m16a2

Ultra Basic Super Simplified M16A1 vs M16 A2 guide

In the spirit of my AK Visual ID guide, I’ve again stolen pics from Google images, AR15.com, and a couple of my own pics, to make my own super easy basic layman visual ID guide for the A1 and A2 style ARs.

This will only cover very basic visual differences and will not get into SP1, or M16 vs M16A1, or any other variant discussion.


There’s a TON of M16 variants as you can see.

We’ll expand on the above pic.

This is a typical A1 style rifle

Now, my personal A2 style build

Some similarities, a few differences.

The A1 stock is roughly 5/8 of an inch shorter than an A2 stock

The A1 handguards will typically be triangular shaped…

 ..vs the A2 style rounded handguards


Original A1 grips are also smooth

A2 grips have the finger ledge


Also note, A1 and A2 furniture are interchangeable on most 20 inch barreled rifles.

The primary visual difference lies in the receiver, specifically the fixed carry handle of both.


The A1 carry handle lacks an elevation knob and has a much simpler windage adjustment.


The A2 style has very distinct elevation and windage adjustment knobs



Super simplified. Ultra Basic. Doesn’t even begin to discuss slab sides and M16A4s.

Oh well. I got tired of seeing the A2 tag on an A1 and vice-versa.

viggianosv  Elisco 5.56 carbine (produced under license as a Colt copy). You see a lot of crazy stuff here in the Philippines… There’s no doubt that many of the rifles here could tell some interesting stories and this mix-and-match gun is no different. When you’re in a country this poor a lot of the duty weapons and gear are subject to budget restraints and other shortcuts, not to mention almost every single item is very, very dated. When things break they are usually replaced by the lowest cost item that will “sufficiently” work as a replacement, additionally many of the personnel purchase their own “upgrades” (usually cheap stuff (note the quad rail..)). In a land where most police aren’t even supplied a full loadout of mags (tons of empty mag pouches), seeing these parts tossed onto a duty rifle isn’t too surprising. Of course almost all of the rifle-carrying personnel are issued M16A2’s (some original Colt but mostly licensed Colt copies: Eliscos) but plenty of other rifles are in service; like these security team sbr’s as well as a myriad of other carbines.

Early high speed M4 action (pre-RIS II), but when you figure some troops are humping M16A2s, I guess this is still pretty high speed.  No matter how you look at it, this is a good looking highly functional blaster.