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When I was in the army none of the M14s I had or saw ever had vented hand gards. They all thad the brown fully enclosed type and I was never aware that vented ones existed. SO- my question is.........When did they start using vented hand guards?..........SP/4 Twiggy
 

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From http://m14.freeservers.com

The very first hand guards for the U. S. M14 were made of black walnut. These were changed to a slotted fiberglass model in April, 1961. The slotted fiberglass hand guards were found to be fragile and caused mirage over the barrel on rapid fire. So, a solid fiberglass hand guard was developed and became the standard. USGI solid hand guards were made in at least four color variations, coffee, brown, dark brown and black. A more rugged solid fiberglass handguard is available from Fulton Armory. Prior to 1994, Springfield Armory sold heavy walnut match, extra fancy AAA grade walnut and laminated walnut/maple hand guards for the M1A (TM). Some Chinese M14 rifles were imported into the USA with a marbled brown fiberglass hand guard.
 

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From an historical point: The first slotted handguards tested at Springfield Armory had no internal silver paint. The paint was added after adoption to try to dissapate the heat. I have one of the pre-production handguards without the paint and it has the makers logo visible.
 
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