After years and years of supplying the military and law enforcement with the now-venerable M4 carbine, it’s time for Colt to begin innovating. If they don’t stand still, they will be, and some might already say they have been, eclipsed. With their new LE901-16S rifle, opinions might very well change. The basic gist of it is that it’s a .308 and it loves .223.
Details about this rifle are pretty few. We know it has a single monolithic upper, that it comes with backup iron sights, that it comes with Magpul magazines (two 20-rounders) and features a Vltor buttstock. Underneath the quad railed handguard is a free-floated, and barrel with no cutout, and what looks to be a direct-impingement front sight gas block with a folding front sight.
It comes in at a hefty 9.4 pounds, measures a hair under 38 inches extended, features a 16-inch barrel that has been rated to 700 meters, and in fun-button models, has a firing rate of between 750 and 950 rounds per minute. And Colt has made it clear that they’ll issue it as a civvy version:
“Colt Defense LLC, one of the world’s leading designers, developers, and manufacturers of rifles and carbines, will bring to market the highly anticipated LE901-16S modular, multi-caliber rifle. The Colt LE901-16S was built with both the tactical professional and modern sportsman in mind. This rifle will be offered in black, with other finishes available later in the year, and has superior accuracy. This modular rifle can be easily changed from .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO) chambering to .223 Remington (5.56×45 NATO).”
We expect the accuracy to be the result of a free-floated barrel and monolithic upper. As far as multi-caliber and modularity are concerned, like most ARs, the upper can be swapped out for another in a different chambering; that’s what’s going on here, it’s just that the lower is good to go with 7.62x51mm NATO magazines and anything smaller than that.
“With its simplicity of use and versatile chambering, Colt Defense’s LE901-16S is a prime weapon choice for tactical operations, big-game hunting, and small-game shots.”
So, what do you say, would you like to have one of Colt’s new rifles for tactical operations, big-game hunting, and small-game shots? Colt intends to get the Plain Jane black models on shelves ASAP, and prices are likely to be in the $2,500 to $3,000 range. While that’s at the high end, with the precision upper and modified, fully-ambidextrous controls, it’s not far off from the price of many high-end boutique rifles with similar features. And they’re not Colts.
This is quite a bit more than just another AR with Magpul furniture.