Full Auto Myth..

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Mortis, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. Mortis

    Mortis Snake Eater

    When I came onto this board I said one of my reasons to do so was to hopefully correct some misconceptions. I also said I believed most of those misconceptions were honest ones.

    So let’s take a look at this list of misconceptions taken from the board:

    *What was it? An average of 50,000 rounds to one kill in Vietnam? While snipers averaged 1.5. There is a reason that the military has gone to 3 round burst.

    First of all, I remember the Logistical Study of the cost of the war in Viet Nam that came up with that 50,000 round number. I also remember the History Channel show which reported that number. How easy it is to take something out of context and everyone in the world to believe it as gospel.

    They study concluded that based on the Logistical Reports of the amount of ammunition sent to the region, based on the reports of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese causalities, it took 50,000 rounds to kill one of the enemy. And certainly that was the bottom line.

    What the television program neglected to mention was that the Report was not restricted to the 5.56mm ammo for the M16 rifles. Since there is no way to determine how much ammo was expended during each firefight, the Logistic documents dating back to 1957 till the war was ended in 1975 were used. All those documents do is record quantity by type sent to that theater of operations, which included Thailand.

    Consider that the list of ammunition is vast. Starting with 22Short and ending with 16 inch Naval shells.

    It does it take into consideration the ammunition destroyed when the ammo dumps at Khe Sanh, Phu Bai, Da Nang and Dak To were blown up during rocket attacks. Nor does it take into account the amount of ammunition used by Special Forces and Marine CAG’s to train and equip their Mike Forces and PF’s (militia).

    It does not take into consideration Harassment & Interdiction Fires on suspected enemy locations by artillery. Recon by Fire. LZ clearing operations by helicopter gun ships. Or Spooky missions on the Ho Chi Minh trail. And Preparatory Fires on objectives that often didn’t have a single enemy on the hill, or in the case of Hill 881, totally cleared the hill of vegetation without inflicting 10 percent causalities on the enemy. But it sure gave them a clear field of fire to rain down on the 101<SUP>st</SUP> Airborne.

    Now having seen this program on a couple of occasions, I also note that the film of grunts blasting away looks ridiculous to the uninformed. A lot of what you see is actually covering fire for other elements that are conducting fire and maneuver. Even though it is a bonus to hit the enemy with fire, the main function of a covering element is to keep the heads of the enemy down while the maneuver element is doing just that, maneuvering.

    What the film did not show was that the majority of fighting done in Viet Nam inside of 50 yards. And some was done at point blank range.

    *Spray and pray guns might be a gas to shoot but I don't see any tactical advantage other than a rare close quarters, house cleaning type of role.

    Full auto or spray and pray was used in the brush where often you could not see the target, but could hear the incoming fire. It was especially effective in breaking up ambushes. We, as our Army counterparts, were trained to turn into the ambush, and on full auto, clear the area while advancing into the enemy. Sounds crazy does it not? But you have to consider that the majority of torso wounds from an ambush were inflicted on people that had dropped to the ground when the ambush was opened up.

    In the heavy brush, our M79 folks carried canister rounds. 40mm shotgun shells capable of clearing a lot of brush.

    *A marksman who can hit his target, especially at ranges that keep the enemy away from you, is more valuable IMHO than a squad of rock and rollers spraying lead and hoping to hit something.

    It was learned by the services that in the brush, folks taking the time to make aimed shots, usually didn’t survive the engagement. The Army taught a technique called Point Shooting, while the Marines just got dirty about it and called it Quick-Kill.

    It is a technique of shooting without actually aiming and is very effective. It is a shoulder fired position, except you do not use the sights. Sighting takes seconds to accomplish, and those seconds can mean the difference between living and dying.

    An individual who is proficient at the technique can effectively put round on target at ranges up to 100 yards. The folks that learned it the quickest and best were the people that had been raised hunting with a shotgun.

    *IMHO: If you are walking along and hear auto fire you are generally safe, its when you hear individual; semi auto AIMED SHOTS COMING YOUR WAY are you in individual danger.

    Well now. Considering that everyone is afraid of the Military and that the average Army Squad will have 2 each SAW’s, in the hands of trained individuals, if you hear auto fire then you had best be hoping that either your HMO or Life Insurance is paid up.

