13. A Rifle For Professionals
When well taken care of, the M16 rifle was a significantly better and higher performing firearm than its Soviet Cold War counterpart. Unlike the AK-47, the M16 is not well suited for irregulars, peasant insurgents, and poorly trained guerrillas. It can not be buried in a swamp, then taken out and be expected to fire without mishap. M16 users are expected to maintain their weapon by cleaning and inspecting it on a daily basis, which makes it a, literally, higher maintenance weapon than the AK.
However, that higher maintenance is counterbalanced by higher performance. Professional soldiers – and the American military establishment is as highly professional a military organization as exists anywhere – are trained to maintain and clean their weapons as a matter of daily routine. It is not an onerous chore, but simply part of the job. In exchange, they can expect – and have gotten for decades now – higher performance from their M16 rifle family than their opponents who wield the AK-47 and its derivatives.