The M14 is a battle rifle introduced in 1959. It was the weapon that was adopted by the U.S. military as a replacement for the M1 Garand as the United States Service rifle. As well, the M14 has been officially replaced by the burst firing M16 in the service rifle role, as of 1970. Officially it was known as U.S. rifle, 7.62mm, M14, and described as "a lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed, shoulder weapon". It is designed primarily for semiautomatic fire and has a selector switch on the shooter's right at the rear of the receiver that allows for fully-automatic fire.
Many variants of the M14 exist, the most notable being its Designated marksman rifle variant, the MK14 Enhanced Battle Rifle.
History[edit | edit source]
Used by most U.S. forces early in the Vietnam Conflict, the M14 was largely replaced by the M16 in the late 1960s, under Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara. Only limited use of the rifle was made after the adoption of the M16, mostly by the U.S. Navy, where they were stored aboard ships. However, after the outbreak of the Iraq war in 2003, some M14s were pulled from storage and issued to infantry units for use in combat, but heavily modified for DMR role. M14s were also pulled from storage, fitted with scopes, and issued during the War On Terror in Afghanistan, to provide long range fire support against Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents.
Design details[edit | edit source]
The M14 is a lightweight, magazine-fed, gas-operated, air-cooled, shoulder-fired weapon, chambered for the 7.62×51mm NATO round. It is largely based upon the M1 Garand design; it differs by using the White gas-cutoff short-stroke piston design, along with a rotating bolt. The M14 has full-auto capability and a 20 round detachable magazine.
The M14 features a 22-inch barrel. The bore features a 1:12 to 1:10 twist rate, sufficient for stabilizing 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester bullets, with the tighter twist rate being best for stabilizing the heavier bullets.
Variants[edit | edit source]
Several M14 variants were developed and created.
Civilian[edit | edit source]
M14K[edit | edit source]
Variant designed and built by Master Weaponsmith Timothy F. LaFrance of La France Specialties of San Diego, California, most using forged receivers produced by Smith Enterprise of Tempe, Arizona. This rifle has a custom-made short barrel with a custom-made flash suppressor, shortened operating rod, and employs a unique gas tube system. Fully automatic versions have a removable flash suppressor. Semi-automatic versions (of which very few were made) have a silver-brazed flash hider to comply with the requirement that Title I firearms have a 16" barrel. Most M14Ks employ the M60 gas tube system. Some late-model M14Ks employ a custom-designed and manufactured gas system. Both are intended to control the rate of fire in fully-automatic mode. The rear sight is a custom-made National Match type aperture, and the front sight is a custom-made narrow blade, wing-protected sight to take advantage of the additional accuracy afforded by the special barrel.
The stocks and handguards on M14Ks are shortened versions of the GI birch or walnut stock, but make use of the original front ferrule. The front sling mount is relocated slightly to rear, to accommodate the shortened stock. Most handguards are of the solid, fiberglass variety (albeit shortened), but a limited number were made with shortened wood handguards. The steel buttplate was deleted in favor of a rubber recoil paid that greatly reduces perceived recoil. A limited number of M14Ks were manufactured with the BM-59 Alpine/Para folding stock. These too had the shortened stocks and handguards, making for an extremely compact package especially suited to vehicular and airborne operations. A couple of M14Ks were built for SEAL Team members using the tubular folding stock assembly on a cut-down M14E2 stock found on some of the Team's full-size M14s prior to adoption of the Sage International EBR stock for M14 applications. These are by far one of the rarest variants of the M14K.
M1A[edit | edit source]
The civilian version of the M14 is the M1A. The M1A series is the basic M14 rifle with no included accessories except for the Loaded Package which comes equipped with railed handguards, a bipod and a scope. Unlike the M14, the M1A is not a select-fire weapon.
