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Posted: 4/20/2015 12:58:02 PM EDT
I was looking at some pictures in a few books on the Vietnam War and I noticed more than one that had M16s with full fence lowers, solid stocks, and 3 prong flash hiders. My question is did early M16a1s have solid stocks and 3 prong flash hiders or would a late XM16e1 have a full fence lower?
Link Posted: 4/20/2015 1:32:37 PM EDT
The M16A1 incorporated improvements over the XM16E1 such as the closed flash hider. So chances are if you see 3-prongs they are XMs.

However, 1967-68 was a transitional period, and knowing what we know about Colt using up spare parts as they go along, I would not doubt it if some of the earliest M16A1s were built on partial fence lowers.

But if you see 3-prongs and partial fences together, I would assume (or almost guarantee) that they are XM16E1s. What do you mean by "solid stocks"? Type D's with no trapdoor? Or just full stocks?
Link Posted: 4/20/2015 1:51:49 PM EDT
Many troops - particularly Marines preferred the three prong and used them long after adoption of the M16A1 and its birdcage flash hider.

Very late XM16E1s also had full fence lowers.

AFAIK the only difference between a late XM and an early A1 with a three prong would be the markings and a chrome chamber.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 2:05:38 PM EDT



The first pic is dated November 1968, the second from 1970. Both are found in the Time Life series of books, The Vietnam Expirience. It's hard to see in the second pic, but if I'm not mistaken that's a duckbill flash hider? You can see it better in the picture in person.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 2:41:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/30/2015 2:42:57 PM EDT by jrs93accord]
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Originally Posted By youngblood1989:
<a href="http://s1061.photobucket.com/user/youngblood19891/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_6.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t464/youngblood19891/Mobile%20Uploads/image_6.jpg</a>
<a href="http://s1061.photobucket.com/user/youngblood19891/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_7.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t464/youngblood19891/Mobile%20Uploads/image_7.jpg</a>

The first pic is dated November 1968, the second from 1970. Both are found in the Time Life series of books, The Vietnam Expirience. It's hard to see in the second pic, but if I'm not mistaken that's a duckbill flash hider? You can see it better in the picture in person.
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It looks like a M16A1 with a duckbill FH on it. The stock appears to be an E judging from the shape of the butt of it.

Someone else may have a different perspective on it.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 3:01:31 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By youngblood1989:
<a href="http://s1061.photobucket.com/user/youngblood19891/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_6.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t464/youngblood19891/Mobile%20Uploads/image_6.jpg</a>
<a href="http://s1061.photobucket.com/user/youngblood19891/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_7.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t464/youngblood19891/Mobile%20Uploads/image_7.jpg</a>

The first pic is dated November 1968, the second from 1970. Both are found in the Time Life series of books, The Vietnam Expirience. It's hard to see in the second pic, but if I'm not mistaken that's a duckbill flash hider? You can see it better in the picture in person.
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Hence the reason NIW Left Side HG's are tough to find.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 3:05:05 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SGL_Shooter:
The M16A1 incorporated improvements over the XM16E1 such as the closed flash hider. So chances are if you see 3-prongs they are XMs.

However, 1967-68 was a transitional period, and knowing what we know about Colt using up spare parts as they go along, I would not doubt it if some of the earliest M16A1s were built on partial fence lowers.

But if you see 3-prongs and partial fences together, I would assume (or almost guarantee) that they are XM16E1s. What do you mean by "solid stocks"? Type D's with no trapdoor? Or just full stocks?
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I think he means Type D Stocks, Solid Stock..... Hollow Stock being a Type E with cleaning Kit compartment.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 6:53:34 PM EDT
I think the first rule of old Nam era M16's is that you can find almost any variation and combination in the field at some period or time whether factory or in field depot mod.
I t drives people nuts to see a duck bill on an MP barrel with a full fence lower and a cast FSB with a type E stock......but it happens.  There's a pattern you can follow, but it's not set in stone.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 7:24:48 PM EDT
No telling what combination was in the field during the Vietnam War during the M16's early years. Probably what ever parts were available to the field armor in charge of weapons maintenance. By the way, the pictures in this thread speak for themselves. Pictures usually don't lie. I'm a youngster in my mid 50's, Marine Corps 1978-1982. I don't remember if the lowers in my 4 year stint were full fence or partial? Never paid too much attention to that. But I do remember that at least 10% or more sported 3 prong flash hiders. I hope this helps you.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 7:51:37 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Sputnik556:
Many troops - particularly Marines preferred the three prong and used them long after adoption of the M16A1 and its birdcage flash hider.

Very late XM16E1s also had full fence lowers.

AFAIK the only difference between a late XM and an early A1 with a three prong would be the markings and a chrome chamber.
View Quote

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 8:38:09 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By a308garand:

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks
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Originally Posted By a308garand:
Originally Posted By Sputnik556:
Many troops - particularly Marines preferred the three prong and used them long after adoption of the M16A1 and its birdcage flash hider.

Very late XM16E1s also had full fence lowers.

AFAIK the only difference between a late XM and an early A1 with a three prong would be the markings and a chrome chamber.

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks

I believe the 3 prong is much more effective AS A FLASH HIDER, the downside being they snagged on brush easily.
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 11:42:18 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By a308garand:

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks
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Originally Posted By a308garand:
Originally Posted By Sputnik556:
Many troops - particularly Marines preferred the three prong and used them long after adoption of the M16A1 and its birdcage flash hider.

Very late XM16E1s also had full fence lowers.

AFAIK the only difference between a late XM and an early A1 with a three prong would be the markings and a chrome chamber.

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks


Opened C Ration case by  twisting  metal band between two of the prongs.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:24:00 AM EDT
I know from firsthand experience that the three prong works MUCH better at suppressing flash than a birdcage.  Ialso know it does grab brush easier.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:32:56 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By a308garand:

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks
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Originally Posted By a308garand:
Originally Posted By Sputnik556:
Many troops - particularly Marines preferred the three prong and used them long after adoption of the M16A1 and its birdcage flash hider.

Very late XM16E1s also had full fence lowers.

AFAIK the only difference between a late XM and an early A1 with a three prong would be the markings and a chrome chamber.

What was the thinking behind preferring the three prong? I have not heard of this until now....thanks


It had zero to do with personal preference, and everything to do with a decision made by the Marine Corps, FWIW. They actually removed birdcages and replaced them with 3-prongs. I do not know when this practice expired, but it was surprisingly late in the war, from what I understand. I have heard all sorts of explanations for it, but doubt we'll ever know the truth. Perhaps member 'coldblue' could weigh in here? If anyone would know, it would be him.

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