Colt Releases Revised AR-15 ‘Carbine’ Line of Firearms

Around August of 2019, the internet came alive with second-hand word that Colt wasn’t going to sell their LE-series of AR-15’s to civilian consumers anymore. Many on the internet immediately jumped to the conclusion (incorrectly) that Colt had caved to anti-gun bureaucrats and cut off the civilian market. The reality was that Colt had excess inventory and were back-logged with military and law enforcement orders which was completely consuming their manufacturing capacity. Many believed that Colt was done. Many of us understood that Colt was simply balancing market realities and priorities and that once existing inventories got low and military/le contracts got caught up, Colt would begin production again.

On June 29, 2020 www.guns.com published a short article stating that Colt had announced it was going to start shipping commercial rifles again. You can see the story here: https://www.guns.com/news/2020/06/29/colt-now-shipping-ar-15s-to-consumers-again

After reading the guns.com article, I began watching the retail market and firearms sales sites like Gun Broker looking for the new rifles coming into the market. On October 3rd, 2020 on Gun Broker I saw the first listing for the new Colt AR-15’s. I was surprised to see that during the temporary hiatus from the market, Colt had revamped its AR-15 lower receiver design and manufacturing strategy.

The ‘Carbine’ Lower Appears

In an effort to streamline production and reduce production costs, Colt standardized the lower receiver markings to simply say ‘Carbine Cal. 5.56mm’. Above the text is the renowned ‘Rampant Pony’ that we know and love.

Photograph of the new ‘Carbine’ lower receiver

Many committed Colt AR-15 fans did not receive this lower receiver design change very well. After two to three months in the market, the reduction of ‘character’ in the lower receiver markings continues to draw criticism. Over the years we have become used to seeing rifle specific lower receiver nomenclatures like AR-15A2 Sporter II, AR-15A4, AR-15A4 Lightweight LE Carbine, M4 Carbine and M4A1 Carbine to name a few.

The roll mark on the Colt AR6720 Carbine

To put firearm specific nomenclatures on the lower receivers, Colt had to invest in roll dies for each different nomenclature, had to stop production cycles to change roll dies and replace the roll dies as they wear out. The cost estimates that I have seen for each Colt roll mark die was $90,000 to $130,000. What the cost really is, I do not know. Also during this time, we saw the full implementation of laser engraving on the rifles to replace the roll die process. Using one lower receiver nomenclature design enables Colt to use all of their lower receivers across their entire carbine product portfolio.

I completely understand and support Colt’s decision to eliminate the roll die process and the streamlining of their lower receiver production. The current AR-15, or Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) market is exceptionally cost competitive. Colt rifles have historically been on the higher side of the civilian market price range. Streamlining lower receiver production and switching from roll dies to laser engraving helps Colt reduce their production cost per rifle and price their products more competitively. My hope with the switch to laser engraving is that perhaps one day we will see more new engraving designs since all it takes is the change of some programming code instead of investment in and maintenance of new roll dies.

As of this writing, I have seen three different ‘Carbine’ lower receiver rifle variations enter the market. The rifles have had the product number changed from the ‘LE’ product prefix to a ‘CR’ prefix. The first carbine that I saw appear, on October 3rd, was the CR6920 carbine.

CR6920 Box Label

The next revised carbine that I saw appear on the market, about ten days ago, was the CR6940.

CR6940 Box Label

And lastly, the CR6920MPS-B (CR6920 MagPul Stock- Black) has been seen for sale for about a week now.

CR6920MPS-B Box Label

Dealers have been posting this information on their websites and auction posts which I assume is verbage provided by Colt or the distributors:

“For 2020, Colt has consolidated all Commercial & LE Rifle rollmarks under one common model naming nomenclature,”Colt Carbine”. This change allows for consistency in manufacturing across current and future rifle builds. Features on this model are identical to the prior LE6920 platform, with the exception of the changed rollmark”.

Prices for these three rifles are all over the place. Some dealers are simply charging suggested retail. Some dealers are charging significantly higher. As an example, I have seen CR6920’s as low as $999.00. The average has been $1199.00 to $1299.00. Some dealers are charging as high as $1999.00 for a simple CR6920 although I doubt anybody is paying that much. Personally, I am excited to see the revision of the AR-15 product line even if it isn’t exactly what we want because this shows us that we at least have some additional production and products to look forward to.

