M14 Forum banner

1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering what the conversion from M14 to M16 was like at the time in service?

I'd like to hear from you guys who were either in Vietnam and handed a new rifle or were in boot camp with the M14 to be later issued a M16 in country. I'm trying to imagine what it would have been like to have been trained on the M14 and then handed a M16 to fight with. Were you at least given an introduction to the new rifle? If you were already in combat with the M14 how did you feel about giving up your old rifle?

Any and all stories and/or information on this subject is appreciated. I'm just intrigued by how this was done.

Thanks!
Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
I can't answer your question but in highpower shooting, I went from M14 to AR15. I never got comfortable with the AR. The M14 just fits me better and I have more confidence in it. A little less recoil would be nice but what's not to love about a M14?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
510 Posts
I was just talking to a gentleman this last week who went through that process. He said they didn't like the M-16 at all.... The weight was nice, but there was nothing else they liked about it. Having talked to vets about this when I was in the service (1975-79) they said they traded their M-16's to reserve units that had just landed "In Country" for their M-14's... A couple of guys said they even traded their M-16's for ARVN Garands...... Those ARVN troops sure didn't want to fire those Garands, and the M-16 was more powerful than the general issue M-1 carbine......
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,402 Posts
As noted before here on the same question years ago. I qualed on the M14 in Basic then was shipped out to AIT for Artillery training for 12 weeks at Ft. Sill Oklahoma. Just before completing the course, all the men who had not qualed on the M16 were taken for a fast two day course on the new combat rifle we were going to be using in the Southeast Asia vacation spots. I didn't see a M14 again for months till a few special units of the 101st Airborne around us (FSB Veghel, FSB Rakkasan & FSB Bastogne in the Thua Thien Province) would show-up from time to time carrying them. Very few of us like the new plastic toy made by Mattel called the M16 rifle. I missed the M14 and the M79...

GI5
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,821 Posts
My dad had to turn in his M14 in early 1968 after 3 months in country. He was NOT impressed with the M16 they gave him to replace it. He only got a brief lecture on the basics of the rifle and back to work he went!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrM1A

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,609 Posts
I can relate my dad's experience. He went through USAF boot camp and technical schools with an M1 Carbine. He qualified expert with it.

When he got to Vietnam as an intelligence specialist (which means he ran out to the RF-4 camera planes and retrieved the footage) he was handed an M16A1 and the only training he received was being shown how to make it shoot.

A few times he joined with some others who were shooting into the bushes at something. USN3
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrM1A

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,762 Posts
I trained and learned to respect the M14 in 1966 at Parris Island. I was so proud of my Expert qualification. Entered the RVN in October of 1967 just before my 19th birthday. At the time we still were issued the M14. Then the ships hit the fan in early 1968 and along came the POS M16. Our M14s were turned in, never to be see again. The M16 never worked for me from day one. One maybe 2 rnds and the darn thing would not extract. We cleaned polished and did everything we could but the rifle was just junk. After 2 weeks my m16 was taken back for rework what ever the heck that means. We were issued M3 sub guns with 6 mags and a 1911 with 4 mags. Only problem with that was 100 rnds of ammo was all we could get per man. The Seabeas in our area heard of our ammo shortage and were nice enough to stop by with a fork lift with a pallet of .45 acp. I never called the Navy fellas squids or dixie cups after that. The M16s came back after a week or so. Same POS. Same exact problems. We were told to either live with them , or die with them, it was our choice. Yea right , not my choice by any stretch. Give me an M14 any day and let the little fellas that hunt rabbits keep their M16 junk boxes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,998 Posts
My father joined the army in 1958 and trained on a Garand. He was in Vietnam with the 101st in 1968 and it was there he was first handed an M16. He was never issued an M14 during his various MOSs before then, so it was more of a transition from a Garand to an M16 for him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,299 Posts
Every VN Vet I ever met said they were sorry (pissed) the Army replaced the M14 with the "Plastic POS" Their words not mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,081 Posts
The M16 was a POS with double capital letter's.
I was lucky as a sniper I got to keep my M14. The 16 wasn't even issued with a cleaning kit at first.
It was designed to wound the enemy and not to kill him, the theory being it would take 2 or 3 men out of the action to care for the wounded. Didn't work, after a battle the NVA would use meat hooks to drag the bodies away so they couldn't be counted.
I have on several occasions saved some of my buddies when the POS 16 would jam during a battle by killing the NVA shooting at my friends with my 14 which never jammed even after being hit with a rocket blast that blew me 20 yards away and my 14 further. When the receiver would be packed with dirt and sand it could still be fired like a bolt action until cleaned.
The company commander made me a point man because of the fire power of the 14 over the 16. The ambushes of our squad went down a bunch because the enemy would see the 14 and back off.
I believe the 16 killed more American soldiers in Vietnam simply because of the problems with it jamming. There were many times we would recover the bodies of our buddies and find their M16 had jammed. Multiply that the whole country and the time the war took and you can imagine how many were needlessly killed.
This has all ways been a sore point with me and I personally blame Mcnamera and Johnson.
I have heard that they are still having the same problems with it as we did but are still using it because it is so cheap to produce.
Our government will trade the lives of our brave men for the all mighty dollar and they don't care because they don't fight the wars and they keep their relatives out though there connections.
Well off my soapbox for now.
Greg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,916 Posts
So, here is how it went down for me. Ft. Lewis August '69, issued M14's, mine a TRW. We had six weeks of BRM and put a lot of rounds down range. I had opportunity to put a lot more rounds down with some D.I. mentoring. I shot high BRM for the cycle, who knows how many grunts went thru that cycle but in '69 there had to be thousands. Go B-2-1! Then they took away the '14s and gave us this POS:" My Gun is Swell made by Mattel". EVERY ONE HATED IT. We spent an additional two weeks just training with the '16s. I made Expert with it but never carried it after. When I made E-5 I carried a 1911 (not A-1) and liked it better then the M-16! So now: I have three M1-As, I have five Grands, six O3 Springers of different models, six Krags, three Trapdoors…and NO AR's. Said enough? Your response is welcomed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,299 Posts
You Two Brave men just made my Point! Thank you for your Service and getting back to us in one piece!
 
