Retro American Service Rifles, Part 2: M16A1 from the Great State of Texas

Mostly, retro black rifles have been the province of individual builders and small gunsmiths. In the last year, Troy and Colt have gotten into the game with their respective carbines (Colt’s isn’t cataloged yet, but they’ve showed it; Troy sells GAU-5 and XM177E2 clones). But a company in Texas is offering something different from the CAR-15 variants that Troy is selling and Colt has promised (but not yet cataloged): M16A1 rifle clones.

Built with original M16A1 parts on a Brownell’s M16A1 lower (something that Nodak Spud OEMs for Brownell’s), the firearms match the profile and details of the iconic Vietnam-era rifle.

Say hello to My Little Friend:

my little friend

Yep, that’s a semi M16A1 with a (very real) M203, available in several states of NFA-ness (registered Destructive Device (DD), parts to register yourself on a Form 1, unregistered non-DD 37mm launcher or dummy). We believe the 203 is an LMT.

my little friend alternatives

Here’s the Tony Montana view:

my litle friend tony montana view

They are asking a rather mainstream $3,300 for the DD version. Sure, you could build it for less if you took your time and scrounged parts. But not for a whole lot less.

Texas Machine Gun & Ordnance is working to launch a full line of clones, plus other fun stuff (like flamethrowers).

Texas Machine Gun line

Their website is currently an early-days work in progress. But they have several auctions on GunBroker. Among them is an upper modeling the short Colt carbines from the classic caper movie Heat, a non-NFA “XM177” tribute (which uses a later barrel, the wrong diameter at the front sight base, unfortunately), an IDF Clone, and an “M4 GWOT Home Starter Kit” that shows they have a sense of humor (emphasis ours):

Texas Machine Gun & Ordnance “GWOT Home Starter Kit”. This is as close to the off-the-rack, sign the DA2062, M4 many of us were issued in the Global War on Terror. The rifle has a complete kit of Knights Armament rails, MaTech BUIS, and engraving to match an M4. The barrel is a 14.5 pin & welded extended A2 flash-hider, to make it non-NFA. For maximum authenticity, the package also includes a crisp, refreshing can of Rip-It energy drink, reflective belt to ward off all dangers, USGI 30rd magazine, and case. All items are new, except the BUIS, which shows some handling wear.

Gen-you-whine GWOT accessories. Note the authentic background!

Gen-you-whine GWOT accessories. Note the authentic background!

We laugh now. In 2116 collectors will be haggling over genuine reflective belts. (But will they be haggling in Arabic, or Mandarin?).

Here are a couple examples of their base M16A1 clone, priced at $1,225 plus $50 shipping to your FFL:


Their description:

This is one of Texas Machine Gun & Ordnance’s new retro rifle line, that’s a SEMI-AUTO ONLY M16A1 replica (it’s not a machine-gun). It is available with either a grey A1 style lower, or a black one that is engraved to match a USGI M16A1. It is also available with your choice of a duckbill, 3 prong, or M16A1 flash-hider. Stocks are used by in excellent condition, and all internal parts are brand new, with Sons of Liberty Gunworks’ BCGs. Gun comes with one 20rd magazine, sling, and case.

Here’s the receiver, showing the Brownell’s lower with TXMGO’s added crest and engraving.


For those of you still in the clone market, here’s a viable alternative to build-it-yourself and local armorer builds.







25 thoughts on “Retro American Service Rifles, Part 2: M16A1 from the Great State of Texas

  1. McThag

    This is a positive development!

    A ready-made retro without the taint of Troy’s hiring practices or the NFATCA membership of the shop Colt’s chosen to make theirs.

  2. John M.

    So I get the energy drink, but what’s with the reflective belt?

    -John M.
    (didn’t serve in GWOT, obvs.)

    1. DSM

      Action Figure Therapy on YouTube has an excellent spoof of the visibelt phenomenon. The reflective belt gestapo was alive and well way back when on my last deployment.

    2. SPEMack

      One didn’t serve in the GWOT in a non SOF unit without at some point in the course of his or her deployment without getting bitched out by some Pog Fobbit SGM about his or her lack of reflective belt inside the wire of a FOB.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Oh, SF guys got bitched out by those same shitweasels, too. But we laughed and drove on, not an option for the poor bastards actually serving under such bad leaders. Funny thing is, they got the same attitude back from every rank from O-6 down (most of us did not wear rank. Everybody who needed to know who you were, knew who you were. The fobbits cracked down on that later and our senior leadership caved. Then, they started bitching us out by name. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hit Ranger Joe’s and bought an assortment of unclaimed velcro name tapes….

        1. SPEMack

          My second tour in Afghanistan, after OCS, I never got around to putting a butter bar patch on my plate carrier. Me and my Joes were coming back from a mounted patrol one day, when we get accosted by this SGM. I step in between him and one of my section leaders and ask what the problem is. He begins to berate me as well, probably thinking I’m an acting PSG or something. I let him finish and then proceed to tell him “Sergeant Major, you’re correct I’m not in a reflective belt; but you will address me as Sir.” And then motion for my guys to follow me. The Company CO was kind of mad but my First Sergeant laughed heartily and called the SGM a prick. Good day.


