M16A1 Full Auto Fun

The iconic M16 marked America’s departure from its .30 caliber tradition and helped usher in a new era of small arms for the nations of the West. Dubbed the “poodle shooter” by critics, the M16 would turn out to be one of the most effective military rifles the world has ever seen, and it is still soldiering on today with many nations across the globe in one form or another.

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The full transcript …

– Hey guys, this is Alex C. with TFB TV, and what we have at the range today is possibly my favorite M16 variant of all time.

That’s just gonna be the classic A1.

I’m a simple man, and this is pretty much the first really fieldable M16 that we had.

There were some early, experimental versions to get thrown out there, but this was the one issued en masse.

This is the on that’s iconic, with that nice triangular hand guard, and this is just a pleasure to shoot.

Even Nathaniel F., our resident AR-15 aficionado, says this is the most fun one he’s ever shot.

So without much further ado, let’s give it a go.

(rapid-fire shots) Ah, that’s so controllable.

I mean these guns are just so endearing.

I know that the three-round burst guns are fun, as well.

But, there’s just something a little more alluring about having full-auto versus burst.

– Alright, so now I’ve got an opportunity to get behind the M16 A1.

Like Alex, this is my favorite M16 variant.

Or really, my favorite machine gun to shoot.

I love this thing.

It’s really controllable, really light, and it reminds me, a lot, of my time with the A2 in the army.

I’m gonna take a couple shots on the semi and shoot our TV down there.

(two shots) Feels like just about any AR-15 out there.

So now full-auto.

(rapid-fire shots) That is super controllable.

It just kind of sits on target as long as you’ve got your body in the right position.

I love it.

If you haven’t had the chance to shoot one, please find somebody that has one.

(rapid-fire shots) – Oooh That’s what you get for not leaning all the way forward.

I forgot that these kick, but not very much.

(rapid-fire shots) – God, that’s fun.

(rapid-fire shots) – Alright guys, normally this is where we’d tell you something about the intricacies of this gun.

But realistically it’s just like your AR-15 you have at home.

– Yeah – It’s got a selector switch on it that makes it fire more than one round per trigger pull and some retro furniture.

Other than that, the operating method is the exact same, it’s direct impingement.

This is just an AR-15 at its core.

They were termed AR-15s before the military designated them the M16.

I would normally take it apart and show you some things, but I don’t really…

– You guys can do that.

– Yeah, you guys could probably do it faster and better than we can, realistically.

– But a couple notes about the A1 designation.

They changed birdcage flash hider and a couple of other things.

But the difference between this gun and what you have at home, is we don’t have a brass deflector, the forward assist is a little bit different.

– It’s called a teardrop forward assist.

– Yes, you can see that right here.

– The A1 stock is a little shorter.

– It is.

– Versus the A2.

It’s got different pistol grip, as well.

– I’ve heard some people remark that they like this better for shooting with body armor on, some military guys.

Obviously you’ve got your triangular hand guard, it gets pretty warm.

You can see where we’re in our matte operator gloves.

Also, the webbing underneath the front takedown pin is not there.

There were some issue, I believe, with them breaking.

– Also, it’s worth noting, this is a later full fence lower.

Some of them had slab side, some of them had half fences.

This is in the nine million and up serial number range.

So it’s a high serial number gun.

– Yep – So yeah, we’re gonna keep on shooting it, there’s no reason not to.

(rapid-fire shots) – There’s a reason I like shooting this gun more than the AK-47 on full auto.

I was able to go ahead and hold it on-target without any issue at all.

I could see what was going on.

If I wanted to transition between targets while firing, it’s something I can do.

Whereas the AK-47 really kind of knocks me around and everything kind of goes blurry.

A lot like when I shot the AR-10.

But, like you can see, it is super controllable, very handy, very good rifle.

– Alright guys, our range day has actually been interrupted.

It looks like a lot of Viet Cong have actually showed up down range for some reason.

So I’m gonna see if I can use a traditional C-clamp grip and sweep the targets.

(rapid-fire shots) That was more satisfying than it should have been, because every round was perfectly horizontal and basically if I would’ve had enough rounds I could have cut all the boards in half.

So, it was fun and I learned something.

