Saturday, March 10, 2007

US Army Issues PDW Requirement

Anthony Williams reports here (in his forum)that the US Army has issued a requirement for a new personal defense weapon.

A report in today's Jane's Defence Weekly quotes Brigadier General Mark Brown, the head of the US Army's 'Programme Exectuve Office - Soldier' and commanding general of the Natick Soldier Centre in Massachusetts, as saying that the US Army is looking to acquire a new personal defence weapon: a compact, medium-powered firearm for issue to vehicle crews.

He stated that the new weapon will be "larger than a pistol and smaller than a carbine" and would be employed by personnel not primarily engaged in infantry combat. He said: "When you get all your soldiers geared up in an uparmoured Humvee, there's not a lot of room".

As Mr. Williams says..."This one should be interesting".

A Bushmaster Armpistol would, in theory, seem to fit the bill fine. This weapon always intrigued me with its interesting solution to the ambidexterity problem. In the forum however several points against it are brought up. I think the sighting issue could be dealt with by an ACOG or SuSAT type sight, but the weirdness might be a hindrance.
On to more conventional solutions....all hypothetical as I have NO idea what the army is going to get...
There was a 6mm round and associated weapon discussed over at ACE a while back. Here is the companies ad brochure.
...and a write-up at Security Arms...

...which also mentions the SAAB PDW, another interesting weapon given its 6.5mm round. Which can, with a barrel swap fire 9x19mm NATO as well.
Given the short ranges involved and the need for the rather elusive quality of "stopping power", might a PDW be effective if chambered for one of the more powerful pistol rounds? There have been instances of the M1 Carbine chambered for .44 Magnum or .45 Win-mag. I wonder how practical a Hezi chambered for that or .357mag rather than .30 carbine would be?

I could speculate for pages, but someone named "thatguy96" on the above linked forum just posted this helpful link of PDW Pr0n. :)

UPDATE:Welcome Murdoc Online, Airborne Combat Engineer, and Defense Tech readers!
I've added a link to Mr. Williams actual post on this subject, as the link originally just went to his home page. I've looked for a second source on this hopefully with more info, but only the dead tree issue of Jane's Defense Weekly quoted above has turned up thus far.

Regards the rather scatter-shot selection of PDW's and ideas in this post, I don't have any idea what characteristics the US Army is looking at. For instance, if they want something easily carried in a holster then something like the MP7 rather than the P90 would be in the cards.
ACE likes the idea of a 5.56 pistol, several of which are on the civilian market including the Kel-Tec model he mentions , which has a good reputation. I'm skeptical that the 5.56 round, which already has lethality issues when fired from short length carbines would really work, though, it WOULD simplify logistics to use the same round. Such a solution, however, might not be any worse than the .22 and .17 caliber rounds in the Belgian and German weapons.Both these rounds, despite their iffy stopping power, DO have very good penetration which is likely to be quite important as body armor increases in distribution....already an issue in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 6mm from Knights Armament looks good but has performance perhaps too close to a 5.56 NATO to warrant adopting a new is also too long to fit in a pistol grip I believe.

Of the alternatives alrady in full production, the P-90 and MP7 would seem most likely. The P-90 is in service with several armies and police forces and FN has a good relationship...perhaps too good....with US Army ordinance. It's 5.7mm round has gotten mixed reviews but seems to have done well if fired against an armored foe. I don't know anything about the MP7 round except that it fires a 4.6mm (~17 caliber)bullet. I also do not know if the MP7 could be re-chambered for the more powerful and more common FN 5.7 round of the P90, though in the comments to this post Pete Zaitcev says that it is likely adaptable to other calibers due to its gas operation.


Wonderduck said...

The first is still thought to be the best: the FN P90.

Okay, yeah, it's weird-looking, and the ammo feed mechanism is overly complex, and the bullet is thought to be too light.

But for a weapon that is designed to be used by (as an example) tankers that have bailed out of a dead tank, the 'spray-and-pray' method of aiming is the one likely to be used, and that means big magazine and good rate of fire.

...and that is what the P90 is good at.

Geez, when did I start to work for Fabrique Nationale?

ザイツェヴ said...

I do not see the Armpistol "solving" the abidextrity problem in any way. If you look at Kel-Tec RFB, then that's solving.

P90 is seen in the anime much too often, but that's because anime goes for looks. Actually, I think that the bad rap its magazine gets is unwarranted and completely misguided. It's a reliable system and not that complex. What really can be an issue is what happens when it gets dirty or if dropped on a hard surface. But even then, original M-16 mags were dented way too easily.

In reality though, if you look at HK PDW (aka MP-7), you understand how to design a practical, reliable PDW. Although it's not as sexy, I'll give you that. The MP-7 can be carried in a holster, and is gas driven, so it's caliber flexible. The P90 is recoil driven, so its caliber is not readily adaptable.

Wonderduck said...

FWIW, I've only seen it in one anime (Gunslinger Girl, where it makes sense for it to be Henrietta's weapon of choice: she's very small). I had read about in some years before, where it seemed to be a good solution for a rather vexing problem.

I don't particularly care if it "looks cool." It could look like a pile of crepe with a trigger for all I care, as long as it works.

Any ammo feed that requires a 90-degree turn of the bullet before it gets into the chamber seems to be 'overly complex' to me. It might not be a problem, but that's a tribute to FN's design more than it 'not being a problem.'

ザイツェヴ said...

Look up the two-stage feed in AN-94 some time. THAT is complex. The rotating piece in P90's mag is not complex. It's the same degree of complexity as the ejection system in FN's own F2000, or even less. Just think what prevents the cases from falling back into the receiver if you fire F2000 straight up. Heck, the P90's mag is about as complex as the feed unit in PK which pulls rimmed ammo from its belts.

-- Pete