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Thoughts on Weapon System T&E?

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  • #56276
    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac
    Participant

    Hi All,

    This is a question I’ve mulled over for the past few years, with no final conclusion on my part, so I’m throwing it out here, for discussion.

    When it comes to a new weapon system, how much testing do you put into it before making a determination as to it’s usefulness? What criteria do you evaluate it on?

    Some things I’ve used to evaluate:
    -% of stoppages (or mean time between failure)
    -Accuracy on standardized drills I have personal performance data for (ex: 25yd B8 slow fire for pistols, 100yd B8 slow fire for rifles)
    -Splits times for weapon manipulation drills (ex: time to first shot, shot-reload-shot time)
    -More subjective things (design features, how does it feel in bounding drills, etc)

    I generally accomplish an initial evaluation over the course of three range sessions/ 3-6 hours/ 300-500 rounds, then decide whether to continue with testing. Sometimes weapons just crash and burn (points finger at milled AK in bounding drills) and I end testing. Other times, if it’s doing ok, I’ll give it more testing.

    One thing I struggle with is, when to pull the plug:
    -does the new weapon system need more “break in”, (points finger at HK VP9)
    -am I not giving it enough training time to fairly evaluate weapon manipulation and ergos? (tavor, I want to love you, but….AR15)

    These things also apply to other changes we might make to our primary fighting rifles, like optics.

    What do you do? When is enough, enough? What makes you “trust” a weapon, or not?

    #56277
    Profile photo of diceman624diceman624
    Participant

    What do I do? I see what is recommended for the things I know about. For example, I have two .45ACP pistols that have recommended 500rd break ins; both of which I’m about halfway through.

    As for what makes me trust a weapon, the answer is I’m looking for that, too. I have a 20-inch AR where I ordered the parts and had a professional gunsmith assemble the upper; I want to trust it because it was professionally assembled, its super light recoiling, and has my best optic on it. I know with the ACOG on it, I can hit out to 450-500yds because I’ve done it. I’ve fired close to 300rds through it in around an hour and a half before; I have maybe 500rds on it total. Is that sufficient stress on the weapon to prove its reliability? I don’t know, but I’d like to hear what others think.

    #56278
    Profile photo of Hello Kitty (Craig)hellokitty
    Participant

    I get accuracy. Shoot groups at 100 in prone after break in period of barrel.
    Run a gun through a course 2000 rds over 2-3 days will tell you if it is reliable.

    However the other criteria you are using is really not testing the weapon. Your testing the shooter. Most weapon malfunctions are shooter induced. Especially if you are testing a new platform like an AK or Tavor, and your not proficient with them.

    My advice is to pick a rifle and pistol and stick with it. Bouncing around weapon types may make you familiar with them but you are not going to be “good” in any of them.

    Everyone thinks AKs are bullet proof but if you don’t run them correctly you get stoppages. And usually the mags are the problem.

    CTT 1502, NODF 1502, CP 1503, RC 002- Rifleman, FoF x 2, Run and Gun, RS/CTT, CLC, CQBC, Heat 1

    Craig S.

    #56279
    Profile photo of diceman624diceman624
    Participant

    Run a gun through a course 2000 rds over 2-3 days will tell you if it is reliable.

    This I totally get; my rebuttal is what if I’m trying to discern if the weapon is reliable enough to take it this far? What test can I perform on any weapon that will help me gain confidence in it working reliably for that purpose, beyond the oft-cited “factory-built?”

    #56280
    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac
    Participant

    Most weapon malfunctions are shooter induced. Especially if you are testing a new platform like an AK or Tavor, and your not proficient with them.

    I definitely agree that a high round count course will bring out any reliability issues. Just for clarification, those tests were abandoned- I’ve kept them, but they only get brought out on occasion for “familiarization fire” or when newbies want to check out various weapons. I never had malfunctions with them. The tavor was abandoned due to it’s stock trigger (I wasn’t about to drop money on a geissele for it to bring it up to par). The milled AK was a boat anchor.

    Realistically I only have enough range time to train two weapons hard (glock and AR15 for me). I’ll try to bring a third if I have the time (T&E gun, PRS rifle or shotgun)

    #56281
    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac
    Participant

    what if I’m trying to discern if the weapon is reliable enough to take it this far?

