THE CLASSIC M14 RIFLE IS ONE OF THOSE SMALL ARMS ICONS that just won’t go away, no matter how long the military brass tries to kill it. The basic design dates to the 1930s and John C. Garand’s classic M1. In fact, Springfield’s M1A designation is more appropriate for the rifle, as the M14 is really no more than an improved M1. Once the rifle was adopted in the late 1950s as the military standard, specialized versions were developed for use by precision tactical marksmen, specifically the M21, which served the Army well in Vietnam and continues to do so to this day. Although the M14 was officially replaced by the M16 in the late 1960s, the M14 never really went away and has been resurrected for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan due to reliability and lethality issues with the M16 rifle and M4 carbine. The military has withdrawn every M14 from storage and has issued them en masse to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who love the rifle’s reliability and lethality.
The demand for M14s has become so acute that the military is actually reclaiming M14s that were donated to law enforcement agencies in the 1970s and 1980s. But the story doesn’t end there. Not only are standard M14s being returned to military service, so are M21 precision tactical rifles, primarily as squad designated marksman rifles, because not only do they deliver better accuracy than the M16, but because the .308 bullet can “reach out” to engage targets at distances far beyond those which the .223 round is capable of achieving. Thus, M14-type rifles are going to be with us for a very long time. Springfield is the premier manufacturer of M14-type rifles in the United States and produces several different varieties of the classic from standard rifle designated M1A to an almost exact replica of the M21 that carries the same designation in Springfield’s catalog and what is probably the ultimate reincarnation of the M14 design, the M25 “White Feather” that commemorates the US Marines’ top scoring Vietnam sniper. In a special arrangement with the Hathcock family, each M25 carries a replica of the late Carlos Hathcock’s “White Feather” logo and a replica of his signature, a tribute to a true American patriot and hero.