‘The Gun’ Examines the AK-47’s Breakout and the M-16’s Faults


(GunReports.com) — The upcoming issue of Esquire magazine, due to subscribers in about two weeks and due on newsstands several days later, carries an exclusive adaptation from The Gun, an examination of the origins of the world’s most abundant weapon – the Kalashnikov assault rifle – and the consequences of its spread.

The Gun and the adaptation of the book in Esquire, entitled “How They Were Betrayed,” are written by C.J. Chivers, a former Marine Corps infantry officer and now a senior writer for The New York Times, where he reports for the Foreign and Investigative desks. He is also a frequent contributor to Esquire. In 2009 he shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage in of combat in Afghanistan.

Chivers covers one of the effects of Kalashnikov proliferation — the Pentagon’s bungled reaction, which included a hurried introduction of the M-16 (and its ammunition) for widespread issue and combat service in Vietnam.

On his website Chivers writes, “The unnecessary bloodshed and lives lost were tied to an American rifle and ammunition combination that was not yet ready for war, a circumstance directly related to the AK-47’s breakout and global spread. My investigation into the flawed introduction of the M-16 and of the young soldiers and Marines — who were knowingly failed by the Pentagon, a prominent American firearms manufacturer, and their own commanders and generals — became ‘The Accidental Rifle,’ a chapter in The Gun.”

He wrote, “I filled my garage and a few hard drives with a diverse collection, from obscure ballistic reports and bizarre Pentagon tests to a detailed insider’s intelligence profile of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, to the records of the now defunct Colt’s Firearms Division of Colt Industries, which show some of what the company’s officials knew as they distributed faulty M-16 rifles in Vietnam.”

Click here to jump to Chiver’s website.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here