This special edition Colt LE6720MPMG, available through TALO Distributors, is more than just its hydro-dipped Muddy Girl camo finish!
Having been in the gunwriting business for a number of years, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot what could technically be described as a “whole bunch” of guns of all sizes, types, and price ranges. In all those years and among all those guns, never did I approach a range session with any concern over what fellow shooters there on any given day might say about what I had with me to shoot. Until, that is, this article on Colt’s new-for-2013 line of hydro-dipped, special-edition AR-15 rifles was greenlighted, and, of all the finish patterns available, the editorial decision had to be the…Muddy Girl. Which, as you’ve undoubtedly detected in the photos, is substantially pink.
I know, pink’s just a color, and no ruggedly masculine gunwriter guy should feel threatened by it, but having also carried M16s and AR-15s professionally for more years in the past than I like to count, while I don’t feel being seen in public with a pink gun is necessarily a career-buster, it is not a color I’d personally select for armament of any sort, kind or type. However, cranky retired cops with military backgrounds are neither the only market for AR-15s in general, nor the intended market for this model in particular. Women are a fast-rising demographic in the shooting world, and besides making marked inroads into the defensive handgun carry field, they’re also looking at long guns for both sporting and defensive applications. In both areas, the AR-15 in proper trim can be an excellent choice, so why not offer a color scheme that appeals beyond basic black?
The LE6720MPMG “Muddy Girl” gets its name from the company that designed the camo pattern—Moon Shine Attitude Attire. Recognizing the obvious, that women tend to run a shade smaller in size and muscular ability than men, Colt based this model on its LE6720 (“MP” is for Magpul), a skinny-barrel configuration that reduces weight over a similarly-sized M4 Carbine in military trim. Using a 16-inch “pencil” barrel with no useless grenade launcher stepdown keeps the carbine lighter while still retaining full-performance features elsewhere, along with also retaining the carbine’s greater maneuverability in tight spaces over the full-length 20-inch rifle versions.
Colt’s true 5.56mm NATO chamber allows the greatest latitude in using either “military” 5.56mm surplus or readily-available-over-the-counter .223 “civilian” ammunition, and the rifling is the current military-standard 1-in-7-inch twist rate common to most Colt AR variants today. In fact, don’t let any of that pink finish fool you—aside from the semi-auto-only parts, light barrel, furniture and rear sight, this gun is mil-spec everywhere it counts and uses the same parts from the same suppliers as the full-auto guns built for military sales. The rifle actually has “M4 Carbine” and “Colt Defense” stampings on the left side of the lower receiver.
Those markings are significant by the way, and here’s why. Several years back, Colt split into two divisions, Colt Defense and Colt’s Manufacturing. Colt Defense (which actually manufactured all ARs for both sides) handled military and law enforcement channels, including the M16, while Colt’s Manufacturing carried out the so-called “civilian” line (buying its ARs from Colt Defense). AR-15s were sold by both sides, with different markings and slightly different features.
Because of federal concerns over illegal conversions from semi-auto to full-auto by ordinary, non-governmental consumers, and Colt efforts to deal with further government restrictions, “civilian” ARs were modified at various times in certain areas, such as the bolt carriers, hinge pins and lower receivers, to prevent such conversions. And morally depraved features leading inevitably to the decline of modern society as we know it, such as the bayonet lug and flash suppressor, were eliminated on ARs sold to the general market beginning with the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.
While still entirely functional and built to Colt’s high-quality standards, many hardcore AR buyers considered the “civilian” guns to be slightly compromised and resented the fact that regular, everyday people have had to settle for “less” than what was still being produced to military specifications and sold via Colt Defense for military and law enforcement buyers. Civilian ARs used lighter bolt carriers and were stamped with various sporter designations and “Colt’s Manufacturing” as the maker, while the law enforcement semi-auto ARs still had mil-spec bolt carriers and flash suppressors.
Five or six years ago, Colt made a welcome decision to return to regular, full-ring military M16 carriers; the progression since has resulted in current offerings with none of the “emasculated” civilian features, and in 2012 Colt changed the stamping on all AR-15 models to reflect the Colt Defense origin regardless of which division sold it through whatever distribution channel, along with resuming sales of previously restricted “government only” features again to the civilian market at large. And, on July 15 of this year, Colt announced the merging of both divisions back into a single Colt company. Confusing? Let’s just simplify it and say the Colt LE6720MPMG, despite its eye-popping pinkosity, is thoroughly professional-grade ordnance throughout, fully equal in features, function and quality to Colt AR-platform rifles that your local police department is buying. It is not built to lesser specs in any way.
The LE6720MP is fitted with equally serious furniture from Magpul in the form of its four-position ACS (Adaptable Carbine/Storage) collapsible buttstock, with a shielded release lever to avoid accidental activations in either direction, dual AA battery storage tubes on top, a hinged side storage compartment, a sling slot and a 0.3-inch-thick, non-slip buttpad; and a lightweight, reinforced and heat-resistant MOE polymer handguard slotted to allow for the attachment of Picatinny rails for the usual accessories. An oversized Magpul MOE pistol grip, with aggressive texturing and internal storage space, and a 30-round Gen 2 PMAG round out the peripherals—all wearing the same interrupted pink camouflage also applied to the upper and lower alloy receivers.