    Both the Army and Marines hold marksmanship competitions annually for their machine gun crews. This is on a course of fire starting at 100 meters going out to 500 meters. And the targets are such that most people reading that would complain about the ranges even if they were using a very expensive rifle with an even more expensive scope. And this course of fire is done with iron (open) sights.

    But one of the keys to using a these weapons is not pulling the trigger and holding it down, but stroking the trigger for 3-5 round bursts. Which brings me back to the top of this article and moving a quote down here.

    *What was it? An average of 50,000 rounds to one kill in Vietnam? While snipers averaged 1.5. There is a reason that the military has gone to 3 round burst.

    We’ve dealt with the first part of the comments above. Next……

    *While snipers averaged 1.5.

    Snipers have a valued part to play on the battlefield, but they cannot win the battle by themselves. The sniper mentality I often see on firearms boards is a dangerous one. But the name sniper brings about visions of one man against the world. Super macho to the max.

    *There is a reason that the military has gone to 3 round burst.

    Sure there was a reason but it was not the 50,000 rounds per kill.
    Until the introduction of the M249 SAW, everyone carried the same rifle. Each Fire Team had a designated Automatic Rifleman. It was his job to provide full auto fire, while the remainder of the Fire Team used semi-auto only. Great in concept, but as I have already mentioned, there were times that everyone used full auto.

    One of the myths of the M16 series rifle is accuracy. The M16, M16A1 both were very accurate with the 55 grain bullet. Although, the A1 was far superior to the basic rifle due to having a chrome lined barrel. It was not a problem for a trained marksman to hit man size targets at 500 yards with one. But the Marine Corps wanted a heavier bullet at range, and in secret, developed the M16A2.

    The M16A1 was capable of holding a 20 round burst into a man’s chest at 100 yards on full automatic in the hands of a trained shooter. Sounds ridiculous? Not really considering that Eugene Stoner designed the rifle with shooter ergonomics in mind. But what is hard to do is teach an individual to hold a 3-5 round burst. And I admit that I am one of those that never seemed able to get it down that tight. But I know an individual that could milk a trigger on an M60 so softly that he could fire it single shot. Some have the talent, others don’t.

    Now, since the M249 was well into the system, there was no longer a need for everyone to have a full auto capable rifle. So the Corps determined a 3-shot burst pack was better all around then full auto. Enter the M16A2 with a heavier round and a 3 shot burst pack.

    Let me see…. We start with the M16, evolved into the M16A1, along with the CAR-15 (which became the M4 when set-up for the heavier round), then the M16A2, M16A3 and the M16A4.

    The M16A2 proved during testing and competition to be a very accurate rifle. Even beating the M14 on several occasions. But it is not a full auto rifle.

    The M16A3 is under scrutiny right now because by removing the rear sight ramp, the ergonomics have been changed and has created an accuracy problem under full auto.

    The M16A4 is basically an M16A1 with the heavy round capability. Reports I am hearing is that the Navy Seals, who are currently the sole user of the A4 just loves the rifle. But then again, the Seals loved the Stoner63 system in Viet Nam. Lot’s of firepower, but the safety sucked big time.

    So, if things go to hell in a hand basket, you can bet some of the military’s rifles will find their way into the hands of folks that you’d rather not do business with. And if you hear full auto fire you had best be paying attention to where it is coming from and who it is aimed at. Cause contrary to popular belief, unless the round that hits you is instantly fatal, you WILL hear the one that gets you.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet Monkey+++

    About sometime someone posted the truth!

    And whats worse is many of these myths are repeated by drill instructors teaching our new troops in basic.
  3. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    And we're so glad you took the time out of your schedule to drop by and educate us. How fortunate for us.

    Did this talent for abrasiveness come naturally or have you cultivated it?
  4. Ricochet

    Ricochet Monkey+++

    I didn't know there was bad blood.....
  5. DesertDawg

    DesertDawg Monkey+++

    Mortis does often sound like he has the attitude of "I'm the expert, you're not", but I think that we can all deal with that.

    I liked the myths that were told in boot camp, back in 1966, when the M-16 was still fairly new.

    "The M-16 is a self-cleaning rifle. That's why no cleaning kit is issued with it."

    "With the M-16, due to the velocity and the tumbling effect of the round in flight, even a 'near-miss' will result in an injury to the enemy....perhaps even tear their arm off, if it's close enough to their shoulder."

