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From the The Feral Irishman;
And while it must be noted that these 25 examples are only a smidgen of the hundreds of thousands of DGUs that occur each year–see the academic work of Florida State University’s Gary Kleck–they nonetheless present a well-rounded summation of the various locations and circumstances in which law-abiding citizens use guns to defend their own lives and the lives of others.
Here are the top 25 DGUs of 2017:
January 2, 2017–Kay Dickinson was attacked while entering her Wilmington, North Carolina, apartment. WWAY repoted that Dickinson had just gotten off work and was going into her apartment at Colonial Parke when she was attacked.” The suspect held her at gunpoint, “beat her and then tied her up with a broken belt in her bedroom.” She was able to work free, retrieve her gun, and kill the suspect.
January 12, 2017–An concealed carry permit holder saw an Arizona State Trooper being beaten on the side of Interstate 10. The permit holder pulled over, asked the Trooper if he needed help, then intervened when the Trooper answered in the affirmative. The permit holder ordered the attacker to stop, then shot him dead after he refused to comply. It turned out that the suspect had shot the Trooper before the permit holder arrived, then climbed on top of him in a rage and began beating him on the side of the road. The permit holder saved the Trooper’s life.
January 20, 2017–Charlotte, North Carolina’s Kim Badger was attacked in “broad daylight” by a home invasion suspect armed with a baseball bat. WCNC reported that the attacker struck Badger with the bat, then pursued her through the house. Throughout the attack Badger fought to deny the suspect control of a knife that was on a counter and, eventually, to deny him access to a sword. Badger’s teenage son joined the fight to keep the suspect away from the sword. As the son fought, the mother retrieved her gun and shot the suspect dead.
January 29, 2017–Two masked suspects entered West Philadelphia’s Eagele’s Corner Chinese takeout and “announced a robbery.” According to 6 ABC, police indicated that two store owners were present at the time and one of the owners pulled a gun and opened fire. The owner opened fire, causing both of the suspects to flee. One of the suspects was struck by the owner’s gunfire and was arrested after his accomplice drove him to the hospital for treatment.
February 9, 2017–A legally armed citizen in Holland, Michigan, shot and critically wounded a suspect who would not stop assaulting a woman inside a convenience store. Holland Police issued a press release recounting the incident by explaining that “the suspect violently punched the victim several times and threw her down to the ground, and it is at that point that the [armed] customer arrives and tries to intervene.” The suspect then turned and attacked the customer who was trying to intervene, leading the customer to open fire. The suspect was shot twice and hospitalized in critical condition.
March 8, 2017–A home invasion suspect who approached a family was shot and killed by the father after refusing to accept food stamps in lieu of money. WBRZ quoted East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore saying, “The [father] was at his own home with his family and was confronted by another individual who was armed. There was a scuffle which eventually led to shots being fired and the person who came to the home was shot and killed.” The father offered the suspect food stamps prior to fighting and eventually killing him.
March 9, 2017–A Houston, Texas, smoke shop owner was shot multiple times yet managed to pull his own gun and kill one of two robbery suspects. ABC 13 reported that customers were in the store when the two suspects entered. Those customers called 911 and the dispatcher could hear the sound of gunshots in the background. The store owner was hospitalized in critical condition after the uninjured suspect fled the scene.
March 21, 2017–A 21-year-old suspect kicked in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment door, then died after being shot multiple times. As it turns out, the ex-girlfriend’s brother was in the Detroit apartment and opened fire on the suspect. Police responded to find the suspect had a gun and had left his car parked in the street with the engine running.
April 14, 2017–A homeowner in Pierce County, Washington, awoke to the sound of someone trying to enter his home around 3:30 a.m. The homeowner retrieved a gun and went to investigate, ultimately firing one shot and killing 28-year-old Viktor Starovevrov. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of shots fired and arrived to find Starovenrov beyond hope of survival. A 32-year-old woman and three-year-old girl were asleep in the house when the invasion was foiled.
April 23, 2017–A St. Louis 7-11 clerk was taking a smoke break around 3:50 a.m. when a robbery suspect approached and attempted to rob her. The clerk pulled her own gun and exchanged fire with the suspect, shooting him multiple times. The suspect’s wounds proved fatal. The clerk was also wounded in the gunfight, yet was in stable condition following the incident.
May 3, 2017–An Arlington, Texas, man described by witnesses as an “active shooter” was shot and killed by a concealed carry permit holder in Zona Caliente Sports Bar around 6:15 p.m. WFAA reported that the armed suspect shot and killed the bar manager and was then was engaged by the permit holder, who shot the aggressor dead. Police explained that the permit holder intervened out of fear that inaction would lead to a further “loss of life.”
May 12, 2017–A female homeowner shot and killed a suspect who allegedly brought his sevem-year-old son along for the home invasion. The San Antonio Express-News reported the suspect allegedly tried to break in through a window in the very room where the homeowner happened to be asleep. The woman heard the suspect trying to make entry into her home, armed herself, and fired at least two rounds. Police arrived in time to transport the alleged intruder to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
May 18, 2017–A home invasion suspect wearing only underwear was shot and killed after breaking into a pastor’s home in Cypress, Texas. The suspect entered the home around 2:00 a.m. and attacked the pastor and his wife. As the intruder went room to room looking for other would-be victims, he came upon an extended family member who was armed. That family member shot and killed the intruder, saving others in the home from coming under attack.
May 29, 2017–An armed neighbor in Ada, Oklahoma, came to the rescue of three children who were being drowned by their father. Cash Freeman was alerted to the situation when a terrified 12-year-old ran to his house to say the estranged father had taken the children from the mother and was trying to drown them. Freeman arrived to find the father holding three-month-old twins under water. Freeman shot the father twice, killing him and saving the children.
June 7, 2017–An Indianapolis mother protected her children by opening fire and killing a home invasion suspect who struck in broad daylight. Fox 59 reports that the mother heard someone trying to get into the apartment, then came to face-to-fact with 19-year-old Michael Hawkins. She opened fire at that point and Hawkins dropped dead “inside the doorway.” The mother and the children were not harmed.
June 17, 2017–A man was shot and killed by his ex-girlfriend after he allegedly threatened her and showed up to her house with an “assault rifle.” The incident occurred in Florida’s Pasco County around 10:30 pm. According to Fox 13 News, law enforcement officials said 45-year-old Frank Harrison had “previously threatened his ex-girlfriend.” When she saw him approaching her home she opened the front door and shot him dead before he could enter.
July 17, 2017–With a car thief on the lose near her family’s home 17-year-old Kimber Wood called her dad and asked if she could retrieve one of his guns to keep close at hand for self-defense. Her father said yes, so Kimber retrieved the gun and was ready when the suspect entered the house. Kimber and the suspect came face to face, only to have to him flee when she pointed the gun at him and ordered him to leave the home. She chased him as he fled and fired a warning shot to assure him that she knew how to use the gun.
July 31, 2017–A Katy, Texas, grandma opened fire on two home invasion suspects, leaving one dead. According to ABC 13, Harris County Sheriff’s deputies said the 60-year-old grandma was home alone when two suspects allegedly entered through the garage. Deputy Thomas Gilliland said, “Both were armed with pistols. She confronted both suspects, retrieved a handgun and fired several times at both subjects.”
August 5, 2017–An elderly homeowner in Lakewood, Florida, shot and killed a home intruder. The homeowner was in the home with his wife when they heard the suspect make entry. He grabbed a gun, confronted the suspect, then killed him. Law enforcement officials did not report how many times the suspect was shot, only that he was dead when responding officers arrived.
