M16 Reliability

Cross-posted from GunPundit.com

U.S. Army Spc. Peter Hurlock qualifying with the M16 in Korea. April 14, 2009. (U.S. photo by Staff Sgt. Christophe D. Paul/Released)

U.S. Army Spc. Peter Hurlock qualifying with the M16 in Korea. April 14, 2009. (U.S. photo by Staff Sgt. Christophe D. Paul/Released)

A couple of posts by C.J. Chivers:

How Reliable Is the M-16 Rifle?


The M-16 Argument Heats Up, Again

Good overall views of the issue, though the increasing use of 77-grain Mk 262 ammunition with the Special Forces and the poor showing in US Army dust chamber tests against a trio of piston guns were not mentioned.

Also, he writes about the M855 not “fragmenting” as well as the M193. Didn’t he probably mean “tumbling”? Though they do sometimes fragment, I thought that was not the design intent.

Anyway, it’s nice to see decent coverage of this issue where it might get a little more visibility.


  1. Whoa. Whoa. Whoooooooooooa!

    Let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

    Here we have a pretty hard core, kinda fair, and almost balanced report, on a FIREARM, in the freaking NEW YORK TIMES!!!!

    Yeah, it’s only a blog. But still, this has to be a good sign, right???

  2. Like you said earlier, Murdoc, don’t get cocky kid.

    But still, as CSNY said in the 60’s, there’s something happening here….

  3. Mad Ogre has some interesting insights into the problem;

    Dick Culver had the pleasure of using M16s in combat;


    There’s a better rifle available that M16s themselves could be converted into, but Colt blackballed it. See for yourself;


  4. Thanks guys! I’m getting back into the job boards to see what’s available overseas (probably gonna be one of the Stans, as thats where the jobs are mostly headed). Now I’m all depressed, since you’;ve reminded me I’ll be risking my life, facing hoards of religiously zelous goats armed with effedtive Russian designed hardware, and I’ll be STUCK with some inadequate, poorly performing squirrel shooter. Hope it’s at least one with a bayonet lug, damn it!

    The last time it was a Bushmaster M4 flat top with a 3 round burst [Nice! :(] four mags and 120 rounds of M193. Of course, I had to wittily observe to in country management, Wow! Four whole mags! Guess that’s what the recruiter meant by “State of the Art Equipment and Weapons! They told me we were PSD, and weren’t there to fight, so that’s all we’d need. Them being psychic and able to “see” the exact circumstances of our disabled vehicle and the length of the ensuing fire fight. Fortunately, I was able to scrounge mags and ammo from the MilSpecs I was colocated with…….of course that was all M855 green and orange tip, not M193. Kept the various types in their own mags, and used the tracer as the last four rounds in all of ’em. Ended up with 17 mags and ammo (9 on my vest and rifle, and the rest in my bug out bag). Never had to fire a shot (except on the range)! Whew!

    Hey Murdoc! Got any 6.8mm rifles and mags at your shop for sale? .)

  5. Wow, that madogre rant is great!

    I just bought an AK a couple weeks ago as my SHTF gun, and a lot of the things he talks about went into my decision. But all my AR owning buddies think I’m some kind of closet commie now.

    I’ll be sending them a link to that article!

    I shot competitive rifle for years (made it to sharpshooter Bar 3 before my nerves quit on me), so I can appreciate what the AR’s can do. And I get the logistical advantages of .223. So I think the M-16 still has a lot going for it in military rifle squad type applications (The shorter barreled versions don’t make as much sense IMO).

    But for a gun that has gotta F’en work, I thought the AK made more sense. Plus with the gun and ammo costing ½ (or 1/3 if you want to go really cheap), it’s an even easier decision.

    You’ve just got to live with the disgusted looks you’ll get at the range….

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