Colt LE901-16S Multi-Caliber Carbine

Colt’s new LE901-16S Multi-Caliber Carbine is similar to the Colt SP901. From looking at the photo, the LE901 appears to have a shorter rail, shorter length gas system, a standard A2-style grip and a 3-prong / wire-cutter style flash suppressor.

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).

“This is an exceptional rifle for a wide variety of shooters due to the interchangeability in caliber,” said David Ridley, Vice President of Colt Defense, LLC, “With a simple swap of the upper receiver shooters can switch to the caliber they need for the shot they want to achieve.”

In the classic .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO), the LE901-16S is chambered perfectly for a tactical professional’s sniper shot, civilian shooters’ target practice or a hunter’s big-game shot. With a simple swap of the upper receiver and buffer system, this versatile rifle’s chambering can be changed to .223 Remington (5.56×45 NATO) and transition into a law enforcement officer’s tactical weapon of choice or a small game hunter’s standard carry.

The Colt LE901-16S rifle weighs only 9.4 pounds and measures 37.5 inches with the stock extended. It has an effective range distance of 700 meters and a rate of fire between 700 and 950 rounds per minute when configured for .308. Exceptional accuracy comes by way of the free floated, 16-inch, chrome-lined barrel and one-piece monolithic upper receiver.

All operating controls on the LE901-16S are ambidextrous, including the magazine release, bolt catch and fire control selector. The monolithic rail covers the fore end and is suitable for mounting the shooter’s choice accessory in addition to the back up iron sight (BUIS) offered standard on the rifle. The LE901-16S features a black Vltor™ buttstock and comes with two black 20-round Magpul PMAGs.

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.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Rangefinder

    Reminds me of the M14 EBR.

    • Ramsey

      How? Is it the way the two look exactly nothing alike? Or maybe the way they operate completely differently?

      I guess I just don’t see it.

      • fw226

        I’m with Ramsey on this. They don’t look or function alike…

        Could be nice. Swap to 223 when you’re going out hog hunting?

      • Other Steve

        Well… He said it reminds HIM of the EBR. Can’t argue with what it reminds him of. It’s 308 semi auto rifle that takes detachable mags…. reminds me of a G3 🙂

  • BLG

    Colt could do better.

    • W

      how exactly?

    • JMD

      I think they did “do better”, and this is it. This may very possibly be the most flexible modular rifle system ever created. Modular = options = good

  • Lance

    Want tone BUT without the Colt price Steve get some for all of us for free for some free publicity from Colt. eh Steve?? LOL

    Rather stick to my M-1A or go AR 10 for now its not worth 4+ grand for it wait till prices ever go down.

    • Cymond

      How much does an M1A or AR-10 cost? Because the pricing for the other Colt 901 is about $2100. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

    • JMD

      Troll, troll, troll your boat….

      • Other Steve

        Hehe, I’ll have to remember that.

        That is one thing I’ll give Colt. Their price is not currently full retard.

    • W

      yeah i was curious where this 4k figure turned up…

      you’re also comparing apples to oranges lance. the M1A and Ar10 have to undergo extensive modifications with a specialized gunsmith to even match the modularity and versatility of the le901.

      Consider, that if it is indeed done properly, you have a receiver that is capable of using both 5.56 and 7.62 calibers. Neither the AR10 or M1A will ever have the capability.

      Perhaps this will dawn a glorious new era of AR10 commonality???

      • jason

        the le901 is $2100 (semi-safe), the cm901 w/ auto is probably the $4000 model

  • Brad

    Really wish it was a 20″ barrel. It would have made more sense when they are saying its for “big game hunting.”

    • JMD

      The velocity loss between 16″ and 20″ with .308 might be about 200fps. Not nearly enough to make a difference. I would hunt with this.

      • Other Steve

        This. 20″+ Semi auto 308 makes very little sense if you’re using the heavier ammo. 18″ is a good compromise, but I’d hunt with a 16″.

  • W

    colt’s new rifles are rather interesting. it is certainly a way to produce a more flexible weapon system, especially one that interchanges between 5.56 and 7.62 (which Colt’s other competitors have yet to do). If this final product is actually a fine weapon, then Colt may have something to offer for the 21st century.

    • Other Steve

      If you want a proprietary 308 with no commonality, or a really heavy 556 I guess.

      It makes no sense to me, but if other people are into it, great.

      • W

        haha, im really trying to be optimistic about it. historically, it has been proven that you either have a very specialized weapon that excels in its intended role, or you have a universal weapon that performs mediocre in all roles.

    • Other Steve

      Good points

  • Jonathan

    Actually, that’s probably the Vortex flash-hider, not a 3-prong. Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Ajay

      You beat me, I was just gonna say that.

  • Tom

    I see no point to this.. All your saving is the cost of one additional lower.. I would rather have another lower and two complete rifles.. I doubt our troops would be carrying around the other upper, ammo and magazines in there back packs.. Along with the adapter for the different uppers the rifle uses.. The lower receiver is larger, heavier, and bulkier than it needs to be for the 5.56.. Any one who buys this is going to be more interested in having a Colt .308

  • Kyle

    I’m with Tom. Its not like carrying 2 5.56 uppers where that is all you change, here you need everything for a caliber swap. It may be a nice 308 gun but I can’t imagine anyone popping on a 5.56 upper. It also sounds like a pug of a gun though I may be mistaken I’m not sure on the weight of AR-10 patterns. I think its a neat concept and I like the recent trend of ambi controls. Just practical? Questionable.

