Weapons Failing American Soldiers
There are many posts about this story on blogs and Internet news websites. The M-4 is a basically a shortened version of the M-16A2 with a collapsible stock. Many gun writers and bloggers hold the 5.56mm round in disdain for is lack of stopping power.
The criticism isn't new, it has existed since the Vietnam War when the M-16 debuted. The original M-16 was also maligned for stoppages and malfunctions. The official Army response was the soldiers weren't properly cleaning the weapon. Eventually modifications would result in the fielding of the M-16A2 in the 1980s. Unfortunately, these modifications addressed the issues encountered in the jungles of Vietnam.
The improvements were further compromised, in my opinion, when the Army tried to make the 5.56mm into an armor piercing round. The M855 green tip rounds were developed to defeat Soviet body armor and became standard issue in combat zones. The problem was US forces were sent to the desert with a fine sand akin to talcum powder. These sand would work into M-16s and cause the metals to seize.
In Somalia and Haiti, soldiers weren't firing at Soviet heavily armored troops at long range but rather light clothed insurgents in short, urban encounters. The M855 rounds simply did not produce enough shock to stop an insurgent with a single shot. The insurgents would take several hits before they were unable to return fire. From accounts in Mogadishu during 1993, the M9 pistol had better stopping power at the short ranges in Somalia. Now 16 years later, we are still seeing the same problems.
Our soldiers and Marines are not armed with reliable firepower that will stop enemy soldiers. Senior leaders are unconvinced of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.