Colt is introducing a rifle family based on the CM 901 series of rifles, intended to increase modularity and the ease with which one rifle can be converted into another caliber. From the press release:
Colt’s Manufacturing Company, one of the world’s leading designers, developers and manufacturers of firearms, has evolved its highly popular LE901®-16S modular carbine design by introducing the new M.A.R.C. 901™ (modular AR carbine) product family. This family of modular and customizable carbines features four new models:
“The original model LE901 is very popular with our customers, so we are happy to continue its development and introduce new additions to the family,” said Joyce Rubino, Vice President of Marketing for Colt’s Manufacturing Company. “The new M.A.R.C. 901 models allow our customers to more easily move between various caliber and accessory configurations for target shooting, hunting or tactical purposes.”
All new “SE” models in the M.A.R.C. 901 family feature a monolithic upper receiver with a fixed rail at the 12 o’clock position and provisions to mount rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. The AR901 features a flat-top upper receiver and a tubular forend, with provisions to mount rails at various positions. There are several advantages to these modular rail positions, which make the firearm more customizable and comfortable for users. The design allows shooters to position rail sections where needed for accessories such as bipods, lasers, lights, and more. With the choice to mount only necessary rail sections, users can reduce the weight and diameter of the upper receiver, making it easier to hold. The profile of the upper receiver is also smoother, with fewer sharp edges.
Three three SE models, the LE901-16SE, LE901FDE-16SE and LE901-18SE, all also feature ambidextrous operating controls for the magazine release and bolt catch, and a single-side reversible fire selector. All three of these models are designed with a free-float barrel, VLTOR™ buttstock and locking folding sights. Unique to the LE901FDE-16SE is the flat dark earth finish on the upper and lower receiver, along with FDE furniture. For users who prefer a longer barrel, the LE901-18SE with its 18-inch barrel is the optimal choice. The MSRPs for the three models are: LE901-16SE – $2,181; LE901FDE-16SE – $2,281; and LE901-18SE – $2,181. The LE901-16SE and LE901FDE-16SE models weigh 8.42 pounds and all models have a 1/12 RH twist.
The fifth model in the M.A.R.C. 901 family, the AR901-16S, is the perfect balance between LE901 quality and affordability. It features a free-floated barrel and user-configurable tubular handguard with rail mounting provisions beyond the standard 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions to include rail mounting positions on 16 different planes. The AR901-16S has a B5 Bravo buttstock and measures 34.24-inches with the stock retracted, or 37.5-inches with the stock extended. It has a 1/12 RH twist, weighs 8.24 pounds, and has an MSRP of $1,623.
Like the original model LE901-16S, all of the new LE901 models are multi-caliber, single serial number, modular rifle systems. Chambered for .308 Winchester, the innovative lower receiver and bolt carrier design allow users to easily swap the upper receiver group for any Colt Mil-Spec upper chambered for 5.56 x 45 NATO (.223 Remington). The Adapter Block Conversion Kit includes the needed parts to adapt the 5.56 x 45 NATO upper receiver assembly to the M.A.R.C. 901 lower receiver. These Adapter Block Conversion Kits will be sold separately and are available in the Colt web store for $199.99 (part number SP99415).
Given that there do appear to be conversion kits out there for the 901, this does seem to be a pretty attractive option. The AR901-16S in particular has a very competitive price tag.