5.56 Timeline

Some M16 Magazine History

Now here is something we all wish we would find at a yard sale. A complete box of never issued twenty round Colt M16 magazines. Never used. Made in 1970.

The cotton bandoleer came with 7 pockets of two stripper clips of 10 rounds each. The box comes with 7 mags. The bandoleer will hold the loaded mags. Who knew there was a time when the government got something right that made sense?

one of my VN era bandoleers with era made 20 rounders to demonstrate

IWI US Made AR15


Middletown, PA. (January 20, 2020)- IWI US, a subsidiary of Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Ltd, has just released the first IWI US rifle manufactured and assembled entirely in the United States.

IWI US is pleased to introduce their first M4 variant rifle, the ZION 15. The ZION 15 is a 16in Tactical Rifle that includes a 15in Free Float MLOK Handguard, a B5 Systems Stock, and Grip, and includes one (1) 30 round Magpul PMAG. The ZION 15 is what America loves in a rifle, with the IWI signature quality control and attention to detail. Built to a stringent military specification set forth by the US and IDF forces for operation, the ZION 15 will meet the expectation of today’s marketplace worldwide.

The IWI US ZION 15 was developed as the flagship model to ensure that production of IWI products will continue in the USA, even if the shipment of foreign-produced firearms becomes restricted. The creation and production of the ZION 15 is in no way an attempt to divert business from Israel, but an attempt to stay true to the IWI roots and continue to support Israel despite the impending threat of restrictions.

“This is a great step forward for IWI US and our supporters. IWI/SK Group has invested a significant amount of time and money into this process in order to have a long-standing business venture in the United States and to continue to serve the American public with high-quality firearms well into the future. The ZION 15 and the manufacturing equipment it brings, fully establishes IWI US roots here in the United States.” Jeremy Gresham, Director of Sales and Marketing of IWI US stated.

The ZION 15 has an MSRP of $899.99. Additional information can be found at the IWI US website, here iwi.us/product/ZION-15. It should be free for every US tax payer who wants one.

Colt ‘CS’ Stock

Guest Post by Brent Sauer of www.TheColtAR15Resource.com

Colt ‘CS’ Stock

          Anyone who collects Colt AR-15’s knows that there are many part variations across Colts AR production history. As a newer collector (I began collecting in 2017) I come across new (to me) variations on a pretty regular basis. On December 1st, 2019 I came across a Colt rifle stock with a ‘CS’ marking on it. I had not seen this stock variation before nor had I seen any online discussions about the Colt CS stock. Curiosity leads me down rabbit holes and away I went.

          My search for information on the Colt CS stock began with a Google search. The search results were limited to mostly archived posts on AR15.com. Simultaneous with the Google searching, I had made a post on AR15.com in the Colt ‘Industry’ section looking for information as well. The Colt ‘Industry’ section has several knowledgeable collectors that visit there. I additionally found some bits of information from other places like snipershide.com and M4carbine.net. So, the information that I am presenting here is a combination of data gathered across the internet and some data that originates from me.

History and origination of the Colt CS stock

The history of the Colt CS stock goes back to World War II and originates with the Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk I rifle as used by the Canadian military. The rifles were produced with different lengths of stocks available in Bantam (B), Short (S), Normal (N) and Long (L) lengths. The use of different stock lengths continued when the Canadian military converted to the C1A1 (FN/FAL) rifle beginning around 1955. The C1A1 was available with Short (S), Normal (N), Long (L) and Extra-Long (XL) stock lengths.

          The Canadian military had a simultaneous rifle development program going on during the same time that the United States was developing the M16A2 rifle. These programs were so closely aligned that the Canadian military had a Canadian Forces liaison officer working with the United States Marine Corps in the program that was officially known as the M16A1 Product Improvement Program. The Canadian liaison officer would call back USMC test results to Canada and they implemented lessons learned into their rifle development program. Born out of the liaison with the USMC was the Colt Canada C7 rifle which was adopted by Canada about 1984. This rifle later evolved into the C7A1.

          The Colt CS stocks discussed in this article were used on the Colt Canada C7/C7A1 rifles. Design specifications in the C7 program continued the Canadian military tradition of having multiple lengths of rifle stocks available for Canadian military personnel. The stock lengths used on the Colt C7/C7A1 rifles were Short (CS) and Normal (A2 length). There was an additional .5-inch (13mm) spacer available to increase stock length if needed.

          The C with a ‘nestled’ S, as seen on the stock below, is an abbreviation from the French / English combination of Court / Short. Court is the French word for the English word short.

Fixed stocks were gradually phased out of Canadian service around 2004 as the Colt Canada C7A2 with collapsible carbine stock came into service.

