Anyone who collects Colt AR-15’s knows that there are many part variations across Colts AR production history. As a newer collector (I began collecting in 2017) I come across new (to me) variations on a pretty regular basis. On December 1st, 2019 I came across a Colt rifle stock with a ‘CS’ marking on it. I had not seen this stock variation before nor had I seen any online discussions about the Colt CS stock. Curiosity leads me down rabbit holes and away I went.
My search for information on the Colt CS stock began with a Google search. The search results were limited to mostly archived posts on AR15.com. Simultaneous with the Google searching, I had made a post on AR15.com in the Colt ‘Industry’ section looking for information as well. The Colt ‘Industry’ section has several knowledgeable collectors that visit there. I additionally found some bits of information from other places like snipershide.com and M4carbine.net. So, the information that I am presenting here is a combination of data gathered across the internet and some data that originates from me.
History and origination of the Colt CS stock
The history of the Colt CS stock goes back to World War II and originates with the Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk I rifle as used by the Canadian military. The rifles were produced with different lengths of stocks available in Bantam (B), Short (S), Normal (N) and Long (L) lengths. The use of different stock lengths continued when the Canadian military converted to the C1A1 (FN/FAL) rifle beginning around 1955. The C1A1 was available with Short (S), Normal (N), Long (L) and Extra-Long (XL) stock lengths.
The Canadian military had a simultaneous rifle development program going on during the same time that the United States was developing the M16A2 rifle. These programs were so closely aligned that the Canadian military had a Canadian Forces liaison officer working with the United States Marine Corps in the program that was officially known as the M16A1 Product Improvement Program. The Canadian liaison officer would call back USMC test results to Canada and they implemented lessons learned into their rifle development program. Born out of the liaison with the USMC was the Colt Canada C7 rifle which was adopted by Canada about 1984. This rifle later evolved into the C7A1.
The Colt CS stocks discussed in this article were used on the Colt Canada C7/C7A1 rifles. Design specifications in the C7 program continued the Canadian military tradition of having multiple lengths of rifle stocks available for Canadian military personnel. The stock lengths used on the Colt C7/C7A1 rifles were Short (CS) and Normal (A2 length). There was an additional .5-inch (13mm) spacer available to increase stock length if needed.
The C with a ‘nestled’ S, as seen on the stock below, is an abbreviation from the French / English combination of Court / Short. Court is the French word for the English word short.
Fixed stocks were gradually phased out of Canadian service around 2004 as the Colt Canada C7A2 with collapsible carbine stock came into service.
History of the Colt CS stock in the United States
I was not able to identify exactly what year that the Colt CS stock became available in the United States. Information found on the internet indicated that the stocks appeared around 1991 on civilian rifles. The Colt CS stock is featured on two Colt rifle variations in the Colt 1992 firearms catalog. The two rifle variations that featured the Colt CS stock are:
1. Colt Model R6530 Sporter Lightweight (.223 carbine with CS stock)
2. Colt Model R6430 Sporter Lightweight (9mm carbine with CS stock)
If you look closely at the rifles in the catalog photographs, you can see the ‘CS’ letters on the stock just behind the rear of the lower receiver.
I have not been able to find any solid evidence of the Colt CS stock being factory installed on any other rifles. However, we also know that just because a product appeared in a catalog doesn’t necessarily mean it appeared in the retail market and vise-versa…products could have appeared in the retail market and not the catalog.
I have seen former CS stock owners discuss selling these stocks for anywhere from $50 to $225 dollars. This CS stock is the first one that I have seen for sale in roughly two years (2018 – 2019) so they seem to be pretty rare. My winning bid on December 1st, 2019 was $193 dollars so I paid about average current market value it seems. Several people have stated that they still have factory rifles with the CS stocks present. Several factory rifle owners have talked about having removed the CS stocks over the years and replacing them with various other commercial stocks. Obviously, that is not a good move from a collector’s perspective.
Technical details of the Colt CS stock
The Colt CS stock is popular for being made from the more durable A2 rifle stock materials but maintaining the A1 rifle stock length. For comparison I have provided the following data using three stocks that I have on-hand:
A1 stock length: 9-7/8 in. A1 stock weight: 15 ounces
A2 stock length: 10-5/8 in. A2 stock weight: 14.9 ounces
CS stock length: 10 in. CS stock weight: 13.3 ounces
The ‘trap door’ on the CS stock storage compartment is a metal assembly. The inner compartment is yellow to facilitate seeing items stored inside.
I hope that you found this article informative. Please feel free to comment and provide any additional information that you may have.