Awkward conversation.

I was recently at my favorite gun shop.

Clerk Who Didn’t Know Me: So what are you in the market for?

Me: An AR, Mil Spec.

CWDKM (nods and pulls a rifle off the rack behind him): Here you are sir. An accurate reproduction of the M-16A2 Service Rifle.

And indeed it was. I politely accepted and put it up to my shoulder and it fit into my shoulder-pocket like an old friend.

The thing about the M-16A2 is that it was built with the complaints of Vietnam era WWII career sergeants in mind. The M-16’s rollout was plagued by a lack of training on the rifle itself, no cleaning kits, and the Army’s stupid Fields of Fire doctrine.

Honestly, the only things that the A2 version brought to the party that the original version needed was the forward-assist and maybe the muzzle compensator.

The A2 is much heavier than it needs to be because the Lifer Sergeants felt the original version was too “wimpy”. I.E. Not as heavy as an M-1.

Pounds. Equal. Pain. The M-16A2 was always much heavier than it needed to be.

Me (politely returning the rife): Something less primitive please.

CWDKM (nods and pulls something else off the wall): What are planning to use it for sir?

Me (very awkward silence):

Gun Shop Owner Who Does Know Me (barely keeping from laughing): You still having trouble with coyotes on your property?

Me: Uh…YES! Yes, I do.

And I actually do, come to that.

4 thoughts on “

  1. *dark chuckle*

    Then the first 20 mags of ammo cost more than the gun!

    I’ve never heard anyone say that the forward assist was something that the original M16 actually needed, rather than something that the Army brass insisted be slapped on unnecessarily. Any chance you’d consider expanding on the point?


    1. 1. It allows the bolt to be closed silently.

      2. It allows a short-chamber. There are any number of reasons you might have to pull the bolt slightly, but not all the way back. Most common is to make sure the round actually chambered if you aren’t sure it did. Once you do that you’ll have to tap the forward assist to lock the chamber.

      3. If an M-16 is too dirty to cycle properly using the forward assist can allow the shooter to stay active and engaged albeit in a manner more closely resembling a single shot rifle. This has been “required” in a number of engagements in the last few years by soldiers whose rifles were too dusty, dirty, and dry to function.

      Not a problem if the weapon is clean of course but you can’t ask the OPFOR to give you a few minutes to break down your weapon.


  2. Good points.
    The silent bolt closure one is something I hadn’t really considered, but it’s obvious in hindsight how that could be useful.

    I think point 2 is sometimes remedied by pushing on the exposed portion of the BCG through the dust port to finish closing the bolt, but the forward assist is definitely less awkward, and much quieter than partially yanking the charging handle and releasing in an attempt to force it into battery.

    Point 3…oy. Definitely a case of needs must when the devil drives. Which is pretty much what you said.

    Thanks for the explanation; I’m really glad you’re still posting here as well as at Arkhaven’s blog. God bless!


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