Check out these videos and see why the Airsoft XM8 is the perfect weapon for your next skirmish!
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So what makes the Airsoft XM8 so good….its real world big brother is what!
Introducing the XM8 Assault Rifle and Weapon System.
For nearly half of a century, the M-16 5.56mm combat assault rifle, and all its incarnations, has served as the United States military’s primary combat rifle. To provide you an idea of how long a time that is, the only other long gun with a similar length of service is the .58 caliber Brown Bess musket — which entered general service with the Continental Army in 1776!
Well this all changed when German weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch stated its ambition to change that ; specifically, it wanted to see the United States retire the M-16 and replace it with a slick, new, high-speed battle rifle that H&K dubbed the XM-8.
And boy, what a weapon system it turned out to be!
The XM-8 weapon system is a family of related weapons — and it packs quite an arsenal in its portable shape!
It takes its cue from the M-29 Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), a multi thousand dollar prototypical technology test bed from the late 90′s.
The OICW was a combination of “kinetic energy” projector and a semi-autonomous, air-bursting 20mm grenade launcher. The XM-8 is the “kinetic energy” portion of the OICW, and includes a receiver to which all other components of the weapon can be attached or removed.
Complementing the XM8 Assault Rifle are two attachable weapon systems, the XM320 40mm single shot grenade launcher and the LSS 12-gauge shotgun.
The XM320 incorporates a swing out barrel design and integrated optics system, and is able and capable of firing all currently manufactured 40mm grenades, while the LSS is capable of firing both lethal and non-lethal shotgun shells, as well as specially designed and produced breaching shells. Both of the weapons are mounted forward of the magazine, just underneath the barrel, and can be installed by the operator in a matter of minutes without any tools.
The XM-8 is with out a doubt a model of efficiency in use: its operation controls are ambidextrous, it benefits from 3 firing modes (single round, 3-round burst, and fully automatic), and can handle a variety of magazines, including the 30 round semi-opaque (to allow the user to see how many rounds remain in the magazine) a hard plastic magazine, which can be quickly reloaded in close combat situations, and a 100-round drum (for sustained constant fire), as well as 10-round weapon qualification magazines and M-16 style metal magazines.
Whether the user is a sniper or part of an attack team, the XM-8 can accommodate all uses. It uses four different interchangeable barrels (a 9″ compact, a 12.5″ assault, a 20″ match grade sharpshooter, or a 20″ heavy barrel for sustained high ROF applications), each of which can be swapped out at the unit level in less than 2 minutes. The weapon can also be equipped with a 5-position collapsible stock, a flat butt plate (for an extremely small weapon profile), an adjustable sniper stock, or a folding stock.
Attention has also been paid to the look and feel of the XM-8.
The forward hand guards incorporate a non-slip material which improves weapon handling and retention. The XM-8′s non-metallic components are made from fiber reinforced plastic polymers which are molded in numerous colors, and can be removed or replaced by the user without any specialized tools. In other words, whether you’re operating in the jungle or on the sand, the weapon’s “skin” can be changed to blend with your surroundings!
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The XM8 doesn’t skimp on optics, either. Its sight package is an “all-in-one” combination offering an infrared laser target designator, IR target illuminator and a 1x close combat red-dot sight. In addition to this, it incorporates the three sights into the one optics system. The sight is zeroed at the H&K factory and can be removed and reinstalled by the operator without any specialized tools, or the loss of zero.
Contrast this with the current assault rifle platform, the M-16/M-4 series: While numerous advances have been made in their combat optics to improve the rifle accuracy, these advances have brought additional issues (such as increased weight, higher costs, and the need to continuously re-zero the devices when removed).
So how useful are the XM-8′s interchangeable parts?
Here’s a quick look at some of the M-16′s problems in this regard:
- Over half a dozen incarnations of the M-16/M-4 are in service, and not a single variation has parts that are 100% interchangeable with a different series weapon.
- For the M-16,the mounting of its optics requires the use of a weapon specific adapter.
- The M-16A1 was initially designed to fire the M198 5.56mm Ball cartridge, while the M16A2 and later rifles were designed to fire the heavier M855 cartridge.
