Compact Thunder! The Colt SCW takes AR weapons to the…

Compact Thunder! The Colt SCW takes AR weapons to the next level of compactness without compromising accuracy or firepower. The Monolithic upper free floats the 10.3 inch barrel. The rifle performed well with both Iron and Red-Dot sights.

From a need came a solution. Engaging targets from the confines of a vehicle, in narrow hallways or some other cramped, constricted, tight hell hole is what many LE and military personnel are faced with in the course of duty. Colt Defense calls their solution to the need for a highly maneuverable weapon in a caliber that stops bad guys dead the SCW (Sub Compact Weapon). But the SCW is not just a short-barreled version of an AR-15, it stuffs full AR-15 firepower in a package that is smaller than most compact 5.56x45mm weapons and it does it with no compromises.

It’s one of those in-between weapons that bridges the gap between a handgun and a rifle. It finds itself not only useful within the confines of a Humvee wielded by a soldier, but also within the restrictions of armored executive vehicles like a Suburban or Mercedes S500 in the hands of security or personal defense contractors. Using the one-point sling and harness the SCW has the ability to disappear under a suit jacket yet become available at a moment’s notice.

#2Z83 Colt Firearms for Tactical Weapons Harris Pub / Robert Sad
The stock of the SCW quickly and effortlessly folds up and locks on the left side of the weapon. With the stock collapsed the SCW is a compact package that can be stored in a myriad of small places.


Many manufacturers of subcompact ARs chop the barrel to pistol-barrel lengths. That helps the maneuverability and cuts down on the overall length, but as you reduce the barrel length muzzle velocity and effective range decrease, too. And snubbing the barrel does nothing to help reduce the buffer tube length, which on many subcompact ARs sport the same dimensions as that on a full-size carbine or rifle. The engineers at Colt Defense took a different approach with the SCW. The SCW features Colt’s proprietary Monolithic upper. Colt’s Monolithic upper receiver is manufactured from a chunk of forged aluminum. The forging is placed in a CNC machine that quickly and methodically removes metal until a familiar upper emerges that also has an uninterrupted full-length top rail and side rails. The fourth bottom rail is made of polymer and snaps into the upper. You can use the bullet point of a cartridge to press the release then the bottom rail pivots away. All four Picatinny rails allow an operator to attach a vertical handgrip, optics or tactical light accessory.

The monolithic upper also allows the barrel to free-float. The gas block is built into the folding front sight. The barrel features a bayonet lug. At slightly over 10 inches, the barrel provides the optimum length for compatibility and effective range to 400 meters. The free-float upper gives the SCW an edge in accuracy. Its bore has a 1-in-7-inch right-hand twist rate. This quicker twist rate make the SCW better suited to heavier bullets. The gas port is slightly different than the gas port on an M4’s 14.5-inch barrel; this is to compensate for the SCW’s short barrel. Muzzle velocity falls as barrel length decreases and the SCW loses about 270 fps compared to the same round fired out of an M4. Shorter barrels also mean more muzzle flash. Without a flash suppressor, the SCW or any subcompact weapon looks like a flamethrower in dim to dark conditions—this is caused by burning powder as it leaves the abbreviated barrel. Colt Defense wisely opted to cap off the SCW’s barrel with a Vortex G6-A2 flash suppressor. The Vortex suppressor is designed with four slightly twisted tines that swallow up muzzle flash. The barrel nut is different and does require a special tool. Monolithic uppers require monolithic-upper-specific barrels. The same Mil-Spec gas impingement system used in Colt’s M4s and other rifles is employed in the SCW.
The MaTech folding sights are precision machined and are the same type used on Colt’s other military and LE M4 carbines. Press the release and the sights quickly and effortlessly pivot up and lock in place.

With the stock collapsed the SCW is a compact package that can be stored in a myriad of small places.


Just as the monolithic upper is not your ordinary upper receiver, the lower receiver of the SCW is designed with a reduction length in mind and definitely not your typical lower. Typical ARs have a long receiver extension tube that houses the action spring and buffer assembly. This assembly pushes the carrier forward after a shot is fired. I knew something was drastically different when I cracked open the SCW. It disassembles like a typical AR—pull out the takedown pin and pivot the upper away from the lower. On the SCW the action spring and buffer are one connected and the action spring is withdrawn from the receiver extension as the upper is pivoted away from the lower. The SCW’s buffer assembly fits into the rear of the carrier. The buffer assembly is modified so it fits into the carrier, which is cut down but an inch or so. By slightly changing the way the parts work with each other, Colt was able to reduce the total length of receiver extension. This makes the SCW not only compact on the business end but on the operator’s end, too. The adjustable stock has five positions. When completely retracted it folds compactly on the left side of the weapon and is completely out of the way from a user’s firing hand even if the user is wearing bulky gloves. Press the release and the stock folds out from the side of the weapon and snaps into place at the rear of the abbreviated receiver extension. The stock butt then folds down and the stock length can be adjusted.

Load Comments
  • Pingback: Colt scw | Keglerscorner()

  • Pat

    With the exception of the upper and the folding buttstock, this is not new.

    Colt already had a short buffer tube, short barreled rifle.

    Just new clothes on an old rifle.

  • 10″ barrel; Take a look at the SSK HOAGINATOR ; 6″ barrel in 5.56, 300 Whisper, 338 Whisper#2 and 458 SOCOM.