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P99AS9
October 20, 2008, 08:01 PM
I was bored on the computer today and I stumbled across this website:

http://www.marines.com/main/index/winning_battles/gear/weapons_and_equipment/m16

This is actually this official site of the US Marines. Something here that struck me as strange is it says the M16 is capable of firing 3-round bursts or semi-auto. I though the M16 was full-auto :confused:

Can somebody clarify this for me?

sevensixtytwo
October 20, 2008, 08:05 PM
I don't know if the m16 has ever been full auto, maybe back in the vietnam days. But 3round burst is more controllable (you can put the bullets where you want them easier) That and I imagine they were spending too much on ammo :D

B. Lahey
October 20, 2008, 08:10 PM
The M16A1 has a full-auto selector setting. The M16A2 is 3-round burst only. The M16A3 also has regular full-auto, but only the Navy uses it as far as I know.

New_Pollution1086
October 20, 2008, 08:33 PM
the m16A4 is the currant correct. whats the selection on that?

If im wrong and the a4 doesn't exist sorry for my mess up, im not too familiar with military weapons.

sorry for a bit of thread jacking.

T

Crosshair
October 20, 2008, 09:20 PM
The 3 round burst was put in after Vietnam so conscripts, who didn't want to be wherever they were, would only waste 3-rounds per trigger pull instead of 30. Once we went to a 100% voluntary military and troops were properly trained on trigger control, it's need was reduced, but kept anyway.

The burst feature seems kinda worthless to me. It's more of a way to compensate for poor training than anything else IMHO. IIRC it was more mechanically complex than a regular FA trigger group and had it's own set of issues. Someone want to correct me on this?

Never mind the issue that SA fire is the more effective mode most of the time anyway.

Darren007
October 20, 2008, 09:23 PM
The 3 round burst was put in after Vietnam so conscripts, who didn't want to be wherever they were, would only waste 3-rounds per trigger pull instead of 30. Once we went to a 100% voluntary military and troops were properly trained on trigger control, it's need was reduced, but kept anyway.

Uhhhhhh no...draftees have absolutley zilch to do with why they went to 3 rnd burst. The troops who were drafted got the exact same training as troops who volunteered, before, during and after the Vietnam war.

But you are partially correct. The reason for the 3rnd vs full auto has to do with accuracy. Your just not going to be as accurate with a light rifle firing at full auto, and in the process troops were wasting a lot of ammo "spraying and praying". The military found that the troops were more accurate and "eliminated" more threats when firing on semi auto. The 3rnd burst was a compromise of sorts for those that balked at the idea of a semi auto only rifle.

When i was in boot camp, we were only allowed to put the switch in one of two positions..."safe" and "semi". We never once fired in 3rnd burst.

TPAW
October 20, 2008, 10:53 PM
Darren007 writes:

The troops who were drafted got the exact same training as troops who volunteered, before, during and after the Vietnam war.

Not true! During Vietnam and before the training was the same. It was after Vietnam that the training became more relaxed due to many factors. One of which being gender. In the all volunteer military, one thing that I learned when I visited my old company was that "stress cards" were issued to each trainee. The example that was given me by a DI (Drill Instructor) was that if a trainee could not do the exercises, you would present the "stress card", have it checked, and be excused from the exercise. I don't know how many times a "stress card" could be used, but during Vietnam and before, they never existed. If you failed basic training, you had to do it again. It is my belief that the training has been softened, so that big, small, fat, skinny, male, female, or in between, could pass the physical training and move on to AIT.

guntotin_fool
October 21, 2008, 12:38 AM
It was also an attempt to get enough lead on target to be useful, in a method that still kept some sort of fire discipline.

It was decided that with aimed fire, only the first three rounds had a good chance of hitting the target. So this was incorporated mechanically instead of proper training.

When it was shown that single round hits from a .223/5.56 were not having the effects wanted in combat, troops began firing bursts more often to compensate for an inadequate round. (flame suit on)

While argued a lot, the fact that too many targets needed too many hits to stop fights is no longer up for argument.

Darren007
October 21, 2008, 01:27 AM
Not true! During Vietnam and before the training was the same. It was after Vietnam that the training became more relaxed due to many factors. One of which being gender. In the all volunteer military, one thing that I learned when I visited my old company was that "stress cards" were issued to each trainee. The example that was given me by a DI (Drill Instructor) was that if a trainee could not do the exercises, you would present the "stress card", have it checked, and be excused from the exercise. I don't know how many times a "stress card" could be used, but during Vietnam and before, they never existed. If you failed basic training, you had to do it again. It is my belief that the training has been softened, so that big, small, fat, skinny, male, female, or in between, could pass the physical training and move on to AIT.

