|See, even an old Dawg can learn a few new tricks.....|
Let's talk about the "Original". The "Essential Carbine" if you will. You know, the AR-15 the Most Interesting Man in the World would shoot. The Colt M4 (or LE6920 to the civilian world) is and always will be the original M4/AR-15 rifle. As of now, it continues to be the standard issue battle rifle issued to the majority of our military, minus the special forces groups who choose different weapons for specific reasons. Since Eugene Stoner designed the AR platform 60 years ago, the basic design has held true with a few notable improvements. The compact M4 is truly the most successful improvement made as of yet and it's utility and design has weathered many theaters of war for the US.
More after the jump....
First and foremost, Colt produces the 6920 while adhering to stringent quality control standards. Since they are the major supplier of M4 rifles to the American Armed Forces, the government has a set of standards that must be met by all rifles which are issued to troops. This set of standard is known as the "Technical Data Package" and for many years was only known to the Government and Colt. Any other producers of AR15 rifles who claimed to make "Mil-Spec" rifles were just blowing gas up consumers hind parts, as they had no access to the list of standards (TDP) and could only guess as to what Colt was doing. With the boom of the tactical rifle market in the past 10 years after the assault weapons ban waned, many many companies have reverse-engineered the TDP and can now lay claim to producing "mil-spec" rifles, as they may share all the same qualities as a Colt 6920. But when it comes down to it, only Colt and FN Herstal actually have access to the true TDP. That all may change, though, depending on what happens with the Army Individual Carbine Competition.
What exactly is in the Techinical Data Package? Here is what the Government requires in it's service rifles (m4):
- Bolt Carrier Group: Carpenter-158 steel, Shot-peened, individually high-pressure tested and magnetic particle inspected (HPT/MPI), black extractor spring insert, properly staked gas key, and Full Auto profile (heavy)
- Barrel: MIL-B011595E spec steel, individually HPT/MPI, chrome lined chamber and bore, 5.56 chamber, 1:7 rifling twist, m4 feedramp cuts, F-marked Front Sight Post, barrel parkerized under FSP, taper pins in the FSP, double heat shields under handguards
- Lower receiver: 7075-T6 Aluminum, "mil-spec" diameter receiver extension tube (1.14"), castle nut properly staked, H-buffer, 0.154" diameter fire control group pins
There are very, very few manufacturers of AR-15 rifles who adhere to all these requirements. Some in fact, may actually be able to improve upon the original design, such as the case with some of the gas-piston designs made by LWRC and the like. The gas piston design does not fall under the TDP, therefore for legalism sake you can't actually call those rifles "mil-spec", but they do in fact work very well. The same can be said for rifles with non-carbine gas lengths like mid-lengths.
The Colt LE6920 continues to be the standard to which all AR's are measured. The Original. The Ultimate in Reliability, Durability, and Performance. With the booming AR-15 market, it's now possible to get your LE6920 off the shelf with swank Magpul accessories and other upgrades. Strongside Tactical has become one of the web's leading Colt suppliers and has several varieties of Colt LE6920 AR-15 rifles available for immediate shipping. Don't see what you want? Request it! Take a look at one today, and I can assure you that the Colt LE6920 should be a part of everyone's rifle collection.
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Be Safe and See You Next Time.