back to article First reports on XM-25 Judge Dredd smartgun in A'Stan

First reports are emerging on the performance of the futuristic, Judge Dredd style XM-25 computer smartgun, which went into combat with frontline US troops in Afghanistan in December. The hi-tech rifle - almost a portable artillery piece - is said to have been dubbed "the Punisher" by soldiers who have used it. A soldier aims …


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  1. Jan 0


    '"We silenced two machine-gun positions – two PKM positions," said Major Christopher Conley, describing some of the firefights in which the XM-25 has been used.'

    Firefight? Does the XM-25 fire phosporus munitions? Or were flamethrowers and/or phosphorus

    munitions used as well as the XM-25?

  2. AndyMM
    Thumb Up

    Well Put

    Nice to hear someone actually spending money on soldiers rather than squids and flyboys.

    Sounds an excellent weapon, not holding my breath for when UK troops will get it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Were the UK working on anything comparable ?

      Of busy buying shiny nuclear subs ?

      If the past 50 years have taught use anything, it's that the big fuck-off massed battles of WW2 are not the way wars are being fought. It's patchy sporadic incidents. Air covers nice. But the actual taking and holding of positions is close-quarters gun battles. That's where the R&D should have gone.

    2. Rafayal
      Paris Hilton

      How embarrassing

      You don't actually know the meaning of the term 'firefight' in the context of military actions do you?

      If you did, then it would have prevented you from leaving such a retarded post because you would have been safe in the knowledge that the term 'firefight', when used in a military context describes the gun battle - i.e. shooting at each other.

      The quality of posts on the reg has taken a massive dip down.... Such a shame.

      Paris, because even she isn't this stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:How embarrassing

        Possibly he's complaining about the usage of a fairly meaningless neologism (1960s) that makes more intelligent people think of firefighting and firefighter rather than "gun battle".

        1. Martin Lyne

          Re:How embarrassing

          >a fairly meaningless neologism (1960s) that makes more intelligent people think of firefighting and firefighter rather than "gun battle"

          As far as I'm aware.. phosphorous has never been used to extinguish fires, sadly invalidating your suggestion.

          If they made incendiary rounds for the weapon in question.. could be useful. Or flashbangs for non-lethal.

        2. Steve Ives
          Paris Hilton

          Indeed embarrassing

          Intelligent people know what it means. Just like they don't think the term 'grandfather' refers to your dad in a posh suit. It's a well-know common term that the OP has never encountered, perhaps because English isn't his first language (only reasonable explanation).

          Paris, 'cos even she knows that she shouldn't blow and it's not a job when she delivers a...

        3. Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, no.

          I'm a child of the '80s and I know perfectly well the meaning of "firefight" in a military setting. Please, don't try to support idiotic comments with idiotic arguments.

          1. Tim Spence


            I wonder if the next article which talks about Eurofighters and MIGs dogfighting, our friend will pop in and ask what planes have to do with dogs...

    3. Simon 26

      We'll design our own

      The rangefinding laser will be replaced with a ball of string, it'll come into service 15 years later than it should, BAE will get billions and the weapon will be shit.

      Just like all the other make-job/waste money defence projects that have gone before.

      1. Adam Foxton

        That's almost a good idea

        chuck out a strand of something tipped with an extremely sticky substance. Pull it taut.

        Read off measurement.

        Consult a table to get the appropriate elevation to use. Cheap, traditional, reliable, and retro-fit-able to modern weapons (with the addition of another column to the table)!

        OR, using cameraphone-grade technology, project a pair of laser dots onto the surface and measure the distance between their centres to get the distance. Then have the software read in accelerometer data to see when you've tilted the gun back far enough.

        Not quite the War-Androids that I'd hoped to see in the 21st century, but it'll do I guess :D

        1. lasersage

          pair of laser dots?

          I'm not sure that's practical for long distances, time of flight is the common laser ranging method

    4. maclovinz

      MY HOSE IS HUGE...

      and it put out those flamethrowers you speak of.

      What's that, they don't get use anymore? Ah...well my hose is still a biggun'!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Temporary respite

    The effective range of a PKM is 1500m. Instead of shooting from 600-700m just outside the effective range of NATO 5.62 the ambushes will start being set-up further back which will make the Judge Dredd Gun a one-trick 3 day miracle.

    The only long term solution to the problem of fighting low-tech opponents who have heavy armament are reusable loitering munitions (ones that do not selfdestruct, but return for refuel after fuel runs short) or small drones firing small semi-dumb missiles at a target painted by the infantry. Something that is cheap and easy to operate that it can be launched for every patrol and nobody cares if it is lost to enemy fire.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    This news brought you by...

    ..the Imperial Maintenance Network.

    "Defending Democracy since 1916. If it suits us."

