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Almost Adopted: The H&K XM-8 Family


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another video on Forgotten weapons dot com I’m Ian McCollum and I’m here today at H and K’s gray room in Ashburn, Virginia Taking a look at a bunch of their cool interesting developmental firearms. Now, you may remember this puppy this thing is the OICW jointly developed by HK and Alliant Techsystems for the objective combat program in the 1990s for the US military and Pretty much a flop. However It was intended to have two parts your grenade launcher part and your typical kinetic firearms part and you could take this off and use it separately and when the grenade launcher Aspect ran into problems. That is exactly what HK did. Now in their Initial development when they took that off and started to decided to market it as a standalone firearm one of the early bits of feedback they got from the US military and I think it’s important to realize here that People in the military procurement system aren’t necessarily arms experts. They’re people like you and I and They may come up with some unusual standards for things that they want that may not have entirely reality-based origins well one of the early bits of feedback about The bottom half of the OICW was we want it to look a little more Starship Troopers I’m not kidding and this is what HK’s design team came back with and this definitely looks more Starship Troopers So this is a wooden mock-up of the very well the second generation of this firearm Which was the first generation of the xm8. Now, let’s take a look at where this actually went it became the xm8 which actually made a fairly serious bid in the early 2000s for Replacing the m4 and m16 as a US military rifle. Now It didn’t actually quite succeed And if you want to know why not I’m gonna recommend that you go take a look at a video I did with Larry Vickers about the history of the xm8 program He has quite a bit of experience with that program and I think we have a really good conversation about where it went and why so I’ll have that linked at the very end of this video What I want to do here is show you a couple things that I was unable to do in that video namely show you Not just one but the whole family of original xm8 firearms and also some of their cool modular accessories You know, what this program was supposed to be instead of what it failed to become so The basic idea here is the xm8 was going to be a very modular weapons system More so than we see with the m16 There are a lot of things that you can do with the m16 platform you can replace uppers you can put on rails you can put on anything you want onto those rails and It’s configurable, but it wasn’t originally designed that way and so all of that Configurability. It’s it’s kind of revert. It’s engineered back into the system well what HK wanted to do with the xm8 what they did with the xm8 successfully was make it a Very easily modular system from the ground up So you’ll notice all of these rifles have these little oval shaped holes on them. That is pcaps. It’s the the proprietary attachment system that HK came up with for Accessories on these rifles now. I know a lot of people are immediately going to Disregard this as being stupid Why would you come up with your own proprietary system when picatinny rails are everywhere already remember this is the early 2000s It’s not hard to find a Picatinny rail. Well, there are a couple reasons first off these don’t require covers they’re not going to cut up your hand and The holes tend to weigh less than putting a bunch of metal rails over every surface of the gun secondly Let’s consider this from a military perspective instead of the civilian one there are not a whole lot of different accessories that you need and You can kind of like when you acquire a new weapon system, you’re gonna get all of the accessories with it So there’s not necessarily a lot of backwards compatibility that was necessary on this weapons and lastly the pcap system always retains zero you don’t with Picatinny rail in theory if you’re putting you have to Sure that an attachment goes back like an optic goes back to the the bolts all being the same tightness or whatever tightening element You’re using you have to be the same tightness You have to make sure it’s in the exact same rail location and even then it may or may not retain zero With pcaps it was designed so that it did retain zero and that really is an advantage So I have a couple of accessories here that I want to show you and well let’s let’s just do that So right off the bat the xm8 was designed to have three different available barrel lengths while all of them would use the same basic receiver, bolt, action and mechanism and stock just Alter, the barrel length for different roles So the one here is the compact carbine Also potentially sometimes called the personal defence weapon or the submachine gun version It is a nine inch barrel and it is too short to include a bayonet lug Next up was the carbine version which has a thirteen and a half inch barrel Complete with bayonet lug you can’t see the lug that there is the hole in the handguard there for it I’m sorry a twelve and a half inch barrel on this guy and then you have the full on rifle version with a Twenty inch barrel. Now this particular one happens to have the integrated bipod on it All of these have optical sights all of the optical sights are interchangeable. And then there’s a Wide array or maybe not a wide array. There is an array of different modular attachments You can put on by way of this Pcap system Let’s say I want a vertical front grip on my little compact carbine. Well We’ve only got two slots on the bottom here. So there’s only one place for this to go but it’s easy enough to put on the way this system works is you’ve got one round peg and One interrupted peg. And so what you do is put this one in and rotate that one around until a locks in place And there we go Now you’ve got a vertical front grip and if you want to take it off, all you have to do is push the button Rotate this around and it pops off slightly different attachment system for a flashlight here Although based on the same mounting points in this case instead of rotating one of these around one of them is spring-loaded so I can take my side port here put that one on we’re gonna squeeze the two little buttons and then that snaps forward and locks into place Nice and sell it on there And now I’ve got a flashlight on my carbine The optics mount on the same sort of system. We’ve got a little safety button there We’ll pull that forward and then we can open up This locking lever and then the optic just lifts out so you can see here again We have this rotating block Right there. It’ll lock into our 2p caps on the top. So for example, this is our standard carbine optic. It’s a non magnifying red dot If we look at it up close here. It’s got a whole bunch of different options on it basically You have the visible red dot