Few days ago Kim simply posted this article without comment.
On the M16 itself I'll stay out of the argument. People like Chris think it's a fine platform; people like Ogre think it sucks rocks. I put a total of about ten rounds through an AR15 one day, so I don't have a personal basis for comment. On the ammo, I'll argue based on what I've heard from people who've used it in combat and the great amount of written documentation on it.
Overall, I tend to think it sucks, and very few people seem to disagree. It's a cartridge designed for whacking varmints and putting very small holes in targets as the .223 Remington, and calling it the 5.56x45mm and fiddling with the bullet doesn't change that. You can increase penetration, but with anything short of a soft-point still leaves you with the same thing: a small-caliber bullet of light weight with serious drawbacks as a combat cartridge. Yeah, you can carry a lot of it for the same weight as a smaller amount of .308 or 6.8 or whatever, but if you are counting on spraying a lot of shots without really aiming you get this attitude:
“The brilliant thing about that bullet is that it allowed the infantrymen to easily carry 300 rounds,” Sprey says. “Whereas the old sharpshooter’s heavy, slow round — he could only carry 100.”
In the chaos of war, the more bullets the better, he says, because bursts of automatic fire beat one big bullet at a time.
“There is no such thing as a well-aimed shot in combat, because combat is fought by scared 18-year-olds who haven’t been trained enough and are in a place they’ve never seen before,” Sprey says.
'No such thing as a well-aimed shot'. I call bullshit on that. Among other things we have the evidence of action reports of bad guys taking numerous well-aimed shots and not going down until after they've wounded or killed someone. And what's this 'heavy, slow round' bullshit? The bullet is indeed heavier but the velocity difference isn't much.
And there are so many possibilities for better! There's the new 6.8 Grendal, there's the 6.5 Swede, there's the bloody 7mm Mauser for God's sake! Don't want an old cartridge or something called a 'Grendal'? Take the .308; shorten the case, go to a 120-grain bullet and call it the .30 Short or 7.62 Improved or something.
Just as a thought, I have to wonder if Sprey, quoted above, was one of the MacNamara 'whiz kids'? It would explain a lot.