I too have heard of the so called "stress cards". I also heard you can use it one time and one time only....after that you were gone from boot camp. Do they actually exist??? I dunno...I havent met anyone who has ever actually been given one. We didnt have them when I went through basic in 1996. Never heard of them until after.

Regardless, that would have next to nothing to do with markmanship and the training given to achieve it in regards to the M-16.

kametc
October 21, 2008, 01:53 AM
I went through boot camp at FT Knox starting in August of 1978. We were issued M16A1's. They had full selective fire. Auto, Semi and Safe. We were also trained from the start to concentrate on a 3 round burst because a concentrated prolonged burst caused the muzzle to rise off target. Incidently there was no such thing as a stress card at Ft Knox. If you did not pass every phase of basic training you failed and went right away to remedial basic training. If you got through remedial you were very buff indeed.

I spent 2 1/2 years then in Germany through 79,80 & 81. There I also had an M16A1. (fine rifle...dead accurate at any range) I never saw an A2, I think they were deployed in the early to middle 80's. But the auto 3 rnd burst would be a very good ammo and accuracy saver.

Ken

wyobohunter
October 21, 2008, 02:05 AM
Are you serious? I went through boot camp at U.S.M.C M.C.R.D in the very recent year of 1993 and have never heard of such a thing (though I would've gladly accepted one!). The M-16A2 does not have "full auto" because it is a silly waste of ammo... One shot one kill... So the saying goes. We were instructed that the three round burst option was for a charching mega-battaion of Chinese or what have you:eek:

dchi
October 21, 2008, 02:33 AM
Hey Kamtec, I was in FT Knox from 95-98, did my basic and AIT there but they didn't called it AIT. It was OUSET or something. One site unit training something. I was issued a M-16 A2 with the 3 round burst. It had a very heavy trigger more than the M-16A1. Were told only use the burst mode if the enemy was withing 25 yards and charging. Since then I've shot a lot of full auto guns. I my experience, full auto rifles are hard to hit with past 25 yards. Heavier 9mm subguns are easier to control and you can get a few rounds on target out to 50 yards. I think full auto fire is very usefull on the battle field. Get 6-8 guys firing full auto any person within a 100 yards and there is no way he's going to be able to return effective fire. This gives you guys time to advance, flank, retreat or set up for massive fire power. Everyone thinks because they shoot well on the range or can kill a deer with one shot that their gonna be some one shot one kill dude on the battle field. Not likely when the enemy runs, moves, hides, ducks, it nightime or early morning and MOST DAMN IMPORTANT THEY SHOOTS BACK!

Oh yeah, they did have a stress card. They were informing new recruits about their "rights" when I had already finished boot camp. Something like they could call a time out if the drill Sgt was being too rough on them. I had heard one recruit using it and the DS just ripped it up in front of him. Im sure that training is tougher now that we at war.

Al Thompson
October 21, 2008, 02:38 AM
No stress cards.. Check snopes. When I'm at home, I live next to FT Jackson, if anyplace was going to have stress cards, it would be Jackson - and there were no stress cards. :rolleyes:

The M16 when it was an A1 had full auto, when it went A2, powers that be wanted to retain some sort of burst capacity. Recommendation was for semi-auto only, recommendation was not adopted, 3 round burst was in.

Frankly (IMHO), unless your in full scale house to house fighting or breaking contact (ambush), full auto is vastly over rated and wasteful.

wyobohunter
October 21, 2008, 02:55 AM
Full auto is (rightfully) reserved for open bolt belt fed machine guns, the M16Aanything is not open bolt or belt fed. It does not have the capacity to produce effective grazing fire. This job is reserved for an area weapon i.e .50 cal. down to S.A.W. Rifles are not machine guns & vice versa.

Art Eatman
October 21, 2008, 06:50 AM
Since we've drifted into utility: A buddy of mine since back in the mid-1960s did a tour in Vietnam around the time of Tet. USMC Lt, line outfit. Patrols and ambushes and all that. He didn't sign up for a second tour because, in his words, "It's not mentally healthy to enjoy ambushes so much."

His procedure when on patrol was to have everybody on semi except the point man and the next one or two near the point. In the event of an ambush by Charley or the NVA, the front guys blasted away while the rest did the usual anti-ambush maneuvers.

In his own ambushes, the position of any shooter determined whether to use semi- or full-auto. Those in an enfilade position used full-auto. Alongside a road or trail, semi. However, fire discipline was not a problem in his platoon, due to training and experience.

