Colt’s 7.62mm Convertable Carbine

Colt Defense LLC showed off its new LE901 Multi-Caliber Weapon System at Shot Show this year. The LE901 is a semi-auto version of the gunmaker’s CM901.

Colt engineers have done a lot of work over the past few years to push beyond its standard M4 design. The company also seems to have abandoned its hunker-in-the-bunker mentality it clung to in recent years.

The LE901 features a 16.1 inch barrel and weighs 9.4 pounds. It’s chambered for .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO) but can quickly be converted to .223 (5.56mm NATO) with a separate upper. The LE901 should be available in March for about $2,200 retail.

Here’s a couple of videos of the LE901 at Shot.



About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

18 Comments on "Colt’s 7.62mm Convertable Carbine"

  1. Huh, Colt said that they didn't enter the CM901 into the Individual Carbine because they were worried about technical data package control. Turns out that at 9.4 pounds, it's just too fat.

  2. Hmm.. Colt makes solid weapons, but can anyone tell me what the fascination is with the whole convertible caliber thing that everyone is doing?

    I mean, I'd rather have a solid 7.62 designed, fitted and tested for its mission and the kit-out designed for it as well. If you are in a position to swap out uppers, optics, re-zero, et al (i.e. not down range) and all the associated gear, just grab a different gun and gear?.. If not, *** is going on where you are carrying around a different upper and needing to swap it?

    What am I missing here?

  3. Two reasons. (for me personally)

    1) You get a better punch when engaging bigger game with .308, yet you can have easier access of ammo with .223 and allows you to stay sharp on the 'standard issue firearms'

    2) Zombie Apocalypse. "Come on, get a life! you say." Well I have one and I don't want no undead walking corpse "unending" mine. If you and a buddy/random stanger/attractive female have firearms of a differing caliber, and one of you runs out of ammo, you're both scrwd. Interchangeable ammo is a plus. That's why there are "NATO" ammo standards.

    Hope that helped.

  4. I think the caliber-convertible rifles are less for the end-user and more for the government's benefit. Say, every soldier, marine, sailer, and airman that is combat arms gets issued one standard lower receiver they'd only need to then field specialized uppers depending on caliber and operating system.

  5. From a civilian sale standpoint, one can have the benefit of two different rifles for only one FFL purchase, and at maybe 60% or so of the cost of two separate rifles.

    From a military standpoint, its hedging bets against the never ending chatter and calls for a caliber change. A rifle such as this is able to be converted from 5.56 to 7.62, and presumably anything in between such as 6.8 and 6.5 with only an upper swap. That puts Colt in a decent position if any new secdef decides to pull a McNamara and unilaterally change calibers.

    As far as swapping in the field, yeah I think that is more marketing than reality.

  6. Also, shrinking budgets aside, either the SCAR or something like it is likely to be the next standard rifle of the military some day. SCAR brings caliber modularity and common platform to the shooters, and was obviously something sought after by SOCOM since it was their project. The SCAR L has been dumped for now, from what I hear, but that doesn't mean that the SCAR series isn't still a competitor to the Stoner design. I see Colt's offering as a counter to that possibility.

  7. The ICC competition is running into some BIG controversy and road blocks the Budget being one of them. Most gun maker outside of Colt HK and Remington have left the competition saying they DoD had asked them to go since they didn't like there company size or some other excuse. The the barrel and caliber change requirements gone the ICC is already be called a sham and a joke. Most gun makers like LWRC and LMT and even some larger ones like Colt already state that the winner probably will be the Army's improved M-4A2 they are working on right now

    With the Army's budget slashed most funds will goto the new APC program the Ground Combat Vehicle or the JLTV HUNVEE replacement.

  8. I heard from a soldier close to the trials that the Colt M4 piston and LWRC are in a close runner up position. The 416 is kickin butt in every way by a land slide but costs will be a issue. I personally love the 416 better than any weapon I have ever touched except it is 1.5 lbs heavier. With some Of that new plastic jacketed ammo it won't matter. I really hope regardless of my preference that the COLT Piston gets the nod and I would love to see the Army field the IAR also. But them again if **** hit the fan right now I would pick up my 556A1 . Guess I'm a little confused but Colt screams America and Im red white and blue through and through.

  9. I like the Smith Vortex on the end of the barrel, i use them all the time and there great.Colt in my personal opinion did good this time and i look ahead to when they sell this in the civilian market down the road.

  10. Hmmm. I have a Robinson XCR-L that can do 5.56, 6.8, and 7.62×39 by just changing barrel, bolt and magazine. It weighs 7.3 pounds.

  11. I wonder if Colt will eventually sell the CM901 with a 5.56mm upper receiver as standard, that might be a bit more attractive for the military/LE markets. Then they could just buy complete 7.62mm CM901s (or just the 7.62mm upper receiver) as needed.

  12. William C. i think it is a better idea also what Colt has, just switch uppers keeping the lower reciever.This is the quickest way to change cals. They took the lego weapon to a better level. I agree with your comment. I do this with the beowulf just switch out the upper and ready for hog hunting/big game also, can even use the M16 mags to hold beowulf ammo

  13. When converted to a 5.56 it is less than 1/2 lb more than a standard 5.56, not to bad…. its the only colt with ambi controls right now, in a few more months there will be a 6920 with ambi controls

  14. there is no need to re-zero optics when you change calibers unless you only have 1 form of optic, everything goes with the upper when it is removed.

  15. The data about the winner being forced to sell their technical data rights so that the two other downselectees can build them is completely false. The guy who wrote that in the Army Times article was totally incorrect and had obviously never read the RFP. The RFP did require that you provide a proposal for providing Government Purpose Rights that would eventually allow second-source production, but it was up to the contractor to state its terms (royalties, minimum amount manufactured under the IC contract, etc.). That means that if you wanted to manufacture all 178,890 weapons on the initial contract before selling the technical data rights, you could propose to do so, and then charge the Army a hefty royalty fee for each gun manufactured by another company.

    So, Colt's story about giving the Army a less capable weapon because of the data rights was utter BS.

  16. it is obvious that change is needed as the ranges the enemy has taken have increased to where the 5.56 is not as easy to make hits at the extended ranges. humping the 7.62 ammo and weapon is not easy, but shooting at ranges with a sub caliber, using more ammo to get the job done is not any easier. solders should have more training at the range and be given a caliber that will "reach out and touch someone" plus each unit in the field should have at least one rifle chambered in 300 win. mag. to keep our losses to a minimum by making them suffer from the extreme ranges that this rifle is capable of. the big bang will draw the most fire, unfortunatly but smoke a few of the enemy due to surprise and extended range.

  17. M4s work, the reason they don't is because the soldiers don't do maintenince as well as they should. Leaders need to enforce standards. Before missions my sections would check weapons, wipe em down check mags. Weekly we would do by the book cleanings and mag cleanings. The gas tube will work if you clean it and not let the armchair experts over sell the piston. It is better and Colt tried to sell it in the 70's with an updated M16 but wasn't adopted. You can make it work so do so by following the PM. I love these stories about a soldier putting 30/40 mags thru their weapon and it jammed. Who has that many mags in a 2hr battle? Reloads, How fast are you shooting? Any weapon might fail with that amt of ammo. Use common sense. I was an active duty soldier 32 yrs and heard all the war stories, when you press for the truth, the story is a bit different. Every one wants 15min of hero fame!

  18. Here they go again .making thing more complicated than need be One caliber or the other.Make up your feeble little minds,

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