Home' Army News : June 6th 2013 Contents Army June 6, 2013
MY CURRENT job is to train com-
bat soldiers. After many years of
combat, your article (Army April 25
"New EF88 impresses") does not
address the issue of what a good
combat gun should be.
We are aware that the Steyr has
been and will be a very accurate
weapon, however my .303 is still very
accurate out to 600m and it is over 70
We need to get our thinking out of
the 19th century. Accuracy is great but
not the be all and end all of a combat
Form, fit and function are a major
part of a good combat gun and this
includes the correct ammunition to do
In the short time I had to use the
new EF88 it seems better balanced
and the new grenade launcher appears
to be very good.
However, the ability to fire the
weapon from both shoulders is almost
impossible to achieve without ejected
brass hitting you in the face, which
does not allow for accurate shooting
with the off hand.
After all, cover from view and fire
is both left and right handed as well as
above and below. Even the new EF88
does not allow combat soldiers to fire
off shoulder, which plays a big part
in the survivability and lethality of
today's modern combat soldier.
All of today's best combat weap-
ons are not bullpup design.
When observing soldiers conduct-
ing training during our most common
stoppage -- empty magazine -- their
gaze is removed from where it should
be (on the enemy or scanning for
enemy) to a predominately downward
position looking at the magazine.
This has a direct impact on a sol-
dier's ability and effectiveness on the
battlefield -- searching for enemy,
looking for cover, fire positions,
Ergonomics is another area that is
lacking with the EF88 -- if you have a
6ft-2inch tall soldier and a 5ft-5inch
soldier, cheek weld and eye relief will
never be optimal for both as the butt
on the EF88 is still a fixed length.
Even with the adjustable sight posi-
tion and the new foregrip rail, it is very
difficult for a lot of soldiers to achieve
an optimal shooting position during
marksmanship or combat shooting.
Lastly, with the entire extra rail
at the top of the EF88, the possibil-
ity of real back up sights should be a
requirement for all combat soldiers.
If we could get our combat soldiers
these advancements in a combat weap-
on it would truly improve their surviv-
ability, lethality and effectiveness on
The Director of Land Combat Development,
Col John Fenwick, responds:
THANK you for your comments on
the EF88 Steyr article. You make some
notable statements about your experi-
ences of the compromises inherent in
modern assault rifles.
The aim of the EF88 project is to
enhance the ADF's standard assault
rifle by considering all user concerns
with the F88SA2 and addressing those
practicable in a weapon that has to be
used across the ADF.
In improving the current assault
rifle, primary focal points have been
weight reduction and improvements
in the ability to mount devices such as
enhanced sight solutions, laser aiming
and ranging devices and an improved
40mm low-velocity grenade launcher,
while also seeking improvement in
Once these "basic building block"
solutions are finalised, the final build
state for the weapon may see some
more attention directed to other
relevant and recognised improvements.
Many of these possible improvements
are aligned with your observations.
I encourage all members of the
ADF to raise their suggestions and
comments with regard to the Steyr
through their chain of command to
reach the SO2 Combat Development
in Army HQ. From there, feedback can
be considered, prioritised and fed into
Need good combat rifles
The new EF88 comes with major improvements, but is the bullpup design best?
New weapon: A soldier from 1RAR compares the new EF88 to the F88SA2 during test firing in Townsville.
Photo by Cpl Max Bree
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