FWIW, in his mind the primary weapon was the radio. Secure the position, call in air and artillery. On one occasion, the only radio contact he could get provided him with 16" "artillery"--which was truly impressive...

Tatsumi67
October 21, 2008, 10:43 AM
The original A1 military model was full auto/semi.

The current A2 version is semi/3 round burst.

But If I recall, the A3 versions (basically just an A2) is semi/full auto.

Does that help?

guntotin_fool
October 21, 2008, 12:19 PM
Art, and congress finds it difficult to understand why the Marines still want battleships........

JayD976
October 21, 2008, 12:26 PM
the m16 is not full auto..it was at one point around the vietnam era, but they switched to 3round burst to conserve ammo and for better accuracy

nate45
October 21, 2008, 12:35 PM
I went through boot camp at FT Knox starting in August of 1978. We were issued M16A1's. They had full selective fire. Auto, Semi and Safe.

I attended basic training at Ft. Knox also, only in the winter of '81. We used the M-16A1 and I remember one night, live fire exercise we went on where we fired A1s off of bipods full auto, as if we were repelling an enemy attack. They would fire illumination flares and we would open up full auto on the silhouette targets that were I believe at 25, 50, 75 and 100 meters. You have to really concentrate on keeping your fire down on target or you will be shooting up in the air. As noted by others the M-16A1 does not make a very good light machine gun, even on a bipod.

the m16 is not full auto..it was at one point around the vietnam era

Actually I believe the 3 round burst M16A2 did not come along until the mid 80s.

FrankenMauser
October 21, 2008, 12:45 PM
I didn't see it mentioned again. The M4 retains 3-round burst.

I have handled a few built on older lowers, so the actual markings vary. However, the selector is usually labeled: "Safe-Semi-Auto" or "Safe-Semi-Burst".

The M4A1 is a fully automatic variant issued to Special Operations forces. I can tell you from personal experience, the M4A1 suffers badly for controllability. It is far too light for a FA weapon.

Scorch
October 21, 2008, 12:51 PM
Just so we're not talking in circles . . .
I also went to MCRD (back in 1976), and we were issued M16A1 rifles, which had a 3-position switch (safe, semi, auto). While there, we were only allowed to use the "hose" button a few times. As my career progressed, I got to play with a variety of destructive devices, some designed for sustained fire, others not. Then, through a series of poor choices, I wound up in a Recon batallion, then a Force Recon detachment. While I was there, there was a tremendous amount of emphasis on marksmanship, as you can probably imagine, and automatic fire was supposed to be limited to 3-round bursts. Under stress, people tend to do silly things (like forget to let go of the go button), but there were consequences for doing so. Funny thing I noticed was that even the M16A2 rifles they started issuing in 1985 had the same selector switch (safe, semi, auto). I said all that to say this: automatic fire is firing more than one round with a single pull of the trigger, so "full auto" (sustained automatic fire) and "3-round bursts" are both fully automatic fire.

Also, the M16, the M16A1, and the newer M16A3 have no burst capability, while the M16A2 does.

PSP
October 21, 2008, 12:57 PM
A friend of mine just purchased a cherry M16. It set him back $15K. I don't think he's goning to let me shoot it though :(. He's packing it away. He'll get a better return than my 401K probably.

Firepower!
October 21, 2008, 01:26 PM
M16 A1 Full Auto (i have it)
M16 A2 3rd Burst (i have it)
M16 A3 Full Auto (fired but dont have it)
M16 A4 Full Auto (dont have it)

M4 3rd Burst (i have it)
M4A1 Full Auto (i have it)

What really is usefull would be a four way switch. Safe Semi 2burst Auto.

2 burst like in AN94 is more effective if you want to double tap and almost hit the same spot since the recoil will be surpassed by the rate of fire. Tripple burst usually has 2 round almost at the same spot while 3rd deviates a bit.

HorseSoldier
October 21, 2008, 01:47 PM
Uhhhhhh no...draftees have absolutley zilch to do with why they went to 3 rnd burst. The troops who were drafted got the exact same training as troops who volunteered, before, during and after the Vietnam war

Actually, the idea that the three round burst setting was a response to experiences in Vietnam is 100% correct. There was a perception among the powers that be that troops in Vietnam were zipping off 20 or 30 round bursts any time they even thought they were engaging a bad guy.

From hearing what veterans have to say, reading first hand accounts, etc., I would say that things varied a lot. Some units at some times were much better with fire discipline than other units/other years during the conflict. But in some cases it was probably a pretty accurate description of events.

