~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association History Project ~
720th MP
Battalion Weapons History
This Page Last Updated
  19 February 2012
AR15 / M16 Rifle
   WANTED: If you have any unusual photographs or can provide any interesting personal stories related to your use of this weapon, please take the time to contact the History Project Manager via this Email Link Your contributions to the Battalion history are always appreciated and welcomed.

   The AR15-M16 Rifle was developed due to general dissatisfaction with the M14 rifle and numerous studies led the Army to the development of a lighter weight weapon capable of firing a burst of small caliber bullets with a controlled dispersion pattern.

   Although opposed by the Ordnance Corps for several reasons, the primary one being the shorter range, the Armalite AR-15 was adopted by the Secretary of Defense as the 5.56mm M16 Rifle.

   Because of the troop build up in Vietnam outpaced the manufacturing of the M16, it was in short supply in the early years and most went directly to the U.S. and ARVN infantry units. In both my basic and advanced training and a tour in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division I never saw an M16 until I arrived in Vietnam in March 1968.

   There were many members of the Battalion that served in Vietnam in 1966 through 1967 who where never issued the M16. History Project Manager.

Shown with the 30 round "Banana Clip" magazine.

   Original Armed Forces Vietnam Radio - Spot Broadcast on the field maintenance of the M16 Rifle.

   The M16 was selectable for full and automatic fire. The M16 was to have had the same effective range as the M14 rifle it replaced (1,509.26 feet or 460 meters), but it was most effective at a range of 215 yards (200m) or less.

   The M16 used a 5.56mm (.223 cal.) cartridge in 20 or 30 round magazines. There were a number of problems encountered during initial fielding, but better training, preventive maintenance, and several design changes, resulted in the weapon that has become the standard issue rifle of the US Army, with some 3,690,000 having been manufactured.

< Photo G0080: Captured Viet Cong AK47 rifle, 30 round banana clip and rounds displayed with the M16 at B Company, 720th MP Battalion, Outpost-2 in Long Hung Village, early 1968. CPL Thomas T. Watson, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, March 1968 to March 1969, History Project Manager.

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