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In 1963, the US Army set out to purchase 85,000 AR-15 rifles as a one-time procurement to hold the infantry through until final adoption of the expected Project SPIW rifle. Where the previous Air Force purchases of the AR-15 had been simple over-the-counter transactions with Colt, the scale of this new contract prompted Robert McNamara to set up a committee to standardize the rifle requirements of all four service branches. One of the disputed items was the addition of a manual bolt closure device.
The Air Force, having tested the AR-15 for several years by this point, saw no need for such a device. The Army, however, insisted that it was necessary both as a confidence-building feature for the infantryman and because it might in some situation solve a malfunction. Today, let’s discuss the sequence of events that led to the eventual January 1964 adoption of the now-familiar plunger type bolt closure device.
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At Forgotten Weapons I think the most interesting guns out there are the most obscure ones. I try to search out experimental and prototype weapons and show you how they work, in addition to more conventional guns that you may not have heard of before. You’re much more likely to find a video on the Cei Rigotti or Webley-Fosbery here than an AR or Glock. So, do you want to learn about something new today? Then stick around!