Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Colt Model 639: MACVSOG's Vietnam Carbine

 The Colt Model 639 was the export version of the Colt Model 629, which was type classified by the US military as the XM177E2 and issued to MACVSOG special operations units in 1967 and 1968. Improved from the Model 609 carbine, the 629/639 has an 11.5 inch barrel and an interesting small muzzle device (“moderator”) which served to change the signature of its firing to sound much more like an AK type rifle than an M16. The device does that job well - at least until it had been fired extensively, which slowly fills up the (non-disassemblable) unit with carbon and powder residue, substantially reducing its effectiveness. It has a full-fence lower, standard carbine buffer and spring, and a two position aluminum collapsing stock. It is the iconic weapon of US special forces in Vietnam.

Only about 100 of the Model 639 were made in the early 1970s, and many of those were sent back to Colt in 1975 under a recall. At that time, the ATF decided to classify the muzzle device as a silencer, prompting Colt to recall the guns and remove and destroy the devices. Some owners, however, kept their carbines and instead registered the muzzle devices, allowing them legally remain on the guns.

VIDEO HERE  (8:46 minutes)


  1. Interesting and EXPENSIVE little carbine. That is the first one I've ever actually seen!

  2. a long time ago, i bought a bushmaster clone of it. never gave it much thought. just was a short handy rifle. maybe a couple of hundred rounds thru it in over close to 30 years now
    I have other ones I shoot more often now.

  3. That's a neat little rifle with a very interesting history behind it.
    It looks like it sold in 2018 for $27,000, including the buyer's premium.

  4. Today's ATF would probably approve the suppressor and deny the full-auto lower.

  5. I carried one of these in Vietnam, I had it for about 4-5 months, December ‘67 - March ‘68. 2nd Platoon Ldr, Bravo Company, 2/14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Div. Only officers were issued them. Burned up when the officers hooch burned down… supposedly enemy mortar, but more likely some idiot fragged the ammo dump and all crap broke lose…. It was fun to carry and shoot, not that reliable… had to the carry the crap M16 which was worse…. But I lived, right?


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