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Book Review: The US Rifle M14 – The Last Steel Warrior

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The M14 rifle is a rather controversial arm in American military service. As Frank Iannamico’s title says, it was the last steel-and-wood infantry rifle to be adopted by the US military, and it has a great many very loyal and dedicated fans. At the same time, it had the shortest production span of any US infantry rifle, and one that was plagued by problems. And yet, as a marksman’s rifle it was used by the USMC until 2012.

A worthy successor to Blake Steven’s book of the same primary title, Frank Iannamico’s second edition of “The US Rifle M14: The Last Steel Warrior” is an excellent reference for those who wish to more fully understand the M14, both its triumphs and warts. The book covers the experimental iterations of the M1 Garand that led to the M14, as well as the trials between the T48 (FAL) and the T44 (to become the M14) as well as the other US-made competitors in those trials. It covers the government and commercial contract production of the M14, and also the semiautomatic versions later created for the civilian market. Where Blake Stevens’ book was published in 1983, Iannamico is able to follow the M14 story all the way to its end in US military service, covering the M25, M39, and Mk14 iterations put into use from the 1980s to 2010s.

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