AR-15/M16: The Rifle That Was Never Supposed to Be

The latest in the M16 family, the M16A2. The standard by which all assault rifles are judged. Note major changes: fully adjustable rear sight, round handguards, longer stock, finger swell on pistol grip and cartridge case deflector. Note the 25-meter zeroing target.

The latest in the M16 family, the M16A2. The standard by which all assault rifles are judged. Note major changes: fully adjustable rear sight, round handguards, longer stock, finger swell on pistol grip and cartridge case deflector. Note the 25-meter zeroing target.

Diemaco has supplied their C7 and C8 weapons systems to Denmark, Norway, New Zealand and the Netherlands. They also equip the legendary British SAS and SBS with their SFW (Special Forces Weapon), designated the British L119A1 Assault Rifle. There have also been other military copies of the M16-series rifle made by Elisco Tool Company of the Philippines and Chartered Industries of Singapore.

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Currently manufacturing the M16A2 and M4 carbines for the U.S. military are Colt’s Manufacturing Inc, Hartford, Connecticut, and FN Manufacturing of Columbia, South Carolina. Quality Parts/Bushmaster Firearms of Windham, Maine, have manufactured approximately 400 complete M4 carbines for the United States Department of Defense as well as an additional (approximately) 400 complete M4 upper receivers assemblies.

The semi-automatic Colt AR-15/ Sporter-series rifles have become very popular in the world of competitive shooters. Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Inc., manufactures more civilian versions of the rifle than any other manufacturer, even though there are many other semi-auto clones produced. One of the finest is the XM15E2S, made by Quality Parts-Bushmaster Firearms. Some other manufacturers are Olympic Arms of Olympia, Washington, and ArmaLite, Inc., a division of Eagle Arms of Coal Valley, Illinois.

The AR-15/M16 rifle has come a long way, surviving political opposition and its troubles in Vietnam to become one of the finest military rifles ever produced, with more than 9 million M16-series rifles in service throughout the world, equipping the troops of more than 20 nations. The U.S. military has always been a military of marksmen, and the M16A2 complements this philosophy, setting a standard of accuracy very few assault rifles can match while enjoying the reputation of being the finest human-engineered assault rifle in the world.

The M16-series rifle continues to be the rifle of choice of SWAT teams and police departments all over the country, and it will be the main battle rifle of the United States well into the new millennium.

4 thoughts on “AR-15/M16: The Rifle That Was Never Supposed to Be

  1. master gunny

    As the armorer for the 6th Engineer Bn I one had to use a hammer and screwdriver to force the bolt into full battery (with a round in the chamber!) in order to clear a malfunction. I was shocked because the weapons was not anywhere dirty enough to explain the severe malfunction. That same day I have another stoppage, same problem, but again the fowling was not that severe. I could go on and on with why I feel the weapon is a poor choice for an infantrymen but suffice to say that I will stick with my M1A and HK-91.

  2. master gunny

    Gents,
    With respects it’s obvious to me that you guys are too young to remember the controversy surrounding the introduction of the M-16. Not mentioned in yourt article were the constant complaints about the weapons, their unreliability, the congressional hearings on the malfunctions that that were literally getting our tropps killed in Vietnam. Numerous accounts of troops found dead in their fighting holes with their weapons diassembled were presented as evidence that the weapon was despised by the troops. Mothers would get urgent letters from their sons asking for cleaning gear and solvents because the weapons fouled so easily and severely. The forward assist, and chrome chamber were just a couple of the modifications necessary to solve some of the problems.

    More offensive to me was the remark that the M14 was prone to jams and problems and speaking from experience I can tell you that is exactly the opposite of the truth. The M14 was rock solid reliable, accurate, and robust. The M1-16 fragile, unreliable, ualofre

  3. tinock28

    I liked the article on the AR-15/M16 rifle very much, I remember an article back in 1956-57 in one of Gun Mag’s about the AR-10, I thougt at the time it was a good rifle.

    1. master gunny

      Read Colonel Moore’s book, “We were soldiers one and Young” to get a better understanding of how critical reliability is to a grunt. One passage, regarding Lt. Herricks surounded platoon, say it all. Troops fighting for their lives against overwhelming odds were forced to discard their weapons and pick up those of their wounded comrades in order to stay in the fight. Many times those weapons were also not functioning and so the troops had to rummage through the perimeter to find a working weapon. Trust me, that sucks

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