After the fall of Saigon to the communists of North Vietnam , the crowning achievement of the U.S. Democrat party of the day. There was a lot of equipment and arms left over, much of it US made and supplied to the Army of the Republic  of South Vietnam for their for their survival in their fight to hold off the Peoples Army Of North Vietnam, China, the USSR and Fellow Travelers in the US.  After the final fall, that left a mountain of war material left over.    Most of it ended up  piled up  in stacks and left to quietly rust to nothing in the tropical jungle climate.

Not. Pretty.

Some however were saved by the victors to be re purposed  and modified for their own uses, a very common thing for the Vietnamese  people to do.   The AK may be in the minds of millions as the signature gun for the Vietnamese communist but  even they recognized its virtues and more modern concepts.

The lighter handier and more accurate M16 and M16A1 certainly had an impact on the Communist forces ( no pun intended) but the one that really must have made an impression was the Colt  “CAR15”  otherwise known officially as the Xm177 mostly used and identified with US Special Operations forces  and MACVSOG  in particular.  With most of the world not using an AK pattern rifle going with the M16 family and now the M4 or M4 like carbine, the Viets  knew a good thing when they saw it.

After cannibalizing parts,  sourcing other parts from various countries and using non licensed Chinese rip off parts, Vietnam developed its own take on a CAR15.  They call this carbine the M18 reportedly.


While it is obvious that the upper and lower receivers  are 60s era Colt made originals, the collapsing  stock is the current M4 pattern, as is the hand guards.    If those new parts are made to original specs or are pure knock offs from a Chinese airsoft company I have no idea.

The M18 is issued to at least  some special units and the coast guard. The carbines pictured above appear to have a newer finish  and a suppressor, It is curious that the Vietnamese updated the buttstock and HGs but chose to retain the original smooth A1  pistol grip.  Many people would agree with their choice over the A2 grip.


You can read a little bit about it here if you can read Vietnamese. It has very, very little technical  details about the M18 and is more of a fluff piece with some CNN level knowledge on  the AR15 system but  I link it for those interested and able to read it .




  1. They still use the hardened aircraft shelters my dad’s Seabee battalion built while over there too. If I recall correctly they also repurposed the RVN’s F5s for a time as well though mostly for show.

    We had original Air Force contract M16s still in service just ten years ago that I can personally vouch for. We had to do inspections on them and their maintenance records went waaaay back. It’s not beyond reason many of those war service weapons would still be serviceable though. Other than their intervention in Cambodia they’ve had a relatively peaceful existence since so the guns wouldn’t be beaten into submission through overuse. It’s still saddening to think at least some of these were taken from a GI.

    • there is a pretty well know picture floating around of some hill tribe in Khmer still running around using an M16 with the traingle HGs held together by some rope and it still works. The M16/M16A1/AR15 is a hell of a lot tougher and durable than a lot of internet experts want to give it credit for and admit.

      • No doubt but then again an occasional “hard day’s shooting” of a Wal Mart value pack is about the extent of use a lot of people’s ARs ever see. But hey, their money and of course it’s still a free country for them to do as they wish.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.