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The M1A™ SOCOM 16 takes the classic M1A to a whole new level. A handy, tactical rifle, the M1A™ SOCOM 16 has a specially-engineered 16.25″ barrel that’s mated to the gas system with a proprietary muzzle brake to reduce felt recoil in a big way. It also features the Springfield Armory® forward scout-style picatinny mount, an enlarged ghost ring aperture rear sight, and XS Sights® tritium insert in the front sight to give you lightning fast target acquisition capability. 7.62 NATO power in a package this small was previously unthinkable, but this ultra-modern rifle will have you believing the extraordinary. A solid “truck gun”, this compact rifle won’t allow you to sacrifice power, so do the only reasonable thing — Bring Enough Gun™.

Springfield cut down their semi-auto M1A rifle as much as possible to achieve a lighter, shorter semi-auto .308 Win. rifle without heading into SBR territory—the “16” comes from the gun’s 16-inch barrel. That barrel is mated to the gun’s gas system with a proprietary muzzle brake that helps tame the .308 in this small and relatively light gun.

The looks, furniture, and controls all scream M1A, just more compact. It feels handy, the way a scout rifle does or the way a lever-action carbine does—it comes to the shoulder and the rear peep sight to the eye with almost no effort at all, like it belongs there.

Could you hunt with this gun? Absolutely. It would make a terrific brush gun and with its forward mounted picatinny optics rail and .308 chambering, it can be used as a scout rifle quite easily, though it is a tiny bit heavy at just under 9 pounds without optics or ammo.


The M1A SOCOM 16 was not, however, designed for the woods, but for more tactical situations. Living in a restricted state, I opted for the original SOCOM 16 design with a black composite straight stock, but the carbine is also available in a CQB stock with a five-position adjustable buttstock and adjustable cheek piece, pistol grip, and M-LOK rails at the front of the gun for accessories.


If you want to add AR-style accessories to the SOCOM 16, the CQB stock is the way to go. If you want to keep it simple with just maybe a long-eye relief scope or a red dot optic, the classic SOCOM 16 is still full of features.

The rotating bolt functions much like that of the M14 and it has the same familiar charging handle.

On the left side of the receiver is a bolt lock that will engage if you pull back on the bolt on an empty magazine. You can also manually engage it with the magazine ejected, but you have to pull the bolt back to release it and put it into battery. That means you can’t close the bolt on an empty magazine. Why does this matter? It really doesn’t. Just something quirky about the design to note, especially if you’re used to ARs.

Also worth noting, like the M14, the bolt carrier mechanism includes a reciprocating bit that runs along the right side of the receiver. It can interact with your fingers. It’s beveled in such a way that’s it’s not going to slam or pinch the fingers of your support hand, but they can get in each others way if you aren’t aware of it and that could prevent the rifle from cycling.


When I tried to use the gun with a Precision Turret from Caldwell, I had to move it all the way to the front of the stock to keep it from interfering with the bolt, which made that particular clamp style rest not really usable with this gun.


Like the M14 and many other pre AR semi-auto rifles, the magazine release is a lever behind the magwell, which means the magazine sort of has to be rocked into the magwell from the front when loading. This can be a little stiff when the rifle is new too, but loosens up and becomes smoother as the magazine release breaks in.

The manual safety is a stiff metal tab that lives in a notch cut in the front of the trigger guard, just like the safety on an M14 and the M1 Garand—back is safe, forward and clear of the trigger guard is hot. It can also use some breaking in when new out of the box.


The SOCOM 16 comes with integral sling loops at front and back and a good, modern adjustable two-point sling would pair great with this gun.


Another quirky little holdover from the M14 is the buttplate.


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