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nice comment...on paper

      Afghanistan is not a nice 'flat' landscape, and I severly doubt the Taliban are using the PKM in a support fire role, and even at the extreams of its range I doubt that it would be very effective. They are attacking at relatively close ranges because that is all the Afghan terrain allows for. Besides, you don't abush from a mile away because then it's not an ambush. It's a waste of rounds. And yes, I did serve in the army for over a decade so perhaps I have a bit of a better clue than reading up on the PKM on Wikipedia like you did. CoD isn't real life you know!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "Effective Range"

      You'd best define what you mean by "effective range".

      At 1500 meters, a bolt action .308 could hit a target under excellent conditions.

      But then you have the .300WinMag and then the .338 Lapua where 1500m is within range.

      Here, we're talking about a designated marksman rifle. Granted at longer distances 1500m and beyond, you do have the .338 and .50bmg rifles.

      At 1500 meters, the PKM is a 'spray and pray' weapon which can provide harassing fire. Not to mention the round will have lost a lot of its energy if it hits a target.

      In urban combat the M4 is a better weapon. You don't want over penetration and the range is much less, like under 300m which is within the .223 ballistic characteristics.

      You can carry more ammo in .223 and overall it weighs less.

      Mines the jacket with a box of .300 Win Mag and box of Rem 7s as I head out the door to the range. ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Effective Range and Over Penetration

        the SS109 version of the NATO 5.56x45 round (aka .223), can go through body armour at 50m, 3 rounds fired at the same point will go through a standard UK cavivity wall.

        The rounds are lethal out to several miles. even a small .22LR is considered lethal at upto a mile.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge


          .22LR lethal at up to a mile?

          Uhm, yeah right.

          Penetration is going to be based on the projectile's mass and velocity at the time of impact.

          Sure if you're lucky enough to strike the body in a soft spot, you might get a fatality. (The rare golden bee bee.)

          But if you mean that you're 'standing' one mile (Ok actually laying prone) with a .22LR rifle and a good tactical scope that you can intentionally hit me and kill me? Sorry, but I seriously doubt that.

          As to body armor penetration... it depends on what body armor the person has.

          As to over penetration... you can hide behind a tree while a .223 SAW fires at you. You can't do that when its a .308 machine gun cutting that tree in half. (That was the point. ) The .308 will deliver more energy on target that a .223. (E=1/2mv^2 )

          1. Anonymous Coward

            22LR lethal at up to a mile?

            As written on the side of the tin and considered when designing ranges.

            There is also a difference between something being lethal at a range, and actually intentionally hiting something at a range.

            "As to over penetration... you can hide behind a tree while a .223 SAW fires at you. "

            The above is based on Hollywood, hiding behind tree might work if it is above 1m diameter, and they only use 1 round.

            Using the underpowered yank M193 round you can get through 50mm of concrete (unreinforced) with 1 round at 50m (zero deflection)

            The SS109 was tested out as going through 5.5mm of mild steel at 50m. (not the armour plate type steel)

            Warminster did some interesting tests that they filmed and released internally some years ago, if you wait long enough it will probably turn up on wikileaks/youtube. Will definately put you off joining the infantry, or otherwise volunteering to be down range of our 5.56 round

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Ref: Temporary respite

      The painted target is fine, however;

      I would really not want to be any where near a live muntion that had come back to refuel, one way self destruct fine, Irish Torpedo (comes back if it can't find a target) no thanks

      Range on weapons is a bit odd. Effective range is a matter of judgement, i.e. can i effectively shoot at you, for me I struggle with accuracy at 800m, most squadies struggle at 300m on iron sights, the Met well I suspect they would miss the barn door. If you just want to keep their heads down, well spray and pray works at most ranges.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge


        If our squad doesnt hit 300m with respirators then its BFT twice on a friday instead of once.

  5. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Ugly gun

    This gun sounds very effective, in the same way that cluster bombs, mines and phosphorus are very effective.

    1. Barracoder
      Thumb Down

      Not exactly

      More like a kick up your arse would be effective, you idiotic, fifth column, Guardian-reader.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Not quite

      Its more of a precision weapon - so while I'm a guardian reading anti-war type and should probably be shot for being a traitor in barracoders world ;-) -- I think this is generally a 'good thing' when compared to cluster bombs, mines etc that kill indiscriminately. If you are shooting at soldiers, regardless of if you think they are an invading force or not you probably get what you expect.

      I'd like to see it fire some non-lethal but marking dye like they use in bank robberies and cannot be washed off easily, especially if as implied in the story they often limp off and are not caught. One of the advantages of guerrilla warfare is your ability to blend into the local populace - not so easy if you are dyed bright red.

      1. Ty Cobb


        Play paintball against the Taliban and Al Qaeda? You sir are an idiot.

