Why a 19 1/4" Barrel?
Harrington & Richardson developed some prototypes in 1965 with this barrel length in an unsuccessful attempt to save their M14 production. While the length appears odd this barrel length greatly enhances the handling characteristics of the M14 rifle without any discernable loss of accuracy. Over the past several years shorter barrel versions have come on the market and have become very popular. However the 18" barrel has two shortcomings, first the gas piston cannot be removed from the cylinder without removing the standard flash hider and second, the M6 bayonet will not fit on the rifle. Harrington & Richardson's 19 1/4" barrel length allowed both the addition of a bayonet and easy gas piston removal. With little doubt, had this barrel been developed two years earlier and the Marines landed in Vietnam in 1965 carrying 19 1/4" barrel length M14's, the M16 would never have replaced it.