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Old 11-28-2012, 07:49 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Default M4A1 Carbine vs M16A2 Assault Rifle game mechanics

I had an interesting query from one of my players last night - his character is armed with a M4A1 carbine and he pointed out that (apart from the higher ROF) it seems to be a much poorer weapon than an M16A2. Now he's focussing on the Range increment and the way the game mechanics works with range but his point was that if the American forces have seen fit to convert most of their units from the M16 platform to the M4 platform then that seems to be contrary to what most roleplayers would do and is therefore a challenge to the rules.

Does he have a point here? Is the range increment for the various M4 Carbines too low and it should be much closer to the M16's range increment?

Opinions please.

Thanks.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:57 AM
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Roleplaying games are not accurate reflections of real-world performance. In dealing with firearms, game engines tend to focus on simplified models of external and terminal ballistics, often to the exclusion of all other considerations. They very rarely consider factors that drive weapon design and adoption but can't readily be operationalized into damage dice and squares of range.

In the case of the M4 versus the M16, the carbine's major advantages are lower weight, shorter overall length and its benefit to maneuverability, and the collapsible stock's ability to adjust length of pull for individual user dimensions (with or without body armor). Of those factors, the only one most gamers will examine is the weight reduction, and then only if the GM is being a hard-ass about encumbrance. The trade-off is reduced muzzle velocity and a shorter iron sight radius, which translate in game terms to reductions in damage, penetration, and range increment - all factors which are of concern to many gamers. Thus, the game engine "favors" the M16, while considerations outside the game engine's ability to model may tell a different story for the real world.

(The 93GS design team tried to address this in 2013's Reflex System. This is why Bulk and Speed play a greater role in that combat engine. In Reflex, an M4 may be a better choice than an M16 for closer engagement ranges because of its relatively quicker attack speed.)

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:59 PM
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If I understand correctly, the M16A2 has a slightly greater effective range because of the longer barrel. In terms of game rules, a GM could adjust range and armor penetration accordingly. This is a an arbitrary (and perhaps innaccurate) example, but a GM could make weapon performance for the M4 and M16A2 equal at 100m and less. Over 100m, the M16A2 could receive slight range, damage, and armor penetration bumps.

The army's decision to replace the M16A2 with the M4 in combat units is that the modern battlefield (i.e. MOUT/CQB) is a lot smaller than it used to be when battles were fought across open fields. It's only taken most militaries a century to adjust to the increasing urbanization of the battlefield. The M4 is also easier for mechanized and airmobile troops (pretty much all combat troops, nowadays) to use because of its more compact size. As a GM, you could give innitiative bonuses to PCs using shorter weapons when conducting CQB operations.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:12 PM
HorseSoldier HorseSoldier is offline
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For what it is worth, in the real world and using modern optics, I don't see much difference between the M16A2 and M4A1 in terms of ability to make hits. I used to shoot a lot on unknown distance ranges and with an M4A1 and ACOG, the bigger limiter on repeatable hits was ammunition (M855 green tip being significantly less capable of making shots past 400 meters or so than Mk 262 match grade ammunition).
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:17 PM
The Rifleman The Rifleman is offline
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Well, how far do we want to go "into the weeds" with this, thats the real question. Lets look at the difference between an M16A1 and M16A2. The A1 has a much lighter barrel. Its easier to shoot while standing, however, the heavier barreled A2 doesn't get hot as easy. So we need to give a bonus to a player using an A1 when shooting standing, but limit his ROF due to over-heating?

The differences between the M4 and M16 have more to do with the shooter than the weapon. Vintage M16s don't have optics, hence the M4 shooters are doing equally well. I shoot my M4 with just the plain old iron sights and my shooting equals youngsters with EOTECHs and ACOGs. If you were to take those devices away, they would probably initally shoot more poorly, but as they learned, they probably would come close to matching their capabilities. Just my opinion, but for a seasoned shooter, optics are only a partial edge, unless you are talking about shooting at 300 meters or further. At that range, you need the assistance aquiring the target. So lets discuss that.

I shot comptetively with an M16A2. At 400 meters, using iron sights only, I was able to consistantly get a very tight group. Under combat conditions, I do not think that I could do that, but that's me, the shooter, not the rifle.

With an M4 using iron sights, I am not quite able to get the same group at 300 meters, despite my best efforts and competitive nature. With current technology, its impossible to reduce the barrel length by about 1/3 and expect the same performace. However, that 5.5" shorter barrel and reduced sized stock make it faster into/out of vehicles.

Going back to my A1/A2 example, some call me crazy, but I noticed that the shorter stock on the A1 also makes it easier for me to shoot. Two people could walk up to the exact same rifle and get different results. A DM could handle this a number of ways:

-Track small arms ability by type of weapon by each player
-give players certain bonus when shooting a specific PERSONAL weapon (as it is not only zeroed for that player, but also because of a familiarity with that type of weapon)
- tweak the weapons stats instead of the player stats. For example, remove weight for this weapon, or add range to that one.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:45 PM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Thank you for all your information, insights and suggestions. Very useful and I've worked out how to proceed.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:51 AM
B.T. B.T. is offline
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@ Mahatatain:

Just out of curiosity: How will you handle it?
I am still not quite shure, how (or better: if) I should penalize PCs using an M4. On the other hand: In my t2k universe access to ACOGs, red dots and the like is not as easy as in the real nowaday world.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:33 AM
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I also have wondered this and a few years ago started to fix things like this...
There are differences in my home grown rules and the standard rules. 1.. I have variable rates of fire. 2.. I use real BCs to explaine damages and ranges. 3.. Range is dependent upon the BC. 4.. Damage is doubled. 5.. Damage is based on real Joules of energy.
I got hung up when I compared the AKM to the M4.. Damage goes to heck. So because of that and penetration I never finished this little project. But se le vie.. Here is what I have gotten for some examples.