    Yep, that’s my point, when do you pull the plug

    #56282
    Profile photo of diceman624diceman624
    Participant

    This is a great question; I don’t have an answer, and I was actually thinking of asking this forum what a good reliability test would be for a prospective class rifle.

    Here’s what I’ve done in the past for testing:
    Set zero (100 or 200yd depending on platform and optic); measure MOA accuracy while performing
    Single round lock back (semi-autos)
    10rd lock back (semi-autos)
    Max round lock back (20 or 30rd magazine rifles)
    Fire 250-300rds or what I consider a single class day equivalent within a one to two hour period (2 of 3 ARs only); examine wear and look for stoppages

    The latest thing I’ve done is match bullet weights to rifles. My 1:7 ARs have found favor in 69gr bullets and my M1A likes the 150gr range. I don’t really have a pistol test, but after taking a pistol course previously, I have no doubt in either of my Glocks.

    #56283
    Profile photo of RobertRobert
    Participant

    What milled AK did you have a problem with and what were the problems?

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #56284
    Profile photo of Hello Kitty (Craig)hellokitty
    Participant

    Run a gun through a course 2000 rds over 2-3 days will tell you if it is reliable.

    This I totally get; my rebuttal is what if I’m trying to discern if the weapon is reliable enough to take it this far? What test can I perform on any weapon that will help me gain confidence in it working reliably for that purpose, beyond the oft-cited “factory-built?”

    That is my point. Until you run it through a course, you are not going to know. Running drills on a square range don’t cut it. A few hundred rounds dont cut it. A few thousand rounds over 2-3 days, in a hard environment will tell.
    If it shits the bed, sell it. And always have a spare with you.

    CTT 1502, NODF 1502, CP 1503, RC 002- Rifleman, FoF x 2, Run and Gun, RS/CTT, CLC, CQBC, Heat 1

    Craig S.

    #56285
    Profile photo of diceman624diceman624
    Participant

    A question for the forum: how would you define a “hard environment?”

    #56286
    Profile photo of Hello Kitty (Craig)hellokitty
    Participant

    /maxvelocitytactical.com

    CTT 1502, NODF 1502, CP 1503, RC 002- Rifleman, FoF x 2, Run and Gun, RS/CTT, CLC, CQBC, Heat 1

    Craig S.

    #56287
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    A question for the forum: how would you define a “hard environment?”

    Combat conditions whether actual or realistic training!

    From 2016…

    Realistic training in all conditions will prove your choice, not a day of plinking at the range or some competion.

    Something commonly overlooked…

    Never ever use magazines for a training course (or real life and death situations) without using/testing them.

    I don’t care who manufactured them!

    Also all of your magazines should be numbered (location is up to you) so you can identify magazines with problems.

    This goes for any magazine fed firearm.

    #56288
    Profile photo of RobertRobert
    Participant

    A question for the forum: how would you define a “hard environment?”

    Take it to class is what people are telling you.

    That being said, if you KNOW already it’s given you problems when the sun is shining, it’s 72 degrees and your standing under a shaded roof firing from a bench, then be READY for that rifle to probably go to crap during a class.

    It’s totally o.k. to bring a 2nd rifle to class. I’ve never had a jam with a rifle at class, but I always bring a 2nd rifle just in case. One time 100 years ago at a Precision Rifle class a scope went to crap on me and I didn’t have a 2nd rifle. I had to borrow a rifle from one of the instructors. Ever since then, even if it’s at the range 10 minutes from the house, I bring an extra rifle.

    All that being said, use common sense in ammo choices, choices of mags, etc. If it’s a platform that tends towards the finicky side, clean it every night after class. If your using corrosive or shit ammo, clean it every night. Function test all your mags BEFORE class. “But the mags are new”- doesn’t mean they won’t fail.

    What this all really boils down to is using your equipment reguarly, something that “preppers” typically being cheap asses, tend to miss being more concerned with the amount of ammo they have in the basement versus how much they are using every year DEVELOPING SKILL AT ARMS. Which of course is more important that numbers on an inventory sheet.

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #56289
    Profile photo of diceman624diceman624
    Participant

    Follow up question: what are the differentiates simulated combat conditions from something range bays or a multi-gun competition? What environmental factors make these different, in your experience?

