The M14 was conceptually designed
during the latter part of WWII when the Garand was being
evaluated due to perceived shortcomings. The M1 Garand is a
fine and functional battle rifle, one of the finest. The
U.S. military wanted a lighter weapon with a detachable,
higher capacity magazine (20), the ability to launch
grenades, utilize a bipod, and have full-auto
John Garand helped design the
improved prototype designated the T20. Near the end of
WWII a large order was placed for the prototype rifle
but the war ended before the order went into production.
shortened version of the 30.06 cartridge was being
tested and designated the T65, later after the U.S.
convinced NATO to adopt the new cartridge as the
standard issue cartridge of the allied forces the
cartridge came to be known as the 7.62x51 NATO.
Now that NATO had a standardized
cartridge there was a move to standardize the battle
rifle. Belgium, Britain, and Canada adopted the FN-FAL
prior to the U.S. making a decision. During 1955 and
1956 the FN-FAL (T48) and the M14 (now
designated the T44) were tested extensively. The
U.S. found both rifles were suitable to use by the U.S.
forces but chose to adopt the M14 instead. In 1957 the
U.S. adopted the U.S. Rifle, 7.62mm, M14.
After the M14 was phased out
of mainstream service it
could not be sold to the public as surplus due to the
perceived (by the DCM) ability of converting the weapon to full-auto. Large
quantities of many unissued or brand new M14 rifles were
destroyed. Many rifles were sold to U.S. allies including:
Colombia, Estonia, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania,
Philippines, and Taiwan to name a few of the larger
The M14 is
still today carried in the U.S. military by snipers and
special forces troops. This is a testament to the
simplicity in function and overall superior design of
In 1962 the Springfield Armory was
directed to develop a Match rifle based upon the M14.
This rifle included several modifications, including the
elimination of the auto selector assembly and an improved
barrel and sights. The design was shelved, but in 1974
the now privately owned firm of Springfield Armory began
making semi-auto versions of the M14, called the M1A, built upon an
investment grade cast receiver with U.S. issued M14
parts. The semi-auto version has no provision to be
converted to full-auto capability. Many companies have
produced either rifles, receivers, or parts for
commercial version of the rifles.
The following is a list of some of
companies that offer M1A rifles or parts:
Smith Enterprise, Inc.
Springfield Armory, Inc.