It has a gas-operating system, so propellant gases are captured by a tube near the muzzle, the tube connects with the bolt where a valve catches the gas, and the gas pushes the bolt back so it can eject a spent casing and chamber a fresh round.
Springfield offers eight different models of the M1A and what makes the SOCOM 16 different from the others is its short 16” barrel and Picatinny rail for easy mounting of optics. Otherwise features of the SOCOM include a two-stage military trigger that sets off the action with a 5- to 6-pound pull. It has military sights that are adjustable for windage and elevation. It has a tritium dot front sight, so shooters can see it at night. And it has a synthetic stock.