US Marine Corps Working with Colt Canada?

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.


The address in its entirety is below:

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Joe

    Is that M-Lok on the forend? Please be true!

    • MemorableC

      The colt Canada MRR has mlock on it, so i assume it is.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        MLOK makes a lot of sense for the logistics of a powered rail. More so than KM and 1913 I think.

    • Blake

      It looks like the 3 and 9 (and probably the 6) o’clock sections are M-Lok, but the 45°s look like Keymod? Or is that just the design of the cutouts being similar?

  • A Random Bystander

    If the AR-15/Stoner design is so good at adaptability like this, why are we always trying to kill it five or ten years? Granted, I’ve never really had the chance to use and abuse these weapon systems like they do in the field. However, it does seem on paper that the overall AR-15/Stoner design is quite good at evolving to meet the ever-changing environments we subject it to.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      I agree. Battery and electronic tech is changing so quickly I don’t know why you’d marry yourself to one potentially heavy power source. Plus if the system goes down it’s all down vs just one of your components going down.

      The only advantage I can see is moving the weight of the batteries of lights/lasers to the rear affecting balance.

      • Kivaari

        You can always install a lighter and smaller battery in a large compartment. A light foam filler when the battery shrinks.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          Agreed but we never know what direction lights, laser, and themselves will go and how reliable will the linkage systems be?

          I’m not big on electrical knowledge but my understanding is that if they are running off of one power source they need to be the same voltage. This may be detrimental when you have something like a red dot vs a 500 lumen light. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Kivaari

            Voltage can be regulated at the using device. like a simple resister can step down the voltage. With modern electronics you can get what you need with a circuit board.

        • Roy G Bunting

          But what will normally happen is running the same size and weight, but longer, or supporting more gadgets.

          A military fighting rifle is about 10lbs and has been for a long time. As weight of a component goes down, other components or more ammo is added.

          It didn’t take long for the 7 pound M-16 to be the 10 pound M4 with accessories we know today.

          • Kivaari

            Even a mid-length lightwieght 16″ carbine weighs more than 7 pounds. It is a pleasure next to a M16A2. The old M16A1 was a nice rifle, shortened to 16″ the ARs are just about perfect.
            I tried adding goodies to the M4s, and before long they were club-like. Same with the MP5. Throw on a light and an Aimpoint and all of a sudden it is heavy and slow to shoulder.

      • iksnilol

        You can just change out the battery for a better one of the same dimensions. No problems there.

        I was just thinking, couldn’t one have the batteries do double duty as buffer weights as well? That’d save weight if the batteries could handle it.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          If the batteries and the linkage could handle it. I’d be more concerned with the linkage when doubling the batteries as a buffer which moves.

    • All about money. If you can convince a department or service that your proprietary design is better, you stand to make a lot of money.

      • A Random Bystander

        Well I love extravagant and innovative concepts as much as (or even more than) the next guy, but it seems that the last great and truly “next-gen” design (totally different design, new proprietary ammo type, and capabilities) was the G11. Everything else that we see around here seems to be the standard AR-15/Stoner design with some little upgrades. Take the HK416 and REC7 for example. Very nice guns in their own right, yet they seem to have started with an AR-15 and said “what’s the smallest thing we could change that might actually matter, and how much could we milk the DoD for it?”

        Whatever the AR-15’s successor may be, I hope it will be as much of an upgrade the M1 Garand was over the 1903 Springfield.

        • Twilight sparkle

          I wouldn’t really say the m1 garand was necessarily an “upgrade” over an 03. They both are great designs but they are good at doing two very different things when it comes to how you fight a battle.

          If anything replaces the m4 it will be because the military needs a rifle in the hands of every soldier that can reach out further than the m4 can, and since most of the people our military fights don’t have the best training I doubt that’ll happen too soon.

          • EXNFLFAN

            AR10 7.62mm (308) does just that sane basic design, a little more weight but still very manageable!

          • Twilight sparkle

            It’s the most obvious choice; but I think if the military were to have to adopt a whole new weapon system they would probably choose something that’s perceived as being better, like the fn scar or some other design which is loosely based on another stoner design… the ar18

          • The ammunition is twice as heavy, which is a huge deal.

          • Um, the M1 was an enormous upgrade over the 1903, what are you talking about?

