From what I understand, the forward assist feature (FA) was added to the M-16 design because the gun was jamming so much in Vietnam during actual combat. Obviously rifle dependability is a matter of life and death in combat, so my question is this. In the forty or so years since Vietnam, with all the research and development that has been put into the AR by all the various gun manufacturers, why does this gun still need a FA? AK's, SKS's, Mini-14's, M1a's, Garands etc. don't have them and as far as I know, they never did. How would the GI's storming the Normandy beaches have felt, on top of everything else they were up against, if they had to pack a gun that routinely jammed on them. Is the AR design so inherently undependable for some reason (i.e. prone to jamming), that the FA is still as necessary today as it was in Vietnam? When you think about it, given how so many other semi-auto guns don't have it, the AR's forward assist is like a physically built-in vote of no confidence. Or is the FA now just a commemorative nod to the gun's rough start? Or is it that nobody has ever thought to get rid of it and save manufacturing costs to boot by doing so? There's a lot of SHTF gun talk that goes on on this site, discussions about what guns people are willing to bet their lives on in emergency conditions. So in the event that the AR's forward assist is indeed still necessary to unjam a jam-prone gun, and if seconds count in a life/death encounter, why would the AR be such a popular defensive rifle of choice? Thanks for any insights.