        1. You're all dinosaurs

          Original thinking

          And you are an unimaginative dolt. OP has identified a key issue in guerilla conflicts and an innovative way to separate combatants from civvies. Unless the entire population starts wearing flourescent warpaint, you could effectively make the enemy pariahs in their own community by targeting them with a dye round while they're dragging off their wounded.

        2. Tom 13

          Sending the squad out with only paintballs would be a dolt move

          but I actually like the idea of giving the ground pounders the option of having a few marking rounds. They could be useful for tracking back to actual hide outs and possibly even finding the bad guys who order the drones about the field. Not sure I'd actually want it to be orange or red, probably prefer something in the uv range so the bad guys don't know they are marked, but the concept has potential.

  6. Turtle


    "Essentially, a soldier is very happy when the enemy stops firing at him"

    One learns something new every day!

  7. Christoph Silver badge

    Today's wars?

    "the foot soldiers who actually do most of the fighting and almost all the dying in today's wars"

    Nothing new or 'today' about the PBI being the ones doing the hard work and the dying.

    1. John Hughes

      Most of the dying?

      But it's wrong.

      The PBI do most of the fighting, as usual.

      It's the civvies who do most of the dying, as has been true since WW2

  8. Dave Bell


    I doubt the rounds are what we would recognise as hand-made. It's going to be low-production, not highly-automated, and expensive, The fuse assembly might get screwed into place by hand, rather than by a machine: WW2 mass production, not hand-made.

    Besides, how do you hand-make an IC? A very tiny hammer and chisel?

  9. Tom Servo

    Not the Punisher Reg,

    Start calling it the Lawgiver. Maybe it will catch on.

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Remember though-

      The Punisher was a vigilante, and the current legal wrangling over the 'Eastasia conflicts' may make the term Law-giver somewhat untenable...

    2. Dr. Funk.

      or possibly

      the peaceanator

    3. Tom 13

      Yanks have The Punisher,

      Brits have the Judge. There is some cross-over, but the centers are the centers.

  10. petur
    Thumb Down

    and then...

    ...the enemy gets their hands on one/some, and the fun begins. NOT.

    People forget to look at history from time to time.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      They already have something as effective.

      They already have plenty of good old PKMs.

      Cheap, cheerful, requires virtually zero training, can be maintained by an untrained muppet (I remember disassembling, servicing and assembling one as a kid - while not as easy as an AK47 it was more or less trivial). Range 1000m+.

      The gunner can sit happily outside the range of all but sniper fire (including this fancy supergun) and keep the opponents pinned to the ground while his mates advance with AK47s to finish' em off.

  11. LPF
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous Coward Temporary respite #

    Hey genius , ever tried hitting something from 1.5km with a machine gun ?? distance means increased probaility of missing, therefore anything that makes your enemy have to try and hit you from further away is good!

    The reason you posted AC is that you are a moron, therefore leaving us unable to associate your future posts with stupidity automatically!

    Paris, becuase even she is smarter than you!

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      actually yes I have

      Its called walk the tracer.

  12. Matthew Smith

    7.62mm vs 5.56mm

    Excuse my ignorance, but I'm guessing that the problem is that the Taliban have a heavy machine and the average squaddie has a 5.56mm which can't return the range. But does a normal patrol not have at least one heavy weapon that can reply? I find it surprising that the soldiers out in the field can't at least deal with this situation without the need for a super weapon. (It might be the case, I'm just asking. Everything I know about infantry tactics came from Warhammer 40K).

    1. Daniel Evans


      It's all well and good sitting around having a machine gun slugfest with the Taliban, whilst everyone else on both sides finds a nice rock to sit behind, but it's probably slightly quicker (and hence involves a few less bullets flying towards you) to just pop an explosive slug above their heads and be done with it.

    2. Rafayal

      not quite

      it isnt that the 5.56 has less range 9(it has greater range in an sa80 when compared to the ak47).

      it comes down to kinetic energy. the Russian round hits harder, ours does not.

      however, our rifles carry more rounds, due to the smaller size. I have read recently that there may be a move over to 6.5mm boat tailed rounds for NATO. If this happens it will be a win

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Point of order

        AK47s shoot 7.62x39mm, not the 7.62x54mm the PK machine gun fires. With an effective range of some kilometre and a half, the latter well outranges the former and whatever you'd care to shoot that 5.56mm ammo with. And it packs a bunch more punch too, yes.

        Personally I can't help but wonder if there aren't less ragged bleeding edge experimental new development and therefore expensive ways to shake up a firing position 1500 metres away then rain death on the resulting panic. An iphone app to beef up AT4 targeting or something? Just brainstorming here, mind. Then again, it isn't hard to find far more spendy boondoggles boasting far less "result". And, of course, them 'merkins do like their hand loading practice.

