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Old 01-09-2010, 05:50 AM
Kinzer Kinzer is offline
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Default Question About U.S. Military Arms

I've always wondered how the names of weapons used by the military are decided on and what they mean exactly? M16, M60, M9 etc. What do the numbers mean. With the M1911, it's pretty clear, with everything else not so much. Also, some have the same name it appears. There's an M2 flamethrower and an M2 mortar.
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:56 PM
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Well the M part means military. XM means experimental.

the 16 in M16 means that it was the 16th model that was adapted for the military. Armalite made 15 models before the military adapted a 16th model that was militarized.
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
Well the M part means military. XM means experimental.

the 16 in M16 means that it was the 16th model that was adapted for the military. Armalite made 15 models before the military adapted a 16th model that was militarized.
Right, but the M4 (carbine) wasn't the fourth rifle adopted by the military.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:23 PM
Yournamehere Yournamehere is offline
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Technically no, it's not the 4th rifle, but it is the 4th carbine. During WWII We had the M1 Garand and The M1 Carbine, both were M1s but one was a battle rifle , and the other a carbine, so there was and is s separation between the two.

If you think about it even further, we had the M1 Carbine, the M2, and the M3, the latter two being more or less failures, which is why we just went to the M16 and kept it that way until the shortened versions got up to speed (XM177 and so forth) leading to the M4 Carbine. Of course, that's just my conjecture based on what Excalibur has said and my own knowledge.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:47 PM
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I thought the M stood for model?
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Yournamehere View Post
Technically no, it's not the 4th rifle, but it is the 4th carbine. During WWII We had the M1 Garand and The M1 Carbine, both were M1s but one was a battle rifle , and the other a carbine, so there was and is s separation between the two.

If you think about it even further, we had the M1 Carbine, the M2, and the M3, the latter two being more or less failures, which is why we just went to the M16 and kept it that way until the shortened versions got up to speed (XM177 and so forth) leading to the M4 Carbine. Of course, that's just my conjecture based on what Excalibur has said and my own knowledge.
I don't think that explains it either. When it comes to rifles, there hasn't been an "M15" between the M14 and M16. For that matter, there haven't been any rifles that received the designation "M2" through "M13". The M16 was only the 2nd rifle we adopted after the M1 Garand.

Long story short, I'm really not sure how they do it. But believe it or not, things aren't as organized and systematic in the DoD as you might think, even when it comes to weapons procurement. The Colt Model 777 and Model 920, for instance, were both adopted as the "M4 Carbine" even though the 777 has an M16A2-style receiver, while the 920 has a flat-top receiver. They literally bought two different Colt carbines but gave them the exact same designation. So I'm really not sure there's a consistent method.

Of course, before WWII, it used to be done by date. Like Colt M1911 and Springfield M1903, for instance.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:35 PM
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Im wondering where the pistol designations come from.
There was m1911...a pistol made in 1911.

Then you have m9 and m11, where did 1-8 go, whats the m10?
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT2008 View Post
When it comes to rifles, there hasn't been an "M15" between the M14 and M16.
The M15 was a heavy-barreled version of the M14 intended for use as a light support weapon.



But like you said, the system isn't as organized as many tend to think. Going straight from "M4" to "M8" with the XM8, for example.
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Last edited by Spartan198; 01-10-2010 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:15 AM
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Actually I also heard on a history channel about the M16 was that the price of an M16 is about 1600 at the time of adoption or something like that.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by k9870 View Post
Then you have m9 and m11, where did 1-8 go, whats the m10?
I don't know about 1-8, but the M10 is a variant of the M9 with a reinforced slide that's supposed to prevent failures much like the one encountered by the SEALs (if I recall correctly, the rear portion of the slide broke off in mid-cycle and was flung back in a shooter's face) that caused them to switch to the SIG 226/Mark 24 Mod 0.

And just for informational purposes, there's also an M16A1 anti-tank mine, a Mark 14 Mod 0 grenade launcher (a "Special Ops" version of the Milkor M32), and a shorty variant of the M1911 pistol called the M15, so obviously a single designation isn't necessarily unique to a particular item.
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Last edited by Spartan198; 01-10-2010 at 04:47 AM.
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