NewMatics PM16 and Laser Sim Urban Warfare/CQB Training System. Exclusive Video! by David Crane
by David Crane
by David Crane
I’ll just come right out and say it: if the the NewMatics PM16 Government Model PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) Rifle/Carbine performs as advertised–and based on DefRev’s conversations so far with its designer/developer, Mark Schavone, we have every reason to believe that it does–it is a major advance in combat simulation tools, and can drastically improve the marksmanship and fighting capabilities of U.S. combat troops, law enforcement personnel, and Homeland Security-minded citizens. DefRev is therefore going to do whatever’s necessary to get our hands on one of these little bad boys ASAP–and we’re going to run the hell out of it.
O.k., now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into what the NewMatics PM16 Government Model is. Basically, it’s a patented select-fire M16/M4 style air rifle/carbine that fires extremely inexpensive 15gr .22 Cal. copper-clad lead balls. The PM16 is the brainchild of NewMatics, Inc. CEO Mark "Doc" Schavone. Schavone designed and developed the PM16 to mimic EXACTLY the felt-recoil impulse, shooting characteristics, and operational and handling aspects of the M16 rifle/M4 Carbine, even though it’s air-powered and fires the aforementioned .22 cal. ball ammo. That’s right, an airgun that…
Muzzle energy is 9 to 10.8 ft/lbs. Muzzle velocity is 525-760 fps. This means that the PM16 is NOT designed for force-on-force training, unless of course you’re a masochistic idiot. Rather, it is designed for marksmanship and urban warfare/CQB training using paper and steel (pepper popper) targets either outdoors or inside urban warfare-simulating shoothouses. For force-on-force training, one would need to convert the PM16 into another configuration–but I’ll get to that in a minute. Live-fire training with the PM16 is MUCH safer than doing so with a 5.56x45mm weapon.
According to NewMatics, target re-acquisition with the PM16 in semi-auto mode is virtually the same as an AR-15/M16. The PM16 is also surprisingly loud (again, according to NewMatics), which only serves to enhance the realism of the firing experience. So, U.S. combat troops, LE SWAT and patrol officers, and even regular citizens will now have the means to hone their combat rifle marksmanship and Urban Warfare/CQB skills like never before possible. With a PM16 in their hands, they’ll literally be able to rock n’ roll all day with one of these things for pennies–PENNIES. This gives military operators, LE SWAT operators and patrol officers, and recreational shooters A LOT more trigger time, which always translates into greater weapon handling and marksmanship proficiency.
And here’s the really cool part: the PM16 PCP Government Model air rifle, a NewMatics product, is actually manufactured and assembled under contract at FNMI (FN Manufacturing, Inc.) in Columbia, South Carolina. FNMI is the company that currently makes all the M16 rifles, M249 SAW/LMG’s, and M240 GPMG’s for U.S. Armed Forces. The PM16 is manufactured and assembled at that same FNMI plant, and production guns will be coming off one of the M16 assembly lines. FNMI is one of the best and most proficient small arms manufacturers in the world, so the fact that FNMI is NewMatics’ manufacturing arm virtually ensures a high level of quality. Definitely a positive aspect of the system. Just to be clear on this point, the PM16 PCP air rifle and Laser Sim are NewMatics products. FNMI just handles the actual manufacturing and assembly.
Ammunition capacity of the PM16 is currently 30 rounds, but an after-market 50-round capacity mag will be available soon. Sights and controls, except for the magazine release button, are identical to the M16. All gun handling aspects are the same, save of course for the weapon loading/unloading procedure which is different, due to the fact that the PM16 utilizes a tube magazine mounted parallel to the barrel rather than the M16’s box magazine.
The PM16 is modular in several respects: 1) You can convert it from M16 rifle to M4 Carbine (and potentially even a SOPMOD CQB/Commando subcarbine) configuration and back quickly and easily. The end user can change from fixed buttstock to collapsible/telescoping M4/CQB Carbine-style buttstock and switch barrels out (via a precision quick-change barrel system) in minutes. 2) By changing out the upper receiver, the PM-16 can be converted quickly and easily into a Laser Simulator rifle/carbine, making the PM16 a truly modular, multi-aspect training system. The PM16 will also sport a full 1913 Picatinny rail on top of the upper receiver, and there will be a 4-rail 1913 picatinny front handguard as an option for Surefire white light mounts (we’re partial to the Surefire M900 vertical foregrip series units over here at DefRev), AN/PEQ or AN/PAQ series IR lasers, vertical foregrips, and the like. If you decide to go with just a straight vertical foregrip (without the combo white light mount), DefRev recommends the CQD Vertical Foregrip by Duane Dieter (DefRev published a story on the Duane Dieter CQD vertical foregrip awhile back).
So, how accurate is the PM16? According to Tom Gaylord of "Airgun Letter", which is "a monthly newsletter for airgun users and collectors" (issue dated February 2002), NewMatics CEO "Doc" Schavone says he can hit a one-inch circle at 50 yards when shooting from a rest. Mr. Gaylord stated in his article that he was able to keep 26 balls inside 1.25" at 10 meters in off-hand shooting drills. On full-auto, he was able to keep all his burst-fire shots, burst after burst, inside 1.5". "Doc" Schavone was able to achieve a 1" burst at the same range. "Doc" apparently shoots roughly 1,500 rounds per day when he’s shooting for skills maintenance, so he’s gotten pretty good.
