Normally, I read my American Rifleman magazine from the NRA with a bit of enthusiasm about the articles but with a jaundiced eye toward the political rants and raves of the far-right wing of American Conservatism. So, basic premise: Articles good, political articles bad. Even so, when they picked the AR Top 10 Infantry Rifles where they picked the Best of Breed, they really blew that one.
#1 – No discussion, no question. The venerable M1 Garand, 30-06 is probably the finest infantry rifle built at the time and for many years thereafter.
But consider the ones that they left out: The M14, .308 calibre (7.62x51mm) that served so gallantly as a replacement to the M1 for many years they left in the armory of time because, as they so un-characteristically put it, “One of our personal favorites, the M14, was dropped because we decided that when two comparable contemporary guns were on the list, like the M14 and the FN FAL, the tie had to go to the gun with the greater historical impact and longer service life, rather than the gun we liked best.”
What claptrap!! FIRST, this is the “American” Rifleman, not the “Rifles of the World” magazine. SECOND, it is not a gun you nitwit you. It is a weapon or rifle. Apparently they never had to do high-port-double-time for hours because they referred to their weapon as a gun shouting, “This is my weapon and this is my gun! This is for fighting and this for fun!” THIRD: The FAL 7.62 is a piece of crap compared to the M14 so they were NOT considering the BEST OF BREED and NOT considering AMERICAN, you were playing international politics and which one has been around the longest.
If they had taken the time to read Sgt. Carlos Hathcock’s (USMC-ret) books or Sgt. John Culbertson’s (USMC-ret) or Col. M. R. Lanning (US Army-ret) books on American Snipers, they would NEVER have put the M16, .223 / 5.56x51mm in their list and left out the M14. These guys lived the sniper life and learned quickly what worked and what didn’t work. Yes, the military replaced a real “grunt” rifle (M14) that would drop the enemy in his tracks with a plastic piece of crap (M16) that jammed time after time after time when in real combat conditions of mud, rain, snow, sleet and crappy conditions that are always there in real combat. The M14 is another work of art much like the M1 that it replaced.
And, yes, the military, in its unintelligent, moronic logic, replaced the M14 sniper rifles with a Remington BDL .300 Magnum bolt action. Another REALLY dumb move. (A bolt action takes away the option of a quick second shot.) The M16 and the BDL are NOT sniper nor combat rifles; one is a toy that excels in street fights (but not in combat street fights) and the other is great for hunting. Neither is a military weapon worthy of consideration. Personally, having lots of fire is not the same a knock-down. The woosey military felt that the .308 was “too powerful” for the modern army – mostly because the women and girly-men could not handle the recoil. So, today, that’s why we have toy guns in combat – so the women could have something to shoot. It makes you want to go somewhere and just puke.
Personally, I would have put the M14 as #2 and the Kalashnikov AK-47 as #3. The Enfield .303 calibre (which was #6) should have been in there somewhere but it probably could have replaced the M16 as #3 or #4 behind the Mauser.
FINALLY, how about this: The StG44 7.92mm is # 7. Talk about not having “time in service” !! It was only in service for a VERY short period of time in WW II by the Germans. True, it WAS a nice piece of machinery, but it was a unique calibre (7.92x33mm, not 7.62). Personally, most Airborne GI’s in WW II preferred the Thompson .45 for rapid-fire delivery at short range with tremendous knockdown over most any other rifle, including the M1. They liked the 1911 .45 for the same reason.
Well, that’s about it. Write the “Used to be” American Rifleman and let them know your discontent. I’m ready to give up that bunch of non-combatants.