          • Twilight sparkle

            My argument is that they are both better at two different things, the 03 has better options for mounting a scope since you don’t need to load an en bloc clip and it can be made more accurate; but the garand is better at being a battle rifle where the extra accuracy isn’t really needed.

          • I see your point, however the way you initially worded it gives completely the wrong impression.

          • Twilight sparkle

            I had probably just gotten off work when I wrote that. My sentence structuring skills can suffer at times from that.

        • It is far easier to convince a procurement officer via marketing that your product is enormously better than what they already have than it is to actually design something enormously better.


      I had one actual tge real assault weapon M-16 which fires 650 rounds per minute as compared to 30 rounds per minute of the AR. (By the way liberals, the AR does NOT stand for Assualt Rifle, it stands for Armalite Rifle the Manufacturer) it is a decent weapon, but the M14 was better at lobg distances and for shooting tgrough twigs, leaves and trees! The M16 is 5.56mm round does not tolerate mud and dirt as well as the Kalasnikov AK47 which is 7.62x49mm round. Can lay in the mud fir a week and fire on command! The AR is a fun gun, lots of adaptable toys, accurate, light.In Connecticut they are illegal even though made here by several Companies! I am moving to another State just so I can have one legally to protect what is mine, including my life!

      • SD

        WTF are you rambling on about?

      • Umberto

        what the hell?
        and you don’t even talk about the malfunctions during the first years of the vietnam war? pfe

  • Kivaari

    Another good looking rifle. As long as it doesn’t require batteries to function. I hate batteries.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      I’d guess the batteries are for the optic, lights, lasers etc… It’ll go back without them but if the optic goes down you’ll want BUIS.

      • Kivaari

        It has an etched retical so it still works. But, I want BUIS regardless. Not only do I distrust batteries, but I distrust optics. As good as they are today, I just used so many bad ones over the lat 55 years, that my trust level is low.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          I honestly want both. I’ve seen irons and optics fail. I just don’t like relying on one power source. Now if it’s low light and you optic goes down you could use your visible laser. Not ideal but can still work.

          • Gary Kirk

            Tape a mini glowstick to the base of the FO element on the Acog.. Triple illumination.. Still no batteries

          • Harry’s Holsters

            It may sound crazy but I I were to buy an ACOG I’d go with the battery version vs worrying about getting the tritium replaced.

  • Ron

    The level collaboration is blown way out of proportion, the current service rifle and carbine are expected to serve until at least 2025. Since this would be a major program it would have to go the JROC and a JSAAPs like program would have to be done

    • John

      It’s not as though America and Canada are enemies anymore. World War 2 and Vietnam saw most of the animosity end.

      • Klaus Von Schmitto

        You ever been to Florida in the winter?

  • Matt

    I don’t get the point of monolithic uppers. They are more expensive to manufacture and more difficult to install barrels, gas tubes, and gas blocks. What benefit do they offer that free floated forends do not?

    • John

      Well, if they’re solid, they’ll hold more weight and be a lot more durable in the field. Also, you can adjust the sights to any length, unlike a typical M4 where you have a gap in the middle.

      • Joshua

        Except when it gets damage you have to trash the whole upper instead of just the rail.

        And trust me, if it becomes general issue, it will get damaged.

        • jono102

          We’ve never had an issue having to replace uppers with our LMT DMW’s (MWS) in about the 6-7yrs they’ve been in service. Our first batch were for deployments only and each rifle did 4-5 rotations each. The only damaged rifle was a total write off from catastrophic IED strike we lost 3 guys in. The barrels are free floated from the hand guard and are easy to remove user level.
          The Danes I’ve worked with don’t seem to have any issues with their C8 IUR’s either and are pretty stoked with there performance.
          Armorers can clean up bur’s and minor damage to rails. Most areas are pretty well protected by the kit mounted there or ladders etc. Generally in the military if its on a standard AR and the hand guard or upper sustains major damage over and above that. The armorer would most likely write the whole upper or rifle off any way given the possibility of further damage elsewhere.

          • Gary Kirk

            About the only reason the Mil doesn’t move to a free floating or monolithic is so the barrel can be completely uncovered on the user level for application of clp to the surface..

    • n0truscotsman

      No idea, honestly.

      Which is why i dont run monos. I dont see the point in them

  • LCON

    So having listened to the talk, near future goal lets sat form now till post 2025 is Tracking point like optic mated to integrated power rail system on M4 based platform.
    Longer term is the same but using LSAT based Polymer cased telescopic ammo


    Aw, man. I remember this concept of a rail system that powered attachments and controlled them from a video game somewhere. It kind of blew my mind.

