POTD: Just a Little Guy – Colt 639 Commando Carbine
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a really cool piece of Vietnam War era history. This is a Colt 629 or Colt 639 (depending on whether it is an export model or not) and its military designation was the XM177E2. The Colt 639 was issued to the MACVSOG or special operations groups that would be behind enemy lines. The idea behind this rifle was they wanted something both reliable and compact. The reliability was tooled and toyed with by Colt to get everything working right with its 11-ish-inch barrel. It sported a compensator/flash hider/suppressor which was called a “moderator”. It acted like a suppressor in the sense that it knocked off a couple of decibels but more than anything it was made with the intent that when the rifle fired it would sound more like an AK than an M16. This way hopefully the enemy would be either confused or unbothered by hearing their own gunfire.
“An export/commercial variant of the Colt M16 rifle, the base configuration of the Model 639 included a short barrel fitted with a special sound moderator/flash hider designed to alter the report of the carbine, to make it unrecognizable to forces familiar with standard M16/AR15 family rifles; while not a true silencer, the moderator was close enough for regulatory purposes to require a second tax stamp, and on this example it has been replaced with an A4 pattern upper with a closed-bottom bird cage flash hider, “1/7” twist rate marking, bayonet lug, ribbed round handguard and a detachable rear sight/carry handle assembly. The lower has the “COLT/AR-15” logo on the left side of the magazine well over “MOD.639/CAL. 5.56MM./4790061”, and the Colt Firearms Division address is stamped near the right handed “SAFE/SEMI/AUTO” selector switch. It is fitted with a checkered pistol grip and a two-position telescoping buttstock. Includes a plastic hard case. Magazine absent. Provenance: From the collection of Mitchell L. WerBell III.”
Lot 424: Colt Ar-15 Model 639 Carbine, Class Iii/Nfa Fully Transferrable – Colt Ar-15 Model 639 Select Fire Carbine, Class Iii/Nfa Fully Transferrable Machine Gun from the Private Collection of Famed Spy, Mercenary, and Sionics Suppressor Designer Mitchell L. WerBell Iii. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/80/424/colt-ar15-model-639-carbine-class-iiinfa-fully-transferrable.