Websites, forum postings, and blog entries heap scorn and derision on Eugene Stoner the M-16/AR-15/M4 family of rifles. Why? Everyone has a different reason, but it comes down to the old saying about greener grass. I have no doubt that the same kinds of grousing appeared when our military switched from the .45-70 cartridge to the ‘puny’ .30 caliber!
What’s amazing is the amount of engineering effort and money being spent to produce add-ons to “improve” the gun’s operating system. Fixing the gun’s “ills” has become big business, and everyone seems to be cashing in on the latest fashions.
I won’t bore you with my analysis of the rifle or its engineering; there are lots of armchair commandos out there who have already done so. Instead, I’ll simply relate what a good friend of mine tells me about the platform.
Some background: this is a guy who survived a particularly brutal civil war in his native country, shooting and being shot at on a very regular basis. He didn’t have the benefit of being in a heavily armed squad with mobility, air and artillery support, a division armory, and the prospect of getting out in a matter of mere months. He had to survive, with only one M-16 rifle and an extremely thin ammunition supply, for years against a well financed enemy hell-bent on killing his people and taking over his country. His rifle was, quite literally, his life.
He fought against the vaunted AK-47 fielded by his enemies (and occasionally with them when they were carried by his allies.) He therefore has unique and important experience with the two weapon systems that none of us is ever likely to accumulate. What is his take on all this?
“The AK-47 isn’t as good as you think it is, and the M-16 is better than you’ve been told.”
Most opinions I politely listen to; a few I take to heart. His fall into the latter category.
-=[ Grant ]=-