Colt 6940 Piston Carbine Test & Review Part 1

The  idea that the piston operated AR15/M4  would be an improvement that fixes all of the perceived short comings of the weapon has been something that has gained ground in certain corners since the dubious “dust tests” and H&K marketing from a bit over 10 years ago now. Miss-use by users in the GWOT and careful lobbying by certain companies has put the idea that the DI system is sub-par in the minds of some of the lesser educated.   In fact ,if you did not know better you would think the piston operated AR15 did not exist until HK came out with the 416.    Truth is Colt had already developed a piston operated AR15 since the 60s and had been playing around with it ever since. If you look close at the front sight, you will see some details that pop up a lot later.

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Later Colt, in 2005-2006 colt started showing pictures of another piston gun they called the LE1020. It was a monolithic railed upper very close to the current 6940 uppers. It lacked the QD sockets,and some other small refinements but it was clear the idea was being refined. All this before others had started with their piston campaign.  Yes, colt had been making and refining piston AR15s for a long time. Getting it the way they wanted it before deciding to offer it.  We did not see the LE1020 hit the market back then because it was found the market and the Military was not that interested in a piston gun.  It took ignorant gun writers and HK marketing to convince a lot of people that they could not like without a piston operated M4.  Never mind some of those early piston ARs chewed up receiver extensions, suffered from carrier tilt, weighed a ton and were not very easy to modify.

If you are new to AR15s you may have missed the bright spike that was the peak of people wanting piston guns because so many believed a little dust caused a M4 to malfunction and History channel documentaries that were more or less HK 416 advertisements.  That has craze has evened out now a days and while some SOF use piston M4s, the rest of the army found out the M4 with its DI worked just fine witht some oil and not trying to use the M4 as a SAW.  But in that time, companies had some time to tweak the piston guns to get them to work right.  Among those was Colt, who refined their piston model from all those years ago before any one else had even thought about making a piston AR15.

With that, we come to the present day. A few weeks ago, Colt once again was nice enough to send me a shiny new Colt 6940Piston for my grubby little hands to test and abuse for other peoples amusement. We will take a look at it in this first part of a longer review and test. just to get to know it a little. stick our nose in its nooks and crannies and put on the old rubber glove and tell it to bend over so we can get to know it a little deeper….

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The Colt 6940P ( Piston) is essentially a regular 6940 from the outside. The lower is standard Colt milspec minus the full auto FCG of course. The buffer that comes with the P is the H2. This is standard issue with the gun as it comes with the the heavy SOCOM profile barrel we talk about in a moment.  The SOCOM profile M4A1 barrel is always combined with the H2 buffer in Colt models. Piston guns with standard A2 flash hiders will have a bit more felt recoil than DI guns, and the H2 buffer can smooth that out, Though to be clear that it not why it is in the gun.  As I said, with colt, the H2 buffer always is paired with the SOCOM barrel, but it is a nice side effect.

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Looking at the picture of the buffer you will note there is no shaved metal from carrier tilt or eaten up lowers which was common on some other companies piston conversions.

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As mentioned, the barrel is the SOCOM profile, which was  made for the use on M4A1 full auto carbines.  The cut flats a few inches from the front sight are for the M203 to mount around. The barrel is free floated in the monolithic upper. The free float 6040 uppers will give you every bit of accuracy the barrel is capable of. I have never seen a Colt monolithic upper that has given mediocre accuracy when using good ammo, but the piston parts may make a difference. We will see in part 2 with accuracy testing.

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The upper rail is standard 6940 and the lower rail removes the exact same way.  You can see just like the DI guns, this one has the QD sling points. The piston parts are hidden under the FF rail.

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The piston comes out very slick  and is retained neatly with a push pin much like those used for the lower. You simply push it to the side and slide the piston out.No muss no fuss.

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The piston is Colt’s design with the articulating link. Not much to say about it since its a piston. Very robust.

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Since we have a piston, we don’t need a gas carrier key.  The early Colt P guns had a bolt on part, just like the gas key, this was changed to the current model. It is machined out solid on the carrier . No bolts or staking to worry over. Not that you ever really had to worry about a colt stake job in the first place.   The Bolt carrier group fields strips for cleaning just like the standard non-piston   BCG

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The rear of the carrier has rails machined on it to make sure you get no carrier tilt. No tilt means your lower will not get chewed up like some of the early HK416 and conversion kits rushed out on the market.  The truth is, the AR16 was not meant to be a piston gun, so careful changes had to be made for it to work out in the long term. With the rails to the rear of the carrier and a steel block added to the upper receiver, tilt is a non issue on the 6940P.  In the picture below,  you can see the part added to the upper.  Buyers of even DI guns will notice this on newer 6940 DI guns and the 901 as there are plans to make piston 901 eventually and it simplifies production to make them all the same.

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Above is the upper with lower rail hand guard removed with piston and bolt carrier.

