Looking like a recruiting poster aimed at gun nerds, the Navy recently published a series of photos showing the M14 still very much in use.
Adopted in the late 1950s to replace not only the M1 Garand, but also the M1 Carbine, M3 Grease Gun, and M1918 BAR, the Springfield Armory-designed M14 in 7.62 NATO was America's battle rifle for a generation. However, as the McNamara-era Pentagon looked to Vietnam, and followed the Air Force's lead in 1963 by fielding Eugene Stoner's much handier AR-15 as the M16, the M14's time in the spotlight was limited and production ended in 1965.
Still, the big heavier M14 has endured in the sidelines for the past half-century in several roles even as the early M16A1 was replaced by the M16A2, M16A4, and M4 in procession. One of those roles has been with explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, teams in what is termed Stand-off Munition Disruption – shooting unexploded ordnance, mines, or improvised devices to disable them from a distance.
That's what the Navy was showcasing this month with photos of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians using M14 Enhanced Battle Rifles from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) during a live-fire exercise.
Besides its use by EOD detachments in the Navy, the non-EBR'd M14 is still around for tasks like line throwing, complete with original wood furniture, as shown in this shot from the same carrier, same week, during a simulated replenishment-at-sea event.
And, of course, going beyond the EBRs and line-throwers, the M14 is still very much around in use by honor guards and ceremonial units such as the U.S. Army's "Old Guard."