There’s a lot to like about the Kel-Tec SU-16E. With a gas-piston operation, the SU-16E is a departure from the traditional 5.56 NATO-chambered AR-15 design. Retired USMC Col. Craig Boddington takes a close look at the unique sport-utility carbine and finds that it’s handy with many desirable features.
The SU-16E is light, weighing only 4.7 pounds, yet shares many of the same ergonomics as the typical M4-style AR-15. Rather than a charging handle at the rear of the upper, the SU-16E is manually cycled using a right-side charging handle that reciprocates. Reminiscent of the vintage M4 appearance, the CAR-style stock is six-position adjustable. The 16-inch barrel with 1:7-inch twist rate is protected by a stylized handguard. The faster 1:7-inch twist means that it’s ideal for stabilizing heavier bullet weights for increased accuracy. Still, it performs well with Hornady’s Black 62-grain FMJ ammo as Col. Boddington demonstrates.
Paired with a TruGlo Ignite Mini Compact red dot, ths combination makes for an affordable, accurate and reliable carbine that can get any problem solved by the 5.56mm NATO cartridge.