First Look: Colt M16A1 Reissue

First Look: Colt M16A1 Reissue

colt-m16a1-reissue-fThe classic M16A1 was the iconic rifle of the Vietnam War. It was issued to the vast majority of U.S. soldiers during the conflict, and it's general success in combat led to its continued service in the U.S. armed forces in varied forms over the years. And of course it wasn't too long before the M16's popularity translated to the civilian market as well.

While there are a ton of AR-15 style rifles available today, faithful recreations of the original military-issue M16A1 are a little harder to find. This can be especially disappointing for collectors looking for a semi-auto replica of this classic and historical rifle.

colt-m16a1-reissue-5Luckily, earlier this summer at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Louisville, Kentucky, Colt teased the release of a reproduction, semi-auto-only M16A1 that faithfully replicates the look and features of the original, Vietnam-era rifle. The new rifle, which Colt has dubbed the M16A1 Reissue, is a virtual match to the classic design, featuring the same unique triangular handguard, 20-inch pencil-profile chrome-lined barrel with a 1:12-inch twist, and recognizable carrying handle.

Bone Up On Legendary Colt Firearms

Although I wasn't in attendance at the event in Louisville, I did get a chance to get some shooting time with the new Colt M16A1 Reissue at Colt's recent Media Day event at the historic Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the M16A1 Reissue from the Colt team and to put some rounds through it at the range.

In addition to the traditional M16A1 features mentioned earlier, the new Colt M16A1 Reissue utilizes the same three-pronged flash hider built to the original specifications. It also comes equipped with the teardrop forward assist typically found on the M16A1. As with the original rifle, there is no brass deflector either.

colt-m16a1-reissue-3Going even further to ensure a historically accurate reproduction, Colt has also decided to place U.S. Government property markings on the gun identical to those found on the original. These can be clearly seen on the side of the receiver and should be something that serious collectors are sure to appreciate.

If that wasn't enough, Colt also included an “Auto” marking on the safety selector. Unfortunately, this is there purely for show and historical accuracy, as this rifle is semi-auto only.

colt-m16a1-reissue-4Receivers are standard 7075-T6 aluminum and are hardcoat anodized, and the rifle features the same A1-style buttstock and grip as the original issue rifle. And sights are the standard fixed A1 style.

The trigger is a standard single stage affair, which seemed to break plenty well when I engaged the steel targets Colt had set up at about 50 yards. The M16A1 Reissue's light, 6.37-pound weight made it easy to shoot and transition between the different targets. And it was generally just kind of fun to feel like you were shooting a piece of history, even if it was more or less a brand new rifle.

colt-m16a1-reissueThe new Colt M16A1 Reissue will be a limited release item that should be available in the early part of 2017. The reproduction rifle will have a listed MSRP of $2,499. This might seem a little high to some, but it is a faithful reproduction and a limited release, collector's item. The gun will ship with a traditional 20-round USGI magazine, as well as a manual and cable lock.

For more information on the new Colt M16A1 Reissue, visit the Colt website and check out rifle's full specifications below.


Colt M16A1 Reissue
Type: Semi-auto, direct gas impingement
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
Barrel: 20-in., pencil-profile, 4150 CMV, chrome lined, 1:12-in. twist
Barrel Finish: Manganese phosphate
Overall Length: 38.8 in.
Weight: 6.37 lbs.
Receivers: 7075-T6 aluminum, hardcoat anodized
Sights: Fixed A1-style front and rear
Trigger: Single stage
Grip: Government A1 style grip
Stock: A1 style buttstock
Capacity: 20+1
Price: $2,499
Manufacturer: Colt

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  1. I was a combat engineer from ’72-’75.It has always been my understanding that when they got rid of that
    almost useless tri-prong and went to the birdcage,chrome,etc. that it was designated the M-16 A1. I just bought a new Colt A3 for $1050.00.A little more than I wanted to spend, but shit it is an original Colt! It has a detachable carry hand with a rail on top of the receiver.I have a Leupold VX-3i 4.5x 14×50 scope that I’m going to mount. I scored expert in basic training, so this will make it real easy to reach out and touch some-

  2. @DaveW – I was in the Air Force in 1964. When we were introduced to the subject weapon we were told that it was an AR-15 and the AR meant “Automatic Rifle”. This term came directly from the instructors. The weapon was full auto and did not have a forward assist. The film we watched was made by USAF instructors. You sometimes see it today on the military channel or history channels. It is the same film we watched in 1964. But, the channels give credit for it to the US Army. I was there, I know different. Was your day in that film?

    • You Sir are 100% correct! I too survived The Battle Of Lackland in the same era. Going one step further my TI (TSGT Stapper) was on the shooting team during the USAF testing. He trusted that rifle for good reason.
      Others tried their best to discredit it by doing everything conceivable yet it has served well. Still going strong in every corner of the world. Compare that to the short history of the beloved M14.

  3. The M16 (AR15) came out in ’64. M16A1 in ’69. The new A1 I had had these changes – bolt-assist, chrome plated bore/chamber and a new 30-round magazine. Also we were ALL issued cleaning kits and clean burning ammo (stick gun powder versus ball powder) . The A2 came with even better ammo, less fouling, and has a full adjustable rear sight, case deflector, heavy barrel, nicer handguard, better pistol grip and buttstock, single, semi-auto and three-round burst only fire selector. There is also an A4. Never seen an A3. 3 rd burst is long gone. The first 16’s came with an asinine dumbaxx 3 prong flash suppressor. Good for snapping wire around C rats, popping open wood ammo crates, and REALLY good for snagging vines and branches. What an idiot of an idea. Yet, as asinine as these 3 prong suppressors were, they are very popular now. Short memories I guess. good article, thanks. Colt makes good, but not great AR’s, but how they can list out at $2500 is shocking to me. You can buy any number of high end AR’s for less, more accurate, and more compact. I never went with the A2 butt stock on a build – not practical, just my opinion. Also not practical, although correct for an A1, is that fixed A1-style front and rear sight. I don’t see a run on these 2016 A1’s. Last thing – this is not a faithful replica of the A1 as the original was semi-auto.

  4. 1 in 12 is only suitable for 55 gr and is an unstable bullet. I know its a repo but why not a better rifling. Rate 1 in 8 or 7. FaSt fwd 1988 to 90 still using a1 in Germany as a method of using up inventory and spares. No new weapons in my brigade

  5. I recall having the three prong flash suppressor on the plain M-16, but I thought that when they reworked them into the A-1 with the chromed chamber that they also switched to the birdcage flash hider, Maybe that was only new production A-1’s?

    • I miss the tri. It was great for busting the wires on cases of Cs and ammo.

      I noted in the article that there is mention of the civilian market going for the M16A1 after the military had been using the M16. Actually, the AR15 was sold to the civilian market before the M-16 had even been submitted to the armed forces for test and adoption. The AR was sold as the “Varminter” in 1963 or 1964, in .223, with the two position (SAFE and SEMI) fire selector, flash suppressor, pistol grip, carry handle, and interchangeable box magazine (1). It was marketed as suitable for use on farms and ranches to get rid of varmints. In 1964, the M-16 was submitted to the US Air Force and tested by the newly formed Air Commandos at Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #9 (aka Hurlburt Field). My father was an instructor, and I, a high school student, was allowed to watch some of the testing. This is not to say that the Varminter was selling like hotcakes. That didn’t happen until troops had used it in the field. Just as with practically every other military firearm, former military personnel adopted it for hunting (think M-1 rifle and M1 carbine, Mauser, etc) and sales increased. Of course, today, the AR15/M16 is second only to the AK47 for use around the world.


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