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The M16A2 service rifle is a light weight, magazine fed, air cooled, gas operated, shoulder fired weapon, capable of firing either semi-automatic or three-round burst. The M16 has been the service rifle of the Marine Corps since the mid-1960s, and every Marine is trained to fire it. The M16A2 service rifle was updated for greater adaptability with the M16A4 model during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The M16A4 incorporates a flat-top receiver unit for mounting optical sights, lasers, night-vision devices, forward handgrips, a removable carry handle and flashlights.[1]


The characteristics of the M16A2 service rifle are as shown below.[2]

Primary function: Infantry weapon
Manufacturer: Colt Manufacturing and Fabrique Nationale Manufacturing Inc.
Length: 39.63 inches (100.66 centimeters)
Weight, with 30 round magazine: 8.79 pounds (3.99 kilograms)
Bore diameter: 5.56mm (.233 inches)
Maximum effective range:

  • Area target: 2,624.8 feet (800 meters)
  • Point target: 1,804.5 feet (550 meters)

Muzzle velocity: 2,800 feet (853 meters) per second
Rates of fire:

  • Cyclic: 800 rounds per minute
  • Sustained: 12-15 rounds per minute
  • Semiautomatic: 45 rounds per minute
  • Burst: 90 rounds per minute

Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Unit Replacement Cost: $586


  1. M16. The Rifle Every Marine Is Trained To Fire, marines.com, Accessed December 12, 2010.
  2. The M16 has been the standard weapon of choice for the Marine Corps for over 30 years. USMCWeapons.com, Accessed December 12, 2010.

See also