The war fought by young Americans in Vietnam was this nation’s longest conflict until the Global War on Terror, and the firearm that became the great icon of the American experience in Vietnam is the U.S. M16 rifle. But where did the M16 come from and how did it perform on the battlefield? How did it go from a rifle that failed and resulted in the deaths of desperate young Americans found on the battlefield with their guns hopelessly jammed, to the nation’s longest serving infantry rifle? In this first installment of “The Men & Guns of the Vietnam War,” American Rifleman Television examines the evolution of the gun that we know as the M16 and its use in Vietnam. From the early AR-15s, then to the XM16E1, the M16 and its combat use are described in detail. We also hear from two familiar contributors to American Rifleman, the first being Field Editor Wiley Clapp, who served for a year and half in Vietnam, including as a company commander in the 3rd Btn., 7th Marines. Another version of the M16 used in the conflict was the XM77E2, better known as the CAR-15. Another contributor to American Rifleman, Major John L Plaster, used this gun behind enemy lines as part of the covert Studies and Observation Group. Back then, John Plaster was a U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant and team leader, and he describes the combat use of the CAR-15 against our nation’s enemies. Watch Part 1 of the series here.