The Colt Commando was not initially part of the CAR-15 Military Weapons System, but was added in 1966 in response to the US military’s desire for a shorter M16 and without the Model 607 SMG’s inadequacies. Colt engineer Rob Roy designed a simpler two-position telescoping tubular aluminum buttstock to replace the complicated extending triangular version. The fragile and ad hoc triangular handguards were replaced by reinforced round handguards. Each half of the round handguard is identical, simplifying logistics by not requiring a top/bottom or left/right pair. The Model 609 Commando has a forward assist, while the Model 610 Commando does not. A Model 610B with a four-position selector was available, but not used by the U.S. military. All versions are equipped with the 4.25-inch (108 mm) long moderator.
The XM177 uses a unique flash suppressor sometimes called a flash or sound moderator for its 10-inch (250 mm) barrel. This device is 4.2 inches (110 mm) long and was designed primarily as a counterbalance measure as the shorter barrel makes the weapon unwieldy. This device reduces flash signature greatly and sound signature slightly, making the normally louder short barreled carbine sound like a longer barreled M16A1. Although it has no internal baffles and does not completely reduce the sound signature to subsonic levels, because it alters the sound level of the weapon, the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has declared this muzzle device to be a sound suppressor and regulates its civilian purchase in the United States.