    Granted, these types of projects go on for YEARS, so maybe whoever applied that to their game read it from some published article or somewhere.

  • FactChecker90803

    The simple reason the USMC, is working with Colt Canada is to acid the CUMBERSOME and TIME CONSUMING , solicitation to tender that is inherent in the all DoD Projects. Honestly if the Marines, went the traditional.way, they would

    1, Tender a Solicitation To Offer.
    2. Prospective Companies would respond with there offers.
    3. Offers would be down selected to 3 or 4 offers 4. One or two respondents would be selected.
    5. Respondents would get a contract to produce prototypes of there offers.
    6. One or Two, companies that were not down selected, would file a protest.
    7. The process would be delayed pending the outcome of the protests. Whole process likely would take 6 months to a year.
    8. Three or Four companies , get contracts for prototypes.
    9. Process is down selected to 1 company.
    10. The companies not selected for the contract , file. Protest . Process to settle protests takes.maybe 6 months to a year.

    So the process if they went the traditional DoD, way would take 2 to 4 years, before any prototypes are available for testing.

    • Ron

      And that is why the cooperation is overblown in the article, the Marine Corps is subject to US acquisition laws and as I have said a service weapon replacement is a major program and would required the full acquisition cycle.
      Right now the M16 FOW has a predicted service life into 2025.

      • Tess

        The same laws that pertained to the M27 IAR? Colt USA would clearly handle any domestic sales. Colt Canada is a cheap R&D facility. Colt USA couldn’t handle small-scale R&D with their overwhelming union labor. Plus it allows Canada to source cheaper foreign components for proof of concept before tooling up for any US production.

    • Tess

      So the Diemaco Colt AR program (based on the LMG) in 2001 had nothing to do with it? I’d think the Marines already having a past working relationship is reason enough.

  • Joshua

    And it’ll only cost $20,000 per weapons package.

    Sorry, but there is no way a weapon like this would ever be feasible for a large issuance.

    • LCON

      I think your overestimating.
      Right now on the open market is the Trackingpoint M600 This has the smart optic technology, the powered stock and assisted trigger pull and a number of navigation features. the off the shelf cost is about 10G,
      Also off the Shelf is Wilcox industries Fusion Amp Rail system that is intended to supply power to electrical accessories. This on it’s own off the shelf is about 2.5 G.
      This described system is basically a combination of the two. The Stock battery off a Trackingpoint, the Optic off the Trackingpoint and a Amp rail wired together. so what 13 G including $500 of wiring and human hours? but those are also off the shelf pricing not block orders. Trackingpoint rifles are basically one off hand builds by a small niche company and as Military builds rule goes the more you build, the more you sell the lower the unit price.

      • Uniform223

        “the off the shelf cost is about 10G”

        > That is more than a typical down payment on a brand new car. At 10Gs you can fully equip your “typical” soldier/marine for that kind of money. Sure unique high end SF/SO units get some highspeed gear but 10Gs for a single weapon doesn’t spread well. Another thing to think about is, “is it soldier proof”? Can it take abuse?
        Recoil Magazine did a review on a TrackingPoint rifle. What they found was that in a more dynamic situation and in less than ideal fire positions, more traditional glass and spotter performed better.
        If the US Military or any military for that matter does in fact invest time and money into adopting such a platform, I really can’t see it being used in incredibly limited use for very special purpose applications.

