Comic book format for Army training manuals? Yes, that happened.
Original M16 adopted in 1965, probably accurate. The troops in Vietnam were still using M14 rifles, M1 & M2 Carbines, and M1 Garand rifles beyond that date.
M16A1 announced in 1967, again probably accurate. My basic training class still used the M14 in 1968. My infantry AIT class used the M14, but we received a half-day orientation class (no hands on, no range training) on the M16. Arrived in Vietnam in 1969 and was issued a M16A1 rifle made by General Motors Hydramatic Division, learned how to pamper it, lubricate it (very sparingly), clear feed jams, and generally avoid full-auto firing. 20-round magazines were all I ever saw, and we learned to load 18 rounds maximum to avoid feeding problems.
Point of possible interest: We loaded our mags to fire one tracer, then 4 ball, then one tracer, then 4 ball, then one tracer, then 4 ball, then 3 tracers (indicating the bottom of the magazine, time to reload, a helpful reminder in a firefight). We also used condoms over the muzzle to keep water and debris out of the bore in the field (Uncle Sam later provided plastic muzzle covers).
Being the late 1960s and most of us being television babies used to commercials, the common joke about the M16 rifles was "YOU CAN TELL IT'S MATTEL, IT'S SWELL". Plastic stock, aluminum receiver, totally a cheap piece of junk to anyone who "grew up" with a real rifle like the M14.
The only good things I have to say about the M16 rifles are that they weighed about 4 lbs. less than the M14 and the ammo was much lighter (assuming an equal load), so it was much easier to carry on patrols in the bush. Other than that I consider them to be a piece of political theater wrapped up in a big defense contract.
Another interesting piece of history: We continued using the mag pouches made for two M14 magazines for several years after the transition. You can force three 20-round M16 mags into the pouch, but getting one out of the pouch when reloading under fire was another challenge.
Good to know that we always went into combat with the finest weapons and equipment that could be provided by the lowest bidders.
I was issued an M2 Carbine by the Navy in Viet Nam as a backup to the M2 (Ma Deuce) 50 BMG in 1965 with no instruction manuals. The M2 Carbine was later replaced with an M-14 without an instruction manual. I was issued an M-16 by the Navy in Viet Nam in 1970 without an instruction manual. I was issued an M-16 by the Navy in Viet Nam in 1973 without an instruction manual.
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