September 6, 2017–Three Taco Bell employees opened fire and killed an armed robbery suspect in Cleveland, Ohio. According to Fox 8, police said two suspects entered the store “wearing masks and ordered the employees to the ground at gunpoint.” There were multiple employees in the store at the time and three of them responded by opening fire. When officers arrived the suspect who had been fatally wounded was lying face down and a gun was still in his hand.
September 14, 2017–An Indianapolis father shot and killed an intruder who burst through the front door and rushed into the apartment. The father’s two young children were home at the time of the foiled invasion. CBS 4 quoted Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer Aaron Hamer, who said, “It appears [the suspect] was yelling to get into the residence because he believed his kids were in the house. It turns out the kids inside did not belong to him.” The father and his two children were not harmed.
September 18, 2017–A female accountant shot and critically wounded a suspect who broke into her office as she was there typing alone. The suspect was fleeing police when he entered the office and the accountant asked to stop coming at her before she pulled the trigger and shot him in the neck. The suspect survived being shot, but has to undergo rehab to learn how to walk again.
September 24, 2017–Two home invasion suspects rushed into a Bridgeville, Maryland, home around 11:55 pm. Police indicated that at least one of the suspects was armed. The homeowner, home alone at the time off the invasion, wrestled with the armed suspect and shot was fired, killing the suspect. The suspect’s body was lying in the kitchen when police arrived. The homeowner was not injured.
November 5, 2017–Stephen Willeford was in his home in Sutherland Springs, Texas, when his daughter rushed inside to let him know someone was shooting congregants at the First Baptist Church. Willeford grabbed his AR-15 and a handful of bullets and ran barefoot toward the church in order to confront the killer. Upon arriving, Willeford took a defensive position behind a truck and exchanged fire with the killer, shooting him twice. The killer fled the scene after Willeford shot him, driving roughly 11 miles before taking his own life. Willeford proved anew the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
December 6, 2017–A father with a handgun license shot and killed an armed suspect who confronted the father and his family in a Popeye’s restaurant. According to Fox 29, the suspect pointed a gun at the father and “demanded his property.” The father asked that his family be released, then pulled his own gun when the suspect became distracted by individuals walking out the restroom. The father shot the suspect multiple times, killing him on the spot.
The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting or plinking, but protecting our lives and liberty from threats as they arise. The top 25 defensive gun uses of 2017 show that law-abiding Americans understand this and are putting their guns to good use.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at [email protected].
The Bond Arms BullPup9 design is based on the previously available Boberg Arms XR9-S. Shipments of Boberg XR9-S pistols started in the third quarter of 2011 and continued through 2016 when Bond Arms acquired Boberg Arms, including their handgun designs and patents.
After a short transitionary period, an improved XR9-S based handgun is available again. It’s now manufactured by Bond Arms and sold under the Bond BullPup9 name.
Over the last 22 years, Granbury, Texas-based Bond Arms has become famous for providing their customers with any handgun they want as long as it’s a stainless steel single-action double-barreled derringer.
The company considered expanding beyond their core firearms for some time before opportunity met ambition with the Boberg Arms acquisition. Now in their second year of ownership, Bond Arms has started limited production of the BullPup9 pistol, and processes all orders directly from their customers. You won’t be able to find a new Bond BullPup9 at your local firearm retailer yet.
At first glance, you have to admit the BullPup9 has a strikingly different appearance. The radical trigger-forward and mid-grip design give the first indications that there is something pretty special about this pistol.
It’s a bullpup pistol, but what does that really mean? Bullpup pattern rifles have been in service for many years. A Bullpup is typically a design in which the trigger group is behind its action. This results in an overall shorter firearm. The BullPup9 is the only commercially produced bullpup pattern handgun available at this time.
The BullPup9 squeezes an exceptionally long 3.35-inch barrel into a very small 5.1-inch long pistol. To accomplish this required many changes to more traditional semi-auto handgun design. Several of these key design elements will be discussed in detail, and are highlighted in the accompanying images.
Summarizing the pistol specifications, the Bond BullPup9 is a double-action only, hammer-fired semi-auto handgun designed for discreet concealed carry. It features a rotating barrel locked breech and reverse feeding system unlike any other sub-compact 9mm currently available on the market. Swimming upstream against the proliferation of polymer-framed pocket pistols, the handgun has an anodized aircraft aluminum (7075 for purists) frame paired with a bead blasted stainless steel slide. The BullPup9 is chambered for 9mm Luger cartridges. Bond Arms cautions that excessive use of 9mm +P ammunition could shorten the service life of the pistol.
Handling the Bullpup9 for the first time, I was very impressed with the overall fit and finish of the pistol. The matte black anodized frame and bead blasted slide was flawlessly done. The Bond signature rosewood laminate grips and polished stainless steel accents enhance the overall look of the pistol. All the sharp edges on the slide and most on the grip frame have been gently beveled for concealed carry comfort.
External controls are limited to a magazine release button and combination slide stop/takedown lever. Both controls are located on the left side of the frame and do not add to the overall width of the pistol. The two-piece wraparound rosewood grips are smooth on the backstrap with deeply carved scale texturing on the sides. The ambidextrous grips have a gentle contour that functions as a palm swell on one side and thumb shelf on the other. The grips are the widest part of the pistol.
The slide is fitted with low-profile sights that are windage adjustable in their dovetails. The white three-dot sights are large enough for accurate shooting, but not large enough to snag when drawing from concealment. Ample cocking serrations have been added to the rear of the slide. In stark contrast to the XR9-S before it, Bond Arms decided to go bold and engrave the make and model on the slide of the BullPup9.
The BullPup9 does not have a magazine disconnect safety or automatic slide lock. The takedown lever can be used as a slide lock by retracting the slide and turning the lever 90 degrees. Turning the lever 180 degrees releases the slide from the frame. A passive firing pin safety blocks the movement of the firing pin until the trigger is pulled. The pistol is hammer-fired double-action only with infinite restrike capability.
The trigger has a medium-wide face that has been edge beveled for comfort. The author found the trigger to be one of the most interesting, and enjoyable, features of the pistol. The 7-pound trigger pull is intentionally long, breaking near the back of the trigger guard. Much like a double action revolver, the trigger must return all the way to the beginning of the trigger stroke before it can be pulled again. In use, the trigger feels lighter than seven pounds. Unlike most double-action revolvers, the BullPup9 trigger pull is exceptionally smooth and free of any stops, pauses, or grittiness. Stage the trigger with your fingertip, or stroke it with the distal joint of your trigger finger. It works equally well in both cases.
With the basics out of the way, here’s where things take a turn for the different. With most other semi-auto pistols, the slide pushes cartridges from the magazine, up a feed ramp, and into the barrel chamber. The BullPup9 magazine is positioned under the barrel so cartridges are pulled from the magazine, and lifted to chamber height before they are pushed by the slide into the barrel chamber. The positioning of the magazine and loading sequence are the design features that allow the BullPup9 to have the longest barrel of any handgun of similar overall length. Pictures detail the tongs pulling cartridges from the magazine and the lifter positioning them for loading into the barrel chamber.
BullPup9 magazines have a stainless steel body with a polymer base plate. Generous witness holes provide great visibility of rounds loaded in the magazine. Cartridges are loaded directly on top of the magazine spring. It’s weird, but it works. Eliminating the unnecessary magazine follower allows the short magazine to hold seven cartridges when other magazines of similar size hold only six. Empty magazines drop freely from the magazine well when the magazine release is pressed. Magazines with cartridges remaining must be pulled from the frame when the magazine release is activated.