The receivers are manufactured by the precision investment casting method. The military M14 receivers were manufactured using the drop-forge process, which is more complicated and more expensive. Until at least the late 1990s, the M1A produced by Springfield Armory retained the cutout in the rear right of the stock for the selector switch found on the M14. Springfield Armory has also omitted the "7.62-MM" caliber designator on the M1A receiver since 1991.
M1As no longer feature a bayonet lug since the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban; however, later rifles can be fitted with the old flash suppressors, which have the bayonet lug on them.
There are a few select-fire M1As that were converted prior to the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act.
SOCOM Series/Scout Squad[edit | edit source]
The SOCOM series and the Scout Squad are based on the short-barreled version of the M1A. The SOCOM 16 comes with provisions to mount optics and the SOCOM II adds railed handguards to the package.
Military[edit | edit source]
M21[edit | edit source]
The M21 (and M21 Tactical) is an accurized sniper rifle variant of the M14 and M1A, built to tighter tolerances than the standard M14. Like the M1A, it is not normally a select-fire weapon. This rifle is still in use by U.S. military forces, though it is being phased out.
M25[edit | edit source]
The M25 is another accurized variant of the M14. It uses National Match grade components, to include barrel, receiver, trigger assembly and spring guide, and a custom built gas cylinder. The barrel is glass bedded to a synthetic McMillan stock and the Advanced Scope Mounting System is manufactured by Brookfield Precision Tool. The M25 has been equipped with a number of scopes, to include the Bausch & Lomb10x Tactical scope, the Leupold Ultra MK4 series (M1 and M3)as well as the Leupold VariX-III LR M3.
Originally developed by the 10th Special Forces Group at Ft. Devens, the M25 was built as a joint services system, meeting the needs of both Army SF and Navy SEAL sniper teams for a semi-automatic sniper rifle built on the same lines as the match grade M14 and M21 semi-automatic rifles. The M25 is not a replacement for existing bolt-action rifles, such as the Army's M24 and the Marine Corps' M40A3, but rather the M25 is intended to serve as a sniper support weapon for the sniper team observer. The M25 will provide the sniper observer with a more effective support weapon than the M16/M203, capable of delivering very accurate fire out to 500 meters. In addition, the M25 will fill a mission specific role as an urban area sniper rifle, where ranges are limited and high rate of fire is the primary concern. Chambered for 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) the M25 is capable of firing any 7.62mm ammunition, though it was designed to fire the same ammunition (M118 and M852 Match and Special Ball ammunition) that the M40A3 and the M24 currently fire.
Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR[edit | edit source]
Fairly recently, the M14 was upgraded to the Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR(Enhanced Battle Rifle), featuring the same general firing mechanism, with a better, lightweight body. Also has a retractable stock and more rails for more optics, lasers, etc.
M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle[edit | edit source]
M14 with the body of Mk 14. Used by USMC, being replaced by the M110 SASS
M14 SMUD[edit | edit source]
Stand-off Munitions Disruption, Used by EOD personnel to destroy unexploded ordinance. Basically an M14 National Match Rifle with scope
M89SR[edit | edit source]
M14 in bullpup configuration first introduced by Sardius in 1980s. Later produced by Technical Equipment International (TEI) for the Israeli Defense Forces
Gallery[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- United States Department of the Army Field Manual 23-8, 7 may 1965, p. 3
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Department of the Army Field Manual 23-8, U.S. Rifle 7.62mm, M14 and M14E2, Department of the Army, May 1965
- Springfield Armory USA (2006 Catalog)
- Duff, Scott A, Miller, John M and contributing editor Clark, David C. The M14 Owner's Guide and Match Conditioning Instructions. Scott A. Duff Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-888722-07-X
- U. S. March 1989 foreign small arms import ban Semi-automatic rifles banned from importation in 1989
- Emerson, Lee and contributing editors Different's M1A/M14 Information Archive
- U. S. Department of State Dispatch Bureau of Public Affairs: May 30, 1994
- Iannamico, Frank. The Last Steel Warrior U.S. M14 Rifle. Moose Lake Publishing, LLC: Henderson, NV, '05.