An interesting anecdote

A Canadian pattern Belgian-made FN-C1 assault rifle. The Canadian military has upgraded to smaller, lighter weapons.
A Belgian-made FN-C1 assault rifle favoured by the Canadian military once upon a time.
A soldier (not me) ready for the long march.
A soldier (not me) ready for the long march.

During infantry training as a spry young adult, I was introduced to Mr. FN-C1. A very potent assault rifle favored by the Canadian and some European militaries.

Mr. FN was pretty heavy: 22 lbs. (10kg) with a full magazine. I had to carry him on a map march, through the nighttime countryside for many miles. Feet were mighty sore afterward. Actually, everything was mighty sore.

The rifle wasn’t my biggest or only burden. We packed along a bunch of gear on our backs wherever we went on maneuvers. The rifle was the innately heavy thing, though, seeing as it was made almost entirely of steel and all.

On the return journey, someone in charge decided the rifles would ride back on a truck.  We would repeat the march in reverse minus our rifles.

Holy Dinah! What a difference. It was like walking on air all the way back to camp.

22 pounds. 22 pounds difference and my stamina and strength was totally renewed. I could have marched another 10 miles.

"This is so much easier without those silly weapons. Let's run!"
“This is so much easier without those silly weapons. Let’s run!”

One thing that occurred to my 17-year old brain after the march was that a number of my soldiering buddies were at least 22 pounds heavier than I, even though they were no taller, some shorter, no stronger, no reason to be heavier than I, except a fair bit bigger around the waist. Processing this a little further indicated that they were comparatively packing around the weight of a high-powered assault weapon all the time, every day, every hour.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if they could erase that extra weight as easily as unslinging a rifle? They would instantly turn into superstar soldiers. No one would be able to keep up with them.

And then my 17-year old brain said, “Interesting, but whatever” and filed the whole thing in the circular dust bin.

Look sharp, men. I see you're listing to the left to compensate for that extra 22 pounds on the right. That explains why we've been going in circles.
Look sharp, men. I see you’re listing to the left to compensate for that extra 22 pounds on the right. That explains why we’ve been going in circles.

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