5.56 Timeline

Soviet Use Of M16 During Afghanistan War

Over the weekend one of the boys on the Colt AR15 Resource FB page shares some pictures of Soviet military personnel using M16 and M16A1s during the war in Afghanistan. Captions made best guesses on units. Mainly paratrooper and special forces troopers. The guns seen using M60 machine straps as slings oddly enough.

that’s right Kommrade, the M16 is better than the AK

I don’t really know any context about these. There could be many reasons for seeing Russians using them during the war. Interesting none the less.

Colt SCW Stock Set

 Guest Post by Brent Sauer

          This article is intended to be about the very unique Colt Sub-Compact Weapon (SCW) stock set. However, we can’t talk about the SCW stock set without briefly talking about the background story of the SCW weapon itself.   

          Around 2005, the idea for the Colt Sub-Compact Weapon (SCW) was born when the law enforcement community asked for a weapon that was compact enough to fit in a motorcycle officers cargo saddlebag. Although the weapon was initially designed for motorcycle mounted officers, it quickly became apparent that the SCW would be a versatile weapon for use by security or military personnel in vehicles and in Close-Quarter Battle (CQB) roles also.

          After the design and testing cycle was completed, the SCW made its first public appearance at the 2008 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) show. This appearance got the weapon system noticed by some potential foreign customers. Israel adopted the SCW for their special forces and adoption by Mexico soon followed.

          The SCW was designed as a 5.56mm weapon and had a 10.3” barrel. The requirement was for the new weapon to give a responding officer rapidly deployable firepower greater than the service pistol that was carried. Initially fielded as a select fire weapon, it was also sold in semi-automatic only variants. What really made the design of the SCW stand out was its unique stock that folded in two places and could be extended/collapsed. The receiver extension design along with the unique bolt carrier/buffer assembly enabled the weapon to be fired with the stock folded or extended.

          The SCW stock kit consists of the following components:

1. Shortened Full-Auto Bolt Carrier Assembly

2. Receiver Extension

3. Buffer Spring

4. Receiver Extension Nut

5. End Plate

6. Collapsible/Folding Stock Assembly

7. Buffer (tungsten and steel construction just like other buffers)

          The stock body is hinged at the back of the receiver extension and folds 180 degrees to the left side of the weapon. When folded, the stock is parallel to the receiver. There is a detent that locks the stock in the folded position. In addition to the stock body folding, the butt of the stock folds under, and up at 90 degrees bringing the butt of the stock parallel with the stock comb.

          Another standout feature of the SCW stock kit is the unique buffer design. It is about a half of the length of a traditional carbine ‘H’ buffer. However, it has the same weight of an ‘H’ buffer at 3.6 ounces. The buffer actually ‘keys’ into the back of the bolt carrier about a quarter of an inch instead of the bolt carrier impacting the face of the buffer. During the firing cycle, the bolt carrier and the buffer move as a unit. This operating design eliminates the use of a buffer retainer in the SCW carbine.

          The complexity of the Colt SCW stock ended up being its undoing. In hard use the stocks were somewhat fragile. There were a lot of small parts used in production in addition to the molded plastic stock parts. Assembly of the SCW stock in the factory took a long time and was so complicated that Colt struggled to have an efficient assembly process for the stocks which hurt production forecasting and scheduling.

          In 2016/2017 Colt stopped using their proprietary SCW stock and changed to the Maxim Defense CQB stock for their SCW weapon. In an effort to clear out leftover inventory in the factory, Colt sold 11 remaining stock kits to Arms Unlimited. On 10 July 2017 Arms Unlimited made the stock kits available on their website for $800.00. After a couple of stock kits were not paid for by customers, the price went up to $1200.00 and those remaining stock kits were relisted on the website and quickly sold. Here is a look at the final site listing: https://www.armsunlimited.com/Colt-SCW-AR15-M4-Folding-Stock-Assembly-Kit-p/scw0921ck.htm

          Needless to say, these stocks are a rarity on the collector’s market. I know where four of them are, with my stock that is shown being one of them. I paid $1200 for my stock (with a broken folding lock detent) and was just glad to have the opportunity to get it. I have only seen one SCW carbine for sale and it is sitting on Gunbroker right now for $9995.00. It is supposedly one of only five SCW carbines that entered into the civilian market.

