Iconic Firearms: History of the Springfield M1A Rifle [Video]

Springfield M1A History and How it Launched The Springfield Armory Brand - GunBroker.com with Mike Humphries
Mike Humphries, Media Relations Manager for Springfield Armory

Springfield M1A History and How it Launched The Springfield Armory Brand

Mike Humphries, Media Relations Manager for Springfield Armory, at the 2023 NRA Annual Meetings in Indianapolis, talking about what is considered to be the foundational firearm of Springfield Armory, the M1A rifle.

In 1974 the first product offered by Springfield Armory was the semi-automatic M1A rifle. If you appreciate history and have an understanding of U.S. military rifles, you will look at this rifle and recognize the lines. If you’re a fan of the M1 Garand, you might think that the M1A rifle looks a lot like it. If you like the U.S. M14, you probably think this really looks like an M14.

Although the M14 was the shortest-serving U.S. military service rifle in American history, it had a revered and respected following. People love this rifle even though the M16 quickly superseded it. The backstory on this is that, although it didn’t last long as a select-fire military rifle, it lives on as a semi-automatic civilian rifle, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

The M1A rifle took everything that was great about the M14 rifle, adapted it into semi-auto-only operation, and made it a civilian legal rifle. When you understand history and have an appreciation for historical rifles, you’re going to recognize some similarities here. This is a gun from the wood and steel era. This is not an M16 with aluminum and plastic. You have a walnut stock, and you have blued or Parkerized steel. It’s a 308 rifle, a semi-auto with an M1 Garand-style action. Anyone who’s running M1 Garand is going to recognize this style action. It feeds from a detachable 20-round box magazine. It has, according to Mike Humphries, a 21” barrel topped off with an extended flash suppressor.  

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M1A – The Gun That Launched A Company

The significance here is that the M1A rifle was the gun that launched the Springfield Armory Inc., which started in 1974 and is now pushing nearly half a century old.

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Did Springfield Discontinue the M1A?

The M1A rifle from Springfield Armory is still part of the product line. And this gun is not only just part of the line, it’s also the foundation for an entire series of rifles.

M1A Standard-Issue Rifle – Today’s M1A Rifle Series

The version that Mike Humphries discusses in this GunBroker.com video is the M1A Standard-Issue rifle. It features a classic wood stock, Parkerized steel; it’s also offered with a synthetic black stock. In addition, Springfield offers other variants like the Scout model, which has a shortened 18” barrel with a muzzle break on it. A loaded precision rifle, which is in an archangel precision stock designed for long-range shooting in 308 or 6.5 Creedmoor. The SOCOM 16 series, an ultra-short 16” barrel version of the gun, it has a shortened gas system and a specially designed short muzzle brake on it. This original rifle is a sizable rifle, so cutting that down to a 16” barrel makes it more like a CQB firearm. It’s an interesting adaptation of a gun that comes from the 50s and 60s era to a very modern design.

The bottom line is with the entire M1A line; you’re getting a classic foundation, a rifle that appeals to historical enthusiasts; you have many options on modern variations of it, too; synthetic stock, short and long barrels, and so on.

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