This Won’t Be Good

So this little snippet arrived in my Inbox a while ago, sent on by Loyal Reader Max H., who asks, “Waddya think?”


The US Army’s PEO Soldier – Project Manager Soldier Weapons has issued an Request for Information (RFI) to obtain industry feedback on possible submissions to Sub Compact Weapons (SCW) evaluations. The specification details offered by the Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PMSW) are scant and extremely broad. Describing potential SCWs as being select fire weapons, chambered in 9x19mm and having MIL-STD 1913 rail (Picatinny Rail) space.
The RFI, published 2 May, makes no mention of physical dimensions such as size or weight and instead seeks to cast as wide a net as possible for potential submissions. It does, however, call for suppressors, spares and slings for the weapon (not holsters). Potential future SCW submissions will have to chamber ‘9×19 mm military grade’ ammunition – meaning both M882 ball and the new XM1153 Special Purpose 9mm Round from Winchester.
The RFI gives interested parties until the 18 May to submit their responses. It remains to be seen what purpose the SCW would serve and to whom it might be issued. If earlier Army references to a Sub Compact Weapon system are to be believed the new weapon is likely destined for rear echelon troops – in the traditional PDW / submachine gun role.

It starts when the new acronym SCW (Sub Compact Weapon) is used instead of the universally-known SMG (Sub-Machine Gun). (When did the .dotmil start this fucking bullshit? Never mind, I know the answer.)

People, this is not difficult. You take a simple, basic and easy-to-produce concept like the venerable M3 Grease Gun, add the doodads the Army wants, and away you go. Most of the serious firearms manufacturers like SIG, CZ or IMI could do this in their spare time, like over a couple weekends.

Why use the Grease Gun concept as the platform? Because it fucking works, as countless dead Nazis, Japs or Commies would tell you, if they could. With modern steel and production CNC machining, you could have a prototype put together in two weeks, and after a couple months of testing, into full production.

Which is kinda what the .dotmil did with the M3 (minus the CNC) back in the Big One, and it served until the 1990s when the .dotmil ditched it because OMG it wasn’t cool enough anymore. (That’s not the official reason, of course, but it’s the real one.)

Simplicity is just not gonna happen here, of course. What will emerge is some massively over-priced, over-engineered and over-complicated abortion which will be too heavy and too unreliable, because the current loose parameters of the RFI are going to be tightened and tightened until they cry for mercy, and the REMFs are going to get something which they’ll ditch in favor of their handguns at the first opportunity. Something like the HK MP7:

…which begs the question, “Why not just use the MP7?” (It sure as hell is ugly enough.) Of course, that would be just too simple. The .dotmil hates simple, which is why they got rid of the perfectly-capable M3 Grease Gun.

Also, the .dotmil would never adopt a foreign-made SMG with a simple operating mechanism — such as the MP7 or Kalashnikov’s KR-9 SBR (short-barreled rifle) — because OMG Russia, even though Kalashnikov USA is the same type pf corporation as Beretta USA (which supplied the .dotmil with the M-9 pistol, lest we forget).

And the KR-9’s operating system is simple — again that damning word — when we all know that the Pentagon will only consider whizzbang-gee-whizz-complicated guns because that’s how they’ve operated since WWII.

Never mind that everything the Pentagon wants is right there in that photograph, and ready to ship for testing tomorrow. But that would be too easy. Let’s rather take five years to reach a decision and end up with something that doesn’t work well, costs too much and will be in production only after a further five years. (The cost of the KR-9, in the quantities that the Pentagon would order, would be about $395 per piece. Unthinkable.)

And I haven’t even broached  the touchy subject of the .dotmil wanting to use the under-powered and pointless 9x19mm cartridge…


Just so we’re all clear on the concept: I’ve fired some of the “modern” SMGs myself, notably the Uzi, Skorpion, the MP5 and yes, the Grease Gun. Of all, the little Skorpion was the easiest to manage and the most reliable, probably because of its dinky lil’ cartridge. But neither the simpler Uzi or Skorpion designs will ever be used because old and made by furriners. Also, they just don’t look ugly modern enough for today’s Army.


  1. $100-million dollars from now, the Ordnance branch will be asked to show what they’ve come up with, and will be scrambling for something to show…

    Which will be a POS from Keltec or Hipoint, cause SCIENCE.

    Thats the way they roll….look at the clusterfuck over the new handgun, which even the ACOS said he could have fulfilled from the handgun counter at Cabelas.

    1. I’m sure there were many products on the market that would easily satisfy the needs of the military.


  2. Personally, I’d love to see CZ get their US factory up and running and get a contract for some Scorpion Evo 3 SMGs. Mine’s been deadnuts accurate and eats anything I feed it.

  3. Army procurement issues these kinds of nonsense requests all the time. They just seem to dream up stuff they want to play with on the range.

    The only reason I can think that this program ever goes anywhere is if they are looking to suppress the thing. A 9mm carbine with heavy bullets and a good suppressor can get pretty quiet. It would be a SF toy, not for us normal grunts.

