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

By Dan Shea

The M16 series of rifles has had much written about them. How to fix them, how to shoot them, the history and development- is all very well covered. What has been missing is a basic guide to the models, and how to identify them properly. SAR has embarked on this mission, and the body of knowledge just keeps growing, and growing..... At present there are 4 parts to the series, the first three are devoted to the actual models, and the fourth is composed of a comparison of the distinguishing features of each major characteristic change. We hope you enjoy this series, and can utilize this guide in your understanding of what is “correct” for each model. We are looking for input, and for photos of markings and models that we are missing. In particular, we need the markings from an XM16E1, XM177E1 and 2, and the GAU-5A.

It is our sincere hope that this photographic essay will help people to identify what they have, and what should or should not be on it for features. One point that should be remembered is that many of these models were transitional in nature, and two different flash hiders might have been correct, or some other dual characteristic. It is almost impossible to sort this out- someone will always come forward later and show an original model that is “Different” from what the previous body of knowledge has ascertained. It is in this spirit of investigation SAR offers this ID Guide to the Colt Models. Please address any new info you may have to us at SAR, and we will try to incorporate it into the future parts of this four part series. (Four parts - so far!)

SAR would like to thank Mr. Reed Knight Jr. for his help in this series

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N5 (February 1998)
and was posted online on October 6, 2017


Comments have not been generated for this article.