Comparison of the AK-47 and M16
M16A2 (top) and AK-47 (bottom) assault rifles
|Manufacturer||Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash), Tula Arms Plant, TsNIITochMash, Zastava, Norinco, Arsenal Arms||ArmaLite, Bushmaster, Colt, GM, H&R, FN, Remington,|
|Weight (with loaded 30-round magazine)||4.78 kg (10.5 lb)||3.6 kg (7.9 lb)|
|Overall length||87.0 cm (34.3 in)||99.0 cm (39.0 in)|
|Barrel length||40.6 cm (16.0 in)||50.8 cm (20.0 in)|
|Height (with magazine)||26.7 cm (10.5 in)||26.7 cm (10.5 in)|
|Sight radius||37.8 cm (14.9 in)||50.0 cm (19.7 in)|
|Cartridge||(M43) 7.62×39mm||(M193) 5.56×45mm|
|Effective range||380 yd (350 m)||500 yd (460 m)|
|Accuracy @ 100 meters||
|Penetration (ballistic Gelatin)||≈29 in (74 cm)||≈14 in (36 cm)|
|Rate of fire||600 rounds/min||700–950 rounds/min|
|Standard magazine capacity||30 rounds||30 rounds|
|Designer||Mikhail Kalashnikov||Eugene Stoner|
AK-47, AKS-47, RPK, AKM, AKMS, AK-74, RPK-74, |
AK-100 series, AK-12, Galil
|AR-15, M16, XM16E1, M16A1, M16A2, M16A3, M16A4, M4, M4A1, M27, Colt 9mm SMG|
|Numbers made||~100 million AK-47 type rifles||~8 million M16 type rifles|
$700 to $800 per unit for a new AK-103|
|$700 per unit for a new M4|
The two most common assault rifles in the world are the Soviet AK-47 and the American M16. These Cold War-era rifles have been used in conflicts both large and small since the 1960s. They are used by military, police, security forces, revolutionaries, terrorists, criminals and civilians alike and will most likely continue to be used for decades to come. As a result, they have been the subject of countless comparisons and endless debate.
The AK-47 was finalized, adopted and entered widespread service in the Soviet Army in the early 1950s. Its firepower, ease of use, low production costs, and reliability were perfectly suited for the Soviet Army's new mobile warfare doctrines. More AK-type weapons have been produced than all other assault rifles combined. In 1974, the Soviets began replacing their AK-47 and AKM rifles with a newer design, the AK-74, which uses 5.45×39mm ammunition.
The M16 entered U.S. service in the mid-1960s. Despite its early failures, the M16 proved to be a revolutionary design and stands as the longest continuously serving rifle in American military history. The U.S. Military has largely replaced the M16 in combat units with a shorter and lighter version called the M4 carbine.
The Germans were the first to pioneer the assault rifle concept, during World War II, based upon research that showed that most firefights happen within 400 meters and that contemporary rifles were over-powered for most small arms combat. They would soon develop a select-fire intermediate powered rifle combining the firepower of a submachine gun with the range and accuracy of a rifle.
The result was the Sturmgewehr 44, which the Germans produced in large numbers; approximately half a million were made. It fired a new and revolutionary intermediate powered cartridge, the 7.92×33mm Kurz. This new cartridge was developed by shortening the standard 7.92×57mm Mauser round and giving it a lighter 125-grain bullet, that limited range but allowed for more controllable automatic fire. A smaller lighter cartridge also allowed soldiers to carry more ammunition "to support the higher consumption rate of automatic fire."
The Sturmgewehr 44 features an inexpensive, easy-to-make, stamped steel design and a 30-round detachable box magazine. "This weapon was the prototype of all successful automatic rifles. Characteristically (and unlike previous rifles and the M-14) it had a straight stock with the barrel under the gas cylinder to reduce the turning moment of recoil of the rifle in the shoulder and thus help reduce the tendency of shots to climb in automatic fire. The barrel and overall length were shorter than a traditional rifle and it had a pistol grip to hold the weapon more securely in automatic fire. The principle of this weapon — the reduction of muzzle impulse to get usable automatic fire within the actual ranges of combat — was probably the most important advance in small arms since the invention of smokeless powder." On July 15, 1943, a Sturmgewehr was demonstrated before the People's Commissariat of Arms of the USSR. The Soviets were so impressed with the Sturmgewehr, that they immediately set about developing an intermediate caliber automatic rifle of their own, to replace the PPSh-41 submachine guns and badly outdated Mosin–Nagant bolt-action rifles that armed most of the Soviet Army.
The Soviets soon developed the 7.62×39mm M43 cartridge, the semi-automatic SKS carbine and the RPD light machine gun. Shortly after World War II, the Soviets developed the AK-47 assault rifle, which would quickly replace the SKS in Soviet service. The AK-47 was finalized, adopted and entered widespread service in the Soviet army in the early 1950s. Its firepower, ease of use, low production costs, and reliability were perfectly suited for the Red Army's new mobile warfare doctrines. In the 1960s, the Soviets introduced the RPK light machine gun, itself an AK-47 type weapon with a bi-pod, a stronger receiver, and a longer, heavier barrel that would eventually replace the RPD light machine gun.
The AK-47 was widely supplied or sold to nations allied with the USSR, and the blueprints were shared with several friendly nations (the People's Republic of China standing out among these with the Type 56). As a result, more AK-type weapons have been produced than all other assault rifles combined. "Of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s."
On the other hand, the U.S. Army was influenced by combat experience with semi-automatic weapons such as the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, which enjoyed a significant advantage over enemies armed primarily with bolt-action rifles. Although U.S. Army studies of World War II combat accounts had very similar results to that of the Germans and Soviets, the U.S. Army failed to recognize the importance of the assault rifle concept, and instead maintained its traditional views and preference for high-powered semi-automatic rifles. At the time, the U.S. Army believed that the Sturmgewehr 44 was "intended in a general way to serve the same purpose as the U.S. carbine" and was in many ways inferior to the M1 carbine, and was of "little importance".
After World War II, the United States military started looking for a single automatic rifle to replace the M1 Garand, M1/M2 Carbines, M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, M3 "Grease Gun" and Thompson submachine gun. However, early experiments with select-fire versions of the M1 Garand proved disappointing. During the Korean War, the select-fire M2 Carbine largely replaced the submachine gun in US service and became the most widely used Carbine variant. However, combat experience suggested that the .30 Carbine round was under-powered. American weapons designers reached the same conclusion as the Germans and Soviets: an intermediate round was necessary, and recommended a small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge.
However, senior American commanders–having faced fanatical enemies and experienced major logistical problems during WWII and the Korean War–insisted that a single, powerful .30 caliber cartridge be developed, capable of being used by both the new automatic rifle and the new general-purpose machine gun (GPMG) in concurrent development. This culminated in the development of the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.
The United States Army then began testing several rifles to replace the obsolete M1 Garand. Springfield Armory's T44E4 and heavier T44E5 were essentially updated versions of the Garand chambered for the new 7.62 mm round, while Fabrique Nationale submitted their FN FAL as the T48. ArmaLite entered the competition late, hurriedly submitting several AR-10 prototype rifles in the fall of 1956 to the United States Army's Springfield Armory for testing.
The AR-10 featured an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design, forged aluminum alloy receivers and with phenolic composite stocks. It had rugged elevated sights, an oversized aluminum flash suppressor and recoil compensator, and an adjustable gas system. The final prototype, featured an upper and lower receiver with the now-familiar hinge and takedown pins, and the charging handle was on top of the receiver placed inside of the carry handle. For a 7.62mm NATO rifle, the AR-10 was incredibly lightweight at only 6.85 lbs. empty. Initial comments by Springfield Armory test staff were favorable, and some testers commented that the AR-10 was the best lightweight automatic rifle ever tested by the Armory.
In the end, the United States Army chose the T44, now called the M14 rifle–an improved M1 Garand with a 20-round magazine and automatic fire capability. The U.S. also adopted the M60 general purpose machine gun (GPMG). Its NATO partners adopted the FN FAL and HK G3 rifles, as well as the FN MAG and Rheinmetall MG3 GPMGs.
The first confrontations between the AK-47 and the M14 came in the early part of the Vietnam War. Battlefield reports indicated that the M14 was uncontrollable in full-auto and that soldiers could not carry enough ammo to maintain fire superiority over the AK-47. And, while the M2 Carbine offered a high rate of fire, it was under-powered and ultimately outclassed by the AK-47. A replacement was needed: A medium between the traditional preference for high-powered rifles such as the M14, and the lightweight firepower of the M2 Carbine.
As a result, the Army was forced to reconsider a 1957 request by General Willard G. Wyman, commander of the U.S. Continental Army Command (CONARC) to develop a .223 caliber (5.56 mm) select-fire rifle weighing 6 lbs (2.7 kg) when loaded with a 20-round magazine. The 5.56mm round had to penetrate a standard U.S. helmet at 500 yards (460 meters) and retain a velocity in excess of the speed of sound, while matching or exceeding the wounding ability of the .30 Carbine cartridge.
This request ultimately resulted in the development of a scaled-down version of the Armalite AR-10, called ArmaLite AR-15 rifle. However, despite overwhelming evidence that the AR-15 could bring more firepower to bear than the M14, the Army opposed the adoption of the new rifle. In January 1963, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that the AR-15 was the superior weapon system and ordered a halt to M14 production. At the time, the AR-15 was the only rifle available that could fulfill the requirement of a universal infantry weapon for issue to all services.
After modifications (most notably, the charging handle was re-located from under the carrying handle like AR-10 to the rear of the receiver), the new redesigned rifle was subsequently adopted as the M16 Rifle. "(The M16) was much lighter compared to the M14 it replaced, ultimately allowing Soldiers to carry more ammunition. The air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed assault rifle was made of steel, aluminum alloy and composite plastics, truly cutting-edge for the time. Designed with full and semi-automatic capabilities, the weapon initially did not respond well to wet and dirty conditions, sometimes even jamming in combat. After a few minor modifications, the weapon gained in popularity among troops on the battlefield."
Despite its early failures the M16 proved to be a revolutionary design and stands as the longest continuously serving rifle in American military history. It has been adopted by many U.S. allies and the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge has become not only the NATO standard, but "the standard assault-rifle cartridge in much of the world." It also led to the development of small-caliber high-velocity service rifles by every major army in the world, including the USSR and People's Republic of China. It has been called a benchmark against which other assault rifles are judged.
The M16 is a select-fire, 5.56×45mm, air-cooled, direct impingement gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle, with a rotating bolt and straight-line recoil design. It was designed above all else to be a lightweight assault rifle, and to fire a new lightweight, high velocity small caliber cartridge to allow the soldier to carry more ammunition. It was designed to be manufactured with the extensive use of aluminium and synthetic materials by state of the art Computer Numerical Control (CNC) automated machinery. The M16 is a Modular Weapon System, easily configured as an assault rifle, a carbine, a submachine gun and an open-bolt squad automatic weapon. It is easy to assemble, modify and repair using a few simple hand tools, and a flat surface to work on.
At peak production, Colt's manufacturing capacity was approximately 333,000 units per year  The M16 continues to benefit from every advance in the CNC field. which allows more and more small manufacturers to mass-produce M16s and semi-automatic AR-15 type rifles.[notes 1] The M16's aluminum lower receivers may be forged or cast. Their receivers may also be made from titanium and a variety of other metallic alloys, composites or polymers. If necessary, the M16 can be machined from a billet of steel and fitted with wooden furniture. The M16's internal components such as the bolt carrier group and charging handle may also be made of titanium. The M16's aluminum receiver and other parts may even be 3D printed, allowing "people with no gunsmith training to assemble a working assault rifle at home". This makes the M16 ideal for market economy production, spread among many small manufacturers around the country, using a variety of materials and manufacturing methods; this ensures it would be nearly impossible to disrupt U.S. M16 rifle production in the case of a major conflict.
The AK-47 is a select-fire, 7.62×39mm, air-cooled, long-stroke-piston gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle, with a rotating bolt. It was designed to be a simple, reliable automatic rifle that could be manufactured quickly and cheaply, using mass production methods that were state of the art in the Soviet Union during the late 1940s. The AK-47's barrel and bolt were milled out of a steel billet and hard chromed. Its receiver was originally designed to be stamped from sheet metal with a milled trunnion insert. However, there were many difficulties during the initial phase of production causing high rejection rates due to faulty receivers. Instead of halting production, a heavy forged steel machined receiver was substituted for the sheet metal receiver. This was a more costly and time consuming process, but advanced the program's development and accelerated production. The AK's furniture was simply made out of wood, which was a non-strategic material, and perfectly fits the Soviet manufacturing philosophy, where large manufacturing plants produce basic weapons in very large quantities.
In 1959, the sheet metal stamping process was perfected, simplifying production and reducing the weight of the rifle from 3.87 kg (8.5 lb) to 2.93 kg (6.5 lb) without magazine. Most of the AK type rifles in use today are of this lighter stamped-steel AKM variety. Over time, AK production has been simplified through the use of rivets, spot welding and by further reducing the number of machined parts.
Current model AK's are made using modern manufacturing processes and have many component parts produced by investment casting. This method gives a detailed and accurate product with excellent metallurgical properties. They come in 7.62×39mm (AK-103), 5.45×39mm (AK-74M) and 5.56×45mm (AK-101), with cold hammer forged barrels. They are also made with the use of synthetic/plastic furniture, such as folding stocks, handguards and pistol-grips.
At peak production, Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash) can produce around 95 units per hour (about 832,000 units per year). Because of its stamped-steel design it is not possible to manufacture the AK-47 series efficiently in small plants, due to the large amount of metal stamping equipment needed for mass production. However, the milled-steel AK-47 has spawned a cottage industry of sorts and has been copied and manufactured (one gun at a time) in small shops around the world.
