditions. The key conclusions of the Colonels’ report were trenchant: MACV (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam) directed appropriate action to ensure the availability to operational units of

Soldier cleaning his weapon with an Otis blue AP brush

8 |

adequate supplies of repair parts and cleaning equipment. They identified the principal direct cause of the stoppages of the M16 rifle in South Vietnam to have been the failure to extract the spent cartridge case. In turn, dirty or corroded cartridges and improperly maintained chambers caused this. They noted that the “LSA lubricant was better for wet and muddy conditions” which was typical of the tropical climate of Vietnam. But most importantly, they made it clear that the men needed to clean their rifles plus their magazines and ammunition. The key problem was accelerated introduction of the M16 rifle into Vietnam without maintenance or training. While the Vietnam war has now passed into history, many of the same lessons about rifle maintenance are now apparent in the arid plains of Afghanistan, where dust and sand have the same corrosive effect as the humidity and mud of the Vietnam War. Further, it would be a mistake to assume that, because the drawdown of the ISAF forces from Afghanistan is imminent in 2014, the intensity of fighting on the ground is reduced. The media coverage of the fighting has diminished but the intensity of the fighting in the fall of 2013 in some provinces is as ferocious as it has been earlier in the conflict.2


The Rifle Update Debate and Cleaning Systems in Action Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Otis MFG-223-2 Cleaning System


he firepower, reliability and lethality of the rifle are never far from political debate, because of the central importance of the infantryman’s weapon and its ammunition to his survival. In 2009, as a result of losses in the war in Afghanistan, the drive for the rifle’s improvement and replacement became noisy in the face of perceived weaknesses of the M16 on the field of battle. The battle of Wanat is sometimes described as the “Black Hawk Down” moment in Afghanistan for ISAF soldiers. According to Thom Shanker of ‘The New York Times’, 48 American soldiers and 24 Afghan soldiers were outnumbered three to one in a four-hour fire fight that left nine Americans dead and 27 wounded in one of the bloodiest days of the eight-year war.3 But, and this is the critical information, ‘Soldiers who survived the battle described how their automatic weapons turned white hot and jammed from nonstop firing. Mortally wounded

troops continued to hand bullet belts to those still able to fire.’

The Debate in the Military Community The chequered reputation of the M16 rifle has been a controversial item since the sixties. How did that debate re-emerge in the 21st century and why? What happened to the rifle? Part of the problem lay in the M16’s terrifying tendency to jam mid-fight. What’s more, the jamming was often one of the worst sorts: a phenomenon known as “failure to extract,” which meant that a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet flew out the muzzle.4 The only sure way to dislodge the case was to push a metal rod down the muzzle and pop it out. The modern American assault rifle, in other words, often resembled a single-shot musket. The historic rebuke by the congressional committee investigating the failure of the M16 in Vietnam | 9


Finding the best cleaning and maintenance routine for the M16 and M4 carbine is obviously a challenging issue for infantry patrols on operations over extended periods in a sandy and dusty environment

was often quoted. That is the Army, among other things, failed to ensure the weapon and its ammunition worked well together, failed to train troops on the new weapon, and neglected to issue enough cleaning equipment – including the cleaning rod essential for clearing jammed rifles. These historic suspicions were compounded by new criticism of the M4 carbine and the M16 and its excessive sensitivity to the sand and fine dust that are found in the plains of Afghanistan, which caused the mechanism to overheat rapidly in use and fail.5

Campaign Criticisms of the Rifle from Soldiers on Operations The M4 and M16 rifle has had many updates and improvements, and it has a reputation as an excellent weapon, if you maintain it. Failure to maintain the weapon meticulously can lead to jams, especially in sandy or dusty environments. Kalashnikovs may not have a reputation for accuracy, or lightness, (but they do have a well-earned reputation for being able to take amazing amounts of abuse, without maintenance, and still fire reliably.) The Israeli “Galil” applied these lessons in 5.56mm calibre, and earned a similar reputation. Colt’s M16 and M4 have never done so.6

What is the Evidence? According to briefing documents obtained by Gannett’s Army Times magazine: USMC officials said the M4 malfunctioned three times more often than the M16A4 during an assessment conducted in late summer 2002 for Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico, VA. Malfunctions were broken down into several categories, including “magazine,” “failure to chamber,” “failure to fire,” “failure to extract” and

