Somebody once asked me why I preferred the outdated, heavy Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol as a defense weapon, and I told them that I carried a .45 because they don’t make a .46.

I was reminded of that when I read a recent Associated Press news report that claims that the Army’s M-4 rifle has been found less than effective under current battlefield conditions in Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s more primitive but longer range weapons allow the enemy to fire effectively from distances longer than American rifles can reach reliably.

The report said that while the M-4, a workhorse with a 40 year history of service, fires more rounds, and fires them faster than the Taliban’s outdated long range rifles, the M-4’s 5.56 mm bullets do not have enough accuracy or stopping power at 500 to 600 meters to be effective. This gives the Taliban a major advantage over U.S. troops.

The M-4, which is an updated version of the famous M-16, is a fine weapon for close quarters combat and urban warfare, but it is the wrong weapon for battle in Afghanistan.

In response, the Army is arming nine soldiers in each infantry company with higher powered M-110 sniper rifles, which fire a larger 7.62 mm round, and is accurate out to 800 meters. The problem with this plan is that a typical infantry company has 150 to 200 men, so that still leaves most of the troops outgunned.

The trend toward lighter weapons started in Vietnam, when the Army replaced the heavier, more reliable and more powerful (read lethal) M-14, which fired a 7.62 mm bullet, with the M-16 and its much smaller 5.56 mm cartridge. The M-16 had less recoil and allowed soldiers to carry more ammunition, but in my own experience, I found it a less than satisfactory round in the jungle, where it seemed like any twig or leaf could deflect the bullet off course.

The idea seemed to be “spray and pray,” with the hope that if you threw enough lead at the enemy, you might eventually hit something. The Taliban is proving today that marksmanship with an accurate long range rifle beats that theory all to hell. A hit is always worth a few dozen misses.

I’m a very big fan of overkill. Nobody who has ever been shot at ever wished he had a smaller weapon to shoot back with. Rifles are better than pistols, big rifles are better than small rifles, and artillery is even better!

It was just announced that Marine Corporal Jacob C. Leicht was killed last Thursday, making him the 1,000th American serviceman to die in Afghan fighting. The 24 year old Marine was on his second tour of duty when he stepped on a landmine. We’ve lost another hero. I wish I could tell you that he will be the last to die, but we all know better than that.

I wish we’d bring our troops home from every one of these Third World hellholes, but if we won’t, they at least deserve to be armed with the best weapons to get the job done right. On second thought, how about we use a big freakin bomb? Hey, it worked in Japan!

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15 Comments on I’m All About Overkill

  1. Don Damkaer says:

    Nick – I too lamented when the M-14 replaced the M-16. The high velocity round of the M-16 could be deflected with little effort as you mention. 200 meters for an M-16 was about it for any accuracy; but the M-14 was good to 400-500 meters for most soldiers, and with a little extra training and a good unit armorer 1000 meters was attainable. I would much rather have 100% armed with a good rifle than just a hand-full of sniper rifles in a company. Give the Infantryman what he needs to do the job! Don Damkaer

  2. Ann Geraghty says:

    Go with the “bomb” and have it overwith. Does anyone think the middle east will like us any less. The idea of war is to win and that is what the middle east mentality of these terrorists have along with a terrific endurance power from years and centuries of surviving. Bring the troops home and use them to protect us here. Let mideast use their oil wealth to improve their own areas and if they don’t want to, let them rot.

  3. Lu Tillotson says:

    Last Saturday, we visited the Springfield (MA) Armory National Historic Site, where both the 03 Springfield and M-14 rifles were developed. The armory was closed in 1968 but for 174 years, Springfield developed its own weapons so we wouldn’t be dependent on foreign arms, with the weapons developed as the best for the existing styles of warfare. The circle has come around – most weapons today are now being made overseas (park ranger wasn’t sure exactly where)and once again, they are not keeping up with existing styles of warfare. Have we not learned from history?

  4. Jim says:

    B52s were made for a reason. Let’s use them daily and in big swarms.

  5. Brian says:

    The M-16 never was, and never will be a “Good” combat weapon. It was chosen by bean counters, playing with “statistics”… NOT… the men who are going to have to depend on the rifle that keeps them walking and talking…

    Maybe… the Army might want to poll its’ troops?… “What weapon do YOU want to carry if your life may depend on it?”

  6. Dave B. says:

    Why does our country continue to fight wars in a manner that prolongs them? Didn’t we learn anything from Viet Nam? Use all the weapons available to us and get out quick to save our soldiers lives. True there would be a lot of civilian casualties, but war is not pretty. The bad guys over there don’t seem to mind killing civilians! Or better yet, require our Senators and Congressmen to serve there along with the soldiers for the duration of the war! Do you think it might end sooner?

  7. Patty says:

    the answer is M 1 and 45, still the best ask anyone who carried them

  8. Linda says:

    I vote for the freakin’ big bomb. We’ve been dickin’ around over there for 10 yrs. now, it’s time to end it. Wipe the slate clean and let ’em start over. Another thought too, why does the US have to be the world’s policemen? Let these third world countries figure it out on their own.

  9. Ed Hackenbruch says:

    I happen to like the M-16. I carried/used one for 13 1/2 months in 70 and 71. It does have its limitations but all of them do. It might be the range factor, or the weight factor, or the rate of fire factor, or something else. In other conditions/areas, i am sure that i would want something else. But where i was the 16 worked very well.

  10. Kenneth says:

    Big guns, big bombs.
    They are dead and we are not.
    I like that plan.

  11. daWolfdidit says:

    Nick…(remember, we met a couple years ago in Casa Grande)…and “saluted one another as fellow Vets”)…I am sorry, Bro…I just cannot “get behind” this whole…”Kill sht”…

    You “been there”…I’ve been there…and (yeah, I’ve got a body count, too)…most these jerkoffs weren’t, haven’t, and never will have.

    Please…let “Bad Nick” rant n Wave…but, I ask ya…please stop the “discussions” about killing…

    …it isn’t needed on an R.V. blog….even as a “side note”…

    Thank You, sir…

    Wanderwolf and I…

  12. Arnold J says:

    First of all Wolf, thank you for your service & welcome home.
    But with all due respect, from one in-country vet to another, this is not an RV blog. As Nick wrote in his first Bad Nick Blog post this is his place to vent and to make the rest of us think.

    As for the “killing” issue, that’s not how I read this post. I read that we need to give our troops the tools they need to get the job done and bring them home without more of them getting killed.

    again, welcome home, brother

  13. daWolfdidit says:

    You’re right, Arnold,…and I apologize for my statement. I was “out of sorts” and posted without thinking thru. I apologize to Nick, also…I was out of line.

  14. Rich Oliveria says:

    And of course Bad Nick never carries across state lines!

  15. ken t says:

    In almost all cases I’ll’take a shotgun up close I use tripple O
    and further out I’ll opt. for a slug! however it is not allowed !
    too must use jacketed ammo to kill someone in war!!!
    ken t

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