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Guide to Upgrading your Colt LE6920

The Colt LE6920 is an easily identifiable AR-15. Any of the others that look like it are effectively copying this set-up. Colt is, after all, the company that built many of the first contract AR rifles, and the company that carried government contracts through the dark years of the AWB.

Colt is still Colt, even if it is owned now by CZ, and the LE6920 is their workhorse staple. For those who want an old-school AR-15, there’s no better place to start than a stock LE6920.

The Colt LE6920 is the epitome of a bare-bones AR build. This is an AR designed to be sold to agencies ordering large numbers of identical rifles.
The Colt LE6920 is the epitome of a bare-bones AR build. This is an AR designed to be sold to agencies ordering large numbers of identical rifles.

And this is a gun that’s going to run, right out of the box. It even comes with a magazine and sights. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

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What makes an AR basic?

Is basic even the right word here? Maybe standard would be a better adjective to describe the LE6920. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this gun.

As a gun that is built to meet the needs of law enforcement (that’s what the LE stands for), the LE6920 makes use of the most common kinds of AR parts. Most will get a “Mil-Spec” definition, which–again–speaks more to the idea of a standard (as in good enough to satisfy the demands of a military contract). And all of the parts are built to be modular, interchangeable, and can be added or swapped out by an armorer (as-in, there’s no need for a gunsmith).

Mil-Spec parts will get you a long way, but lack panache and (in some cases) potential. From the trigger to the furniture, there are lots of good options out there for ways to make this gun more functional or more ideally suited to your specific needs.

Upgrade to a more functional handguard

The clam-shell drop-in handguard on the LE6920 is basic. You can add more functionality to the front-end capabilities with quad rails. While Key-Mod and M-LOK are good choices, an old-fashioned quad rail is still the easiest way to add accessories.

AT3 Pro Quad Rail
How many accessories do you want to attach? Lights, lasers, IR, foregrips, bipods, slings…

AT3 makes great quad rails. They are not as light as some of the newer polymer forends, but they are much more rigid and versatile.

The AT3 SPEAR handguards are versatile, light, and available in some fun colors.
The AT3 SPEAR handguards are versatile, light, and available in some fun colors.

Another solid option, and lighter than the quad rail concept, is the AT3 SPEAR handguards. These are available in multiple lengths and finishes, and combine the Picatinny rail up top with the M-LOK slots on the sides. They’re aluminum, light, and durable. You will need a new gas block, though, but the effort is worth it.

The Midwest Industries rails are solid options, too. The G4M gives you rail space and M-LOK space. Midwest Industries specializes in aluminum. They’re making their own guns now, but have a great reputation for building accessories.

Open Box Return - Black - Magpul MOE Slim Line AR-15 Handguard - Carbine Length - w/M-LOK Slots - MAG538
Note the cut-out for the A2 front sight post.

If Magpul is your thing, go with M-LOK or MOE. The Magpul designs are an excellent upgrade and even provide clearance, on some, for front sight posts–meaning you won’t have to mess with the gas block, which can get messy for beginners.

Stocks for the Colt LE6920

From its inception, this simple six-position M4 style stock was built for modularity, ease of maintenance, and ease of use. Many don’t like the sharp angles on these–they get wrapped up in slings and clothing. The fix is easy.

Magpul MOE Fixed Stock - Mil Spec AR-15 - MAG480
A fixed stock is both simple and hassle-free. But not adjustable. How important is that to you?

For those who like to keep things simple, we recommend the Magpul fixed stocks. These are designed to prevent any snags.

Not all of Magpul's stocks are so bare-bones. Their PRS line is highly adaptable.
Not all of Magpul’s stocks are so simple. Their PRS line is highly adaptable–is it overkill for an LE6290?

For long-range work, nothing beats Magpul’s PRS line. These allow for many adjustments that will keep you lined up on your target. But these adjustments aren’t fast–more for a gun that you keep dialed into your measurements.

Weighted buffers will allow you to dial in the AR’s cyclic rate for specific grain weights.