On the other hand, the revolutionary XM8 weapon system has:
- Just 1 common component receiver, with ALL the remaining parts (barrel, optics, stock, hand guards, auxiliary weapons) attached as and when needed.
- Combining all 3 different optic units into one not only reduces the weapon’s weight, but also makes equipment issue far more simple.
- 1 common bullet type (5.56mm cartridge) which is used for all XM8 models.
This means that all replacement parts can be replaced and exchanged at unit level without having to worry about inter system compatibility.
Pushing Down Lead!
Of course, all the fancy attachments on a rifle in the world don’t mean much to it’s user if it jams on the operator when it is needed the most.
One of the M-16′s major flaws is its tendency to jamming, due to its dated gas operating system, where propellant gasses are used to cycle the rifle’s bolt and fire its bullets.
In the M-16 assault rifle, these gasses are vented directly back to the rifle chamber itself. This means that every time the M16 is fired, its propellant gasses, gunpowder residue, and other particles are deposited directly on to the bolt face.
Eventually, the bolt becomes too dirty to actually fully lock into place, which renders the weapon unreliable.
On the other hand the XM-8′s system presents a clear advantage over the aged M-16: The receiver utilizes a 6-lug rotating bolt that fully supports the cartridge case and is driven by a “pusher” type gas piston. This piston is unaffected by barrel changes, and is even capable of operating if the weapon’s barrel is submerged and full of water. Most importantly, the XM8′s system eliminates fouling of the bolt face, which dramatically improves the weapon’s overall reliability and usability in a battlefield firing situation.
In short, soldiers using the XM8 weapon system in theatre should have one less thing to worry about, and that one thing can mean the difference between living to fight another day or..
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So ff you add up all the M-16′s flaws — its poorly designed gas operating system, its constant need for essential maintenance and cleaning, its lack of interchangeable parts – it becomes obviously clear that the new XM8 is by far a superior weapon to the M-16/M-4 family in all respects. It is far lighter, definitely cheaper, more reliable, and far easier to maintain than the current M16 Weapon system. In short, the XM8 surpasses all of the M-16′s strengths while eliminating all of its weaknesses, thus earning a spot on the Military Gear Hot List!
The Airsoft XM8 is the term most commonly used to refer to a type of Airsoft Gun used in our favourite hobby of Airsoft!
The XM8 Airsoft Gun, also known as ‘ The Fish Gun’ due to its fish like shape, is a model of Airsoft Rifle based on the XM8 Light Assault Rifle of the US Military. The conventional XM-8 weapon system — for that’s what it really is, relates to a family of weapons developed by the world renowned Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturer.
The XM8 started life as a prototype rifle which the US army put into prototype development in an attempt to find a real world replacement for its aging and unreliable main battle weapon – The M16 assault rifle.
The end result was a formidable and effective 5.56mm weapon system that proved itself to be cheaper, lighter, more reliable, user friendly weapon system with reduced logistical requirements and a formidable reputation for quality. Test users found that the world class XM8 out performed the aging M16 in every respect and it quickly became the leading and only replacement system for the US armies assault rifle program.
The Airsoft XM8 appears to have copied its big brother and it soon became a highly prized rifle used by Airsofters the world over! Yet not all XM8′s are made the same.
> To find out more information about the Airsoft XM8 Rifle, check out our post here <
The Airsoft XM8 ranges in price any where from $55 right upto $400 depending on the manufacturer and the country of order. What is certain though is that the XM8 air soft gun is highly efficient and effective, and qualifies perfectly as an effective lightweight option for your shooting game!
An XM8 airsoft gun offers the same lightweight feel as its real world brother and remains highly popular because of its similarities to a composite gun in both sleekness and in over all size. It is a very stylish weapon, too, and is definitely a favourite among those air soft players that play for the look and feel of the game as much as they play for the adventure and the skill of adventure shooting.
Coming Soon – A complete guide and information resource dedicated to the mighty Airsoft XM8 Rifle!
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Kind regards The Airsoft XM8 Dot Org Team