Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 Rifle Round-Up
May 31st, 2023
7 minute read
Having been fascinated with guns for as long as I can remember, I couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to work in the gun industry for more than half a decade. When I first started several years back, one of my first videos was about the SOCOM 16. While I was very impressed with the rifle during my limited time with it, I was surprised by the number of views of the video. Clearly, I was not the only fan of this design!
For those not familiar with the SOCOM 16, it is a Springfield Armory design adapted from the full-size M1A, itself a semi-auto adaptation of the 7.62mm/.308 M14 rifle. Featuring a compact design along with a shortened 16” barrel and matching shortened gas system, the SOCOM 16 is a lot of gun in a small package.
Over the years, I have come to love the M1A design more and more since that first review. I could own 10 of them, and still want 10 more. I love practically every build and version of the M1A I have seen, from the classic walnut stock models to MK14 clone builds.
SOCOM 16 Features Don’t Come Up Short
In particular, though, there seems to be something about the SOCOM versions of the M1A. In my experience, that gun is particularly loved by the public. At GunSpot, we have done popular videos on it and even gave one away in a contest, and every time the response has been remarkable.
Since the SOCOM 16 is so wildly popular, I approached Springfield Armory about getting hands-on time with each model they sell to test them out and review. The day that all of them arrived was like Christmas morning for me.
Being based on the standard model M1A, all of the SOCOM 16 rifles have quite a few similarities. First off, they all are chambered in .308 Win. (7.62 NATO) and have barrels that are 16” in length, as the name suggests. Second, all of them will feature the muzzle device standard for SOCOM 16 rifles. It is just like the rifle: the muzzle brake is short, compact and highly effective.
Next, they all will include the same iron sights, barrel profiles and controls, so the mag release, safety, and trigger are all the same in these models. The design is ambidextrous, with the safety located in the forward face of the triggerguard, and the mag release paddle lever located just forward of that. Lastly, all of these models will ship with a 10-round magazine and in a soft zippered rifle case.
M1A SOCOM 16
The standard SOCOM 16 is the model that I’ve been most familiar with and have gotten to shoot it a great deal over the years. This is the model that was the prize of a giveaway here at GunSpot that I witnessed people absolutely go nuts over.
It’s easy to see why. This version of the rifle is the lightest weight one of the three SOCOM 16 variants. It weighs 8 lbs., 8 oz. This model trades out the wooden stock for a black polymer stock. This synthetic stock has a slimmer profile grip than the wood stock of the Tanker. This stock and grip have a light but effective grip texture at both the forward and rear grip positions. Other than that, the stock is relatively smooth, with no M-Lok or 1913 rails on the handguard.
They say that the heart of an accurate rifle is the barrel. Springfield Armory builds these rifles with a carbon steel barrel with a 1:11″ right-hand twist. As with the other rifles in this line, the barrel is fitted with a proprietary muzzle brake that helps moderate the recoil from the 7.62 NATO cartridge. Compared to the standard M1A rifle, this gun has a shorter barrel, so the brake is a welcome addition.
All of the SOCOM M1A rifles are fitted with National Match two-stage triggers. These match-grade systems have a trigger pull that measures between 5 and 6 pounds.
Standard across the line are the exceptionally good factory sights. The front sight is a post with a tritium insert made by XS Sights. The rear sight is a Ghost Ring that allows for a fast and accurate sight picture. Lining up the post in the rear sight aperture is instinctive and ideal for a battle rifle. The sights are adjustable for windage and elevation.
Perhaps the most welcomed addition to this rifle for me is its forward scout rail for optics. This Picatinny rail would work exceptionally well for optics with unlimited or long eye relief. MSRP is only $64 more than the Tanker, making it a total of $2,087. Be sure to read our M1A SOCOM 16 review.
M1A SOCOM 16 Specifications
|Weight||8 lbs., 9 oz.|
M1A SOCOM 16 CQB
The next rifle in the family is the Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM 16 CQB. This rifle is the one with the most bells and whistles. The rifle itself weighs 9 lbs., 2 oz. This version still sports the forward scout rail, but the most significant change is in the stock.
The black composite stock has now been swapped out for an Archangel CQB adjustable stock. This five-position collapsible stock has a few standout features. The first is now the SOCOM 16 has a pistol grip. The Archangel stock is outfitted with a removable AK-pattern pistol grip, so if you don’t care for the default grip, it’s an easy swap. The next notable feature is the adjustable stock. The stock adjusts similarly to a buffer tube buttstock on an AR.
At the front of the stock are three M-Lok slots, one for each slide and some sections on the bottom. This is fantastic for adding in any forward grips and lights or lasers. Another welcome addition to the stock is having two QD sling swivel sockets on each side of the firearm. The first set is at the front of the stock, and the second set is right at the receiver’s end.
As with the other rifles in the SOCOM family, the CQB uses an aperture rear sight with a blade front sight for fast target acquisition.
If you want all that the SOCOM 16 can offer from the factory with little to no work required from you, then this is the one you want. There are quite a few other M1A chassis on the market that can help you steer your M1A toward whatever build style you want. However, the Archangel is a great starting place that can cover many needs. The Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 CQB rifle has an MSRP of $2,250. Be sure to read our M1A SOCOM CQB review.
M1A SOCOM 16 CQB Specifications
|Weight||9 lbs., 2 oz.|
Finally, we come to the M1A Tanker. This version of the SOCOM 16 is the SOCOM 16’s take on the M1 Garand “Tanker”, whose complicated history spans back to the latter days of World War II. You can check out our article on the M1 Garand Tanker.
The primary identifying characteristic of the rifle is its walnut stock. This really anchors the classic look of the rifle. On the flip side, the Tanker’s muzzle device and detachable 10-round magazine (and optional 20-round magazine) give it a modern spin.
I have to say this rifle is extremely easy on the eyes, and it worked its way into my heart pretty quickly. If, by chance, it does the same for you and you want to work it into your collection, you will be able to do so for an MSRP of $2,023. You can read our M1A Tanker review.
M1A Tanker Specifications
|Weight||8 lbs., 9 oz.|
Final Thoughts on the SOCOM 16 Rifles
The SOCOM 16 family are amazing guns. I love them. Shooting them is a literal blast. Feeling the power in this firebreathing nail driver on the range is quite exhilarating. Plus, it’s just nice sometimes to shoot something that’s different from an AR. I can’t really say enough about how much I personally enjoy shooting the SOCOM 16 line of rifles.
After now having gotten to spend time with all the models, I might have to say that my favorite is the M1A Tanker version. That, of course, is just my opinion. I thoroughly enjoy the mix of new features in a classic stock that resembles the famed M1. The good news is that even with just these three models, there is a SOCOM 16 for everyone. Hopefully, now you have an idea of which one might be best for you.
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