10 Years Of The Colt 6940


It’s hard to believe to me now but its been ten years since the Colt 6940 came out officially for sell. It was a pretty big deal at the time because it had been a long time since Colt had come out with a new variant of the AR15. The monolithic rail and flip up front site were something colt teased for years before it got in peoples hands.

You can see the gun above has a lot in common with the final version of the 6940. The gun pictured was submitted to the military for a possible future adoption. The early versions had a much inferior sling mounting system for the rail. You can see the stud on the side of the rail at the 3 o’clock position.

Various versions of this gun was shown at SHOT shows over the next years and scuttlebutt always claimed it would be out “later this year.” That was optimistic to put it mildly.

One of the models shown along side of those was the Colt “M5” pictured below. We never saw that. Thanks God for small favors.

Around 07, word was let out that the Colt “LE1020” was about to come out. It was so sure that some distributors and dealers started taking pre-orders. The 1020 was essentially the early version of the Colt 6940Piston. It seems at the last minute it was cancelled and refunds issued. The reasons and story will have to wait for another day.

One of the curious things of the history is this tantalizing model that many wish would be brought out even to this day. The Colt 6945 it was called at the time. Though it never came out and the colt model number was resused for another model, the 10.3 inch barreled 6940.

I am sure most of you reading this will immediately see this and wonder why it was not sold. No idea. It can be ordered this way if you are a LE org or the military, but so far that’s it. You can see the older style sling stud. As I said, the 6945 name went to another gun. Which Howard, lucky bastard that he is, owns an example of. Pictured below in all its glory.

Of course it is not the only SBR 6940 based gun. There is a 11.5 inch barrel and a 15.5 inch barrel. Also there was this little gem. The Colt SCW with a side folding stock.

In 2009 the LE6940 we now know came out and of course I got one nearly immediately. I was not let down. Since then I have been a 100 percent convert on the Colt monolithic upper. I think it is a major improvement to the gun and its accuracy is outstanding.

The 6940 in its stock form with match quality ammo and an optic makes an amazing and handy small precision rifle. I used this combo to shoot crows all summer out to 300 yards. There is just something immensely fun about shooting a carbine with a high magnification precision optic.

Over the next few years I used the 6940 constantly.

A few years later the 6940P finally came out after years of waiting. Below are the DI and Piston uppers compared. It is a very nifty design. The P comes with a SOCOM profile barrel and H2 buffer along with the piston operating system.

A full look and review of the 6940Piston can be found here on the site already so I won’t cover that again.

Since then a few other versions have come out. Noticeably the 7.62×39 variants for other countries who prefer to use an inferior service round.

You may have noticed the top picture shows a version that takes an AK magazine. That has been a foreign military sold model only at this point and it’s likely to stay that way.

Most significant to the spin off monolithic upper series is of course the 308/7.62NATO carbine 901.

Now after all this time. How does the regular old DI gun shoot? Still great. The free floated barrel and the unique system that attaches the barrel is incredibly accurate for a gun with a milspec barrel. Not to say they aren’t already more accurate than most people realize, but the free float monolithic upper brings it all out with match ammo. I placed 10X optic on my 6940 and shot some groups with it at 100 yards to show a general idea of just what they are capable of .

The carbine was shot from the bench off of bags. The leupold 10X was used and the SSA match trigger were able to make shooting a breeze. Really there is not much difference in accuracy between this and my MK12.

a selection of handloads and the more high end factory ammo

“flyer” is zeroing shot not part of group

The Colt 6940 is a real classic in my opinion and I have turned a lot of people on to them. No one I know has regretted buying these excellent carbine once they get them in their hands. It is a great gun now 10 years old and going and I highly recommend them.


  1. I have has a LE6940 for several years. Feels solid in the hand, accurate beyond my skills (any fliers are usually mine). Purchased an upper ( a friend wanted to use the lower elsewhere…no idea why…) and put ir in the case with my LE901 which came with the adapter kit. If you needed to pack up quickly….I would take this pair. An excellent rifle.

    • I gotta disagree with you here.
      Plenty of scopes were durable before the ACOG came out.
      Simple fact of the matter is that back then, and still today too many people only tried the cheapest option, and then though all choices would give the same results.
      And the 720 failed not because it was expensive, but because it was bad. It was a huge massive weight that was awkward on any firearm. It was complicated and impractical to use. While it was “new”, it was far from “improved”. The scout light that came before it, and is still popular after it, was the better choice.
      The old adage you quote might have been right in grandaddy’s time, but it doesn’t work that way any more. Now we only get to pick one.

    • Sadly it looks like the photos about this were on photobucket and are no longer available. The 6940 barrel extension has the pin on the bottom and the barrel nut has a male thread to thread into the upper. IIRC there may have been a taper involved between the barrel extension and the nut, but I’m not sure at the moment.

  2. I always thought of the 6940 as Colt’s offering at a “Product Improved M4” the Army seemed to want at the time. Free floated, monolithic, less overall parts and wow! Swap out uppers on your already-in-service M4s and you’re off to the races. My opinion was even more solidified when their piston version was announced as the piston craze was in full swing. If there’s any truth to that or not I’ve never bothered to research it but if there’s not at least some smoke to it I’d be surprised.

    I’ve no real use for it (like pretty much anything I own but how many people have a bona fide piece of the Gemini III spacecraft? Lol!) though I’ve thought about picking up a 6945 upper. I’ve never held one but it’d seem to me the handguard is bulky. Colt Canada has them in MLok that I think would be nice. Not necessarily from the MLok bandwagon but just a slimmer fore end. If I see one around at a decent price you might’ve talked me into it.


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