– Alright, some of our viewers are gonna say this probably isn’t the most tactical AR-15 in the world.

Doesn’t have any cool rails or glass-breaking things or anything like that, but let’s see how tactical I can be with it.

(rapid-fire shots) Eat your heart out, Chris Costa.

– Normally in the video this is where we do an accuracy test.

However, it is an AR-15 M16.

This one does, however, have a 1 in 12 twist barrel.

I can attest to the fact that I’ve shot, we’ve shot this a gazillion times.

– Yeah – We’ve taken it to the range so many times.

It typically groups about 1 1/2 to 2 inches at a hundred yards with decent M193 Ball ammo.

It would take a long time to prove that, but I guess you’ll have to take our word for it.

– Yeah, I mean…

– It’s an AR-15 – It’s an AR-15 – It’s as capable as you are.

They are phenomenal, I think I can say without much dispute the iron sights are better for long-range shooting than AK-47 iron sights.

– Yeah – The AK operators union might disagree, I don’t know, but for us personally this is kind of where it’s at.

We really like the…

– Yeah, I like the Americanized peep sights a lot.

– So, yeah.

– The last time we took this one out to the range I think you spent about an hour in semi-auto pointing at a, what was it, a 6 inch plate at two hundred yards, something like that? – Yeah – There was rarely a miss.

– We take it to semi-auto only ranges and we just enjoy plinking steel.

– Yeah, I mean I like that gun so much that I went out and I bought one of the kits that were on the market recently.

And I’m waiting on my lower from noh-decks.

– So there you go, there’s your accuracy test guys.

I can post a picture of a group I’ve shot with it right here.

Patrick can cut that in, I guess.

– I’m gonna put it over there.

– Oh, ok.

This right here is the accuracy test that…

– Maybe I’ll put it over here.

– Oh, ok.

Anyways, that’ll do.

(Patrick laughs) (rapid-fire shots) I think with enough of these you could free the hell out of just about any nation.


– Alright guys, so we just got back from the range.

It was pretty hot out there, so we figured we’d close the video out inside, where there’s air conditioning.

So, what did you think of the M16 A1? I know I like it.

– You know, we take it out every time we go shooting almost.

Today we put three hundred rounds through it, it ran great.

Like it always does.

A properly maintained M16, AR-15 will run forever.

Especially a nice, factory-built one.

The M16 A1 is no exception.

It’s accurate, it’s reliable, it’s fun.

And there’s not much negative I could say about it.

– No, it’s awesome and I think last time you took this out we were out at my gun club.

You spent a couple hours plinking away at a little steel target and rarely missed.

The sights on it are good, it’s accurate…

– Downright just fun gun to shoot.

– Yeah, we even take this thing out and shoot it at semi-auto only ranges because it’s that much fun.

– Yeah, all in all I think hopefully you enjoyed our M16 A1 video and we’d like to thank our ammunition sponsor, Ventura Munitions.

– And I’d like to go ahead and thank Grizzly Targets for providing the support for our channel.

– If you like what you saw today, like and subscribe.

We’d really appreciate your subscription.

This is Alex C. with TFB TV, thanks for watching.


Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Freaking sweet.

    • I think the joke went over your head IUD πŸ™‚

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Yeah, maybe so.
        Ive been working out in the Texas heat all day.

      • Pete Sheppard

        The sheepish pause after the statement was the punchline… πŸ˜‰

  • Will

    Full auto… No more fun way, I know of, to convert cash into noise!!

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      No faster way either.

      • Giolli Joker

        I’d think of C4 or similar… πŸ™‚

        • Drag racing. Makes shooting look like a wise financial move πŸ™‚

          • ostiariusalpha

            Rocket racing; makes drag racing look like a reasonable & responsible venture. O~β—‹

          • Top fuel is still pricier. The numbers to get into the Rocket Racing League don’t seem to get near the $5,000,000 a year required to run a top fuel car.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Each rocket cost just under $1,000,000 to construct. Once you factor in entrance fees, race team, maintenance, fuel, and insurance, you edge out that Top Fuel dragster by a good margin.