    I would almost buy one of those A1 clones. and sell that lower and put the upper and furniture on a colt pre ban lower.

    I wonder how long a company like that will be able to dig up original parts like the buttstock, and triangle hand guards.

    These things are starting to take off. in no small part thanks to the ARFCOm retro forum, This is all on them and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

    I hope soon we start seeing some place start making A1 furniture again so people don’t have to dig so much trying to find the real stuff in the quickly shrinking surplus market.

    1. DSM

      Those butt stocks look like Cav Arms though. My issued A1 never had a rear swivel like that but I can’t speak for every rifle in the inventory either.

  4. SPEMack

    Wow. Does this mean I’m old if a clone of the M-4A1 like I carried is now being offered to the AR- fanboys?

    That being, man oh man, one of the M-16A1 clones would be a childhood fantasy fulfilled.

  5. CJ

    I can safely (heh) say that I can check all the boxes of GWOT M4, M203, reflective belts, and Rip-It fueled shenanigans.

    Yeah, this is me.

  6. C Otto

    So I’m curious why there is now this big demand for M16 clones now? For years you couldn’t give triangle handguards or fixed stocks away. I have built two myself, M16 and 16A1 and working on two more, a 607 and one of the A1s with a 203. which reminds me, there was a guy on ebay selling legit 40 replacement tubes for the 203. Everytime he puts one up, it sells within 6 six hours around 300 a pop. Anyway, I got into the retro rifles cause I had a big gap in my collection regarding post war US rifles. It’s just odd how they are suddenly “cool”.

    1. John M.

      Behold the power of something exiting the “old and crappy” phase and becoming “antique.”

      -John M.

  7. Docduracoat

    Those fixed stock, triangle hand guards, fixed carrying handle with pencil barrells are museum pieces!
    They look archaic compared to a modern spotting rifle
    That’s what makes them retro cool
    I want one!

  8. medic09

    I could go for that IDF-clone carbine. Good memories. Most of us had, at least initially, the Galil carbine; but the Paratroopers Recon company preferred the M-16 short. I never did figure out the eventual logic that lead to which carbine different units had across the field units.

    I don’t think I ever saw a “hand-guard” wrap in use (actually, at all); but the rest looks pretty correct. The slings we had were often a different piece with a metal clip at the end. We’d attach it with paracord or even shoelaces doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and then wrap the clip to cover it and keep it all quiet. It was attached through the front site, as depicted.

  9. Ti

    Retro, Retro, Retro………… That’s fun stuff. Colt 607 is my next project. I’m going to pistola it though, as I like the Idea of some day getting a retro 607 collapsible like the original, but don’t want SBR paperwork now.
    I did a retro AR-15 subgun(pistola lower rec ext) build that in my opinion, is pretty cool. Took me a couple years to acquire parts. After acquired, I realized I couldn’t Vietminh machine shop this, so I sent it to a GS to finish. Very little steel in this unit. My concept for this is supposed to be what Fairchild used in it’s static display at the Paris Air Show in 1959(I don’t even know if there was a 1959 PAS!).
    I’m also planning a “retro” HK “experimental”. This one will be an 80 percent lower, engraved ala HK in deutsch, with an OA-93 pistol upper bolted up. So it will be DI gun w/o the lower recvr. extension. Later if SBR paperwork is completed, I will put an ACE folder on it.

      1. Ti

        Thank you. I didn’t realize that it was every ODD year. NICE! I knew it wasn’t annually. I’ll post pic as in ARFCOM, we no see you no do, right? I love the tunes on the second one.

      2. Ti

        OK. Better late than never. Play the snappy tunes on the second vid and enter the Fairchild Expo Hall…..Soldier of the Future manikin w this strapped on. All COTS(as in 2016) titanium parts where available. Front sight removable as the g system is pistol length. Think firing port weapon config. Not FF Handguard. Can be slid off the front by loosening the cap screws (yes titanium) . Slick side NoDak Spud(of course). Titanium carrier is cut for Forward Assist NOT PERIOD!! But Hey, its a 6/4 titanium carrier! The weapon is light.

  10. Raoul Duke

    Did somebody say “M4 GWOT Home Starter Kit”?

    Here’s the big part…I’m fresh out of reflective vests and Rip-it’s…but the local Menards has Rip-it’s by the case:

    1. Hognose Post author

      Meh. Mine has my actual buttstock from downrange. (Hey, they threw them in the dumpster when the new stocks went on).

      Seriously, though, nice job.

      1. Raoul Duke

        Thanks… your posts about the Afghan M4 recreation actually planted the kernel in my mind for this project.

        Except for the 14.5 barrel with the perma-pinned, slightly-longer BCM ‘hider, the lack of full-auto, and the hollow plastic airsoft replica PAQ-4 ( Didn’t have the cash for a legit one, and didn’t relish the thought of buying stolen ones on Ebay), it’s as close as I could get to owning a real period M-4.

        Some of my friends scoff at the notion, but these rifles will be ancient history, too, like the Garand, Springfield, and Krag. I figured a representative example would be a good idea.

        Not to mention, fun to shoot, too.

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