As of 2014, Kalashnikov Concern  sells the AK-103 at a government price of $150 to $160 (USD) per unit. There are places around the world where an AK-47 type rifle can be purchased on the Black Market "for as little as $6, or traded for a chicken or a sack of grain." Approximately 100 million AK-47 type rifles have been made worldwide.
Comparison of characteristics
Size and weight
|AK-47||M16A1||AKM [a]||M16A2 [b]||AK-103||M4|
|Barrel length||41.5 cm (16.3 in)||50.8 cm (20.0 in)||41.5 cm (16.3 in)||50.8 cm (20.0 in)||41.5 cm (16.3 in)||36.8 cm (14.5 in)|
|Overall length||87 cm (34 in)||99 cm (39 in)||87 cm (34 in)||100.64 cm (39.62 in)||94.3 cm (37.1 in)||83.8 cm (33.0 in)|
|NA||NA||NA||NA||70.5 cm (27.8 in)
|75.6 cm (29.8 in)|
|Weight of rifle with
loaded magazine [c]
|4.78 kg (10.5 lb)||3.6 kg (7.9 lb)||3.75 kg (8.3 lb)||3.99 kg (8.8 lb)||4.1 kg (9.0 lb)||3.33 kg (7.3 lb)|
|Weight of loaded
0.92 kg (2.0 lb).
0.45 kg (0.99 lb)
0.82 kg (1.8 lb)
0.45 kg (0.99 lb)
0.74 kg (1.6 lb)
0.45 kg (0.99 lb)
- Most of the AK type rifles in use today are of the lighter stamped-steel AKM variety.
- The M16A2 weighs more and is slightly longer than the original, with the addition of heavier (and more accurate) barrels, improved sights and more rugged furniture.
- Earlier versions of the AK used wood furniture, the type and density of which causes the AKs weight to vary. Whereas, the M16 and current models of the AK use synthetic materials, which have consistent weights.
"The AR-15/M16-series rifles are considered the finest human-engineered assault rifles in the world." The M16 is ergonomically superior to the AK-47 in most respects. It is much easier and faster to change magazines and get the M16 back into action than with the AK-47. This is due to several factors, such as perfectly located magazine release and bolt release buttons, a flared magazine well for fast magazine insertions, and the ability to simply insert the magazine into the M16 in a conventional manner, rather than the "rock and lock" method required with the AK-47. In addition, it is easier for an M16 user to keep the strong hand on the pistol-grip and sights on target while performing magazine changes than with the AK-47.
The M16 has a well designed safety lever located on the left side of the weapon that is easily manipulated by the user's thumb while maintaining a strong hold on the pistol-grip. With the AK-47 the safety is a large lever on the right side of the weapon that is not at all easy to manipulate. "It is slow, uncomfortable and sometimes stiff to operate." For most users, the hand must come off the pistol-grip to either apply or disengage the safety. It also makes a "loud and distinctive click" when used. While the fire selector "is considered by many as the main drawback of the whole AK design", its most frequently criticized feature is its trigger mechanism. "The Kalashnikov trigger system, conceptually derived from that of the U.S. .30 M1 Garand rifle, is all too often plagued with an objectionable, and sometimes quite painful, "trigger slap" and a creepy and unpredictable trigger pull."
|The M16's most distinctive ergonomic feature is the carrying handle and rear sight assembly on top of the receiver. Current issue M16A4s and M4s have detachable carrying handles and use Picatinny rails which allow for the use of various scopes and sighting devices.||The AK-47 does not have a carrying-handle.|
|The fire selector is located on the left side of the rifle just above the pistol grip and is rotated by the shooter's right thumb. When the selector points forward = safe, up = semi-auto and backward = full-auto or burst. To use, the selector is rotated 90 degrees clockwise (down and forward) into the semi-auto position and then rotated an additional 90 degrees clockwise (forward and up) into the full-auto or burst position. To return to safe the selector is then rotated 180 degrees counter-clockwise (down, backward and up). Some M16 type rifles also have an ambidextrous fire selector on the right side of the receiver, designed to be operated by a left-handed shooter's thumb. This selector mirrors its opposite and functions as describe above.||The fire selector is a large lever located on the right side of the rifle; it acts as a dust-cover and prevents the charging handle from being pulled fully to the rear when it is on safe. It is operated by the shooter's right fore-fingers and it has 3 settings: up = safe, center = full-auto and down = semi-auto. The reason for this is that, when under stress, a soldier will push the selector lever down with considerable force bypassing the full-auto stage and setting the rifle to semi-auto. To set the AK-47 to full-auto requires the deliberate action of centering the selector lever. Some AK-47 type rifles also have a small vertical selector lever on the left side of the receiver just above the pistol grip. This lever is operated by the shooter's right thumb and has three settings: forward = safe, center = full-auto and backwards = semi-auto.|
|The charging handle is located on top of the receiver, below and to the rear of the rear sight/carrying handle. To chamber, simply insert a loaded magazine straight into the magazine well, then pull the cocking handle back and release. The charging handle does not reciprocate while firing.||The charging handle is located on the right side of the receiver. To chamber, simply rock a loaded magazine into the magazine well in a forward to back motion, then pull the cocking handle back and release. The charging handle reciprocates while firing.|
|The magazine release is a push button, located on the right side of the receiver in front of the trigger. To reload, the magazine release is pushed in, the empty magazine falls out and a loaded magazine is then inserted straight into the magazine well.||The magazine release is a lever located directly in front of and just below the trigger guard. To reload push the magazine release lever forward, the empty magazine is removed and a loaded magazine is then rocked into the magazine well in a forward to back motion.|
|The bolt-stop/release is located on the left side of the receiver and the bolt-carrier-assembly locks back after the last shot. After reloading, the bolt-stop is pushed, the bolt-carrier-assembly is released, and the rifle is chambered and ready to fire. Also, leaving the bolt open for as long as possible aids in cooling and prevent cartridges from "cooking off."||Does not have a bolt-stop/release and does not lock back on the last shot. After reloading, simply pull back and release the charging handle, and the rifle is chambered and ready to fire.|
|The M16A1 and later models have a separate forward-assist on the right side to the rear of the receiver which is operated by pushing it forward.||The charging handle also acts as a forward assist which is operated by pushing it forward.|
|Has a spring-loaded dust-cover, which opens when the rifle is fired or chambered. The dust-cover must be closed manually.||The fire selector doubles as a dust-cover when set to "safe".|
|pull weight of 5.5 to 9.0 pounds;
creep of .04 to .05 inches;
mechanical energy of .22 to .45 inch pounds
|pull weight of 3.0 to 7.0 pounds;|
creep of .15 inches;
mechanical energy of .45 to 1.05 inch pounds
|The M16s trigger-guard can be lowered to allow the trigger to be pulled while wearing winter mittens.||The AK-47s trigger-guard is fixed and "does not lend itself well to trigger operation wearing heavy gloves." However the AK-47's trigger guard is larger and has more room inside it than other similar weapons, somewhat mitigating the issue.|
|To prevent hot shell casings from hitting a left handed shooter's face, older M16s had a plastic cartridge deflector attachment that is mounted in the carrying handle. Current model M16s have a cartridge deflector bump built into the upper receiver.||The AK-47 has no need for a cartridge deflector, as it ejects spent shell casings to the right at a forward and upward angle.|
|The M16 gets extremely hot when fired for prolonged periods. However, early model M16s use a large well-insulated triangular shaped forestock to protect the shooter's hands. The M16A2 and later models use rounded forestocks, that are stronger, more ergonomic and better insulated.||The AK-47 also gets extremely hot when fired for prolonged periods. However, the AK-47 has a small poorly-insulated fore-stock that overheats quickly making the AK hard to handle. The AK-47's wooden fore-stocks have even been known to catch fire if magazines are shot quickly enough on full-auto. Some older AK type rifles have vertical foregrips which make it easier to control and cooler to the touch making the AK easier to handle as it overheats.|
|The M16 has variants with shortened barrels and adjustable telescoping buttstocks.||The AK-47 has variants with both standard and shortened barrels, and both under- and side-folding buttstocks.|
With the proper mind-set, training and practice, soldiers armed with both the AK-47 and M16 are quite deadly. However, the M16's direct impingement gas operation system, straight-line recoil design and smaller caliber give it less recoil than the AK-47 and makes it easier to control in full-auto.
"The (M16's) Stoner system provides a very symmetric design that allows straight line movement of the operating components. This allows recoil forces to drive straight to the rear. Instead of connecting or other mechanical parts driving the system, high pressure gas performs this function, reducing the weight of moving parts and the rifle as a whole." The M16's straight-line recoil design, where the recoil spring is located in the stock directly behind the action, and serves the dual function of operating spring and recoil buffer. The stock being in line with the bore also reduces muzzle rise, especially during automatic fire. Because recoil does not significantly shift the point of aim, faster follow-up shots are possible and user fatigue is reduced. Also, current model M16 flash-suppressors also act as compensators to reduce recoil further.
With the AK-47's long-stroke piston gas system, the piston is mechanically fixed to the bolt group and moves through the entire operating cycle. The primary disadvantage to this system is the disruption of the point of aim due to the center of mass changing during the action cycle and energetic and abrupt stops at the beginning and end of bolt carrier travel. However, the AK-47's heavier weight and slower rate-of-fire do a good job of mitigating any disadvantage. In addition, newer AK-47 type rifles use a muzzle brake or compensator to reduce recoil. Some AK type rifles also have vertical foregrips to improve handling characteristics and to counter the effects of recoil.
|momentum||40.4 lb-fps||54.3 lb-fps|
|velocity||5.1 fps||5.2 fps|
|energy||3.2 ft-lbs||4.4 ft-lbs|
Notes: Free Recoil is mathematical equation calculated by using the rifle weight, bullet weight, muzzle velocity and charge weight. It is that which would be measured if the rifle were fired suspended from strings, free to recoil. As mentioned above, a rifle's perceived recoil is also dependent on many other factors which are not readily quantified.
"A longer rifle barrel has the advantages of a longer sight radius, theoretically allowing a shooter to obtain a higher degree of accuracy from the improved precision of the sights alone. A longer barrel also provides a longer path for the projectile to stabilize prior to exiting the barrel, while allotting a longer period of time for the propellant charge to act on the projectile, often resulting in higher muzzle velocities and more consistent trajectories. A long barrel inherently provides more mass available for heat transfer, increasing the heat transfer rate incurred between shots, in turn allotting less warpage in the barrel, helping to improve consistency (and ultimately accuracy)."
The M16 has a 50.8 cm (20.0 in) barrel and a 500mm (19.75 inches) sight radius. The M16 uses an L-type flip, aperture rear sight and it is adjustable with two setting, 0 to 300 meters and 300 to 400 meters. The front sight is a post, adjustable for elevation in the field. The rear sight can be adjusted in the field for windage. The sights can be adjusted with a bullet tip and soldiers are trained to zero their own rifles. The sight picture is the same as the M14, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and the M1917 Enfield. The M16 also has a "Low Light Level Sight System", which includes a front sight post with a small glass vial of (glow-in-the-dark) radioactive Tritium H3 and a larger aperture rear sight. The M16 can mount a scope on the carrying handle. With the advent of the M16A2, a new fully adjustable rear sight was added, allowing the rear sight to be dialed in for specific range settings between 300 and 800 meters and to allow windage adjustments without the need of a tool or cartridge. Current issue M16A4s and M4s have detachable carrying handles and use Picatinny rails which allow for the use of various scopes and sighting devices. The current United States Army and Air Force issue M4 Carbine comes with the M68 Close Combat Optic and Back-up Iron Sight. The United States Marine Corps uses the ACOG Rifle Combat Optic and the United States Navy uses EOTech Holographic Weapon Sight.
The AK-47 has a 41.5 cm (16.3 in) barrel and a 378mm (14.88 inches) sight radius. The AK-47 uses a notched rear tangent iron sight, it is adjustable and is calibrated in hundreds from 100 to 800 meters (100 to 1000 meters for AKM models). The front sight is a post adjustable for elevation in the field. Windage adjustment is done by the armory before issue. The "fixed" battle setting can be used for all ranges up to 300 meters. This "point-blank range" setting marked "П", allows the shooter to fire at close range targets without adjusting the sights. Longer range settings are intended for area suppression. These settings mirror the Mosin–Nagant and SKS rifles which the AK-47 replaced. Some AK type rifles have a front sight with a flip-up luminous dot that is calibrated at 50 meters, for improved night fighting. All current AK-47s (100 series), have a side rail for mounting a variety of scopes and sighting devices, such as the PSO-1 Optical Sniper Sight. However, their side folding stocks cannot be folded with the optics mounted. AK-47 Side Rail mounted optics and rails have an advantage of holding point of impact zero, upon removal and installation, and are quick to detach if the operator needs to quickly use iron sights due to a optic malfunction. Additionally, many optics allow co-witness of the iron sights as well. As the mount is near the operators firing hand, these mounts and optics do not upset the balance of the weapon.
M16A4/M203 Note: sights on Picatinny rails
Range and accuracy
A brief comparison between cartridges reveals that the M16's lighter, higher-velocity 5.56×45mm cartridge has much better range and accuracy than the AK-47's heavier 7.62×39mm cartridge.
|Effective*||Horizontal**||Lethal***||Maximum****||10 shot group
@ 100 meters
|10 shot group|
@ 300 meters
Note *: The effective range of a firearm is the maximum distance at which a weapon may be expected to be accurate and achieve the desired effect.
Note **: The horizontal range is the distance traveled by a bullet, fired from the rifle at a height of 1.6 meters and 0° elevation, until the bullet hits the ground.
Note ***: The lethal range is the maximum range of a small-arms projectile, while still maintaining the minimum energy required to put a man out of action, which is generally believed to be 15 kilogram-meters (108 ft.-Ibs.). This is the equivalent of the muzzle energy of a .22LR handgun.
