From Thunderchild on Patreon:
"How would you see a modern major nation (US, USSR/Russia, China, etc) simplify their small arms in a large scale war, WW3 or Cold War gone hot? You've mentioned in the past how most nations end up having to simplify to meet demands, so why not start simplified?"
The reason for simplified small arms is to increase production speed. During peacetime deployment of new arms, it generally doesn't really matter how long manufacturing takes, and enough rifles will be built for the standing army and some predetermined number of reserve weapons. Last-ditch guns become a necessity when battlefield wastage and increased conscription combine to demand arms well beyond the production capacity of a country's industrial base. The only solution is to simplify the design to decrease production time - and the simplifications can't hinder the effectiveness or safety of the weapon, or else there is no point in producing them in the first place.
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Bolt hold open, the dust cover, and the takedown pin detents could all be dropped.
They would probably also get rid of the forward assist, either by not including it in the construction of the upper, or by milling it off like KE Arms did.
More important than rifles?
More important than rifles….?
I doubt anyone would bother scrambling to create simplified "Last Ditch" firearms in the US. Consider this: we already have enough guns to arm every man, woman, child, and infant, and still have quite a few weapons left over. If things get so bad that we're forced to throw human waves at Martian invaders or some such, the conscripts may not be fully trained, but they will at least be fully armed.
When considering last-ditch firearms manufacturing, my thoughts go immediately to the PPS-43. It's my understanding that they were being manufactured, and handed out the door for immediate use in the battle of Stalingrad. I'm also aware that various firearms were manufactured in place by partisan/guerilla groups during WWII. Some were single-shot, some were full-auto bullet hoses.
Are there any lessons the US could learn from that process? Maybe providing plans to the public for making a Sten?
Points for answering the question to the letter and not going into the broader issues. If WW3 starts there is one stuff way more important than rifles and two the loosing side will start to throw nukes. Enough of that and a blunderbuss gets your go to gun.
You could probably get rid of the forward assist.
I'm trying to watch all of your content on here.
I wonder if a last ditch M4 wouldn't be semi auto only. Even fewer parts, you could get away with less machining of the receiver, and less ammo expenditure from the inevitably less trained conscripts
Switched over from Patreon!
I was about to open this video in YT, closed that app and opened this one so my view would be counted on a better platform.
Same! I make the effort to make sure Ian benefits from his work.
Same. I hope this platform can evolve to be more like youtube's software and gain so more popularity.
On the M4, I would also expect polymer handguards to be the norm, but maybe with some picatinny rails molded into the polymer.
The issue with injection molding a monolithic receiver is that you've got to mill the mold itself. That is something that isn't easy to do. A lot of the infrastructure to do that in the USA fled to overseas (China). I had trouble getting injection molds made for equipment cost-effectively. It was hugely more expensive in the USA and was financially forced to send it to be done in China. Interestingly, my molds were in Wuhan, and the parts were for specialized disinfection equipment. Guess when my parts were supposed to be delivered? You guessed it. That's how I first got wind of the pandemic. Anyway, if you don't already have a mold made, getting one milled will take time and specialized equipment -- even if money isn't a concern.
These days you can rapidly 3D print a mold, but I imagine it will only hold up for a small number of pieces. The ability to create many molds quickly without CNC might counterbalance the cons. I don't know enough about it to know if there are limitations on the type of polymer you can use with the 3d printed mold, but I know they're being used more frequently for small scale injection molding
I've had some products made with aluminum molds, and they are similarly 'only good for so long.' I am hopeful that 3D printed molds will change things. A lot depends on the tolerances of the parts involved. Generally, 3D prints have to be finished/polished. If your tolerances are very small, this sounds like it would be a problem. When you CNC the mold, you cut it to the exact tolerances you need. Maybe a monolithic lower could be designed with less stringent tolerances. I mean, I know you can print stainless steel or even Inconel these days, so maybe you could make a longer lasting mold with looser tolerances?
This is true, but even with a couple hundred hours of machine time on a complex mold it comes out to much less per receiver when the mold is good for tens of thousands or rifles.
If you have the mold that is good for high volume, I agree you are golden. My thinking was along the lines of starting from scratch without one -- in a WWIII scenario, if you didn't have the mold already, getting one made would seem like a big obstacle to overcome. OTOH, if you can crank out the lower volume aluminum molds and can live with lower tolerances, I think you'd be good too. My son and I both like the KE Arms monolithic lower, BTW.
I could see rear line units being issued M4s with magpup handguards and WWSD lowers if things got that bad combine that With the production infrastructure that exists in the US for the AR-15 I could see the government issuing a standardized pattern and an easier to meet quality standard then you would have dozens of manufacturers cranking them out
I was also thinking about the possibility of simplifying picatinny rails, in particular the quad rails on modern M4 carbines seem like an easy thing to simplify if it came to that point
Someone else thought of that too. It's called M-LOK.