The M14 is a magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic 7.62mm (.30-caliber) rifle still used by the Navy SEALs. It deploys a 20-round magazine, and has an effective range well beyond 500 meters at a rate of 750 rounds per minute. Operated from the shoulder, it is designed primarily for semi-automatic fire. It was developed from a long line of experimental weapons based on the M1 Garand of the 1940’s. It was planned to replace four weapons: the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, M3 “Grease Gun,” and M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). However, it only excelled at replacing the M1 Garand, and the BAR was more effectively replaced by the M60 machine gun.
The U.S. Army selected the M14 rifle in 1957. Production was halted in 1964, by which time over 1 million units had been manufactured. The M14 served briefly as the primary infantry weapon in Vietnam until the late 1960’s. It had the disadvantage of being long and heavy, and unwieldy in thick brush. And while its powerful 7.62mm x 51mm round extended its range and penetrated cover, it also made the weapon virtually uncontrollable in full-automatic mode. The M14 was replaced by the M16A1 5.56mm assault rifle in 1966-1968 by direction of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Although the M14 was phased out in the 1960’s, M14 variants are still used in the U.S. military. Navy SEALs started using modified M14s as sniper rifles as early as Vietnam. They have used them in Afghanistan and Iraq, primarily as designated marksman and sniper rifles. Navy SEALs keep the M14 in inventory due to its excellent accuracy, effectiveness at long range, and strong takedown capabilities of the 7.62mm round.
- Caliber: 7.62
- Weight (Empty): 8.7 lbs.
- Length: 44.14 in.
- Effective Range: 1500 ft.
- Firing Rate: 750 rounds per min.
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,800 feet per sec.
- Feed: 20 rounds