When he gets to the introduction of the M-16 in Vietnam, Chris breezes over the problems with the M-16 when it was first manufactured, and issued to front line combat troops. Unlike Chivers-who extensively details and documents the high rate of failure and the horrific numbers of soldiers and marines whose M-16s either blew up in their face, or jammed after the first round-Chris side-skirts the extensive damage done to American troops by the general staff, and Colt's executives. In plain English, American troops died unnecessarily and horribly.
I'm going to defend Chris on that last one, even though I'm not happy about it: when I was in, we were brainwashed into thinking that the M-16 was a technologically superior, awesome, precise, well-made piece of American technology, unlike that big, bulky, piece-of-crap AK-47. I have no trouble believing that Chris was sold the same pile of zebra poop. Interestingly, Chivers finishes The Gun with coverage of American troops being taught how to disassemble, clean, and re-assemble an AK-47, in an exercise titled "Just in Case".
Chris Klye does, however, detail the extensive work done over the decades to update and improve the M-16-something that Chivers should have covered in more detail. Hey, it only took the American military-industrial complex 40 years to fix the M-16.
Much to my horror, the Fed is willing to sell you an original model M-16, without the forward bolt assist. Holy crap, are you guys kidding?