Back To The Future! Building a M16/XM177-style AR15

    Today we take a look at a build that brings us back to the Colt Commando era. and back to the future again!

    The idea behind this build was to get a modern M16A1/XM177-style AR15.

    Let’s begin with a short history lesson with this legendary photograph.

    Apart from the first picture below, all pictures are taken by “Schrombo“, used with permission.

    Below: “Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Mark Blasen, foreground, and Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Peter Rogers, both members of Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) Team 4, participate in a training exercise. Blasen is armed with a 5.56 mm Colt Commando assault rifle/submarine gun. All Hands – April 1985. (cropped)”

    U.S. Navy SEAL with Colt Commando. Note: large flash hider.


    Here’s the idea behind Schrombo’s concept:


    I like it a lot when a gun looks kinda classic/vintage on the outside, but has all the necessary gadgets on the inside.

    So I built what looks like a simple AR15 to the eye of the casual observer, but when you open it up, there’s a ton of features you probably wouldn’t have expected.

    The receiver set is a collaboration between Brownells and NoDak Spud and recreates the looks & the light weight of the classic A1 rifles.

    Then I got a semi lightweight 11.5” barrel from Double Star and added an Osprey carbine length piston kit that works perfectly with the standard military front sight / gas block.

    There are lots of interesting components inside, and outside, this build.

    The lower receiver got a Geissele G2S trigger, a short throw ambi safety & a beavertail grip by Oberland Arms, plus a captured recoil spring / buffer system made by Markus Husterer.

    The Osprey bolt carrier is one piece without the need for a separate carrier key, the bolt is a nickel boron coated and EXO treated one from FailZero and the roller cam pin is made by POF.

    The chevron front sight post is from Blitzkrieg Components and makes fast target acquisition a breeze!

    The only real vintage part on that whole carbine is the original A1 rear sight hardware that I received thanks to a generous follower after I couldn’t find it over here in Germany.

    In summary: never judge a book by its cover!

    You can read more about the CAR-15 here on Wikipedia.

    Picture used with permission thanks to Schrombo – check his Instagram out!

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6×6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.