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Historical Firearms

Here’s Some Good Info Regarding The XM177E2 Rifle Also Known As The ‘CAR-15’

Most of us older veterans know about the Car-15 and I’m sure that some of you guys from the ‘Class of 68’ even carried one of these babies through the jungle during the War. This particular article reaches back into the past regarding the Vietnam/Cold War Era and the weapons that some of us used, so I hope you guys will enjoy it.

Originally classified by Colt as a “submachine gun”, the XM177E2 is a lighter, more compact version of the M-16 rifle family. Known as the CAR-15 on the civilian market, the XM177E2 used the same upper and lower receivers as its brethren but included a retractable stock and shorter barrel with a distinctive flash-hider.

The XM177E2, despite being labeled as a submachine gun, was chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO and used the same magazines as all AR-15 and M-16 rifles. A 3 position selector lever was used with a full-automatic feature.

As it was more compact and lighter than the standard rifle, the XM177E2 saw considerable use amongst the Special Operations units in Vietnam as they were already carrying a lot of weight in weapons and communications gear.

Like the M-161A, sight adjustments were made for elevation at the front and windage at the rear. Unlike the XM16E1, the lower receiver was “fenced” to reduce the chances of the magazine release button being accidentally pushed. The forend was redesigned for this carbine length gun. There is a standard sling loop upfront and the retractable stock has slots to attach a sling to the rear.

Regarding manufacturer’s specifications, the barrel is 12.7 inches and the AXM177 flash-hider add a few more inches to the profile. Rifling is a 1-12 twist. Empty weight is only 5 pounds, 11 ounces.

The retractable stock has 2 positions; open and closed. The overall length with the stock closed is 29.7 inches and 33 inches with it open. The diameter of the flash-hider does not allow the use of a bayonet, so the lug is left off of this gun.

The bolt and bolt carrier are Mil-spec phosphate. All aluminum parts are gray anodized and the pistol grip, forend, and stock are black polymer.

H/T – Student of the Gun



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