10 |

“worn or broken part,” according to the briefing documents. During the comparison, the M4 failed 186 times across those categories over the course of 69,000 rounds fired. The M16A4 failed 61 times. “The executive summary said that M16s and M4s “functioned reliably” in the combat zone as long as “soldiers conducted daily operator maintenance and applied a light coat of lubricant.” However, the soldiers’ reply reflected a sharper appreciation of reality.” “I know it fires very well and accurate [when] clean. But sometimes it needs to fire dirty well too.” And a 25th Infantry Division soldier: “The M4 Weapon in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan was quick to malfunction when a little sand got in the weapon. Trying to keep it clean, sand free was impossible while on patrols or fire fights.” An 82nd Airborne Division soldier: “The M4 is overall an excellent weapon; however the flaw of its sensitivity to dirt and powder residue needs to be corrected. True to fact, cleaning will help. Daily assigned tasks, and nonregular hours in tactical situations do not always warrant the necessary time required for effective cleaning.” And a 75th Ranger SOCOM (Special Operations Command) sums up the criticisms: “Even with the dust cover closed and magazine in the well, sand gets inside – on and around the bolt. It still fires, but after a while the sand works its way all through the gun and jams start.” Finding the best cleaning and maintenance routine for the M16 and M4 carbine is obviously a challenging issue for infantry patrols on operations over extended periods in a sandy and dusty environment. Finding the right product and system that is light and portable to facilitate maintenance on an already heavily loaded infantryman is the task. There is a complex and sophisticated range of products available to help meet this need.


Police Demands for Weapons Maintenance Systems Don McBarnet, Staff Writer


hile American ISAF forces use the M16 or M4 rifle and its variants, the Afghan National Forces have been issued with the AMD-65. This weapon started mass production under license in Hungary in 1967. It was specifically designed to be small and easier to carry. For the weapon to accept 20 rounds, a folding stock made out of tube, which did not block the trigger, replaced the usual fused butt.7 The shorter barrel and folding stock made it an effective weapon and its relative cheapness and ruggedness made it suitable for distribution to the Afghan National Police force. However, as with the M16 and the M4, in sandy and fine dust situations it requires regular maintenance and careful handling.

Afghan National Police Experience of the AMD-65 According to The New York Time, the AMD-65, a Kalashnikov variant, has one salient problem – unexpected stoppages. Interviewed in Marja in Afghanistan, Sergeant Akhmad Fahim of the Afghan National Civil Order Police, described his AMD-65 briefly, but descriptively: “Five shots, stop. Five shots, stop.” The New York Times reports having heard police complaining about these weapons for several years. But the complaints have increased in intensity and frequency. Why? Some of this might be routine interservice jealousies. Under the Pentagon’s plan to convert the Afghan National Army to many NATO-standard arms, Afghan soldiers are being issued new M-16s. The police feel left out and less important, which is not a morale-building sentiment in a force that takes more annual casualties than any other government force fighting in Afghanistan, foreign or local. To counter the weapon stoppages, the Afghan National forces have been taught weapons maintenance but, whether, like ISAF forces, they will be able to maintain the routine on operation after training has to remain uncertain.

The Afghan Experience Afghan border police officers have been taught advanced small-arms repair and maintenance skills from U.S. soldiers of Company B, 173rd Support Battalion, at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad. Army Spc. Roberto Garza Rivera, a small-arms repairman with Company B, 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, demonstrated maintenance procedures to Staff Sgt. Ghaljay, an Afghan Border Patrol officer. The U.S. Advanced Instructed Small-Arms Repair Course is the second course this group of border police attended. The weapons maintenance course included instruction on repair, cleaning and inspection procedures on nine different types of small arms. The Afghan border police officers have trained mainly on U.S.-made weapons. Many of the weapons used by the border police and Afghan National Army soldiers are being given the U.S. standard-issue weapons such as the M-16 rifle and M4 carbine. “We are very attentive and focused during the weapons class, and we try to memorize everything so we can always remember,” said Staff Sgt. Ghaljay, a border patrol officer from Kunar province. “This is exactly the training we need. Our instructor is very good, and he gets along well with us.” The goal of this training is similar to many other U.S.-led Afghantraining classes. Upon graduation, this group of specially schooled border police officers will return to their separate units and train their Afghan counterparts in weapons repair and maintenance. The US Army intends to spread the message of the importance of regular weapons cleaning to ensure reliable performance. The Afghan trainee, Ghaljay said the border police had little weaponsrepair experience before this training, but will now set aside every Thursday for weapons cleaning. The hope is the regular maintenance routine will add to the reliability and effectiveness of the police forces. Whether that hope will be realised will depend on the level of continuity the Afghan Forces will be able sustain in the absence of ISAF back-up and international financial support. | 11


The Army is rethinking how to use what amounts to more than $300 million that the service budgeted for new carbines through 2018 Otis UCK Cleaning Kit_REV 1-12-11