The BullPup9 is a rotating barrel locked breech design. An unlock block mates with a lug on the barrel to control the rotation of the barrel as the slide cycles. After firing, slide momentum pulls a fresh round from the magazine, ejects the fired case out of the action, activates the lifter, and pushes back the hammer so the slide can pass over it.
All this activity eats up much of the recoil energy generated by the fired cartridge. The recoil energy is still there, but it gets used up performing the loading sequence. Which brings me to the last big difference between the BullPup9 and similarly sized sub-compacts. The recoil spring assembly.
With the unlock block positioned under the barrel, the recoil spring had to be moved to another location in the frame. With so much recoil energy being used for the loading process, a very thin and light recoil spring was used. It is positioned on the left side of the frame. The recoil spring absorbs very little recoil. Its primary purpose is to push the slide back into battery. The light resistance of the spring makes retracting the slide very easy.
Both the barrel and unlock block are stainless steel. Without proper lubrication, the barrel lug and unlock block could gall with the heat and pressure of sustained firing. Boberg recommended a moly-based anti-seize paste for this lubrication application. It was messy and could cause functional failures if too much, or too little paste was applied. Bond went in another direction and now applies a permanent RF85 coating on the barrel and unlock block. It provides the necessary lubrication with only the occasional drop of gun oil required.
Bond Arms has made additional changes to the original XR9-S design to enhance the reliability of the BullPup9. XR9-S pistols often required several hundred rounds of break in shooting before all the parts mated and satisfactory reliability was achieved. Bond BullPup9s are reliable right out of the box with no extensive break-in period required.
Due to the two-step, pull from the magazine then push into chamber, feeding system of the BullPup9 not all brands of 9mm ammunition will work with this design. This has been a point of discussion and misinformation across the internet. Bond Arms is very forthcoming with this information on their website and has published a list of ammunition that is known to work, as well as a short list of ammunition to avoid. The same ammunition recommendation information is also included in the Owner’s Manual.
It’s important to note that the majority of commercially produced ammunition will work in the BullPup9. For the excluded brands, it’s all because of the amount of taper crimp the manufacturer applies to hold the bullet in the cartridge case. Without sufficient taper crimp, the rearward force of the tongs pulling the cartridge from the magazine can cause the bullet and case to separate. When that happens, the bullet stays in the magazine, the empty cartridge case tries to load into the chamber, and powder gets dumped into the magazine and lifter mechanism. Stick with the approved ammunition list, like I did, and you will avoid this unpleasantness.
With that said, I did push my luck a bit and tried Black Hills 124-grain XTP JHP and SIG Sauer 115 grain V-Crown JHP ammunition in the BullPup9. They weren’t on either the approved, or avoid, lists and both worked fine for me. Which brings us to range time.
The BullPup9 operates just like any other semi-auto handgun. Once you train yourself to load the magazines correctly, with the bullet nose going into the magazine first, it’s pretty much business as usual. The seven round magazines are easy to load to full capacity after you practice on the first few. You won’t feel like you need a magazine loading tool for assistance. Magazines filled to capacity lock easily into the magazine well. No slamming required.
Charging the pistol for firing will require some attention the first time you do it. The slide pulls back easily at the start as the hammer is pushed back by the slide. With the hammer fully extended, the slide becomes very easy to retract until it hits a stopping point. You might think you are done pulling back the slide at this point, but the stop you feel is the activation point of the lifter that raises rounds to chamber height.
Give the slide another tug and it pulls back another eighth of an inch and the lifter activates. You can now release the slide and first round will load into the chamber. Once you see how the loading process works, briskly pulling back the slide in one motion is the best way to charge the pistol for firing. You just need to be sure to pull hard enough to activate the lifter.
Stepping up to the firing line you really start to appreciate the hand filling grips and the way the pistol balances in your hand with the grip forward design. Most will be like me and will only be able to get two fingers on the front strap. I got a solid two finger grip and curled my pinkie under the magazine base pad. There is plenty of room on the grip for your support hand. If you have a habit of hooking your support hand index finger on the front of the trigger guard, don’t do it. There really isn’t room for it and it will be dangerously close to the muzzle.
In my experience, sub-compact and micro 9mm handguns can be pretty punishing in the recoil department. That’s not the case with the BullPup9. With the forward grip, more of the frame rests on the web of your thumb. As the pistol recoils, there is less muzzle whip and less of that uncomfortable feeling you get when the trigger guard slaps your trigger finger. Spent case ejection is brisk. You will find your empties about 10 yards behind your right shoulder. Each case will be deeply dinged and most likely unfit for reloading. Better to leave them where they land.
The main advantage of the bullpup design is squeezing a longer barrel into a short pistol. After running several different varieties of ammunition over the chronograph, I was pleased to see several of the self-defense loads moving across the sky screens at over 1100 feet per second. Without getting into a long discussion on the terminal performance of handgun ammunition, I’ll just net it out that speed is a good thing for hollow point expansion performance.
I’ve previously mentioned the very smooth double action trigger on the BullPup9. It makes it very easy to wring the accuracy out of the pistol. Accuracy testing was done standing off-hand at 10 yards. I felt this was a fitting test for a concealed carry pistol. Using my no BS accuracy test target, I fired four test groups using four different self-defense loadings. Measuring to the outside edge of each group, the average group size for the four loads tested was just under 1.7 inches. That will work.
I had the opportunity to get the BullPup9 out to the range several times during this review. Every trip was as uneventful as it was enjoyable. I didn’t experience a failure of any kind in over 400 rounds run through the pistol. If I kept my targets within 25 yards or less, I felt confident and comfortable with my ability to hit the target. That’s really what you want in a carry pistol. Something that inspires confidence and you feel comfortable shooting. If you find that combination, you might find yourself practicing more often.
Bond Arms believes in continuous incremental improvement. They are following that approach with the BullPup pistol. After setting up BullPup9 production, and on-going service support for previously produced Boberg Arms pistols, Bond is now turning their attention to the future. The company plans to introduce additional finish options, grip choices, and night sights for the BullPup9. They will also re-introduce the Boberg XR9-L and XR45 models with similar improvements to those they applied to the original Boberg XR9-S design. Bond Arms is committed to the BullPup. So much so that they recently registered a trademark on the Bullpup name. It will be very interesting to watch the future development of bullpup pistols under the leadership of Bond Arms.
Regardless of your willingness to embrace a bullpup pistol for your own needs, you have to admire the innovative thinking, engineering, and problem-solving that went into the development of the BullPup9 pistol. Arne Boberg’s patented design has been taken to the next level by the folks at Bond Arms. I give credit to Bond Arms for staying true to the original design while enhancing reliability, eliminating required break-in, simplifying maintenance, and reducing the base price of the pistol.
The BullPup9 should have the greatest appeal with buyers looking for something different that offers more value than just being a range toy. Throughout the review, the BullPup9 demonstrated the reliability and accuracy buyers should expect from a handgun designed primarily for concealed carry and personal protection. If this review has piqued your interest, head on over to the Bond Arms website for more information about ordering your own BullPup9.
For more information about Bond Arms, click here.
To purchase a Bond Arms pistol on GunsAmerica.com click here.
I just can not believe on how nice the wood is on this piece!
