I wrote the following post about two days after we broke the news of Colt’s purchase of LWRC, but I shelved it because I thought maybe it was a little too speculative. Then earlier today I ran across this piece by Michael Bane that’s pretty close to what I was thinking, down to the Washington Times link. So it appears I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.
Our sister site TFB has confirmed that Colt is indeed in the process of buying LWRC, and for a price of $60 million. Now we’re left with the question of what, if anything, this could mean for both companies.
The Washington Times just came out with a massive, two-part investigation into the Army’s alleged troubles with the M4 carbine platform. Part 1 and part 2 are both worth reading, although none of the knocks against the weapon platform will be new to anyone who has even peripherally followed this issue.
I’m not going to get into the piece or how it was sourced, but it’s interesting that someone was willing to pass the Times a whole raft of studies that are critical of the M4. Calls for the platform to be replaced have been coming regularly since it was first introduced, but I wonder if the Times piece is not evidence that there’s now some momentum building within the military for a real change.
The big knocks against the M4 platform can all be boiled down to maintenance/reliability and the lethality (or lack thereof) of the 5.56mm round. The piston operating system is an attempt to address the former issue, and the 6.8 SPC caliber is an attempt to address the latter. I think you can see where I’m going with this…
Colt has its own piston AR platform, but it’s about to buy the current king of US-based piston AR scene, a company that already has a military contract for a 6.8 SPC piston gun. With LWRC’s Six8 family in its stable, Colt will be in an excellent position to offer a the military top-notch piston platform that’s built around a more lethal round, but still has the same manual of arms as the M4 that soldiers have already been trained on.
Obviously, I’m speculating that there’s a link between Colt’s purchase of LWRC, LWRC’s 6.8 contract, and the past few years’ worth of noise about replacing the M4. But I think it’s reasonable. Or now… thoughts from the readers?