Original Colt IAR Contract Evaluation Uppers for Sale

Along with the IAR finalists consisting of Heckler & Koch’s 416, FN’s HAMR, Colt submitted an entry to the Marine Corps Infantry Automatic Rifle competition. Of course, this is ancient history, and H&K won the competition with M27 IAR. However, unlike all the other competitors, Colt’s IAR 6940 submission has actually made it to market, for public sale. Not the entire rifle, but just the upper receiver. The competition uppers used by the Marine Corps must have been returned to Colt, or these were a prototype run that were actually never fired in the competition. But either way, around 150-200 of them are for sale through a company called U.S. Armament Corps, based in Ephrata, PA. The price is $2000, and can be purchased online through the company themselves.

The Colt IAR (Infantry Assault Rifle) was designed and submitted to the US Marine Corps for evaluation but eventually lost out to H&K for replacing the M249 SAW. These 100% Colt original uppers are all that is left of the program, and there are less than 200 available to the general public. (Factory New Condition)The Uppers feature MATECH front sights, circular forward assist, Colt marked upper receivers, Colt 1/7 twist barrels, heat sink hand-guards, and flip up front sights.


Apparently, Colt Defense actually worked very heavily with the owner of the company (which is a Title 10 manufacturer) in the design and prototyping of the Colt IAR, a certain Curtis Wolf who is the owner of U.S. Armament Corps. I don’t have much information other than this, but will update it if any readers can get in touch as to exactly what this relationship consisted of.

TFB has been able to obtain some photographs of the upper in private hands, from a owner who purchased it at a recent gun show.

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And interestingly enough, Colt Defense was able to sell a number of the IARs to the Mexican military.

A Mexican marine stands guard on a street on the outskirts of Puebla September 12, 2010. Mexican marines captured Sergio Villarreal, dubbed 'El Grande', a top lieutenant of a leading drug cartel, on Sunday as authorities intensified their campaign against drug kingpins, local media reported. REUTERS/Stringer (MEXICO - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS)


Specifications from Colt Defense-

CALIBER 5.56×45 NATO (.223 Rem.)
WEIGHT 9.5 lbs (4.31 kg)
OVERALL LENGTH (STOCK EXTENDED) 36.75 in. (93.35 cm)
BARREL LENGTH 16 in. (40.64 cm)


Much Thanks to Jason Ono for providing the in-depth pictures for TFB!


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • A bearded being from beyond ti

    Bulka bulk.

    • SP mclaughlin


  • anon

    whats with all the extra bulk on the fore end? some sort of heat dissipator?

    • Rick O’Shay

      It’s a heat sink intended to prevent cookoffs.

  • RSG

    2 grand? Lol. I only want the lower.

    • B. Young

      LOL, If you had the $20,000+ lower you would want the $2000 colt experimental upper.

  • Anonymoose

    I’d put this on a lower with a UBR to balance it out. I expect to see one of these on Forgotten Weapons one of these days, as a follow-up to the CMG-3.

    • Rick O’Shay

      More like in another 20 years.

      • Anonymoose

        Yeah, but Ian did a video about the CheyTac Intervention, and the Colt IAR is already 5 years out of date.

  • gunsandrockets

    Carbine length DI gas system? 2+ pounds heat sink?

    Just guessing.

  • Darren

    I wish they’d come down on the prices for their stuff. This is the same company that wants over 1k for their Colt M1903 Hammerless reproductions. I would totally buy a new one at 600. The problem with their current price is I can get a functioning one for $450 and a new barrel from them for $125

  • Uniform223

    Yay!!! Another status symbol for gun owners!

    • Anonymoose

      Except this is rare and collectable, unlike most mallninja stuff.

  • MeaCulpa

    Oooh look, an AR15 with mumps!

    On a serious note, a vehicle mounted IAR seems pretty counter intuitive.

  • Jordan Snyder

    No wonder they went HK…

    • Joshua

      You mean like how they forced the HAMR to only fire in closed bolt, or how the HK416 did not make it past phase III(none of the entrants made it past phase III) but was selected anyways?

      There was a whole lot wrong with the IAR competition and the fact that shortly after it completed they attempted to fleet the M27 shows the real reason for it.

      However they quickly learned it would take far to long and cost far to much to fleet the M27.

      • Ron

        Knowing about the IAR from concept to fielding and latter testing as a potential service rifle. I can categorically say the reason for the IAR was not to replace the M16A4 or M4 as service weapons but instead the Marine Corps only adopted the SAW because at the time of adoption could not afford to field a separate, non-Army program of record weapon system. Since the M249 fielding the Gunner Community did not like it and wanted to replace in the infantry fire team.
        There was no talk of service wide fielding under Gen Conway when the majority of the development of the program began and was first purposed by Gen Amos following his first exposure to an M27 prior to fielding. When all the Marines that day who fired them to include Gen Amos were able to quickly pick them up and hit targets at distance he asked the question, why don’t we field this as a service weapon.

        • CommonSense23

          So what is allowing them to hit targets with it but not a M4A1?

          • Joshua

            Better trigger, free floated rail, and better barrel.

            All things that can be done cheaper in the M4….and the M4A1 has 2/3 of those things yet the Marines still chose to issue the M4(yes I know it was due to already having them, but it ignores the glaring issues of the burst trigger and the thin profile barrel).

          • J. Murphy

            Fielding the M4’s you already have, plus a few IAR’s that cover the M4’s deficiencies, is cheaper then buying a bunch of M4A1’s that are going to need upgrade packages within the next ten years anyway.

          • DW

            The HK logo on the side of the receiver?

  • Herschel Walker

    So it looks like just a Socom (or heavier) barrel with a big ole handguard. Am I missing anything? Oh, probably a short stroke piston too.

  • DW

    Attach to a SCR lower and trigger everyone

  • B. Young

    Honestly almost all experimental Colt AR stuff is in a few museums like the Knights Armament (private) museum. There are a few Colt LMG uppers out there and that’s about it as far Colt experimental AR type stuff that can be documented to certain program. I suspect Colt quit supporting the Mexican Gubberement sale and released these for sale to the public via US Armament. Only 150-200?, for a colt AR type collector these are a bargain.

    • Edeco

      Yep, seems an OK deal as a historical item, technology sample, or a toy for someone who could put an auto lower on it.

    • Gregory Markle

      The Colt stuff ended up in Knight’s museum because they owed him money they didn’t have for work he did for them and that’s how they paid him. I suspect that Kurt is being paid for his work on the 1903 Hammerless and maybe even some of the Bulldog Gatlings he also makes for Colt in IAR uppers and possible other items.

  • cons2p8ted

    That’s my buddy Jason’s rifle….can’t wait to shoot it!

  • DanGoodShot

    It looks like it ate too much at Thanksgiving dinner.

  • valorius

    Only 2000 eh? What a bargain.

  • Bill

    Now that’s what I call heavy metal!

  • Rollin L

    Surprised that the author does not know about Curt Wolf, U.S. Armament or his Ordnance Research division. This is the outfit making the spectacular 1877 Bulldog Gatling guns for Colt, as well as the new 1903 Officers Pocket Pistol. He has been an important figure in the Class 3 world for many years.