We are all familiar with the AR15 and M16 and you’re almost certainly familiar with the man behind the design, Eugene Morrison Stoner. Well, The Institute of Military Technology has put together a fascinating documentary telling the story of the man and the guns he designed. IMT are in the unique position of having many of Stoner’s prototypes in their collection as well as archival photographs and many of his original design papers and drawings.
Reed Knight, founder and owner of Knight’s Armament Company and the Institute of Military Technology, discusses the importance of Stoner’s work and talks about his time working with the legendary designer. The 30-minute documentary film, shared on IMT’s youtube channel, showcases in 4K some of the extremely rare Stoner prototypes held by the Institute’s reference collection. These include the M8 AR10 prototype, the AR-10 serial number #1, the XAR-15-1 the first AR15 prototype, Armalite M16 serial number #1 and his later guns including the Stoner 63 and AR-18. It’s wonderful to get a look at some of these unique prototypes.
Check out the film below:
In addition to Reed Knight discussing Stoner’s work, the video also features archival footage of Stoner himself discussing his work talking about the development of the 5.56 round and the M16 and its rocky entry into service. Filmed in the late 1980s and early 1990s and held by the Smithsonian the footage is very rarely seen.
The film ends with a meeting of masters, Stoner and Kalashnikov – two men who shaped small arms design immeasurably with the descendants of their designs still in service, still in production and certain to remain dominant for decades to come. The series is set to continue with Reed Knight promising more stories about the man and a closer look at his designs teasing a plethora of Stoner’s work including the AR7, the Stoner 62/63, the AR-18, the SR-25, the Colt 2000, the Ares Light Machine Gun and the SR-50. It’s fascinating to get a feel for the kind of designer and man Stoner was, I can’t wait for future videos from IMT.