“Certain characteristics,” Guns & Weapons contributor Todd Burgreen writes, “are considered essential for a rifle used in a tactical environment: reliability, portability, ruggedness, accuracy, ease of replenishment and effective firepower for all situations likely to be encountered.” Perhaps that’s why law enforcement and military operators alike keep returning to the M14—or the M21, as it’s known in civilian circles—a design nearly 60 years old and yet as useful today as it was when it was first deployed in the jungles of Vietnam.
Springfield Armory’s M21 Tactical retains everything that makes the M14 design great, while adding several welcome features, including an adjustable comb and a steel 4th Generation scope mount, which makes adding optics a breeze. The M21 Tactical is chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO—the “effective firepower” part of the equation—a powerful round capable of neutralizing threats quickly and at a distance.
For testing, Burgreen brought the M21 Tactical’s 7.62mm firepower to bear on the assorted targets littered throughout Winchester, Virginia’s, Echo Valley Training Center, some as far away as 320 yards. I won’t give the results away—for Burgreen’s full report, check out the October 2013 issue of Guns & Weapons For Law Enforcement—but the following remark seems to sum up the M21 nicely: “While 300 yards plus is on the far side of the LE engagement spectrum, it’s confidence inspiring connecting at that distance on command.”

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