    Yeah, sure, Rangemaster! (By the way, BECAUSE of those two "myths" that were told, I bought a good, complete .22 rifle cleaning kit before shipping over to the "toilet", AND as often as I possibly could, I used the sights of the M-16....so that I didn't have to "test" the "magical tumbling bullet" and "near-miss" theories!)

    Like Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does, sir!"
  6. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    I think you need to find some thicker skin,you would have never made through my boot camp and training if Mort seems abrasive.
    He discussing life and death, not how to pick flowers and love your neighbor.
    Did you cultivate your sarcasam or does it come naturally, you can skip over Morts posts.
    You need to get to know the man and where he has been, and what he has done.
    Ive know Mort for several years now.
  7. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    The battle of the intellects and experts continues....

    Opinions are like as*holes, everybody has one, some just stink more than others [booze]

    I'm not sure why folks get their panties in a wad over somebody else's postings.

    It's refreshing to read various opinions, some I agree with and some I don't but that's what makes the world go round, it's called Freedom of Speech. It's nice to be a member of a forum that doesn't squelch our Freedoms.
  8. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Ricochet.... I wouldn't exactly call it "bad blood", I just get annoyed with condescending personalities. I think Mortis and I have a mutual and fairly mild dislike going, no blood. I'd still share a campfire and a beer with the guy, we just might growl a little.

    Quigs, your probably right on one account, I need to just ignore it. As far as the "boot camp" thing.... besides the fact that I did serve, and made it through just fine, this is not basic, he is not an omnipotent drill sergeant, and I don't give flying one where he has been and what he has done, it doesn't excuse him from having bad manners. Did you take the time to get to know "Infidel" or "Gunkid"? Or did you judge them on their postings here? I never said a negative thing to him until he started in with the "all knowing mortis will now share his wisdom with you uneducated cretins" crap.

    Why is it that freedom of speech protects a person when he's rude, but it doesn't apply to someone telling him he's rude?

    That aside, I will henceforth do my best to leave mortis alone in the name of harmony, and I apologize for having upset you about it.
  9. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    You haven’t upset me,
    I just see you trolling his post with one line sarcasm where ever he post's.
    Take him to task and add something to the conversation, who knows “YOU” might really have something everyone can learn from.
    Thank you for your enlistment to one of our fine service branches.
    As far as "Infidel" or "Gunkid" is concerned they both got what they wanted.
    No one is taking away your first amendment the freedom of speech, not the least little bit.
    Say what you want where you want as long as it stays within the COC
    Morts a big boy and doesn’t need me to protect him.
    Its just starting to look like you are trolling.
  10. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Exactly Colt, well said my friend.
    Are you sure you don’t want to send me Seas 1911…
  11. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Hey, if he has no problem with it, fine by me. I think you'd like the pistol.
  12. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member


    It is a nice piece.

    He's missing it already (and it's still here). It's nice of Sea to let him have a long goodbye.
  13. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    I would tend to agree with black jack here, skimming through I recognize more than a few of my own words singled out for the mighty bs flag.. I have never been shot at personally in combat. So my opinions, have been formed bywhat little training I have recieved and reading other peoples opinions. thatsaid :

    "Expertlytrained professional combat soldiers" may be able to put 20 or 30 round mags on target at 100 yards or greater.With full auto fire
    However; I submit as a civilian with choices of where to travel, advance,and retreat.you are more likely to run into "technicals "( i.e. poorly trained and disciplined troops or rednecks named "buford" who don't have the training or knowledge our esteemed mr mortis has( attrributed to himself).

    Believe most of that original idea came from reading the worlds "most dangerous places" guy who writes to keep photo journalist and other war correspondents alive. If drunk rednecks or gangbangers are are spraying and praying at long distances because they have recieved no training,auto fire may more be more likelyto give the adversaries position away than shoot pefect 10's in your center of mass. Auto fire may also very well be the local mosque bbq bunch letting off alittle ak47 steam into the air as they are want to to do....

