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AR-15 Rifles Semi Auto Tactical


by Tom Beckstrand   |  December 22nd, 2013   |   8

LWRC REPR Years ago, Darren Mellors and Jesse Gomez both frequented the Internet chat room called the “FAL Files.” This was the home where lovers of the venerable FAL met to chat about its history, design and where to locate sweet deals. Both Darren and Jesse loved the FAL and even started their own company, one that made topcovers with rails, allowing FAL owners to mount optics onto their guns.

Like anything we love, inevitably the day comes when we become aware of our beloved’s baggage. The FAL is a great rifle, but it’s heavy. It has a bolt that’s very unforgiving if any surface is out of spec, and it lacks options for mounting scopes, slings and night vision. It has a gas block that could double as an anvil, which often causes the rifle to string vertically when it gets hot. Many of us love the idea of a 7.62mm semiauto battle rifle, but until recently, our choices were limited.

Jesse and Darren eventually made the transition from fabricating FAL topcovers to making AR handguards and eventually came to own LWRC International. Once these two FAL lovers found their way into management of a piston-driven AR company, it was only a matter of time before they turned their resources to producing their own 7.62.

Snipers and Assaulters
I first met Darren and Jesse through a muscle-bound, red-headed buddy named Scott. Scott and I were serving in the Army together and had been for a number of years, and in 2006 we were both Team Leaders in 3rd Special Forces Group. I was a sniper team leader, and Scott was an assault team leader.

Since we were both gun enthusiasts, Scott and I did some shooting on our own, and I couldn’t help but admire the LWRC that he prized so much. Eventually, he introduced me to Darren and Jesse, who had started their own 7.62mm rifle project that same year. They were great guys, so I offered to help in whatever way I could. I was certainly no gun designer, but I had the good fortune of serving a few tours overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and offered to provide any feedback from my recent experiences.

In 2006 there was a movement from within the sniping community. The search began for an accurate and reliable 7.62mm semiautomatic rifle. While the KAC SR-25 and Mk11 were already in service with the Special Forces community, they were (and are) mediocre rifles that are grossly overpriced, had extremely poor customer service and were neither accurate nor reliable, in my experience. To add, I had just attended the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Advanced Course at Quantico, Virginia, in early 2006 where the Marine Corps was finishing field trials for the Mk11. The Marines (who have exceptional taste in rifles) decided the Mk11 lacked the accuracy and reliability they were looking for and decided they’d keep looking.

Semiauto 7.62mm rifles are essential for a sniper in this day and age because they allow him to carry only one rifle on the battlefield and still perform all the tasks required of a sniper in an urban environment. While bolt guns work well in rural settings or for those times when we need more ballistic horsepower, semiauto 7.62mm rifles rule in the ever-expanding urban environment where snipers must often fight in the street and in rooms like a normal infantryman. They must then be able to set up overwatch positions and provide precision fire as needed. It’s a difficult mission that requires some serious flexibility that only a semiauto 7.62mm rifle can provide.

LWRC named their initial 7.62mm semiauto rifle the Sniper-Assaulter Battle Rifle (SABR) to embrace the grassroots movement of snipers who learned they needed a rifle that could be both a sniper rifle and an assault rifle to survive on the battlefield. The number of modern semiauto 7.62mm rifles offered in 2006 that could meet the military’s needs was limited to the SR-25 and Mk11, which had a growing number of dissatisfied end-users. LWRC threw their hat in the ring and began prototype development of the SABR. Snipers everywhere rejoiced.

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