ARB was issued them as well as the M203. COPs certainly scaled 2 per patrol.. Who got them depended upon the heirarchy, some platoons insisted the signaller and patrol commander other platoons it was ic and 2 ic only.
It allowed a little extra full auto for contact drills but apart from that and rusting to buggery not really worth much. We hung on to them after the L85 A1 was issued and also a handful of M16 A1 were issued in early 1988. The original AR15s were reputed to be original purchase for Borneo so very old and knackered.
Lsw could be carried but in my team if we wanted the firepower we took a GPMG.
Our M16A1 were likewise knackered for the same reason. The first time I fired one, a clattering noise made me think that I'd set it on auto by accident. Looked down at the change lever - it was on semi. Fired again, same clattering noise. Then I realised it was the bolt carrier and buffer rattling around inside the butt!
'twas as Ugly says. I had one with a SUIT mounted and I loved it. Nice and light and pointable which was handy when inserting through a Tyrone swamp with 150 lbs of batteries in your bergan. Can't remember problems with rust but I think I remember the working parts and barrel were chromed.
The AR15 was the manufacturers designation, M16 was the US forces designation. the AR 15s we had were very old, we bought the first pre colt batch before the US Air Force in 1962 I believe hence the need by the late 80's for a purchase of M16 A1s from Colt.
mine was in 1986 and dated 1943, a Canadian produced Mk1 with the numbers etc struck through. With an IWS and IR torch it was deadly at 500 yards on fig 11s in the night shoots.
I liked the 3 mag pouches that you were issued at NIPG for the LMG!
Sadly on deployment to Liisanelly they withdrew our guns and gave us GPMGs instead, our area had shifted to S Armagh as a pln and they decided to give us more firepower!