Firearms / Assault rifles / M16A1

M16A1

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Assault rifle

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    AR-15

  • DESIGNED
    1957

  • DESIGNER
    Eugene Stoner

  • PRODUCTION
    1960 - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Philippines - Elisco Tool and Manufacturing
    Singapore
    South Korea - Daewoo
    United States - Colt

  • QUANTITY
    8 million including M16A2 models

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited weight
    Very low recoil
    Good acccuracy and range
    Needs a lot of maintainance
    High rate of fire

Introduction

The M16A1 is an assault rifle of US origin. The M16 was a giant leap forward in firearms design and the first standard issue assault rifle adopted by US forces. The M16A1 is the first generation of the M16 family. It was used by US forces throughout the Vietnam War. It proved to be a promising weapon, but suffered from a number of flaws, which were remedied in the later M16A2.

Design

The M16 has a conventional layout while the M16 seet the standard on what is nowadays called a conventional layout. The M16 is based on the straight line principle. The shoulder stock, action and barrel are all in one line resulting in reduced recoil. In order to aim properly the sights have been raised. The rear sight base also functions as a carry handle for the weapon. The receiver is made of aluminum with the barrel, bolt and other parts in the mechanism made of steel. The forearms, pistol grip and stock are made of plastics. The M16 uses direct impingement gas operation. When a shot is fired high pressure gasses build up in the barrel. In the M16 these gasses are tapped via a port in the front sigh base and through a gas tube above the barrel they cycle the system. This design reduces the amount of moving parts significantly, but the gasses foul the moving parts easily. All variants are based on the same design
the barrel, forward assist and stock and forearm may differ per version.

Firepower

The M16A1 fires the 5.56x45mm M193 round which was specifically designed for this weapon. For a long time the M16 was issued with 20 round magazines as the development of a 30 round magazine proved difficult. A slightly curved 30 round magazine proved to be the solution. The M16A1 is a select-fire weapon with a cyclic rate of fire of 700 to 900 rounds per minute. The maximum effective range is 400 m for the M16A1 and 300 m for the CAR-15. Overall the M16A1 is a good rifle. It is very light, accurate, ergonomic and has a very low recoil. The main drawback is its lack of reliability. When properly cleaned the it will function well, repeated cleaning is needed in moist and arid conditions.

Users

The US air force was the first to adopt the M16. The US army adopted an improved model with forward assists as the M16A1, followed by the US marines. The introduction of the M16A2 meant the withdrawal of most first generation models from US service. The M16A1 remains in service with various nations around the world, but is more and more relegated to a reserve role.

Variants

Commando

The Commando is an ultra short development of the M16. It was developed as a survival weapon, but became a favored assault weapon by all kinds of special operations forces in the Vietnam war. The Commando was never adopted as standard equipment in US forces, but several thousand were bought. The original models featured a 10 inch barrel. The R609 has a forward assist, while the R610 has not. Later models featured a 11.5 inch barrel to reduce noise and muzzle flash and for the ability to accept the XM148 grenade launcher. The R629 has a forward assist while the R630 has not. The US army adopted the R609 and R629 as XM-177E1 and XM-177E2. The US air force adopted the R610 and R630 as the GAU-5A and GAU-5A/A. The production of the Commando started in 1966 and ended in 1970.

TypeSub machine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm M193
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire700 - 900 rpm
Barrel length254 mm
Rifling6 grooves, right hand 305mm twist
Muzzle velocity808 m/s
StockRetractable
Length788 mm / 719 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.15 kg empty
SightsIron sights, flip aperture
Remarks-
TypeSub machine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm M193
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire700 - 900 rpm
Barrel length292 mm
Rifling6 grooves, right hand 305mm twist
Muzzle velocity838 m/s
StockRetractable
Length826 mm / 757 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.43 kg empty
SightsIron sights, flip aperture
Remarks-

CAR-15

The CAR-15 is the carbine version of the M16. It was introduced after the Vietnam war, limiting its adoption by US forces. The CAR-15 is similar to the later Commando versions, but has a longer barrel and a standard birdcage flash hider. Due to its late development the CAR-15 is usually seen with 30 round magazines. Colt developed four models: R651, R652, R653, R654. The latter two feature a forward assist and the odd numbers have a retractable stock, with the even numbers having a fixed stock. The vast majority of CAR-15 are of the R653 model.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm M193
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 - 750 rpm
Barrel length368 mm
Rifling6 grooves, right hand 305mm twist
Muzzle velocity920 m/s
StockRetractable
Length838 mm / 757 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.54 kg empty
SightsIron sights, flip aperture
Remarks-

M16A1

The Colt R604 was adopted by the US Air Force as the M16. The M16 has no forward assist. Early variants had a three prong flash hider, later replaced by a birdcage flash hider as on the M16A1. For export sales the R604 was designated R614. The M16A1 is the US army version of the M16. It is similar to the M16, but is fitted with a forward assist to manually push the bolt forward in case the bullet failed to seat in the chamber. The forward assist is fitted on the right side of the receiver near the stock. For export sales the R603 was designated R613. The M16A1 is also often fitted with the M203 grenade launcher. The launcher comes with a proprietary forearm with iron sights for the launcher on top.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm M193
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 - 750 rpm
Barrel length508 mm
Rifling6 grooves, right hand 305mm twist
Muzzle velocity975 m/s
StockFixed
Length986 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.1 kg empty
SightsIron sights, flip aperture
Remarks-
TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm M193
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 - 750 rpm
Barrel length508 mm
Rifling6 grooves, right hand 305mm twist
Muzzle velocity975 m/s
StockFixed
Length986 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.18 kg empty
SightsIron sights, flip aperture
Remarks-

M16A1 HB

The Heavy Barrel Assault Rifle versions of the M16A1 were developed as squad support weapons. They are fitted with a thicker and stronger barrel. The barrel also acts as the attachment point for the bipod. The HBAR versions of the M16A1 can be distinguished from the A2 models by the use of a normal triangular handguard instead of a square one.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber5.56x45mm M193
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 - 750 rpm
Barrel length508 mm
Rifling6 grooves, right hand 305mm twist
Muzzle velocity991 m/s
StockFixed
Length986 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.4 kg empty
SightsIron sights, flip aperture
Remarks-

Copyright © 2002 - 2014 Weaponsystems.net