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I’m looking to buy my first ar and I prefer colt over fn, with that being said I’m thinking either between a le6920 or a colt m4a1 socom. Now I went to the gun store and the socom was missing the white dot mil spec marking and I didn’t check the barrel for the marking but I saw one barrel had a R on it and was told it was sub contracted. I was confused as why the m4a1 would have ANY sub contracted parts. My second thing the dude tells me the fn collectors edition is more of a mil spec rifle as opposed to the m4a1 now from what I know colt owns the tdp for m4s so how is fn going to make an m4 more mil sec or exceed mil spec when they don’t own it for the m4 and they don’t have a military contract as of now anymore. Another thing the socom I saw at the store had a marking by mpc on the bolt carrier but no white dot, any opinion as to what they would mean ? Please any information would help
 

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Welcome to the COLT Forum from the Cradle Of Liberty...Pennsylvania !!

Enjoy Our Community Sir... and I just PM'd you a link to a YouTube channel that when searched is full of all the answers to your questions. Easier than typing it out...

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Colt has always used subcontractor parts in their commercial and military-police rifles.
It would be stupid for a manufacturer to build parts like stocks, magazines, screws, pins, springs, and even barrel blanks when they can buy them from specialty contractors.
For the military-police rifles the subcontractors have to certify that the parts are made to US government contract standards.
Last I heard, Colt used the exact same parts in the commercial rifles as in the military-police rifles.

A few years ago Colt began deleting many of the inspection stamps on commercial rifles to keep the price down.
The white dot was simply one of those marks that really served no purpose, since the bolt is still inspected and magnetic particle tested, and all other parts that were marked are still inspected.

By all accounts from recent buyers the Colt rifles are still made to the same high standards as always, they're just not wasting money and time having inspectors actually stamp most small parts.
 

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I fairly often get asked what AR to buy and I usually recommend Colt, for the consistent, known quality.
When asked if Colt actually makes the rifles or just stamps their name on them, I explain that Colt has has certain non-core AR rifle made outside the plant in he past but the core rifles like the M4 are genuine factory made rifles.

When asked, I explain that Colt, like all gun makers does not make 100% of any firearm, and have many parts made by contractors.
This usually causes people to ask again if that means Colt doesn't actually make the rifles and I explain why they don't make many small parts.......

In order to manufacture a plastic stock, a pin, screw, magazine, spring, or sight would require building an expansion on the factory.....Expensive in many ways..... construction, taxes, land, etc.

New production equipment would have to be bought and maintained...expensive.

Raw materials would have to be purchased.....expensive.

Steel has to be heat treated and given a finish..... expensive and dangerous to employees.

New employees would have to be hired and trained.....VERY expensive....wages, benefits, insurance, medical, and on and on.

So, instead it's cheaper to just buy small parts from companies that specialize in manufacturing them and already have the equipment and personnel to do it.
In the case of the military rifles the subcontractor has to supply to Colt legal documentation and lab test results that the parts meet the government specifications, and Colt has to supply those to the government proving the parts all meet the government specifications.

At least in the past (****Note the qualifier) Colt hasn't wasted money running two supply streams of one quality of part for military rifles and another, lower quality part for commercial and police rifles.
So, you were/are getting the same general rifle using the same parts that Colt sells to the military and police, only semi-auto only.

This is different then all other commercial AR makers since they can use whatever parts they want, from any source they want, including China or Pakistan.
All they have to do is decide that a part is good enough for their use.

Bottom line for me and what I tell people is that you can buy a cheaper AR or a much more expensive AR, but the Colt is the one all others are judged by and that you can be pretty assured that you can take a Colt out of the box and shoot it for many thousands of rounds without any trouble at all.

****The qualifier.....
I'm long retired and no longer know anyone at Colt so I have NO idea how things are done today. Things and people change.
 

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I bought my Colt model CR6960 midlength gas system carbine last month and also a Colt CR6920-EPR M4 carbine and A4 20" complete upper half conversion kits late last year.

Their markings are not the same as 6 or more years ago, no more date stamps on the barrel, some bolt and bolt carriers are not marked or have very faint markings.

Colt Defense cage code of 13629 are on the majority of parts now but not all. Some barrels have a yellow dot marking on the handguard area.

The letter R on the barrel same as one of my barrels is made by their barrel subcontractor Roscoe Manufacturing, Colt had been subcontracting their barrels for a very long time either to reduce cost or when they have a very busy production.

Not long ago back in 2015 a popular machine gun rental stated from their detailed maintenance record, they legally converted 20 units of Colt LE6920 OEM1 (without furniture) with Colt full auto parts and they used Magpul SL furniture on all 20 carbines.

They stated compared to high quality brands (Daniel Defense, LMT, FN, etc.) Colt parts and components last up to 2 to 3 times longer than those other good brands.

Each of their Colt M4 converted carbines averaged 150K rounds of always full auto fire in 1 year.

I'm a long time Colt AR owner of about 51 years now, it started for me with my Colt SP1 rifle.
 
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