After pursuing various options for our topic to be worked on, we finally came across the M16 Rifle. This topic of discussion really peaked all of our interests. For the most, none of us really have an extensive background in firearms, but the level of interest has always remained high. This project gives us the perfect opportunity to explore the world of firearms from a historical aspect in its military use to how it has become significant in American pop culture.
The M16 was a weapon different than any that came before it. During WWII the United States Army used the M1 Garand, which is a large rifle that shoots a 7.62mm cartridge. The M1 was a great weapon for its time but as technology and the strategies of war were changing the army was looking for a different rifle with a larger clip, more range and a weapon that was not as heavy as the 9.5lb M1. The army started using the M14, which is a rifle that is lighter and has a larger clip then the M1, but the M14 did not satisfy their needs for a lighter and more portable weapon. During the mid 1960’s the US Army started experimenting with a rifle that has smaller cartridges, meaning that the soldier could carry more rounds with them, and a burst shot, which shoots multiple bullets at the same time increasing the chance that they hit the target. This weapon was the M16 rifle, one of the most impactful weapons in America’s military history. The M16 gave soldiers more rounds to fire, increased accuracy and above all its weight was only 7.8 pounds, about two pounds less than both of the weapons that came before it. Even though the M16 seems to be much superior to the M14 there was a lot of controversy over its use. There were many flaws in the original M16 that the M14 did not have, which included jamming of the rifle that directly caused the casualties of soldiers. But above all the M16 with its light weight, small cartridge and the fact that it was better equipped for close combat made it the most superior weapon in warfare for the later half of the 1900’s and still today.
The evolution of technology and warfare is happening today much like it did post WWII, therefore making the once great M16 like its antecedent the M1. For years now the United States Army has been looking for possible alternatives for the M16 and only a few have stood as a possible winner. One of which is the M4 Carbine, a sister weapon of the M16. The M4 is a possible replacement for the M16 for the same reasons why the M16 replaced the M1 and M14. The M4 is smaller, lighter and provides the same power and accuracy. Another possible alternative is a weapon very different than the M16 because it does not necessarily use cartridges. The XM25 is a new breed of weapons that shoots explosive rounds, which helps soldiers hit targets behind walls and in buildings. Although the army is starting to use alternatives to the M16 it is still a rifle that is used a lot in warfare.
The M16 rifle has become a force in mainstream pop culture. Since the original M16 was the first pattern AR-15 select fire rifle that was adopted in 1964 by the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, then eventually phased out by newer models, the M16 became commercially available. This lead to an influx of movie prop designers wanting to be as historically accurate as possible when depicting their firearms in movies. The prop designers decided to model their props after the M16 due to its wide usage in the U.S Forces.
The M16 has appeared in various blockbuster movies including Rambo, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and a wide array of James Bond films. Not only has the M16 appeared on the silver screen, this rifle has made appearances on television as well including the shows JAG, Louis & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and The A-Team. More recently, the M16 has become a mainstay in the gamer world. Immensely popular video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Dead Island, and Call of Duty all feature the M16 rifle.
With the website we hope to accomplish a variety of goals that allows the viewer to get a comprehensive look into everything about the M16 Rifle. The website will contain different tabs that include the background of the M16including the rifle’s antecedents, the invention and early origins of the rifle, adoption into the military, how the rifle has become significant in pop culture including media links for videos, the rifle’s lasting impact, alternatives to what has replaced the M16, and a comprehensive bibliography that credits all of the sources we used from the websites to the interviews.
The documentary will be broken up into three parts. It will be the driving force into showing what the M16 rifle is capable of. We will first explain a history of the M16 using clips and still shots, using voice overs from various wars dating back from World War II through Vietnam. The second part will be about the adoption into the U.S. Air Forces and the M16’s uses. We will pull quotes from primary sources that demonstrate the rifle’s impact and how it affected them. The primary sources will include various interviews and letters from soldiers on how the rifle saved their lives during combat. The third part of the documentary will show the M16’s lasting impact on American society and pop culture. We will pull clips from different movies, shows, and video games to demonstrate the rifle’s place in pop culture. The rifle has also been known to be used by policemen. We will interview a policeman and record his feelings about the rifle as well. Overall, the documentary will give the viewers a look into the evolution of the M16 from its prototype to the weapon adopted by the U.S. Air Force. It will be a comprehensive look into how and why the M16 has had such personal ties with servicemen to American pop culture.
To make our documentary we will be using two cameras to take still shots of weapons along with video of interviews we may do and of the rifle in use. To edit the video we will be using IMovie. We may also import videos from various sources of the gun in use along with how it is being portrayed in American society as a whole. This will include excerpts from various movies, television shows, videogames, and You Tube videos.
“Modern Firearms.” – M16 M16A1 M16A2 M16A3. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2013.