by Charles Gaines
This is the first time I’ve written anything here. The following is just a collection of my observations on the effectiveness of the M-4 with it’s current standard-issue systems based on my experiences here in Khandahar province.
For starters, I’d like to take on the myth of how the M-4 doesn’t have enough range for this country is absolute garbage. We’ve been in-country just under 5 1/2 months now, and out on quite a few operations. I’ve seen exactly one situation where the regular M-4 would not have had enough range. And that’s what the platoon sniper (he carries an M14 with an ACOG) and ACOG-equiped M4s organic to the squads are for. The rest of the time the…
average range for possible engagement has been well under 500 metres.
Now, on to the actual review: The M-4 with M-68 and PAQ-4.
The M-68 is a nice bit of technology out to around 300 metres. It’s red dot reticle makes hits around that range a bit imprecise (the backup peep is honestly better there, as the frnt sight post doesn’t block the target the way the dot does) but otherwise, it is a superb system. It’s very fast, darn near bulletproof, and gives you a significant advantage over an AK’s open sights. It also feels considerably lighter than the old rear sight/carrying handle, and is hard to unzero.
The PAQ-4, on the other hand..
The PAQ-4 is a nice idea that doesn’t always work terrifically well. It doesn’t hold a zero terribly well, but when it does, it’s beautifully accurate. Also, the pressure pad we use for it is a pain in the ass. They don’t always necessarily work, which isn’t a great danger as we don’t move around at night much, but it does make one worry. Also, as it is only visible with NODs, zeroing is an ardous process that seemingly always takes place late at night. Who wants to be up at 1800 Zulu (about 10:00 at night local) zeroing this thing?
Also: It takes some getting used to for new soldiers. It’s like nothing they’ve experienced shooting before, and the oddity of shooting through NODs is rather difficult for quite a few of them. I absolutely hated mine until rather recently, and I still prefer using my 68 whenever possible.
Anyhow, that’s all the news I have. More observations later.