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.
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.
A couple weeks ago I did the “10 years of the Colt 6940” post and then a few days after realized I had left out some pretty neat stuff from the history of the Colt monolithic uppers. Over the last 10 years there was some other monolithic upper rifles and carbines from colt in some variants that we never saw displayed at any of the shows
This rifle length barrel and monolithic rail was very interesting. It came about right around the time the USMC was making noise about putting collapsible carbine type stocks on the M16A4. Supposedly making it the “A5” Never happened and neither did this variant. I would very much like to have had this gun but with a match barrel on it for a sort of 694X SPR precision rifle.
This is sort of a compromise of a M4 with a RAS but with the 6940 type folding front site and a piston gas system. Meh.
Above is a piston version of he Colt SCW. We did later see this side folding and collapsing stock trickle out via ebay and gunbroker etc. But so far nothing has been offered for sell as a standard or special order option. Later photos of more refined versions showed a DI gas system and a full monolithic 6940 upper. The side fold stock is pretty nifty but required a much modified bolt carrier group.
The most successful of the 694x series variants for military markets is the Colt IAR. Made up as Colt’s option for the USMC IAR rifle the Colt IAR is made up with a heat sink in the lower removable handguard and barrel more suited to full auto fire. A decent amount of uppers were sold on the civilian market,Howard has one, and some other countries use the full auto military version as IARs and even a sniper support weapon in the case of Mexico. You can see a video of friend of the website Alex, shooting his Colt IAR upper on a full auto lower below-
Some time back Colt did a limited run of FDE anodized LE6920 and LE6940 models. I’ve heard there was something like 300 of these tan 6940s made, and 1500 of the 6920s.
Shawn was a pretty early adopter of the monolithic upper model of the 6940. He wrote a nice write about the 6940 back in 2012. You can see it here. When the FDE 6940 came out, he picked one up and switched to it.
I always thought how he has his rifle set up is pretty practical. So years later when I picked up a LE6945, a shorter barreled 6940, I set it up similarly.
Every so often I would see one of those limited run FDE 6940s come up for sale. Often $3000+. Insane.
Then I saw one for sale just a little over what I thought was reasonable, so I snatched it up.
This rifles comes out of the box ready for use, it even included a nice accessory kit I teased about here.
The kit comes with 2 mags, sling, cleaning kit, ladder covers, manual, a vertical forward grip, and a QD sling swivel.
Now I could write about this rifles performance, reliability, etc. But being it is a Colt, I think you what is going to be said. Now sometime down the road I plan to do some accuracy testing, but that hasn’t happened yet.
The 6940 has two heat shields in the hand guards. One above the gas tube and one at the bottom to help protect the shooters hand from heat when rapid firing.
The 6940 model is a great gun, but I think it has a similar problem the FN SCAR has. It is a product of an older time. Now people want longer slick hand-guards, greater molecularity, etc. It is great at what it is, but you are limited to what you can change on it.
So what did I change on mine?
The Magpul MOE stock and grip on the rifle are fine, but I replaced them with the CTR (with extended pad) and A2 grip as I prefer. I removed the Magpul winter trigger guard and replaced it with a standard trigger guard (why?). A Tango Down stubby VFG was added to the hand guard. This rifle will normally wear an Aimpoint T-1 with a 300m zero. A KAC Ambi-Safety & Norgon Ambi-Catch aid in making the rifle more ambidextrous.
Eventually I’d like to swap out the Magpul rear sight for a KAC 2-600m sight. I’m also going to add a Surefire Warcomp so I can mount my silencer. I’d like to add Surefire Scout Light, once I can find another one cheap. Other than that, it is as it will be. I just need to shoot it more.