Sequestration, Budget Issues and the M16/M4 Replacement and Update Throughout the period of conflict in Afghanistan the US Army has intended to improve and update the weapon used by today’s infantry troops. The weapons manufacturers are well aware of the Army’s interests in making and testing improvements. The service’s original plan was to award three contracts to three gun makers for the final phase of the competition, which would involve soldiers firing nearly 800,000 rounds in three separate user evaluations before choosing a winning carbine. Now the Army is rethinking how to use what amounts to more than $300 million that the service budgeted for new carbines through 2018. The decision now rests with Secretary of the Army John McHugh, according to another source with insight into the Army acquisitions community.8

Testing Competitions with Rival Weapon Manufacturers In May 2013 the US Army completed extensive firing trials. Army weapons officials completed

12 |

Phase II of the competition where testers fired hundreds of thousands of rounds through carbines submitted by gun makers such as Heckler & Koch, FNH-USA, Remington Defense, Adcor Defense Inc. and Colt Defense LLC, the original maker of the M4 carbine. The U.S. Army plan was to conduct the final, soldier-evaluation portion of this multi-year effort to replace the M4 carbine. Program officials were in the process of reprogramming the $49.6 million requested in the proposed fiscal 2014 budget to buy 30,000 improved carbines.9 The requirements document calls for a weapon that’s almost twice as accurate as the current M4. It also emphasized improved reliability, serviceability and a longer-lasting barrel. The need to design out the need for frequent cleaning and rigid maintenance practice is an important part of the specification. Soldiers need to be able to fire their weapon in all conditions and also when they are under stress or in a prolonged high intensity gunfight. The soldier risks his life when stopping to clean or clear a weapon that has jammed.


Military Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance in the Future Mary Dub, Editor


t is a truism that nevertheless has value, that the future reflects the past. If that is the case, the strategic importance of weapon upgrade will be built into the regular process of equipment modernisation for the soldier warrior. However, the experience of Vietnam and Afghanistan demonstrates that today’s soldier often has to fight today’s wars with yesterday’s weapons. It took too long for the USARV, the United States Army in the Republic of Vietnam, to recognise the importance of maintenance of the new weapon given to forces in the hot, muddy and humid conditions of Vietnam. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) claims credit for introducing the lighter more lethal weapon. When it was introduced in 1962 the M16 Assault Rifle was the standard issue shoulder weapon in the U.S. military. It marked a departure from normal ballistics in that it uses a smaller, high-velocity round (5.56 mm calibre vs. 7.62 mm). This produced a smaller and lighter weapon that used smaller, lighter ammunition, thereby significantly decreasing combat load for the foot soldier. The M16 was based on a design (the Colt AR-15) that had already been rejected by the Chief of Staff of the Army in favour of the heavier 7.62 mm M14. Colt brought the weapon to DARPA in 1962 and through Project AGILE, DARPA purchased 1,000 AR15s and issued them to combat troops in Southeast Asia for field trials, to prove that the high-velocity 5.56 mm round had satisfactory performance. The subsequent DARPA report, documenting the lethality of the AR-15, was instrumental in motivating the Secretary of Defense to reconsider the Army’s decision and eventually adopt a modified AR-15 as the U.S. military individual weapon of choice. However, all the talk of improved lethality has to be considered in the light of the problems associated with keeping the M16 constantly clean on operations.

The View from 2013 The M4 adopted by Special Forces is seen in a different light to the M16 and has escaped some of the criticism directed at the M16. However the M4 carbine is designed in such a way that gas blows into the receiver of the weapon. The resulting build up of carbon residue has been linked to excessive wear and tear and requires special maintenance attention. Retired Army vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Jack Keane was quoted voicing frustration at how long it takes to find a next-generation replacement for the M16/M4. “We are not saying the [M4 and M16 are] bad,” he told Gannett’s Army Times. “The issue for me is, do our soldiers have the best rifle in their hands?”

The Weapons of the Future What is in the market for military and police forces? The XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System allows soldiers to hit targets hiding behind barriers. The XM25 operator uses a laser to help compute the distance to the target and then calibrates the microchip-equipped round to explode right above the target’s head. The rifle can launch 25mm rounds up to 546 yards at a precise target and 765 yards when firing on a wider area. A test deployment of prototype X25s has gone well. In fact, the army now wants more of them sent to its forces operating in Afghanistan. But that may not happen immediately as they are not yet in mass production by ATK.

