Vietnam War Assault Rifles: What did the Americans and Viet Cong do from


The Vietnam War is one of the most tragic and, at the same time, interesting pages. stories Soviet-American confrontation. Today it is interesting to us also because on the land of distant Indochina not only Vietnamese and American soldiers fought among themselves, but also weaponmade in the USSR and the USA.


The main machine gun, which was in service with the Vietnamese People’s Army and the Vietnamese partisans (National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam) was the legendary Soviet AK-47. As you know, the Communists of Vietnam enjoyed the full support of the USSR, China, North Korea and other countries of the socialist camp.

The most common small arms of the Vietnamese partisans were Mosin rifles, PPSh, and French MAT-49 submachine guns. The latter fell into the hands of the Communists as a captured weapon after the evacuation of French colonial troops from Vietnam. As soon as the United States began to provide assistance to South Vietnam, the American M1 rifles appeared at the partisans - they were taken from the killed or captured soldiers of the South Vietnamese army, in addition, many South Vietnamese soldiers themselves went over to the partisans along with their weapons.

In 1965, North Korean-made automatic rifles appeared in Vietnam, which were a modification of the AK-47 and became known to the Americans as Type 58 (Type-58). As the name implies, their release in the DPRK began in 1958, and in the mid-1960s. weapons began to be exported to Vietnam, Cuba, as well as to numerous rebel structures in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Historian Max Hastings, author of The Vietnam War, recounts that the North Korean Type-58s were great for fighting in the Vietnamese jungle. The guns almost never clogged, the sleeves did not get stuck in them, they were easy to operate and maintain, and yesterday's Vietnamese peasants quickly mastered the perfect handling of this type of weapon. Among the unconditional advantages of the machine, low weight and rate of fire stood out.

For the Vietnamese partisans, the AK-47 and Type-58 assault rifles became an important aid in confronting the troops of South Vietnam and the United States, as well as their other allies. As soon as this opportunity was provided, the Vietnamese gladly changed their old weapons, including the M1, to the Soviet AK-47 or North Korean Type-58. Since the AK-47 was rare at first, the American historian Kevin Dockery notes that the Soviet machine gun was a weapon of great value to the partisans of Vietnam.

American weapons


While the USSR successfully used a Kalashnikov assault rifle, the United States continued to search for such small arms that could be considered as a worthy alternative to the Soviet "Kalash". Initially, the American command settled on the M14 rifle, which was a modification of the M1 Garand, which showed itself well in the battles of World War II.

But the weight of 5,5 kg and a length of 1,1 meters made the rifle too bulky for use in the jungle. After all, soldiers often had to make their way through literally impassable sections. In addition, the American rifle was inferior to the Soviet machine gun in both rate of fire and service. In the end, it was forced to admit and senior officials in the Pentagon.

The US military command began the search for an “ideal machine” that could become a worthy opponent of the Soviet AK-47. The Pentagon turned to the Colt company, which offered the AR-15 rifle. The tests completely satisfied the American generals and in 1963 a contract was signed for the supply of 104 thousand AR-15 rifles, which received the name M16 in the USA.

The undoubted advantages of the new rifle were a long firing range of almost 2 times (550 meters versus 300 meters), a small cartridge weight, and, surprisingly, a lower weight of the rifle itself - 2,8 kg versus 3,8 kg. However, miscalculations were revealed during the tests - the difficulty in operation and maintenance, which requires special training for the soldier, and the problem with jammed sleeves, which got stuck more often in the M16 than in the AK-47 and its North Korean modification.

However, when the American army began to use the M16 in Vietnam, it was almost immediately revealed that it was completely useless for the climatic conditions of Indochina. Often, after a single shot, the sleeve got stuck in the chamber, had to clean the barrel. In 1966, the inspection revealed malfunctions in every seventh rifle. However, the American leadership, wanting to relieve itself of responsibility, blamed the soldiers themselves for the M16 malfunctions - supposedly, the infantrymen do not clean their weapons well and that is why problems arise.

However, difficulties with the use of M16 were encountered not only by simple infantrymen, but also by marines and commandos. Veterans of the Vietnam War recall that the rifles were simply terrible, and not every seventh rifle was faulty, but 75% of all M16 delivered to warring units. The best evidence of the unsuitability of the M16 for the Vietnam War was the critical attitude towards it from the Vietnamese partisans, who were not eager to fight with captured American rifles and, at any opportunity, changed them to AK-47.

