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If there’s one question that gets asked time and time again, which I’m never quite sure about answering, it’s about decoding PTW serial numbers. Turns out it’s quite simple and formulaic.

Thanks to Jason Yu for providing definitive words on the subject and thanks also to Brian C for providing the pics – which are examples Jason has posted previously.

Time to kill the confusion…

“First digit “4” would mean it was made for a M4/M4A1/M4 CQBR rifle. “2” would be M16A2, and “3” would mean for M16A3.

Second/two digit “8-9-10-11” means the year the body was produced.

Three digits follow is the batch or lot number that the unit was produced, if it says “100”, that just mean your unit was 100th unit of that year.

Last/two digit “1-12″ would mean the month of that year that the unit was produced.


4824207 = Model M4 variant, 2008 Production body, 242th unit of that year, and made in July of 2008.

Serial numbers don’t change on all three platform (MAX, SuperMax, Mil/Le).”

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Interestingly, there does seem to be the odd exception to the rule. Take this example, decoded by Tackleberry:

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Anything you can’t decode using these techniques, your receiver was made late on a Friday night 😀