Firearms / Assault rifles / M16A2

M16A2

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Assault rifle

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    C7 (Canadian production M16A2)
    C8 (Canadianproduction M4)

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1980's

  • DESIGNER
    Fabrique Nationale

  • PRODUCTION
    1982 - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Canada - Diemaco/Colt Canada
    United States - Colt
    United States - Fabrique Nationale

  • QUANTITY
    8 million including M16A1 models

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited weight
    Good accuracy
    Flattop models available
    Lot of maintenance required

Introduction

The M16A2 is a late Cold War era assault rifle of US origin. It was developed by Fabrique Nationale at the request of the US Marine Corps. The M16A2 is a product improved version of the M16A1. The main improvement is the use of the 5.56x45mm NATO round instead of the older M193 round. When it was introduced in the 1980's the full size M16A2 with iron sights was the main production variant. Nowadays the M4 carbine with the ability to mount optics is considered the main variant.

Design

The M16A2 is a product improved M16A1. The areas of improvement include the round that is fired, the iron sights and a burst fire option instead of full automatic fire. The M16A2 fires a redesigned 5.56x45mm round that uses a faster rifling twist rate. This version of the 5.56x45mm round was also adopted as NATO standard. The M16A2 retains the direct impingement design and rotating bolt. Externally the M16A2 looks very similar to the M16A1 and at a glance only the round forearm identifies the M16A2. A carbine version with shorter barrel and retractable stock was also developed. It was fires named the M16A2 Carbine and was later redesignated as the M4. On the latest models the rear sight and carrying handle have been replaced by a Picatinny rail that allows various optics to be fitted.

Firepower

The M16A2 fires the 5.56x45mm NATO round from 30 round magazines, although various other capacities are available. The M16A2 is a select fire weapon with a cyclic rate of fire of 700 to 950 rounds per minute. Many rifles in US service feature a three round burst fire selector instead permitting full automatic fire. The effective range is 400 meters, although with optics targets out to 600 m can be engaged.

Users

The first user of the M16A2 was the US marine corps in the mid 1980's, with the US army adopting it in the late 1980's. The M16A2 and its derivatives are widely used around the world and are the standard issue firearm of various nations. The M4 is in use with many special forces units worldwide and many US law enforcement agencies.

Variants

M4 Commando

The M4 Commando is the smallest and most compact rifle in the M16A2 lineup. The Commando is essentially an M4 with shorter barrel. The shorter barrel results in a slightly higher rate of fire. It cannot be fitted with the M203 or M203A1 under barrel grenade launcher, but is able to launch rifle grenades. The original models with fixed handle are known as the R733 and R735, with the latter being burst fire. The flattop models are known as R933 and R935 respectively.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire700 - 1.000 rpm
Barrel length290 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity796 m/s
StockRetractable
Length780 mm / 700 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.44 kg empty
Sights
Remarks-

M4 Carbine

The M4 is the carbine version of the M16A2. At first it was known as the M16A2 Carbine. When the US military adopted it as the M4 carbine the M4 designation was applied to the product line. The M4 has an 80% parts commonality with the M16A2. It differs in having a shorter barrel and forearm and it has a four position retractable stock. The barrel has a step cut to allow the M203A1 grenade launcher to be fitted under the barrel. In US service the designation M4 applies to models with three round burst setting while the M4A1 allows for full automatic fire. Several M4 models exist. The original models with fixed handle are known as the R777 and R779, with the latter being burst fire. The flattop models are known as R977 and R979 respectively.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire700 - 950 rpm
Barrel length370 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity884 m/s
StockRetractable
Length838 mm / 757 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.68 kg empty
SightsIron sights, 368 mm sight radius
Remarks-

M16A2

The M16A2 is the standard full size rifle. It features a full length barrel and fixed stock. The original models with fixed handle are known as the R701 and R705, with the latter being burst fire. The flattop models are known as R901 and R905 respectively. The R645 as produced for the US army is similar to the R701. In US service the designation M16A2 applies to the R645 and R701 models. The M16A3 is the R705. The designation M16A4 applies to both the R901 and R905. Many M16A4 in US service also feature a quad Picatinny rail forearm developed by KAC. These are known as the M16A4 MWS, with MWS denoting Modular Weapon System. The M203 grenade launcher may be fitted and will replace the round handguard with a larger squared one.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-3
Rate of fire700 - 950 rpm
Barrel length508 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity948 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.006 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.40 kg empty
SightsIron sights, 502 mm sight radius
Remarks-
TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, direct impingement, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire700 - 950 rpm
Barrel length508 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity948 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.006 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.40 kg empty
SightsIron sights, 502 mm sight radius
Remarks-

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