Operational Medicine Medical Education and Training

Weapons Handling: M16A2 Rifle

This video was produced by the US Marines as an instructional aid, demonstrating the safe 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 handling of these weapons.

The video may be freely downloaded.

Video Runtime 22:07
16 MB wmv
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Air Force Security Guard

The M16A2 rifle is a 5.56mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated, air-cooled, shoulder-fired weapon that can be fired either in automatic three-round bursts or semiautomatic single shots as determined by  the position of the selector switch.

  • The upper receiver and barrel assembly has fully adjustable rear and front sights and a compensator that helps keep the muzzle down during firing. 

  • A rubber pad mounted on the butt stock and a buffer assembly inside the butt stock helps absorb the recoil when fired. 

  • The barrel is surrounded by two aluminum lined Fiberglass hand guards which are notched to permit air to circulate and cool the barrel and also protect the gas tube. 

  • A bayonet and/or bipod can be attached to the barrel of this weapon individually or at the same time.


Helpful Tips in Using this Weapon

  • Although the projectile will travel up to two miles, its' maximum effective range is about 300 meters, in practiced hands, in daylight, with a stationary, man-sized target. Most medical personnel won't be able to achieve those results, so try to hold your fire 'til you "see the whites of their eyes."
  • Effective rifle fire, other than at point blank range, requires careful sighting (aligning the front and rear sights with the target), breath control (try not to breath while firing), a smooth, steady trigger pull (try to avoid jerking the trigger), and avoidance of "flinching" in anticipation of the weapon firing. The latter can be avoided through practicing "dry fire" techniques.
  • In the event of a misfire, try the Slap, Rack, Bang procedure:
    • Slap the magazine upward to more firmly seat it in the weapon.
    • Rack back the "Charging Handle" and release it, ejecting the misfired round and bringing a fresh round into the firing chamber. Let the the "Charging Handle" spring back on its' own...don't "ride" it back.
    • Bang goes the rifle when you pull the trigger.
  • When defending against multiple targets, try to stop the most threatening target first. Usually that is the target closest to you. However, someone with an automatic weapon or shotgun is more dangerous to you and your patients than someone with a pistol. Likewise, someone with a rifle is more dangerous than someone with a pistol.
  • Take advantage of any cover you may have. Crouching behind a rock or packing crate is much better than standing out in the open. If you are caught out in the open, quickly make a decision to either go to the ground, or to run to cover. If you go to ground, keep moving (rolling, crawling), to decrease the chance of your being wounded.
  • Should you become wounded, keep shooting. The best defense against incoming fire is to return fire, wounded or not.

From Operational Medicine 2001


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