Michael Z. Williamson
  • Rant about M16

    My Rant About the M16

    Regarding the potential replacement of the M16 and the gloating from the know-nothings:

    You know, I think it may be time to move beyond the M16.

    First, let's consider the hundreds of troops who were unable to figure out how to operate it. They complained of spare parts left over during cleaning, and subsequent malfunctions.

    Clearly, the weapon was poorly designed if our troops can have spare parts. After all, one wouldn't want a soldier operating something almost 1% as complicated as a Chevy small block engine. And we mustn't be distracted by the 20 million or so veterans who had no problems at all; they were not subjecting it to normal wear and tear.

    Then there was the lack of a forward assist. This may have been retrofitted in the A1, but as anyone can tell you, no real weapon has a forward assist. Only such substandard junk as the Garand, Beretta AR-70, FN 59, FN FAL, Steyr, StG, AK-47 and MAS has a forward assist.

    Then there's the mere 550 meter effective range, which can't possibly compare to the M14's range of...what does the 1969 USMC Infantry Operations manual say it is? Ah, here: 460 meters.

    True, it's not 7.62 X 39 Russian. Of course, the Russians don't use that anymore, either. Western Decadence got to them and they downgraded to a 5.45mm cartridge. Oh, dear. Nor is it 7.62 X 51 NATO. Though the AR-10, it's predecessor, is. And it's in use with the US Army, too. All you have to do is shoot well enough to be assigned as a DM or sniper and the 7.62 is yours...if you're good enough to need the potential range it offers in the proper platform (though the M14 is apparently not that platform anymore). If not, the Army suggests you stop whining. The cads. Nevermind the fact that most troops can't SEE the enemy at 800 yards, much less shoot well enough to matter. We MUST have a weapon we can "volley fire" at that range, when the wireless operator on the Sopwith SE5 calls down to us.

    Yes, it's been in service now, all variants, for 44 years. That's not nearly as impressive as the venerable M1's 25 years or the M14 ("Seven Selected Turkeys of the 20th Century"...hehehe...I LOVED that article. The Hakim, Colt .38 military's, the Ross, the Chauchat, the M14, the Type 94, the Bren Ten. Jim Thompson's a hoot! But I digress)'s 20 years. Clearly politically motivated. Especially that winning every test that was rigged against it. How rude! Proves nothing.

    The years upon years of top scores its had at the National Matches are a mere aberration. The fact that it outshoots the M14, M1 and Springfield in every event aren't an indication of its worth.

    Nor should we pay attention to all those units that used it from 1965 to the mid 90s, who clearly have no clue about weapons. Like the SAS, the Special Forces, the SEALs (although some of them used the Stoner, too...hmm...that name's familiar), the Ghurkas, the Israeli commandos....why, the Negev, the jungles of Burma, southeast Asia, the Falklands...are they trying to pretend it works in every climate? And who are THEY to endorse weapons?

    Yes, maybe it's time to move on to the G-36: an updated AR-18 with the bugs worked out already, before it sees issue. Hey! A proven Armalite/Stoner design. How about that? Don't I recall that name? AR-5, AR-7, AR-10, AR-15, AR-16, AR-17, AR-18, Stoner system...THAT Eugene Stoner?

    Want to bet the same experts won't like it, either? After all, it's not 7.62 or .30-06 or .30-40 or .45-70 or .58 or .69 caliber. Or whatever they were using when they were young. Walking everywhere. Uphill, in both directions. Eating dirt. And proud to eat that dirt.


    Give me a rifle, I'll use it. I'd prefer it be light and have lots of ammo. 210 chances (500 with the G-11, dammit!) to hit the bad guy is better than 100. The M16 will do fine. The G-36 will do fine. An AK-74 will do fine as long as the ammo is of Western manufacture. I'll use an M14; it's accurate enough, but frankly, it's heavy, bulky, subject to warping and hideously overpriced for what it is--a 60 year old variant of a 70 year old glorified deer rifle. But it will kill.

    A poor marksman always blames his tools. This may be justified if what you were issued was an SA-80 L-85A1. The Royal Marines are right to bitch.

    But to quote Gunny Highway on the M16: "Nothin' wrong with that weapon."

    But you have to admit, if the AR-15 was really successful, you'd be able to get it from 40 different manufacturers, in .22, .222, .223, .224, .243, 7.62X39, .308 and .338 Lapua (in variants) 9mm, .40, .45, .50 BMG, several wildcat chamberings, as a pistol, carbine or rifle, clip fed, box fed, drum fed or belt fed, with barrels from 7" to 24", with dozens of sling combinations, fixed or folding stocks in a dozen lengths, with accessories like scopes, HUD sights, grenade launchers, bi pods, rail mounts, alternate bolt and trigger groups. It would win hundreds of competitions, be used by dozens of militaries and elite units, SWAT teams and commando units, be available as cheap as $450, have hundreds of smiths specializing in working on it and be readily available at any gun store.