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The Army Bought 3 New Rifles but It Never Used Them in Combat

The Army Bought 3 New Rifles but It Never Used Them in Combat

Charlie Gao

Security, Americas

Why not?

Key Point: Not every weapon ends up being used to fight a country’s enemies.

The history of the U.S. military’s small arms adoption process is filled with “what ifs.” Plenty of great firearms have been turned down, from the FN FAL to the Savage Model 1907.

Here are some of the best rifles that were trialed by the U.S. military but never adopted.

1. The Pedersen Rifle:

The semi-automatic infantry rifle was a concept that garnered intense interest during the interwar period.

While semi-automatic rifles such as the French RSC 1917 and 1918 and Mauser Selbstlader 1916 saw service during the war, they were rough, unreliable and had excessive recoil due to the full power rifle cartridges they fired.

But the concept had immense potential: it provided far faster follow up shots compared to traditional bolt actions and significantly increased the firepower of the individual soldier.

After the end of WWI, the U.S. Army looked for a new semi-automatic rifle to replace the M1903 Springfield.

John Pedersen, a designer at the Springfield Armory government arsenal stepped up to the plate. During WWI, he developed the Pedersen Device, a bolt replacement that could convert a regular M1903 Springfield into a semi-automatic carbine firing a pistol round. Naturally, he took interest in this new opportunity and began developing a rifle during the 1920s.

Pedersen’s rifle was a toggle locked design that fed from 10-round enbloc clips. It fired the .276 Pedersen round, which was designed specifically for use in semi-automatic rifles.

It had lower recoil than the standard .30-06 cartridge and allowed a rifleman to fire more accurately, faster. It provided sufficient range and lethality despite having less energy than the .30-06.

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