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From the outside, it looks like the regular 6940 until the educated eye looks at the front sight. The gun handles and balances no different, thought the SOCOM barrel adds a little more weight.  To get ready for long term hard shooting, accuracy testing and full auto torture tests, I have added my favorite TD grip and Colt factory ambi safeties.  For drills and general use it now has a CompM4 a B5 stock and a Knights  600 meter BUIS.  Part 2 of the review will be the accuracy testing for group, long range to the weapons extreme limit and more.  Full auto fire may be in part 2, or it may be moved to a part 3 for torture test and taking a look at cleaning the piston gun. Less fouling is often touted as one of  a piston gun’s biggest advantages so it is possible I do a part devoted to that.

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Don't Purchase Bates Footwear

Pictured are single examples from two pairs of Bates footwear I have.  A Leather Durashock Oxford on the left and a 5″ Tactical Sport Boot on the right.

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As you can see both have had serious issues with their soles.  The soles on both of the Oxfords have begun to disintegrate and crack, leaving chunks behind if walked in.  On the other hand, while the Sport Boot sole is intact, it decided to completely separate itself from the rest of the boot.  The sole on its left foot twin is still, barely, holding on, but has some serious gaping and is not likely to stay on much longer.

While it would be one thing if both pairs of footwear had miles and miles of wear on them, that is not the case.  The Oxfords have been worn only sparingly, probably less than 25 times since I’ve owned them, and strictly to formal occasions.  Now the Sport Boots have seen more outdoor use, but as you can see by the lack of treadwear on the now independent sole and the lack of wear on the boot leather, they’ve not seen that much use.  Certainly not enough time to justify the sole falling completely off.

In short, I do not recommend Bates footwear.

We here at Loose Rounds have had good luck with Merrell, Danner, and Salomon brand footwear.  I would go that direction for your boot/shoe needs.

-An addendum from Howard:

I’ve owned many Bates shoes and boots.  Bates were what I was issued in the USMC and the soles would quickly wear out and stitching would come undone.  Prior to going to Iraq I bought a pair of Bates Lites to use for Iraq, they came unstitched and were unusable after two weeks.  Bates boots are the most comfortable boots I have ever used, but they don’t hold up at all.

How To Record Your Bullets In Flight

Recording projectiles flying to the target is a very simple process, and it produces some neat results that you can take home with you on film after your done at the range.

A up to date camera is a must. I used to film with a standard definition camera, and when you zoomed in the mirage made everything turn to pot. With the HD camera, mirage still occurs, but you can still see whats going on down range better than with an old camera.

The camera I used is a Panasonic HC-V270 with 90x optical / digital zoom. This is a budget camera that runs a 1080p picture in 60 FPS. Nothing special and by no means a pricey piece of equipment.

Place the camera next to your position and zoom in on the target. Ensure that you are recording more of the space above the target than below since our bullet will arch to the target.

For even better results, shoot with the sun behind you and you might capture an image of the bullet itself as it fly’s downrange. In this case, I was fortunate to capture a 75 gr Hornady fly to a 600 yard gong.

I hope you can record some very cool shots. Anyone have a 45/70?

Happy Bullet Trails!

I like big guns and I cannot lie…

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 By  Cat Lindsay

I like big guns and I cannot lie…

 

This could be the song of my ladies!

At the last Ladies Introduction to Shooting class, while I only had one student, it was one of my best classes ever!

C, a 5’/100lb. 30-something spa owner, came to my class because her business has had 5 break-ins or attempted break-ins over the past 2 years. She no longer feels safe. While she does buzz her clients in and out, she fears someone barging in past one her customers. She was ready to learn the basics of handguns.

Though she had shot a gun once, in her youth, she came to me on Saturday as a clean slate. I actually prefer newbies, because there are no bad habits to break.

When we first started out, we used the replica training guns, as usual.  But, she soon wanted to touch & feel the real thing. For demo purposes, I always use my .45 Ruger SR1911, my 9mm S & W M & P Shield, my Taurus 608 .357 magnum, and one of MAGS rental guns, usually a large-frame 9mm Glock. This gives my students a wide variety of guns to feel.

With small hands, the double-stack Glock was too big.  She liked the feel of the Shield, but liked the weight of the Ruger & Taurus, because they “feel like real guns”.

After the classroom time (safety, how the guns & ammo work, loading magazines, clearing malfunctions, grip, stance, sights), we headed to the range.

The first gun she fired was the Taurus, shooting .38’s.  She liked the weight and being able to control such power. The Shield fit her hand better, but she didn’t like the recoil. She really liked the Ruger, the weight and all the safeties. She fired Will’s (MAGS employee) Gen 4 Glock 19, but had malfunctions. I showed her the difference between locking out and REALLY locking out, and she had better results. The last gun she fired was a Ruger SR .22 (I know we should have started with this gun, but it was a rental and we had to wait). She did not care for the optics.

So at the conclusion of the class, I asked her what her favorite gun was and she said the Taurus revolver and the Ruger 1911 because they felt like real guns. I told her that bigger, heavier guns were great for home/business defense.

BTW, she will be taking the CCW class in later this month!