Colt APC to replace Bushmaster M4s. Edited

Colt Advanced Piston Carbine or Colt P0923. colt

SHAH ALAM: Colt Advanced Piston Carbine (APC) is set to become the standard assault rifle of the police Special Forces units, the UTK and the VAT69 replacing the Bushmaster M4 carbines.

Although some of the units had already purchased other rifles to replace Bushmasters, the contract signed between the Home Ministry and SMEO Sdn Bhd, today indicated that the APC will become the standard assault rifle for them.

The contract for the APC – signed at the ongoing GPEC Asia 2015 – worth some RM8.4 million clearly marked the end of the Bushmaster reign as the PDRM’s Special Forces assault rifle. Although already superseded by small batches of HK416s and the Ferfrans SCW in certain teams of the UTK and VAT69 , the Bushmaster remained in the inventory, mostly for the lack of anything else.

Apart from anecdotes from operators, no one had published the full details of the Bushmaster travails in service however.

The Bushmaster Carbine on parade back in 2010.
The Bushmaster Carbine on parade back in 2010.

The APC is also known as P0923 in Colt military products catalogue. According to Colt, “The Colt P0923 is an advanced modular 5.56mm caliber piston-operated, lightweight, one-piece upper receiver, magazine fed carbine capable of firing in automatic and semi-automatic modes. The Colt P0923 incorporates a new ALP advanced operating system (articulating link piston) that reduces the stresses in the piston stroke by allowing for deflection and thermal expansion. Designed for consistent cyclic rates, it’s just as easy to disassemble, clean and reassemble as our gas operated system.”

Colt Advanced Piston Carbine or Colt P0923. colt
Colt Advanced Piston Carbine or Colt P0923. colt

Basically its an M4 with a piston system which supposedly made the gun more robust in the field. One of the most popular piston operated firearm is the HK416.

It must be noted that Bushmaster was procured in 2008 (delivered in late 2009 or early 2010) although the HK416s was put up for procurement after trials conducted by VAT69. Two APCs were field tested by VAT69 prior to the contract signing.

Colt APC (being hold) displayed at the show.  The gun on the left is the CM901 while the next to it is the Colt Advanced Carbine.PDRM picture.
Colt APC (being hold) displayed at the show. The gun on the left is the CM901 while the next to it is the Colt Advanced Carbine.PDRM picture.

The Colt APC is to be bought directly from Colt Defense LLC. Although the company had declared itself bankrupt recently, its operations are running normally. Why CBU? The numbers are too small for local assembly.

If all goes well, most of the APCs could be delivered before mid-2016. How is this procurement affect other SF units in Malaysia? For starters I believed it will put pressure on MMEA which want some 2,000 HK416s for its units to have a look at the Colt APC instead.

Two VAT69 operators at the recent open day. One is armed with a FN Herstal SCAR H for DMR while the other is armed with the Bushmaster Carbine.
Two VAT69 operators at the recent open day. One is armed with a FN Herstal SCAR H for DMR while the other is armed with the Bushmaster Carbine.

If the APC performed well in UTK and VAT69 it may well also lead other SF units especially in the Armed Forces to request for it instead of the 416s.

A UTK operator with the Ferfrans SCW. Malaysian Defence
A UTK operator with the Ferfrans SCW. Malaysian Defence

This will be the fourth Colt firearm to be introduced into Malaysian service in recent times after the M4A1, M4A1 Heavy Barrel and the CM901, all of which are in service with the Army.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2141 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. I wonder how many people in Malaysia have researched the possibility of just having the upper receiver and operating system replaced on the Bushmaster with a piston system. There are many manufacturers out there that offer kits that swap out the DI upper with a piston system (including H&K). As long as the lower receiver is in good shape and everything is US Mil-spec, then there should be no issues.

    This would be a lower cost option to the purchase of new rifles. Of course this would mean that somebody will have to do the swaps… could even be done at the Depot Level…

  2. Apa lu chakap? Piston upper, tukar spring dan buffer aje. Macam field strip la.

    Bushmaster itu Carbon-15, originally both upper and lower were plastic. But the uppers are disastrously bad so Bushmaster dah ‘repair’ with normal AL upper assembly tapi lain issue ada. Anyway, the Bushmaster cannot be ‘fixed’ because there is no support at all from Freedom Group and the local agent dah lari.
    So now touching those carbines is just a bad, bad idea.

    Even the M16A1s can be ‘reworked’ to carbines by replacing the buffer tube and slapping on new uppers. Bigger problem is the total inability of Persenjataan to understand that magazines have a limited life and need to be rebuilt every few years and destroyed when the feed lips pochek.

    Teknikal among the units memang….. kekurangan.

  3. Stanman, thank you for your response. I was not aware that the Bushmasters were the Carbon 15 rifles. From pictures and description, they looked like AR-15/M4 clones. In this case I agree that it would be best if they were replaced with new rifles.

  4. I dont handle much m16/ar15 during my days….not like some who pratically strip n assemble the m4/ar15/m16 but to convert m4 to piston operated type u need to change the upper receiver as well as the bolt carrier group cause the bolt carrier for gas type has an orifice at the bolt carrier which joint with the pipe…where as the piston type it uses a rod to push the bolt carrier group…tukar spring..buffer…upper receiver tak bole jadi..tu sbb tak bole pakai….hai betul jugak kta lemah dlm bidang engineering n teknikal

  5. Tengoklah lower receiver in the parade picture. The magazine catch area is clearly Carbon 15. This is one of the ‘repaired’ guns with AL upper. Tapi masih bodoh bodoh with pistol length (8.5″) upper. Shorties are always less reliable.

  6. Hello…bacarlah. Piston upper. Bukan DI upper buat conversion.

    But do tell us about your experience with pistons. I for one am very curious as to which ones you have used.

  7. “Hello…bacarlah. Piston upper. Bukan DI upper buat conversion.”
    Saya dah mentelaah tuan…itu d pangil bolt carrier group in org putih term…but in your term u call it piston….its confusing….thats confidential…to name a few early one asian country did produced the piston type rifle but its not popular among their soldier…u wrote blong about pumping m4 so i leave it to that…

  8. The gas key of a direct impingement bolt carrier serves as the cup of the piston assembly. The gas tube simply runs the gas back from gas port. As a rule though, when a ‘piston upper’ is mentioned, it is a short or long stroke piston where the actuation occurs forward near the gas block and the energy is transferred back to the bolt carrier by means of a mechanical linkage. That can either be via a fixed physical linkage (long stroke) or momentum transfer(short stroke).
    Most M4 piston systems are short stroke due to the issues of slenderness when working in a standard M4 receiver, though not all. These include the Hk416 and LWRC.
    Almost all pistons do not use the standard H buffer. Most use the H2 buffer or a proprietary buffer. We do not even understand the role of buffers in managing impulse, bolt bounce and cyclic in country.
    As for pimping the M4, it is the standard rifle and rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it can be made to function much better than what SMEO insists on inflicting on the Armed Forces and everyone else for National Interest.
    Indeed most better operators of the system will spend far more on accessories and upgrades than the basic weapon. A good magnified combat optic will already cost as much or more.
    The ‘enhancements’ rolled out so far are National Interest, e.g. B&T quadrails. They are mad expensive and heavy.

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