Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Colt Monitor Automatic Machine Rifle

In 1931, the Colt Arms Co. introduced the Colt Monitor Automatic Machine Rifle (R 80), intended primarily for use by prison guards and law enforcement agencies. Intended for use as a shoulder-fired automatic rifle, the Colt Monitor omitted the standard bipod, instead featuring a separate pistol grip and buttstock attached to a lightweight receiver, along with a shortened 458 mm (18.0 in) barrel fitted with a 4-inch (100 mm) Cutts compensator. Weighing 16 lb. 3 oz. (7.34 kg) empty, the Colt Monitor had a rate of fire of approximately 500 rpm. 

Around 125 Colt Monitor automatic machine rifles were produced; 90 of these were purchased by the FBI. Eleven rifles went to the U.S. Treasury Department in 1934, while the rest went to various state prisons, banks, security companies, and accredited police departments. Although the Colt Monitor was available for export sale, no examples appear to have been exported to other countries.

The FBI purchased approximately 90 Monitors and put them on display in a series of propaganda films depicting Mr. Hoover overseeing some of his agents firing (with tracer) at cars. The Monitor did its job well and soon the cars were chopped to pieces by the armor piercing .30-06. This was Mr. Hoover’s weapon of mass destruction as it put his men on equal footing with the likes of Bonnie and Clyde. The Monitor was the first official “Fighting Rifle” of the FBI. 

In the capture and shooting of Bonnie and Clyde, along with a multitude of weapons, BAR’s and one Monitor were used. The Barrow’s gang had two BAR’s, dozens of Colt 1911s, and a variety of other lethal weapons. Captain Frank Hamer of the Texas Rangers had the Monitor (serial number C-103168) that was allegedly presented to him by the Colt Company. The gang never had a chance to use their weapons because they were “cut down” before they could react.

The text and leading picture for this post are from Paul Reynolds FB page. See his page at; 
The leading picture was originally black & white and was cleaned up & colourised by Paul. Check out Paul's page for some great colourized WW2 pictures.

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