Frankly I think that the Model 12 is the finest pump shotgun out there by American Gunmakers. You could do a whole lot worse to say the least by not buying one of these. Especially since most of them are fairly reasonably priced.
|M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle|
A U.S. Marine armed with an M27 IAR affixed with ACOG Squad Day Optic.
|Type||Squad automatic weapon
Designated marksman rifle
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Used by||United States Marine Corps|
|Wars||Operation Enduring Freedom|
|Designer||Heckler & Koch|
|Manufacturer||Heckler & Koch|
|Weight||7.9 lb (3.6 kg) empty
9.8 lb (4.4 kg) loaded weight with sling
|Length||36.9 to 33 in (940 to 840 mm) w/ adjustable stock|
|Barrel length||16.5 in (420 mm)|
|Width||3.1 in (79 mm)|
|Height||9.4 in (240 mm)|
|Action||Gas-operated short-stroke piston, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||Sustained: 36 rpm
Cyclic: 700 to 900 rpm
|Effective firing range||550 m (point target)
700 m (area target)
|Maximum firing range||3,938 yd (3,601 m)|
|Feed system||30-round STANAG magazine|
|Sights||3.5x Squad Day Optic, flip-up rear rotary diopter sight and front post|
The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle(IAR) is a lightweight, magazine-fed 5.56mm, select-fire weapon based on the Heckler & Koch HK416. It is used by the United States Marine Corpsand is intended to enhance an automatic rifleman’s maneuverability. The U.S. Marine Corps initially planned to purchase 6,500 M27s to replace a portion of the M249 light machine guns employed by automatic riflemen within Infantry and Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions. Approximately 8,000–10,000 M249s will remain in service with the Marine Corps to be used at the discretion of company commanders. The United States Army does not plan to purchase the IAR. In December 2017, the Marine Corps revealed a decision to equip every Marine in an infantry squad with the M27.
In 1985, the U.S. Marine Corps adopted the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, one year after the U.S. Army. Procurement was a service-level decision because the weapon was adopted by the Army with a contract method the Marines could use. While the belt-fed M249 was portable and had a high volume of fire, its relatively heavy weight meant gunners could have trouble keeping up with riflemen.
In 1999, a Universal Need Statement was issued for an Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR). Around 2000, the 1st Marine Division’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment conducted initial, limited IAR trials which confirmed the desirability of a light automatic rifle. Experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in formal requests for recommendations. The Universal Need Statement spent six years going through the procurement process before an official program was begun and a list of required capabilities was created in early 2005.
The Infantry Automatic Rifle program began on 14 July 2005, when the Marine Corps sent Requests For Information to arms manufacturers. Characteristics desired in the weapon included: portability and maneuverability; similarity in appearance to other rifles in the squad, reducing the likelihood that the gunner will receive special attention from the enemy; facilitation of the gunner’s participation in counter-insurgency operations and capability of maintaining a high volume of fire. An initial requirement for a magazine with a minimum capacity of 100 rounds was dropped in favor of the 30-round STANAG magazine because, at the start of testing, available 100-round magazines were unreliable. Caliber was specified as 5.56×45mm with non-linked ammunition, so as to achieve commonality with existing service rifles.
In 2006, contracts were issued to several manufacturers for sample weapons. Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal submitted an IAR variant of the FN SCAR, Heckler & Koch submitted an HK416 variant, and Colt Defense submitted two designs. Companies that attempted to compete but were not accepted as finalists for testing included the Land Warfare Resources Corporation M6A4 IAR, Patriot Ordnance Factory, and General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products with the CIS Ultimax 100 MK5 (marketed as the GDATP IAR).
In December 2009, the Heckler & Koch weapon won the competition and entered into a five-month period of final testing. In the summer of 2010, it was designated as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, coincidentally sharing a designation with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, who had been testing fully automatic rifles since 2001.
While Marine Corps Systems Command was optimistic about operational testing, former Commandant of the Marine Corps General James T. Conway remained skeptical because of the reduction in firepower at the fireteam-level that would result if the M27 was adopted. He felt that, while more accurate, it was unlikely that the M27 could provide fire-superiority over the M249, a belt-fed LMG. A magazine-fed rifle, requiring frequent reloading, would not be able to sustain the same rate of fire. In a firefight, squad members carrying extra magazines for the M27 might not always be in position to supply them to the gunner. Further, the SAW was already a battle-proven weapon. It was also significant that the Army had chosen not to pursue the IAR concept.
After the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity conducted further testing at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, Fort McCoy, and Camp Shelby (for dust, cold-weather, and hot-weather conditions, respectively), limited fielding of 458 IARs began to four infantry battalions (one per each Marine Expeditionary Force, one reserve) and one light armored reconnaissance battalion, all of which deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.
In May 2011, General James Amos of the U.S. Marine Corps approved the conclusion of the Limited User Evaluation (LUE), and ordered the replacement of the M249 LMG by the M27. Fielding of the approximately 6,500 M27 units was expected to be completed in the summer of 2013, at a cost of $13 million. Each M27 gunner was to be equipped with around twenty-two 30-round magazines of the type currently in use with the M16 and M4 carbineapproximating the combat load of an M249 SAW gunner; although the M27 gunner would not be expected to carry all 22 magazines. The individual combat load would be determined at the unit level and was expected to vary by unit, based on results of evaluations conducted by the four infantry battalions and one light armored reconnaissance battalion that participated in the Limited User Evaluation. Though program officials were aware that switching from the belt-fed M249 would result in a loss of suppressive fire capability, Charles Clark III, of the Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration Office, cited the substantially increased accuracy of the M27 as a significant factor in the decision to replace the M249.
The notion that the M27 represents a reduction in suppressive fire has spawned considerable debate between proponents of the M249 SAW within the infantry and those who advocate that a lighter, more maneuverable, and accurate weapon is sufficient to support offensive operations at the squad level. It is debatable, in fact, that program officials actually concede a loss of suppressive fire capabilities, as the only statements of concern over this concept were made by General Conway.
With a SAW, the doctrine of fire suppression is the sound of continuous fire with rounds landing close to the enemy. While the M249’s volume of fire may be greater, it is less accurate. Experienced troops who have dealt with incoming fire are less likely to take cover from incoming rounds if they are not close enough. With an IAR, the doctrine is that lower volume of fire is needed with better accuracy. Fewer rounds need to be used and automatic riflemen can remain in combat longer and in more situations.
Another benefit of the M27 over the M249 is that in many respects it resembles an M4 rifle as used by the rest of the squad. This makes it harder to identify by enemy troops.
The IAR was initially fielded in December 2010. 1st Battalion 3rd Marines were deployed to Afghanistan in April 2011 with 84 IARs. Former SAW gunners initially did not like the M27, but appreciated it as time went on. It weighed 9 lb (4 kg) loaded, compared to 22 lb (10 kg) for an M249, which was a significant difference when on 5-hour long missions. Gunners said it was “two weapons in one,” being able to fire single shots accurately out to 800 meters and have fully automatic fire. It also blended in with standard M16-style service rifles, making it difficult for enemy forces to identify the machine gunner. The battalion leadership also saw the M27 as better at preventing collateral damage, as it is more controllable on fully automatic than the M249. Concern of volume of fire loss was made up for through training courses developed in December 2010. With the M249 SAW, the idea of suppression was volume of fire and the sound of the machine gun. With the M27 IAR, the idea of suppression shifts to engaging with precision fire, as it has rifle accuracy at long range and fully automatic fire at short range. Shooters transitioned from long-range precision fire at 700 meters to short-to-medium suppressive fire at 200 meters, both while in the prone position. Some gunners in combat have been used as designated marksmen. An M27 gunner with one aimed shot has the effect of three or four automatic shots from the SAW, and still has the option of a heavier volume with an accurate grouping.
