Tag Archives: military weapons

Guns of the U.S. Army, 1775-2020

While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?

For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.

Welcome (back), M16A4

The humble original M16 was originally Armalite’s AR-15, and was first ordered for military service with a contract issued to Colt Firearms in May 1962 for the purchase of early Model 01 rifles to be used by Air Force Security Police.

Note, these guns had waffle-pattern 20-round mags, no forward assist, a thin 1:14 twist barrel, and the early three-prong flash hider.

Fast forward to the XM16E1, which became the M16A1 in 1967, and you started to come closer to the standard Army/Marine rifle used in Vietnam and throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It used a forward assist and a 1:12 twist barrel.

By 1983, the M16A2 came about, it had a thicker barrel in front of the front sight, a modified flash suppressor (closed on bottom), a new polymer buttstock (lighter and stronger), faster barrel twist (from 1:12 to 1:7), and a spent case deflector for left-hand users. Considered downright vintage by the Army and Marines, the Navy still sports them these days.

M16A2- check
M9 in drop leg holster- check
Body armor- um, about that……

By 1998, the M16A4 was in play, primarily for the Marines, which had a removable carry handle, a Picatinny top rail to allow for optics, short rails on the handguard for accessories, and a 20-inch barrel with a 1:7 RH twist rate.

Note the size difference between the compact M4 Carbine, top, and the full-length M16A4 rifle, bottom. (Photos: Department of Defense)

Since the GWOT kicked off in 2002, the big shift over the years has been to move from the full-length M16 family to the more compact M4/M4A1 carbine, with its collapsible rear stock and stubby 14-inch barrel, leaving the increasingly old-school style rifle as something of a relic today. Heck, the Army for the past couple years has been very actively working on replacing their 5.56 NATO rifles and SAWs with a new 6.8mm weapon. 

Now jump to 2020, and the M16A4 is now apparently the Army’s designated rifle for Foreign Military Sales to equip overseas allies in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Nepal.

Colt and FN are competing in a contract to supply as much as $383 million smackers worth of M16A4s by 2025.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Its nice to feel loved

Back in August I wrote a piece for Guns.com on a fringe gun control group, the National Gun Victims Action Council, and their call to have the Tracking Point rifle banned because it was so dangerous, and so accurate that ‘only a terrorist would buy it.’

I am not making this up, guys.

Well, other gun writers went on to write other pieces, so I am not taking credit for this, but, it seems that so many people reached out to the NGVAC to inform them as to the lunacy of their football bat logic that they felt the need to post an open letter to Guns.com, Outdoor Life, Ammoland and Lee Williams at the Herald Trib.

Again, not making this up, guys.

From their letter:

“In defending insurrection-style weapons, you, Guns.com, Outdoor Life, Lee Williams and Ammoland are actually working against your own interests. Do you really think the first sniper attack with a TrackingPoint weapon won’t force the gun laws you fear including regulation of the military weapons you defend? Defending weapons like TrackingPoint’s Smart Scope Military-Style Precision-Guided sniper rifles is practically inviting the government to take your guns–and they will—and you will have done it to yourselves.”

I really don’t have anything to say to that flawless logic.

because-potato-that-s-whyFellow gun writer Lee Williams, also dimed out by NGVAC, did some checking and found that their tax exempt status was revoked back in May.

‘Doh

As Lee writes, “Maybe the good folks at the National Gun Victims Action Council  should focus a bit more on their bookkeeping and a bit less on their correspondence.”