I saw this topic on B-arfcom over the weekend and have thought about it ever since. It would seem an easy answer at first but the more I thought about it, the more interesting the question became. I am still organizing my thoughts on this but wanted to get some comments from readers about their opinion on the question.
” It’s not fair to compare them directly, but rather within their own time periods.
Was the M1 Garand more of an unfair advantage during WW2 or is the Stoner design more impactful from the 60s to today?
While respecting the awesomeness of the Garand, I’d argue the Stoner rifle is the more impactful weapon. The intermediate cartridge is plenty, much larger capacity, INFINITELY more modular, more easily accurized, and furthermore has served our country much longer.
Furthermore, I’d argue the plethora of AR rifles on the market have made us a much better armed citizenry.
Finally, I believe servicing the rifle is easier for both citizen and soldier alike.
That’s my opening statement, and this thread is officially up for debate. “
Below are some of the comments to the OP’s question in the thread.
Not for the US.
Bolt action to gas operated is one helluva jump in capability.
The AR was superior to the M14 in just about every way, but it was more a matter of quantity (weight, ammo capacity, etc) than a qualitative difference like the 1901 to the M1, and “modularity” wasn’t meaningful until the late 80s/early 90s when rail mount optics/lights/forends really came on the scene.
No. In its time the M1 was the first general issue autoloader. It opened a lot of doors for both sides. By the time we adopted the AR platform “everybody” had an autoloader of some type, many being select fire. The AR Was ” just another rifle” at that point. Aluminum and plastic instead of steel and wood but that’s it.
Ease of manufacturing is the biggest technological jump from the M1 to the AR. Otherwise, the M1 was more advanced than anything else for many years.
The AR/AK represents a fundamental shift away from old world style of production of master machinists, huge machinery, quality control and hand fitting.
It was extremely difficult to duplicate the production process for the M1. Now, almost anyone can build an AR/AK in their garage.
That’s a huge technological leap.
The M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine together were revolutionary in a way that the M16 never was. Almost all 1st Gen assault rifles were influenced by the M1 Carbine, (StG 44, AK 47, etc), and the M16 hammer/trigger group was developed from the M1 Garand. Also, the low-cost modular designs inherent in the Armalite were based on the methods developed to build sub-machine guns during WWII. The revolutionary nature of the AR was the adaption of aircraft-grade metal alloys and techniques to rifle construction, which changed small-arms production forever.