  4. I recently shot a well made AR pistol, not selective fire, just a semi-auto and it was a crazy lot of fun. Super loud, no suppressor because my friend is still waiting for tax stamp. I have not thought well of those AR pistol things and had a chance to shoot an inexpensive one in the past which did not impress, maybe I was just ready this time. I have shot the MP5 and that was fun and a hell of a gun and there are so many proven ways to go that it is nuts for the govt to spend hundred of millions build some crap that will take another 20 or 30 years to work the kinks out.

    I have a good friend who is a retired Air Force Colonel, an old guy who spent a lot of years up in the air and then his last years in the Pentagon working on joint service projects. He describe a year of his service working with a multi-national team on one aspect of the ejection seat system of a specific Navy carrier plane. He had a service academy degree in engineering but his job was to manage meetings and reviews of meetings including several months in Europe because they were including Krauts in the project. I asked him what his final take on his final service years was and he told me that he was good and keeping people from arguing and getting upset in meetings and he was so glad to retire and leave the service and quit being part of the Federal Military spending process.

    And as a final note, old designs are good, my Air Force friend did a lot of years in the B-52’s in SAC in the 1950’s staying alert over the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas as well as Nam and there are grandkids of those old guys still flying the B-52’s today. With that in mind why not get some metal presses and crank out some .45 Grease Guns with a few modifications and be done with it. Full auto will mostly be good for burning up ammo anyway and I question the lethal aspect vs. well placed aimed semi-auto pistol shots.

    Now how’s them new Navy carriers doing? Billions of dollars on systems that do not work in real life, one might think affirmative action is butt biting again.

    1. In the Infantry, we viewed pistols as fancy paperweights. All real armies have body armor these days – rendering pistol calibers pretty worthless, unless you are close enough for a head or leg shot.

  5. I don’t see any possibility that this will be issued to ‘rear echelon’ troops as it would require significant additional training above what they already get on their M16/M4. Most likely this is a Special Operations weapon or issued to other specially trained troops like air crewmen, Military Police special operations teams, bodyguards, etc.

    WRT “rear echelon” troops it is worth noting that at the start of the current unpleasantness in Overseasland in 2001, many non-combat units (and more than a few combat units) had to institute, frankly ridiculous weapons handling policies because of the enormous numbers of negligent discharges (some of which resulted in injuries or even fatalities) that occurred when formerly peacetime troops – who literally only loaded their weapons once a year at annual qualifications at the range – were deployed to combat zones and required to carry loaded weapons with them wherever they went.

    This is best symbolized by that item that has become common at military camps around the world – the “clearing barrel.” For those that don’t know, a “clearing barrel” is usually a 55 gallon steel (or in some cases plastic) drum about half filled with sand, with an opening at the top end and mounted on a wooded frame canted at about a 45 degree angle to the ground. Soldiers who enter a camp are required to clear their weapons and then aim the weapon into the clearing barrel and pull the trigger.

    Many a clearing barrel has sacrificed it’s life by heroically absorbing a negligently fired bullet because the soldier in question forgot the proper sequence of clearing a weapon, and in my experience, this was particularly true of the M9 pistol (Beretta M92 to civilians.) The correct procedure, of course, is to drop the magazine, THEN rack the slide or pull the charging handle (to clear the chamber) and THEN aim the weapon into the barrel and pull the trigger. ND’s happened when the solder was too lazy/tired/stupid to remember the correct sequence. Instead of dropping the mag and THEN
    racking the slide, they’d rack the slide first, THEN drop the mag and then aim the weapon into the barrel and pull the trigger: BANG!

    To this former grunt, the very notion of a “clearing barrel” is a damning testament to the poor weapons handling skills of the vast majority of US military members. I certainly don’t remember hearing about camps in WWII, Korea or Vietnam needing “clearing barrels” to prevent soldiers from having ND’s.

    So, to get back to topic, the very notion of putting yet ANOTHER weapon with yet ANOTHER type of operating system into the hands of “rear echelon troops” gives me chills and not in a good way.

    1. Clearing barrel? I though it was illegal for the US to hire sub 83 IQ people?

  6. Doesn’t the U.S. HAVE something for this already? The Fabrique Nationale P90, if I’m not mistaken?

  7. Those M3 Grease guns are a lot of fun to shoot and quite cheap to produce. They are entirely stamped metal except the barrel and a few other parts. Add some mounts for the latest in optics, flashlights and sharks with fricken laser beams and you’ll be all set!!


  8. MP-5K-PDW, with some form of suppressor, either muzzle mount or built-in (SD style). Muzzle lock mount keeps it short, but gives them something to misplace.

    Alternative would be Glock G-18, with a clip-on type of shoulder stock addition (holster style?), along with the disposable Glock plastic suppressor.

    Has anyone bothered to design or produce a discarding sabot anti-armor 9mm round?

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