View Full Version : "The Gun"
This is about the development of the AK47, and Mikail Kalashnikov, and him rise to fame.
However there is a chapter about the development of the AR15/M16 and it's early deployment in Vietnam.
There is a Marine officer that is talked about and quoted a good bit named Captain Richard (Dick) Culver. Who was not a happy camper during that period. He was losing a lot of good men to a faulty weapons platform.
I was just a little surprised to see him mentioned like that.
...However there is a chapter about the development of the AR15/M16 and it's early deployment in Vietnam. There is a Marine officer that is talked about and quoted a good bit named Captain Richard (Dick) Culver. Who was not a happy camper during that period...
Go to the forum index page at
...and at the top, click on "Saga of the M-16" for Major Culver's writings on that piece of equipage.
No no no, that SH*# sandwich tastes great, just ask the gubberment. It is much better now supposedly, but I still have developed a strategy for qualifying with the rifle where I take the spare cartridges from jams and missfeeds and set them aside until the end of each round of qualification so I can load them one at a time to finish the round.
Many thanks to Major Culver and the others who did not drink the koolaid.
I have the book, and it is pretty good. C.J. Chivers, the author, is a former USMC Captain. He slams the M-14 pretty hard, which I do not agree with. After all, it would have been perfect for anywhere else in the world... And I often wonder if the US may have been better off leaving it in general issue in Vietnam.
Chivers also does not agree with traditional USMC marksmanship training, which he calls too formal and unrealistic.
You do not have to agree with a book to enjoy it. My favorite parts were the part about the M -16, "The Accidental Rifle," and all the stuff on the AK and the production network the USSR set up. They basically made mass production and third-world-wide distribution of the AK an objective of the USSR's national policy, in hopes of destabilizing it. Which they succeeded in, superlatively, especially in Africa. But it did not lead so much toward spreading communism as it succeeded in spreading anarchy.
Part of what went wrong in US shoulder weapon development - with both the M14 and the M16 was the idea that ONE GUN was going to do everything well. We knew better in WWII, with a mix of M1s, BARs, Thompsons/Greaseguns, M1911s, M1 Carbines - and the occasional sniper 03A4. We just found out, again, in the War on Terror, that just the M4 alone ain't gonna get it done. So the Marines rediscovered the M14 for "designated Marksmen" and the Army followed suit. You gotta have reach - and support isn't always available.
It should be noted that the Rhodesian and South Africans did pretty well with the FNFAL (another 7.62MM Battle Rifle) in fighting a counterinsurgency in a somewhat jungled environment. But you have to train riflemen, and Draftees are easier to just hand an M-16 with a happy switch and point in the general direction. In mixed terrain, (or especially in the open) a WWII Platoon would kick a modern Platoon's butt - with neither side having fire support, that is. Watch the training videos of the time - you learned how, in WWII. My Dad was a Paratrooper Sgt. in the 82nd, and advised that the standard was hits on a silhouette at 500 yards, with few misses. How many current GIs can make hits that far? Only in a tight urban environment would I feel better armed with an M4 than an M14. The M14 shoots through things - the M16, not so much. The AK is a good bullet hose - but if you are over 200 yards away, you are fairly safe from the average Combloc AK and his peasant user. At least an M16 can make hits at range, even if less powerful ones. In comparing the Ak and the M16 it should be noted that we killed over 1 Million North Vietnamese and VC in Vietnam - and they got 50,000 of us. Pretty wide kill ratio - and not all of it was done with B-52s. Plus the Russians switched over to a close copy of OUR caliber right after Vietnam - they must have thought we were on to something. Just some random thoughts. CC
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