COLT LE6940P 5.56mm

Extremely reliable and cool running, the Colt LE6940P is ready…

Extremely reliable and cool running, the Colt LE6940P is ready to serve soldiers and police alike. Shown with a Trijicon TA31RMR ACOG.

The U.S. military’s M4 may soon be on the way out. As reported in Army Times, among other places, vendors bidding to earn the contract replacing the M4 will need to demonstrate “valid reasons” that show “measurable improvement” over currently-issued gear. The M4/M16 is rightly acknowledged as a highly successful platform. Being the longest-serving rifle in American military history—and one that is on patrol with many law enforcement officers—truly measurable improvement might require a major innovation. Inexpensive and reliable caseless ammunition and a rifle to chamber it, or direct energy weapons, perhaps?

The “measurable improvement” we’re likely to see will be a self-loading, piston-driven, gas-operated 5.56mm. The current M16/AR-15 utilizes direct gas impingement, meaning that gas pressure is forced down a tube directly into the bolt carrier with no intervening piston. The beauty of this system is that it is simple and lightweight. The claimed disadvantage, and a primary listed reason for replacement, is that fouling is deposited directly into the bolt carrier, thus the common complaint that the M16 fouls quickly.

All firearms burn propellant and create fouling, which will find its way into the mechanism of any gas-operated system as that gas pressure powers operation. This makes the M16/AR-15 easy to maintain because the area of buildup, directly behind the gas rings on the bolt inside the carrier, can be kept lubricated and the fouling more easily wiped off.

Still, any mechanical thing leaves room for improvement. Certainly the most reliable, successful, and longest-serving self-loading weapon designs in history have been piston-driven. Look at the Kalashnikov and FN MAG 58 for starters. Current versions of piston systems claim to offer even more reliability with reduced maintenance, and that is the direction future issued weapons will likely take.

In 2010, the Congressional Research Service released a report written by Andrew Feickert that addressed the M4’s design, specifically its shorter gas tube and barrel. Feickert’s suggested modifications, dubbed the M4 Carbine Improvement Program, included replacing the direct gas system with a piston system, strengthening the rail system, and including a heavier barrel for higher rates of fire. At this point, the likely question is not if a general issue piston-driven will be selected to replace the M4, but which one? It should surprise no one that Colt has placed its hat in the ring for this bid.

Colt held the production rights to the AR-15 when it was first adopted by the Department of Defense and remains a longtime supplier of small arms to the U.S. military. The company seemed reluctant to get on the piston bandwagon, but they have since produced a few non-DI designs. Their most recent is the LE6940P.

The Articulating Link Piston (ALP) operating system is easy to disassemble and maintain, and keeps fouling out of the action.

Load Comments
  • Rene Martinez

    I got this gun 2 years ago, I have shot about 3k rounds, and not once has it failed, it shoots like butter, cleaning it is so easy, I can take it apart in 5 minutes, i do take my time cleaning it though, I paid $1400. for it and it is worth every penny, I love it.

  • John

    There sure isn’t much info at all about this gun. I’ve been searching daily for anything new but there is not anything. I would really like to read some reviews from other experts or owners. I guess there are not many of these out yet.

  • Joshua

    Rod its $1800 but good luck finding them, they are all sold out right now.

    Hopefully the magazine article has more pics of the rifle, id like to see the piston apart from its sleeve

  • RodF

    What is the price, this is a sweet looking gun. I want one!!!