Nevertheless, the American leadership stubbornly rejected any criticism of the rifles. And American soldiers continued to use the M16, which would be an excellent weapon for other climatic conditions, but in Indochina they could not stand the competition with the Soviet AK-47. There is no doubt that the large losses of the American army in the Vietnam War were to some extent the result of problems with the small arms used.
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  1. neri73-r April 21 2020 11: 23 New
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    The guns almost never clogged, the sleeves didn’t get stuck in them,


    and the problem with stuck sleeves, which got stuck more often in M16 than in AK-47 and its North Korean modification.

    Author, you’ve already decided - either didn’t get stuck or didn’t get stuck more often.
    1. Snail N9 April 21 2020 11: 38 New
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      I read "Soldier of Fortune" - all available numbers and there are many reviews of Vietnam War veterans and none of them particularly complained about the reliability of the M16, of course, the difficulty of its maintenance was noted, especially in long-distance raids due to the fact that it was necessary to be able to disassemble it and when disassembling, there were small parts that were easily lost in the field, especially in the jungle. But its advantages were also noted - excellent firing accuracy and low weight, which was especially important in long raids in the jungle. Those who fought with the M16 at roadblocks and did not make lengthy raids in the jungle generally speak of this rifle in superlative terms and put it higher than the AK-47.
      1. neri73-r April 21 2020 11: 43 New
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        Quote: Snail N9
        But also noted its advantages - excellent firing accuracy

        I agree, I shot from it, there was a diopter sight, the accuracy is significantly higher than that of the AK and in general the feeling is more pleasant. But the TsNII Tochmash testers said that it is better for a shooting gallery, not for a war. That is, in polygon conditions it is more accurate and more applied.
      2. Living7111972 April 21 2020 11: 55 New
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        M-16 weapons are pros, and AK weapons are the masses. Different training concepts (pro-army, conscription army), different application strategies. Different weapons for different uses. In my opinion, they cannot be compared.
        And the ideal weapon does not exist.
        Judging by the reports, the best weapon is a kitchen knife
        1. Snail N9 April 21 2020 12: 03 New
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          Judging by the reports, the best weapon is a kitchen knife

          According to the Criminal Code, a “kitchen knife” (and only a “kitchen knife”) is not a “weapon”, it is a “tool”. yes
          1. Living7111972 April 21 2020 12: 04 New
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            Until it is stuck ... The pitchfork is generally for manure, but it’s wonderful
            1. Snail N9 April 21 2020 12: 14 New
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              Once again ..... according to the Criminal Code ..... not “weapons”, like “pitchforks”. “Stuck” is not “stuck” does not play a role; it is not subject to the regulation of turnover as a “weapon”. Remember the sculpture of I. D. Shadrom: "Cobblestone weapons of the proletariat." wink
          2. phair April 22 2020 02: 39 New
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            Instrument ... They were taught this at the end of life. And then the department head then became the chief medical examiner.
        2. bunta April 21 2020 14: 36 New
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          Quote: sala7111972
          M-16 weapons are pros, and AK weapons are the masses.


          The US Army since Vietnam was not a "pro"!
          1. ycuce234-san April 21 2020 22: 15 New
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            The US Army since Vietnam was not a "pro"!

            Hence a certain conclusion: the real difference in the use of the draft army between the professional armament and the weapons of the masses is not so significant, since the draft army coped using complex weapons.
        3. Nehist April 21 2020 15: 29 New
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          I wonder where you saw the US professional army in Vietnam? There she was called up to
        4. mister-red April 21 2020 18: 37 New
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          Quote: sala7111972
          M-16 weapons are pros, and AK weapons are the masses.

          Well, one person said stupidity, and everyone always replicates it. And think about it?
          Well, let's start from the beginning - during the Vietnam War, the US Army was conscripted.
          We turn to the main thing: the pros and the conscript how are they different? Education, skills before entering the service, IQ ... well, I don’t know what else to list.
          Guys, do not be naive - the pros from the conscript are no different from ANYTHING, except for the service life. Yes, the requirements for a professional military will be higher than for a draftee, but in the general mass this is not so significant. However, the pros have more time to master weapons and equipment. But if the life of a conscript is at least 2 years, then the difference is not so great. A year is not enough and the pros will definitely be better by the head.
          Now about the main thing, we’ll correctly formulate this stupid statement: M-16 weapons of civil time and local wars, and AK weapons for total war with full mobilization, when a person is called up and a month later (God forbid) into battle. That's all.
          1. Living7111972 April 23 2020 19: 55 New
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            From a stupid statement in four words, two abbreviations and an excuse, he created a dissertation. I said about this: - with the AK, the dekhkan will run, which he did with joy. And my guys respected the M-16 very much, but they are pros ... And about stupidity ... C'mon
        5. whitebeard April 21 2020 19: 55 New
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          The problem for amers was that the M16 was used not only for well-trained soldiers, but also for ordinary infantry units, for which it was too complicated and capricious
        6. Foxnova April 26 2020 23: 14 New
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          Oh, this is not a draft army of the USA in Vietnam
      3. Nikolaevich I April 21 2020 14: 20 New
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        Quote: Snail N9
        and none of them particularly complained about the reliability of the M16,