  • Like
Reactions: gregaba

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
It's mind boggling to me that a change like this happened in war time.

Thanks to all of you who have contributed so far, especially the veterans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,302 Posts
The conversion from the M-14 to the M-16 was ANOTHER McNamara "good idea". My uncle was trained on the M-1 Garand at Great Lakes, but was issued an M-14 when he went to PBRs. He HATES the M-16, but loves the M-14.
 

·
Registered
79 IHC Scout II, 74 VW Bug class 11 look a like
Joined
·
6,708 Posts
I was never in the military so take this as you will but
From what I understand the M16 when it was first issued it did not have a chrome lined chamber or bore, this was McNamara fault because he did not think it was worth the cost to do it. Form what I understand they were not issued with a cleaning kit because they were supposed to be "Self Cleaning", Eugene Stoner never once said that, I saw a interview with him talking about the rifle being sabotaged during testing because Military did not want it, they would replace the hammer and trigger pins with welding rod and other things to make the rifle look bad.
Don't get me wrong I love the M14 but I would not feel under gunned armed with a AR15/M16A2, I am not a big fan of the M4/CAR. I think it looses to much with a 14" barrel. I do not consider my self a expert on either rifle but I have had both for the last 30 years, I have built 8 AR's in different configurations and 3 M14SA rifles and every one of them has been very reliable and accurate.

Casey
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
I guess I'll chime in and be the first to say I've only heard the opposite. I'm Vietnamese and nearly every male family member I know old enough to have been in the military, was. I don't think I've asked enough family members about the m14/garand to know how many of them got issued one, but my dad and uncle used them in basic and still tell jokes about the "poor sucker" who got stuck with one instead of an m16.

Interestingly enough, my dad calls the m14 a garand despite him recognizing my M1A as what he used. My uncle on the other hand is a bit older and positive he didn't use m14's but garands. I'm a bit under the impression that everyone calls the M14 a Garand among the Vietnamese troops. A couple of my other relatives say garand but mean M14. When asked about the M14, they don't recognize it but can pick out what they used when shown pictures between M14s and Garands.

My dad ended up an officer in what he says is the Vietnamese equivalent of the pentagon so he didn't have a whole lot of exposure but my uncle tells me stories about why they liked the m16 better. It boils down to weight. He's probably 130 and 5'6 now. My dad is 5'5 and was probably 120 back then. To them, it was just too heavy to carry and march with.

The funny part is, my uncle remembers the US military using the M14. He told me only the "big" white guys liked to carry them because they had the size to. "They liked the harder hitting gun despite the weight" he would say.

I figured on an M14 forum I'd see more bias but I'm a bit surprised to see so many prefer the M14. I personally agree, just surprising to see so many. Anyways, just wanted to share.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Can't believe somebody drug out the old WW1 9mm saw about only wounding the enemy and applied it to VN. That is a new one.
It is true Charlie drug off his dead, but so did we.

We had 14s in basic and partway thru infantry AIT, including the E2.
The school was at Ft Gordon in 67 and was Airborne oriented.

We went to 16s for live fire and used the 14s n the field due to lack of blank devices for 16s at the time.

We were thrilled to get rid of the 14. The weight of the piece and ammo left room for more stuff.
Infantry is a lot about carrying stuff.

When I got to VN after a years and a half training, I got sent out to an A Camp with a brand new M 2 Carbine. The strikers had carbines, Garands, BARs and .30 A6s.

We finally got an issue of modern weapons which were stacked in our arms room for inventory.
A 1st Cav FSB dropped 5 rnds 155 HE inside our perimeter that night. A couple hit the new guns and blew them to little pieces. Along with a couple strikers.

We got more and overall I was happy to have the 16. Early 1969.
The key was keeping them CLEAN. We spent a lot of time in swamps and rivers and the guns got soaked. You had to keep yout mags clean as well.

They were more accurate and had better range than AKs.

I think a lot of bad press comes from the early days when the piece was possibly a bit prematurely issued.

Funny someone would think they just hand you a strange piece with no training or orientation.

For the most part, American soldiers were not allowed to mix and match their weapons or carry around whatever they chose.

That is kind of blusterous stuff not based in fact.
Rare variations occured.
SF project guys could have what tever they wanted, though and they got exotic at times. Later on, that dwindled down.

I did carry a cleaning rod taped to mine, both for cleaning and stuck cases whivh I never had.

Anyways that some stuff I remember.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,081 Posts
The story we were told in 66 and 67 in training was the 16 was designed to wound and not kill. I was told this in both basic and at Ft. Gordon AIT and also at Ft. Benning in jump school.
I know the 16 round will kill someone but I have also seen NVA take a full mag in the chest and keep firing. I suspect they were on Hanoi joy juice but still the killing power of the 16 round is subpar. I agree it is better then the AK round.
As far as the weight I agree the 16 is lighter and a better choice for an A team member because the mission is quite a bit different then a infantry mission.
I would gladly carry the 14 over the 16 because of the over all benefits of the 14 over the 16, The weight didn't really bother me and the few times I ran out of ammo I could strip the rounds from the 60 belts and use them even if they did finally make my have the barrel changed.
Just a few thoughts.
Greg
 
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top