Operational Medicine Medical Education and Training

M16A2 Rifle: Introduction to Basic Marksmanship

This video was produced by the US Marines as an instructional aid, demonstrating the safe and effective use of the M16A2.

The video may be helpful to those using firearms in their work, or those who may encounter firearms and need the knowledge of safe and effective handling of these weapons.

The video may be freely downloaded.
Video Runtime 22:07
16 MB wmv
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Aiming M16A2

To Load:

  • Point the rifle in a safe direction.
  • Take a loaded magazine and shove it firmly into the weapon until you hear a "click."
  • Tug downward on the magazine to make sure it is completely engaged and does not pull out of the weapon.
  • Pull the "Charging Handle" straight back until it won't go any further, then release it. It will spring back to its' original position, cocking the internal hammer and bringing a cartridge into the firing chamber. The weapon is now loaded and will fire if you pull the trigger.
  • If you do not intend to fire the weapon immediately, move the "Selector Lever" switch from "Semi" or "Burst" to "Safe," and close the "Ejection Port Cover."

To Fire:

  • Aim a loaded rifle at the target.
  • Using your thumb, move the "Selector Lever" from "Safe" to "Semi" or "Burst."
  • Squeeze the trigger and the weapon will fire.
  • If you have the "Selector Lever" on "Semi," you will fire a single round. If it is on "Burst," the rifle will automatically fire three rounds in a burst.
  • In either case, you can continue pulling the trigger and each time, the trigger pull will fire the rifle, and the gasses from the bullet will cause the rifle to eject the empty cartridge and bring a new cartridge into the firing chamber.
  • You don't have to worry about the "Ejection Port Cover" being open or closed. If it is closed and the weapon wants to eject a cartridge, the Ejection Port Cover will be automatically forced open and will remain open until you decide to close it.

To Unload:

  • Point the rifle in a safe direction.
  • Attempt to move the "Selector Lever" to "Safe." 
  • Using your right index finger, depress the "Magazine Release Catch" just above the trigger guard on the right side of the rifle, and then remove the magazine from the weapon. (They often just fall out as soon as you press the release catch.
  • After the magazine is removed, pull straight back on the "Charging Handle" to eject any round from the firing chamber. 
  • Look through the ejection port to visually confirm that there is no cartridge in the firing chamber. Then release the Charging Handle and let it spring forward to its' normal position.
  • Place the "Selector Lever" to "Safe."
  • Close the "Ejection Port Cover."

Clearing the Rifle:

  • Clearing a weapon means unloading the it and leaving it in a status that it is visually obvious to anyone who sees it that it is empty and temporarily disabled.
  • To clear the M16A2 rifle, remove the magazine, pull the "Charging Handle" backward and lock in the open position, move the "Selector Lever" to "Safe" and leave the "Ejection Port Cover" open. This is the safest way to leave the weapon.

From Operational Medicine 2001



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