Well, well. One of my pet topics has popped back up over on SOFREP. A track back yesterday showed that my much beloved article on the M14 was referenced in an article over there. I’ve excerpted some of it below with link. I always like to show some love to fellow men of culture and learning.
One pervasive myth that’s continually floated around is the legend of the M14. I hear it all the time and have heard since I was a young buck with dreams of joining the USMC. I thought the M14 was a legendary rifle, and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would be well benefited from it. Of course, this wasn’t based on experience, but on me repeating what the gun rags said. However, the truth is completely different, and the truth is that the M14 was a terrible rifle.
Why Does It Seem Beloved?
So, why has the M14 seemingly been getting so much love? Well, the most obvious answer is the M16: more specifically, the M16’s terrible rollout. The Army goofed it up big time. Specifically, the XM16E got a bad rap because Big Army knowingly used the wrong powder in their ammunition, and the chamber and bore were not chrome plated.
Big Army goofed hard, but not every grunt in Vietnam hated the M16. That seems to be the prevailing narrative, but a survey from the U.S. Army shows differently.
Infantry Marines, who had been in Vietnam for more than six months, were surveyed for a report titled Small Arms Use in Vietnam: M14 Rifle and 45 Caliber Pistol. These men were all below the rank of captain, and if possible, were squad leaders. Sixty-seven percent carried the M14 at the time of the survey.
As Hognose would say, do go read the whole thing.