Note ****: The maximum range of a small-arms projectile is attained at about 30° elevation. This maximum range is only of safety interest, not for combat firing.
The M16 rifle is "accurate beyond description". Its light recoil, high-velocity and flat trajectory allow shooters to take head shots out to 300 meters. Newer M16s use the newer M855 cartridge increasing their effective range to 600 meters. They are also more accurate than their predecessors and are capable of shooting 1–3 inch groups at 100 yards. "In Fallujah, Marines with ACOG-equipped M16A4s created a stir by taking so many head shots that until the wounds were closely examined, some observers thought the insurgents had been executed." The newest M855A1 EPR cartridge is even more accurate and during testing "... has shown that, on average, 95 percent of the rounds will hit within an 8 × 8-inch target at 600 meters."
The AK-47's accuracy has always been considered to be "good enough" to hit an adult male torso out to about 300 meters. "At 300 meters, expert shooters (firing AK-47s) at prone or at bench rest positions had difficulty putting ten consecutive rounds on target." Despite the Soviet engineers' best efforts and "no matter the changes, the AK-47's accuracy could not be significantly improved; when it came to precise shooting, it was a stubbornly mediocre arm." Curiously, the newer stamped steel receiver AKM models are actually less accurate than their predecessors. "There are advantages and disadvantages in both forged/milled receivers and stamped receivers. Milled/Forged Receivers are much more rigid, flexing less as the rifle is fired thus not hindering accuracy as much as stamped receivers. Stamped receivers on the other hand are a bit more rugged since it has some give in it and have less chances of having metal fatigue under heavy usage." As a result, the milled AK-47's are capable of shooting 3–5 inch groups at 100 yards, whereas the stamped AKM's are capable of shooting 4–6 inch groups at 100 yards. The best shooters are able to hit a man-sized target at 800 metres within five shots (firing from prone or supported position) or ten shots (standing).
|Single-shot hit-probability on Crouching Man (E-Silhouette) Target|
|Rifle||Caliber||Hit-probability (With no range estimation or aiming errors)|
|50 meters||100 meters||200 meters||300 meters||400 meters||500 meters||600 meters||700 meters||800 meters|
A brief comparison between cartridges reveals that the AK-47's heavier 7.62×39mm cartridge has much better penetration than the M16's lighter, higher-velocity 5.56×45mm cartridge. However, it also reveals that the M16's lighter, higher-velocity 5.56mm bullet has a tendency to fragment on impact causing larger wounds than the AK-47's heavier 7.62mm bullet, which does not fragment on impact.
@ 10 meters
@ 100 meters
|3/4" pine boards
@ 100 meters
|Concrete building block
(one center rib)
|Steel helmet||1.9mm steel
@ 100 meters
+ layers of
|AK-47||7.62×39mm||M43||≈29 in (74 cm)
|13 in (33 cm)
|both sides to 200 m
one side to 400 m
|both sides to 200 m
one side to 400 m
|33 layers of Kevlar|
|M16||5.56×45mm||M193||≈14 in (36 cm)
into smaller pieces)
|4 in (10 cm)
|one side to 200 m
|both sides to 300 m
one side to 500 m
|31 layers of Kevlar|
The AK-47's heavier 7.62×39mm round has superior penetration when compared to the M16's lighter 5.56×45mm round and is better in circumstances where a soldier has to shoot through heavy foliage, walls or a common vehicle's metal body and into an opponent attempting to use these things as cover. The 7.62×39mm M43 projectile does not generally fragment in soft tissue and has an unusual tendency to remain intact even after making contact with bone. The 7.62×39mm round produces significant wounding in cases where the bullet tumbles in tissue, but produces relatively minor wounds in cases where the bullet exits before beginning to yaw. In the absence of yaw, the M43 round can pencil through tissue with relatively little injury and its wounding potential is limited to the small permanent wound channel the bullet itself makes.
The original ammunition for the M16 was the 5.56×45mm M193 round. When fired from a 20" barrel at ranges of up to 100 meters, the thin-jacketed lead-cored round traveled fast enough (above 2900 ft/s) that the force of striking a human body would cause the round to yaw (or tumble) and fragment into about a dozen pieces of various sizes thus created wounds that were out of proportion to its caliber. These wounds were much larger than those produced by AK-47 and they were so devastating that many considered the M16 to be an inhumane weapon. As the 5.56mm round's velocity decreases, so does the number of fragments that it produces. The 5.56mm round does not normally fragment at distances beyond 200 meters or at velocities below 2500 ft/s, and its lethality becomes largely dependent on shot placement.
In March 1970, the U.S. recommended that all NATO forces adopt the 5.56×45mm cartridge. This shift represented a change in the philosophy of the military's long-held position about caliber size. By the mid 1970s, other armies were looking at M16-style weapons. A NATO standardization effort soon started and tests of various rounds were carried out starting in 1977. The U.S. offered the 5.56×45mm M193 round, but there were concerns about its penetration in the face of the wider introduction of body armor. In the end the Belgian 5.56×45mm SS109 round was chosen (STANAG 4172) in October 1980. The SS109 round was based on the U.S. cartridge but included a new stronger, heavier, 62 grain bullet design, with better long range performance and improved penetration (specifically, to consistently penetrate the side of a steel helmet at 600 meters). Due to its design and lower muzzle velocity (about 3110 ft/s) the Belgian SS109 round is considered more humane because it is less likely to fragment than the U.S. M193 round. The NATO 5.56×45mm standard ammunition produced for U.S. forces is designated M855.
Most, if not all, of the 7.62×39mm ammunition found today is of the upgraded M67 variety. This variety deleted the steel insert, shifting the center of gravity rearward and allowing the projectile to destabilize (or yaw) at about 3.3 in (8.4 cm), nearly 6.7 in (17 cm) earlier in tissue than the M43 round. This change also reduces penetration in ballistic gelatin to ≈25 in (64 cm) for the newer M67 round verses ≈29 in (74 cm) for the older M43 round. However, like the M43, the wounding potential of M67 is mostly limited to the small permanent wound channel the bullet itself makes, especially when the bullet yaws (tumbles).
There is now relative parity between the wounding capacity of the M67 and the current M855 5.56×45mm round. However, there have been repeated and consistent reports of the M855's inability to wound effectively (i.e. fragment) when fired from the short barreled M4 carbine (even at close ranges). The M4's 14.5" barrel length reduces muzzle velocity to about 2900 ft/s. This reduced wounding ability is one reason that, despite the Army's transition to short-barrel M4's, the Marine Corps has decided to continue using the M16A4 with its 20″ barrel as the 5.56×45mm M855 is largely dependent upon high velocity in order to wound effectively.
In 2003, the U.S. Army contended that the lack of lethality of the 5.56×45mm was more a matter of perception than fact. With good shot placement to the head and chest, the target was usually defeated without issue. The majority of failures were the result of hitting the target in non-vital areas such as extremities. However, a minority of failures occurred in spite of multiple hits to the chest. In 2006, a study found that 20% of soldiers using the M4 Carbine wanted more lethality or stopping power. In June 2010, the United States Army announced it began shipping its new 5.56mm, lead-free, M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round to active combat zones. This upgrade is designed to maximize performance of the 5.56×45mm round, to extend range, improve accuracy, increase penetration and to consistently fragment in soft-tissue when fired from not only standard length M16s, but also the short-barreled M4 carbines. The U.S. Army was so impressed with the M855A1 EPR round that they also developed the 7.62×51mm M80A1 EPR version.
During the 1990s, the Russians developed the AK-101 in 5.56×45mm NATO for the world export market. In addition, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia (i.e. Serbia) have also rechambered their locally produced AK variants to 5.56mm NATO. And, Finland, Israel, South Africa and Sweden have made AK type rifles in 5.56×45mm since the 1970s.
Rates of fire
Both the AK-47 and the M16 are select-fire weapons capable of firing in semi-automatic and full-auto, or semi-auto and 3-round-burst for the later model M16s. However, the semi-auto and 3-round-burst capability of the M16A2 and M4 models have less combat capability than their predecessors or AK-47 type rifles. This is due to the elimination of full-auto mode of fire In addition, the burst mechanism does not recycle; if one or two rounds are fired because the trigger is not held long enough, the next pull of the trigger will not result in a three-round burst, but will result in one or two shots being fired. The M4A1 and HK416 have abandoned the 3-round-burst capability and returned to the more traditional semi-automatic and full-auto modes of fire, while the M16A4 retains the 3-round burst mode.
|Rifle||Rate of fire|
|Full-auto cyclical||Full-auto practical||3-round-burst practical *||Semi-auto practical||Sustained **|
|AK-47||600 rpm||100 rpm||NA||40 rpm||12 to 15 rpm|
|M16||700–950 rpm||150 rpm||90 rpm||45 rpm||12 to 15 rpm|
Note *: The AK-47 does not have a three-round burst capability. The M16A2 and M4 models have replaced the full-auto mode of fire with a three-round burst capability.
Note **: Both the AK-47 and the M16 will overheat fairly quickly under normal combat conditions and have a sustained rate of fire as low as 12 to 15 rounds per minute (about the same as a bolt-action rifle).
The standard magazine capacity for both the AK-47 and M16 type rifles is 30 rounds, although lower and higher capacity magazines are available for both systems. However, the single most limiting factor in terms of firepower is the amount of ammunition that a soldier can carry. A soldier armed with an M16 can carry far more ammo than a soldier armed with an AK-47. Assuming a maximum 10 kilogram ammo-load...
|Magazine||Weight of loaded
|Max. 10.1 kg (22 lb)
ammunition load *
|AK-47 slab-sided steel magazine||0.916 kg (2.02 lb)||30 rounds||10 magazines @ 9.61 kg (21.2 lb)||300 rounds|
|AKM ribbed stamped-steel magazine||0.819 kg (1.81 lb)||30 rounds||12 magazines @ 9.83 kg (21.7 lb)||360 rounds|
|AK-103 steel-reinforced plastic magazine||0.739 kg (1.63 lb)||30 rounds||13 magazines @ 9.61 kg (21.2 lb)||390 rounds|
|M16 aluminum 20-round magazine||0.320 kg (0.71 lb)||20 rounds||31 magazines @ 9.92 kg (21.9 lb)||620 rounds|
|M16 aluminum 30-round magazine||0.490 kg (1.08 lb)||30 rounds||20 magazines @ 9.80 kg (21.6 lb)||600 rounds|
Note *: 10 kg (22 lb) is the maximum amount of ammo that the average soldier can comfortably carry... it also allows for best comparison of the three most common AK-47 magazines to the standard USGI M16 magazine.
|All current M16 type rifles are capable of launching NATO STANAG type 22mm rifle grenades from their integral flash hiders without the use of an adapter. These 22mm rifle grenade types range from powerful anti-tank rounds to simple finned tubes with a fragmentation hand grenade attached to the end. The "standard" type rifle grenade is propelled by a blank cartridge inserted into the chamber of the rifle. The "bullet trap" and "shoot through" types, as their names imply use live ammunition. The U.S. military does not generally use rifle grenades,[notes 2] however they are used by other nations.||Some AK-47 type rifles like the Zastava M70's are also capable of launching 22mm rifle-grenades and have a grenade-launching ladder-type sight and gas cut-off, attached to the front end of the gas cylinder and coupled to the gas regulator. To launch rifle-grenades a 22mm adapter is screwed on in place of the slant brake or other muzzle device.|
|All M16 type rifles can mount a cup-type launcher used to launch the "400" or "Skittering" Tear-Gas Grenade.||All AK-47 type rifles can mount a (rarely used) cup-type grenade-launcher that fires standard RGD-5 Soviet hand-grenades. The soup-can shaped launcher is screwed onto the AK-47's muzzle. To fire first, insert a standard RGD-5 hand-grenade into the launcher and then remove the safety pin. Second, insert a special blank cartridge into the rifles chamber. Third, place the butt-stock of the rifle on the ground and fire from this position. The maximum effective range is approximately 150 meters. This cup-type launcher can also be used to launch tear-gas grenades.|
|All current M16 type rifles can mount under-barrel grenade-launchers such as the M203 and M320||All current AK-47 type rifles can mount under-barrel grenade-launchers such as the GP-25 series|
|All current M16 type rifles can mount under-barrel 12 gauge shotguns such as KAC Masterkey or the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System|
|The M16 can mount the M234 Riot Control Launcher, which uses blank cartridges to launch either the M734 64 mm Kinetic Riot Control or the M742 64 mm CSI Riot Control Ring Airfoil Projectiles. The latter produces a 4 to 5 foot Tear Gas cloud on impact. The M234 is no longer used by United States forces. It has been replaced by the M203 40mm grenade launcher and nonlethal ammunition.|
|The M16 can mount the Rifleman's Assault Weapon (also called RAW). This close-support, 140 mm spherical rocket-propelled grenade was developed around 1977 and put into limited service by the United States Marine Corps in the 1990s. The RAW's 1-kg high explosive squash head (HESH) warhead can penetrate 20 cm of reinforced concrete (creating a 36 cm-wide hole) and hit moving targets at a range of 300 meters. The RAW is no longer used by the USMC. It has been replaced by the Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (also called SMAW).|
Note: All of these grenades, launchers and shotguns add additional bulk and weight to the soldiers war-load and as a result, they reduce the amount rifle ammunition that soldiers can carry. For example, a modern French AC58 "bullet trap" rifle grenade is 380mm long and weighs 0.5 kg (1.1 lb), the equivalent of a loaded M16 magazine. An M203 grenade launcher adds 1.4 kg (3 lb) to an M16's weight and 40×46mm High Explosive (HE) grenades weigh 0.24 kg (0.53 lb), about half the weight of a loaded M16 magazine.
