The Colt Commando is an American-made carbine assault rifle chambered for the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge. One of many variants of the venerable M16, it is lighter and more compact than the full-size weapon. It gained favor with special forces units and has been in use since the Vietnam War.
Originally produced by Colt beginning in 1965 as a variant of the M16, the Colt Commando was manufactured in large numbers as a result of purchase orders from the US Military. Very similar in design to the M16 and other CAR-15 variants, the Commando's small size is ideal for close-quarter combat.
Known for its maneuverability and versatility, the Commando employs a gas-operated feeding system in which pressurized gas released from the firing of an individual round is cycled through a tube and used to drive the bolt rearward to both eject the spent casing and the chamber a new round. Unique to the Commando is its exclusion of a conventional operating rod. In a rotating bolt design, the bolt is cycled manually or with the use of captured pressure from the fired cartridge, locking into place between firings with the use of lugs.
The Commando features an 11.5" barrel, which puts its overall length at 30". The Commando includes a sliding four-position buttstock. An ejection port cover protects the chamber from dust, while the barrel configuration allows launching of all standard rifle grenades. The Commando is designed to be field stripped without the need for tools, an inclusion that achieves easy cleaning and maintenance.
Additional features include a cartridge case deflector for easy right and left-handed operation, and a muzzle compensator for reduced muzzle climb.
US armed forces units use the Commando, mostly Special Forces operators.