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The M16 (more formally known as the Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16) is the U.S. military designation for the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle.

Overview

The AR-15 was originally adopted by the U.S. Air Force in 1961 to equip security personnel. It was a lightweight automatic rifle with a direct-impingement operating system chambered for the .223-caliber varmint round. Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara insisted that weapons and equipment be standardized across all four branches of the military, and ordered the new rifle to be adopted by the Army and Marine Corps to replace the M14.

This met with resistance, as the M14 was a good modern rifle that was only recently integrated into the military. The Army cautiously fielded some XM16E1s with U.S. advisors in Vietnam in 1963 for evaluation. Results were generally positive when the rifles were kept clean and hollow-point ammunition was used, the most positive point being the increased ammunition capacity for the same weight (for 10kg, one could carry 33 M16 magazines, instead of the usual 12 AK magazines), and its excellent accuracy, though it was found to be less effective than the M14 overall. M16A1s were introduced in large quantities for the first time in 1965, being given to the first wave of U.S. Marines. Unlike the small-scale field trials, performance with regular troops was dismal. The new rifle's direct-impingement system ran dirty under the best of conditions and fouled easily. M16s frequently jammed in Vietnamese mud (while M14s still ran flawlessly), and lateral shock often misaligned moving parts, causing massive mechanical failures. A rumor had spread that the M16 was a "self-cleaning" rifle, worsening the problem as troops neglected their weapons. Instead of hollow points, the troops were issued M193 ball ammunition, which both produced a considerably larger amount of cannon fouling, and regularly failed to put down its targets, even with multiple center-mass hits (while the .308-caliber M14 was a reliable "one shot, one kill" rifle). Troops frequently wasted ammo on full automatic without many kills. Rifle companies in the field generally kept at least a few M14s on hand for the inevitable moment when their new "Mattel Toy" M16s would fail, mostly due to foul powder in cartridges.

As these issues were recognized, M16s were retrofitted with chrome-lined barrels to resist corrosion and fouling, while improvements were made to the M193 round's propellent to make it burn cleaner. The "self-cleaning" rumor was dispelled, and troops took better care of their weapons. Reliability improved, though the M16 remained a high-maintenance rifle. Marksmanship once again became a focus in training, and troops were taught to keep their selectors on semiauto unless fighting in close quarters. Excellent accuracy and low recoil were maintained, but lethality still left something to be desired. Nevertheless, by 1968, the M16A1 gained near-universal acceptance, with only 38 requisitions from the U.S. Army for an alternate weapon, though 35 of the 38 were requests for CAR-15s (shortened M16A1s).

In the early 1980s, the improved M16A2 was introduced. The new model featured sturdier components, including a thicker barrel, that greatly improved the rifle's reliability. It also replaced the full-auto firing mode with a 3-round burst to prevent ammunition waste. In 1987, the Belgian-designed SS109 soft-jacket armor-piercing cartridge was standardized by NATO and adopted by the U.S. military as the M855. The green-tip M855 was significantly more effective the old M193 ball, though it still could not match the more powerful .308 (7.62x51mm). 30-round magazines were distributed widely for the first time, to reduce chances of ammunition exhaustion and frequent reloading, which often led to cartridge waste (as many soldiers would mearly drop the often half-empty magazines to the floor). With these improvements the M16 finally became a truly effective combat rifle.

Since then, the M16 and its carbine variant, the M4, scheduled to replace the M16 in the U.S. Army, have been consistently improved and enjoy great popularity, especially with Western militaries (with the M4 being especially favored by special forces organizations across the globe for its short length, extreme modularity, and effectiveness at all normal ranges). The current M16A4 and M4A1 variants feature MILSTD-1913 rails to mount optics, lights, and other accessories. They still suffer from the .223/5.56 round's poor stopping power, but are effective weapons nevertheless.

Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

A few XM16 prototypes were somehow acquired by the communist forces in Asia and subsequently delivered to the Soviet Union for research and testing. Naked Snake managed to procure one of these M16s during his mission.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]

During the San Hieronymo Incident, an M16A1 was placed in the main office of the Soviet Patrol Base, where Naked Snake and his resistance group later procured it with or without the help of their Spy Unit.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Peace Walker Incident

Main article: Peace Walker Incident

During the Peace Walker Incident in 1974, the M16A1 was utilized by the Militaires Sans Frontières, which was one of their standardized weapons alongside the Mk. 22 Hush Puppy.[1] It also came with many add ons and derivatives, and was among the most versatile weapons. Design specs for the Shotgun addon were procured by the MSF at Los Cantos canyon while attempting to neutralize an enemy unit, and later on they located design specs that included a laser dot sight on the M16A1 with the shotgun add on while attempting to do a stealth run at Volcan Irazu. The MSF also discovered design specs for an add on for a grenade launcher while neutralizing an enemy unit stationed at Selva de la Leche's jungle, and procured design specs that included a laser dot sight after rescuing a wounded soldier who was held captive by the KGB unit stationed at the U.S. Missile Base in Nicaragua. Later, they procured design specs for a smoke grenade launcher addon while eliminating an enemy unit at the U.S. Missile Base, and later procured design specs that included a laser dot sight after stopping a missile raid at Mother Base.

Other than the M16A1 and its various addons, the MSF later gained the M653 weapons system. They got the design specs for the M653 itself while attempting to photograph a ghost that was rumored to be lurking around the U.S. Missile Base, and eventually added a suppressor onto it. The MSF later procured design specs for add ons for a grenade launcher, shotgun, and smoke grenade launcher while attempting to do a stealth run around Selva de la Leche, the Back Gate of the U.S. Missile Base, and the first part of the underground passage within the Mine Base, respectively. The Peace Sentinel also made use of this weapons system as part of their escorts.

The M16A1 would later be phased out by 1975 in favor of the AM MRS-4 rifle as the primary assault rifle for the MSF. The U.S. Marines would also phase out the M16 in favor of the AM Rifle Type 69 around the same time, with virtually all of the United States Marine Corps guards at Camp Omega being issued this rifle alongside the S100 Shotgun at the time of Snake's infiltration of the base in 1975.

Descriptions

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

M16A1

American made 5.56x45MM assault rifle, commonly used by the military. Holds 20 rounds per magazine. Can be procured at the Soviet Patrol Base via the Spy Unit.

"The assault rifle of choice for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The caliber size was reduced from the M14 rifle, and enabled soldiers to carry more ammunition. The M16A1's design extensively incorporates aluminum alloys and plastics, making the gun itself relatively light.
Using 5.56x45mm ammo and bearing a 20-round clip, this gun currently sees intense action in Vietnam, serving as the counterpoint to the AK-47.
"
―M16A1 weapon description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

M16A1 with M203 Grenade Launcher

A gun not usable by anyone else but Python. It is an M16A1 rifle customised with an M203 Grenade Launcher. The rifle ammunition itself is lethal as opposed to the Liquid Nitrogen ammunition for the grenade launcher which will freeze the player's equipped weapons and equipment and drain their stamina upon impact and releases a blinding mist either way. Python will use this weapon to confront the player in battle and relinquishes this upon recruitment to Naked Snake's team. It is unknown why this is the case, but it can be assumed from his statement that he won't have to take another life that he discarded it when he joined FOXHOUND.

XM177E2

A carbine version of the M16; the barrel and butt of the rifle have both been shortened, it's fitted with a silencer and has 30 round magazines. One of the many weapons used by FOX soldiers and exclusive only to them.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1

M16A1

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
"
―M16A1 description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1 (Rank 3)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
Equipped with a limited-use suppressor. The suppressor will eventually wear out, so use it prudently.
"
―M16A1 (Rank 3) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1(STG)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
This model has been modified with an extra underbarrel shotgun, greatly increasing its firepower and making it an effective weapon against both close- and long-range targets.
"
―M16A1(STG) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1(STG) (Rank 5)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
This model has been modified with an extra underbarrel shotgun, greatly increasing its firepower and making it an effective weapon against both close- and long-range targets.
The addition of a laser sight allows for easier targeting.
"
―M16A1(STG) (Rank 5) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Patriot

The Patriot is a modified version of the XM16E1, with a shortened barrel and the stock removed. It was designed in order to create a carbine that combined the feel and quick handling of a handgun with the force of a rifle. The relatively light weight meant that the Patriot had strong recoil, and was notoriously difficult to aim. The fact that The Boss used it one-handed was a testament to her skill. It used 5.56x45mm ammunition and was fitted with a 100-round Beta C-Mag drum magazine (whose shape resembles the infinity symbol ∞). The report was said to resemble the sound of a threatened rattlesnake, and that no one who heard the sound would live to tell the tale.

