The M6 bayonet is the sleek, handsome, 6.7-inch, single-edged blade with the checkered black plastic grip. It's mated to John C. Garand's crowning achievement, the M14 rifle, chambered in .308.
The M14 U.S. Rifle Caliber 7.62mm was introduced in 1957. It is an extraordinary gas-operated, rotating bolt gun, capable of laying down 750 rounds per minute with an effective range of 500 yards with iron sights, out to 800 yards or more with good optics. Why so many snipers love it.
But the M14 could not have been introduced at a more inopportune time-for the gun's longevity, that is-which was short-lived. Remember, 1957 was between wars-Korea and Vietnam.
Chevrolet made an awesome automobile that year-when the M14 and M6 bayonet were born.
Still, the M14 fell between the cracks-of gun history-and was eclipsed in fame, sandwiched by a pair of superhero U.S. battle rifles: the M1 Garand and the M16. Today, military honor guards parade the M14 for show and a handful of special operators-Delta Force, Green Berets and SEALs use this, one of the finest military rifles ever made, for its range, accuracy, and smack-down power.
The M6 bayonet is monogamous; it mates for life. Unless you count the civilian version of the M14-the M1A is the only other gun it can be mounted on. But a bayonet on a civilian rifle?
Shame such a good looking piece of steel, the M6, couldn't stick around longer. Still, much as this bayonet looks good and performed well on the M14, it's pretty handy a la carte as a fighting knife.
As I document this bit of gun history-on Independence Day-I am reminded of a blockbuster Hollywood movie and a gentleman I met in Oklahoma City a number of years ago-Ron Kovic.
Ron was a United States Marine stationed in Vietnam. He carried an M14, no doubt he carried the M6. I never asked him. Ron got shot on his second tour and is confined to a wheelchair.
The Oliver Stone film, "Born on the Fourth of July," starred Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic.
Although admittedly against that war in Southeast Asia, Stone's flick paints Ron as a fire-breathing anti-war activist. Maybe he was. I don't know. I haven't walked in his boots, so I can't say.
I don't know what Ron's like today. When we met, he'd just spoken to the Democratic Convention, and reports were that attendees there could hear a pin drop when Ron spoke.
I hope Ron's doing well today-as well as can be expected. I liked him, for the little time we shared over lunch, and it was my impression that he is a gentleman and an honorable man.
The M14 and the M6 bayonet aside, I urge you to go out of your way to thank our Veterans, whether they're walking, in wheelchairs, or in a national cemetery. We owe them everything.
God bless our vets. THANK YOU!
And Ron, if you see this, I hope you're well, Brother. God bless.