Colt Canada C7 rifle

The Colt Canada C7 rifle is a Canadian assault rifle, manufactured by Colt Canada (formerly Diemaco prior to 2005), a variant of the Armalite AR-15, and having similar design and function to the Colt M16A3.

The C7 and its variants have been adopted as the standard issue rifle by the militaries of Canada, Norway (Special forces only), Denmark and the Netherlands. Following trials, C8 variants became - and remain - the personal weapon of choice of United Kingdom Special Forces, Royal Military Police Close Protection Teams and other specialist users. It has been used in various combat operations by Canadian, British, Dutch and Danish Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Colt Canada C7 rifle
Class Manportable
Type Rifles
Manufacturer Diemaco
Origin Canada
Country Name Origin Year
Canada 1984
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Afghanistan View
Canada 1984 View
Denmark View
Iceland View
Netherlands View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
Norway View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Diemaco View
Colt Canada View


Denmark bought the first batch of C7A1 in 1995 and C8A2 in 1996, designating them the M/95 and M/96 carbine. In 2004 the LSW, named LSV M/04 was added to the arsenal. These are to replace the German made M/75 (H&K G3), which has been the main infantry weapon since 1975.

The C7A1 is issued to standard infantry units of the Royal Danish Army. The C8A2 is issued to units where the physically longer C7A1 can be obstructive to that units primary work, such as logisticians, tankers and special units. Jægerkorpset and Frømandskorpset (Special forces) use the C8SFW with a 401 mm (15.8 in) barrel and extra front rails. The now defunct Patruljedelingen, a draftee LRRP-unit, also used the C8SFW.

The LSW used to be issued to "support gunners" in infantry squads. However, it is planned that the Royal Danish Army will only use 7.62mm belt-fed machine guns for the support role. Most of the LSWs are intended to be transferred to the Danish Home Guard.

The Army almost exclusively use the C7A1 and C8A2 with the Elcan C79 optical sight, while the Danish Home Guard use the C8A2 with the Swedish produced Aimpoint. The main feature of the Aimpoint is the "both eyes open" sighting. This is the preferred sighting method at shorter ranges.

The C7A1 was first issued to field units of Logcoy/Danbn/Dancon of the Danish International Brigade, in October–November 1995 shortly before the transition from UNPROFOR to IFOR in Bosnia.

On 4 January 2009 the Danish army lost a number of small arms including M/95 and M/96 rifles to armed robbers who overpowered the guards at Antvorskov Kaserne. The police recovered the last of the stolen weapons on 22 November 2011.

In 2010 the Danish Defence Materiel Service ordered an improved version of the M/96 and M/95 from Colt Canada under the Danish designation M/10, which Colt Canada designated the C8 IUR. It features a 401 mm (15.8 in) floating barrel, fully ambidextrous controls, flip up iron sights, a collapsible buttstock with more positions, and the Integrated Upper Receiver (IUR).

During the 2015 Copenhagen shootings one victim was killed with an M/95 issued to the Danish Home Guard that was stolen in a home invasion robbery.

Afghan National Army

In 2007 and 2008, Canada donated 2,500 surplus C7 rifles to the Afghan National Army. In 2011, the ANA gave back the C7s since the Afghan security forces chose the American M16 instead. Canadian Forces officials said the Canadian rifles would be shipped to Canada for disposal.


The most commonly used version in the Dutch Military is the C7. The Luchtmobiele Brigade (Airmobile Brigade), consisting of 11 Infantry Battalion Garderegiment Grenadiers en Jagers, 12 Infantry Battalion Regiment Van Heutsz and 13 Infantry Battalion Regiment Stoottroepen Prins Bernhard uses the C7A1, and the C8A1 (Diemaco C8FT) was mainly used by the Korps Commandotroepen later replaced with the HK416, the paratroopers of the Luchtmobiele Brigade (one company per battalion), the Korps Mariniers and most of the recon units of the various combat units, including the Forward Air Controllers and the reconnaissance units of the cavalry and the artillery. The Korps Mariniers also uses the LSW, which is locally known as LOAW.

Many of the Dutch C7s, C8s and LOAW have had an overhaul: the rifle's black furniture has now been replaced by dark earth furniture. New parts include a new retracting stock, the Diemaco IUR with RIS rails for mounting flashlights and laser systems, and a vertical foregrip with built-in bipod; the thermold plastic magazines have now become brown in color. The ELCAN sighting system has also disappeared in favour of the Swedish made Aimpoint CompM4 red dot sight. These upgraded versions are now known as C7NLD, C8NLD and LOAWNLD.


The Diemaco C8 SFW (Special Forces Weapon) is used by the SOG and has been seen with Aimpoint sights and various attachments.

United Kingdom

The UK first selected the Diemaco C8 in the mid 1990s as the Special Forces Individual Weapon. This selection was later reconfirmed in the mid 2000s, by which time Diemaco had become Colt Canada. The weapon is so well-liked, reliable and successful that the planned competition to seek a replacement of the C8 from 2014 has been deferred in favour of continuing with the C8. Use of the C8 has expanded to include, among others, the original SAS and SBS, the Special Forces Support Group, the Pathfinder Platoon of 16 Air Assault Brigade, 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group, Royal Military Police Close Protection teams and MoD Police. There are about 2,500 in service. A number of barrel lengths are available for different users and most weapons are now fitted with Knights Armaments Rail Adapter System handguards and Picatinny rail flat-top upper receivers. Most users fit Trijicon ACOG x4 sights with CQB reflex attachment, but other sights are used. Various laser, light, downgrip and other attachments are used. Surefire vortex-type flash hiders are generally fitted, and suppressors are available. The standard Canadian bayonet is issued, but rarely used. Coloured furniture is becoming commonplace. The UK very much prefers polymer magazines to metal on grounds of weight and reliability and has now standardised on these for all C8 and operational SA80 users, with well over a million magazines purchased. Many weapons are fitted with the L17A1 underslung 40mm grenade launcher (UGL), the UK designation for the Heckler & Koch AG-C. Detachable shoulder stocks are available for stand-alone use of the UGL.

Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Canada
Service history
In service 1984–present
Used by See Users
Wars Oka Crisis
Gulf War
Operation Enduring Freedom
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Production history
Manufacturer Diemaco (former)
Colt Canada (current)
Produced 1982–present
Number built 200,000+
Variants C7A1, C7A2
Weight 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) (unloaded)
3.9 kg (8.6 lb) (with 30-round magazine)
Length 1,006 mm (39.6 in) (C7/C7A1/C7A2) (A2 stock extended)
929.8 mm (36.61 in) (C7A2) (stock collapsed)
Barrel length 508 mm (20.0 in)
Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 700–900 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 900 m/s (3030 ft/s)
Effective firing range 400 m (440 yd) (effective)
600 m (660 yd) (effective in a section)
Feed system 30-round detachable STANAGmagazine
Sights Iron sights, C79 optical sight

End notes