Another key piece of the Colt LE6920 that is standard is the buffer system. This means reliability should be good across a wide spectrum of ammo. But fine-tuning your buffer system can handle odd pressures, allow you to run suppressed more reliably, and can even help with the wear on the whole system. Odin Works makes weighted buffers that will keep the timing dialed in.

AR-15 Grips for the LE6920

AR grips are easy to swap out. The most common reason to do so maybe the desire to keep the gun homogeneous aesthetically. If you have a Magpul stock and forend, you may as well have a Magpul grip, no?

Ergonomics is also important. Some grips change the way a rifle sits in the hand, and that added comfort can make a noticeable difference in how the gun shoots.

Ergo 2 Flat Top AR-15/AR-10 Grip - SureGrip
Ergo has a reputation for enhanced ergonomics. They feel fantastic in the hand.

Ergo Grips make grips that add texture and girth. If you have big hands, Ergo should be on your list.

BCM Gunfighter AR-15 Pistol Grip Mod 2
By adding width to the grip, you move back the placement of your trigger finger. Getting the meat of your finger off the trigger improves long-range accuracy.

If you need help with the position of your trigger finger, check out the grips from BCM. These adjustments are key to getting a gun that fits you, and not an average shooter in a police department.

If performance and accuracy are exceptionally important, consider a trigger upgrade. Most entry-level triggers are a bit rough around the edges, which makes any upgrade a step in the right direction. But know that the trigger on the LE6920 is far from bad and that you’ll really need to be intentional about how you upgrade the trigger.

Geissele SSA-X Government Trigger
Geissele’s triggers are almost always better than what you’ll find in a factory gun with an MSRP under $1,000.

The Colt is a carbine, and not built for extreme long-range accuracy. What you will gain from an enhanced trigger? Is it material construction or pull weight?  Or are you looking for a new shape for the trigger shoe?

For a gun like this, look at the Geissele SSA-X Government.

You’ll learn much more by building a rifle yourself than you would just by shooting it. Replacing the trigger is a beginner skill.

Or take a look at the complete upgrade from AT3. The AT3 2-Stage Lower Parts Kit has a nickel boron trigger and all of the internal parts you’ll need for an overhaul. The nickel boron is a great addition that will help when it comes time to clean the gun.

Barrels

The barrel on the Colt is chrome lined, which helps with corrosion. Its government profile reduces weight and provides reliable first-round accuracy out to surprising distances. But you can add more long-range capability with a bull barrel. Or maybe you’d rather have something stainless for ease of maintenance.

Odin Works AR-15 223 Wylde Barrel 18" 3-Gun Rifle
A longer, heavier barrel will help with accuracy.

Why not both? Check out Odin Works. The heavier profile and extra length will add some accuracy at distance–and it is stainless, too.

Short barrels will change the balance, weight, and maneuverability for close-quarters work.

For an SBR variant, there are numerous shorter options. Some will require a new gas system, too, which will get you deeper into the DIY. Check out the barrels from Ballistic Advantage.

As you get into barrel options for an LE6920, you will need to have a basic understanding of headspace. This article is a good place to start. Don’t let it get intimidating.

The Real Avid Gun Tool Pro is a good start for anyone wanting to start building (or even cleaning) AR-15s.
The Real Avid Gun Tool Pro is a good start for anyone wanting to start building (or even cleaning) AR-15s.

The tools of the trade

No matter which direction you take your build, you’ll need some dedicated tools. This is especially true if you plan to pull the LE6920’s front sight.

Wheeler AR Armorers Professional Kit - 156555
You can buy tools as you need them, or grab a kit like this one from Wheeler that has everything you’ll need.

Having an armorer’s kit to supplement your basic set of home-shop tools is a good idea, both for upgrades and regular maintenance. This is a one-time investment–and typically you can get everything you would need for an AR build for under $250.

One Last Tip

If there’s anyone that knows the AR-15 platform, it’s the US military. As a special offer for our readers, you can get the Official US Army Manual for AR-15/M4/M16 right now – for free. Click here to snag a copy.

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