Modern builds are lightweight, and modular with thin handguards that are both strong and easy to grip. Barrels range from 16 inches but tend to hover around the 14.5 inch to 13.7 inch mark with many opting for short-barreled rifles. In all your time blasting 55 grain slugs through paper you may have felt a hole in your heart. Perhaps you yearn to look through irons, to awkwardly wield a 20 inch barrel and to launch 5.56 to it’s full potential. Perhaps time has deadened you to the weight of the M16A4/A2 or you’ve forgotten how heavy it is compared to newer builds. None the less, there is nothing quite as pleasing as engaging targets from 50-500m with a M16A4 clone. The rifle looks right and shoots smooth. Much can be said about the gentle recoil impulse of a 20 inch barrel, suffice to say, it is smooth and non-existent.
Many companies produce excellent reproductions (including Colt and FN). Aero Precision however, needs to be recognized for its excellent build. The complete build (upper and lower with carry handle, BCG and CH) runs around 892 bucks plus tax. That’s pretty good in my book. The rifle features a 1:7 Twist barrel made of 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium with a QPQ corrosion resistant finish. I’ve found the barrel to be spectacularly accurate, and even more so if I wear M81 with web gear and birth control glasses. The rifle length gas system and long recoil spring make for a very pleasant rifle to shoot. The Aero Precision build comes with a standard handguard but as you can see in the photos. I’ve added a KAC M5 RAS handguard because of nostalgia and the ability to add lights as necessary later on. My particular rifle wears a Blue Force Gear padded Vickers sling with a A2 stock sling adapter.
The lower is well-built. Aero Precision is known throughout the industry for making excellent lower receivers. The M16A4 receiver features a custom Aero logo harkening to colts and a marking stating, “Property of U.S.A., MOD M16A4, CAL. 5.56MM”. It includes a well-built A2 stock, A2 grip and flared magwell for feeding your rifle. The safety selector is titled safe/semi/burst and adds overall to the feel of the build. The trigger is a standard mil-spec trigger which feels right at home with the build. The A2 stock has some length of pull and took some getting used to at first, but feels perfect now.
Ultimately you’re going to build something like this because you were issued one or for the aesthetics. The M16A4 is a great rifle but is undoubtedly outclassed in many circumstances by more modern designs which improve upon its accuracy, weight and ergonomics. However, if a rifle is more than just that, then the Aero Precision M16A4 clone might be right up your alley.