For fans of gun or military history, or just AR junkies, Colt has a lovely-looking throwback rifle coming your way: the M16A1 Reissue.
Yes, as the name indicates, it’s a rifle built to the specs of the one that started it all, the M16A1, which was issued to U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1969 after the original M16 experienced a number of issues during its first few years in the field. It also replaced most M14 rifles that were in service as well.
The new-old Colt comes with the exact features found on the original rifle, including a triangular handguard (no rails, M-lok or Keymod slots), integrated front sight and carry handle with a rear peep sight. The barrel is chrome-lined with a 1:12 twist and is even topped with the three-pronged flash hider that was later nixed in favor of a birdcage flash hider when soldiers complained that the prongs often got snagged on gear and dense jungle foliage.
The receiver includes a tear-drop shaped forward assist but no brass deflector, because the A1 didn’t have one. The buttstock is the original M16A1 production unit, and the grip is true A1 style, missing the middle-finger hump of the A2 grip.
The rifle ships with a 20-round, straight-body aluminum USGI magazine like the ones that were issued to soldiers were issued in Vietnam, according to this first look on gunsandtech.com.
Other features include markings on the right side of the lower receiver that say “Property of the US Govt” along with the classic colt logo and AR-15 designation.
Aesthetically it’s rifle that instantly conjures up images from news footage of the war and later movies about Vietnam, and will undoubtedly bring back much different memories for soldiers who carried a real M16A1 in Southeast Asia—but all that reminiscing comes with a pretty hefty price tag due to the rifle being a limited production item: $2499.
Clearly the gun is meant for serious collectors and not the average shooter, but it seems that it would provide a solid blueprint if a retro AR build is a project you’re thinking about taking on. And who knows–if the rifle sells well enough, Colt may consider a throwback production model that’s a bit more affordable.
The review says the rifle, first previewed at the NRA Annual Meeting back in May, will be available in early 2017. Colt is expected to release another throwback gun next year as well, a reproduction of the carbine version of the M16, the CAR-15.