During the early stages of my law enforcement career, I worked as a uniformed New York State Park Police Officer in the Bronx and carried a Smith & Wesson .38 Special service revolver. Later, working as an investigator for the New York District Attorney's Office, the heaviest firepower I ever carried on duty was a Smith & Wesson nine-shot 9mm Model 39.
It wasn't until I joined the U.S. Customs Service in the early 1980s that I trained with Colt M16 and Colt CAR-15 rifles and carbines. I was issued a brand new Colt CAR-15 with a fixed carry handle and a collapsible stock. I liked this rifle so much that I refused to transition to the Steyr AUG when my agency adopted this 21st century-looking bull-pup design in the tail end of the 20th century.
Even though a considerable number of Steyr AUGs were issued to U.S. Customs Agents I continued to remain a huge fan of the Colt M16, AR-15. and CAR-15-so much so that when I took three undercover boat trips to the coast of Colombia I made sure that my crew was armed with four Colt CAR-15s and one Colt M16 Heavy Barrel, in addition to pistols and shotguns.
I also carried my Colt CAR-15 on numerous air interdiction missions and in the trunk of my government ride in case I needed more firepower while working on land. I liked this rifle so much that I ended up buying a fixed-handle Colt AR-15 A2 with a two-position collapsible stock from a local police supply store when I received written authorization to do so by my agency during the assault weapons ban.
Back then we carried Colt M16 or CAR-15 variants (the CAR-15 was the predecessor to the M4) because at that time no other companies made copies of these famous Colt products. Today, things are different, so much so that I cannot begin to list the number of vendors who manufacture direct impingement and piston version copies of the Colt M16 and M4 Carbine. But Colt is the only manufacturer that produces M4 Carbine variants for the U.S. military. Colt also sells its line of select fire M4s to numerous law enforcement agencies.
The Colt Model LE6920
The first giant leap into the 21st century as far as law enforcement patrol and tactical rifles occurred when high-quality optics became available for armed professionals who were assigned to tactical duties. Initially, some rifle operators attached optics to various Colt M4s and other copies of this design that had a fixed carry handle. Then someone got the bright idea to kill two birds with one stone and design M16-style rifles and M4-style carbines with a removable carry handle and an accessory rail system on top of the rifle's upper receiver. The accessory rail on top of the upper receiver was designed to accommodate various red dot and magnified optics.
The Colt Model LE6920 is still one heck of a patrol or tactical rifle. Features of the LE6920 include: a four-position collapsible stock, a 5.56mm chamber, a chrome-lined chamber and bore, a barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist that accommodates ammunition up to 80 grains, an adjustable front sight, a removable carry handle that includes a flip-up iron sight, and an accessory rail under the handle. The Model LE6921 is a semi-automatic version of the LE6920 that is equipped with a 14.5-inch barrel, while the LE6920 is a semi-automatic civilian legal Colt carbine with a 16.1-inch barrel.
From experience I can say that the Colt LE6920 is an outstanding semi-automatic M4-style carbine. If all you need is a patrol rifle that utilizes iron sights or you plan on installing a minimal amount of accessories such as an optic and a tactical flashlight, the LE6920 is well suited to your task. My oldest son who serves as a police officer recently purchased a slightly used Colt LE6920 from one of my shooting buddies so he can carry a high-quality Colt M4-style patrol rifle on duty.