        It seems to me that here, on this page, they often confuse the “plug with a bottle”! The M16 rifle was in the beginning! Here it was before the fig "complaints"! I had to urgently "fix" it; that is, refine ... M16A1 appeared ... turned out to be "better" ... But not "thank God"! I had to refine to M16A2 and M16A3 ... In general, all these M16, M16A1, M16A2, M16A3 ... like the same Kalashnikov modifications as AK-47, AKM, AK-103, AK-203 (7,62x39 mm) ... or: AK-74, AK-105, Ak-200 (5,45x 39 mm) ...
        1. About 2 April 28 2020 05: 06 New
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          Why does AKM go after AK 47 and why is it not AK 47 M?
    2. zenion April 21 2020 15: 49 New
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      Here you have decided and you like both. There is such a fable, about one donkey who died between two bundles of hay. He could not decide where to start.
  2. KVU-NSVD April 21 2020 11: 24 New
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    The text of the guide for the children's group in the museum. And where is the analytics ... the water of common phrases and well-known facts.
    There is no doubt that the large losses of the American army in the Vietnam War were to some extent the result of problems with the small arms used.
    This is just a pearl, undoubtedly the author.
    1. vvvjak April 21 2020 11: 26 New
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      Quote: KVU-NSVD
      The text of the guide for the children's group in the museum. And where is the analytics ... the water of common phrases and well-known facts.

      Another "seed" for the "srach" on a topic like "AK vs AR". Why analytics.
      1. Vinnibuh April 21 2020 13: 00 New
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        I also did not understand what the article was about and why?
        1. Sklendarka April 21 2020 13: 05 New
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          Anologologichno- why, for whom ???
          And the role of PCA is not disclosed ...
          1. Vinnibuh April 21 2020 13: 07 New
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            Nothing is disclosed in the article. )))
  3. iouris April 21 2020 11: 28 New
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    "Viet Cong" (?!). So derogatoryly called the enemy the American (USA) invaders. Use of this word is an American (USA) form of racism. It is unpleasant that the "domestic" publicists associate themselves with the Americans (USA). In childhood, replayed in American (USA) "shooters"?
    1. tihonmarine April 21 2020 11: 34 New
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      Quote: iouris
      So derogatoryly called the enemy the American (USA) invaders.

      Hooks and Chuckies basically.
    2. L-39NG April 21 2020 22: 20 New
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      The Americans were there at the invitation of the Vietnamese government, the South Vietnamese government. Their opponents were called Victor Charlie, "Victor Charlie", Vietcong. And it was not "derogatory", but with a degree of respect. And you write here with headlines, like from the old Soviet newspaper Pravda
      In the photo, weapons, in no way to those times. Since then, both Ak and M have changed. I would like that before writing the article, the author ran with these devices in the field. My M has never failed me, then I took the AK too. But M, in terms of ergonomics and results, is better for me.
  4. PSih2097 April 21 2020 13: 35 New
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    as far as I remember, the Americans in Vietnam did not take AK only for fear of getting the olive from their own.
    1. Nehist April 21 2020 15: 33 New
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      Gg didn’t take just for one reason !!! - They have different cartridges, to be honest this nonsense about JI ah changing their M16 to ak already
      1. PSih2097 April 21 2020 23: 16 New
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        Quote: Nehist
        Gg did not take only for one reason !!! - They have different cartridges, frankly speaking, this nonsense about the fact that ji ah changed their M16 to ak already got

        I don’t know who got you there ... But the fact remains. The cartridges went there in buckets.
    2. L-39NG April 21 2020 22: 11 New
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      How much do you remember, how many years have you served there? Or ran around with arms in hand, like a Chinese "volunteer"? Heroes, storytellers
      1. PSih2097 April 21 2020 23: 15 New
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        Quote: L-39NG
        How much do you remember, how many years have you served there? Or ran around with arms in hand, like a Chinese "volunteer"? Heroes, storytellers

        hear, go to Nenko Kiev / Jerusalem fight with sores ...
        And it’s better to finish any higher education institution, there they will teach you how to answer.
  5. Amateur April 21 2020 14: 09 New
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    The undoubted advantages of the new rifle were the long range of almost 2 times (550 meters versus 300 meters), the small weight of the cartridge, and, surprisingly, the lower weight of the rifle itself - 2,8 kg versus 3,8 kg.

