While it may be difficult to gauge just what makes the best rifles for duty use, the same models keep popping up in large military and police contracts.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety– the Palmetto State’s troopers– in March signed a deal for 600 FN 15 Patrol series rifles to replace their shotguns. Previously, the Killeen, Texas Police Department ordered 213 FN 15 Carbines for their use.
The 5.56mm-caliber FN-15, produced in Columbia, South Carolina, uses a six-position collapsible buttstock and a 16-inch barrel as standard. Equipped with FN’s Combat Trigger and a direct impingement action, they are semi-auto only.
Sig Sauer M400
Detroit SWAT picked Sig Sauer’s M400 series for a big rifle contract last year, followed quickly by Philadelphia‘s tactical units. Features standard across the series of 5.56mm rifles with a direct impingement gas operating system include a full-length free-float M-LOK handguard, six-position telescoping stock, enhanced SIG trigger, and a rotating lock bolt.
“The M400 rifle is designed to exceed military standards to be the most accurate and reliable rifle in its class, which makes it an optimal choice for specialized law enforcement units in extraordinary enforcement situations,” Tom Jankiewicz, Sig’s executive vice president for law enforcement sales, said of the model previously.
Commercially, Sig offers several M400 variants starting at $799.
Sig Sauer MCX
Another entry from the New Hampshire-based powerhouse is the MCX series. Earlier this year Florida’s fourth-largest city, Orlando, moved to equip their police force with this new Sig Sauer rifles as standard equipment. OPD chose the MCX Virtus variant to equip not only uniformed officers but detectives, watch commanders, and sergeants as well. At the same time, across the pond in England, London’s Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officers – dubbed C-men – have also gone with MCX Carbines.
The Virtus debuted in 2017 in both pistol and patrol rifle variants with the longer of the two featuring a five-position side-folder stock, ambi controls, 16-inch hammer forged barrel, free-floating M-LOK handguards, and Matchlite Duo two-stage trigger. The 5.56mm modular rifle, which Sig explains was developed with the Special Operations community in mind, accommodates 500 combinations and is enhanced for a 20,000-round service life.
Long one of the top 5.56mm carbine makers in the world, Colt has also won tenders to equip various police forces around the world as well as pulled down Pentagon contracts for their M4 series rifles. In 2018, the Connecticut-based company grabbed a $57 million contract issued by the U.S. Army for guns intended for Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Senegal, Tunisia, and Pakistan. In addition, their LE6940 and LE6920 series rifles have proven popular with police users.
Indiana-based LMT, formerly Lewis Machine & Tool, has been winning bids left and right to equip Allied countries with 5.56mm and 7.62mm carbines and rifles. Last month, the company confirmed they have been selected to provide up to 16,000 of their MARS series rifles, including AR-15 and AR-10 types, to the Estonian Defense Force. The Estonian award is not the first large overseas small arms contract for LMT, as the company is fresh off supplying the New Zealand military with over 9,000 of that country’s new MARS-L rifles. This came after a $30 million deal for 7.62mm DMR rifles with the United Kingdom in 2009.
In 2013, Remington Defense won a contract to supply the Armed Forces of the Philippines with 40,000 select-fire R4 5.56 mm carbines in a deal worth $47 million. Since then, the award increased to 63,286 weapons, with deliveries taking place over the past several years. This has followed with smaller contracts through the U.S. Army “on behalf of key international allies.” Meanwhile, police in Queensland, Australia have been issuing the R4 Patrolman series for years.
Remington Defense is now aiming to make several models– once distributed to LE and military channels only– available to the commercial market so you can expect the model to join Big Green’s standard R-15 series in coming weeks. Watch this space.
A big enchilada in the gun industry recently went to Sig Sauer when they pulled down a contract to supply at least 72,400 new rifles to the Indian Army. The 7.62x51mm SIG716 rifles will partially replace that country’s domestically produced INSAS 5.56mm platforms, the 716 is an enhanced AR platform featuring a 16-inch barrel, M-LOK handguards, and a six-position telescoping stock. The company confirmed on they will be American made in their New Hampshire factories.
Semi-auto versions of the 716 are readily available in Patrol and DMR format.