It would seem, at least according to Colt Canada, that the United States Marine Corps is a partner (with Canadian & British militaries) in the development of C7 and C8 rifle upgrades. The announcement came from Colt Canada’s General Manager Jeff Macleod at the Royal Canadia Military Institute.
While at first, this may seem like a slap to the domestic industry’s face, Colt Canada is primarily looking at weapon usage enhancements, not the physical design or performance of the weapon itself. The Marine Corps is likely interested in the integrated system, which domestic companies are not actively developing.
The enhanced stoner-based design does not change the basic operation of the weapon. It will still be direct impingement, but opts to add an integrated suppressor to the weapon. Controls will be fully ambidextrous and the upper receiver is fully monolithic. Oh, and its tan instead of the always-popular black.
The stock houses a battery pack which serves as the primary power station for all on-weapons electronics including an enhanced 4x optic, lasers, and lights all of which interface with modular powered rail sections. The optic maintains an etched reticle so even if the power goes out, the weapon will remain usable.
The battery pack at the rear of the weapon makes sense. Stocks generally have the most room and the weight to the rear offsets the nose-heavy conventional layout rifle, especially one with an integrated suppressor. Mr. Macleod mentions that the weapon should be 1/2 pound lighter than comparably equipped M4 rifles with non-integrated features.
Colt Canada expects to ship rifles to the various partners for testing in the fall of this year. On a larger note, Colt Canada believes that the common metallic cartridge has hit its peak. There are few, if any enhancements to be made to the base technology.
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