O.k., so the NewMatics PM16 is urban warfare/CQB accurate. What about reliability? According to NewMatics’ CEO, the PM16 is ultra-reliable, or as I would say–"death and taxes" reliable. According to Schavone, with properly spec’d .22 Cal ball ammo, the PM16 just doesn’t jam. In other words, stoppages are extremely rare. With regard to durability, "Doc" Schavone told me that he has over 2 million rounds through one of his PM16’s, and that gun is still humming along with no breakdowns or even appreciable wear. This isn’t a fluke. Shavone say’s the PM16’s virtually unlimited service life is the result of a fairly bullet-proof design, and any of his production guns will do the same thing.
Now you know why I’m so excited about this thing. Realistic, reliable, accurate, durable, and fun. The quentuple whammy. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget it’s cheap to feed and easy to modify. When bought in large bulk, .22 caliber balls can be purchased for around a penny per round, perhaps even less.
Propellant for the NewMatics PM16 is either Nitrogen or compressed air. The PM16 uses standard paintball bottles. Standard-size tank is a "nine ouncer" (paintball jargon), which will yield up to 100 shots depending on the rate of fire. However, the most likely set-up/config for force-on-force training would be a "remote set-up" 68cu in 4500 psi regulated hip rig. This remote set-up will give the operator up to 1500 shots. Cyclic rate on full-auto is 900 rpm.
But, who says you have to go "hot"? Ready for the kicker? The PM16’s operating mechanism allows the gun to cycle without projectiles, so you don’t even have to train "hot" all the time. An organization or individual can conduct very effective and realistic "dry runs" without ANY risk or ammo expenditure whatsoever! The gun will still provide the user with the same felt-recoil impulse. So, a team can go in "dry" with their PM16’s inside a shoothouse or simulated urban warfare environment with a high element of realism and stress, without the usual accompanying danger of projectiles. The team can then review their "dry run" performance, and proceed to go in "hot" with those same airguns as many times as it takes to perfect their assault choreography–for very little money. Ammo’s about a penny a round, remember?
If the team decides to engage in a little force-on-force training, they can just convert their NewMatics PM16’s into those Laser Simulator rifle/carbines I was telling you about. Again, all they have to do is switch out the PM16 PCP airgun upper receiver with a patented MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System)-compatable pneumatic Laser Simulator a.k.a. "Laser Sim" upper, also manufactured by NewMatics. This MILES-compatable version is only available to military end-users. The Laser Sim provides the same simulated recoil feedback to the operator as the PM16 PCP air rifle/carbine. And, unlike other laser simulator training weapons/weapons systems on the market, the NewMatics Laser Sim doesn’t suffer from those systems’ weak recoil impulse, incorrect (slow) cyclic rate, lack of portability, or problematic conversion from actual firearms.
The NewMatics Laser Sim is also compatable with the BeamHit and LaserShot Shooting Simulations Systems currently employed by U.S. Armed Forces. The LaserShot system in particular is used by the military for their Military Skills Engagement Trainer, and by law enforcement for Law Enforcement Training Simulators. Cost of training with the NewMatics Laser Sim is almost nothing, since there’s no ammo expenditure. So, if you have a 50-man team and you want to be able to enjoy the full spectrum of what the NewMatics modular training system provides, you can buy 50 NewMatics PM16’s and 50 Laser Sim uppers, and you’re stylin’.
By the way, if you’re a civilian, don’t worry. A commercial visible laser version of the Laser Sim will also be available.
I’ll say it again: If the NewMatics PM16 and Laser Sim operate as advertised, they represent a revolutionary step in realistic combat/marksmanship training, and will serve to greatly enhance both the weapon handling and shooting skills of our military and law enforcement personnel, as well as Homeland Security-minded citizens with the means to purchase a training tool of this magnitude. Hopefully, DefRev will be able to conduct a T&E of the NewMatics PM16 very soon, and confirm this for ourselves. Please, God, let it be soon.
The NewMatics PM16 and Laser Sim are scheduled to go into full production by February, 2004–right after SHOT Show. In the meantime, organizations and individuals interested in purchasing or evaluating the NewMatics PM16 and/or Laser Sim should contact Mark Schavone at NewMatics for availability and pricing at 412-833-5527. Just ask for "Doc". You can also email Mark Schavone at [email protected].
Click on this link to download and view the NewMatics PM16 Video. You can also right-click on it and then left-click on "Save Target As" to download it to your desktop, if left-clicking on the link doesn’t work. We advise you to follow the video download and viewing instructions below (at bottom) if you experience any difficulty. DefRev highly advises you check this video out.
You can view the full NewMatics PM16 air rifle and Laser Sim brochure by clicking on this link. The brochure is in PDF format.
Click here to see another hi-res pic of the PM16 Government Model Rifle.
Click on this link for a cool pic of the NewMatics Laser Sim with flip-up rear sight and collapsible/telescoping buttstock attached.
Very Important Instructions for Downloading and Playing Video(s): If you’d like to see the NewMatics PM16 video, please follow these steps, to the letter : 1) Right-click on the link to the video (below). 2) Left-click on "Save Target As…" (inside the box that pops open) to save the video to your "Desktop" or area of choice. 3) Once download is complete and the video file is sitting on your desktop, right-click on the file icon and then left-click on "Play" inside the box that’s opened up, or you can just double-click (left-click) on the file icon . This should automatically launch your Microsoft Windows Media player so you can watch the video you’ve downloaded(at this time, we’re not sure that Apple users will be able to view it). The video is in MPEG II format, so you will need an MPEG II decoder on your system. Currently, you cannot view these videos using Quicktime or RealVideo.