The long awaited and overdue Retro Review. The M16 is a rifle steeped in 40 years of controversy and history. I know every time I hear M16 uttered the song “Fortunate son” starts playing in the back of my mind reminiscing of the various Vietnam Documentaries and movies I watched regarding the war.
I fell in love with the M16 when I was young. The elegant design and sharp angles with plastic furniture and integrated carry handle was always a look distinctly different from the rugged Soviet AK. The M16 was always a looker but the Carbine model always held a special place in my heart because of they where the rifles “Commando’s” used. From seeing them in popular movies like Platoon, Heat, Terminator, with a shortened Handguard and barrel, increased rate of fire and telescoping buttstock the M16 Carbine’s had me drooling to get my hands on one. In particular M16A1 or Xm Carbines. Still spotted and sported in some countries around the world, including most notably Israel.
Since the advent of flat top rails and “accessories” the evolution of the AR platform has become something more like a Lego kit than a fixed combat rifle. So kicking it old school I sourced a very hard to find G&P M653 in extremely good condition. I was ecstatic to get my hands on it and when I did it completed that childhood desire to run through the bushes blasting away tango’s.
Externally this rifle is clean and very black, Lacking everything modern, tan, Gucci and even a brass deflector this Airsoft gun is spot on the mark. From the front, you have a pencil barrel with a traditional birdcage flash hider made out of steel, thin plastic handguards with the oval shape, ribbing and the O.G. flat delta ring that’s next to impossible to move easily. The front sight is a traditionally fixed triangle site post and adjustable for height.
Moving to the centre of the body you have an accurate M16A1 upper and lower. To the naked eye it’s hard to spot the difference beside the fix carry handle but the little elements are all there minus the tear drop style forward assist (the previous owner lost the original). The rear sight has two apertures however they are ironically the same (this came at a disappointment to me as I was expecting the traditional M16 pin whole and open whole for close range). The rear sight is adjustable only for windage like the original M16 and requires the tip of the bullet or screw driver. going to the lower you have a straight cut at the front pin, compared to the reinforced front pin you see on the M4 model’s. The Trade marks are engraved into the body a solid touch with the correct markings. the Pistol grip and fire control are all accurate to M16a1 speck too.
To the rear on the rifle (this was the part that got me really excited!). The telescoping stock is not only the shiny plastic stock but the stock tube is a 3 position stock, that’s right, A THREE POSITION STOCK. This had me blown away normally in airsoft you would get a 5 position or 6 position tube, but this one is bang on to the original M653 Carbine specifications with (1)closed, (2)mid, (3)full, and nothing else in-between.
Externally this G&P M653 is more than just a looker but is an accurate representation of the original rifle it’s the purest form. For airsoft is somewhat rarer these days and ultimately lacking. For a guy like myself, a true LARP rifle is when it is one to one spec. Externally this is a solid 9/10 minus the two small cosmetic issues for myself.
For myself, I ended up putting on my old IDF elastic handguard and stock pieces with the typical paracord loops and two-point IDF issue sling. Simple sleek and elegant. If you wish to purchase your own you can get replica sets from Zahal.org! – I highly recommend them.
So from the previous owner (being a tech) he had modified and upgraded the internals. I was aware but I wanted to take a gander inside. So cracking the gun open I found a stock G&P M653 with the Number “653” labelled on both the left and right. I was pleasantly surprised the wires are protected by heat shrink to prevent crimping. This is a solid touch in my books.
Once I cracked the gearbox open I immediately noticed SHS 13.1 gears, SHS RA 7 “Swiss Cheesed” Piston, a POM piston head. The shimming is on point and I had no need to change it the spring is an M120 with a bear spring guide.
Outside the gearbox, the hopup was replaced with a Prowin with a flat-hop a wonderful. The gun came with a 6.03 Madbull Black Python inner barrel, I have since pulled it out and replaced the inner barrel with a 407mm inner barrel.
In stark contrast to the modern market for AR’s “Retro” rifles are disappearing to the closet collecting dust. A past bygone era of simple combat arms often reserved for YouTube video on Forgotten weapons or InRangeTV. Maybe the airsoft industry is due for a comeback of fixed iron sight guns with plastic, bakelite or wood handguards. For a player like myself who loves history and loves weaponology older firearms have a history worth being told and the rugged sometimes ugly design is elegant in its simplicity. For myself, my “Retro” reviews are only starting.
– Schoolboy Out