The M653 Ranger carbine

The third and final part of this three part series takes us back to the early 1980’s and especially Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada in 1983. During this era, the Ranger companies can be seen wearing their OD green Jungle Fatigues, which they switched to around 1982. Before this change, they were using Vietnam era ERDL up from 1974 until the 1982 change.

During the era of ERDL and OD Jungle Fatigues, the Rangers were using the M16A1 and the M653 carbines as their primary rifles. The M653 carbine is mostly seen in the hands of recoilless rifle company Rangers, who preferred the shorter length of this carbine over the M16A1. There are some images showing other Rangers using the M653 as well, most likely NCOs.

The M653 carbine features the 14.5 inch pencil barrel, A1 style rear sights, forward assist and does not have the brass deflector, which is present in the M723 carbine that the Rangers used in Rio Hato. The buttstock does not have reinforcments that are present in the future carbines that I covered earlier. The front handguards are again the slimmer versions, that are present in the other Ranger carbines as well. The slings that are used, as seen in the photos, are attached to the carbine with paracord, with the metal parts taped over. Other attachment options also include the lack of paracord, but typically they are always attached to the top of the buttstock and the forward sights of the carbine.


The M653 replica that I have is made by G&P and it is one of the older replicas that I have in my collection. It was purchased quite a while back and it was my go-to primary for a long time. It was replaced by the M727, which is by far my favorite of all the Ranger carbines that I have. Staying true to the reference images, and personal preference, I have attached the sling to the replica with paracord (top of buttstock and the front sight) and taped the metal parts of the sling.

This carbine is the only one of the three that is externally left the way I received it. G&P makes the M653 carbine and can be purchased as is. Internal modifications have been done over the years to enhance air seal and new wiring has been added as well. The replica uses a ProWin Hop-Up and has a Madbull bucking inside the hop-up.

For a while, when I was still doing Vietnam War re-enactment, you could see people buying this carbine to complete their kits. This might be due to the carbine being carried in the movie Platoon by the two Sergeants. The M653 was not used during the Vietnam War, however, and as such is inaccurate for that era. When the carbine was available, it was used by other units than the Rangers. DEA agents can be seen using this same carbine during Operation Snowcap, for example. It is a versatile carbine which can be used in several different kits. As is the case with the other carbines that I have covered in these articles. However, this one is the “easier” one since it can be bought from G&P and does not require external modification to be accurate.


That’s all folks, the third and final part of the short ‘n’ sweet series of my Ranger carbines. As always, I have also made a short video about the carbine to my Youtube channel. Like and subscribe, so you get notified once I release something new. Also check out my other social media platforms while you are at it!

Instagram – Callsign Hawkins

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