Military Legacy 


The legacy of the M16 rifle in the military cannot be overstated. The M16 is the most commonly manufactured rifle in the world. To this day, the M16 is being used by 15 NATO countries and more than 80 countries worldwide.[1] TheM16 entered United States Army service and was deployed for combat in South Vietnam in 1963, becoming the U.S. military’s standard service rifle of the Vietnam War by 1969.[2] Since the Vietnam War, the M16 rifle family has been the primary service rifle of the U.S. armed forces.

The M16 rifle earned perhaps its greatest distinction on May 2, 2011, when a revised version of the M16 rifle, the M4 Carbine was used to kill the infamous terrorist leader and September 11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden during a daring raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.[3] The M16 and all of its variations have played a pivotal role for the US Army’s fight against terrorism.

For 50 years the M16 has armed the American military with an accurate, light-weight rifle. The M16 and its variations (M16A1, XM16E1, M4) have become part of the US soldier’s issued equipment and standardized weapon. Today the M16 rifle is fighting the global war against terrorism, and a whole new generation of Americans has had the experience of enduring combat using their issued M16.

Marines practice shooting tactics

 Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes. "Marines practice shooting tactics." [Online image] 30 March 2013. .

Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes. “Marines practice shooting tactics.” [Online image] 30 March 2013. <>.


Pop Culture

Since the original M16 was adopted in 1964 by the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the rifle became a very popular prop for movies, films, and video games. As long as there been an industry for entertainment, the audiences has always wanted the most realistic portrayals. Studios are well aware of this demand and have to look no further for an iconic rifle then the M16 due to its usage in the armed forces.


The M16 has become a mainstay in Hollywood lighting up the silver screen for years. The M16 made its first appearance on the silver screen when the rifle appeared in the 1964 film Seven Days in May.[4] From there on, the M16 rifle appeared in such blockbuster hits like, Die Hard [5] , Forrest Gump [6], and The Matrix.[7]


The M16 has also found its way on the television over the years appearing in the popular shows “The A-Team” [8] and “JAG”.[9]


More recently, the M16 has been a popular choice to be portrayed in video games. It has appeared Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Dead Island, and the very popular Call of Duty: Black Ops.[10]

Below is a quote from the popular video game entertainment website and television network G4. The quote is from a list that has the most popular weapons from the Call of Duty game series.

The M16 is “arguably one of the most widely-used weapons in the Call of Duty fandom, the M16A4 is a deadly assault rifle with high-powered burst fire that practically guarantees a kill if the target is in range. It’s a favorite for those new to multiplayer for this reason especially. Combined with the new Stopping power perk, it can quickly become an unstoppable force with its unmistakable three-burst fire and lack of room to spray and pray. High power, low recoil, and quite the wallop when you get a target in your sights — the M16A4 is one of the greatest assault rifles in the series.”[11]

Click on the image below to link to a flash game of M16 rifle training from [12]

[1] “Customers.” Colt FirearmsHome. (accessed March 25, 2013).

[2] Russell C.Tilstra, Small Arms for Urban Combat a Review of Modern Handguns, Submachine Guns, Personal Defense Weapons, Carbines, Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles, Anti-Materiel Rifles, Machine Guns, Combat Shotguns, Grenade Launchers and Other Weapon. (Jefferson: McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2011), 96-97.

[3] Paul Bedard. “The Gun That Killed Osama bin Laden Revealed – US News and World Report.”May 11, 2011. (accessed March 25, 2013).

[4] “M16 rifle series – Internet Movie Firearms Database – Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games.” Internet Movie Firearms Database – Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games. (accessed March 25, 2013).

[5]Die hard. DVD. Directed by Lawrence Gordon. Beverly Hills, Calif.: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1988.

[6] Tisch, Steve, Wendy Finerman, Robert Zemeckis, Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, et al. 2001. Forrest Gump. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures.

[7]Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. The Matrix. Film. Burbank California, Warner Bros, March 31, 1999. DVD. (Accessed 2 April, 2013).

[8]The A-Team. First broadcast January 23, 1983 by NBC. Produced by John Ashley.

[9]JAG, first broadcast September 23 1995 by NBC. Produced by NBC productions.

[10] Dir. Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. The Matrix. Film. Burbank California, Warner Bros, March 31, 1999. DVD. (Accessed 2 April, 2013).

[11] Brittany Vincent. “Top 10 Call Of Duty Weapons – Everything You Need To Survive The Battle.” Video Games, Game Reviews & News – (accessed April 19, 2013).

[12]”Free Online Games – YaYoYe!.” Free Online Games – YaYoYe!. (accessed April 23, 2013).