BROWNELLS VIETNAM-ERA RETRO AR
A VIETNAM VET FINDS IT A WELCOME BLAST FROM THE PAST.
There’s only one way to test Brownells’ BRN-16A1, a faithful reproduction of the Vietnam-era M-16A1: put it in the hands of our resident Vietnam veteran, a soldier who lived by the original.
The C-130 Hercules tipped violently and began its steep final descent into Quang Tri. The loadmaster, a grizzled and unflappable master sergeant, yelled, “Stand by, boys! The field is under attack, and we’re going in steep and fast! As soon as we reach the end of the runway, get off the aircraft as quick as you can … there are 122mm rockets and RPGs coming in from the east and south.”
We’d already “gotten the word” about the attack before the evasive air maneuvers had begun. We had quickly broken down the two lashed-down pallets at the rear of the aircraft that contained our battle gear and ammo and “loaded up.” We were set, ready—and scared silly.
WITH ONLY THE TWO MINOR EXCEPTIONS ... IT’S A DEAD-RINGER FOR THE LEGENDARY M-16A1 AND WILL, NO DOUBT, FIND MUCH FAVOR WITH ANY SERIOUS RIFLEMAN OR COLLECTOR.
Damn, I thought. We aren’t even on the ground yet, and they’re shooting at us! Is this how it’s going to be for the whole year I’m going to be here?
The Herc touched down hard and hot, its four-bladed props quickly reversing pitch to begin the braking process. Almost immediately, the rear ramp began to come down. Peering out of the port-side window, I saw the plane in front of us veering left from the runway onto the grass. It was burning—the result of a chance hit by an incoming 122mm rocket. Its rear ramp was down, and GIs were pouring out at a run, weapons at the ready.