Polish kbkg wz. 1960 with 22mm rifle-grenade launcher attached to muzzle
Neither the AK-47 nor the M16 were designed to mount accessories, except of course for their respective bayonets and a simple clamp type bipod for the M16. However, with the advent of the Picatinny rail and by sheer happenstance, the M16 has proven itself to be a remarkably adaptable weapon system, capable of mounting a wide range of accessories, including grenade launchers, fore-grips, removable carry handle/rear sight assemblies, bipods, laser systems, electronic sights, night vision, tactical lights, etc. The AK-47 can also use Picatinny rail mounted accessories, although its design and smaller fore-stock make it less adaptable.
In addition, the M16 is "the Swiss Army knife of rifles" a modular weapon system whose components can be arranged in a variety of different configuration. For example, an M16A2 with its standard iron sights and a standard fore-stock can be easily converted, in a matter of seconds and without the use of tools to an M16A4 with Picatinny rails, optical sights and a variety of accessories. This is accomplished by simply pushing in two pins, removing the A2 upper receiver/barrel and replacing it with an A4 upper receiver/barrel. Or, an M16A4 Rifle can be converted to an M4 Carbine in a few minutes by replacing the upper receiver/barrel and using simple hand-tools to replace the fixed buttstock with a telescoping buttstock. As such, the M16 can be easily converted into different calibers and different types of weapons. The AK-47 has no such capability.
Today, bayonets are rarely used in combat. However, both the AK-47 and M16 retain bayonet lugs and bayonets are still issued. Also, bayonets are still used for controlling prisoners and as a weapon of "last resort". In addition, some authorities have concluded that bayonets serve as useful training aids in building morale and increasing desired aggression in troops.
The M16 is 44.25 inches (1124mm) long with an M7 bayonet attached. The M7 bayonet is based on earlier designs such as the M4, M5, & M6 bayonets, all of which are direct descendants of the M3 Fighting Knife and have spear-point blade with a half sharpened secondary edge. The newer M9 bayonet has a clip-point blade with saw teeth along the spine, and can be used as a multi-purpose knife and wire-cutter when combined with its scabbard. The current USMC OKC-3S bayonet bears a resemblance to the Marines' iconic Ka-Bar fighting knife with serrations near the handle.
The AK is 40.15 inches (1020mm) long with an AKM type bayonet attached. The AK-47 has an adequate but unremarkable bayonet. However, the AKM Type I bayonet (introduced in 1959) was a revolutionary design. It has a Bowie style (clip-point) blade with sawteeth along the spine, and can be used as a multi-purpose knife and wire-cutter when combined with its steel scabbard. This design was copied by other nations and formed the basis of the US M9 bayonet. The AK-74 bayonet (introduced in 1983) represents a further refinement of the AKM bayonet. "It introduced a radical blade cross-section, that has a flat milled on one side near the edge and a corresponding flat milled on the opposite side near the false edge. The blade has a new spear point and an improved one-piece molded plastic grip making it a more effective fighting knife. It also has saw-teeth on the false edge and the usual hole for use as a wire-cutter. Some Chinese AK type rifles such as the Type 56 include an integral folding spike bayonet, similar to the SKS rifle.
The AK-47 has always enjoyed a reputation for rugged reliability and has a malfunction rate of one per 1000 rounds fired. It uses a long-stroke gas system, where the gas is sent from the barrel to push a piston attached to the bolt carrier, thus operating the action. The gas tube is fairly large and is visible above the barrel with ports or vents to allow the excess "dirty" gas to escape without affecting the action. The AK-47 is often built with generous clearances, allowing it to function easily in a dirty environment with little or no maintenance. This makes it reliable but less accurate.
The M16 has always had a reputation for poor reliability and has a malfunction rate of two per 1000 rounds fired. The M16 uses a unique gas powered operating system. "This gas operating system works by passing high pressure propellant gasses tapped from the barrel down a tube and into the carrier group within the upper receiver, and is commonly but incorrectly referred to as a "direct impingement gas system". The gas expands within a donut shaped gas cylinder within the carrier. Because the bolt is prevented from moving forward by the barrel, the carrier is driven to the rear by the expanding gasses and thus converts the energy of the gas to movement of the rifle’s parts. The bolt bears a piston head and the cavity in the bolt carrier is the piston sleeve. It is more correct to call it an "internal piston" system." This design is much lighter and more compact than a gas-piston design. However, this design requires that combustion byproducts from the discharged cartridge be blown into the receiver as well. This accumulating carbon and vaporized metal build-up within the receiver and bolt-carrier negatively affects reliability and necessitates more intensive maintenance on the part of the individual soldier. The DI operation increases the amount of heat that is deposited in the receiver while firing the M16 and causes essential lubricant to be "burned off". This requires frequent and generous applications of appropriate lubricant. Lack of proper lubrication is the most common source of weapon stoppages or jams.
The original M16 fared poorly in the jungles of Vietnam and was infamous for reliability problems in the harsh environment. As a result, it became the target of a Congressional investigation. The investigation found that:
- The M16 was billed as self cleaning (when no weapon is or ever has been).
- The M16 was issued to troops without cleaning kits or instruction on how to clean the rifle.
- The M16 and 5.56×45mm cartridge was tested and approved with the use of a DuPont IMR8208M stick powder, that was switched to Olin Mathieson WC846 ball powder which produced much more fouling, that quickly jammed the action of the M16 (unless the gun was cleaned well and often).
- The M16 lacked a forward assist (rendering the rifle inoperable when it jammed).
- The M16 lacked a chromed barrel and chamber, causing corrosion problems, contributing to case swelling and extraction failures (which was considered the most severe problem and required extreme measures to clear, such as inserting the cleaning-rod down the barrel and knocking the spent cartridge out).
When these issues were addressed and corrected by the M16A1, the reliability problems decreased greatly. According to a 1968 Department of Army report, the M16A1 rifle achieved widespread acceptance by U.S. troops in Vietnam. "Most men armed with the M16 in Vietnam rated this rifle's performance high, however, many men entertained some misgivings about the M16's reliability. When asked what weapon they preferred to carry in combat, 85 percent indicated that they wanted either the M16 or its submachine gun version, the XM177E2. (The M14 was preferred by 15 percent, while less than one percent wished to carry either the Stoner rifle, the AK-47, the carbine or a pistol.)" In March 1970, the "President’s Blue Ribbon Defense Panel" concluded that the issuance of the M16 saved the lives of 20,000 U.S. servicemen during the Vietnam War, who would have otherwise died had the M14 remained in service. However the M16 rifle's reputation continues to suffer.
After the introduction of the M4 Carbine, it was found that the shorter barrel length of 14.5 inches also has a negative effect on reliability, as the gas port is located closer to the chamber than the gas port of the standard length M16 rifle: 7.5 inches instead of the 13 inches. This affects the M4's timing and increases the amount of stress and heat on the critical components, thereby reducing reliability. In a 2002 assessment the USMC found that the M4 malfunctioned three times more often than the M16A4 (the M4 failed 186 times for 69,000 rounds fired, while the M16A4 failed 61 times). Thereafter, the Army and Colt worked to make modifications to the M4s and M16A4s in order to address the problems found.
In tests conducted in 2005 and 2006 the Army found that on average, the new M4s and M16s fired approximately 5,000 rounds between stoppages. In 2010, U.S. Marines operating in Afghanistan reported no reliability problems with their M16 rifles and M4 carbines. "This is more so given the account of Chief Warrant Officer Joshua S. Smith, the Marine responsible for weapons training and performance in the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, which is engaged in daily fighting in Marja. 'We've had nil in the way of problems; we've had no issues,' he said of the M-4s and M-16s. The battalion has about 350 M-16s and 700 M-4s, he said."
The newest version of the M16 in U.S. service is the HK416 (a.k.a. the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle) which uses a proprietary gas system derived from the HK G36, replacing the direct impingement gas system used by the standard M16/M4. The HK system uses a short-stroke gas piston driving an operating rod to force the bolt carrier to the rear. This design prevents combustion gases from entering the weapon's interior, a shortcoming with direct impingement systems. The reduction in heat and fouling of the bolt carrier group increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages. The short-stroke gas piston require less maintenance and cleaning. It reduces operator cleaning time and stress on critical components. "Improving the service interval requirements provides a major benefit to soldiers that may not have the ability or opportunity to thoroughly clean their rifle. Also, the design of the external gas piston system is less susceptible to build up of other contaminants in extreme environments." During factory tests the HK416 fired 10,000 rounds in full-auto without malfunctioning.
"Magazines are one of the most important elements of any firearm design. They are responsible for the feeding portion of the cycle of operation. Even in the most proven arm that reliably extracts and ejects, the magazine has to be 100-percent reliable for it to consistently feed properly."
The AK-47's 30-round magazines have a pronounced curve that allows them to smoothly feed ammunition into the chamber. Their heavy steel construction combined with "feed-lips" (the surfaces at the top of the magazine that control the angle at which the cartridge enters the chamber) machined from a single steel billet makes them highly resistant to damage. These magazines are so strong that "Soldiers have been known to use their mags as hammers, and even bottle openers." This makes the AK-47 magazine more reliable, although heavier than U.S. and NATO magazines. The early slab-sided steel AK-47 magazines weigh 0.43 kg (0.95 lb) empty. The later steel AKM magazines had lighter sheet-metal bodies with prominent reinforcing ribs weighing 0.33 kg (0.73 lb) empty. The current issue steel-reinforced plastic magazines are even lighter, weighing 0.25 kg (0.55 lb) empty. Early steel AK-47 magazines are 9.75 inches long, and the later ribbed steel AKM and newer plastic magazines are about an inch shorter.
The M16's magazine was meant to be a lightweight, disposable item. As such, it is made of pressed/stamped aluminum and was not designed to be durable. Therefore, it is easier to damage than an AK-47 magazine and the feed lips are proportionally weaker when compared to the AK-47. The M16 originally used a 20-round magazine which was later replaced by a bent 30-round design. As a result, the magazine follower tends to rock or tilt, causing malfunctions. Many non-U.S. and commercial magazines have been developed to effectively mitigate these shortcomings (e.g., H&K's all-stainless-steel magazine, Magpul's polymer P-MAG, etc.). Standard USGI aluminum 30-round M16 magazines weigh 0.11 kg (0.24 lb) empty and are 7.1 inches long. The newer plastic magazines are about a half inch longer.  The newer steel magazines are about a half inch longer and 4 ounces heavier. The M16's magazine has become the unofficial NATO STANAG magazine and is currently used by many Western Nations, in numerous weapon systems.
In 2009, the U.S. Military began fielding an "improved magazine" identified by a tan-colored follower. "The new follower incorporates an extended rear leg and modified bullet protrusion for improved round stacking and orientation. The self-leveling/anti-tilt follower minimizes jamming while a wider spring coil profile creates even force distribution. The performance gains have not added weight or cost to the magazines."
In July 2016, the U.S. Army introduced the new Enhanced Performance Magazine. These new magazines have tan bodies and blue followers. "Unlike previous magazines, the EPM uses a new, modified magazine body (and therefore not interchangeable, hence the different color) which presents the rounds at a more favorable angle to the rifle’s feedway, improving reliability and, importantly, preventing the hardened steel tips of new 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Rounds from contacting the aluminum feed ramp section on M4 type rifles." This allows for a dramatic 300% increase in the number of rounds fired between stoppages.
AK-47 type rifles are made in dozens of countries, with "quality ranging from finely engineered weapons to pieces of questionable workmanship."  As a result, the AK-47 has a service/system life of approximately 6,000, to 10,000, to 15,000 rounds. The AK-47 was designed to be a cheap, simple, easy to manufacture assault rifle, perfectly matching Soviet military doctrine that treats equipment and weapons as disposable items. As units are often deployed without adequate logistical support and dependent on "battlefield cannibalization" for resupply, it is actually more cost-effective to replace rather than repair weapons.
Both the AK-47 and the M16 have small parts and springs that need to be replaced every few thousand rounds. However "Every time (an AK) is disassembled beyond the field stripping stage, it will take some time for some parts to regain their fit, some parts may tend to shake loose and fall out when firing the weapon. Some parts of the AK-47 line are riveted together. Repairing these can be quite a hassle, since the end of the rivet has to be ground off and a new one set after the part is replaced."
M16 type rifles are made by dozens of manufactures around the world, to the highest standards "the goal of which is to ensure that products designed for military use meet the necessary requirements with regard to quality, durability, ruggedness, commonality, interchangeability, total cost of ownership, logistics and other military and defense-related objectives." The M16's barrel life is approximately 15,000 rounds for standard issue M16A4s and M4s. Cold hammer forged steel barrels such as those used on the HK416 have service life of 20,000 to 50,000 rounds depending on the intensity of use. A badly worn M16 barrel will cause the bullets to tumble in flight. However, the M16's upper receiver/barrel may be swapped out in a matter of seconds, without the use of tools, simply by pushing out two pins. The M16 was designed to be a serviceable assault rifle, perfectly matching American military doctrine where units are resupplied on a continuous basis, and are expected to perform most of their own maintenance and repairs in the field. As such, American units are well supplied and are quickly provided with whatever spare-parts they need by their logistical support systems.
