Marines to Replace the SAW

AWP

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Interesting, replacing the SAW with an H&K 416 variant?

http://www.thetacticalwire.com/story/246746

Designated the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, the lightweight, 11.62 pounds weapon with ancillary equipment, is a variant of the highly successful Heckler & Koch HK416 used by military, law enforcement, and special operations units in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The M27 IAR replaces the heavier, M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) which has been used by the Marines in Infantry Squads since the mid-1980s in the automatic rifle role. Both weapons fire the 5.56 mm NATO cartridge.
 

Marauder06

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I was a big fan of the SAW when I was an infantry officer. In fact, if I could pick anything as a personal weapon, it would be a short-barreled SAW with a collapsible stock.

But I never had to use it in combat, so if the Marines are switching weapons, I suppose there's a good reason.
 

DA SWO

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So having someone carry (up to) 22 magazines is better then a single drum? Are the drums prone to failure? and are these mags interchangable with the M-16/M-4 family of weapons?

The Marines are normally spot on with weapons, but some of the logic has me baffled on this on?
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I am not sure where the USMC is coming from, but going off my own experience with the Army I think it’s not the best idea. I would not replace it totally, but I would look for a substitute weapon that can be swapped between missions depending on the mission scope. I personally love having that extra fire power in my team/squad, but I also know that it’s limited in use with current operations.

SAW likes:
1. Great for keeping the guns talking during sustained/suppressing fire.
2. Excellent for heavy rate of fire during bounding over watch (both urban & rural).
3. Lightweight enough that it doesn’t slow an urban assault down much.
4. Exceptional for LP/OP/Hide defense, force multiplier when working very small teams (2-3 man team).

SAW Dislikes:
1. Some work and some don’t and it sucks if you have the one that doesn’t work.
2. Range is very limited depending on the gunner, with a good gunner and the short barrel I would say max is about 350-400 meters.
3. It doesn’t punch through cover very well; the rounds tend to bounce off of trucks and buildings.
4. Although it is not overly heavy, it is however, pretty damn awkward to handle (especially firing from the standing/kneeling).

If I was going to pull the SAW out of my squad during a mission:
1. Working in platoon operations where I have direct weapons squad/240B gun support (i.e. they have our over watch, etc).
2. Vehicle mounted operations where I have the option to go bigger, such as a 240B/M2/MK19.

Outside of that I would opt to keep the SAW’s in my squad. If I lose the ability to use talking guns in order to maneuver and I am forced to do it with M4’s. I will be slower, with a lower volume of fire and a shorter sustainability in the fight. I am not a fan of the “Alamo up” doctrine a lot of SL’s tend to use. I prefer to press the fight immediately and if I don’t have the immediate ability to put heavy fire down and use fire & maneuver, than I am forced to slow down and allow the enemy to press me. Fuck that shit…Just my two pennies.8-)
 

SpitfireV

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Sorry JAB, would you mind going into a bit about how some them "don't work"? Do you mean they're badly or cheaply built or...?
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Sorry JAB, would you mind going into a bit about how some them "don't work"? Do you mean they're badly or cheaply built or...?

Finicky, I would say that they come to the Army in perfect working order, but some jackass armor or pvt will normally dick them up. The feeding system could use some improvement (maybe extend the feed plate and inch or two with a housing around the rounds down into the drum/nut sack). Most of the problems are a result of either feeding (belt gets fucked up or debris in it) or debris and or links/brass getting into the bolt/receiver area and jamming up the operation. I have seen pieces of brass get all the way down into the trigger group and grind against the bolt and the trigger sear (shut the gun down totally). I have also seen a small rock get jammed into the receiver “bolt rail” where the bolt jammed. I have seen a small stick stop the rounds from feeding and I have also seen the belt simply double over and stop the feeding.

So yeah, they are a bit Finicky IMO. I would think better feed tray assembly (better fit and better coverage to keep debris out) and the extended feed plate with a housing around the rounds down to the drum/nut-sack and the weapon would probably not have a problem (as long as the gunner properly maintains the weapon).
 

AKkeith

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I'm still shooting the m16 a-4 and we still have intercepters and old SAWs not even the paraSAWs Maurder was talking about.
 

Teufel

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You must be pretty far away from the fight then. I haven't even seen an old school SAW in three or four years.

The magazines are compatible with the M4 family. The Marine Corps is going back to the Vietnam model of the automatic weapons man vice a light machine gunner which is what the SAW provides. They are saying that the increased accuracy of the IAR makes up the difference. "Accuracy is more important than volume." I agree but there is a time and place for volume. Like when you are trying to gain fire superiority. I'm not sold on the transition.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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You must be pretty far away from the fight then. I haven't even seen an old school SAW in three or four years.

The magazines are compatible with the M4 family. The Marine Corps is going back to the Vietnam model of the automatic weapons man vice a light machine gunner which is what the SAW provides. They are saying that the increased accuracy of the IAR makes up the difference. "Accuracy is more important than volume." I agree but there is a time and place for volume. Like when you are trying to gain fire superiority. I'm not sold on the transition.

I absolutely agree that accuracy is better than volume when dealing with a rifleman, but the combination of the accurate “rifleman” and the heavy volume “machine gunner” is what give us the squad, the advantaged IMHO. I am not sure if I personally would feel comfortable only having 30 rounds before mag change on an enemy behind cover, while I am trying to maneuver a team to a better firing position. It’s one thing to see it as “all enemy are exposed and we have line of sight” but as I am sure you have experienced, it’s normally the opposite. There is a reason for each one of the weapons in a squad, (SAW for volume of fire, M203 for hard cover and flushing out, Rifles for accurate fire, etc, etc) If they take that option away from Marines they are putting Marines in jeopardy and a 30 round magazine doesn’t come close to a 200 round drum. I hope like hell the Army doesn’t do this…
 

Mac_NZ

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Damn near every nation who has tried a magazine fed support weapon in the modern age has dumped it for a belt fed. I wonder if we were to ask a WW2 US Infantryman which he would have preferred, the BAR or the MG-42 what the answer would be. The Brits are in the same AO and they had a magazine fed LSW, the had to fight tooth and claw to get Minimi Paras.

I understand the ideas behind its employment but it sounds like a hardware fix for a software problem, the money spent on this new weapon would go a hell of way towards teaching people to shoot the weapon its replacing properly. Better yet dump it and replace it with its big brother.
 

Ranger Psych

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Engaging at distance requires training and knowhow, passed on from gunner to gunner like any good information. Pull that sucker into your shoulder then ride up on the bipod like it's an Auburn cheerleader and you'll be good to go with a good beaten zone. CQM you just need to not be a pussy, pure and simple. Front grip, keep it tight, lean into it HARD.

Don't rest the drum, hard OR soft, on stuff if you can avoid it. You'll end up screwing up the hard drums and you'll screw up the belt in the soft drums. Keep the ejection port cover closed and the amount of crap that'll get in it will be minimized.

I would be PISSED as a SAW gunner if you took the SAW away. I would be PISSED as a team leader, or squad leader as well.
 

borebrotherbore

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I was under the impression that it was replacing some SAWs, not all Saws. Is that the case?

Approximately 8,000–10,000 M249s will remain in service at the company level to be used at the discretion of company commanders. The United States Army does not plan to purchase the IAR.

From Wiki

I was a SAW Gunner for a couple of years. I loved that little pig. Really if you know what your doing, I had great mentors, that thing can be pretty accurate with the short barrel, out a lot farther then 350m.
 
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