"The assault pistol that The Boss, the Mother of Special Forces and mentor of Naked Snake, carried with her into her final battle. It is essentially a truncated M16 that has been fully revamped with custom parts. Because the Patriot fires rifle rounds from a pistol-sized frame, it is extremely difficult to control, bucking like a wild bronco in the user's hand. It never runs out of bullets - perhaps, as some say, because The Boss left a piece of herself inside it."
―Weapon description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

See main article

M16A1(GL)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
A grenade launcer has been added to this model, improving its performance in combat against groups of enemies and larger, armored targets.
"
―M16A1(GL) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1(GL) (Rank 5)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
A grenade launcher has been added to this model, improving its performance in combat against groups of enemies and larger, armored targets.
The addition of a laser sight allows for easier targeting.
"
―M16A1(GL) (Rank 5) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1(SGL)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
A smoke grenade launcher has been added to this model, which not only increases its direct attack power but also degrades the enemy's ability to track and engage targets, resulting in a much more versatile weapon.
"
―M16A1(SGL) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M16A1(SGL) (Rank 5)

"An advanced, lightweight assault rifle developed by the U.S. Army in a departure from the traditional large-caliber infantry rifle. Also known as the "black rifle" due to the color of its frame, which is largely made of plastic. Notable for its use during the Vietnam War, where it made a name for itself with its superior performance.
The M16A1 uses small-caliber, low-recoil ammunition, and as a result its firing accuracy is truly impressive.
A smoke grenade launcher has been added to this model, which not only increases its direct attack power but also degrades the enemy's ability to track and engage targets, resulting in a much more versatile weapon.
The addition of a laser sight allows for easier targeting.
"
―M16A1(SGL) (Rank 5) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M653

M653
"A carbine offshot of the M16, developed for use by commandos. It takes the superior capabilities of the original M16 and puts them into a lighter, more compact package. These qualities make it ideal for extended solo missions; as such it is the weapon of choice for many Special Forces units.
The M653's easy handling allows for a more stable aim, resulting in a high firing accuracy.
"
―M653 description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M653 (Rank 4)

"A carbine offshot of the M16, developed for use by commandos. It takes the superior capabilities of the original M16 and puts them into a lighter, more compact package. These qualities make it ideal for extended solo missions; as such it is the weapon of choice for many Special Forces units.
The M653's easy handling allows for a more stable aim, resulting in a high firing accuracy.
Equipped with a limited-use suppressor. The suppressor will eventually wear out, so use it prudently.
"
―M653 (Rank 4) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M653(GL)

"A carbine offshot of the M16, developed for use by commandos. It takes the superior capabilities of the original M16 and puts them into a lighter, more compact package. These qualities make it ideal for extended solo missions; as such it is the weapon of choice for many Special Forces units.
The M653's easy handling allows for a more stable aim, resulting in a high firing accuracy.
A grenade launcher has been added to this model, improving its performance in combat against groups of enemies and larger, armored targets.
"
―M653(GL) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M653(STG)

"A carbine offshot of the M16, developed for use by commandos. It takes the superior capabilities of the original M16 and puts them into a lighter, more compact package. These qualities make it ideal for extended solo missions; as such it is the weapon of choice for many Special Forces units.
The M653's easy handling allows for a more stable aim, resulting in a high firing accuracy.
This model has been modified with an extra underbarrel shotgun, greatly increasing its firepower and making it an effective weapon against both close- and long-range targets.
"
―M653(STG) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

M653(SGL)

"A carbine offshot of the M16, developed for use by commandos. It takes the superior capabilities of the original M16 and puts them into a lighter, more compact package. These qualities make it ideal for extended solo missions; as such it is the weapon of choice for many Special Forces units.
The M653's easy handling allows for a more stable aim, resulting in a high firing accuracy.
A smoke grenade launcher has been added to this model, which not only increases its direct attack power but also degrades the enemy's ability to track and engage targets, resulting in a much more versatile weapon.
"
―M653(SGL) description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Gallery

Notes and references

  1. ^ The fact that Big Boss utilizes this weapon as well as the Mk.22 during the first level implies that these were the MSF's standard weapons.

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