The HK416 Made by Heckler & Koch The HK416, which was developed for U.S. Special Forces, bears an outward resemblance to the M4. However, inside, it uses a short-stroke gas system that proponents say constitutes a vast improvement over the M4’s design. The Army’s Delta Force has used the rifle since 2004 after tests determined that the HK14 piston operating system cut down on the frequency of malfunctions while extending the life of its parts. The HK system uses a short-stroke piston | 13


Otis TMOD_with scraper

The army or police force that neglects the role of cleaning in its maintenance training is one that does not value weapon reliability

driving an operating rod to force the bolt carrier to the rear. This design prevents combustion gases from entering the weapon’s interior, a shortcoming with direct impingement systems. The reduction in heat and fouling of the bolt carrier group increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages. It also reduces operator cleaning time and stress on critical components. Major Chaz W. Bowser, a former weapons developer for the U.S. Army’s special operations branch, made clear what his preference would be: “I could go to Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere with whatever weapons I wanted to carry. As soon as the H&K 416 was available, it got stuffed into my kit bag and, through test after test, it became my primary carry weapon as a long gun. I had already gotten the data from folks carrying it before me and had determined that it would be foolish to risk my life with a lesser system.”

The FN Scar The FN SCAR, an acronym for Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle, figures in any discussion of future replacements for the M4 Carbine. In 2009, the rifle was issued to a U.S. Ranger regiment.

14 |

It features a short-stroke, gas-piston operating system and comes in versions that fire the NATO standard 5.56 calibre as well as the 7.62 calibre bullet. Another candidate is the REC7, an assault rifle formerly known as the M468 and developed by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing. It looks a lot like the M4. However, it features a short-stroke gas piston system and it fires a different kind of round, the 6.8 x 43 cartridge. The company says the round has 44% more stopping power and a longer effective range than the 5.56 cartridge used by the U.S. Army. The final potential candidate might be the XCR assault rifle, which was in competition to supply a rifle to the U.S. Special Forces. In the face of cancellation of the current program to update the M4/16, these products will have to wait their time or be adopted by Special Forces, European governments or national police forces and border guards. However, while many of them are trying to reduce the need for cleaning in their design, it remains true that all of them will require frequent cleaning and maintenance during their use. The army or police force that neglects the role of cleaning in its maintenance training is one that does not value weapon reliability.


References: 1


1 June 1968 Department of the Army, Office of the Deputy chief of Staff, Research Development and Acquisition

Report of the M16 Rifle Review Panel Article | September 24, 2013


Afghanistan After ISAF by: Vanda Flab-Brown


By Thom SHANKER Published: October 2, 2009

5 Report Cites Firefight as Lesson on Afghan War Report Cites Firefight as Lesson on Afghan War By Thom SHANKER Published: October 2, 2009 Report Cites Firefight as Lesson on Afghan War By Thom SHANKER Published: October 2, 2009

6 The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy - May 02, 2013



Defense Industry Daily problems with the M16 /4 Cancellation 2013 Army Set to Kill Improved Carbine Competition - May 02, 2013


Defense Industry Daily problems with the M16 /4 Cancellation 2013, Army Set to Kill Improved Carbine Competition - May 02, 2013|

by Matthew Cox | 15

Defence Industry Reports… the Defence Industry Reports….the leading specialist combined leading specialist online research andcombined networking online research and networking resource for senior military and resource for senior military and defence industry professionals. defence industry professionals.

 •p toUpthe U minute Industry News other content available to the minute Industryand and Technology Technology News andand other content available to to allallsite users on a free of charge, open access basis. site users on a free of charge, open access basis.

 •ualified Q signed upupmembers abletoto access premium content Qualified signed members are are able access premium content SpecialSpecial Reports andand interact with usinga variety a variety of advanced Reports interact withtheir their peers peers using of advanced onlineonline networking tools. networking tools.

Designed to help usersidentify identify new solutions, understand the the  •esigned D to help users newtechnical technical solutions, understand implications of differenttechnical technical choices select the the bestbest solutions implications of different choicesand and select solutions available. available.

Thought Leadership Advice and from internationally recognised  •hought T Leadership – -Advice andguidance guidance from internationally recognised defence industry key opinion leaders. leaders defence industry key opinion

Input - Contributions from senior military personnel and defence industry  •eerPeer P Input – Contributions from senior military personnel and defence professionals industry professionals.

Independent Editorial Content – Expert and authoritative analysis from winning journalists and leading industry commentators award winning journalists and leading industry commentators.

Unbiased Supplier Provided Content.

Designed debate. • Writtento tofacilitate the highest professional standards

Written to the highest professional standards.

Independent Editorial Content - Expert and authoritative analysis from award

Unbiased Supplier Provided Content

Designed to facilitate debate


Profile for The Magazine Production Company

Special Report – Next Generation Cleaning Systems for Force Protection Otis  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Cleaning Systems for Force Protection

Special Report – Next Generation Cleaning Systems for Force Protection Otis  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Cleaning Systems for Force Protection