IO Inc. Retro M16A1 With Original Colt Parts

IO Inc., best known for their AK rifles, will soon be selling M16A1 rifles made from original Colt M16A1 parts. The only non-Colt parts will be the IO-manufactured semi-automatic lower receiver and the barrel. The upper receiver,  sights and furniture are authentic Colt M16A1 parts. The rifle does not have a MSRP yet. The company is aiming to price it at around $800.

colt retro



The M16A1 was replaced with the M16A2 in the early 1970s. I would love to know where in the world IO found a stash of ancient Colt parts.

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.


  • nature223

    they were surplused imports with new manufacture barrels since the Bush gun ban blocked the reimportation of barrels

    • It looks just like my orignal Colt:-)

    • talon55101

      They are U.S. Surplus, with Green Mountain barrels (U.S. made). Century Arms was making the exact same thing called the C-15. Never could figure why the government won’t sell the barrels with them. At first they were only sold as parts kits with the new barrel in the white.

  • El Duderino

    Looks like someone found the long lost ARVN stockpile. Nice rifles, only dropped once!

    • SOG VN Veteran

      You know absolutely nothing about the ARVN’s roles in Vietnam, and you show it by that comment.

  • Sam

    M16A1… with A2 uppers… >_>

  • Steve

    SORRY- The M16-A2 did not show up until the late 1980’s. I was in the US Army Infantry ’85-’88, and not one ‘A2 was seen at Ft Benning, or at the 101st ABN. Wish I had had one, but did not 🙁

    • Rodger Young

      My unit, 5th ID, got their A2s (FN) in 1991. Don’t feel bad.

    • JRT

      I was in Basic at Benning for INF fall of ’87 and we were issued A2’s and I remember being told that we were the first class to get them. When I got to the 82nd after jump school in January ’88 they already had A2’s.

      • Huey148

        Same here…E/7/1 or E/2/19 (Army adopted the Regimental Affiliation system while there) at Sand Hill from Aug to Nov 87….we too had the A2’s

      • talon55101

        Don’t feel bad. I was AirForce Security Police 83-87 I was issued a Colt Model 602, the ORIGINAL first batch M-16. Mine had AR-15 on the receiver. No assist, chrome bolt, three prong suppressor. serial number was in the 44,000 range. Worked perfectly, Wouldn’t trade it for the world. We were told once that if we went to war our M-16’s ALL EARLY MODELS. would stay at the base because they were garrison rifles. We would go and be issued new rifles when we got there. Almost started a mutiny. NOBODY would go without their issued rifles, that they knew better then their mothers. I called mine Kitty Kat. She always purred.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Production began in the 1970s, I doubt Colt was producing new M16s after the M16A1 design has been finalized.

      • Dumbasss Alex

        The M16A2 wasn’t even accepted by the US DoD until 1985.

  • Justin Lucenti

    That’s an A1 upper. Notice the C M lettering in place of the windage knob.

  • big daddy

    The Colt uppers where a lot better than the Harrington Richardson and GM ones I used in training. Those are the worst rifles!!! The quality of the Colt M16A1 was very good.

  • I wonder if they are using the original A1 twist rate. I would actually prefer it since I shoot mostly 55gr and I hear the old 1/14 was quite deadly with it.

    • Cymond

      I doubt it. It’s probably 1:9.

      I’d love to find a reasonably priced modern barrel in 1:14 or 1:12. I would drop a 22lr conversion bolt in to it and it would be my dedicated rimfire upper, except I would also have the option of converting back to 5.56mm by just changing the bolt group.

    • Rodger Young

      55 grain out of a 1×14 is only vaguely stable at room temperature, much colder and the stability (and accuracy) go to hell. Covered in detail in the 1962 American Rifleman

      • Cymond

        According to legend, the instability caused the round to yaw and tumble immediately on impact. I have no idea if it’s true.

  • Chatterbot

    Word is those kits came from Guatemala.

    • Gus Man

      Its is not Guatemala but from South East Asia and them kits are original Colt parts except for the barrel and lower receiver.

