A Chronology of Development by Daniel E. Watters
A Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) is initiated for a 5.56mm AP cartridge to be designated the M995. The desired cartridge, produced by Bofors, uses a tungsten core projectile.
The US Navy SEALs begin issue of the M16A2E3, an M16A2-style rifle with full automatic capability instead of 3 round burst. (Note: Later designated the M16A3, the Navy’s rifle is not the same configuration as Colt’s commercial “M16A3,” which simply indicates a flat-top M16A2-type rifle.)
Colt commercially introduces their flat-top receiver for rifles and carbines. These are commercially designated the M16A3 and M4A1 respectively. (However, these weapon’s features should not be confused with those of the military type-classified weapons using the same designation.)
Colt also unveils the “CQB Carbine”, equipped with a single rail adapter system for the attachment of the M203, a breaching shotgun, or other accessories. Colt also introduces the M203H, a stand-alone adapter for the existing M203.
Oman makes a FMS purchase of M16A2.
The US Army awards a contract for 4,200 AN/PAQ-4C Infrared Aiming Light (IAL) Systems.
ARMS, Inc. introduces the Swan Extended Rigid Frame Sleeve (SERFS) System, an early forerunner to their current Selective Integrated Rail (SIR) System.
Diemaco receives a follow-on contract for the production of C7A1 upper receivers, along with a smaller number of complete weapons, for the Canadian military. The A1 configuration is flat-top variant intended for mounting the ELCAN C79 optic. The C79 is purchased in equal numbers for issue to Canadian forces.
The British House of Commons forms a Defence Select Committee to investigate the poor performance history of the SA80.
The British L1A2 Blank enters service.
Colombia adopts the IMI Galil.
The “Future Technology Conference” reorients from concentration on directed energy weapon applications to exploring Non-Lethal technologies.
FN works to reduces the overall length of the 5.7x28mm cartridge. The purpose is to allow the cartridge to more easily fit into the grip of a handgun. During this process, FN creates the first prototypes of what will become the SS190.
AMCCOM deallocates $112,269 in a contract modification to La Belle Industries.
AMCCOM awards $1,537,122 and $2,639,177 contracts to Colt related to the M16.
JSSAP publishes “Advanced Combat Rifle: Volume I, Program Summary.”
The Army awards a research contract for the Laser Countermeasure System (LCMS). The LCMS is intended to be a one-person portable, manually operated, shoulder-fired, battery-powered, system mounted onto an M16A2 rifle. The LCMS‘ primary objective is to detect, jam, and suppress threat fire control, optical, and electro-optical subsystems.
Colt files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997B(AR), is amended for a third time.
ARMS, Inc.’s Richard Swan files a patent application for the Swan Extended Rigid Frame Sleeve (SERFS) System.
The US Army announces that the ACR trial candidates have all failed to provide the required 100 percent improvement over the M16A2.
The US State Department grants an export license to Colt to ship M16 to Indonesia.
British armorers receive an improved interceptor sear, improved take-down pins, and yet another improved safety plunger and spring for retrofit to the SA80. The previous interceptor sear could fail to release, and block the trigger from resetting. The earlier pins were prone to either falling out or being too difficult to remove, causing permanent damage to the lower receiver. The previous safety plunger, made of plastic, was prone to breakage. It would also swell when wet, causing the safety to jam in place.
HK‘s Helmut Weldle and Hubert Krieger file an US patent application for the ambidextrous cocking handle of the G36.
The military specification for M197 High Pressure Test, MIL-C-46936B(AR), is amended for a third time.
The military specification for 5.56mm Reference cartridges, MIL-C-46397C(AR), is amended for a second time.
The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468A(AR), is amended.
Mission Research Corporation, on behalf of the Natick Soldier Center, publishes “Algorithm Development to Describe Fléchette Retardation in Human Tissues.”
The British ITDU tests the effect of a stronger trigger return spring on the accuracy and consistency of the SA80.
The M16A2E3 rifle’s military specification, MIL-R-71135(AR), is issued.
The GAO upholds Trijicon’s second protest of the Army’s contract awards to Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies, Inc., Optic-Electronic Corporation, and S-Tron. The contract was for modified NDI telescopes to be used with the M16 and M249.
IMI‘s Adi Flashkes receives US Patent #5,117,735 titled “Machine Gun with Belt and Magazine Feed.”
The military specification for M862 Plastic Practice Ball, DOD-C-70463(AR), is canceled. It is superseded by the military specification for M862 Short Range Training Ammunition (SRTA): MIL-C-70725(AR).
The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989B(AR), is amended.
British Army Colonel R.H. Forsyth, Project Manager Infantry Weapons, informs DateStyle that:
“…we have no requirement for improved accuracy (for the SA80) as offered by your muzzle compensator.”
After the British MOD reconsiders its requirement for a higher capacity magazine for the SA80, Beta Co. submits an additional report and forwards six C-Mags for evaluation.
Colt receives a contract for 8,624 M16A2E3 for the US Navy.
AMCCOM awards a $3,596,208 contract to Colt related to the M16.
The military specification for the M200A1 Blank, MIL-C-70724(AR), is published.
British armorers receive an improved buttplate and a redesigned trigger for retrofit to the SA80. The new buttplate are reinforced with a steel strip to prevent the plates from being torn off of their mounting screws during use. The LSW version also has a redesigned shoulder support, with the pivot point lowered to allow for solid contact with the user’s shoulder. The third model trigger has a V-shaped rear edge to prevent foreign material being trapped between the trigger and trigger guard, causing a failure to fire. (This was commonplace with the second model trigger.)
The military specifications for the M16 and M16A1 rifles and M4 carbine are each amended.
British armorers receive an improved magazine catch shroud for retrofit to the SA80. This model will be spot welded in place, instead of merely glued.
HK‘s Raimund Fritz, Norbert Fluhr, and Berthold Weichert receive US Patent #5,164,537 titled “Small Firearm with Receiver.”
The military specifications for the M16A2E3 rifle, MIL-R-71135(AR), is amended.
by Daniel E. Watters, Small Arms Historian
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Last Revised: 05/17/2009
This article was originally published at The Gun Zone — The Gunperson’s Authoritative Internet Information Resource. My friend and mentor Dean Speir has graciously hosted my articles at TGZ for nearly 16 years. These articles would likely have never appeared online without his constant encouragement and assistance.
With TGZ’s closure in early 2017, Dean encouraged me to find a new home for my scholarship so it wouldn’t be lost in the dustbin of the Internet. Loose Rounds has welcomed me with open arms. In the future, I intend to expand my legacy TGZ articles and add new contributions here at Loose Rounds.