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S&W M&P15T LiNQ: Continued Evolution of S&W’s AR Platform Combined with the Crimson Trace

By Todd Burgreen

S&W has taken its vision of the AR rifle another step forward with its M&P15T combined with Crimson Trace’s LiNQ wireless laser/light module. It is not unusual to see military pattern weapons embraced by civilian shooters outside of the armed services. This pattern can be discerned even before the AR rifle arrived on the scene ala Trapdoor, Springfield, M1 Garand etc. Why not take advantage of the time and effort expended by various nations’ armed forces in doing the initial leg work of what works in terms of reliability and effectiveness. This is not to say military weapons are to be blindly followed; just that millions of dollars and countless hours of research & development should not be ignored as a starting place. The AR’s modular nature combined with advances in CNC machine technology allows for enhancements beyond what could have been imagined 50+ years ago. This same concept can be applied to accessories mated to the AR.

For a rifle to be considered versatile it must be able to satisfy multiple roles with equal aplomb. A viable rifle candidate for this title is the S&W M&P15T. The M&P15T can be loosely characterized as an M4 type AR. The M4 evolved out of the Vietnam era’s CAR 15 Commando (XM-177) rifle. A light weight, fast handling rifle is a premium when having to react to a threat. The military had this figured out with the early Colt CAR 15 Commando rifle often photographed in the hands of MACV-SOG and other elite units in the Vietnam War. The currently fielded M4 evolved out of the CAR 15 XM-177 with it being modified with longer barrel (CAR 15s had a 10” or 11.5” barrels) and other design tweaks to increase reliability. The increase in barrel length to 14.5” facilitated the mounting of the M203 Grenade launcher; a huge boost in available firepower. The M4 was officially adopted into the US military in 1994. In 2010, the M4’s compactness led to it becoming the standard issue rifle for the...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N1 (January 2018)
and was posted online on November 17, 2017

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