For years, it was virtually impossible to find a new Colt-manufactured AR-type rifle on the civilian market. Now, the good news is that a new line of Colts are finally available. It’s not just that they’re Colts that makes it a positive turn of events, but that they’re the most recent generation of this family of rifles. These include a model specifically developed for the U.S. military special forces but configured for civilian ownership. We are pleased to review the Colt LE6920 SOCOM.
The maker’s name “Colt” on a rifle carries a great deal of authority, as well it should. For more than half a century, Colt has been in the forefront of the development and production of the U.S. military’s primary rifle: from the M16 to the M4 carbine, the concept has been refined and tested in the field – both battle and sporting – throughout the years. Of course, as the primary contractor for the U.S. government, their production output had to fulfill official demand before the civilian market could be served. Now that is beginning to change, which means that not only are the Colt rifles coming from Hartfield, Connecticut, more available, but that, in the LE6920 SOCOM model, it represents the most recent development in the M16/AR15 family.
In their nomenclature, Colt uses “SOCOM” in the name to identify it as the model developed for the Special Operations Command (SEALs, Delta Force, 75th Ranger Regiment, USMC Raider Regiment and others), but it differs from the military issue in that it has a 16.1″ barrel to make it legal for civilian ownership without the NFA stamp. The “LE” is the marking for firearms that are configured for law enforcement, but which may or may not be legal for civilian ownership, depending upon how Congress and state legislators are feeling at any given time. The usual caveat applies: Know your state and local laws before ordering.
As with its ancestors in the M4/AR15 family, the LE6920 SOCOM is chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO and uses the direct gas system, working off a locking bolt. The aluminum receiver is anodized black and the 16.1″ barrel is chrome lined with a 1:7″ right-hand twist. Flash suppressor and bayonet lug are included.
The matte black collapsible stock makes the rifle 35.5″ when extended, 32″ collapsed. On the handguard, a set of four Knight’s Armament rails, with covers, offers a means for mounting sighting and light add-ons. Even if a shooter decides to forgo extra battle-rattle, excellent sights are provided as part of the base package. The front post sight is adjustable for elevation and the Maytech MIL-SPEC rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation.
In sum, the LE6920 SOCOM is about as close as it’s possible for a civilian to come to the original military issue. At 7.0 lbs (with magazine), ambidextrous safety, standard metal sights and rails for additional sights, it has the same feel and functionality (minus the full-auto option, of course). It accepts standard M16/AR15 magazines, of course. Where it differs is the barrel, which is not only 1.6″ longer but 4 ounces heavier, in order to provide the full length required.
Needless to say, this new firearm has been very well received in the shooting community. In a market in which there are so many models and variants of the M16/M4/AR15 platform, this one goes back to the basics – while offering the latest in materials and design details. Its capacity to accept any brand and quality of ammunition with only the rarest of feed failures says a great deal about the quality of its build. Of course, there’s also the simple familiarity of the system, one to which generations of Americans have been introduced through their military service or by use in the civilian sphere.
Best of all is what you see when you hold an LE6920 SOCOM: roll-stamped on the left side of the lower receiver is the famous horse logo and the “Colt” name, along with the model designation, “M4A1 CARBINE.” It’s good to see a Colt available on the market, once again.