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The M14 Is the U.S. Military’s Worst Service Rifle. Ever.

Charlie Gao
DVIDS

Charlie Gao

Security, Americas

And we can tell you all of the reasons why.

The M14 Is the U.S. Military’s Worst Service Rifle. Ever.

The M14 is the U.S. military’s worst service rifle. It served as the standard-issue rifle for just six years—by the most generous estimates, half that of the U.S. Army’s second shortest serving rifle, the Krag-Jørgensen. The design itself is fraught with problems.

The process of creating it was even worse and led to the dissolution of the U.S. Ordnance Corps and Springfield Armory, the largest producer of American military small arms in history. The modern company, also called Springfield Armory, has no relation to the former government armory and simply leverages the name for sales.

So why is the M14 itself terrible? After all, many soldiers are have said to prefer the M14 to the M16 during the Vietnam War, and the rifle has been described by other authors as a “phoenix” rising again and again when the U.S. military needed a rifle that could fire the larger 7.62mm NATO round.

Quite simply, the M14 has outdated ergonomics, is poorly designed, and is inaccurate. The rifle can be accurized but will not stay that way unless constant care and maintenance are performed on it.

Ergonomics wise, the M14 had a traditional rifle stock due to the traditional sensibilities of the U.S. Ordnance Corps. Most contemporary rifles, including the Soviet AK and Belgian FAL, have a pistol grip to aid in controlling fully automatic fire. The M14’s traditional rifle stock makes it climb far more than its competitors while in rapid and fully automatic fire and also makes follow up shots slower.

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