6.5x47 w/142 @2950 BA 8.05 6.65 4.99 2.12 8 4 120.3 277.77 641.38 1480.94

m24 w/ m118lr @2600 BA 7.42 6.28 4.9 2.51 7 4 94.8 213.77 482.06 1087.05
m24 w/m80 @2790 BA 7.35 6.1 4.71 2.28 7 4 94 201.44 431.69 925.11

m24a1 w/180 @ 3250 BA 10.09 8.59 6.93 3.92 7 5 93.2 207.37 461.4 1026.61

TRG-41 w/250 @ 2998 BA 10.97 9.51 7.46 3.55 8 5 112.2 272.09 659.81 1600.03

M16a2 w/M193@ 3180 3 5.46 4.78 3.99 2.63 7 3 4 54.3 108.87 218.29 437.67
m16a2 w/mk262@ 2800 3 5.68 5.76 4.98 3.59 7 3 4 56.6 120.11 254.86 540.82

M4a1 w/M193@ 2900 6 4.98 4.65 4.18 3.31 6 3 9 33 66.17 132.66 265.99
M4a1 w/mk262@ 2700 6 5.48 5.1 4.61 3.7 6 3 9 36.4 77.24 163.91 347.81

Colt m933 w/M193@ 2800 6 4.8 4.48 4.17 3.58 5 3 9 22.9 45.91 92.06 184.58
Colt m933 w/mk262@ 2600 6 5.28 5.03 4.78 4.08 5 3 9 25.1 53.26 113.02 239.83

AKM w/ M43 @2329 6 4.18 3.74 3.33 2.47 6 3 8 38.6 77.82 156.88 316.27

M2HB w/m33 @3029 5 17.86 10.45 4.12 <0.5 11 1 3 184.8 482.79 1009.03 2108.88
M2HB w/m903SLAP @4000 5 17.56 11.18 6.78 3.97 11 1 2 181.7 637.29 1788.36 5018.49


Ok I cannot instert a table but the format is the same.. name/ROF/DAM (s/m/l/ex)/Blk/recoil/Range (s/m/l/ex)
I also attached the Excel file to create this.
I never thought this would EVER come in helpful.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Weapon BC +DAM WORK.xls (246.0 KB, 51 views)
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:17 AM
James Langham James Langham is offline
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In V1.0 I would make the M4 an SMG allowing better firing on the move (simulating ease of handling) but a reduced range. This should simulate it. Not sure how I would in 2.0 (which I normally use). It hasn't come up as I never issued the M4 in my background.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:21 AM
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I don't know if I'd go so far as to make the M4 an SMG, James. That seems more appropriate to a Colt Commando or equivalent AR variant with a 10"-11" barrel - the NATO equivalent of the AKS-74U ("AKSU").

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Old 12-09-2012, 03:28 PM
HorseSoldier HorseSoldier is offline
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Probably the easiest way to give a "feel" of the M4 versus M16 would be to give the M4 some sort of modest bonus on initiative (however that works under the specific version of T2K rules involved) and give the M16 a modest improvement in range over the M4.

Quote:
I don't know if I'd go so far as to make the M4 an SMG, James. That seems more appropriate to a Colt Commando or equivalent AR variant with a 10"-11" barrel - the NATO equivalent of the AKS-74U ("AKSU").
For the issue XM177 Colt Commandos, it's pretty much a wash -- that weapon has a shorter barrel than the M4, but the moderator/suppressor on it makes the barrel lengths basically the same in terms of handling. The more modern shorty uppers are a different story, of course.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HorseSoldier View Post
Probably the easiest way to give a "feel" of the M4 versus M16 would be to give the M4 some sort of modest bonus on initiative...
This is where the "bulk" stat in 2.x comes in. The same thing could be used in 1.0 where there's a question over who's quicker off the mark.
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:25 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.T. View Post
@ Mahatatain:

Just out of curiosity: How will you handle it?
Sorry for taking a while to reply.

I just simply handled this by tweaking the Range stat for the M4 in my game - I increased it to 50m and while this is lower than the M16A2 (55m) the difference is small enough to remove this issue.

My reasoning for this was the effective range figures on Wikipedia.
- M16 - 550 meters (point target)
- M4 - 500 meters (point target)

I don't know enough about the respective rifles to know whether that logic is flawed but it worked for me in the game.

The point about bulk stats affecting initiative and that being a bonus for M4 over the M16 is also a good one but I won't unfortunately get to implement that in my campaign. The new FTF T2k campaign that I was starting has collapsed as my players found the Post Apoc T2k setting to dark and not escapist enough for them - they much prefer the rather simplistic high fantasy type games that another member of the group runs. As a result we've had to shift back to some bland D&D clone world where each encounter seems to focus around defeating the latest weird monster of the week, which is extremely frustrating for me as a roleplayer as I feel like I'm now back playing games similar to those I played as a teenager in the 1980's and I find that a rather dull roleplaying experience....
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