An M16 rifle that has been declared non-serviceable may be sent to a Small Arms Repair Facility, where it is overhauled, upgraded and returned to service. The M16 rifle may be recycled almost infinitely, as any individual part can be easily replaced until none of the original parts remain.
|The M16 has a chamber pressure of 52,000 psi||The AK-47 has a chamber pressure of 50,000 psi|
|The M16s Rifling is:
early models have 4 grooves, right hand twist, 1 turn in 14 inches (355.6 mm);
later models have 6 grooves, right hand twist, 1 turn in 12 inches (304.8 mm);
most current models have 6 grooves, right hand twist, 1 turn in 7 inches (177.8 mm);
some current models have 6 grooves, right hand twist, 1 turn in 9 inches (228.6 mm) 
|The AK-47s Rifling is:|
4 grooves, right hand twist, 1 turn in 9.25 inches (235 mm)
|The M16 has a flash-hider or flash-suppressor. Also, current M16 flash-suppressors also act as compensators.||The AK-47 does not have a flash-hider. However, all AKM and current AK models have a simple slant-type muzzle-brake or compensator.|
|The M16 can mount several types of silencers and sound suppressors||The AK-47 can mount PBS-1 silencer (sound suppressor)|
|The M16 uses synthetic furniture which is more durable than wood.||The AK-47 uses wood furniture which can break, split, crack and rot. However, later model AKs use synthetic furniture.|
|The M16 can be field stripped without tools||The AK-47 can be field stripped without tools|
|The M16 has a large storage compartment in the buttstock that holds the rifle's cleaning kit (or anything else that will fit inside).||The AK-47 has a small storage compartment in the buttstock that only holds the rifle's cleaning kit capsule.|
|The M16s multi-piece cleaning rod is located in the buttstock (or wherever else the soldier put it), and it cannot be easily reached and assembled if needed to clear a malfunction.||The AK-47s one-piece cleaning rod is located below the barrel and can be easily reached if needed to clear a malfunction.|
|The M16 can be disassembled into upper and lower halves, shortening the overall length for ease of storage and transport.|
|The M16s bolt carrier group is small enough that an extra group can be carried as a back-up. If necessary a malfunctioning group can be quickly and easily removed, and replaced.|
|Early model M16 barrels could bend under rough handling or while firing as the barrel overheats. However, this shortcoming was corrected by the M16A2.|
|Early model M16 furniture could be damaged by rough handing. However, this shortcoming was corrected by the M16A2.|
|Barrels smaller than .25 caliber, such as those found on the M16, have a propensity to retain water, due to surface tension and capillary attraction, causing excessive overpressure when the weapon is fired. This requires the user to open the chamber while draining the barrel. However, the U.S. military provides a protective muzzle cap to keep water out of the M16s barrel.||Barrels larger than .25 caliber, such as those found on the AK-47 do not retain water and the water drains freely (even when loaded).|
|The AK-47s receiver top-cover may fall off under rough handling or while firing. Also, the recoil impulse of launching 40mm grenades from the GP-25 and GP-30 grenade launchers would cause the receiver top-cover to fly off. As a result, the newer AK-100 series have a "spring-loaded button at the top end of the recoil spring's guide rod (that) prevents the top cover from flying off into the Siberian sunset."|
|The AK-47s exposed gas cylinder is easily dented by rough handling, sometimes causing malfunctions.|
|The M16 has variants with shortened barrels and adjustable telescoping buttstocks.||The AK-47 has variants with both standard and shortened barrels, and both under and side folding buttstocks.|
|M16 type rifles are currently made in 5.56×45mm NATO, 6.8×43mm SPC and .300 AAC Blackout caliber.||AK-47 type rifles are currently made in 7.62×39mm, 5.45×39mm and 5.56×45mm NATO.|
|The 7.62mm NATO SR-25 and M110 are based on the original AR-10, but feature additional refinements to maximize parts commonality with the M16.||Zastava Arms makes 7.62×51mm NATO, 7.62×54mmR and 7.92×57mm AK versions, and the IMI Galil is also made in 7.62mm NATO.|
|The M16 has a smaller 9mm, closed bolt, blowback operated, submachine gun version called the Colt SMG.||The AK-47 has smaller 9mm, submachine gun versions called the Vityaz-SN. and the Bizon|
|The M16 has an open-bolt light machine gun version called the Colt Automatic Rifle with a heavier barrel and integrated bipod. It has a distinctive squared shaped hand-guard with forward pistol grip and carrying handle. It can also use larger MWG 90-round "snail drum" and 100-round Beta C-mags.||The AK-47 has a widely used closed-bolt light machine gun version called the RPK with a stronger receiver, longer heavier barrel, an attached bipod and can use larger 40-round box and 75-round drum magazines.|
|The M16 has belt-fed light machine gun versions made by several manufactures, including the Ares Defense Shrike 5.56.|
|The M16's lower receiver may also be mated with the AR-57 and .50 caliber bolt-action upper receivers.|
|The M16 has .410 gauge shotgun versions; Safir T-14 and the ATI OMNI.||The AK-47 has shotgun versions; the Saiga-12 and KSK|
|The M16 has .22 caliber conversion kits.||The AK-47 has .22 caliber conversion kits.|
|The M16s sound level is:
for shooter = 155 (dB)
1 m to side = 163 (dB)
10 m to side = 141 (dB)
|The AK-47s sound level is:|
for shooter = 159 (dB)
1 m to side = 163 (dB)
10 m to side = 141 (dB)
|The M16s sling is not only used to carry the rifle, but also to help support and stabilize the rifle while shooting, to allow for more accurate fire. "When the rifle sling is adjusted properly, it will provide maximum stability for the weapon and help reduce the effects of the rifle's recoil. There are three basic types of rifle sling adjustments: the loop sling, the hasty sling, and the three-point sling."|
AK-74 vs M16A2
"The AK-74 assault rifle was a Soviet answer to the US M16." The Russians realized that the M16 had better range and accuracy over the AKM, and that its lighter cartridge allows soldiers to carry more ammunition. Therefore, in 1967, the USSR issued an official requirement to replace the AKM and the 7.62×39mm cartridge. They soon began to develop the AK-74 and the 5.45×39mm cartridge.‹See TfM›[failed verification] AK-74 production began in 1974, and it was unveiled in 1977, when it was carried by Soviet parachute troops during the annual Red Square parade. It would soon replace the AKM and become the standard Soviet infantry rifle. In 1979, the AK-74 saw combat for the first time in Afghanistan.
The AK-74 is best described as a modified version of the 7.62×39mm AKM rifle. These modifications were primarily the result of converting the rifle to the 5.45×39mm cartridge, some early models are reported to have been rebarreled AKMs. The AK-74 and AKM share 9 assemblies and 52 parts (36% & 53% parts commonality, respectively).
The 5.45×39mm cartridge is much lighter than the 7.62×39mm round that it replaced, allowing soldiers to carry 1.5 times more ammunition. The AK-74 also offers improved range and accuracy over the AKM. However, the AK-74s range and accuracy, according to one source, is still "inferior to most Western weapons," including current issue M16 type rifles.
The 5.45 mm bullet tumbles in soft tissue producing temporary cavities at a depth of 10 cm (3.9 in) and 35 cm (13.8 in). This effect is similar to, but more rapid than with 7.62×39mm cartridge. The 5.45mm round offers better penetration over the U.S. round. However, unlike its counterpart, the 5.45mm round "does not deform or fragment when striking soft tissues." Nevertheless, during the Afghan war the Mujahedeen called the 5.45×39mm round the "Poison Bullet" due to the severe wounds it produced to extremities and the resulting need to amputate.
|Available firepower comparison|
|Magazine||Weight of loaded
|Max. 10 kg (22 lb)
|AK-74 steel-reinforced plastic magazine||551 g (1.215 lb)||18 magazines @ 9.92 kg (21.9 lb)||540 rounds|
|M16 aluminum magazine||490 g (1.08 lb)||20 magazines @ 9.80 kg (21.6 lb)||600 rounds|
|Ballistic & terminal ballistics comparison|
@ 10 meters
|20 shot group @
|20 shot group @
|20 shot group @
|20 shot group @
|10 shot group @|
|M16A2||5.56×45mm||SS109 / M855||62 gr
|≈34 cm (13 in)|
into smaller pieces)
|AK-74||5.45×39mm||7N6 FMJ||53 gr
|≈52 cm (20 in)|
Notes *: Group = Extreme Spread of group...Hits = Hits on 39" high × 19" wide silhouette
|Single-shot hit-probability on Crouching Man (E-Silhouette) Target|
|Rifle||Caliber||Hit-probability (With no range estimation or aiming errors)|
|50 meters||100 meters||200 meters||300 meters||400 meters||500 meters||600 meters||700 meters||800 meters|
Rifle evaluation study
The following Summary has been taken directly from the "Rifle Evaluation Study", United States Army, Combat Development Command, ADA046961, 20 Dec 1962. Additional information can be found in "Rifle Evaluation Study", United States Army, Infantry Combat Developments Agency, ADA050268, 10 Dec 1962".
Note: This is the first time that the United States Army compared the AR-15/M16 and the AK-47.
|Weight with bipod||Superior||Unacceptable||None|
|Position disclosure effect||Acceptable||Acceptable||Unacceptable|
|Grenade launching capability||Unacceptable||Unacceptable||None|
|Ease of handling||Superior||Acceptable||Superior|
|Provision for bayonet||Acceptable||Acceptable||Acceptable|
|Night firing capability||Unacceptable||Acceptable||Unknown|
|Automatic rifle mode|
The AR-15 was not equipped with any flash suppressor during the conduct of this test. Also, there was only a small amount of ammunition available for use in the AK-47. As a result, the night firing capability of both the AR-15 and AK-47 were not properly tested. In a subsequent test at Fort Benning an AR-15 equipped with a flash suppressor was tested against both the M14 and the AK-47. The AK-47 was not equipped with a flash suppressor.
|Method||Visual detection range (m)|
- http://www.janes.com/article/25839/izhmash-formally-renamed-kalashnikov As of August 2013, Izhmash has been formally renamed Kalashnikov Concern
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- http://www.keyforensic.co.uk/docs/2013_45_3_222_Kabbani.pdf Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine AFTE Journal, Volume 45 Number 3, Summer 2013
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110629035622/http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/weapon.shtml Izhmash product page
- "How Kalashnikov Guns Are Made". English Russia. 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Soliman M. Santos, Jr. et al. Primed and purposeful armed groups and human security efforts in the Philippines. South–South Network for Non-State Armed Group Engagement and the Small Arms Survey. Philippines/Switzerland. April 2010. ISBN 978-2-940415-29-8
- Craft Production of Small Arms. Small Arms Survey Research Notes • Number 3 • March 2011 pp. 1–2
- "Tehelka - The People's Paper". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11.
- Small arms in Africa: Counting the cost of gun violence Archived January 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Un.org (2000-07-06). Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
- Lisa Misol, Joost R. Hiltermann, Ernst Jan Hogendoorn (2002) Playing with fire: weapons proliferation, political violence, and human rights in Kenya. Human Rights Watch ISBN 1-56432-275-0
- http://www.keyforensic.co.uk/docs/2013_45_3_222_Kabbani.pdf Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine AFTE Journal -- Volume 45 Number 3 -- Summer 2013 "The Kalashnikov is relatively cheap, the cost depending in any given circumstance on availability. For example £50 in Lebanon during the previous civil war, and as little as £4 in areas of Africa and can be traded for a bag of maize in Mozambique."
- AK-47 Inventor Doesn't Lose Sleep Over Havoc Wrought With His Invention Archived 2010-06-03 at the Wayback Machine. FOXNews.com (2007-07-06). Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
- http://larcpistolandrifleclub.com/pdfs/army_tm_9_1005_319_10.pdf Archived 2015-11-07 at the Wayback Machine ARMY TM 9-1005-319-10
Air Force to.11W3-55-41
Navy SW 370-BUJ-OPl-010
Supersedes copy dated August 1986.
See page i for details.
Operator's Manual for
Rifle, 5.66 MM, M16A2 W/E (1005-01-128-9936) (EIC:4GM)
Rifle, 5.56 MM, M16A3 (1005-01-367-5112)
Rifle, 5.56 MM, M16A4 (1005-01-383-2872)( EIC:4F9)
Carbine, 5.56 MM, M4 W/E (1005-01-231-0973) (EIC:4FJ)
Carbine, 5.56 MM, M4A1 (1005-01-382-0953) (EIC:4GC)
- See inside cover for distribution statement.
- "Ak 47 Technical Description - Manual". Scribd.com. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifles AK103, АК104". Izhmash.ru. 2001-09-02. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- "Colt Weapon Systems, M16 5.56mm Rifle". 2011-06-16. Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-425-21750-4.
- Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. p. 102. ISBN 0425217507.
- http://www.gundigest.com/article/the-ar-16m16-the-rifle-that-was-never-supposed-to-be Gun Digest Book of Classic Combat Rifles. AR-15/M16: The Rifle That Was Never Supposed to Be. By: Christopher R. Bartocci. July 16, 2012 "The AR-15 made use of high-impact fibrite stocks, pistol grips and handguards. A selector lever on the left side of the rifle could be manipulated with the shooter’s right thumb without removing the hand from the pistol grip. The magazine release, on the right side of the receiver, could be operated with the trigger finger; when pressed, the magazine would drop free. A fresh magazine, requiring no camming — or ‘rocking’ — could be inserted straight into the magazine well. This attribute contributed significantly to speedy reloading in combat situations compared to its closest rival, the AK-47/AKM. These are two of the main reasons why the AR-15/M16-series rifles are considered the finest human-engineered assault rifles in the world. A bolt catch mechanism is located on the left side of the rifle. When the last round was fired, the magazine follower would elevate the bolt catch and lock the bolt to the rear. After inserting a full magazine, the rifleman would push in on the upper portion of the bolt catch to release the bolt and load the rifle. The receivers, produced from 7075 T6 aircraft aluminum, which helps keep the rifle lightweight and dissipates heat better than conventional metals, are hard-anodized with a non-reflective matte gray weather-resistant finish.