    As soon as it comes to any numbers, a complete "fall off" begins. Regarding what are the numbers quoted? Regarding monkeys or parrots? what
  6. Brylevsky April 21 2020 14: 37 New
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    Veterans of the Vietnam War recall that the rifles were simply terrible, and not every seventh rifle was faulty, but 75% of all M16 delivered to warring units.

    The DuPont company for a long time could not ensure the supply of the right powder in the right amount, this is the main cause of the malfunction of this weapon. For testing factory lots, military acceptance of such gunpowder was enough and the rifle did not show its pickiness. Why, she worked in the normal operation mode ... When the intensive military operations with the use of these weapons began in Vietnam, normal rounds (with the right gunpowder) became lacking, for obvious reasons, and DuPont began to "drive the demon" , trying to ensure the supply of gunpowder to cartridge plants. At the same time, production technology was violated, the powder was obtained with a deviation from the standards. In particular, it turned out ... too powerful. The rifle automatics turned out to be overloaded with excessive pressure of the powder gases, which led to failures in operation and increased wear. The command knew about this problem, but nothing was done to solve it. And of course, the rifle itself was still quite “raw” and needed to be improved. Take for example the presence of a ramrod. The M-16 simply didn’t have it ...
  7. Nikolaevich I April 21 2020 15: 09 New
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    The article, in general, is very "superficial"! It seems that the author decided to gallop through the pages devoted to the small arms of the Vietnam War! It makes an "emphasis" on the North Korean Type 58, when China was the "main supplier" of weapons to the Vietnamese from the "Asian brothers"! But the Chinese "Type 56", for some reason, is not mentioned at all! Type 63 is not mentioned ... But the Vietnamese had a lot of things (!), Even the German Stg-44 and Czechoslovak Sa vz.58! I'm not talking about submachine guns, "bolt" rifles, self-loading rifles, which (types!) Were much more than the author mentioned! In general, the author "wrote" an article on the principle: tsigel, tsigel, ayu-liu! That is, the author first of all thinks that he is paid for "calico", and not for "kachestvo"! ...
    1. Nehist April 21 2020 15: 36 New
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      The funny thing is that the first years of the 10th war, the main weapon of the North Vietnamese was the racially French Lebel rifle.
      1. Nikolaevich I April 21 2020 15: 58 New
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        Quote: Nehist
        the first years of the 10th war, the main weapon of the North Vietnamese was the racially French Lebel rifle.

        Actually, by the beginning of the American-Vietnamese war, the Vietnamese partisans from the French store rifles had mainly MAS-36 (!) ... although, according to rumors, Lebel rifles were sometimes found ...
        1. Sklendarka April 21 2020 17: 20 New
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          I met and very often SCS for some reason ...
      2. L-39NG April 21 2020 22: 38 New
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        And very often there, on the side of the Vietnamese, the Chinese fought, for some reason, with their copies of the SCS. And that’s all - the Americans lost to the Vietnamese. Horseradish bald, the Americans lost - this is the American people told their government - Enough. This is not Russia for you, so that the government does not listen to the opinion of the people, the people that Russia does not exist, but there is only a mass agreed upon.
  8. mister-red April 21 2020 18: 28 New
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    Maybe it’s enough to copy the Americans? Well, no and there was no such AK-47 assault rifle.
    1. Romka47 April 24 2020 13: 44 New
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      You're not right! it's just you copy the common myth. AK-47, he was called in the union, at least in the documents such a name appeared. If you tried to check, you would find a bunch of documents like this
      1. About 2 April 28 2020 05: 01 New
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        For those who are not particularly understanding, I remind you once again that last year Kalashnikov’s magazine No. 11 has a document signed by Stalin on how to name a Kalashnikov assault rifle, and everything else is illiterate speculation for you and the like.
        1. mister-red 8 May 2020 17: 05 New
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          I did not know about such a document, but in the course about the correct name)
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  9. awdrgy April 21 2020 21: 16 New
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    M 16? M16a2? -RPD 44 with a shortened barrel-power!
  10. Sahalinets April 22 2020 03: 41 New
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    Just the other day I read this article. https://inosmi.ru/military/20200420/247292621.html Doesn’t resemble anything? laughing
  11. Dimitri N April 22 2020 11: 24 New
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    Polonsky. Who do you call the Viet Cong? The people who defended their homeland? Do you know where that offensive nickname came from?
    A shame!
  12. Comrade Kim April 22 2020 19: 41 New
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    Quote: neri73-r
    Author, you have already decided

    The title of the article is Nazi propaganda!

