I say this without a shred of irony: Fuck yeah. Halo guns, baby!!!!!
He then followed with this:
Picture me reading these tweets and going through all the faces in the Vince McMahon meme.
We aren’t really going to engage with the, like, general philosophy behind these tweets, which is to do both TroopPosting and SecondAmendmentPosting at the same time. Cawthorn is just saying some dumb shit that people who like guns and troops without thinking critically about either will like. This dumb shit, however, is just very funny. Let’s think critically about it.
The most generous possible reading of this post is that Cawthorn is somehow advocating for a larger research & development budget for the military, which is stupid because the Pentagon is already going to get something like $715 billion next year and they can spend whatever they want of that on designing new guns. In fact, it’s worth noting that they are explicitly doing what Cawthorn is talking about—both the Army and the Marines are currently in the middle of various studies and field tests for new small arms systems (rifles or machine guns that one troop will carry).
Specifically, however, Cawthorn is criticizing “a slightly upgraded version of a Vietnam War-era weapon,” by which he means the ubiquitous M4 platform that most infantry soldiers and Marines carry. The good news is that the “replacement” for this M4 platform is basically just… an upgraded M4 platform (Sig Sauer’s design hasn’t clinched the spot yet but appears to be the frontrunner, we’ll know in November). The biggest change to the weapon is the caliber of bullet it shoots: the new weapon will be chambered in 6.8x51mm, which is a larger round than the M4/M16/SAW etc’s 5.56×45.
The reason for this, in short, is that the military has realized that most of the fighting it has been doing over the past 20 years has largely taken place at long distances, and it wants a bigger bullet that goes further.
Here is where we get to talk about video games!
Per the Halo Wikipedia, the standard-issue assault rifle in the series is some variation (depending on the game) of the “MA Series,” which are fully automatic weapons that shoot a 7.62x51mm bullet. That’s right: The Halo games largely take place in the 2500s, and the guns they are shooting (while looking cool), are firing a round that was first developed 600 years before that in 1951! If you get way too deep on the Halo Wikipedia you will also learn that most of them fire and are operated in a similar way to guns that our troops already have. The reason most of our standard-issue weapons aren’t chambered in 7.62×51 is that it is big and heavy to carry, hence the new 6.8×51 round which is lighter.
The dumber and funnier possibility is that Cawthorn is referring to all the alien guns in the Halo series, which do stuff like shoot superheated plasma or exploding alien needles or are just a cool-looking lightsaber. And you know what? I have to say I agree with him. We give the Pentagon over $700 billion a year, and it can’t even develop an energy sword?? At least when Cawthorn is inevitably elected president in 15 years, we’ll have something to look forward to.