The M16A2 rifle is a 5.56X45mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated, air-cooled, shoulder-fired weapon. It is designed for either semiautomatic or three-round burst-control fire through the use of a selector lever. The barrel is surrounded by two aluminum lined fiberglass hand guards which are notched to permit air to circulate around the barrel and further serve to protect the gas tube. A super nylon butt plate is attached to the rear of the stock to partially reduce the effects of recoil. A forward assist assembly located on the right rear of the upper reciever permits manual locking of the bolt when this is not done by the force of the action spring. A spring-loaded rataining pin can be depressed with the nose of a cartridge to allow the trigger guard to be rotated down against the pistol grip to permit the firer ready access to the trigger when wearing gloves. A dust cover is provided to prevent dirt and sand from getting into the rifle through the ejection port. The dust cover should be kept closed at all times when the rifle is not being fired. It is opened automatically by the forward or rearward movment of the bolt carrier.
weight without magazine: 7.78 lbs
with 32 rd mag fully loaded: 8.79 lbs
length overall with flash compensator 21 inches.
standard ammunition includes ball, tracer and blank
The M16A2 was the next major model which had an improved sight, the optional addition of a brass deflector for left-handed shooters a 7-in-1 rifiling, and, most notibly, a three-round burst limiter.
The next model of the M16 (the M16A3 or M16A4 I cannot find reliable sources on either even Colt) eschews the burst limiter and adds a P-rail inplace of the handgrip.
Manufactured by Colt, the M16 series fire the 5.56x45mm NATO round, which is accurate but lacks stopping power. It comes in safety, single, and 3-round burst trigger groups (except for the M16A3 which is automatic.) Auto fire was not used as it was deemed a waste of ammunition (and it usually is).
The original M16 was notoriously unreliable, due to low-quality ammunition, nagging issues with the ammunition feed, and the fact that the weapon was advertised as 'maintenence-free' (lol). The M16A1 introduced the foward assist, which was used to clear the front section of the gun in the event of a jam.
After Vietnam, new ammunition was developed, which required a modification to the rifling. This, along with other changes, created the M16A2.
Later, the M16A4 was adopted, featuring (among other things) full modding capability with Picatinny rails, which were already a feature on the M4A1.
Contary to popular belief, as long as you keep them clean the newer models of the M16 don't jam all that often. Also, unlike what someone else claimed, a good buttstroke with the '16 can ruin someone's day. It's quite a sturdy weapon.
The carbine version of the M16 is the M4 (burst)/M4A1(auto).
"Now I'll just take him down with a well placed burst....Oh cripes, a jam!"
In short, it is the general issue weapon of choice for all branches of the United States military as well as many of the third world countries that we have so boldly entrenched ourselves into over the past 5 decades that we now call "allies". It is accurate only in the hands of someone who knows how to use it... as with ALL firearms. It is not necesarily heavy but is quite awkward and slowly becoming outdated. The M-4 should have become the general purpose weapon of choice 5 years ago.
Little known fact - the M-16 was not designed to inflict casualties, it was designed to inflict injuries... slightly scary how cruel that is if you think about it long enough... which i have.