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Capt.Confederacy

Mattel-made M16 magazines during Vietnam?

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I have a set of nice A1 hand guards and I thought I would try to see if they were marked at all behind the heat shields, that are still firmly attached to the hand guards. I was unsuccessful because there just isn't any easy way to shine a light in behind the heat shields and see any amount of the hand guard surface inside. Someone with a fiber optic viewer would have a much better shot at seeing what if anything is marked there.

 

In case there are Mattel marked hand guards out in the world, this might explain why they haven't been reported yet. After all, no one wants to damage their perfectly good hand guards trying to get a peek behind the heat shields.

 

Bob


"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb, bastard die for his country" George Pattons speech to the Third Army.

 

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There has to be proof somewhere out there. ………….. You can tell me anything, but you cannot tell me what I have seen or experienced.

Incidentally, never seen Bigfoot or a UFO, but I did enjoy The Jetsons. Out.

 

Well Sarge, why don't you take the initiative and do the research since you believe that the actual myth is that they don't exist, due to your recollection and alleged first-hand experience with the Mattel marked hand guard. I have not encountered anyone in many years with your motivation in regard to this issue. Think of the satisfaction you would get by proving that Mattel did make the hand guards.

Early issue M16 hand guards are now collector's items and are increasingly difficult to find so there would be significant upside to putting out the word to those with them to look and see who made them and cataloguing the information. There are many, many thousands of hand guards in the possession of private collectors now that were not there forty years ago. Researching the hand guards would add valuable historic information to the recorded history of the M16s which is already extremely well documented. I say this in all seriousness, as I have done exactly that with several other enduring examples of misinformed folklore in the history of vintage MG.

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Some day someone will do the proper research and find it, because it's there.

Here's a hint. It was done in the past few decades. Never found. Never happened.
However, don't let this stop YOU from being that SOMEONE whom you are speaking of.
Like "Bubba" suggested, you do the proper research and prove us wrong.

"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence"
--- David Hume (1748)

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"
--- Carl Sagan

 

 

 


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Fiber optic viewer! Great idea! SKIP

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It's going to take some of the smaller sized ones. Took a look at some hand guards I have and IMHO, it will take a diameter of less than 1/10 inch to get under most of it. I know they make them, but I don't have anything that small.


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has anybody considered the current political climate of anti gun sentiment may prohibit mattel from admitting involvement in a weapons project? toy guns are one thing but a real weapon!!!!,fyi i was told by an "expert" the only contractor for m-16,m-16a1's was colt,this was after i told him my issued weapon in basic was an H&R,and i had the only one in the whole company

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For what it's worth, after reading this thread I began to wonder what possible marking could have been seen/read that spelled out the company. Obviously there is no evidence offered by either side in this; some say absolutely 'No!' and others say 'Yes!' to the Mattel question. I don't really have any position on it since it isn't exactly my cup of tea, but the idea of a toy company manufacturing some odd component for the military doesn't seem far-fetched given that Lionel (the toy manufacturer best known for toy trains) made many items from communications to navigation instruments and related equipment during WWII and later. A.C. Gilbert made various items under contract in WWII. etc. So the toy connection interests me.

 

While doing a google search I found references (posted to various forums and yahoo answers) which claimed that someone had seen the synthetic M1903 drill stocks made by them. I've never heard of any such marking on those stocks, but I admit I don't really follow things like that.

 

Anyway, the results of the search were inconclusive as to just what was seen; a logo or just the words 'Mattel'. I ran across the various posts stating that the grips were made by them; but no one said where the marking allegedly was located on them.


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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On 2/1/2016 at 6:38 AM, Old Sarge said:

The M16A1 issued to me at Basic Training, Ft Jackson SC, in 1987 had a handguard with "Mattel, Inc" on it.

In 1979 I had an M16A1 with Mattel handguards. I didn’t know it was a dispute until a couple of days ago. Snopes says they stoped printing Mattel on the grip because of complaints but still manufactured them for  awhile.

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Certainly no expert and I’m unsure either way but just a thought. If the Mattel logo is located in an area that you can’t even see it when your trying and need a specialty camera to see then why would they put it there to begin with? From what Iv read here people who have seen it said they only saw it when their handguard broke. Seems like an awful strange place to put a logo. Also if that is the case what are the odds that enough people happened by chance to see it by accident then complained on top of that to make them stop adding it? Especially when people who are trying to find it can’t. I’m not at all trying to insult anyone and acknowledge fully that I could easily be wrong. 

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I don’t know why it was there, all I know is that it was. 🤷‍♂️  


"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." John Stewart Mill

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Surplus store in 70s had a box of hand guards for 2 bucks a set I think. Nobody has parts back then so even a well worn set was worth having. You can see mold numbers through the larger hole but there may be more inside. It's hard to get a pic. After discussion I was tempted to take them apart but still might need them. At least this is non destructive so anyone interested can take a look at what they have. 

 

Right side has RB

 

Left has 32 L

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I don't have a dog in this hunt, and I don't have any evidence that Mattel made M16 handguards.  However, it makes sense that Mattel could have made plastic M16 hand guards.  They made plastic toys.  Government contracts can be lucrative, and if a company can get one to easily run in parallel to their normal product, all the better.

 

If you think the government would never let a toy company make hand guards, let's dispel that myth with a WWII example.  Strombeck-Becker was a toy manufacturer that contracted to make Thompson Submachine Gun horizontal foregrips during WWII.  The wartime product was easily adapted to their core competency of manufacturing wooden toys.  They were given the marking code "M," which they applied to the rear of the grip.  Here is a picture of one.

 

IMG_6958.jpg.3ebefc2914a6c22ce3fdad49126c80a9.jpg

 

Here is a Strombecker (same company) toy catalog from 1981 that I have in my collection.  As can be seen, they later adapted to make plastic toys, like Mattel.

 

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For the alleged Mattel hand guard to be marked in a non-visible area is really inconsequential.  Handguards were assembled during production, and a component marking would have been obvious prior to assembly.  If a quality issue existed with a component like a hand guard piece, it more than likely would have been caught prior to assembly into the completed hand guard, and the marking would have served to provide appropriate quality feedback to the subcontracted part manufacturer.  There was really no immediate reason for a soldier to be able to identify all the component manufacturers of their rifle parts at a glance.  If something failed later in the field, it could be disassembled, and any component issue reported based on the failure.  With things like plastic parts, they were likely tested in batches, and inspected for things like correct color mix, etc.  I know of batches of stocks for current military contract rifles being rejected because of incorrect plastic color.  Anyway, marking a component in an obvious spot was not necessary, and an example from the Thompson world can again serve as an example of such.  Savage vertical foregrips were marked inside the grip hanger channel, which is where the grip attached with a long screw to the grip hanger under the barrel.  The marking was not visible unless you took the grip completely off the Thompson.

 

I've heard the Mattel story since the early 1980's.  I lean towards the Mattel hand guard being real, but again, I don't present any evidence specific to it. But if you're on the fence because you don't think a toy company would make a product that easily dovetails with their manufacturing processes, or you doubt that manufacturer marks might be hidden, then I hope my examples provide food for thought.

 

Thanks!

 

David Albert

 


NRA Life Member
Past President, The American Thompson Association
American Society of Arms Collectors
Ohio Gun Collectors Association
Carbine Club
Garand Collectors Association

International Ammunition Association
Contributing Writer, Small Arms Review Magazine
Co-Author, "Thompson Manuals, Catalogs, & Other Paper Items" Collector Guide
One of the "Other Authors" of "The Ultimate Thompson Book," by Tracie L. Hill
Eagle Scout, and Member of NESA

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