Colt Doubles Down

Colt Doubles Down
The Colt M16A1 harkens back to the original rifle.

Fielded during difficult times, Colt's M16A1 became forever entwined with the war in Vietnam. Adopted as a replacement for Army Ordnance's darling M14, it was a rifle well ahead of its time.

Built with space-age materials and blessed with an eye-catching Buck Rogers appearance, it was light and quick-handling with little felt recoil. It was accurate, and its high-velocity 5.56mm cartridge proved effective while allowing the soldier to carry more ammo for the same weight compared to the 7.62. The M16A1 would soldier on through the war in Vietnam and then the Cold War before finally being officially replaced in the 1980s with the M16A2.

Today many shooters and collectors are fascinated by the rifles of this period. Colt recognized this and in early 2016 announced it would be doing a small run of semiautomatic M16A1 rifles for the shooter and collector. Late last year I had the chance to handle and fire what Colt has designated the M16A1 Reissue during an event at Gunsite Academy. It was a real blast from the past.

The M16A1 Reissue carefully replicates the look, feel and features of the original Vietnam classic. Picking one up you suddenly remember just how light and handy this model was. Weighing in at just 6.6 pounds, the M16A1 Reissue is lightning fast to the shoulder and easy to carry. The buttstock is shorter and more comfortable than the M16A2's. The pistol grip lacks that annoying nub, and I like it better than the A2's. Plus, the handguards have that classic triangular shape and distinctive feel. They may not be as robust as the later A2 units, but they sure do look cool.


Barrel length is the traditional 20 inches and features the early 1:12-inch twist, which is a perfect match for the 55-grain M193 ball load issued alongside the original. The barrel features the original lightweight "pencil" profile and is chrome-lined. It's tipped with a classic three-prong flash suppressor.


The Reissue is fitted with the early round front sight post, which is adjustable for elevation but uses a different tool than the later M16A2; a bullet tip will suffice. The L-shape rear sight is integral to the carry handle. Windage can be adjusted with a bullet tip, and flipping the sight provides battle-sight and long-range options. The carry handle is designed to accept the early Colt 3X and 4X scopes.

The rifle is period-correct from the teardrop forward assist to the sling swivels, and Colt even applied original markings, including "Property of the US Government" as well as "Safe," "Semi" and "Auto" selector markings.

The M16A1 Reissue not only looks good, it shoots well, too. Cartridges loaded easily into the 20-round magazines. The magazine inserted neatly with an upward push and a tug to verify it was properly seated. Run the charging handle and cartridges loaded smoothly into the chamber. The rifle has a distinctive feel in the hand due to its light weight and triangular handguard.

I shot it offhand, kneeling, sitting and prone on steel silhouettes and found it enjoyable to shoot. The sights are good, the trigger is acceptable and recoil is mild. Unfortunately, production will be small and the suggested retail is high at $2,499.


While Colt's M16A1 Reissue looks to its past, the new Combat Unit Carbine looks toward the future. Dveloped with input from well-respected trainers such as Mike Pannone, Ken Hackathorn and Daryl Holland, this model finally introduces a mid-length gas system into the Colt rifle line. Many shooters, myself included, prefer a mid-length gas system over a traditional carbine length because it creates a softer-shooting gun.

https://files.osgnetworks.tv/10/files/2017/09/ColtCombatUnitCarbine.jpg
The Combat Unit Carbine is a modern take on the AR-15 with a mid-length gas system.

The Combat Unit Carbine features a Centurion Arms M-LOK free-floating handguard. No old-school 1913 "cheese grater" here, but rather a good-looking, comfortable and useful lightweight design. It also comes nicely equipped with a Magpul MOE SL stock and pistol grip as well as a Magpul MOE trigger guard.

The SL stock is fairly light, adjusts easily and doesn't yank your beard or stubble like many other designs. The butt is nicely contoured and doesn't slide around as do lessor designs. The SL pistol grip is a favorite of mine due to its contour and aggressive texturing. Neither piece has bells or whistles, but they feel great and are very functional.


The Centurion Arms handguard is also practical. Its light, has a small diameter and the ability to add accessories—either via dedicated M-LOK accessories or through the addition of 1913 rail section.

Riding inside the free-floating handguard is a chrome-lined, medium weight barrel chambered in 5.56 NATO. It features a 1:7 twist, so it will shoot a diverse range of heavy and light bullets well.

Overall, the gun is lightweight, quick handling and well suited for sport, recreation or personal protection. Suggested retail price is $1,299. I am happy to see Colt finally listening to customers and moving in the direction people are asking. The Combat Unit Carbine exudes the sense of quality a Colt rifle should, and I'm glad it's here.

https://files.osgnetworks.tv/10/files/2017/09/ColtSpecComparison.jpg

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

The SAINT' Victor Rifle delivers a lightweight and agile rifle solution while maintaining effectiveness at extended engagement distances.

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Big game hunters in search of an accurate, long-range rifle need look no further than Browning and the new X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan. Bolt-Action

New Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Long Range McMillan Rifles

RifleShooter Online Staff - November 07, 2018

Big game hunters in search of an accurate, long-range rifle need look no further than Browning...

SIG SAUER adds to its Elite Match ammo line with the 30-06 Springfield. Ammo

New 30-06 Springfield Elite Match Ammo from SIG SAUER

Rifleshooter Online Editors - April 03, 2019

SIG SAUER adds to its Elite Match ammo line with the 30-06 Springfield.

Want to get into the long-range game and not go broke? Check out the Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle. Reviews

Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle Review

J. Scott Rupp - March 21, 2019

Want to get into the long-range game and not go broke? Check out the Mossberg MVP Precision...

The Marlin Model 1895-.444 Marlin is a handy, powerful rifle capable of taking down elk, moose, hogs, black bear and deer. Lever-Action

Marlin Model 1895-.444 Marlin

J. Scott Rupp

The Marlin Model 1895-.444 Marlin is a handy, powerful rifle capable of taking down elk,...

See More Trending Articles

More MSR

Bravo Company has you covered if you are looking to build the ultimate AR. MSR

BCM Gunfighter AR Parts

David Fortier - August 28, 2019

Bravo Company has you covered if you are looking to build the ultimate AR.

The new Tromix .375 SOCOM offers great performance with less recoil than its .458 brother. MSR

Review: Tromix .375 SOCOM

David Fortier - March 15, 2019

The new Tromix .375 SOCOM offers great performance with less recoil than its .458 brother.

Ruger's AR-556 MPR is one gun that can do it all. MSR

Review: Ruger AR-556 MPR

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

Ruger's AR-556 MPR is one gun that can do it all.

The new MSR 15 Long Range in .224 Valkyrie reaches out with authority. MSR

Review: Savage Arms MSR 15 LR

David Fortier - May 17, 2019

The new MSR 15 Long Range in .224 Valkyrie reaches out with authority.

See More MSR

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Rifle Shooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now