  • McThag

    Well, that explains where all the retro parts have been going.

    And the CM forge code doesn’t make it an A1, the fixed rear sight with forward assist and no brass deflector does.

    • Rodger Young

      C H, Colt Harvey, some of the first forgings made for Colt so closer to ’67 than ’83.

      • justin

        CH was used from 1974 to 1982

  • John Bear Ross

    I love the fact that they’re running a cnc on the show floor. Nice!


  • paskal

    No Brunton bump = A1. amiright?

    • paskal

      typo. its Brutton. sorry.

      • Rodger Young

        you had it right, Loren F. Brunton was the designer’s name.

  • ZeCatnip

    Shut up and take my money! I don’t know what it is, but I love the look of those early M16’s

    • John

      I agree…. i think its the triangular handguards =P

  • Rodger Young

    The only thing A1 on that is the top half, the lower, buttstock and pistol grip are all A2. The A2 came in the mid 80s.

    • talon55101

      Everything except barrel, and lower receiver are surplus M-16a1. That includes trigger group. Some parts modified, i.e. trigger, hammer, disconnect. Some left out, ie auto sear.

  • noob

    For a truly authentic experience we need some 55grain loads with really dirty burning powder

  • probably from outside of the US. Sounds like they’re parts kits

  • Maverick355

    Last year I took a chance and purchased Century Arms version of the same rifle. They imported everything but the barrel and lower receiver and assembled them here. I think I got one of the last of their rifles because they soon disappeared from the market. I was lucky, the one I bought works great and is a tack driver. I even found an original A1 pistol grip. My only complaint is they anodized them black instead of matching the original gray color. It looks as if IO’s will be black also. I imagine that IO’s quality will be even better than CA.

  • Maverick355

    Correction, in one picture it looks black but gray in the others.

  • Black_Viper

    I want one, nothing like having modern history in my collection.

  • Tim U

    I want one. Now. For some reason, I’ve wanted the old retro design more than the A2 design for my “rifle size” AR.

    • I built my own- which is more like an A2 everywhere except the barrel. Looks good. Has original three prong flash suppressor.

  • Huey148

    MSRP: $800….actual street price: $2000

  • RickH

    I’m curious as to what the projected run is. Do they have enough parts for say, 10000 rifles?

  • Jeff Smith

    Is the lower an actual A1 lower?

    • Jeff Smith

      Also, isn’t Century doing the same thing? I think I remember seeing the same type configuration from them.

      • talon55101

        Century did. Not sure if they still do. they called it the C-15.

    • justin

      Its a A2 lower.

  • Walter E. Kurtz

    Hopefully those parts kits are already in the US because I suspect that in about 45 minutes King Obama will announce a ban on the importation of surplus military parts and high capacity magazines. BOHICA.

  • kagbalete

    Chances are from the Philippines, still a lot of old M16A1 parts to be had….

  • Patrick

    When Is this going to be released?!

  • Lance

    The M-16A1 was replaced in Marine Army service in 1983 (Marines) and 1986 (Army) not the 70s. M-16A1 stayed in Army service till the mid 90s. Want one they look so cool.

  • Lance

    Steve buy the book “The Black Rifle”

  • Rifleman 336

    M-16A2 was not accepted until 1985. The M-16A1 came out in late 69’and even saw combat in the last days of American involvement in Vietnam.

  • DAKE

    What is IO’s quality like?

  • So, M16 bolt as well?

  • Century Arms came out with tem not long ago. $625. for mine….

  • xiong

    when it’s sale on California?

  • donnie y

    does anyone tell me when it’s sale on California?

  • Jai

    So what happened to these guns? Did Century decide to scrap this? I was very interested in a retro M16A1 looking gun.

    • Jai

      I meant to say I.O…sorry.

  • talon55101

    Many moons ago I had a Colt SP-1 and have been kicking myself ever since for selling it. I have a M-4 clone parts gun and a Colt M-6700 Competition HBAR that weighs a ton. Does anyone have this AR-15a1 for sale today? If the price is right I’d buy it in a heart beat.