Marines issued with the M27 enjoy its familiarity with the M4-style weapons in service. It is friendlier to troops due to its cleaner, lightweight system having fewer moving parts and jams. IAR gunners consider the rifle-grade accuracy to be a huge improvement over the SAW, despite the loss of sustained firing. With a shrinking budget, the Marine Corps is looking at ways to implement the IAR as a multipurpose weapon. Suggestions included use as an automatic rifle and as a designated marksman rifle, a role where it replaced the Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle. Additionally, the free-floating barrel offers improved accuracy at approximately 2 MOA compared with 4.5 MOA for M16A4 rifles.
The M27 is based on the Heckler & Koch HK416. It features a gas-operated short-stroke piston action with a rotating bolt and a free-floating barrel. The handguard has four MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails for use with accessories and optics. The simpler gas-piston rifle system reduces the amount of time it takes to resolve malfunctions on the IAR compared with the M249. Alternate calibers other than 5.56 mm are being considered for the M27.
The IAR is distributed one per four-man fireteam, three per squad, 28 per company, 84 per infantry battalion, and 72 per Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, with 4,476 total for the Marine Corps. The M249 was not completely replaced by the M27, and six of the machine guns are still issued to rifle companies.
In December 2017, the Marines revealed they would be equipping every Marine in an infantry squad with the M27, which would increase the number of rifles procured by at least 11,000. While not every Marine in a battalion will receive the weapon, others outside of squads are also being considered.
The M27 draws ammunition from a standard 30-round STANAG magazine. The improved STANAG magazine with the tan-colored anti-tilt follower is favored over the previous version with the green follower because it can be inserted more easily and the anti-tilt follower can handle high rates of fully automatic fire with less chance of malfunction. While a rifleman normally carries seven 30-round magazines, an IAR gunner has to carry up to 16, and may carry as many as 21, due to its role and fully automatic rate of fire. The magazine well has a flared opening that aids in magazine insertion, but a PMAG 30 GEN M2 magazine cannot be inserted due to the frontal plastic bevel on the PMAG. Because the M27 cannot be fed from the widely used M2 PMAG magazines that M4s or M16 rifles in the squad could take, the Marines banned the polymer PMAG for issue on November 26, 2012 to prevent interchangeability issues. In response, Magpul began the process of arranging verification and official testing for their improved PMAG 30 GEN M3 magazine, which is compatible with both the M27 and M16-series rifles. After Marine Corps testing of the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round with the M27 showed reliability problems from feeding issues from standard magazines, the PMAG 30 GEN M3 Window, which had better reliability with the EPR, was approved for use by Marines in December 2016 so that M27 gunners who receive M855A1 rounds do not face such issues. Due to its role, high capacity magazines of between 50 and 100 rounds are being explored.
The M27 is essentially an HK416 with accessories required by the Marine Corps. The standard optic is the Trijicon ACOG Squad Day Optic (SDO), officially designated the Sight Unit, SU-258/PVQ Squad Day Optic. It is a 3.5×35 machine gun optic that has a Ruggedized Miniature Reflex (RMR) sight screwed on top for close-quarters engagements under 100 meters. Created for the SAW, the day optic offers slightly less magnification, but longer eye relief than the ACOG Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) on M16s and M4s. The longer relief helps reduce injury risk from recoil. It is issued with the Vickers Combat Applications sling and rail sling mounts, AIM Manta Rail Covers, Harris bipod, KAC backup iron sights, a foregrip, and bayonet lug. The M27 initially had a Grip Pod, which is a foregrip with bipod legs inside, but it was later replaced by a separate foregrip and bipod.
In January 2017, a USMC unit deployed with suppressors mounted to their M27 rifles as part of a concept to suppress every weapon in an infantry battalion. Exercises showed that having all weapons suppressed improved squad communication and surprise during engagements; disadvantages included additional heat and weight, increased maintenance, and the greater cost of equipping so many troops with the attachment.
In late 2017, the Marine Corps began fielding the M38 designated marksman rifle. Although certain M27s were employed as marksman rifles since 2016, the M38 version outfits the M27 with a Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm variable power scope, the same optic fitted on the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle. The naming of the M38 followed a similar convention to the M27, being named after the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines unit that tested the rifle out.
Currently, the M27 is carried by only one member of each infantry fire team: the automatic rifleman.
With the battalion’s deployment to the Pacific at an end, Marine leaders are considering a list of 41 different recommendations generated by the unit, and M27s are at the top of the list.
In an interview with Military.com in late December, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller confirmed that a decision had been made to move forward with fielding the M27 more widely within the infantry.
Every Marine in an infantry squad, he said, will receive the high-end rifle. And while not every Marine in a grunt battalion will carry the IAR, others outside of the squad will also be issued one.
“I don’t think mortars and javelin guys need the M27,” Neller said. But, he added, artillery forward observers, fire support teams, and even engineers might be good candidates for the weapon.
“I’m going to wait and see,” he said. “It’s not that much [money].”
The exact number of weapons needed has yet to be determined. In February, the Marine Corps put out a request for information for 11,000 new infantry automatic rifles, enough to equip every squad. But in August, the service published a pre-solicitation for up to 50,800 M27s, to ensure that manufacturer Heckler & Koch was up to the task of meeting an order that large.
Neller has in the past expressed reservations about investing in new weapons and technology for Marine grunts. The IAR, based on the Heckler & Koch HK416, offers a longer effective range and better accuracy than the M4 carbine currently fielded to infantrymen, but it also has come with a steeper price tag: about $3,000 a piece compared to less than $1,000 for the M4.
That may no longer be the case.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the gunner for 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, told Military.com that competition and economies of scale have pushed the cost of the M27 down significantly.
“The price for that rifle is comparable to what we paid for the M4s the riflemen currently have,” he said. “These companies are competing against each other. And we now have bought the finest infantry rifle for the same price the current infantry rifle is.”
But with major Marine Corps investments for new rotary-wing and fixed-wing aviation platforms well underway, cost may not be the obstacle it once was for the service. The commandant signaled his plan to invest heavily in the infantry when speaking with deployed Marines during his yearly Christmas tour.
The Marines’ new 5th-generation fighter, the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, costs roughly $100 million per copy, Neller told troops at one of a dozen town hall-style addresses he gave in the span of seven days in late December.
“I could kit out every grunt in the Marine Corps with the coolest s*** head-to-toe for $100 million,” he said. “And I intend to do that.”
For what else may be coming for the infantry, look to the “Über Squad,” an experiment started this year by Wade.
This summer, the 13-Marine unit from 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, was kitted out with M27s, suppressors, and high-tech Ops-Core helmets borrowed from Marine Corps Special Operations Command that feature built-in hearing protection, but also magnify other sounds to improve situational awareness.
The Marines used light MARSOC body armor and advanced AN/PVS-31A night vision devices. They also got 60-round Magpul drums, allowing them to increase the amount of ammunition they carried.
Wade said that the high-end night vision equipment had proved its worth recently during a nighttime exercise at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, California.
“That rifle squad moved faster at night than the live fire-safety chaperones,” he said. “[The Über Squad moved too fast for them to keep up because they had better night vision goggles.”
The squad is expected to deploy to Europe sometime this spring to continue testing out gear, but Wade is already working on requirements documents as a starting point to get some of the equipment to every infantry squad.
He said he’s ready to begin writing requirements for a helmet with all the features of special operations gear, including hearing enhancement, communications infrastructure and ear protection.
Early efforts to pursue suppressors are also underway.
In September, the Marine Corps published a request for information about a commercially available suppressor that could be used on the M4, the M4A1, and the M27– effectively covering all service weapons used by the infantry. While an early effort, the document instructed prospective suppliers to be ready to supply in large numbers.