- "The AK-47 Patrol Rifle." by Scott Oldham. Tactical Response. September/October 2008 "Both weapons were then subjected to a "limited" endurance test by firing six magazines as fast as they could be loaded into the weapon; this was to mimic what would be the worst-case patrol usage. As expected, neither weapon exhibited any problems, feeding and firing every round without issue. It was, however, during this portion of the test that one of the AR system’s true advantages came into sharp focus—superior ergonomics. The AR-15 is without a doubt one of the most ergonomic weapon designs to ever be fielded in large numbers. During the six magazine endurance test, which admittedly was not a true endurance test but rather a proof of ability test, all evaluators found that it was much easier to change magazines and get the weapon back into action quickly with the AR-15 design than with the AK-47 design. This enhanced performance was due to several factors, not the least of which is the ability to simply insert the magazine into the AR in a conventional manner rather than the "rock and lock" method required with the AK platform. Also noted here was ability of the AR users to leave their strong hand on the weapon and in control while performing magazine changes and charging the weapon. Users of the AK found that while some people are capable of doing so, this was a much more cumbersome operation with this platform than with the AR design. Also in the realm of ergonomics is the placement of the manual safety. With the AR, this is a very well designed lever located on the left side of the weapon that is capable of being manipulated with the thumb of the strong hand while still retaining a grip on the weapon. With the AK—on most variants—the safety is a large lever on the right side of the weapon that is not at all easy to manipulate. With most people, the strong hand must come completely out of the firing grip to either apply or disengage the safety. Both weapon designs have been thoroughly tested in every climate on the planet and have proven themselves in combat for the past three and a half decades—so further, "endurance" testing would be pointless. What this test did is allow for the weapons to get extremely hot and provided for the operators to judge the now-hot weapon based on how well they could use it without gloved hands. In each case, both weapons were judged to be very usable but the AR clearly got the nod as the most desirable weapon. This again was due to the ergonomic placement of controls, which keeps the hands away from any part of the weapon that is susceptible to heat transfer."
- http://www.tactical-life.com/magazines/special-weapons/in-praise-of-the-m16-rifle/?scrape=true Tactical Life. In Praise of the M16 Rifle. Why it's become the longest serving rifle in the recent US military history! By Chuck Taylor. June 13th 2009
- The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons, by Jack Lewis, Robert K. Campbell, David Steele. Gun Digest Books, Sep 26, 2007. page 80
- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/From+Russia+with+love%3A+IZhMASh+AK%3A+have+you+always+wanted+a+genuine...-a0194549374 From Russia with love: IZhMASh AK: have you always wanted a genuine Russian AK? Here's your chance, and Kokalis says now's the time to get it while the getting is good. The Free Library. 2009 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc. 07 Oct. 2014
- http://www.military-sf.com/ROF.htm Rates of fire By William S. Frisbee Jr. "When you reload an M-16 the bolt locks to the rear which helps the shooter realize his magazine is empty. After removing the previous magazine and inserting the new one you still have to release the bolt before you can fire (a simple operation really). The AK-47 and other similar weapons have the bolt go home. This can be confusing for the shooter because it could indicate a jam or empty magazine. After removing the magazine and attaching the new one the AK gunner has to pull the charging handle to the rear in order to put a round in the chamber. This method is much slower than an M16 and in the confusion can be easier to fumble.
- https://www.scribd.com/doc/102236063/38483061-Ak-47-Technical-Description-Manual Archived 2014-10-15 at the Wayback Machine AK-47 Technical Description Manual
- Operator's Manual For M16, M16A1. Archive.org. Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
- http://www.colt.com/coltmilitary/products/coltm16a4rifle.aspx Official Colt Military M16A4 products site
- Kokalis, Peter G. (May 2005), "Kalashnikovs - 3 of the best: Born in Bulgaria, Made in the USA" (PDF), Shotgun News, 59 (12)
- The M16. Gordon L. Rottman. Bloomsbury Publishing, page 78. Dec 20, 2011
- Jo Williams. "Standard". Williamstriggers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- http://www.ar15.com/content/swat/200404-AK_47.pdf Archived 2007-02-02 at the Wayback Machine |Pros and Cons of the AK-47. by Leroy Thompson. S.W.A.T. Magazine. APRIL 2004. Pages 34-36.
- "Army M16A1 manual". flii.by. 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2012-01-10.[dead link]
- Operator's Manual Archived 2015-11-07 at the Wayback Machine. Headquarters, Department of the Army. October 1998.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeeeFxA_9nA AK-47 firing in slow motion
- https://books.google.com/books?id=k_VdJewva78C&pg=PT728&lpg=PT728#v=onepage&q&f=false | Gun Digest Book of Classic American Combat Rifles. By Terry Wieland. Krause Publications. 2011
- http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a168577.pdf |Analysis of M16A2 Rifle Characteristics and Recommended Improvements. Arthur D. Osborne. Mellonics Systems Development Division. Litton Systems, Inc. WD and Seward Smith ARI Field Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia. Training Research Laboratory. U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. February 1986
- Ak 47 Technical Manual. Scribd.com (2010-07-31). Retrieved on 2012-02-09.
- Field Manual No. 100-2-3. The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization, and Equipment. 6 June 1991. Department of the Army
- Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Ian Hogg & Terry Gander. Harper Collins Publishers. 2005. p 308–309
- Military Small Arms Of The 20th Century. Ian Hogg & John Weeks. Krause Publications. 2000. p 256–257
- "Products". Colt.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
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- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2014-02-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Armalite Technical Note 54: Direct Impingement Versus Piston Drive.
-  | Operator's Manual, Rifle, 5.56mm, M16A2 W/E (1005-01128-9936) August 1986
- http://kwk.us/recoil.html |Free Recoil Calculator
- https://honors.usf.edu/documents/Thesis/U82488180.pdf Archived 2014-12-22 at the Wayback Machine Effect of Barrel Length on the Muzzle Velocity and Report from a Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54R Rifle, Brandon Louis Clark, Honors College, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida USA, May 2011
- Operator's Manual For M16, M16A1. Archive.org. Retrieved on 2011-10-08.
- Venola, Richard (2005). "What a Long Strange Trip It's Been". Book of the AR-15 1 (2): 6–18.
- M68 Close Combat Optic Archived 2011-12-09 at the Wayback Machine. Armedforces-int.com. Retrieved on 2012-02-09.
- Procurement of Ammunition Archived 2013-09-22 at the Wayback Machine. Estimates for fiscal year 2005. Department of the Air Force. February 2004
- History – Trijicon, Inc. Trijicon.com. Retrieved on 2012-02-09.
- Marines Pleased, So USMC Orders $660M More ACOG Rifle Scopes. Defenseindustrydaily.com (2005-08-15). Retrieved on 2012-02-09.
- Colt’s M4A1 5.56mm Carbine. Tactical-Life.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-03.
- Gordon Rottman (24 May 2011). The AK-47: Kalashnikov-series Assault Rifles. Osprey Publishing. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-1-84908-835-0. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- Cold vodka hot steel: a test of Russia's Bizon 2 submachine gun | Guns Magazine. Find Articles. Retrieved on 2012-02-09.
- GX. The Guard Experience. The Pride of the Guard. by Major Darrin Haas. Volume 10. Issue 3. 2013. Page 67. "Although the AK-47 is an extremely rugged and reliable weapon, it’s less accurate and has a less effective range than the M16."
- http://www.tactical-life.com/magazines/special-weapons/in-praise-of-the-m16-rifle/?scrape=true Tactical Life. In Praise of the M16 Rifle. Why it's become the longest serving rifle in the recent US military history! By Chuck Taylor. June 13th 2009 "From an accuracy standpoint, there is no comparison between the M16 and AK. As long as the upper and lower receivers are tight and the trigger is halfway decent, the M16 is capable of MOA accuracy, whereas a typical AK will produce 5 to 6 MOA at best. And, if a free-floated barrel is incorporated to the M16's design, it becomes capable of ½-MOA or better, making it fully as accurate as a finely tuned heavy-barreled bolt-action precision rifle."
- The Gun. by C. J. Chivers. Simon and Schuster Publishing, Sep 6, 2011. page 206. Taken from the Long Range Dispersion Firing Test of the AK-47 Assault Rifle, U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center. August 1969. "Just how mediocre? Two decades later, the U.S. Army would hold long-range firing tests with Kalashnikov variants, including three Soviet, two Chinese, and a Romanian model. At 300 meters, expert shooters at prone or bench rest positions had difficulty putting ten consecutive rounds on target. The testers then had the weapons fired from a cradle by a machine, which removed human error. At 300 meters, the ten-rounds group fired in this manner had a minimum dispersion of 17.5 inches, compared to the 12.6 inches with an M-16, the American assault rifle fielded in Vietnam as a reaction to the Kalashnikov's spread."
- Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005
- Ballistics. by James Monroe Ingalls. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1893. page 7
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2013-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Mort Schultz. "VC firepower can we match it". Popular Mechanics, June 1967. Vol. 127, No. 6. p. 100. "The M16 makes a man a crowd, allowing him to lay down a fantastic 100 to 120 rounds per minute, providing he can change the 20 or 30-round magazine that fast. Accurate beyond description - a soldier 300 yards away can get an endless grouping in a foot-square target - the M16 fires a .223 cartridge."
- Gun Digest Book of the AR-15, Volume 2 By Patrick Sweeney[page needed]
- http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2006-07-29-iraq-sniper_x.htm "During a large-scale attack on Easter Sunday, Wilson says, he spotted six gunmen on a rooftop about 400 yards away. In about 8 seconds he squeezed off five rounds—hitting five gunmen in the head. The sixth man dived off a 3-story building just as Wilson got him in his sights, and counts as a probable death. "You could tell he didn't know where it was coming from. He just wanted to get away," Wilson said."
- Avtomat Kalashnikov. Alpharubicon.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-03.
- http://www.tactical-life.com/magazines/special-weapons/in-praise-of-the-m16-rifle/?scrape=true Tactical Life. In Praise of the M16 Rifle. Why it's become the longest serving rifle in the recent US military history! By Chuck Taylor. June 13th 2009 "From an accuracy standpoint, there is no comparison between the M16 and AK. As long as the upper and lower receivers are tight and the trigger is halfway decent, the M16 is capable of MOA accuracy, whereas a typical AK will produce 5 to 6 MOA at best. And, if a free-floated barrel is incorporated to the M16’s design, it becomes capable of ½-MOA or better, making it fully as accurate as a finely tuned heavy-barreled bolt-action precision rifle."
- Venola, Richard. "Iraq: Lessons From The Sandbox". Combat Arms. ISSN 0810-8838.
- http://www.pica.army.mil/picatinnypublic/news/images/highlights/2011/M855A1/32_The_Evolution_of_the_M855A1_5.56mm_Enhanced_Performance_Round,%201960-2010.pdf Archived 2013-09-21 at the Wayback Machine ARMY AL&T. "The Evolution of the M855A1 5.56mm Enhanced Performance Round, 1960–2010." by LTC Jeffrey K. Woods. October–December 2010. page 32-35
- "The USA's M4 Carbine Controversy". Defense Industry Daily. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- Kalashnikov AK47 By Gideon Burrows. Published May 2007 by New Internationalist.page 17
- The Gun. by C. J. Chivers. Simon and Schuster Publishing, Sep 6, 2011. pages 206. Taken from the Long Range Dispersion Firing Test of the AK-47 Assault Rifle, U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center. August 1969. "Just how mediocre? Two decades later, the U.S. Army would hold long-range firing tests with Kalashnikov variants, including three Soviet, two Chinese, and a Romanian model. At 300 meters, expert shooters at prone or bench rest positions had difficulty putting ten consecutive rounds on target. The testers then had the weapons fired from a cradle by a machine, which removed human error. At 300 meters, the ten-rounds group fired in this manner had a minimum dispersion of 17.5 inches, compared to the 12.6 inches with an M-16, the American assault rifle fielded in Vietnam as a reaction to the Kalashnikov's spread."
- The Gun. by C. J. Chivers. Simon and Schuster Publishing, Sep 6, 2011. pages 206 and 207.
- НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АКМ (АКМС) 1983, p. 155 (under the default conditions of no wind and sea level atmospheric pressure, 15 °C (59 °F)(under the default conditions of no wind and sea level atmospheric pressure, 15 °C (59 °F)).
- Weaver, Jr., Jonathan M. (May 1990). "USMAA Technical Report No. 461 – System Error Budgets, Target Distributions and Hitting Performance Estimates for General-Purpose Rifles and Sniper Rifles of 7.62 X 51 mm and Larger Calibers" (PDF). dtic.mil. United States Army. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
- Fackler, Martin L. "Patterns Of Military Rifle Bullets". Ciar.org. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Rifle Evaluation Study. US Army. Infantry Combat Developments Agency. February 17, 1978
- L. I. Slepyan and M. V. Ayzenberg-Stepanenko Penetration of Metal-Fabrics Composites by Small Projectiles. Personal Armour Systems. British Crown Copyright/MOD, 1998. The Institute for Industrial Mathematics
- http://www.businessinsider.com/ak-47-wound-over-an-m4-2015-12 A former special-operations doctor explains why he would rather be shot with an AK-47 than an M4 by Dan Pronk, SOFREP, Dec. 21, 2015
- Bellamy RF, Zajtchuk R. "The physics and biophysics of wound ballistics." In: Zajtchuk R, ed. Textbook of Military Medicine, "Part I: Warfare, Weaponry, and the Casualty", Vol. 5, Conventional Warfare: Ballistic, Blast, and Burn Injuries. Washington, DC: Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, United States of America (1990) pp. 146–155
- U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition Failures and Solutions Archived 2011-06-28 at the Wayback Machine, GK Roberts, NDIA Dallas, TX, 21 May 2008
- "Wounding Effects of the AK-47 Rifle Used" by Patrick Purdy in the Stockton, California, Schoolyard Shooting of January 17, 1989, Fackler, Martin L. M.D.; Malinowski, John A. B.S.; Hoxie, Stephen W. B.S.; Jason, Alexander B.A., American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, September 1990
- Bellamy RF, Zajtchuk R. The physics and biophysics of wound ballistics. In: Zajtchuk R, ed. Textbook of Military Medicine, Part I: Warfare, Weaponry, and the Casualty, Vol. 5, Conventional Warfare: Ballistic, Blast, and Burn Injuries. Washington, DC: Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, United States of America (1990) Fig 4-38 p. 148
- Ian V. Hogg; John S. Weeks (2000). Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-87341-824-9. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- W. Hays Parks International Legal Initiatives to Restrict Military Small Arms Ammunition Archived 2011-11-29 at the Wayback Machine (2010) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) pp. 1–18: Those who consider the M16 inhumane include; the International Committee of the Red Cross, Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Romania, Samoa, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, etc.