    Viet- Vietnamese
    Congbloodthirsty monkey.
    There is a reverence for gentlemen from the USA, and vile slander.

    Polonsky - American Licking
  13. veceroy mfx April 23 2020 13: 49 New
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    One of our submariners was telling. We went to a military base in Vtnam in the 80s, all the Vietnamese guards stood with them from the PPSh.
  14. Radikal April 23 2020 21: 34 New
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    Quote: Snail N9
    I read "Soldier of Fortune" - all available numbers and there are many reviews of Vietnam War veterans and none of them particularly complained about the reliability of the M16, of course, the difficulty of its maintenance was noted, especially in long-distance raids due to the fact that it was necessary to be able to disassemble it and when disassembling, there were small parts that were easily lost in the field, especially in the jungle. But its advantages were also noted - excellent firing accuracy and low weight, which was especially important in long raids in the jungle. Those who fought with the M16 at roadblocks and did not make lengthy raids in the jungle generally speak of this rifle in superlative terms and put it higher than the AK-47.

    In Soldier of fortune they still cannot write .... lol
  15. About 2 April 26 2020 12: 55 New
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    The author read in the 11th issue of the Kalashnikov magazine last year the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR signed by I.V. Stalin on how to name the Kalashnikov assault rifle and do not write more AK -47 this is not correct.
  16. LeftPers April 27 2020 08: 27 New
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    AK 47 (paddle) is an excellent unit, served with such.
    1. About 2 April 28 2020 05: 18 New
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      If you really served with him, you would know that in the Soviet army the Kalashnikov rifle was simply called AK.
  17. About 2 April 28 2020 05: 16 New
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    The M 16 is really more accurate than the AK, but it is also very afraid of dirt and strong powder deposits. Since the M 16 does not have a gas piston, the gases enter the receiver and the gaps between the bolt and the receiver are minimal and this leads to failures in the weapons automatics and this is exactly why on the right side of the receiver there is a shutter rammer. As for incomplete disassembly of the M 16, it is not inferior to the AK only the finger of the shutter lock is small.
    1. Crimean partisan 1974 April 28 2020 07: 06 New
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      the gaps between the bolt and the receiver are minimal and this leads to failures ........ 6 combat stops led to failures, the exhaust gases created an instant soot on them. this is why the firing tube appeared, besides, the gas outlet tube often broke, because there was simply nothing to clean it from, the damper in the butt and shooting became worse from gunpowder gases, the shooting became worse than AK, ... solitary firing, which requires special treatment, but why discuss there, Stoner himself said that Mka for the domestic market
      1. About 2 April 28 2020 10: 17 New
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        I don’t know what you read about combat stops there, but this weapon is very sensitive to the quality of the powder composition, which took place back in the Vietnam War when there were a lot of delays due to the quality of the latter. As for the military stops and their not very good effect in pollution weapons, then I would like to ask you why on the HK416 rifles from the entire design of M 16 no one did not replace them but left, in spite of all of them, flaw in your words?
        1. Crimean partisan 1974 April 29 2020 13: 46 New
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          why on the HK416 rifles from the entire design of the M16, no one replaced them, but left flawed from your words, in spite of all of them? .... regarding the combat stops from the words of Stoner, the number of small combat stops reduces the weight of the automation. that is, the bolt frame itself, and it really is. , AK shutter frame is more powerful than the M-16, but the story is this. that AK clones around the world are dime a dozen. but the M-16 is not so hot
          1. About 2 April 30 2020 06: 43 New
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            Regarding the weightiness of the AK and M16 parts, look at the Kalashnikov’s media channel on YouTube and there the professional shooter of the Kalashnikov team Georgy Gubich gives a comment on this, and so Arched insides, if it’s easier than the Kalashovs’s, are not many, this is the second, according to German designers who improved M 16 in its NK 416 rifle, the main scourge of M 16 regarding pollution during firing is the absence of a gas piston in the automation system and, as a result, the ingress of powder gases into the receiver.
            1. Crimean partisan 1974 April 30 2020 17: 15 New
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              automation system and as a result, getting into the receiver of powder gases .... I somehow watched the disco. there the bearded cowboys drive the rifle to the point of murder. Duc here emka there that is not much shot. rupture of the barrel at the connection of the barrel with the gas pipe. maybe some fashion and does not tear. but hard to believe