“Future procurement quantities of suppressors could span between 18,000 and 194,000,” the RFI reads.
Wade said he’s not yet happy with the suppressor currently in use by the Marine Corps for specialized jobs. He plans to start tests on a flow-through design that reduces signature, he said.
Add to all that one more key piece of gear: a variable power optic that, combined with the M27 and a suppressor, would essentially kit out every Marine in the squad as a designated marksman. Wade said he wants to equip infantry squads from different platoons with various optics and compare their performance to make the case for more powerful equipment.
Currently, Marine grunts carry a 4X power rifle scope; Wade said the idea capability would be a 1-8X power scope.
An RFI published in September described such a scope, the “squad combat optic,” that would work on the M4, M4A1, and M27, and be able to identify and acquire targets at a range of 600 meters or more.
Some of this gear carries with it a sizable price tag. The AN/PVS-31A NVGs, for example, cost about $13,000, compared with about $4,000 for the AN/PVS-14 NVGs currently in use. And all of it isn’t guaranteed to end up with the squad.
But Neller said he’s likely to approve a lot of it, and soon.
“The money to buy all that other stuff, the suppressors, the ear protection enhancement, the different helmets, it’s not a lot of money in the aggregate,” he told Military.com. “So I’m just waiting for them to come back, and I’m ready to say yes.”
And it’s possible all these items are just the start of a full-court press to equip the infantry for future fights.
In an address to Marines with the Black Sea Rotational Force in Romania, Neller hinted at future developments.
“Helmets, [ear protection enhancement], lighter body armor, boots, utilities, everything on the infantry from head to toe is probably going to get changed,” Neller said. “Every Marine’s a rifleman, but not every Marine’s a grunt.”
The infantrymen in the room roared.
— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.
The L118 light gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer.
It was originally produced for the British Army in the 1970s and has been widely exported since, including to the United States, where a modified version is known as the “M119 howitzer“.
The proper name for it is “gun, 105mm, field, L118” but it is almost always called the “light gun”.
From 1961 until the mid-1970s, the British Army used the 105 mm pack howitzer L5 with L10 ordnance (OTO Melara Mod 56) as its light artillery weapon, variously replacing the 75mm howitzer, 4.2 inch mortar and 25-pounder gun in some eight regular artillery regiments.
It fires the US M1 type ammunition (called “105 mm How” in the UK).
This widely used howitzer was originally designed in Italy for the Alpini, and is light enough to be lifted by Westland Wessex helicopters or towed by Land Rovers.
However, it lacked range (making it potentially vulnerable to counter-battery fire), was not notably robust, had poor sights and was not entirely popular.
In 1965, a general staff requirement was approved for a new 105 mm weapon system because the pack howitzer “lacked range and lethality”.
Key characteristics included 6400 mil (360°) traverse by one soldier, maximum weight of 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg), dimension limits imposed by internal carriage in Chinook helicopters and Andover transport aircraft, and the ability to fire immediately after being under water for 30 minutes.
The ammunition to be used was the 105 mm Fd Mk 2 ammunition used in the L13 ordnance of the gun equipment 105 mm L109 (better known as the “Abbot self-propelled gun“).
This ammunition uses electrical instead of percussion primers and is an entirely different design from the US M1 type ammunition as used in the L5 pack howitzer.
The two types are not interchangeable. An early requirement was for the new weapon to use 105mm Fd Mk 1 ammunition, which uses the M1 shell, in training.
However, in 1968, this was changed to allow a different version of the weapon, which subsequently became the L119, to fire US 1935 pattern (i.e. M1) ammunition.
The new gun, soon designated ‘light gun’, was designed by the government Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE), Fort Halstead, Kent. Prototypes were tested in 1968.
However, it soon emerged that some increase in weight was needed for a gun with the requisite robustness, and several assemblies were substantially redesigned.
Original production, which was authorised in late 1975, was by Royal Ordnance Factory, ROF Nottingham, which has since been incorporated into BAE Systems Land and Armaments. Deliveries started in 1976.
The light gun entered service with the British Army in 1976.
The new weapon was heavier than its predecessor, but new, more capable helicopters such as the Puma and Westland Sea King, which could carry the new weapon, were entering service at the same time.
A new vehicle, the Land Rover 101 Forward Control (“Land Rover, one-ton”, was designed as the prime mover in the field for the light gun (and the Rapier air-defence missile launcher).
Since the end of the 1990s, the British Army has used Pinzgauer ATVs as their gun tractors. In Arctic service, and elsewhere, the gun is towed by the Hägglunds Bv 206 and is fitted with skis when over snow.
In 1982, the light gun saw use in the Falklands War. Five batteries (30 guns) were deployed to the Falkland Islands.
During the final phases of the battles around Port Stanley, these guns were firing up to 400 rounds per gun a day, mostly at “charge super”, the most powerful propellant charge for which they were designed.
They were a significant factor in the British victory. Since then, British forces have used the light gun in combat in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan.
At present, the British Army has four light gun regiments: 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, 7th (Parachute) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.
Other regiments are temporarily equipped with it for service in Afghanistan. The 14 (Training) Regiment Royal Artillery uses it for training at the Royal School of Artillery.
Two regiments of the Army Reserve 103 (Lancastrian Artillery Volunteers) Regt. RA and 105 Regt. RA) are also equipped with the light gun.
Those University Officer Training Corps with “gun troops” train with the L118.
On 30 November 2001, an L118 light gun replaced a 25-pounder as the One O’Clock Gun in Edinburgh Castle.
By tradition, this fires every day at one o’clock, except on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day. The light gun is also fired by 14 (Training) Regiment Royal Artilleryon Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day each year.
The L118 uses the L19 ordnance on the L17 carriage. The L19 ordnance is slightly shorter than the L13 used by the Abbot and hence has a slightly shorter maximum range. Also, unlike the Abbot, the barrel is autofrettaged and hence lighter.
The light gun appears to owe a number of its features to the QF 25 pounder, unsurprisingly since RARDE was the successor to the design department, Woolwich Arsenal.
Among these features are its vertically sliding block breech, and a box trail instead of a split trail; a traversing platform is normally used with it.
Its comparatively light weight is also attributed to the nature of the steel used in the carriage and ordnance, and other weight-reducing features, including its narrow wheelbase.
The narrow wheelbase prevents the ordnance rotating the 3200 mil (180°) required to ‘unfold’ the gun.
Because of this, the gun features a knock-off hub on one side allowing the ordnance to be rotated by removing one wheel.
With a well trained gun crew, this contributes approximately 30 seconds to the time required to deploy the gun. In British service, rotating the barrel for towing is optional.
When being towed in the unfolded position, the A-frame is fitted to the front transom in order to support the elevating mass.
A recent modification makes it possible to keep the gun in this position indefinitely at speeds up to 40 mph (64 km/h). For long distance transport or traversing rough terrain, the barrel is reversed and clamped to the end of the trail.
For storage, the gun is in the unfolded position with the barrel elevated to an angle that balances the elevated mass on the yoke and therefore relieves pressure on the elevating gears.
When first introduced in the British Royal Artillery, the L7 or L7A1 dial sight and its carrier, incorporating an integral elevation scale and internal lighting powered by Trilux nuclear light sources, was used to aim the gun for indirect fire.
The L7 sight is a modified version of a German Leitz instrument. Since the light gun entered service after the introduction of field artillery computer equipment (FACE), it never, unlike the Abbot, had gun rules (large slide rule like instruments used at each gun to convert range in metres to tangent elevation in mils, taking account of muzzle velocity).
Therefore, it has a single quadrant elevation scale. These optical indirect fire sights are now only used in recruit training.