- http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/57jmma.htm The Swiss draft Protocol on Small-Calibre Weapon Systems 31-08-1995 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 307, by Eric Prokosch
- Military rifle bullet wound patterns – by Martin L. Fackler. From: http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/Military_rifle_bullet_wound_patterns.htm. Retrieved on November 9, 2011
- M4 5.56mm Carbine. colt.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-08.
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- http://sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=769 Small Arms Defense Journal. Is there a Problem with the Lethality of the 5.56 NATO Caliber? by Per Arvidsson on 6 January 2012.
- Evolution of the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round | Article | The United States Army. Army.mil. Retrieved on 2011-11-19.
- http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111shrg64544/pdf/CHRG-111shrg64544.pdf S. HRG. 111–868, The Current Readiness of the U.S. Forces, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management of the Committee on Armed Services – United States Senate, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, Second Session, April 14, 2010, U.S. Government Printing Office – Washington: Army Green Ammunition 128. Senator BURR. General Chiarelli, the Army has been developing a more effective and lead-free bullet to replace the currently fielded M855 5.56mm round for several years, commonly referred to as green ammunition. The initial plan was to field the first installment of 20 million green rounds late last summer but this was delayed as a result of significant testing failures, particularly when the rounds were exposed to high temperatures. Are you confident this ammunition will be ready for combat by June of this year, as earlier stated by the Army? General Chiarelli. The temperature issue experienced with the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) has been corrected. The Army has begun to issue the M855A1 to our soldiers in Afghanistan, packaged for use with the M16 rifle and M4 carbine. Early reports we have received about the cartridge’s performance have been very favorable. The Army has produced and accepted over 45 million M855A1 EPR cartridges and 1.1 million EPR cartridges have been airlifted through Kuwait and are now in Afghanistan. Additionally, 4.6 million EPR cartridges have arrived via sealift to the CENTCOM area of operations (AO); 14.5 million cartridges are scheduled to arrive in the CENTCOM AO by October 12 and another 7 million are now planned for delivery in late December. 129. Senator Burr. General Chiarelli, are you confident that the green ammo provides a comparable performance to other rounds currently being fielded by other Services, including the SOST round being acquired by the Marine Corps and SOCOM? General Chiarelli. The M855A1 EPR cartridge is an improved version of the M855 cartridge that is fired from the M4 carbine and M16 rifle. The M855A1 incorporates a product improved projectile and improved propellant which provides significantly enhanced performance against a wide variety of targets. The M855A1 provides improved hard target capability, more consistent performance against soft targets, improved accuracy, and reduced muzzle flash. These performance improvements were incorporated without an increase to cartridge weight or size. Approval of the M855A1 for fielding for use in the M4 carbine and M16 rifle has been requested. The M855A1 outperforms the Special Operations Science and Technology cartridge (SOST) in accuracy, and terminal consistency against soft targets. The M855A1 meets the Army requirements of perforating 3/8 inch steel and matches the 5.56 mm M856 trace whereas the SOST does not. The M855A1 also has better performance against Kevlar, and against concrete masonry than does the SOST.
- http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/FY2014/pdf/other/2014DOTEAnnualReport.pdf Director, Operational Test and Evaluation FY 2014 Annual Report This report satisfies the provisions of Title 10, United States Code, Section 139. The report summarizes the operational test and evaluation activities (including live fire testing activities) of the Department of Defense during the preceding fiscal year. J. Michael Gilmore Director. January 2015. page 119
- http://www.guns.com/2012/09/06/new-m855a1-epr-enhanced-performance-round-camp-perry-101-abn-video/ New M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round smashing expectations (Video). 9/06/12. by Max Slowik.
"One of the first units to be issued the M855A1 is the 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division. Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Daigle of the 101st ABN had the following comments to say about the new cartridge:
- After being issued the round, testing it on ranges and finally taking it into combat, not a single negative review has followed
- Soldiers rave about it—its "stopping power" is amazing say most soldiers
- I have spoken to TF Bastogne snipers that say they have killed enemy combatants at 700m with this new round
- I have personally hit targets on known distance ranges at 600m
- There is no question that this round has increased accuracy at greater distances and much improved through and through issues
- http://www.guns.com/2013/07/25/army-speeding-m855a1-epr-adoption-7-62-nato-variant-in-the-works/ Army Speeding M855A1 EPR Adoption, 7.62 NATO Variant in the Works. 7/25/13. by Max Slowik. "The U.S. Army is hastening their adoption of the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, a new 5.56 NATO cartridge that's designed specifically for M4 carbines. The Army has been so impressed with the new round that they're now developing a 7.62 NATO variant. The cartridge is also both environmentally- and soldier-friendly."
- https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/06/16/wound-channel-tests-7-62-308-m80a1-epr-glorious/ DEVASTATING New M80A1 7.62mm Round
- https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/07/23/taking-a-look-inside-the-armys-devastating-new-m80a1-7-62mm-round/ Taking a Look Inside the Army’s DEVASTATING New M80A1 7.62mm Round
- Legion Ltd. – the producer of high quality firearms with period artistic treatment (threading, engraving, incrustation) and improved finishing. izhmash.ru
- http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=256 |The Kalashnikov AK-101 is an export assault rifle in operational service with at least nine nations worldwide
- Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. 7th Edition. by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks. Krause Publications 2000. pages 233, 257, 266, 296
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-18. Retrieved 2014-06-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) | Arsenal AR-M1 5.56mm assault rifle
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- http://www.armytimes.com/article/20110430/NEWS/104300326/Improved-carbines-headed-your-way | Army Times. Improved carbines headed your way. Special ops model goes Army-wide; more weapons upgrades in the works. By Lance M. Bacon. Apr. 30, 2011
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- Operator's Manual for AK-47 Assault Rifle Archived March 2, 2005, at the National and University Library of Iceland. Department of the Army
- https://web.archive.org/web/20141006092719/http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/akm.shtml Izhmash, Technical Specifications, AKM (AK-47) Kalashnikov modernized assault rifle, caliber 7.62mm
- United States Army training manual for the M16 5.56-mm rifle. US Government training manual# TM-9-1005-249-10 Operator's Manual for Rifle, 5.56-MM, M16 (1005-00-856-6885) Rifle, 5.56-MM, M161A (1005-00-073-9421) Published in 1984, PIN: 026397-000
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This was dubbed the Ichord hearings after Missouri representative Richard Ichord, who championed Congress's inquiry into failures of the M-16 during the Vietnam War.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2011-07-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) The Gun That Killed Osama bin Laden Revealed SEALS reportedly used an HK416 in bin Laden assault. By Paul Bedard.
- "Heckler & Koch - USA". Hk-usa.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23. "The HK416 (5.56 mm) was developed by Heckler & Koch for U.S. special operations forces as a major product improvement of M4/M16-type carbines and rifles. Using the HK-proprietary gas piston system found on the G36, the HK416 does not introduce propellant gases and carbon fouling back into the weapon’s interior, making it the most reliable of any M4/M16 type weapon. The HK416 has been combat-proven in Southwest Asia and has also gained the attention of military, law enforcement, and security users outside of the US. In April 2007, the HK416 was selected as the new Norwegian Army rifle. The origins of the HK416 began with the realization of the deficiencies of the direct gas impingement (gas tube) operating system found on conventional M4/M16-style weapons. Input from the users of current M4/M16-type arms, high-speed video assessment, and extensive live-fire testing in extreme operational environments such as the U.S. Army Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona revealed multiple areas for improvement. Improvements were made to the internal operating system and miscellaneous component parts to improve reliability in best and worse case scenarios, with all types of ammunition, with all barrel lengths and with and without sound suppressors attached. An innovative free-floating 4-quadrant rail system designed by HK allows all current accessories, sights, lights, and aimers used on M4/M16-type weapons to be fitted to the HK416. This HK rail system and can be installed and removed without tools. The HK-proprietary gas system uses a piston driving an operating rod to control the function of the bolt, preventing propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling from entering the weapon’s interior. This increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages. It also reduces operator cleaning time, heat transfer to the bolt and bolt carrier, and wear and tear on critical components. To improve reliability, service life, and operator safety during obstructed bore occurrences or after extreme extended firing sessions, the HK416 uses barrels produced by Heckler & Koch’s famous cold hammer forging process. The highest quality steel is used in this unique manufacturing process producing a barrel that provides superior accuracy for more than 20,000 rounds with minimal degradation of accuracy and muzzle velocity. HK416 variants are available with 10.4-, 14.5-, 16.5-, and 20-inch (264, 368, 419, 508 mm) barrels. Some HK416 variants also have "OTB" (Over-the-beach) capability and can be safely fired after being submerged in water and not completely drained. In addition to the improvements in the baseline weapon, HK has produced a corrosion resistant steel magazine and a proprietary buffer to improve functional reliability. An add-on single shot 40×46mm grenade launcher module can be quickly attached to the rail system of all models without tools. HK has applied its proven and fielded Safety Blank Firing Attachment and Live Round Excluder Magazine technology to the HK416, eliminating the possibility of live rounds being loaded into and fired through a standard issue weapon outfitted for blank firing only. The HK416 is available as complete carbine or rifle or as a "drop-in" HK416 upper receiver module for use on the lower receivers of existing M4/M16 type weapons."
- Cox, Matthew (March 1, 2007). "Better than M4, but you can't have one". Army Times. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Army takes HK416s from special unit – Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports. Army Times. Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
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- "Heckler-Koch.de – HK416". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
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- http://www.ewp.rpi.edu/hartford/~ernesto/SPR/LeBlanc-FinalReport.pdf |An Evaluation of Gas Systems for the AR15 / M16Platform. by Ryan E. LeBlanc. An Engineering Project Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Mechanical Engineering. Approved: Ernesto Gutierrez-Miravete, Engineering Project Adviser Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Hartford, Connecticut May, 2012.
- Newer carbines outperform M4 in dust test. Army Times. Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
- http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=269 Heckler & Koch HK416
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- http://sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=419 | Identifying & Collecting the 7.62×39 AK-47/AKM Magazine. by Edward T. McLean. Small Arms Defense Journal. Published August 19, 2011
- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Are+kalashnikov+magazines+as+robust+as+their+reputation%3F+He+tormented...-a0262692779 | Are kalashnikov magazines as robust as their reputation? He tormented a selection of AR magazines last year, now he takes on the AK. The results you may find surprising. Shotgun News. July 20, 2011 COPYRIGHT 2011 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc. Gale, Cengage Learning.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2011-06-16. Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- http://www.defensereview.com/dr-exclusive-surefire-60-shot-and-100-shot-ar-ar-15m16-5-56mm-nato-box-magazines-for-infantry-combat-and-tactical-engagements-meet-the-surefire-mag5-60-and-mag5-100-high-capacity-magazines-hcms/ | DR Exclusive!: SureFire "Quad-Stack" AR Rifle Magazines: SureFire 60-Shot and 100-Shot AR (AR-15/M16) 5.56mm NATO Box Magazines for Significantly-Increased Firepower during Infantry Combat and Tactical Engagements of All Sorts: Meet the SureFire MAG5-60 and MAG5-100 High Capacity Magazines (HCMs). by David Crane in Featured, New And Future Technology, Rifles And Carbines, Special Operations on December 3rd, 2010… Standard MILSPEC USGI 30-Round Magazine Specs (data provided by SureFire): Height: 7.1" and Weight-Empty: 3.9 ounces
- http://www.defensereview.com/lancer-systems-l5-translucent-polymer-30-round-magazine-for-tactical-ars/ | Defense Review. Lancer Systems L5 Translucent Polymer 30-Round Magazine for Tactical ARs. by David Crane in Rifles And Carbines on January 23rd, 2009
- https://www.scribd.com/doc/97921277/Heckler-Koch-HK416-Enhanced-Carbine-556x45mm-NATO Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine | HK high-reliability 30-round steel magazine fact sheet
- The M16, Gordon L. Rottman, Osprey Publishing, 2011, page 35-36
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- Article includes a magazine animation Archived 2013-02-24 at the Wayback Machine. Peosoldier.armylive.dodlive.mil (2009-12-14). Retrieved on 2011-12-24.
- Improved magazine increases weapons reliability | Article | The United States Army. Army.mil. Retrieved on 2011-12-24.
- Breaking: US Army Introduces New Enhanced Performance Magazine For M4/M16 Series Rifles - Thefirearmblog.com, 26 July 2016
- The AK-47: Kalashnikov-series assault rifles. By Gordon Rottman. Osprey Publishing. Copyright 2011. Page 39
- http://www.mouseguns.com/mak90web/mak90man.pdf | Norinco, MAK-90, 7.62x39mm, Semi-Automatic Rifle, Instruction Manual, China North Industries Corporation
- http://www.forgottenweapons.com/rifles/wz-88-tantal/ A Tantalean Ordeal or How the Poles Got to Have their Small-Caliber Kalashnikov Made "My Way". by Leszek Erenfeicht and Lt.Col. Dr. Mirosław Zahor. "The Acceptance Requirements did not deviate much from the standard AKM procedures. A minimum service life of 10,000 shots was required, including 150 shots with 300- and 500-gram rifle grenades. The reliability objective was set at 0.2% jams (or 20 malfunctions in entire service life of 10,000 shots). The required accuracy was an extreme spread of a 5-round group, shot from a rest, prone, semi-automatically, at 100 meters to fit within 150 mm (5.9 inch)."
