Sub-Compact Weapon (SCW) Stock

This write-up is about the very unique Colt Sub-Compact Weapon (SCW) stock set. However, we can’t talk about the SCW stock set without briefly talking about the background story of the SCW weapon itself.

This image from the SCW manual shows illustrations of both sides of the SCW.

Around 2005, the idea for the Colt Sub-Compact Weapon (SCW) was born when the law enforcement community asked for a weapon that was compact enough to fit in a motorcycle officers cargo saddlebag. Although the weapon was initially designed for motorcycle mounted officers, it quickly became apparent that the SCW would be a versatile weapon for use by security or military personnel in vehicles and in Close-Quarter Battle (CQB) roles also.      

Photo from Tactical-Life magazine. Link to original story at the bottom of the page

After the design and testing cycle was completed, the SCW made its first public appearance at the 2008 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) show. This appearance got the weapon system noticed by some potential foreign customers. Israel adopted the SCW for their special forces and adoption by Mexico soon followed.

The SCW was designed as a 5.56mm weapon and had a 10.3” barrel. The requirement was for the new weapon to give a responding officer rapidly deployable firepower greater than the service pistol that was carried. Initially fielded as a select fire weapon, it was also sold in semi-automatic only variants. What really made the design of the SCW stand out was its unique stock that folded in two places and could be extended/collapsed. The receiver extension design along with the unique bolt carrier/buffer assembly enabled the weapon to be fired with the stock folded or extended.          

The SCW stock kit consists of the following components:

1. Shortened Full-Auto Bolt Carrier Assembly

Standard bolt carrier at the top. Shortend SCW bolt carrier on the bottom.

2. Receiver Extension

At the top is a standard carbine receiver extension and endplate. At the bottom is the unique SCW receiver extension and unique endplate with sling loops on both sides.

3. Buffer Spring

4. Receiver Extension Nut

5. End Plate

Standard Colt carbine endplate at the top. Colt SCW endplate at the bottom.

6. Collapsible/Folding Stock Assembly

Left side of the stock body. Visible here is the broken lock detent housing on my stock.
View of the bottom of the folding stock assembly.

7. Buffer (tungsten and steel construction just like other buffers)

Standard Colt carbine H buffer at the top. SCW buffer at the bottom.

8. The SCW uses a standard 5.56mm bolt assembly

The stock body is hinged at the back of the receiver extension and folds 180 degrees to the left side of the weapon. When folded, the stock is parallel to the receiver. There is a detent that locks the stock in the folded position. In addition to the stock body folding, the butt of the stock folds under, and up at 90 degrees bringing the butt of the stock parallel with the stock comb.

On this page from the SCW manual, you can see how the stock assembly folds on the SCW.
View of the folded stock assembly. In this view, you would be looking forward of the rifle. The stock body folds to the left of the rifle and locks parallel to the receiver.
The butt of the stock folds under, and up at 90 degrees bringing the butt of the stock parallel with the stock comb.

Another standout feature of the SCW stock kit is the unique buffer design. It is about a quarter of the length of a traditional carbine ‘H’ buffer. However, it has the same weight of an ‘H’ buffer at 3.6 ounces. The buffer actually ‘keys’ into the back of the bolt carrier about a quarter of an inch instead of the bolt carrier impacting the face of the buffer. During the firing cycle, the bolt carrier and the buffer move as a unit. This operating design eliminates the use of a buffer retainer in the SCW carbine.

SCW buffer on the left. Standard Colt H buffer on the right.
SCW buffer on the left. Colt H buffer on the right.

The complexity of the Colt SCW stock ended up being its undoing. In hard use the stocks were somewhat fragile. There were a lot of small parts used in production in addition to the molded plastic stock parts. Assembly of the SCW stock in the factory took a long time and was so complicated that Colt struggled to have an efficient assembly process for the stocks which hurt production forecasting and scheduling.

In 2016/2017 Colt stopped using their proprietary SCW stock and changed to the Maxim Defense CQB stock for their SCW weapon.

Colt SCW with Maxim Defense CQB stock kit

In an effort to clear out leftover inventory in the factory, Colt sold 11 remaining stock kits to Arms Unlimited. On 10 July 2017 Arms Unlimited made the stock kits available on their website for $800.00. After a couple of stock kits were not paid for by customers, the price went up to $1200.00 and those remaining stock kits were relisted on the website and quickly sold. Here is a look at the final site listing:

Arms Unlimited’s price for the stock kit was $1200.00

From Arms Unlimited website:
The Colt Sub-Compact Weapon SCW’s collapsible folding buttstock is ideal for confined space combat operations, close quarters battle and functional vehicle transport. Incorporating a bolt carrier/buffer system engineered by Colt, the SCW is the only side folding stock that functions reliably consistently when folded. The conversion stock kit includes all required parts to modify any existing mil-spec AR15/M4 rifle to function as a Colt SCW.

Package Contents:
Modified SCW Full Auto Bolt Carrier Assembly
SCW Collapsible/Folding Stock Assembly
SCW Receiver Extension (Buffer Tube)
SCW Buffer
Buffer Spring
Receiver Extension Nut
End Plate

Needless to say, these stocks are a rarity on the collector’s market. I know where four of them are, with my stock that is shown being one of them. I paid $1200 for my stock (with a broken folding lock detent) and was just glad to have the opportunity to get it. I have only seen one SCW carbine for sale and it is sitting on Gunbroker right now for $9995.00. It is supposedly one of only five SCW carbines that entered into the civilian market.

Although many critics of Colt in the firearms community accuse Colt of not being innovative, you don’t have to look very hard to find innovative work that Colt has done. The SCW carbine, and the SCW stock set, is just one example.

Video done by me showing parts and installation of the Colt SCW stock

Below are links to various videos and internet articles.

Guns America video Shot Show 2010

Colt SCW @ Shot Show 2011

Media Internet Articles

23 OCT 2008

19 JAN 2010

5 JAN 2013

No Publication Date

Additional photos not used above…

Front of the stock body. Visible is the silver locking detent that secures the stock body to the receiver extension. It is released by pressure being applied from below.
Bottom view of the stock body showing the locking lever on the right.
View from the back of the stock looking forward.