          • I am genuinely interested now. Have a link to the intricacies of the sport? Emphasis on financial ins and outs if possible.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Part of what makes drag racing more legitimate in my view is the embryonic nature of the Rocket Racing League organization, most of the rockets developed so far seem to be more demonstration vehicles doing show races. I suppose you could just contact the league directly to get the particulars to develop a race team:

    • Agreed….. Did Stoner include 3-round burst because he didn’t think soldiers would be able to handle such a concentrated dose of joy?

      • LTC Dave Lutz (USMC, Ret.) has explained that he added the burst feature to the M16A1E1 as a compromise to his superiors. Some actually wanted the M16A1E1 to be semi-auto only. Lutz figured that the burst feature could always be disabled to give full auto fire if the USMC leadership changed its mind on the subject.

        • Ah, yes, the M16A2, or how the USMC tried to turn an AR-15 into an M14. πŸ˜‰

          • We’ll have to find you a copy of the Machine Gun News interview with Lutz where he explains his reasoning behind the various modifications. I wish Dan Shea would interview him again now that he has retired from KAC.

        • milesfortis

          When I was at Ft. Lewis, the 9th Infantry Division, where I was assigned to the 709th Support Battalion as a smallarms repairer, had just drawn the M16A2.
          Everyone really liked the new style of rear sight (and, of course, new rifles) but a lot of the older NCOs were less than enthusiastic with the 3 round burst.

          As my unit also supported the ROTC summer camp, which still had A1s, we had kept all of our stock of spare parts. To our Platoon Sergeant, and some other senior NCOs, we could do no wrong as, apparently due to some mysterious manufacturing quality control defect, their rifles had A1 triggers, hammers etc. instead of A2 parts.
          A few months later, I discovered that we weren’t the only ones with similar ideas. The armorers at the 6th Army Marksmanship Training Unit, had simply ordered parts and built A2 upper receivers for their A1s.

      • USMC03Vet

        Accuracy by volume of fire!
        – Guns Up

  • Uniform223

    900 rounds a minute = fun!!!

  • Rock or Something

    3 round burst sux.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Uh, why…?

      • ostiariusalpha

        Stoner was a great guy, but the 3-round burst mechanism he shoe-horned into the M16 was not-so-good. I think many here are familiar with the fact that it doesn’t reset itself if the burst is interrupted, and it alters the trigger pull depending on which part of the cog the pawl is hooked into.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Ah, I see. Thanks.

        • Kivaari

          That’s on the A2 and M4s. Burst devices are not needed. The issue was training the soldiers. The Army felt adding a handful of parts to the rifle would fix the under-trained soldiers.

        • Stoner didn’t design the burst mechanism. If I remember correctly, the current version was derived from Foster Sturtevant’s patent from the 1960s. Colt played with different burst cams ranging from 2-shots to 6-shots.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Right. I actually knew about where the 3-round burst came from (US 3292492), just had a brainfart. Stoner wasn’t involved at all.

        • As Daniel mention, Stoner had nothing to do with the A2’s burst mechanism.

      • Rock or Something

        For one (as others have pointed out) inconsistent trigger pulls in semi. I never knew that until someone explained it to me since I generally shot two close, third a bit off during zeros. Second, the burst is an unhappy medium. If you ever have to use something else other then semi, I felt the three round bursts interrupts your feel when shooting. Third, it was a poor bureaucratic decision to overcome lack of trigger time.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    I don’t remember it being very hard to squeeze off 3 to 6 round bursts with the M16A1’s I carried in the mid to late ’80’s.
    For some reason this article brought back a lot of live-fire range memories. Engaging targets under parachute flare light was always a high.

  • droog

    Quick technical point, where was the other half of the video with stuff being ker-mangled, or skill-fully perforated ? . To be blunt, it’s a bloomin disaster, now you’re gonna have to go back and do it again.

  • USMC03Vet

    You guys should have brought a bump fire stock out and compared the two.

    That might have been too much fun to handle though especially shooting at the same time one in each hand.

  • ItalianAmerican

    You guys are good. I really enjoy your videos. I had to get both the A2 and the A1. I am in California, so no SP1s for me. Nodak Spud, too.

    • “That sad moment when you REALLY want something, but realize you probably could never afford it. “

      • ItalianAmerican

        Exactly. But I mean, precisely that. It went beyond that, since I did bid (and won and paid for, initially) a vintage Colt SP1. It was only days later I realized the thing was banned by name (by name!) here in CA. So I had to turn the shipment around for fear of even getting the thing into CA soil. A nightmare. After that nightmare (solved with no consequences), the calm of a Nodak Spud replica.