    Call it "fataslism" but If for some barely concievable reason I find myself the target of a real honest to god "seal team mission" , (and I could not envision myself ever being a big enough pain the the states' derrierre to warrant such an honor).. I have no illusions. I think those four or more trained operators will discretely riddle me with suppressed mp5 or heavier caliber fire.Game over. Mr mortis views the world from the government angle of a professional soldier going forward toe to toe under orders with the best trained adversaries the world's nation states have to offer. Interesting reading butI too find myself climbing into a thicker skin (and understand where blackjack is coming from)...We are not all; nor could some of us ever be combat marines...I stand by my original position.

    ( fuzzy headed as I am this evening after"doing" a 3 day motorcycle swapmeet in "on" and "off" rain that was consistently stuck in the "on mode .. eating out of a hibatchi and sleeping in our trucks).
  14. poacher

    poacher Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I always thought incoming fire wether aimed or not had the right of way.

    Take care Be safe Poacher.
  15. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    Mortis, we were taught two techniques, close ambush you immediately assault, recon you fire a mag and run, your mission is to bring back your information, not close with and destroy the enemy.

    I never reliably got one round from an M60, but two round bursts were easy. The longer bursts had a place, for longer range. I fired an M60 at 1500 meters- we were on a Ma Deuce range that day-long bursts were easier to track to the target. And get on target, and chip paint.
  16. Ricochet

    Ricochet Monkey+++

    I cant remember the name of the exact technique but are you talking about when each man is under an ambush and the last one unloads a mag and runs and the next man in line fires a mag and runs and so on?

    Thats actually a very good way ( I know you already know this) to suppress an ambush when the enemy isnt totally in sight.
  17. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

  18. Ricochet

    Ricochet Monkey+++

    Ahhh there we go.
  19. Mortis

    Mortis Snake Eater

    Does Not Play Well With Others.

    This is a sign my wife says I should often wear. And after 36 years of marriage, she is probably right.

    Actually I do try to keep the threads clean, but as has been said, we are dealing with life and death matters, and I take those very personal.

    Just for the sake of harmony, I shall endeavor to find a kinder way to write so folks will not think I am coming off caustic or arrogant. But after 23 years of writing in a technical manner, it will be hard for this old dog to change.

    As far as I am who I say I am. I'll offer this one bit of evidence.


    That's me in the Avatar. Operation Autumn Harvest. August 1973 Republic of South Viet Nam. I was a Buck Sergeant into my second hitch at the time of the picture. The Marine that took the picture did so without me knowing he was doing it. He did not survive the trip. Picture was given to me later by his Lieutenant. It is one of the few surviving pictures of me while in the Corps due to a storage building fire some years back. It survives only because it was in my Father's possession until his death in 1998.

    Anyway, just to muck things up abit. When I went thru Boot, it was 13 weeks long. We got half a day off on Sunday morning for church. We went to church in formation. Anyone not going to church preformed personal maintanance such as writing letters home or uniform repair.

    We lived in quonset huts. 1 squad per hut. No heat or cooling. And anyone thinks that San Diego doesn't get cold in January/February needs to camp out on the beach sometime down then during those months.

    We were isolated during those 13 weeks. We did not associate with our sister platoons in the series. A series consisted of 4 platoons. Normally 3 Series in a Company during those days. The only time we ever fell into formation as a Series was during the Battalion Commanders Inspection, the Final Graduation Inspection and Graduation.

    We were up at 0500 each morning and training ended at 1900. The rest of the evening was taken up in shower call and preparation for tomorrow's training. The showers were approximately 300 meters away, in which we marched in formation, dressed only in our BVD's and towels around our necks, while wearing shower shoes. We were expected to march as if wearing boots. Lights out at 2200 hours.

    We had no soda machines in the Regimental Mess Hall. Fruit juices were considered a luxury. And one hell of a brawl broke out one morning when someone tried to grab a couple extra tubs of peanut butter from the KP standing guard over them. When I say tub, I mean in the same kind of foil topped tub that has jelly in them at every cafe in the country. Peanut butter was prised by one and all.

    We had no time too ourselves. Even PX calls were done in formation and for only those things premitted. Wisk laundry soap for the uniforms, 2 packs cigarettes per man. Non-smokers often bought cigs for the smokers. And other sundry items.

    We slept with our rifles. M14's. There was no rifle racks in the huts, only way to secure them was via bicycle combation lock to the bunk itself. And we were also issued bayonets for those rifles.