The guns also have a direct fire telescope and were originally issued with a night telescope using image intensification.
The 105 mm Fd Mk 2 ammunition has two propelling cartridges and a blank cartridge (for saluting purposes). The normal cartridge has six propellant increments (charges one, two, three and four) plus 4½ and 5 increments. Charge 4½, which is charge five with the blue charge three bag removed, is only used for high angle fire. It is peculiar to the light gun. A separate “charge super” cartridge is used for firing to maximum range.
Both charge five and charge super project beyond the end of the metal cartridge case. Unlike the M1 ammunition, which is ‘semi fixed’ and loaded as a complete round, 105 mm Fd is ‘separate’; the shell is loaded and rammed by hand, then the cartridge is loaded.
By the time the L118 entered service, propellant sub-zones A and B originally used with the Abbot had been replaced by an aerodynamic spoiler (a ring slipped over the nose of shell to lodge on the ogive) to reduce the minimum range at high angle fire when this was required.
The 105 mm Fd Mk 2 projectiles were the same as used with Abbot when the L118 was first introduced. The ammunition types originally or subsequently in UK service include:
A white phosphorus smoke shell has never been adopted by the UK for L118. A base bleed insensitive HE shell, with a maximum range of 20.6 kilometres (12.8 mi) has been developed.
During the early 1990s all UK L118 were fitted with a muzzle velocity measuring device (MVMD), a radar, and its power supply.
In 2002 the British Army’s L118 guns completed replacement of their optical sights with the LINAPS artillery pointing system (APS) mounted above the barrel.
This is a self-contained system that uses three ring laser gyros to determine azimuth, elevation angle and trunnion tilt angle. It also includes facilities for navigation and self-survey using a global positioning system, inertial direction measurement and distance measurement.
All this can be used anywhere in the world to lay the gun without external references. The outputs and inputs for APS are through the touchscreen layer’s display and control unit (LCDU) that replaced the conventional dial sight and its mount.
The LCDU enables the layer to lay the gun by moving the barrel until the LCDU displays no difference between the ordered firing data and where the barrel is pointing as determined by the LINAPS sensors.
A capability enhancement program that started delivering improvements to UK guns in 2007 aimed at reducing weight and improving some components.
Weight reduction measures include the replacement of some steel components by titanium, however, only some elements entered UK service. The MVMD is also more tightly coupled with the LCDU, reducing electrical power requirements.
Around 2010, new direct fire sights for longer range use were introduced for service in Afghanistan.
These comprise a sniper’s telescopic sight and a new nightsight.
At the end of 2011, a new LCDU with a slightly larger touchscreen was ordered. It may enable data transfer from FC-BISA and include the NATO armament ballistic kernel (NABK) for direct fire shooting.
The L119 variant has a different barrel (a slightly shorter L20 ordnance with a percussion firing mechanism) for firing the ubiquitous US M1 type ammunition (UK 105 mm How), giving the gun a max range of 11,400 metres (12,500 yd). In British service, the L119 was used only for training at the Royal School of Artillery while stocks of 105 mm How lasted, and the last British L119s were retired in 2005. However, the L119 is popular with many export customers who still rely on M1 ammunition.
The L119 was further modified and produced under licence for the United States Army. The most recent version is the M119A3 introduced in 2013 with a digital fire-control system and GPS-aided inertial navigation unit using software derived from the M777A2.
During the 1970s a third variant, with the L21 ordnance, was developed and prototypes produced. This was for Switzerland and used Swiss pattern 105 mm ammunition. It did not enter service.
The Indian 105 mm light field gun appears to share many features with the UK equipment. In the late 1960s India introduced the Value Engineered Abbot variant with the 105 mm Fd ammunition; this led to the 105 mm field gun (India), which appears to have some light gun features in its elevating mass, although its platform is 25-pr like. The 105 mm light field gun is much more like L118, although somewhat heavier.
In the 1990s, the gun was manufactured under licence in Australia for the Australian and New Zealand armies using mostly Australian produced components.The Australian military call it the “Hamel gun”. Plans to produce 105 mm field ammunition were shelved.
105 mm saluting gun: The British Army has a number of dedicated saluting guns for ceremonial purposes. Based on the standard L118, these saluting guns are modified to exclusively fire blank cartridges, are not fitted with the APS system and are easily distinguished from the field gun variant by their distinctive bronze green paintwork, chromed muzzle brake and breech.
I also found this great site on the net about the Turks. Here is the address.
I have also seen some great sporterized Turks out here in the West. I have been told that they are pretty easy to do if you have a good gunsmith.
|Mausers of Turkey and The Ottoman Empire|
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The Turkish contract models
The Ottomans placed there first order with Waffenfabrik Mauser for 550,000 rifles patterned after the Gew. 71/84 bolt action rifle. This black powder rifle was to be chambered for the 9.5x60R military round. The Ottomans eventually terminated this contract and made the switch to smokeless powder after accepting 270,000 of these rifles.
This rifle was somewhat similar to the German Imperial Army Gew. 88, in that it had a charger loaded, 5 round, single stack internal magazine. However, this was completely a Mauser design. It was chambered for Mauser’s new 7.65×53 smokeless powder cartridge. The Ottomans received 280,000 1890 rifles, the remainder of the 1887 contract.
As soon as the Ottomans saw the Spanish Modelo of 1893, they placed an order for 201,00 rifles in the new configuration. Chambered for 7.65×53, it was virtually identical to the Spanish model, except for the magazine cutoff. Those that remained in Turkish hands were converted to 8mm in the 1930’s.
Again, the Ottomans kept pace with the German army and ordered new rifles in the pattern of the Gew. 98. These were chambered for 7.65×53 and had a few other changes that kept the rifles similar to their previous purchases. These are intermediate length actions and a bit shorter than the standard 7.92, 98 action. This is a large ring small shank (LRSSM) rifle. The straight bolt handle has a distinctive tear-drop shape. The stock will have a pistol grip. The rear receiver bridge will have a “high hump” at the clip loading point. This hump was necessary to support the unique stripper clip used at the time. There was also two carbine versions of this rifle with 21.65 and 17.72 inch barrels. When converted to 8mm this is often called an 03/38.
Turkish Standardized models
The model names given to these classifications are likely to be factually incorrect. However, these are the current common names used in print and are usually what the importers are calling their rifles.
The Turkish Republic updated their old rifles to a common configuration commonly know as the Model of 1938 and all in 8×57 Mauser. While actually starting the conversions in 1933 any rifle converted to this standard is commonly called Model 38. It appears that every rifle they had was converted to 8mm including Gew.88, Gew.98, 1893 and 1903.
As they became isolated during WWII they began assembling their own rifles from accumulated parts. While little is publicly known about this, it appears that all Turkish assembled rifles are marked K. Kale, for the arsenal where they were assembled. It also seems to be the case that, for the first time, receivers and parts were made in Turkey and assembled starting in 1940. This is a large ring small shank (LRSSM) rifle.
Another standardization rifle that is the same as the 1938 standard, but in a short rifle length. See Sample
Another standardization rifle that is the same as the 1903 conversion to the 1938 standard, but in a short rifle length. These will not always have a turned down bolt. See Sample
The Turks rebuilt a bunch of rifles in 1954 using some WWI Gew 98’s. These have had the receiver ring shortened to make a hand guard holder. These may not be the safest rifles to shoot due to the shortened receiver but I’ve not heard of any problems.
Other common models used
Germany provided her ally, the Ottoman Empire, with thousands of Gew. 88 rifles during WWI. While technically not a Mauser rifle, the Gew. 88 is often treated as if it were of Mauser design.