        • Damn, sounds like a real hassle. When was this? Also, when you “Turned the shipment around” where did it go?

          • ItalianAmerican

            It was like 10 days ago. I turned it around and sent it back to seller. Only way it could have been settled with no consequences for anyone.

          • Shame, would’ve been fun as hell

  • Broz

    The original twist in the first AR15s that went to ‘Nam was 1 in 14 in – barely stabilizing the 55 grn round and leading to the initial glowing reports of it’s extreme lethality…reports were coming back of VC hit in the buttocks with the round exiting the front upper torso and one shot kills. The Army insisted on a faster twist (1 in 12) along with the forward assist and thus began the reports of the failures of the M16 as it was the called – that, along with the change of powder which not only increased fouling but also the ‘dwell time’ and chamber pressures, but also the lack of cleaning & cleaning equipment, (erroneously first reported in the press as a rifle that needed no cleaning), unchromed chambers & bores…along with not having an extended trials period led to the initial bad rap that has ,in some minds, plagues the system to this day…in the 80s, joint exercises with the Egyptian Army in the Sinai desert led to the calls for a bullet that could penetrate a standard GI steel pot at 800 meters, resulting in the 62 gr steel core bullet – which lacked the original 55 grain round’s extreme yaw characteristics (when striking tissue) the military wanted a ‘magic bullet’ capable of extreme upset in tissue at close range with the added ability to be a mild steel penetrator, That the M16 series has lasted this long as the US military’s standard long arm is a testament to its effectiveness…BTW most if not all the improvements made to the system have come from the civilian side/market – the M16 was not designed as a ‘system rifle’, but it sure as Hades has proven to be one, thanx to the many companies that specialize in marketing to an increasingly interested shooting public…

  • Kivaari

    I love that rifle. I had them in the Army, and feel it is one of the finest rifles ever issued. The last time I checked they cost as much as my wife’s new car. That was over 20K. The M16A1 is a great rifle, regardless of the critics.

  • hikerguy

    You guys are having much more fun than should be had under law! Enjoyed the video. Someday I hope to experience full auto.

    • This SIG 9mm suppressed was a real joy to shoot!

      • hikerguy

        Phil: What effect does a supressor have on recoil? I have often wondered.

        • It reduces it greatly. For instance a .338 Lapua Magnum rifle has a pretty big kick. You add a suppressor and it’s almost like shooting a 5.56. It makes that much difference.
          At least in my view a suppressor has as much benefit from recoil reduction as sound reduction.

          • noob

            I always wondered what would happen if the USA had suppressor law like in New Zealand where the suppressor is just a “firearm part” no different from a stock or a trigger guard.

            I mean a motorcycle muffler is just a motorcycle part. The current tax stamp law is akin to people being restricted from freely buying motorcycle mufflers “because it is safer if other motorists hear you operating your motorcycle”.

  • Tassiebush

    That accuracy really impresses me given the age and configuration of the gun!

  • claymore

    A classic sound to many of us. Nothing like a platoon of them running on auto it’s like the “Huey POP Noise” of firearms.

  • Herky-Bird

    I qualified on an original USAF M-16 at Davis-Monthan back in 2000. What a revelation on how much more comfortable the furniture was compared to say the M-4 or GAU. Being a lefty I also missed having a brass deflector that day.

  • RollTide92

    Is it just me, I can barely stand to watch these guys. I love the blog and some of their video personalities but these guys don’t really add any value. I mean, right off the bat, I see the guy in the Jurassic Park hat and I literally said to myself “Jesus Christ, here we go again”. They churn out tons of crappy videos, I would like to see them spend two weeks on one and give it their all, rather than 3 in 10 days that just kinda suck.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      They’re not the Coen brothers but its a decent effort.
      They should show more of the targets being hit especially on FA.

    • HH

      I disagree. They do a great job for what it is and their target audience within the timeframe they have allotted themselves for the clip.

  • WFDT

    I wish my SP1 came with a fun lever. It’s fun, but not as fun as that.