The History Of The M16 Service Rifle

M16 (more formally United States Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16) is the U.S. military designation for a family of rifles derived from the ArmaLite AR-15 and further developed by Colt starting in the mid-20th century.

The M16 rifle family including the M16/A1/A2/A3/A4 has been the primary infantry rifle of the United States military since the 1960s. With its variants, it has been in use by 15 NATO countries, and is the most produced firearm in its caliber. The M16 entered Army service in 1964.

The M16 was an initial version first adopted in 1964 by the United States Air Force (USAF). The U.S. Army began to field the XM16E1 en masse in 1965 with most going to Vietnam. The US Marine Corps also adopted the system during this period. The XM16E1 was standardized as the M16A1 in 1967. This version remained the primary infantry rifle of the United States military from 1967 until the 1980s, when it was supplemented by the M16A2. During the early 1980s a roughly standardized load for this ammunition was adopted throughout NATO.

The M16A3 is a fully-automatic variant of the M16A2, issued primarily within the United States Navy. The M16A2, in turn, is currently being supplemented by the M16A4, which incorporates the flattop receiver unit developed for the M4 Carbine, and Picatinny rail System. Previous versions of the weapon are still in stock and used primarily by reserve and National Guard units in the United States as well as by the U.S. Air Force.

The M16 is the most commonly manufactured 5.56x45mm rifle in the world. Currently, the M16/M4 system is in use by 15 NATO countries and more than 80 countries world wide. Together, the U.S. and Canada (as the C7) have produced more than 8,000,000 units with approximately 90% still in operation. [7]

In U.S. service, the M16 primarily replaced the M14 and M1 Carbine series as standard infantry rifles, and to a lesser extent, some of the jobs of the BAR Light automatic rifle. The M14 continues to see service, just not as the primary service rifle. It is used as a sniper rifle, designated marksman rifle and several smaller niche areas.

Posted by admin on Wednesday 19 March 2008 - 10:04:23 | LAN_THEME_20

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