- Arsenal 7.62mm “Arsenal” Assault Rifle AR-M1 and with Folding Butt AR-M1F Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. Arsenal-bg.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-03.
- http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-worlds-most-popular-gun | The world's most popular gun. The long road to the AK-47. by Victor Davis Hanson. The New Atlantis, Number 32, Summer 2011, pp. 140-147.
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- Black Rifle Manual Archived 2012-02-16 at the Wayback Machine. Advanced Armament Corp. 300aacblackout.com (September 2010)
- http://defensereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/Combat_Tactics_The_Truth_about_MilSpec_by_David_Crane_Summer_2008.pdf |Combat Tactics. Summer 2008. About Mil-Spec. What exactly is "Mil-Spec" as it applies to the AR15/M16 and what precisely does it mean? A special investigative report lays it all out. By David Crane
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-18. Retrieved 2012-04-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Heckler & Koch HK416
- R. F. Bellamy and R. Zajtchuk Chapter 4. The physics and biophysics of wound ballistics.
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- "Hunting with the AR15". Cheaperthandirt.com. 2011-09-17. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- http://www.pof-usa.net/articles/Evolution.pdf | The Evolution of the Modern Black Rifle. By Jeff W. Zimba. The Small Arms Review • Vol. 11 No. 1 • October, 2007
- "Army Technical Manual (for M16 rifle) - TM9-1005-249-23P". Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- http://www.army.mil/article/62009/Anniston_Army_Depot_overhauls_M16s_for_FMS/ The M16s were non-serviceable weapons when brought in for overhaul, according to Young. Each weapon was completely disassembled and parts inspected to determine if repair or replacement was warranted. Each rifle was test-fired after reassembly. Then it is cleaned and turned in for shipment.
- http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a21739/us-army-m4-carbine-m4a1/ How the Army Is Upgrading Its Standard Rifle. The soldier's standard weapon is getting a lot of improvements. By Kyle Mizokami. July 8, 2016
- http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=1927 Small Arms Defense Journal. GALIL ACE 5.56. 29 May 2013. by Paolo Ortenzi, Features, New Products, Reviews, V5N2, Volume 5 "The Israelis learned how to make their M16 reliable and efficient, recycling them almost infinitely"
- http://www.saami.org/specifications_and_information/publications/download/206.pdf Archived 2010-11-29 at the Wayback Machine | American National Standards. Voluntary Industry Performance Standards for Pressure and Velocity of Centerfire Rifle Sporting Ammunition for the Use of Commercial Manufacturers. Copyright Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1992.
- Simpson, Layne. "Handloading The .223 Remington For The AR15". Shootingtimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
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- The M16. Gordon Rottman. Osprey Publishing. 2011 P.49
- The AK-47: Kalashnikov-series Assault Rifles. Gordon Rottman. Osprey Publishing. 2011 P.19
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- https://books.google.com/books?id=k_VdJewva78C&pg=PT728&lpg=PT728#v=onepage&q&f=false | Gun Digest Book of Classic American Combat Rifles. By Terry Wieland. Krause Publications. 2011
- http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/202468.pdf United States Army Infantry Board, Fort Benning, Georgia, 2 July 1958, Supplementary Report Evaluation of High Velocity Small Caliber Rifles - Armalite (AR-15)
- "TM 9-1005-249-10 - Operator's Manual For M16, M16A1".
- http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/05/james-grant/gun-review-arsenal-ak-47-sgl-21-rifle/ "This AKM variant was the poster child for every internet-rumored issue that ever allegedly plagued the WASR. She had canted sights, magazine wobble, uneven finish, vicious trigger slap and parts so loosely fitted that the dust cover once flew off after a string of 60 rounds." Gun Review: Arsenal AK-47 SGL-21 Rifle. By James Grant on May 8, 2012
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- 5.56-mm Cartridges. Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
- http://www.tactical-life.com/online/tactical-weapons/usmcs-new-sniping-sureshot-mk-11-mod-1-srs/ |Tactical Weapons. USMC’s New Sniping Sureshot MK-11 MOD 1 SRS. by Ross Simpson.
- 9-mm. submachine gun "Vityaz-SN" Archived November 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Izhmash.ru (2001-09-02). Retrieved on 2011-12-24.
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- Colt Manual No. CM116, M16A2 Light Machine Gun (M16A2LMG), Copyright 1990 Colt's Manufacturing Company, Inc. Page 2
- http://www.redstararms.com/uploads/74rpk.pdf The RPK: Kalashnikov's Squad Automatic. by Peter G. Kolalis. The Shotgun News. Volume 60, Issue 10. page 12-16
- http://www.defensereview.com/ares-defense-systems-ares-16-amg-2mcr-assault-machine-gun-2mission-configurable-rifle-dual-feed-ar-machine-gun-and-ares-16-amgmcr-mag-fed-sbrsub-carbine-for-military-special-operations-forces-s/ ARES Defense Systems ARES-16 MCR/AMG-2 (Mission-Configurable Rifle/Assault Machine Gun-2) Dual-Feed AR Machine Gun and ARES-16 MCR/AMG Mag-Fed SBR/Sub-Carbine for Military Special Operations Forces (SOF), Law Enforcement and Civilian Tactical Shooters (Video!) Defense Review. by David Crane on September 23rd, 2012
- http://www.defensereview.com/kac-stoner-lmg-belt-fed-5-56mm-nato-lightweight-light-machine-gun-squad-automatic-weapon-lmgsaw-displayed-at-sofic-2010/ KAC Stoner LMG: Belt-Fed 5.56mm NATO Lightweight Light Machine Gun / Squad Automatic Weapon (LMG/SAW) Displayed at SOFIC 2010 Defense Review. by David Crane. September 7th, 2010
- http://www.defensereview.com/valkyrie-armament-belt-fed-ar-ar-15-5-56mm-nato-223-rem-riflecarbinesbr-conversion-upper-receiver-kit-stoner-62-weapons-system-revisited-turn-your-select-firefull-auto-ar-into-a-true-light-ma/ Valkyrie Armament Belt-Fed AR (AR-15) 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem. Automatic Rifle/Carbine/SBR: Stoner 63 Modular Weapons System Revisited. Turn your select-fire/full-auto AR into a true light machine gun (LMG)/squad automatic weapon (SAW). Defense Review. by David Crane. October 25th, 2010
- http://demigodllc.com/articles/battle-of-the-budget-50-bmg-rifles/ Published in Shotgun News
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- 18.5 KS-K military shotgun Archived 2011-11-28 at the Wayback Machine. Izhmash.ru (2001-09-02). Retrieved on 2011-12-24.
- http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=3125 Full Auto Rimfire Conversions for the M16 Rifle By Frank Iannamico
- http://www.22lrconversions.com/ak-pg.htm The "Ciener" AK47S / AK84S .22LR Conversion Kits
- "Suppressor Trials 1999 Measuring Data". Guns.connect.fi. 1999-05-28. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- United States marine Corps. Weapons Training Battalion. Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Quantico, Virginia. Detailed Instructor Guide. Introduction to Rifle Shooting Positions and Slings. Art 07. 1 August 07. Page 2.
- "AK-74 Assault Rifle - Military-Today.com".
- http://www.tactical-life.com/firearms/bulgarian-ak-74-5-45x39mm/#bulgarian-ak-74-main Tactical Life. Bulgarian AK-74 5.45x39mm. The AK-74 signified the Soviets’ response to the West’s M16. By Michael Humphreis October 15, 2013
- Gun Digest Shooter's Guide to AKs. by Marco Vorobiev. F+W Media, Inc. Jun 15, 2016. page 107
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110629045720/http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/arc/021205.shtml "AK-74 – Kalashnikov assault rifle, caliber 5.45 mm. In 1967, pursuant to the Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers, a competition was organized to design an assault rifle fit to use the new 5.45×39mm cartridge. The AK-74 was designed by А. D. Kryakushin's group under the designer supervision of M. T. Kalashnikov. Based on the competition results, this assault rifle was included in the inventory in 1974 as part of the 5.45×39mm small arms complex. The cartridge used in the AK-74 weighs 1.5 times less as compared with the 7.62-mm cartridge. The soldier can carry 1.5 times more cartridges without increasing the weight of the portable reserve ammunition. In addition, the bullet speed of the 5.45-mm caliber is higher."
- Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-425-21750-4.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110629045720/http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/arc/021205.shtml "AK-74 – Kalashnikov assault rifle, caliber 5.45 mm. In 1967, pursuant to the Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers, a competition was organized to design an assault rifle fit to use the new 5.45-mm cartridge. The AK-74 was designed by А. D. Kryakushin's group under the designer supervision of M. T. Kalashnikov. Based on the competition results, this assault rifle was included in the inventory in 1974 as part of the 5.45-mm small arms complex. The cartridge used in the AK-74 weighs 1.5 times less as compared with the 7.62-mm cartridge. The soldier can carry 1.5 times more cartridges without increasing the weight of the portable reserve ammunition. In addition, the bullet speed of the 5.45-mm caliber is higher."
- Military Small Arms Of The 20th Century, 7th Edition, 2000 by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks, p.271
- The AK-47: Kalashnikov-series assault rifles. by Gordon L Rottman. Osprey Publishing, Jan 1, 2012. page 32
- Kokalis, Peter: Weapons Tests And Evaluations: The Best Of Soldier Of Fortune, page 45. Paladin Press, 2001.
- Russian close combat weapon. Almanac "Russia: Union Technologies. Technology and People". ЛСОП, Nov 8, 2010. page 196. ISBN 5904540043, ISBN 9785904540043. Written in Russian with corresponding English translation on the opposite page. "The AK 74 Kalashnikov (mod. 1974 index 6P20) basic design is identical to that of the AKM assault rifle, with which the AK 74 has in common 9 assembly units (36%) and 52 parts (53%).
- http://www.military-today.com/firearms/ak_74.htm "The AK-74 has improved firing accuracy over the AKM. This weapon retains all advantages and disadvantages of Kalashnikov design, including reliability, ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance. This weapon do not jams or misfires in worst conditions possible. Also it has reliable extraction even with dirty chamber and cases. Its drawbacks are poor balance and ergonomics, as well as inferior firing accuracy to most Western weapons."
- http://www.military-today.com/firearms.pdf "The AK-74 has improved firing accuracy over the AKM. This weapon retains all advantages and disadvantages of Kalashnikov design, including reliability, ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance. This weapon do not jams or misfires in worst conditions possible. Also it has reliable extraction even with dirty chamber and cases. Its drawbacks are poor balance and ergonomics, as well as inferior firing accuracy to most Western weapons." Firearms E-book Military-Today.com 2010. page 25
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2007-09-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) | Wounding Potential of the Russian AK-74 Assault Rifle. Martin L. Fackler MD. John S. Surinchak MA. John A. Malinowski BS. & Robert E. Bowin. The Journal of Trauma 1984. The Williams & Wilkins Co. Vol. 24, No. 3
- The Gun Digest Book of the AK & SKS: A Complete Guide to Guns, Gear and Ammunition. By Patrick Sweeney. Gun Digest Books, 2009. page 104–105
- Gun Digest Book of The Tactical Rifle: A User's Guide. By Patrick Sweeney. Krause Publications, 2011. page 151
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-12-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Tandal AK-74S 5.45mm Bringing the AK into the 21st century with modular capability! By Charlie Cutshaw Photos by Doug Richardson. SPECIAL WEAPONS 2009. page 32–37
- "Colt M16A4 Rifle".
- Gun Digest, 1986/40th Annual edition, Edited by Ken Warner, Random House Value Publishing, November 3, 1986...The M16A2 New World Standard For Infantry Rifles, by C. E. Harris, pages 6–13
- https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/row/weg2001.pdf OPFOR Worldwide Equipment Guide, Sep 2001, Department of the Army, TRADOC DCSINT, Threat Support Directorate, 700 Scott Avenue, Bldg 53, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 66027-1323, page 1–3.
- List of M16/AR-15 type rifles: Adcor Defense, Alberta Tactical Rifle Supply, Alexander Arms, American Spirit Arms, American Weapon Systems, ArmaLite, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Black Rain Ordnance, Bushmaster Firearms International, Bravo company manufacturing, C3 Defense, Charles Daly firearms, Colt's Manufacturing Company, CORE15 Rifle Systems, CMMG, Crusader Weaponry, Daniel Defense, Del-Ton, Diemaco/Colt Canada, Doublestar Corp, DPMS Panther Arms, DSA/DS arms inc., Franklin Armory, LAR Grizzly manufacturing, Heckler and Koch, High Standard Manufacturing Company, Hogan guns, Huldra Arms, JP Enterprises, Izhmash/Molot Russia (rumored), Knight's Armament Company, LaRue Tactical, Legion Firearms, Les Baer, Lewis Machine and Tool Company, LWRCI /Land Warfare Resources Corporation International, North East Arms, Next Generation Arms, Norinco (China), Oberland Arms, Olympic Arms, Palmetto State Armory, Palmetto State Defense, Para-USA/Para-Ordnance, Patriot Defense Arms, POF-USA Patriot ordnance factory, Remington Arms, Rock River Arms, Sabre Defence/Manroy USA, Seekins Precision, Sharps Rifle Company/Sharps rifle, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Special Ops Tactical, Spikes Tactical, Stag Arms, Sturm Ruger, Vulcan Armament, Wilson Combat, Windham Weaponry, Yankee Hill Machine, Z-M Weapons,
- A variant of the SIMON breach grenade is in service with the U.S. Army as the M100 Grenade Rifle Entry Munition (GREM). Changes from the original specification involved fuzing and reliability issues. An inert round, the M101 GREM-Target Practice (GREM-TP) allows training for accuracy without the explosive hazard. The system was given a U.S. Army award as one of the top ten best inventions of 2005.