When I was a kid I lusted for an M1 Garand, the iconic American battle rifle of World War II and the Korean War. From an early age I was regaled with stories by U. S. Army and Marine Corps combat veterans who carried Garands and raved about their power, reliability and accuracy. One of them—my Assistant Scout Master—was a Marine with the 1st Marine Division who retreated from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He told of .30 caliber machine guns and Tommy Guns that froze solid, but his M1 never skipped a beat. It literally saved his life on countless occasions.

With a five-position length-of-pull adjustment and two postion cheekpiece, Springfield brought ergonomics of the M1A platform more in line with a modern defensive rifle with the addtion of an Archangel stock system. A Blue Force Gear Padded Vickers sling is shown attached to the stock’s rear QD sling mount.
With a five-position length-of-pull adjustment and two postion cheekpiece, Springfield brought ergonomics of the M1A platform more in line with a modern defensive rifle with the addtion of an Archangel stock system. A Blue Force Gear Padded Vickers sling is shown attached to the stock’s rear QD sling mount.

When I turned 16 my father told me I could buy a Garand (with my own money, of course), and I found one made by the Springfield Armory—the government armory in Massachusetts where John Garand was employed, and where he developed the M1. The rifle was in pristine condition, and surplus .30-06 ammo was still cheap and plentiful, so I shot it a lot. I probably put 5,000 rounds through that rifle, without a single malfunction I can remember.

Further modernizing the rifle is an M-LOK compatible forend—with attacment slots on the sides and bottom—letting you install any M-LOK accessory needed. Three Picatinny rail sections are included; two of which we used to mount a SureFire M300 Mini Scout weaponlight and Magpul RVG vertical grip. Also visible is the barrel-mounted Picatinny optics base, which is standard equipment regardless of whether or not you opt for the reciever-mounted Vortex optic.
Further modernizing the rifle is an M-LOK compatible forend—with attacment slots on the sides and bottom—letting you install any M-LOK accessory needed. Three Picatinny rail sections are included; two of which we used to mount a SureFire M300 Mini Scout weaponlight and Magpul RVG vertical grip. Also visible is the barrel-mounted Picatinny optics base, which is standard equipment regardless of whether or not you opt for the reciever-mounted Vortex optic.

The M1 Garand was limited as a battle rifle by its semi-auto-only operating system and 8-round en bloc clip. The M14, adopted as the standard U. S. service rifle in 1959, is basically a “fully evolved” M1 with a selective-fire operating system and 20-round detachable box magazine, and firing the shorter 7.62 NATO (.308 Win.) cartridge. It proved difficult for most troops to control in full-auto fire, and was replaced by the 5.56 NATO chambered M16 in 1970.

The CQB model is available with or without a Vortex Venom mini red-dot optic, factory installed in a proprietary stripper-clip guide mount. Although it does mostly obstruct your view of the iron sights, we found the mount to be rock solid and sight-acquisition of the Venom’s 3-MOA reticle super-quick when mounted in this particular location.
The CQB model is available with or without a Vortex Venom mini red-dot optic, factory installed in a proprietary stripper-clip guide mount. Although it does mostly obstruct your view of the iron sights, we found the mount to be rock solid and sight-acquisition of the Venom’s 3-MOA reticle super-quick when mounted in this particular location.

The “civilian version” of the M14 is the M1A, a semi-auto-only clone with the same 20-round detachable box magazine. It’s been made in seemingly countless model variations by the “other” Springfield Armory, a private company located in Geneseo, Illinois, since its inception in 1974. In fact, Springfield Armory was founded to produce the M1A, which was its first product. The company’s latest iteration—the M1A SOCOM 16 CQB—is the subject of this review.

As its CQB (Close Quarters Battle) name implies, the SOCOM 16 CQB is fully modernized variation of the M1A intended for serious defensive use. With an overall length of 35-5/8 inches (with the buttstock collapsed), it’s nearly ten inches shorter than the standard M1A, while still offering the fight-stopping authority of its 7.62 NATO chambering.

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