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Colt Individual Multi-Purpose Weapon (IMP)

Aircrew Survival Weapon (ASW)

United States | 1972

"The Colt IMP was developed along the lines of an aircraft survival weapon for the USAF during the Vietnam War - only prototypes were completed."

Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Colt Individual Multi-Purpose Weapon (IMP). Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
The physical qualities of the Colt Individual Multi-Purpose Weapon (IMP). Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
434 mm
17.09 in
O/A Length
254 mm
10.00 in
Barrel Length
2.36 lb
1.07 kg
.221-17 IMP
10- or 30-round detachable box magazine.
Notable series variants as part of the Colt Individual Multi-Purpose Weapon (IMP) Aircrew Survival Weapon (ASW) family line.
Individual Multi-Purpose Weapon (IMP) - Base Series Name.
IMP-221 - Alternative designation.
GUU-4/P - Alternative USAF designation.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/18/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

From 1968 to 1970, Colt Military Arms Division was hard at work on a new United States Air Force (USAF) "Aircraft Survival Weapon" (ASW) - "Personal Defense Weapon" (PDW) in today's terminology. The concept behind the design lay in the service's need to better arm downed airmen finding themselves in contested territory - specifically through an automatic-capable small arm portable enough to be carried in the cockpit of combat aircraft of the day. The resulting Colt product became the Colt Experimental Rifle / SMG - or Individual Multi-Purpose Weapon (IMP) - which utilized the most compact footprint possible while relying on an automatic action, the shooter's shooting arm serving as the short gun's shoulder support / shoulder stock. A bullpup arrangement was used to keep the weapon's overall length in check, a rather novel arrangement for a firearm at the time, allowing for a full-length barrel to be seated within the compact form as the magazine and feed were situated at the rear of the gun.

Design of the weapon is credited to Dale Davis of the USAF Armament Laboratory, Elgin, Florida and Stanley D. Sisby. It is also known by the designations of "IMP-221" and "GUU-4/P" and is considered one of the more "interesting" weapons ever produced by Colt.

Overall length of the gun reached a handy 17.1" with the barrel making up 10" of the gun's length. Weight was a manageable 3.75lb and feeding came through a 10- or 30-round detachable box magazine inserted aft of the pistol grip / trigger unit. A slotted muzzle brake capped the barrel which protruded a short distance ahead of the shooter's primary hand (as such, a great deal of care was required when firing the gun). Rudimentary sights were fitted over the frame. Rate-of-fire was 550 rounds-per-minute.

Just five prototypes were constructed in all by Colt during 1972, these chambered for the experimental, military grade .221 Remington "Fireball" cartridge.

The .221-17 IMP cartridge was a rimless bottleneck centerfire design by the Remington Arms Company using the parent casing of the Remington .222 round (though shortened for its new role). The round was manufactured since 1963 and could be used in both pistol and rifle actions. This same cartridge also fed into Remington's own experimental single-shot, bolt-action long-range pistol known as the "XP-100", this gun manufactured from 1963 until 1998 in various model forms.

Despite succeeding in its tests, the Colt IMP never advanced beyond its prototype stage.

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Contractor(s): Colt Military Arms Division - USA
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