    My questions are for my education on the subject, as I’m trying to understand the comparative advantages/disadvantages of what I can determine by using the same firearm in each environment.

    #56290
    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac
    Participant

    What milled AK did you have a problem with and what were the problems?

    No problem, it was just heavy as hell (in comparison to an AR). It’s a Yugo OPAP. I like it, just wouldn’t want to run it all day.

    I ran it both with iron sights, and with a mini red dot mounted on a midwest industries handguard. The red dot was a welcome addition, but only exacerbated the weight problem.

    #56291
    Profile photo of Mike QMike Q
    Participant

    Diceman – using your weapon in all temperatures and weather environments. I’ve used mine from 110 degrees all the way down to 6 degrees with wind chill to -6. My weapon functions fine as long as I feed it the right ammo. The only time I’ve had issues was the 6 degree temperature and my steel cased ammo caused failure to eject time after time. My AR turned into a bolt action rifle.

    I’ve used my weapon in sunshine, rain, snow, sleet, and fucking hail! Those of us on CLC last year know that day well!

    I’ve put about 9,000 rounds through my weapon and she runs like greased owl shit! I’m now perfectly comfortable with that weapon in all environments. It only took about 3 years for me.

    Since I’ve put that many rounds through it and in all the above weather conditions – I consider it life saving ready. But until this last January I didn’t know about the steel cased ammo in the extreme cold. So it took almost 3 years to figure that out.

    Until you’ve used the weapon in all of those environments I would not trust it. I don’t live anywhere near a desert so I have no experience there…

    There never seems to be enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it twice.

    CRM Sept. 2014, CTT 1505, CTT July 2015, RC-Rifleman 1502, CP Nov. 2015, FoF March 2016, CCW May 2016, FoF Oct. 2016, FoF Nov. 2016, CLC April 2017, FoF Nov. 2017, Alumni weekend Aug. 2018, CQB Dec. 2018

    #56292
    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac
    Participant

    what are the differentiates simulated combat conditions from something range bays or a multi-gun competition?

    Doing SUT training in a rural environment, in the rain/sleet/snow, you often find yourself in a ditch, diving into a pile of leaves, faceplanting, etc. Stuff gets pretty dirty.

    #56293
    Profile photo of diceman624diceman624
    Participant

    Diceman – using your weapon in all temperatures and weather environments. I’ve used mine from 110 degrees all the way down to 6 degrees with wind chill to -6. My weapon functions fine as long as I feed it the right ammo. The only time I’ve had issues was the 6 degree temperature and my steel cased ammo caused failure to eject time after time. My AR turned into a bolt action rifle.

    I’ve used my weapon in sunshine, rain, snow, sleet, and fucking hail! Those of us on CLC last year know that day well!

    I’ve put about 9,000 rounds through my weapon and she runs like greased owl shit! I’m now perfectly comfortable with that weapon in all environments. It only took about 3 years for me.

    Since I’ve put that many rounds through it and in all the above weather conditions – I consider it life saving ready. But until this last January I didn’t know about the steel cased ammo in the extreme cold. So it took almost 3 years to figure that out.

    Until you’ve used the weapon in all of those environments I would not trust it. I don’t live anywhere near a desert so I have no experience there…

    This is the kind of answer I’m looking for. This makes perfect sense to me. Granted, where I live now is not subject to such extremes of weather, but it gives me a starting point. Thanks!

    #56294
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Granted, where I live now is not subject to such extremes of weather, but it gives me a starting point.

    Consider what environmental condition could effect your weapon.

    Sand, mud, etc..?

    Here in Florida I am not too concerned with Arctic conditions, but mud, sand, salt water, and swamps are considerations for an example.

    People who have never crawled around and carried weapon in the field overlook these things.

    Another example in the aftermath of hurricane Irma I was using a chainsaw quite a bit, at the end of the day my M9 pistol was heavily covered in sawdust.

    This was a perfect opportunity to test my pistol for this condition, to include the magazines. Three magazines fired later without problem and I knew I was good to go. ;-)

    #56298
    Profile photo of RobertRobert
    Participant

    What milled AK did you have a problem with and what were the problems?

    No problem, it was just heavy as hell (in comparison to an AR). It’s a Yugo OPAP. I like it, just wouldn’t want to run it all day.