Up on top, this LE6720MPMG uses the standard AR-15 fixed front sight tower with an elevation-adjustable post between two protective ears, but it comes with an injection-molded, folding Magpul MBUS Gen 2 rear sight mounted on the flattop in place of a detachable carry handle/rear sight. The MBUS provides two different aperture sizes, and it’s adjustable for windage only. Rounding out the package, the pink Colt uses a standard single-side safety selector, includes a sling swivel up front under the sight tower along with a bayonet lug that can’t be used with a bayonet on a carbine-length barrel (but is nice to have just because we can again), and the standard A2-style birdcage flash suppressor that Colt denied to non-government buyers for nearly 20 years. Thoroughly up to date and up to hard use—while the Muddy Girl camo is very obviously not intended for governmental entities (not in my neighborhood, anyway)—the rifle shows a very positive change in Colt’s attitude toward the company’s customer base. Law enforcement or civilian, male or female, there’s no need for two different “grades” of Colt AR-15s, and those are now a thing of the past.
Colt and Leupold have collaborated to produce Colt-marked glass specifically for AR-15s in 2013, and testing the Colt Muddy Girl seemed a good opportunity to try out one of the new 1.25-4×20 VX-R Patrol scopes. At 9.4 inches in length and weighing a trim 11.5 ounces, mounted on a one-piece alloy base also available from Colt, the 30mm tube lets in plenty of light and features large, finger-adjustable turret dials with clearly visible bright graduations in 0.25-MOA clicks and Leupold’s FireDot illuminated reticle. The illuminated dot positioned in the center of the Leupold Circle Dot Reticle is useful for quick, close-range applications and works in conjunction with the graduated mil-scale crosshairs to estimate range at longer distances.
Powered by a common CR2032 wafer battery and operated by a single push-button on the left side of the scope’s body for eight variable brightness levels, the sophisticated system also incorporates an internal motion sensor that automatically switches the dot off to save battery life after five minutes of inactivity and automatically switches it back on when it detects movement. With a quick-zoom range from 1.25X to 4X magnification, the VX-R Patrol scope is a good choice for a carbine that might run from up-close home-defense duties at the lower setting, on out a bit further as an informal varminter or small-game hunter, and it has a rapid-focus ring to adapt to individual eyes, with or without eyeglasses. It can also cover a wide spectrum of lighting conditions, with or without using the dot.
It’s a Colt
That pretty much says it. No surprises; the Colt LE6720MPMG in Muddy Girl camo did everything at the range that four decades of personal experience with these Colts has led me to expect. Shooting it off the bench at 100 yards was no real challenge, with the Leupold scope showing black bullseyes bright and clear, although the trigger on my test rifle was a bit gritty, breaking at 7.5 pounds. Beyond that, accuracy was well within expectations, and the lightweight barrel wouldn’t be any hindrance in most uses you’d put this carbine to. Lubing the carbine liberally with Break Free before leaving the house, operation was flawless in pre-test scope zeroing, accuracy testing and chronographing with four different commercial loads.
The VX-R Patrol scope turned out to have a generous and comfortable eye relief, and with it mounted as far forward as physically possible on the flattop rail, I was able to keep my face well back and away from the charging handle. Some magnified optics for ARs force you to get right up—almost on top of—the charging handle, but with the stock fully extended, there was no need to scrunch into the gun. The mount height leaves the tube low enough for a shadowy image of the front sight to be visible in the bottom half of the lens display; more of a ghost than a solid outline, it’s not substantial enough to obstruct much in the field of view or distract from a quick target acquisition, and on slower long-range shots, it makes a useful field-expedient anti-cant device by centering in line with the lower vertical crosshair.
Recoil was light on the range, and the Magpul stock adjusts well to different torso sizes. Storage space in the pistol grip is always handy, and the non-slip buttpad is a step up from more slippery stocks. Weight is a consideration for shooters with less upper body strength, and Colt did it right in using the lighter barrel. I’d rather see a steel rear sight if optics are not going to be used, but the polymer one on the gun is doable, and Magpul offers an all-steel version as an aftermarket upgrade. In my case, I removed it entirely for scope clearance anyway—there’s no room for it with full-length glass mounted. The Colt LE6720MPMG’s good to go in the form tested; the only suggestion I’d make is an aftermarket charging handle swap to one with an extended latch to clear the VX-R Patrol scope.
The range session? Fortunately, nobody laughed (loud enough for me to hear it, anyway), and I showed the Muddy Girl carbine to two different 30-something ladies there shooting among the guys. Both liked the pink, one liked the subtle purple accents I hadn’t even noticed, and when asked if they’d buy one if in the market for an AR, one said, “Yes, I’d buy it.” The other said, “No, but my daughters [18 and 11] would.”
Colt’s producing several hydro-dipped-finished products with other furniture, barrel, and sight options; the LE6720MPMG rifle is a TALO Distributors exclusive.