          Although many critics of Colt in the firearms community accuse Colt of not being innovative, you don’t have to look very hard to find innovative work that Colt has done. The SCW carbine, and the SCW stock set, is just one example.

Colt SCW with Maxim Defense CQB Stock

The AR15 magazine, maybe not so bad?

It wasn’t that long ago the Magpul Masada and FN SCAR were just prototypes being talked about in gun magazines you would purchase at the store. On the online gun discussion boards, excited people talked about these designs, but you would hear detractors point out that they shouldn’t have used AR15 mags. As AR15 magazines are the “weak point” of the system. That the H&K XM8 was such a smarter design as it had it’s own, better, magazine design.

I was talking to Shawn about this on the phone. He pointed out how it was a subtle change from people disliking the unreliable AR15 magazine, to wanting all new 5.56 rifles to use it.

It has been an odd change of mind set. It wasn’t that long ago that the AR15 was considered just inaccurate and unreliable. Plenty of outspoken people online would parrot that you needed to clean the gun every 100-200 rounds or it would jam up. This was considered common knowledge.

I think we have come a little way since then.

There are a few factors to credit for the old wives tales and horror stories, as well as many to credit for getting us out of that mentality. During the dark days of the Assault Weapons Ban, people were spending top dollar for old worn out mags. I know while I was in the Marines I was issued mags that may well have been older than me. Tons of old mags, that long should been disposed off, certainly didn’t help the situation. We had plenty of people, repeating stories that had been repeated over and over before, of how terrible the M16 was in Vietnam. Much like the telephone game, these repeated and changed comments sometimes become comically ridiculous. But suddenly we had combat vets, coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have used their weapons and could report that they are performing well. The AWB sunset and we had new magazines to buy. Companies like Magpul, and all these defense contractors producing high volumes made quality magazines cheap and plentiful. I remember people saying things along the lines of “now that we have the Pmag, we finally have a good mag for the AR15.”

We even see people now replacing Magpul Pmags with the USGI aluminum mags. The argument being that the USGI mags handle aging better.

Now it seems that it is expected any new 5.56 rifle will use the good old STANAG comparable mag. Maybe the design isn’t so bad.

Dara AK-15s

Today I have something special to show you. Just look at this artwork above. This kind of quality hasn’t been seen since the days of the pre-war custom gunmakers. No, it’s not Colt’s new rifle. Gotcha! Nope. Would you believe this is the handiwork of Pakistani cave dwellers? I know, it’s hard to believe.

The town of Darra Adam Khel in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has been involved in the craft production of firearms for over a century. The craft production that takes place in Darra provides an important source of small arms and light weapons for many regional actors. Continued monitoring of open and closed source media in the region has yielded many interesting data. One such observation is the increasing popularity of AKM-pattern self-loading rifles which imitate the appearance—and some of the features—of the 5.56 × 45 mm AR-15 self-loading rifle. These Darra ‘AKM-15’ rifles are explored below.” 


The manufacturer(s) of these rifles have gone to great lengths in order to imitate the appearance and some of the modularity of the AR-15 self-loading rifle. Generally the modifications to these rifles include an mid-length polymer handguard, a ‘Picatinny’ type rail affixed to the top of the dust cover in imitation of a ‘flat-top’ design, an A2-type front sight base, A2 ‘birdcage’ type flash hider and other muzzle devices, and sometimes AR-15-style collapsible stocks mounted on buffer tubes.”

The cosmetic influence of the AR-15 is best seen in the front section of the rifles. The handguards are most often of the standard M4-type polymer design with an aluminum heat shield. Less common are those quad-rails. Both are likely of Chinese origin. In the examples found, all handguards are mounted using a delta-ring system. There are no known instances of ‘free-float’ handguards on the Darra rifles.

The Paki-Bubba AR/AK abortion doesn’t stop ant copying Colt. there are some Spike’s “lowers” as well. You can read about them at the link below in great detail. As Hognose would say, “Do read the whole thing.”

Darra AKM Rifles with AR-15 Features