Down in the comments of this post, there’s some love for the M-14. Hey, I’m on board with that. I liked the M-16, particularly once I got my hands on the M-16A2.

But from the very first time I fired an M-14, I was in love.

M-14. Looks good, shoots good.

Interestingly, it was here at NAS Whidbey that I first fired one. I was in high school Navy JROTC (yes, dear reader, your host was, and is, a dork). Our instructor managed to wrangle an invite for a select few of us to head out to the base’s small arms range and pop off a few rounds from various weapons.

As I recall, we fired the M-16A1, the M-14, the M1911A1 (that’s a .45 for you non-technical types) and an M-60 machine gun. To this day, I still think it was pretty cool that, as a high school student, I got to crank off some automatic weapons fire.

Later that year, a community organization asked if the NJROTC drill team could provide a firing party to fire a salute for a Memorial Day event. Well, we were more than willing, but us high school types weren’t really allowed real weapons. So our instructor finagled a deal with the base again. He borrowed seven M-14s (and a Master-at-Arms to keep an eye on them) and a little blank ammo. We had about 3 minutes of practice with them, and then did our thing. It went well. The only thing that annoyed me was that I was the commander, so I got to give orders, but I didn’t get to shoot one.

I think the trip to the range, and the Memorial Day salute were the only times in my life that I ever got to fire a weapon without having to clean it. Some poor sailor got that task. Thanks, anonymous guy.

5 thoughts on “Nostalgia”

  1. I love the look of an M-14 too, but they are sheer hell on cross-eye dominant shooters like myself. I’m right-handed but my left eye is dominant over the right eye: I shoot my pistol right-handed, but is shoot all long guns left-handed (which leads to some interesting three-gun matches…).

    Which begs the question: How does the Army handed left-handed riflemen?

  2. I’m left eye dominant, so I shoot pistols right handed, but cock my head a little funny and use my left eye.

    I have ZERO ambidexterity, so I have to shoot right handed, right eyed.

    The M-16A2 and M-4 are both ambidextrous weapons. There’s a small metal wedge right behind the ejection port that deflects brass forward and away from the shooter. Most of the controls can be easily manipulated by a lefty.

    Machine guns such as the M-60, M-249, and M-240 are another matter. There’s effectively no good way for a lefty to shoot them.

  3. My M-14 at PI gave me a black eye the first time at the range with live ammo, a misaligned hold which put my thumb in just the right position to knock shit outa me. Hell, I was a 130 lb 17 year old at the time I still recall the lineseed smell of the stock and the smell of burnt gunpowder. my M-14, what a rifle!

  4. I did, I was surprised at the way that rifle was kicking my ass each shot. Dry firing doesn’t quite teach you how to keep your thumb outa your eye on that first live round or two. At that time I was just a skinny l’il recruit at 17, I enlisted on my birthday, and while sure I had control of the world I was still more than a little wet behind the ears and scared to death of going Unq. I got shook!
    But I learn to love that rifle. ITR was my first experience with the M-16 old three prong flash suppressors with no forward assist, I was armed with an M-14 for most of the first two years in the Corps. Before I went FMF and was issued my first M-16A1 which was my PDW for the rest of my tour. Being a 51 meant cross training with the .45 1911A1 too.
    My eventual shooting scores at RELACDU were 222 Expert with the M-16 and 219 sharpshooter with the M-14.
    My how time flies.

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