Regardless, +1 on the previous posters who've noted that the three round burst setting is an attempt at a technical fix for a training issue. And the problem having been "fixed" by technical means, I guess it was sort of supposed to have gone away entirely -- my recollection of pre-9/11 Big Army training was almost zero training on burst with the A2. I did a decent amount of training with auto on the M4A1 when assigned to a USASOC unit after that, but the emphasis for most engagements and scenarios is on semi with the rifle/carbine in Big Army or SOF. (And ranges rated for fully automatic fire can be harder to get than those for semi small arms training, on a bureaucratic note . . .)

P99AS9
October 21, 2008, 02:19 PM
Alright I'm going to purposely throw my thread off-topic here:

What about the M4 carbines? Are those F/A or are they 3-round burst also?

bclark1
October 21, 2008, 02:41 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Carbine

Wiki's pretty solid on this stuff.

Going back to the point of 3-round, my understanding is the burst fire was intended for area targets, not just to throw more bullets at a point target, but I'm rusty on knowledge. Beyond that, I can dream up situations where burst would be an asset over semi-auto (though I do think semi-auto with a rifle capable of any precision is the most important selector setting) but I'll forego such longwinded supposition for the time being.

Darren007
October 21, 2008, 03:38 PM
Actually, the idea that the three round burst setting was a response to experiences in Vietnam is 100% correct. There was a perception among the powers that be that troops in Vietnam were zipping off 20 or 30 round bursts any time they even thought they were engaging a bad guy.

Yeah i know...Thats what I said...but it had nothing to do with with "draftees" or "conscripts" as they were called. :rolleyes:

TheManHimself
October 21, 2008, 03:52 PM
While argued a lot, the fact that too many targets needed too many hits to stop fights is no longer up for argument.

I'd like to hear your sources as to why this is now a fact. No military personnel I've talked to that were actually in combat on a regular basis in the current Middle Eastern conflict have expressed dissatisfaction with the 5.56mm round.

I'd also be willing to bet that the people (If you can call them that) on the receiving end were dissatisfied with the terminal effectiveness of the round.

P99AS9
October 21, 2008, 07:00 PM
IMHO, I think the FA instead of the 3-round burst is much better. If your in a combat situation and you need surpression fire from an ally, It'll be harder to do with a 3-round burst than an FA.

SPUSCG
October 21, 2008, 08:16 PM
several branches use the a3, its more of a security weapon for bases and storhouses and the such. the a4 is the standard issue, with some a2s around. the coast guard has a2s. i think they use some type of hollowpoint in those too now. at least the .40s we have have hollowpoints, not the politically correct geneva stuff.

nemoaz
October 21, 2008, 11:42 PM
The 3 round burst was put in after Vietnam so conscripts,

the m16 is not full auto..it was at one point around the vietnam era,

NOPE, the 3 round burst was NOT put in place after Vietnam. The military used M16a1 with full auto throughout the 70s, 80s, and a good part of the 90s. Most of the troops who went to the first Gulf War went with full auto M16s. Got a story about how they didn't understand trigger control because they were drafted?

freakshow10mm
October 22, 2008, 12:37 AM
What really is usefull would be a four way switch. Safe Semi 2burst Auto.
I'm working on developing this option.

Niantician
October 22, 2008, 05:22 AM
As of 2005, Mech infantry units still had M231c's in their armories. It's an M16 that fires full auto from the open bolt, they have no sights, no buttstock, and 3 buffer springs. Those were pretty mean.

garryc
October 22, 2008, 07:47 AM
Art, and congress finds it difficult to understand why the Marines still want battleships........

Let's veer this off subject for a moment. The Iowa class Battle Ship carries 9 16 inch guns. Each gun fires a high explosive shell weighing 2700 pounds. Each gun can be independently targeted for range, and each turret for windage. By using GPS and computer targeting and synchronization, the guns can be fired as to bracket a reasonably large area causing a Monroe type effect which might turn a city block into ruble with a single salvo. Even if it didn't destroy all the buildings, no human inside the box could survive the compression of converging blast waves. That's the theory anyway.

Now you show me a marine that wouldn't like to see something like that.

