Special Sub-Topic: The M-16 Assault Rifle
|What is the 'civilian' version of the M-16 called?|
AR-15. The civilian version, sold under the Colt name, is the AR-15. AR comes from Armalite, the company that developed the first prototypes.
|What was the first branch of the U.S. military to place a significant order for and adopt the M-16?|
Air Force. Although the Army tried to place an order earlier, it was delayed. The Air Force was the first service to actually receive a major order and deploy the rifle to troops in 1964.
|What was the main contender against the M-16 for the Armed Forces contract in 1964?|
M-14. The M-14 and AK-47 were the final two rifles tested against the M-16 for the Armed Forces contract which resulted in final adoption of the M-16. Although the M14 was the only one deemed 'acceptable' by preliminary reports, the M-16 was the rifle eventually chosen.
|What man is credited as the main developer of the M-16 prototype?|
Eugene Stoner. Eugene Stoner, working for Armalite, developed the first prototype for the weapon. The rights to produce the weapon were later sold to Colt by Armalite's parent company, Fairchild.
|Who made the first 'significant' use of the M-16 and when?|
South Vietnamese Army - 1962. The M-16's first general service was in the hands of the South Vietnamese Army in 1962. Reports by U.S. advisers tended to be favorable. These reports were clearly instrumental in the later adoption of the rifle by the U.S. armed forces.
|What cartridge (ammunition) is fired by the M-16?|
5.56mm NATO. 5.56mm NATO or .223 caliber.
|Why was the rifle chambered for such a relatively small cartridge?|
All of these (Cartridge power was considered to be less important, Smaller cartridge allowed troops to carry more rounds, Smaller cartridge allowed for higher rate of fire). Army research determined that rate of fire was more important than aim or damage. According to a 1948 army report, "The number one predictor of casualties was the total number of bullets fired".
The smaller cartridge allowed for increased fire rate and the troops could carry more ammunition. Both these characteristics put 'more bullets in the air' in battlefield situations.
|Most versions of the M-16 issued to US Forces are issued with a 'fully automatic' setting.|
f. The 2006 'standard' issue M-16 version has settings for 'semi-automatic' and three-shot bursts.
As of 2006, other countries (including the IDF) and many US Armed Forces still received M-16s equipped with a 'fully automatic' setting.
|What were the main complaints about the first M-16s issued to the troops?|
Jamming and lack of 'stopping' power. The first M-16 issued to troops in Vietnam had jamming problems (due to incompatible ammunition). The jamming problem was later solved with an ammunition change. Some troops also complained that the bullet did not do significant damage to the enemy. The damage complaints continued throughout the conflict.
|What were the main difference between the M-16A1 and M-16A2?|
Heavier, chromed barrel and accommodation for left handed shooters. The M-16A2 has a heavier barrel and accommodations for left-hand shooters.
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