Germany and Austria also provided the Ottoman Empire, with thousands of Gew. 98 rifles during WWI. After WWI Turkey bought new 98 pattern rifles from CZ. And, after WWII Turkey acquired Kar 98K rifles on the open market.
A carbine length 98 style rifle that was commonly given to Turkey in WWI. These appear to have been reworked a bit and are often sold as Model 38/46 Short rifles.
After WWII, the Turks must have acquired quite a few K98K rifles and reworked them. These will also be sold as Model 38/46 Short rifles.
The Ottomans must have captured quite a few Enfields from the “visiting” British Empire forces at Gallipoli. Some of these were converted to 8mm by the Ottomans and Turks and they called these “tufiki ingilizi” or “English rifle”.
The Ottomans and Turks appeared to have acquired a fair number of these rifles. These are very similar to the Model of 1903, except they do not have a real high hump on the receiver bridge, but rather a nicely made piece of metal that is attached with screws to give it that high hump look. These are certainly made from some of the various South American contract rifles made before WWI.
The Turks bought quite a few of these rifles which were mostly compatible with the M1938 standard. These are going to be large ring large shank receivers, and marked with either the Czech Army crest or the BRNO 3 line stamp. The Crest information explains how to tell the difference between an original Czech Army 98/22 and a BRNO contract rifle which was produced a few years later and sold to Turkey, China and others. Rifles with the 3 line BRNO markings are the commercial model 98/22 built for resale. When the Czech Army had an adequate supply of newer short rifles (VZ 23’s and VZ 24’s) to outfit their troops, they sold their older 98/22 s to the Turks. See Samples
Recently, when thinking about putting down on paper some ideas about basic marksmanship skills the expression ‘only accurate rifles are interesting‘ passed through my mind and I immediately thought the person who coined that expression – Col. Townsend Whelen – probably had something to say on the matter.
Five minutes later I had found an article written by this legendary shooter, hunter and marksman and quickly figured out two things – firstly, what the good Colonel wrote was better than anything I could have written and, secondly, his words were as relevant today as when penned nearly one hundred years ago.
So, without editing at all, here – in the words of Col Whelen himself – are the ABC’s of Marksmanship from his 1918 book The American Rifle.
Rifle shooting is almost entirely a matter of intelligent practice. Practice alone, without head work, will not get one very far.
To illustrate, take the case of the man who made the highest score in the course in rifle shooting of the 10,000 men attending the Plattsburg training camp of 1916.
He was a man of about thirty years of age, and had never fired a rifle before in his life. He had only about four days of preliminary instruction, perhaps two hours a day, before going on the range, but he stated that he paid particular attention to the instructions of his officers, and tried to follow them as closely as possible.
On the other hand, in my work in the Army I often come across men of a rather low order of intelligence whom no amount of practice will teach to shoot, chiefly because they have never learned how to use their brains.
Any man of ordinary intelligence, who is not physically handicapped, can become a good shot. To become an expert shot requires both a good body and a good brain.
Most persons have the idea that eyesight is the important factor. Fair eyesight is of course essential, and may be obtained either naturally or by the aid of well-fitted glasses.
There are five essentials which must be attained in order that one may be able to shoot accurately. All instruction in rifle shooting is aimed at perfecting one’s knowledge and execution of these five essentials. These are as follows:
1. Aiming. One must be able to aim consistently, aiming each shot exactly the same. This requires the training of the eye in the correct alignment of the sights and target until the view or picture that they form becomes so indelibly impressed upon the retina of the eye that whenever the aim is the least bit incorrect it will be noticed at once.
2. Holding. One must be able to hold the rifle steadily in the various firing positions. First, a good, well-balanced position must be learned, and then this must be practiced until it becomes perfectly natural, and one acquires steadiness in it. Usually this takes longer to learn than the other essentials.
3. Trigger squeeze. It matters little how accurately one aims, and how steadily one holds, if, just as the rifle is discharged, one gives a convulsive jerk to the trigger which deranges both aim and hold. The trigger must be squeezed so that the rifle is not disturbed, does not move a particle, before the recoil comes.
4. Calling the shot. Literally calling to the coach the exact spot where one’s sights were aligned on the target at the instant that the rifle went off. Of course one tries to hold steadily, but absolute steadiness is beyond the ability of most riflemen.
The sights bob around a little with the best of us. We must catch with our eye the exact place on the target where the sights were aligned at the instant that the recoil blots out clear vision. This spot is where we expect the shot to strike.
If the shot does not strike close to the point of call it shows that there is something the matter with either rifle, ammunition, or sight adjustment. If one has a good rifle and ammunition it indicates that a change in the sight adjustment is necessary.
5. Sight adjustment. The sights of the rifle must be adjusted so that the bullet will strike close to where one aims. Owing to factors which will be discussed later, almost all men require slightly different sight adjustment.
Thus a rifle sighted in by one man is by no means correctly sighted for others, and rifles sighted in at the factory are never more than approximately correct. One must be able to adjust his sights so that the bullet will strike where his rifle is aimed; that is, where the shot was called.
Finally, one must learn to co-ordinate all these five essentials. He must learn to aim accurately, and at the same time hold the rifle steadily.
While he is doing this he must be gradually increasing the pressure on the trigger, so that when the aim seems best, and the hold the steadiest, he can squeeze on the trigger the last ounce or so of pressure which will discharge the rifle.
And while doing this he must not forget to catch the point where the sights were aligned at the instant that the rifle goes off. He must learn to concentrate his mind, and every bit of his will power on doing these four things, and doing them perfectly.
The secrets of good shooting are:
1. Know your rifle. Get a good rifle and stick to it. Do not be changing your rifle all the time. Never change to a new arm until you know the old one as perfectly as it is possible to know it. There is a very true saying, ” Beware of the man with one rifle.”
2. Pay the closest attention to every little detail.
3. Be careful. Lots of good scores are spoiled, and lots of game escapes, through carelessness alone.
4. Be accurate. You are handling an instrument of precision, but it will not avail you if you be not accurate yourself.
5. Don’t get excited. An excited man cannot hold a rifle steadily, nor will his aim be accurate. Excitement usually comes from a lack of confidence; that is, from a lack of practice.
6. Go slow. Especially at first, go slow. Many men who have been shooting for years will never make really good shots because they do things so fast, or so impulsively, that they do not get the required steadiness or accuracy.
Do not attempt rapid fire until you have mastered the slow fire. Skill in slow fire never makes a man a poor rapid-fire shot; it is lack of practice in rapid fire.
Some men soon acquire a remarkable ability to shoot the rifle, but it must be remembered that to be really expert one must have his lessons so drilled into him that even when excited he will still continue to shoot well.
This means that one must practice until shooting becomes second nature before he can really call himself expert. In every case where anything important is at stake in rifle shooting there will be a certain amount of excitement, physical exertion, and necessity for speed.
Let the novice not think that because he has made a score which equals the record he is an expert. Let him try to duplicate his work after a hard climb up a steep mountain when a mountain sheep suddenly leaps up and is about to disappear over a ledge.
Or again, on the battlefield, when he must beat the other fellow to it with a perfectly placed bullet or go under. Most beginners can become good shots after several weeks of daily intelligent practice. To become a real expert requires years of practice, study, and experience. If it were not so the game would not be worth the candle.
Col Townsend Whelen who was born in Philadelphia on March 6, 1877 and died on December 23, 1961 was a career soldier, outdoorsman, hunter, marksman cartridge inventor and prolific writer whose ideas about all things to do with shooting are as valid today as they were when written.