        • LCON

          My point is that the $20,000 per weapon was Hyperbole based estimate. I used the Price of the Trackingpoint M600 SR Squad-Level Precision-Guided 5.56 Service Rifle $9995.00 rounded off. However That Price is still not an Accurate depiction.
          I was using it as a comparison due to similar mission and level of modification.
          Have not seen too much of Recoil magazine covering of TP. but would especially not be surprised if this was an older article. Overall it is still a young technology built in small batch numbers by a small builder. For a developmental product were talking TRL 6 at best TRL 7.
          Against an experienced Sniper team It makes sense. This is not about replacing the skills of a Sniper it’s about augmenting their abilities.
          “If the US Military or any military for that matter does in fact invest time and money into adopting such a platform, I really can’t see it being used in incredibly limited use for very special purpose applications.”
          Well, I think we need to take a step back here and look at what Colt canada is offering and how the potential price is mitigated by the fact it would be more then Replacing the Rifle scope.
          It would also be replacing the Laser sight and clip on night/ Thermal weapons sight as well as Adding potential off hand shooting capabilities. replacing GPS navigation and Laser/ GPS Target designators and range finder.
          It also matches a few programs of record for the US DOD
          DARPA’s Computational Weapon Optic
          DARPA’s Squad X Core technologies
          US Army Family of Weapons sights
          and matches up nicely with the British MOD Future Soldier Vision.
          Where the Tech has the potential edge is in the “Less than Ideal Firing positions” and In more critically for the Military, Low to no light. Now Tracking point only started looking at Night vision for the last maybe 6 months and Off hand development for the last 2 years.
          IR pointers like Tracers work both ways and with IR technologies becoming more and more available It’s not going to take till 2025 before IR pointers on rifles act as potential beacons to adversaries screaming “here I am”.
          adding a night/ Thermal scope to a rifle ups the weight and changes the balance the US Army’s FWS aims to ease use in low light but comes at a cost. Colt’s hope is that they can integrate the FWS abilities into the stock rifle scope so going from day to night is a tap on the mode button. And if you can stream data from your Optic then you pretty much can use it to shoot off hand.
          If you have a computerized optic adding GPS is nothing more than a receiver chip and lines of code away. Smart Scopes use rangefinders and internal stabilization/ Gyroscopic altazimuth sensor has part of their operation by necessity, If you have that GPS, a digital camera and a transmitter you have a target designator.
          the final bit is that it would be merging all these and eliminating the need for their individual batteries reducing weight.
          And as to ruggedness We have had troops with Thermal weapon sights for over a decade and that’s a pretty sophisticated piece of tech. How rugged does it have to be? Add to that the Colt Wants to have a Fall back Dumb mode, Where the scope falls back into Reflex optic.

  • GD Ajax

    Now try placing a battery in a folding stocking. Oh wait you just cut off the power.

    • LCON

      Hmmm….. No.
      As you would run the power though a heavy duty wire that would flex as you folded the stock. If you tried to remove the stock then you would have a problem. But your Car door opens and closes and is still connected to the Car’s electrical system and probably has more Electric current running through it yet that doesn’t stop you from opening and closing the power windows and door locks whether open or closed.
      Powered Rail systems for M16 in the past worked by running wires around the lower receiver.
      The Tracking Point M600,M800, Night eagle and Night Dragon run a Wire from the stock/battery over the lower receiver, up around the ejection port to the optic to supply power allowing the receiver of the weapon to be opened for access to the bolt. The same would hold true if you integrated it into a folding stock rifle like say the HK G36.

      • Bob

        A car door generally doesn’t fold the wire 180, as a stock would, so apples and oranges. Doable, I’ve no doubt, but I wanted to nitpick…

    • Patrick M.

      Airsoft guns have batteries in folding stocks so I can’t imagine that a large firearms manufacturer couldn’t come up with a design

      • Gary Kirk


        • Patrick M.

          There is a SCAR that sends battery power through the hinge of the stock with no exposed wires if I recall correctly. My little brother had one. I wouldn’t say it’s robust enough for a firearm obviously

          • mig1nc

            Gang, look at the picture. First off, that picture shows a telescoping stock. Not a folding one (it’s still an M4 at its heart). I think that might be the battery under the receiver extension, so if that is true, it wouldn’t even need to move at all.

          • Patrick M.

            We weren’t talking about that.

  • H&R Canada

    Colt Canada has been gaining a lot of publicity lately up North. They’ve started releasing more rifles for civy sales, rolled out a new model , the MRR which you can pre order( check their website) around $2200 Canadian $ in civilian dollars. They sold off a batch of mil contract Danish over run uppers recently to the public. They got the the big Colt industrial complex behind them but a bit of flexibility like a boutique manufacturer. I can see why they work with usmc, it just provides options, explore capabilities with a company that provides mil rifles. Further to this anything colt Canada does could be done by colt USA the parent company.

    • Jay

      Colt canada makes much better barrels than the US based company.


    In the vid, he explains that Colt USA has ceded military R&D to ‘Diemaco’ – C7/C8 users guarantees a market

  • James brinley

    It wont happen anytime the military talks about switching weapons it always ends up the same story”it cost to much” and then they end up just keeping the same garbage they had before,watch and see.