You have to give Sig Sauer credit. When they rolled out the new civilian-legal, complete short-barreled rifle (SBR) program they decided to go all out. The company is offering all of their tactical rifles in this configuration, from .22 LR to 7.62mm NATO, and aggressively marketing them for consumer sales in states where they can be registered.
I recently had the opportunity to test out the biggest and baddest of these at the Sig Sauer Academy in Exeter, New Hampshier. The SIG716 is a semi-automatic rifle that uses the same proven short-stroke gas piston system as the critically acclaimed SIG516, but it’s beefed up to handle the full-power 7.62mm NATO round.
While externally it looks and operates the same as a standard AR, this rifle features all of the internal Sig Sauer upgrades, including the upper and lower receiver tensioning device for a tighter fit and better accuracy, and the extractor support pin inside the barrel extension. Externally, the rifle has an ambidextrous magazine release and standard quad-rail handguard.
Despite the short 12-inch barrel, which keeps the whole gun down to an overall length of less than 35 inches, the rifle handled recoil very well and was easy to keep on target, but it certainly announces itself with a loud bark. The gas piston system also makes it well suited for suppressed fire, and with standard 20-round Magpul PMAG magazines, there is plenty to smile about.
I tested the SIG716 from the bench rest using iron sights at 60 yards during an informal range session and had no trouble keeping groups well under 2 inches. Look for upcoming features in future magazines.