      2. DS 1


        Put yourself in Afganistan. Pick up your rifle. Its an SA80 rifle. Its not got bad accuracy up to maybe 300M or so, but for every metre beyond its working range its getting more powder puff.

        In addition, any Taliban hiding behind anything solid (and a lot of the Afgan walls and buildings have quite solid walls) can't be easily dealt with by 5.56. However, you may die, because the 7.62 round he is firing at you is going through objects, walls and cover. Including the one you might be sheltering behind.

        Further, the silly 5.56 is designed to tumble when hitting (I'm over simplifying this) and its supposed to injure and main and cause a lot of medical support issues for russians. Its not fundamentally a killer by design that is needed in some places like Afganistan.

        The 7.62 on the otheer hand is going to make a very big mess of you or kill you.

        Some of the justification for 5.56mm in logic is fine. You can carry more of it, and its lighter per cartridge, and its building, warehousing and production may cost less. All of this is fine if you are a pointless accountant sitting in the ministry of silly walks. On the field a soldier wants a round thats outgunning the enemy, and killing them. And if its very good at doing so, you can carry less ammo.

        You don't have to give every man in a unit a heavy weapon, you just need to rebalance the units so they have the right mix of light, medium, heavy and long range and support to win any and every fight.

      3. andybird123

        you might have missed in the article...

        the Taliban are using full power 7.62x54 rounds in the PKM machine guns to harass US and UK forces

        the AK47 uses a 7.62 Kurz (or short) rounds, which do have an effective range not much different to our 5.56 weapons, but the main problem in A'stan is the PKM not the AK

        the US have been talking about an intermediate round for years, which is kinda rich considering they made us change away from a .280

        in much the same way as they looked at replacing M4's with the SCAR, but in the end it came down to cost and they're not replacing M4's at all (just suggesting that soldiers use more lubrication)

        both the US and UK forces have just placed large orders for 7.62 marksman rifles which will be hitting the country shortly though

        1. Anonymous Coward

          RE; 5.56

          "..... Pick up your rifle. Its an SA80 rifle. Its not got bad accuracy up to maybe 300M or so, ...."

          It's not an SA80 if you have any choice in the matter!

          Hitting a target at 300m on iron sights with an SA80 is a given*, being able to fire the 2nd round was always matter of chance.

          *= Assumes current military training includes marksmanship and the use of ammuntion on a regular basis (subject to cuts in budget and availability of instructors, also subject to cuts)

    3. Desk Jockey

      7.62mm v 5.56 mm

      This is a completely spurious debate. 5.56mm is fine for most of the things that the soldier has to do. It doesn't matter how big the caliber is when you get shot, it still hurts! Back in WW2, the Germans calculated that 90% of their infantry combat was happening inside 200m of range, making the arming of their troops with .303 rifles silly. What they invented was copied a bit by a Russian and called the AK47...

      Each squad or section in the Britsh army, usually has a light machine gun and/or a GPMG (7.62mm NATO round General Purpose Machine Gun). The Taliban have learnt pretty quickly that sitting 1500m away and hoovering away with a PKM is a quick route to dying unless they do it near civilians. Because if the British squaddie can't hit them back with the SA80 or GPMG and if they don't have a sniper with them, they simply pull out the ultimate sniping device! It's real name is a Javelin and it is a wire guided missile, with thermal camera and a range of 5000m plus. Being wire guided, aiming is less of an issue and it makes a hell of a lot more mess than even the XM-25. Great for taking out machine gun nests although each missile is pretty expensive, hence an XM-25 is quite an attractive option.

      So as you can see, being armed with 5.56mm rounds is not much of an issue as long as you have the other stuff. Javelins are carried by the soldiers themselves and can be fired a lot faster than it takes to call up a plane or helicopter. Staying in one place, armed with a PKM is just painting a bulls eye on yourself. Now that the XN-25 is about, it means that no range with some cover is safe...

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: 7.62mm vs 5.56mm

      There is a misnomer around rounds, the range and damage is based on case and propellant, not the diameter of the bullet.

      Most people in the military and police miss this point as well (hence why some idiot used a 5,56x45 (.223in) on an indoor range designed for .22LR, because it was only 0.003 of inch bigger. Result large hole in back stop wall)

      Nato 7.62 is 7.62x51, and 5.56 is 5.56x45. even these come in different flavors with higher muzzle energies and/or penetration.

      The taliban will be using at least 2 of the Russian 7.62mm rounds, the 7.62x54r (high powered) and the 7.62x39 (which goes through the AK47)

      There is also the 7.62x25 which goes through the Tokarev pistol.

      Hope that brings some clarity.

      1. DS 1


        On so many counts, but I'm not going to waste time arguing. Anyone thinking 5.56 is ok is an idiot in the context of Afpak. Nuff said.


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