ISC
October 22, 2008, 08:08 AM
The difference in fate of fire between multible 3 rd bursts and full auto is pretty small, but that small delay between bursts makes it easier to keep rounds on target. I think that the uses for even the burst function is pretty limited. Except for MOUT, near ambush (every other weapon to avoid a lull in fire), or break contact it is a waste.

freakshow10mm
October 22, 2008, 10:23 AM
I'd rather our soldiers have SAFE---SEMI---AUTO and properly utilize their training to control FA fire to controlled bursts, as they are trained.

overkill556x45
October 22, 2008, 11:12 AM
I've been in the guard for six and a half years, deployed once, going back soon.
We still have A2's, but M4's are trickling in. Everything operates SAFE--SEMI--BURST. This summer's training was the first time we've done burst mode training with live ammo. We shot a few CQB tables from 50yd-7yd on burst. A controlled pair from SEMI gets you a better result, IMHO. AUTO would be neat, but it would cost a LOT to train on trigger control. There'd be lots of 7 and 10 rounds bursts until Joe figures out when to release the trigger. That would get expensive for Uncle Sam very quickly.

As for the real world, a SAW or two can supply plenty of cover fire. Augment with 240B and M2, there's not much need for Auto.

Now to get back to the question asked: Is the M16 F/A? Yes and no. A1-yes, A2-no, A3- I don't know- never even seen one, A4- no. M4A1- no (just in case you were curious)

PSP
October 22, 2008, 11:31 AM
Alright I'm going to purposely throw my thread off-topic here:

What about the M4 carbines? Are those F/A or are they 3-round burst also?


Both. General issue is burst only. SF can use a F/A model.

navajo
October 22, 2008, 01:02 PM
Forunately I went through basic with the M-14 so I don't worry about mouse gun selectors.

kametc
October 23, 2008, 12:18 AM
dchi & nate45....Cool! were you guys in armor?

When we fired in Germany we always were given a case of ammo each of .45 and 5.56. Since there were mostly Tankers only a handful of us had M16's The standing rule was to bring no ammo back because we would have to count it. So we burned it frankly through lots and lots of rock and roll. :eek: I found the only way to keep my hits on target through a full 28 rnd mag was to shoot from the prone with my forearm fist stuck in the front sling loop.:)

True, the M16 made a poor light machine gun but it beat the hell out of the M3 grease gun. Every tank loader was issued one of those. Now they get the M240 with hand stocks.:D

Ken

Art Eatman
October 23, 2008, 10:28 AM
We had a "shotgun guard" guy in the back of a deuce-and-a-half for a supply run in Korea. A slicky-boy cut the canvas and climbed in when we stopped at a stop sign. His idea was to throw stuff out for his buddies to carry off.

"Mousie" cut loose with his grease gun, at about five feet. Seriously ruined the slicky-boy. Messy.

And MPs and paperwork. Later, Mousie got a General Court Martial, was found guilty of manslaughter, fined one dollar and given a carton of cigarettes, which took care of any double-jeopardy issues.

Anyhow, the old grease gun ain't all bad, if you're not in front of it.

Kraziken
October 23, 2008, 10:37 AM
I went to Fort Knox in 1990 and we had the M16A1 with the full auto. Probably left over relics from Vietnam era. We never trained with anything but the semi-auto mode.

Willie D
October 23, 2008, 12:14 PM
I have close to zero experience with FA/Burst rifles but internals for burst seem overly complex. FA looks simpler.

FrankenMauser
October 23, 2008, 10:38 PM
The FA M4A1 I handled was more reliable than any M16A2 or standard M4 I ever shot. (Whether I was even using a burst/auto function, or not.)

I too, think this is due to the complexity of the trigger group. However, I have to admit that the A2s and M4s were older, and much closer to being scrap metal than the M4A1.

That being said - I still prefer burst function over full auto. If you really need to spray, you can pull the trigger repeatedly. If you don't need to be reloading every 6 seconds; the burst function helps keep you on target, and not digging in your web gear.

There really is no good way to say which is better, definitively. We can list pros and cons all day, but in my mind; it all comes down to personal preference and the intended use.

I luckily never had to fire my weapon in combat. If I had... The selector switch would have been on "Semi".

kametc
October 24, 2008, 12:32 AM
Anyhow, the old grease gun ain't all bad, if you're not in front of it.

I'll totally agree with you there Art. In fact contrar to what I said earlier inside of 25 or 30 yards the M-3 was downright useful. It was short, had a 30 rd mag and only 3 moving parts and 3 springs including the mag.
I remember try to think up a way to equip the M240 Coax with hand stocks so our tank loaders could take it out with them instead of the M-3. The powers that be were on that though as it did come to pass and I have heard our guys coming back say that the M240 is a Godsend. :D

Ken

Firepower!
October 24, 2008, 01:08 AM
p99as9
I answered your m4 and m4a1 question in my previous post on this thread before you asked it.