I’m not going to go into any additional details about each carbine in this article. I will discuss details of each more later. I have a CR6920 that is ready for me to pick up at my local FFL so I will write more on it in the coming weeks.

Need a coat hanger?

https://www.portablewallhanger.com/

Over on portablewallhanger.com, link left cold on purpose, has some interesting coat hangers for sale.

Lesser websites like Wired, report the horrifying news that these “coat hangers” are actually terrorist machine gun parts.

https://www.wired.com/story/boogaloo-boys-3d-printed-machine-gun-parts/

Turns out, these coat hangers are actually 3d printed drop in auto sears. Made by “boogaloo boys” terrorist groups.

Alright, I’m done writing, laughing too hard.

I wouldn’t recommend ordering one, as the site might be a .gov honeypot.

SOG RT Nebraska’s Odd Carbines

These two photos were shared in the SOG vet facebook group and it is pretty interesting. One, because its not a picture out floating around. Two because of their carbines. The carbines are mostly CAR-15 uppers on M16 lowers, or XM177s with fized M16 buttstocks swapped in place of the telescoping stock. I don’t know and there is no way to know unless a SOG armorer who did it or knew about it decides to get on the interweb and start talking about it. Which is highly unlikely.

There are other examples of this and I have read of at least once account of an M16A1 being chopped up to have a shorter barrel and not an actual XM177. Like many things with SOG, it will probably remain a mystery unless some SOG vet speaks up about how these came about and why.

I can only guess since the Indigenous team members preferred the shorter adjustable collapsing stock. Maybe the team One-Zero liked the storage in the buttstock for extra medical supplies, or the indig team members were superstitious and had to have a jade Buddha in the butt stock. It honestly could be something as simple as that.

Review: Tango Down PR-16A4 Sling Mount

BLUF: Pricy, but it works. An excellent solution to a problem few people care about.

The Tango Down PR16-A4 is a QD sling mount that clamps to the A2 buttstock.

I’ve wanted one of these since the first time I saw one. Might have been over a decade now. It looks like these have been discontinued, so I bought one from a dealer that still had one in stock.

The packaging was very dusty. Must have been sitting on the warehouse shelf for a long time. I think I might have only seen 1 or 2 photos of this on someone’s rifle. I don’t recall if I have ever seen a picture of it in use.

It cost me about $70 shipped. That really feels over priced for what it is. It is two stamped metal sheets, four bolts, 4 riveted in nuts, and a quality QD socket (not pictured).

Installation should be simple, but it is awkward to hold it in place when you get the first couple of bolts in.

It sits near the receiver and gives you a QD socket on each side of the gun.

Having the bolts come up from the bottom makes it much harder to install than if it came in from the top. But that also makes them less likely to catch on anything.

The M16A2 and M16A4 come from a time before we commonly used all manor of modern adjustable quick detach slings. They comes with the standard rifle sling loops on the bottom of the stock and the gas block. Those original sling mounts work great for high power, gravel belly type shooting, they are terrible for modern dynamic combatives.

Usually the solution used for a rifle like the A2 or A4 is the 3-point sling. While they are excellent for carrying the rifle during administrative actions. The strap across the gun can interfere with rapid manipulation of the bolt catch. The design of 3-point slings tend to interfere or make it slow or hard to switch shooting shoulders.

Using a 2-point sling that has the first point attached near the rear of the receiver, and the second rapidly moveable from the handguard to the rear of the receiver (or the sling it self) makes for a sling that works great for administrative carry and can be switched to allow for maximum movement and mobility of the gun.

The Magpul MS4 QDM sling is a good example of such a sling.

I feel that this sling mount, combined with a QD socket forward on the handguard, and a sling like the Magpul MS4 QDM is the best sling option for a rifle like the A2 or A4 that will see constant carrying and rapid movement in fighting. I would have loved to have one of these back when I was in Iraq.

The big downside is that this thing is $70ish. And we are pretty much all moving away from rifles. When I took my Colt AR15A4 out to the range yesterday I saw in the log book that I hadn’t shot it in 14 months to the day.

Not a lot of people are choosing on their own to take the full sized rifle into the fight now. And those that are, are not likely to be trying to buy any little widget to make their live easier.

So this great little widget is not well known, over looked, and just never sold well enough for someone to decide to make a cheaper knockoff.

Oh well, some of these are still out there for the five of us who want one.