History of the Colt CS stock in the United States

          I was not able to identify exactly what year that the Colt CS stock became available in the United States. Information found on the internet indicated that the stocks appeared around 1991 on civilian rifles. The Colt CS stock is featured on two Colt rifle variations in the Colt 1992 firearms catalog. The two rifle variations that featured the Colt CS stock are:

          1. Colt Model R6530 Sporter Lightweight (.223 carbine with CS stock)

          2. Colt Model R6430 Sporter Lightweight (9mm carbine with CS stock)

If you look closely at the rifles in the catalog photographs, you can see the ‘CS’ letters on the stock just behind the rear of the lower receiver.

I have not been able to find any solid evidence of the Colt CS stock being factory installed on any other rifles. However, we also know that just because a product appeared in a catalog doesn’t necessarily mean it appeared in the retail market and vise-versa…products could have appeared in the retail market and not the catalog.

          I have seen former CS stock owners discuss selling these stocks for anywhere from $50 to $225 dollars. This CS stock is the first one that I have seen for sale in roughly two years (2018 – 2019) so they seem to be pretty rare. My winning bid on December 1st, 2019 was $193 dollars so I paid about average current market value it seems. Several people have stated that they still have factory rifles with the CS stocks present. Several factory rifle owners have talked about having removed the CS stocks over the years and replacing them with various other commercial stocks. Obviously, that is not a good move from a collector’s perspective.

Technical details of the Colt CS stock

The Colt CS stock is popular for being made from the more durable A2 rifle stock materials but maintaining the A1 rifle stock length. For comparison I have provided the following data using three stocks that I have on-hand:

A1 stock length: 9-7/8 in.          A1 stock weight: 15 ounces

A2 stock length: 10-5/8 in.        A2 stock weight: 14.9 ounces

CS stock length: 10 in.              CS stock weight: 13.3 ounces

The ‘trap door’ on the CS stock storage compartment is a metal assembly. The inner compartment is yellow to facilitate seeing items stored inside.

I hope that you found this article informative. Please feel free to comment and provide any additional information that you may have.

BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle Revisited (Gen2)

Recently I was gifted a new Gen2 Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) Gunfighter Mod 4 medium charging handle, (stocking stuffer). The very first article I wrote for Loose Rounds was on the original BCM Mod 5 small and Mod 4 medium Gunfighter charging handles. see here – (http://looserounds.com/2012/06/09/bcm-gunfighter-charging-handle-guest-writer-duncan-larsen/)

I have been using the BCM Mod 4 charging handles for years and it is my go-to charging handle on all AR type platforms. I have not purchased the newer BCM charging handles since they modified and changed the design about two years ago (to the Gen2 design).

When I first opened the packaging and threw the new BCM Mod 4 into my new AR, I was surprised that the medium latch appeared to be a lot smaller than the older original Mod 4 charging handles. I was immediately thinking I might have to go with the larger Mod 3 charging handle because there might not be the same amount of latch surface I was used to running.

I pulled one of my older BCM Mod 4 charging handles and compared it to the new Gen2 BCM Mod 4. The new charging handle is a lot sleeker/compact and does not protrude out as far sideways or forward with the latch.

After running the new Gen2 BCM Gunfighter in the same manner I have used the older BCMs, I really see no functional/operational difference even though it is slightly smaller. I can still run the Gen2 medium with the flat/palm of my support hand or with my index finger and thumb grip. With a shooting glove it is even easier as you can be extremely aggressive with the charging handle. I would suggest gloves if you are training hard.   

The new serrated cuts in the back of the charging handle latch assist in the index finger and thumb grip, that I primarily use. The additional serrations provide a very positive grip and I can see it working well with a stuck case or having to aggressively charge the handle to clear the weapon or a malfunction that does not require mortaring your AR.  This is still enough latch to kick start the thing if you are unfortunate enough to have to do this.

I do not feel it is necessary to move up to the Mod 3 Large charging handle with the new Gen2 design. With the new lower profile of the updated Gen2 BCM charging handles, I do not feel I am losing anything function wise, but it would appear it is even more snag free on gear.    

Final Thoughts:

Now if you have one of the older BCM Gunfighter charging handles, do you need to switch it out for the new design? No. If you are getting a new AR and want to have the same function and size as the older BCM charging handles, stick with the same size in the Gen2 BCMs. Is the new design an improvement over the older charging handle? I believe it is. The BCM Mod 4 medium charging handle is still the best option for snag free and positive function compared to the other sizes. If you have a G.I. charging handle, upgrading to a BCM of any kind is a must IMO. The Mod 4 medium is the best all around size. I have seen them for under $40.00 dollars at several places. If AMBI charging handles are your thing, BCM has them as well.