The U.S. Army is reportedly looking to bring the M-14 battle rifle back to the battlefield.
The M-14 has a lengthy history that dates back to the Vietnam War. However, in 1966-67, the M-14 fizzled out and was replaced by the M-16. This came after a report by the U.S. Department of Defense stated that the M-16 was a far better gun than the M-14.
In 1964, the M-16 was ordered as a replacement for the M14 by direction of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Some troops did not like this at all and managed to keep their M-14’s until 1967. The M-14 rifle remained the standard rifle for U.S. Army Basic Training and troops stationed in Europe until 1970.
Now, the U.S. Army wants to bring the M-14 back for purposes of war. The M-14 has trickled back in as a weapon of choice fighting in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because the troops needed guns that packed a harder punch and could fire at longer ranges. This was the job for the M-14 and so it is once again, joining the forces. Currently, the gun of choice for riflemen is the 5.56mm but the M-14 offers accurate and further range.
While the Army doesn’t plan to keep the M-14 indefinitely, it’s a means to an end at the moment. In the future, they plan to adopt one of the 6.5mm family of intermediate calibers. The U.S. Army doesn’t plan to conduct an intermediate caliber study until the early 2020s, which is why they want to switch over to the M-14 now. This will serve much better as a battle rifle until a single long-term replacement for both the 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO is developed.
These weapons changes are prompted predominantly from the Afghan War and insurgents are ambushing U.S. forces with 7.62x54R machine guns from beyond the practical engagement range of soldiers and Marines armed with 5.56 NATO M4 carbines. M-14’s will allow rank and file soldiers the ability to reach out beyond 500-600 meters to where enemy fighters have chosen to engage.