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The Complete Guide to Colt M-16 Models: Part IV

By Dan Shea

The Colt Models ID Guide has expanded somewhat- we are going to have five parts to the series instead of four. Some of the newer readers may not be aware of what we are doing here- basically trying to bring together the existing information about what M16 models were manufactured at Colt. The purpose is to attempt to give the public a guide to what is “Correct” for each model, and how the development process appeared.

This has been a very interesting study, and more information is coming out every day. SAR plans to wait twelve months, then include a copy of all the information that has come to light in the intervening time.

We have had many requests to carry this series into the AR15 Semi-automatic series of firearms. We have decided to do so. In addition to our upcoming guide on the MAC series of SMG’s, we are going to each of the manufacturers of the AR type rifles, and documenting their factory models in the same manner that you see here. We will try to include the serial number ranges pertinent to the 1994 “Ban” on so called “Assault rifles”, so you can keep a ready ID guide to make sure that your purchases are in compliance. Our first four in this new series will be Bushmaster, Eagle Arms, Armalite, and Knight’s Armament. If there is special information about these firearms that you consider important, please let us know.

We hope you enjoy this fourth part of the Colt ID, as Colt moves into the M16A2 Program. The M16A2 was a product improved version of the A1 model, based on many After Action reports and constant field testing. Sighting was changed, burst mechanisms added, barrel twist was changed, the buttstock lengthened, a brass deflector added, handguards were rounded, and barrel contours changed. The JSSAP program was the catalyst for the adoption of the changes, and many were hotly contested. That is a story for another day...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N8 (May 1998)
and was posted online on June 30, 2017

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