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The XM16E1 is an American-made automatic combat rifle. It was essentially the same weapon as the Armalite AR-15 with the addition of a forward assist and corresponding notches in the bolt carrier. It was adopted in 1964 as the US Rifle, Caliber 5.56mm, M16.
The XM16E1 fires small-caliber, high-velocity 5.56 x 45mm rounds from a 20-round magazine. It is painted with a camouflage pattern and is equipped with several other modifications designed specifically for jungle combat. The XM16E1 can equip a suppressor and can switch between semi-automatic, three-round-burst, and full-automatic mode. This allows the XM16E1 to perform many versatile roles, from full-on assault to silent sniping from a distance. The rifle has heavy recoil in full-automatic mode, however, but the recoil can be controlled more easily by kneeling or lying down. It is fairly heavy, weighing 2.9 kg (6.4 lbs) and takes about 1 second to reload. Although fairly heavy, it is lighter than its Soviet counterpart, the AK-47 which weighs 3.5kg.
The XM16E1 served as the basis for The Boss' assault pistol, the Patriot. The Patriot was essentially an XM16E1 with the stock removed, a cut-down barrel, and a drum magazine. The weapon was arguably more accurate than the AK-47, though it carried somewhat lesser firepower, as it only carried 20 rounds compared to the AK's 30 rounds.
The XM16E1 was tested by Western forces in Southeast Asia, but Soviet spies managed to steal some copies of the rifle and brought them over to the Soviet Union, at least two of which were brought directly to Tselinoyarsk.
Behind the scenes
- "The XM16E1. A state-of-the-art assault rifle currently being field-tested by the U.S. Army. Uses small caliber, high muzzle velocity 5.56 x 45 ammunition. Magazine is 20 rounds. Features several modifications geared toward jungle combat."
- ―XM16E1 weapons description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The XM16E1 appears in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It can be obtained by the player during both the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater: in the former, it is located in Dolinovodno, beneath the bridge on the northern side; in the latter, it is located in either Rassvet, on a flight of stairs, or inside an armory just outside the Graniny Gorki lab.
Discussions between characters
The Boss: "The weapon you're equipped with now is called the XM16E1. It's a new type of rifle currently being developed by the U.S. Army."
Snake: "If it's still in development, then what's it doing here?"
The Boss: "My guess is they captured it when it was being battle-tested in Southeast Asia. But the one you've got there is quite a bit different from the ones I've been hearing about. For one thing, it's camo-painted and it's fitted with a three-shot burst mechanism. It even looks like you could attach a suppressor... All of these modifications are geared toward jungle combat."
Snake: "This doesn't look like the work of the Soviets."
The Boss: "My guess is they were added on-site by an American gunsmith during the army field trials. Open the Weapon Window and press the Enter Button to attach or remove the suppressor. Press the Action Button to switch between semi-auto, full auto, and three-shot burst modes. Make use of each of these functions as the situations warrants."
Sigint: "Snake, you've got a..."
Snake: "I know. It's some new kind of rifle out of the West. Looks kind of like a 'black rifle'."
Sigint: "No, it's not an AR-15. It's an XM16E1, a top-of-the-line rifle that the Army adopted recently on a trial basis. The U.S. military was working on a new concept for a light infantry weapon from the late 40's through the mid 50's. In the end, they decided they wanted a .22-caliber, high muzzle velocity rifle with full-auto capability. What they came up with was the AR-15, the so-called 'black rifle.' The one you've got there, the XM16E1, is a modified AR-15 that's been fitted with a bolt forward assist. I heard they're doing performance evaluations down in Southeast Asia."
Snake: "So they captured one in Vietnam and brought it here?"
Sigint: "That's my guess. But the thing looks a lot different from a regular XM16E1. There must have been a gunsmith present at the field tests who made all these modification [sic] on the spot. The fact that it's painted in camouflage colors shows that more and more people these days are starting to realize the importance of camouflage."
Snake: "They made it so it takes a suppressor, too."
Sigint: "Yep. That's a nice feature to have for a recon unit on a sneaking mission deep in enemy territory. You can attach and detach the suppressor by opening the Weapon Window and pressing the Enter Button. Oh, and the firing mechanism's been modified to enable three-shot bursts."
Snake: "Why the hell would they do that?"
Sigint:"These days, a lot of new recruits aren't used to firing in full-auto mode. They have no trigger control and end up emptying the whole magazine at once. Maybe they were experimenting with ways to prevent that and came up with the burst mechanism as a possible solution."
Snake: "Stupid idea if you ask me."
Sigint: "Hey, give it a chance, it might come in handy. Open the Weapon Window and press the Action Button to switch between semi-auto, full-auto, and 3-shot burst modes. Have fun with that."