Colt Short Barrel Carbines


When the first Intifada broke in the Territories in 1987, the Israeli Security Organizations including the IDF, the Israeli Police and MAGAV, formed several SF CT undercover units, better known as the Mistaravim.

These units operated covertly in dense urban environments, wearing plain cloths and driving unmarked civilian cars. Accordingly, these units needed compact frame weapons that will be easy to conceal while maintaining potent firepower, range and accuracy.

The solution for the Israeli Law Enforcement SF undercover units was procurement of factory Colt Commando. However, the IDF undercover units weren't issued with the Colt Commando and needed to come up with a different solution. Their idea was to create a "home made" Colt Commando by chopping down the barrels of CAR15 already in service from the factory 14.5 inch to a sub 10 inch length. Eventually, a new weapon emerged and entered service with the IDF SF - the extreme short barrel CAR15.

The weapon is known in the IDF as "Mekut'zrar" (Hebrew slang for very shortened)as opposed to the CAR15 which is known as "Mekut'zar" (Israel slang for shortened). For simplicity, these extreme short barrels variants are referred to in isayeret as "Shorty".

In the late 1990's fixed loop M4 have been procured and issued to Israeli SF units, with handful of these of M4 turned into Shorty M4. At a later stage, mass procurement of flattop M4A1 began, with the M4A1 replacing the CAR15 as the IDF standard issue weapon in all infantry oriented units including both regular and SF units. As happened in the late 1980's, many M4A1 were converted into Shorty M4A1 and were used by various IDF SF units and by senior officers. As with the Shorty CAR15, most Shorty M4A1 had sub 10 inch barrels and were fitted with compensators replacing the factory made flash hiders.



There is a great deal of confusion regarding the various versions and configurations of Colt carbines used by the IDF due to the following reasons:

  • Mix up in terminology between Colt official models, U.S. Army designations and the IDF terminology.

  • M16A2 modifications done to the CAR15.

  • Hybrid models of M4 and M4A1 uppers coupled with older CAR15 lowers.


IDF Colt Carbines can be grouped into the following:




Shorty CAR15 IDF-made fixed loop A1 carbine 9-10"
Shorty M4 IDF-made fixed loop A2 carbine 9-10"
Shorty M4A1  IDF-made flattop A2 carbine 9-10"
Colt Commando Factory Fixed loop A1 carbine 11.5"
M4 Commando Flattop factory A2 carbine 11.5"

All IDF carbines were made by Colt and feature a safe-semi-full auto trigger group.



Most Shorty carbines (CAR15, M4 and M4A1) in service were replaced with factory M4 Commando. In recent years, the M4 Commando has been partially replaced by the Micro Tavor in few SF units. However, the M4 Commando along wit the M4A1 remain the dominant carbine platforms with SF units.

Weapons Guide