Oct. 15, 1962 - One United States weapon that has proved to be unusually effective in the guerrilla warfare in South Vietnam is the Armalite AR-15 rifle, which the U.S. Army turned down several years ago. “The boys who use it think it is the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel,” a high American officer said. A number of the high-velocity, rapid-fire AR-15’s were introduced in Vietnam about 6 months ago for testing. The tests have shown the weapon to be reliable. The Armalite weighs 6-and-a-half pounds, much less than the traditional M-1 rifle, which weighs 9-and-a-half pounds. For a Vietnamese soldier, who averages about 100 pounds, marching with an M-1 is a little like carrying a cannon. The AR-15 has made a definite impression on the Viet Cong. “We found in interrogation that there were three things the Communists fear — the helicopters, the M-113 amphibious troop carriers, and the Armalite,” an officer said. The Armalite was developed by Colt and manufactured by the Fairchild Corporation. It has a Fiberglas stock and is made of light metal. The Army is believed to have rejected the rifle on the ground that it was not accurate at long range and that its bullets would not penetrate thick brush.
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