which is just a red dot and then you also have both visible and an infrared laser as well as an infrared illuminator and you have a series of settings on the back here that allow you to have the the illuminator Illuminator on either with or without the laser and vice versa and different intensities of the two The dot can be adjusted for brightness there as well So a lot of different things going on here, maybe too much maybe not These optics were designed actually in the US not by HK. These were done by l3 Our full-length rifle has a bigger version. This one is actually a magnified optic and attaches again the exact same way so I can pull this off and See how much bigger that is if I just want the plain red dot on my carbine here Look, there we go. Now I’ve just got a plain red dot In addition to that sort of accessory modularity. There was also a lot of modularity involved in the actual Frame of the gun. So in typical HK fashion, we have two push pins here Pull that one out and that one out the standard buttstock With recoil spring is adjustable for length. Just push this over and you can lengthen or shorten it We could for example replace this with a folding stock simply by Dropping that on this folding stocks kind of old and worn Drop on the folding stock and that Can go on to any length so the carbine here you could also put it on your compact carbine or Your full-length rifle if you had a particular need to do that Or we can change out the front end of the rifle. So I’ve already pulled that pin Handguard comes right off This by the way also allows you to do any of any Maintenance that you need on the gas system. This is a very simple AR one eighty style gas system there Let’s say you want to have an HK 320 single-shot underbarrel grenade launcher on the side here. Well we can pop That up, there you go that seems like a cool accessory. What do I have to do to mount this thing? Well, this requires a different front handguard because it’s got a bunch of metal bracing and infrastructure there But once I’ve got this assembly I can just take it And as long as I can figure out how to fit there, there we go Pop that through Pin it in place and Presto now I’ve got a grenade launcher mounted to the front of my rifle and go ahead and put on any of the available optics And you’re good to go. You’ll note that some of these are black and some of them are a desert sand color these were a lot of the prototypes of these or the early ones were made in desert sand because these were well we were heavily at war in Iraq when these Were being developed and it was anticipated that they would be used in a desert environment So both colors were made. This was going to be the issued Color, but it course it never quite got that far of course, it wouldn’t be an infantry weapon if it didn’t have a bayonet so HK did indeed Make a bayonet for it and you can see underneath here We have a cutout in the front of the handguard to give access to a bayonet lug that Slide that guy on there. There you go. Of course. It can’t just be a bayonet So it’s got a little sharpening stone built into it. And of course you need a Wire cutter. So if we open that up we can There’s the release button right there It’s got a wire cutter Built right into the sheath Now a few things to take a look at on the construction of the standard firearm You know the base action these all have three position selector switches safe semi and auto The xm8 did not incorporate a burst mechanism the magazine release is a paddle here at the bottom as well as having a pair of matching paddles below the trigger guard so you can easily pop the magazine out with a trigger finger like that or Grab it with your thumb to remove these use g36 magazines which snap together Like so stack mags together as you saw earlier disassembly involves One pin to pull the stock off. Note that the stock has the recoil spring built into it as well as a little end Of travel buffer right there. And of course all the stocks are adjustable in length The front end is also one pin can pop that off Pull the handguard the bolt handle Is ambidextrous can swap out to either side the controls are ambidextrous there The mag release is ambidextrous. The ejection port is not it’s always going to eject out the right, but that’s not a big deal It’s got a nice ejection buffer there just to prevent any chance of cases coming back to hit a left-handed shooter once the back is off we can just use the handle there and pull The bolt and bolt carrier out. This is of course derived from the AR 18 or AR 180 This is very similar to the g36. I don’t believe the parts are actually interchangeable between a true factory Xm8 and the g36 but the design is for all practical purposes identical the gas system is also Basically identical to that of the AR 18 which of course traces its lineage back to the G 43 and the Soviet Tokarev It’s a short-stroke piston Gas taps off here and you can see the piston head right there that’s going to come back when you fire that Impinges on that little spot right there. You can see the wear mark from it hitting and Then lastly we can take the lower assembly rotate it all the way forward and It pops off. So we’ve got our fire control bits here This is completely interchangeable across all of the sizes of gun the upper receiver here is all polymer with a metal trunnion molded into it That would come back to be an issue with the g36. But that’s a topic for another video. Of course steel barrel Steel gas system, but quite an extensive use of polymers on the xm8 Like the Steyr AUG and some other guns. This also has primarily polymer fire control parts, although You can see that they have put a metal insert in the face of the hammer there just to give it a little bit more wear resistance over time There you go. There is the the whole cool sort of junk on the bunk style Accessory options and and modularity options for the xm8 There you have a look at really the whole potential of the xm8 family now, of course Ultimately, this didn’t make it through US military testing for a variety of reasons There was politics involved there were also technical issues involved We would see some of those technical issues come back to bite HK with the g36 debacle with the german military But even then there’s really argument about how legitimate those technical issues really are at any rate Because this didn’t get through u.s. Procurement. We still have the m4 and the m16 but it certainly is interesting to take a look at what could have been what I Think this really kind of is the pinnacle of what you could do for modularity with a new system built from the ground up so it’s an interesting view of what could have been a big thanks to HK for allowing me to come in and splay all of their xm8 stuff over the table here and I think we are now going to head out to the range and do some shooting with it so stick around tomorrow to see some shooting with the xm8 and Thank you very much for watching

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