    • Other Steve

      The only way this gun would make sense to me is if I wanted ONE lower receiver and wanted to SBR it. For that to make sense I would have to want a short barreled 308…. And that I certainly do not want.

  • Brandon

    At 9.4 lbs, I still think this it is way too heavy. That’s the same weight listed for the SP901 which has a longer rail, so maybe it is a typo.
    I want to know how much the lower receiver itself weights compared to a standard 5.56 lower.

    • Other Steve

      Agreed. Then again, look at the picture. She looks like a piggy. I mean, it looks every bit of 9lbs.

      Why they are sticking to full quad rail is confusing to me. Everyone else is ditching it as fast as possible.

      • Samopal

        Colt seems to have trouble keeping up with the times. Do they even offer mid-length gas systems yet?

  • Clint

    Let’s focus on what it IS. Colt 308 with monolithic upper for just over 2 grand. Who wouldn’t want that? So it’s 9.4 pounds, which is basically the same as an LMT…who didn’t want one of those when they came out? If you don’t like the sp901, you should have bought an LMT already, or a Larue, GAP, Noveske, DPMS…whatever fits your budget and platform requirements. I just don’t see why people bash the sp901 for having MORE features. O.K. maybe that’s more to go wrong, potentially, but when has a Colt AR model been characteristically prone to fail? On the contrary, Colt is considered tops in quality when it comes to ARs, and this just might help our troops, cops, and civvies get more for less, compared to the competition. I say kudos to Colt and hope the price stays where it is, and the QC matches their time-tested 5.56 model.

    • Other Steve

      As a 308 monolithic, yea, you’re right it’s pretty great for the price. No doubt about that. You’re sacrificing commonality, but let’s be realisitic, there aren’t many AR-10 parts that are common between mfgs anyhow.

      That said, the interesting thing about this is the convertible format. In that respect I think this falls short as who really wants a heavy 556?

      Judged as 308 only, it’s very cool IF it can hold it’s own with the other mfgs you mentioned. It’s a Colt so it probably can.

    • W

      clint, you are absolutely correct. given the expected price of this rifle and the wide variety of features available, colt may have a winner on its hands.

    • Alex Brooks

      Who is ditching quad rails???? That is a new one. Some of the things people say sometimes.

  • Finally, Colt’s making something people will actually buy.

    Remember folks, this is the same company that sided with the Clinton Admin. so they could get those fat m-16/M-4 contracts. They helped push gun control while Clinton chased interns.

    This is also the same company that slammed the 416 in the Army times. Their chairman screamed “why should the army buy a German made weapon?!?!”

    And now they are marketing to the average joe and competing with foreign gunmakers.

    The worm has turned.

  • Lance

    Im wasn’t saying the M901 isn’t awesome weapon with some new capabilities but Iam say now for over 4 grand a AR-10 or M1A is better for now till prices fall or new Colt copies come A regular AR-10 is awesome just for this year alot cheaper than a CM901.

  • Sid

    The multi-caliber selling point has always left me puzzled. I have watched product reps and former operators all pushing the propoganda that allowing a soldier to simply switch uppers to go from CQB to sniping is the long desired goal that the multi-caliber feature accomplishes.

    At least, until you work out how that happens. How exactly does a soldier or LEO carry around another upper? And optics? And magazines? And bullets?

    One tool that does everything does nothing well. I know that I would prefer each weapon system is optimized for its intended use. A CQB weapon is a different animal from a sniping weapon which is different from a battle rifle which is different from a designated marksmen weapon which is different from a PDW.

    • charles222

      The idea isn’t “carrying around another upper during the mission”; it’s designed to let you select an upper before you actually go on the mission that best fits what your role is going to be.

    • James Howlett

      A LEO could simply keep an extra upper with mags and already zeroed optic attached in his trunk in a small duffel bag! Not difficult at all-
      5.56 or 7.62 when needed- a great idea!

  • jason

    Im trying to decide between thele901 and the le6940p w/ articulating piston design but havent decided yet. does anyone have comparison experience?

    • Lance

      You only need a semi full auto fire with any 7.62x51mm weapon is a waste of ammo As the M-14 and FAL both where uncontrollable in full auto. Semi is all you need.

  • Jack

    Does anyone know if you could fit an AK mag into the magwell of the 908? If so then some enterprising company might be able to produce an AK magwell for the 908. Now that might be a bit usefull…

  • Alex Brooks

    I think colt is going the right way on this. I see the colt haters or on here. What puzzles me is why I never hear tbem bash LMT or any of the clone AR builders??? This rifle will serve well as short to med range simi auto sniper rifle and still can serve well in a CQB environment. Kudos to colt for doing somthing out of the box.

  • 308 makes it sound like fun, but try getting one. No one seems to have the LE901 — has anyone heard of any getting out to the public? Looking through the web, the best you can find is a chance to get on a pre-pay back order list???? That takes a bunch of the fun out of it.


  • tony s.

    Can this 901 shoot .308 ammo or does it have to use 7.62 NATO rounds ??

  • tony

    Does this 901 use .308 ammo, or does it have to have 7.62 NATO ROUNDS

    • yes, this weapon is originally designed for the more powerful .308 so the 7.62 nato will be no problem regarding chamber pressures.

  • Digger

    what mags will work with the le901 like magpul 20lr or sig 517