    I ran it both with iron sights, and with a mini red dot mounted on a midwest industries handguard. The red dot was a welcome addition, but only exacerbated the weight problem.

    People buy the milled thinking or being told that they have a longer longevity than the stamped receivers. Having a stamped Polytech AKS that I’ve had since I was 15 that has well over 35K rounds through it, with crappy maintenance, I think the “milled is better” argument is overrated.

    They are an ass ton heavier though. Never been a huge fan of the Yugo guns or ammo, come to think of it I’m not sure I have a single Yugo AK in the stable.

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #56299
    Profile photo of TCTC
    Participant

    I clean and lube the weapon and put witness marks on everything that could shift or loosen.

    Then give it a 100-round grace period during break-in. A good weapon shouldn’t malfunction during break in though.

    Then the actual evaluation over the following 250-500 rounds and afterwards check witness marks and wear patterns. If pass, then at least it wasn’t DOA from the manufacturer.

    If it goes another 1000 rounds without failure, loosening, or excessive wear, then it’s looking good.

    So, since failures can include:

    1) Problem with the design itself (engineering issue)

    2) Problem with product deviating from design (quality control issue)

    3) Problem with environment/use exceeding design (use issue)

    …I avoid #1 by sticking with tried and true designs, #2 by buying from renowned manufacturer, and #3 by torture and compatibility testing. That goes for optics, lights, weapon, mags, and ammo. With environment testing (mud, sand, ice, snow, cold, etc) of course it will fail beyond a certain point and you can learn from that to avoid being caught off guard in the future.

    The more #1 and #2 are good to go, the less extensive #3 needs to be, in my opinion.

    Like with an AR, if I had a Colt 6920 and it ran 1000 rounds with no failures I’d feel confident in it. If I had an M&P Sport and it did that, I’d be nervous about what might happen after 3k+ rounds (sorry Robert, hope yours runs fine). Or with the Aimpoint Micro, I don’t have to take a baseball bat to it myself to trust it so long as it function checks fine and battery voltage is where it should be.

    So it depends on how good the engineering and manufacturing is, and how proven it’s been. If something is new to the market and/or a budget brand, I’d have to test it a lot more before I’d ever trust my life to it.

    SE Florida ☆ CQBC 2017 ☆ CTT/DA 2017 ☆ CLC 2018

    #56300
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    I don’t think you understand Robert’s AR use as a dedicated MMR gun and famfire training aid.

    If I had an M&P Sport and it did that, I’d be nervous about what might happen after 3k+ rounds (sorry Robert, hope yours runs fine).

    I suspect if Robert is having to dig so deep into his reserves that he is relying on a M&P AR as a go to war gun, then things have gotten so bad most here will be dead! ;-)

    #56309
    Profile photo of TCTC
    Participant

    I don’t think you understand Robert’s AR use as a dedicated MMR gun and famfire training aid.

    Having heard about Robert’s luck with ARs, I was actually wishing him godspeed even for those things, lol.

    I suspect if Robert is having to dig so deep into his reserves that he is relying on a M&P AR as a go to war gun, then things have gotten so bad most here will be dead! ;-)

    :yes:

    SE Florida ☆ CQBC 2017 ☆ CTT/DA 2017 ☆ CLC 2018

    #56310
    Profile photo of TCTC
    Participant

    One thing I struggle with is, when to pull the plug:
    -does the new weapon system need more “break in”, (points finger at HK VP9)
    -am I not giving it enough training time to fairly evaluate weapon manipulation and ergos? (tavor, I want to love you, but….AR15)

    For what it’s worth, if reliability is fine and it’s all down to ergos, I noticed it takes me about three weeks of daily use to get over my initial bias against unfamiliarity. Afterward, my mind’s clear enough to decide if something’s going to work or not.

    If the problem has only gotten more annoying, can’t be fixed, and isn’t sufficiently outweighed by the advantages, then I pull the plug.

    SE Florida ☆ CQBC 2017 ☆ CTT/DA 2017 ☆ CLC 2018

    #56311
    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac
    Participant

    @TC

    Thanks for your input, beyond reliability, which is more straightforward, it’s really the training time that I struggle with. When you have years of experience with a weapon system or accessory, it can be hard to compare something different.

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