My first introduction to the M16-A2 was at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island during the 13 week boot camp. We learned how to drill with the rifle, disassemble, clean, and reassemble before we ever stepped foot onto the range during the 2nd phase of boot camp. We also had to memorize the Marine Rifle Creed and recite it every night before lights out (this drilled into us the importance of the rifle). It goes something like this.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will…
My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit…
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…
Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!

Once we advanced to 2nd phase after getting our balls kicked in for 4 weeks (1st phase) we arrived at the 500 yard rifle range. We spent probably the first few days just ‘snapping in’. What I mean by that is we literally spent hours just learning the various shooting positions, dry firing and learning how to manipulate our rifle slings to get the most stable shooting position. In order to qualify with the M16-A2 we had to put rounds on paper at 200 yards, 300 yards, and finally 500 yards from the prone. Putting rounds on target at 500 yards with iron sights is no small task, especially when your front sight at that range covers the damn target. Because of the upgrades made to the A2 version we were able to more accurately engage targets out to 500 yards. Let’s take a closer look at each of the upgrades which resulted in the M16-A2.

“The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle” – General John “Black Jack” Pershing, U.S. Army

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This article is courtesy of The Loadout Room.