    Drill Instructors were not allowed by Regulation to use Abrasive Language nor lay hands on us other then to correct our posture, uniform, or such. We were called names unprintable in here and getting thumped was always a risk for fouling up. And we had the better of the DI's in the Series. Some were brutal.

    Punishment was not done to the man who fouled up, but the whole platoon suffered for one man's mistake. Just as we could in combat. Push-ups were not give me 20, but by the numbers. At the count of 1 you went down. At the count of 2 you pushed up. This was often done on hot asphalt on our knuckles and not the palms of our hands. And if the DI was really PO'd........the cadence from 1 to 2 would take as long as it took him to remove his cigs from whereever he was carrying them, light up, and consider if we had been down long enough. Any man who allowed his knees to touch the ground only prolonged the situation.

    The only times they let up on us was during the 2 weeks at the rifle range and the final week before Graduation. But they did not allow us to relax. Just didn't push as hard.

    13 weeks of what could better be described as hell. No contact allowoed with the outside world except for letters from home. One Boot(recruit) received a stick of his favorite gum in a letter. He was allowed to chew the gum in front of the platoon. Wrapper and all. Another Boot received some cookies. He was allowed to eat those cookies in front of the platoon, by stuffing his mouth as full as possible, chewing them and chasing them with a canteen of the hottest water he could tolerate. It did not take us long to insure our familes DID NOT send such items.

    And if a letter arrived from a sweetheart, smelling of perfume, every man was allowed to smell the envelope before the man it was intended for was allowed to have it.

    Of the 72 of us that started, we only lost one man to injuries. We picked up 2 that was being recycled and graduated 73. Of that number 48 of us were Regulars and the rest Reserve. There was never any distinction between the two forces. Everyone was treated equally.

    Of the 48 Regulars, at last count there were 19 of us left above ground. 1 is a Quadraplegic. 2 are Paraplegics. Only 5 of the 19 decided to make a career of the Corps. And of the 5 only 1 came thru 20 years without a stratch. And he took an AK round in the leg while conducting a drug raid as an Orange County Deputy Sheriff after retirement from the Corps.

    Anyway, I have no way given a complete picture of Marine Boot in those days. Except that one of our sister platoons had a man put his M14 under his chin at the range and put a 147 grain FMJ through his brain. We watched a boot take a beautiful swandive off the top of 1stBn's new, 2 story barracks onto the concrete while we was outside the Regimental Mess Hall waiting our turn at breakfast. Another of our sister platoon's had a man go totally insane. He took out 3 DI's, before 2 others were about to subdue him and it took 2 of the largest Navy Corpsmen I've ever seen to put him into a straightjacket.

    Full Metal Jacket came close to the way it was, but missed by a mile also.

    13 weeks Boot then straight into the Basic Infantry Course for all personel, regardless of their final MOS. 5 weeks of non-stop run and gun in the hills of Camp Pendleton. We finally got a weekend at the Beach Club at the end of our 3rd week. Passes off base at the end of the 4th week. This was where we were first introduced to Quick Kill.

    Sounds brutal to be sure. But we were going to war and those DI's all had a minimum of 1 tour in Nam. They were only preparing us for what was to come.

    At the end of Boot we realized that each of us was capable of taking command of the others at any time. Basic Infantry School taught us to think for ourselves. Face the situation, make the discussion, execute the plan often formulated between footsteps.

    And of most importance, in those 18 total weeks, we recognized our individual lives were forfeit for the good of our fellow Marines if need be. The individual did not matter, only the men in the unit.

    Sounds like Brainwashing? Some.. Conditioning? Certainly. But no one who has not experienced combat cannot understand. In discussions with some of my Army friends, that bond developed for them in combat. Our bond developed before we faced that situation. And a new man might be an FNG, but he was still a part of the unit.

    Yes, I can be abrasive. But if one individual benefits from the information I try to pass on from my 23 years of experience, then I have accomplished my task. I do not claim to be an expert on many things, just having years of experience paid for by the taxpayers of this country.

    I think I have said way too much already.......

    BTW...... I had a BLAST during those years..... thanks Mister and Misses Taxpayer for funding some great experiences. The bad ones was just a refund for the good ones.
  20. Mortis

    Mortis Snake Eater


    Point Shooting and Quick Kill came from the experiences of those that survived 1966 and 67. Your bunch made it easier for us to come later to survive. Thanks for that.

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