Its is equipped with direct gas system, full length hammer forged barrel, and rotating bolt very much identical to the U.S made M16 assault rifle in internal parts. The C7 is currently being used by the military forces of Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.
In 2007, the Canadian military forces announced supporting the build-up capacity of Afghan National Army (ANA) with C7 rifles in the fight against terrorism. However, those 2500 rifles were later returned back, and M16s were preferably adopted by the ANA. This paper attempts to investigate the capabilities, specification and working of the C7 rifle. It also reflects on the durability, reliability and accuracy of the rifle for adoption in enemy combats.
The rifle is capable of firing a single shot as well as more rounds per trigger. It possesses a structurally strong 51 cm long, cold hammer forged barrel designed for accuracy, consistency and durability. The operating rod is replaced by direct gas chamber to enhance the precision and reliability of the firing forces. The C7 is produced in two basic variations/configurations; C7A1 and C7A2. The former is a full length fixed stock battle rifle, whereas the later is an upgraded version with adjustable stock. The 5.56 x 45 mm NATO cartridge is designed for longer range combat capabilities. The rifle has a flat top that can be manufactured in Weaver rail or the Picatinny rail. A standard C7 rifle is illustrated in figure 01. Figure 01 The C7 Rifle Source: Colt Canada Corporation Website (www.coltcanada.com). 1 - 51 cm (20 inch) cold hammer forged barrel, 2 - Flash suppressor, 3 - Bayonet lug, 4 - TRI-AD 1TM MIL-STD-1913 accessory mount, 5 - Coloured furniture to break up weapon outline, 6 - Improved chamber and gas system, plus Elastomeric Receiver Retainer, 7 - Accepts all STANAG magazines, 8 - Integrated sight rail (Weaver or Picatinny), 9 - Optional ambidextrous controls, 10 - Single or double sided sling loop, 11 - Standard 4 position buttstock with no slip rubber butt pad (C7A2) or fixed buttstock (C7A1), 12 - Battery stowage pistol grip insert. The C7 rifle can be further divided into two main components; the upper receiver group and the lower receiver group as shown in figure 02. The upper receiver is attached to the barrel of the rifle and contains the bolt and the cocking handle. A rear sight is also mounted on the upper receiver. The trigger mechanism, pistol grip and the magazine opening are incorporated in the lower receiver group. There is also storage space for keeping of cleaning kit in the fiber-glass or wooden butt. A labeled description of all components is illustrated in figure 03. Figure 02 Major Components of C7 Source: Chief of the defense staff (1987). Figure 03 Labeled C7 Components Source: Chief of the defense staff (1987). The weapon is simple in designed for effective operations and easy maintenance. It is equipped with ambidextrous controls. The C7A1 variant can be mounted with traditional iron sights or the ELCAN C79 optical sight specifically designed for eye relief. Manufacturer claims that C7 rifle has commonality of 97% parts with other available models. The field and operational conditions are strictly considered while selecting the material. The rifle is 39.6 inches long with a fire rate of 800 rounds per minute. It has a 3.4x power optical sight with accuracy up to 400 m. The wide adoption of the C7 rifle by Canadian forces and other military units is for so long is indicative its effectiveness in the battle field. The C7A2 is modified model of the C7A1 improved for the Canadian forces deployed in the Afghanistan region. The improvements include the ambidextrous configuration of selector lever, magazine release, and the charging handle latch.