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M16 rifle facts for kids

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Rifle, 5.56 mm, M16
From top to bottom: M16A1, M16A2, M4A1, M16A4
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1963–present
Used by See Users
Wars Vietnam War
Laotian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
The Troubles
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Communist Insurgency War
Lebanese Civil War
Salvadoran Civil War
Falklands War
1982 Lebanon War
Invasion of Grenada
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
Bougainville Civil War
United States invasion of Panama
Oka Crisis
Persian Gulf War
Yugoslav Wars
Somali Civil War
Operation Deny Flight
Operation Joint Endeavor
Nepalese Civil War
1996 Gangneung submarine infiltration incident
Kosovo War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
2006 Lebanon War
Mexican Drug War
2010 Rio de Janeiro Security Crisis
Syrian civil war
Gaza–Israel conflict
2013 Lahad Datu standoff
2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine
Iraq War (2014–present)
Production history
Designer Eugene Stoner and L. James Sullivan
Designed 1956
  • Colt's Manufacturing Company
  • Daewoo Precision Industries
  • FN Herstal
  • H&R Firearms
  • General Motors Hydramatic Division
  • Elisco
  • U.S. Ordnance
Produced 1959–present
No. built about 8 million
Variants See Variants
Specifications (M16)
Mass 7.18 lb (3.26 kg) (unloaded)
8.79 lb (3.99 kg) (loaded)
Length 39.5 in (1,003 mm)
Barrel length 20 in (508 mm)

Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt (direct impingement)
Rate of fire 12–15 rounds/min sustained
45–60 rounds/min semi-automatic
700–950 rounds/min cyclic
Muzzle velocity 3,110 ft/s (948 m/s)
Effective firing range 550 m (601 yd) (point target)
800 m (875 yd) (area target)
Maximum firing range 3,600 m (3,937 yd)
Feed system 20-round detachable box magazine:
0.211 lb (96 g) empty / 0.738 lb (335 g) full
30-round detachable box magazine:
0.257 lb (117 g) empty / 1.06 lb (480 g) full)
Beta C-Mag 100-round double-lobed drum:
2.20 lb (1,000 g) empty / 4.81 lb (2,180 g) full)
Sights Iron sights

The M16 is an assault rifle used by the United States since the Vietnam War in 1963, based on the AR-15. Since 1975, the M16 has been used by many different countries. First designed by Eugene Stoner in the United States of America, it is currently the standard infantry rifle used by the United States Military Forces. The rifle is being used by over 80 nations.

The M16 uses the 5.56mm NATO (.223) caliber cartridge, with a muzzle velocity (the speed of bullet leaving the rifle) of over 900 meters per second (over 3,000 feet per second), and has a maximum effective range of 550 meters, with a rate of fire (how fast the gun shoots) of approximately 800 rounds per minute. The M16A1 can shoot semi automatic and fully automatic fire. The M16A2 can shoot semi automatic and three-round-burst fire. The M4A1 Carbine retains full automatic and semi automatic fire. The M16 normally holds 30 cartridges in its magazine, but there are variants of the magazine that hold only 20 or 10 cartridges.

There is also an M16 variant for the Canadian Army called Diemaco C-7. The Diemaco C-7 rifles have maple leaves on the left side.

Related pages

  • Rose, Alexander. American Rifle-A Biography. 2008; Bantam Dell Publishing. .

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