Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire
650 - 750 rpm
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
20, 30 rounds
Range of effective fire
designed by Armalite to meet the US Army requirement for a new
assault rifle, chambered for a new intermediate cartridge. This
rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner and designated as the AR-15. The
first Armalite AR-15 rifles were delivered to the US Army for
testing in 1958. Initial tests revealed some reliability and
accuracy problems. In 1959 all rights for the design of this rifle
were sold to Colt. Later the original designer of this rifle left Armalite and
joined Colt. In 1962 Colt company sent a batch of 1 000 AR-15
assault rifles to Vietnam for field trials. In 1964 the US Air Force
and the US Army officially adopted this rifle as the M16. Currently
variants of this assault rifle are still in service with the US
Military, as well as over 50 operators worldwide. It is still
manufactured in USA, Canada and China.
The US Army
demanded for a very light weapon.
So the M16 has a number
of lightweight materials in order to save weight. It uses aluminum
in place of steel, fiberglass construction in place of wood. Also it
has an ergonomic design.
is a gas operated, selective fire weapon, chambered
for the 5.56x45 mm (.223 Remington) round. At the time
of its introduction the M16 had many flaws, however many of them
were fixed and this weapon is considered as one of the best assault
rifles in the world. It is a reliable, accurate and comfortable to
fire weapon, however it can not match reliability of the famous
production models of the M16 had an effective range of only 450
meters. The main reason for this was an unstabilized bullet. Later
models were adapted for a new round and have improved range and
accuracy. One interesting feature about the M16 is its progressive
design, as weapon's barrel is in the same axis with buttstock. This
feature reduces muzzle climb and increases accuracy, as the recoil
force is directed backwards, rather than upwards.
The safety /
fire mode selector switch is located on the left side of the
receiver, above the pistol grip. It has three positions for "safe",
"semi-auto" and "full-auto". A cocking handle is
located at the rear of the receiver and does not reciprocate when
the gun is fired. Ejection port is located on the right side.
M16 rifles were fed from a box-shaped aluminum magazine, holding 20 rounds.
New 30-round curved magazines were introduced in 1970.
adjustable iron sights of the M16 are of diopter type. Range
adjustments are made by rotating a rear knob. First production
rifles had a sighting range of 500 meters.
rifle has a solid buttstock. It is worth mentioning, that because of
internal design this weapon can not be adapted for a folding
stock. Alternatively a telescopic stock can be used.
The M16 and
its variants are compatible with the M203 40-mm underbarrel grenade
launcher, mounted in place of the standard handguard. A
knife-bayonet can be attached. Some types of flash hiders can be
used to cut barbed wire by placing the flash hider over the wire and
improved version of the original M16.
It has been adopted by the US Army as a standard rifle in 1967;
variant of the previous M16A1, adapted for a new SS109 5.56x45
mm standard NATO round. This assault rifle has a heavier barrel and
different rear sight. A full-auto firing mode was replaced with
three round burst mode. Its ejection port also has a spent case
deflector. The M16A2 has been adopted by the US Army in
1982 and by the US Marine Corps in 1983. Soon it became the standard
improved version, fitted with Picatinny-type rail instead
of the carrying handle, which accepts a variety of scopes. A
detachable carrying handle can still be installed. Weapon's trigger
mechanism has a semi- and full-auto modes only;
similar to the M16A3, however has a three-round burst mode instead of
the full-auto mode;
M4 carbine, a shortened version of the
M16A2, fitted with a telescopic buttstock. It was adopted by the US
Army in 1994.
Video of the M16 assault
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