Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?There are rifle tests going on right now, my little cherubs and seraphim tell me, and I've heard of a bunch of high end troops training with SCARs.
Despite the military's insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times.
Complaints about the weapons the troops carry, especially the M4, aren't new. Army officials say that when properly cleaned and maintained, the M4 is a quality weapon that can pump out more than 3,000 rounds before any failures occur.
The M4 is a shorter, lighter version of the M16, which made its debut during the Vietnam war. Roughly 500,000 M4s are in service, making it the rifle troops on the front lines trust with their lives.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a leading critic of the M4, said Thursday the Army needs to move quickly to acquire a combat rifle suited for the extreme conditions U.S. troops are fighting in.
U.S. special operations forces, with their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't, already are replacing their M4s with a new rifle.
The Firearms Blog is talking about Remington's upcoming new product announcements this week, which may include a civilian version of the ACR:
Don't quote this as fact, but I think there is a good chance we will finally see the launch of the civilian Remington / Bushmaster / Magpul ACR at this seminar.
Why do I think this?
Firstly, Remington unveils their exciting new products at this event. In October 2007 we saw the launch of the Remington R-15. October last year was when the .30 Remington AR cartridge was launched.
Secondly, a few months ago Magpul said we would see the rifle unveiled late this year.
And my final reason for thinking it will be unveiled this week is that a semi-automatic version of the ACR is already in the hands of a civilian. At the recent AAC Silencer Shoot, AAC (now owned by Remington) auctioned off an ACR. The proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project.