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Top 20 Next-Gen Combat Rifles

Top 20 Next-Gen Combat Rifles

Rounding up some of the most advanced fighting carbines and combat rifles for the 21st century!

The AR platform has served as our country’s battle rifle since 1962, first as the M16, which was used during the Vietnam War. Over time, the platform evolved, and newer variants like the M4 Carbine and M16A4 rifle have been used extensively in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It has proven to be an excellent rifle, but, like the M1 Garand (also an excellent battle rifle), the AR will be superseded with the next generation of battle rifle. Numerous U.S. military trials, starting in the 1980s with the Advanced Combat Rifle program, have been conducted to find a replacement.

Next-gen combat-style rifles are defined by their modularity. Their components are designed to be easily installed or removed. Also, they often make use of ultra-modern materials such as polymer and aluminum in their construction that offer strength and light weight. Also, barrel systems are often fully free floated and designed for quick release so they can be swapped out in minutes in the field.

Ease of use and individualized customization are additional next-gen rifle features. Stocks can often telescope for a custom length of pull for operators of all statures, and the cheekpiece may adjust for obtaining a perfect cheekweld. The stocks also often fold, so deploying from a vehicle or aircraft is less complicated. Controls are often ambidextrous, so the weapon adapts to the shooter—not the other way around.

Taking advantage of today’s cutting-edge design and materials, these combat rifles offer users a truly modern take on the concept. Here is a look at the next generation of civilian-legal, semi-auto carbines inspired by this technology.

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  • 12.7x99mmDaddy

    Fucking Keltec,, i wish this article had been written on paper so i could wipe my ass with it.

  • SansJeux

    What about the LWRC REPR???????????

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  • Acidfix

    Out of them all I like the IWI Tavor… Put a VCOG on it and call it a day.

  • k.h.

    Direct impingement is a flawed design, not a suitable system for a military rifle. AR-18 design was much more promising as a military rifle than a AR-15. G36 is a fine example of a AR-18 based system. Too bad it came too late.

  • Oak

    PTR-91? $2 mag, roller locker system, foward charging handle, low recoil… What’s not to love accurate, reliable, and the mags are $2

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  • Meow Man

    This idiot lists several bull pups without mentioning the best bull pup that is actually time tested and proven, the Steyr Aug. The Tavor is relatively new, along with the other bull pups on this list. The author is an ignorant mall ninja it seems, with little actual firearms experience or knowledge.

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  • Moronerator

    What exactly is the point to this article???
    (outside the criteria for picking up your paycheck that is..)

    It opens with the typical arrogance oriented perspective that everything in existence is automatically antiquated because it was not invented by the ‘next’ generation… then attempts to quantify the need and purpose for the ‘next-gen’ combat rifle by listing everything the current ‘granddaddy’s’ AR already provides… It does not stop there of course. To further reinforce the ignorance of whoever scribed this crap, it provides examples of weapons that not only fail to provide a single feature above what the ‘aging’ AR platform rifle originally provided back in the 60s, the examples fail to provide anything over the AR platform today. Then, as if it were possible to demonstrate any greater lack of perspective, it provides examples of some ‘next-gen’ rifles that do not provide a fraction of the reliability proven by the AR platform and do not even meet the feature criteria quantified at the beginning of the article.

    Thank you for providing your perspective and clarification of what the ‘next-gen’ weaponry fulfills, but more importantly thank you for demonstrating how a false sense of purpose, keyboard, and an internet connection can provide evidence of why we need combat rifles to begin with..

    • stupid makes me sleepy


  • gregory

    The Kel-tec RFB is a POS. Read KTOG, the things do not work. I almost made the mistake of a lifetime by selling my M1A SOCOM 16 to buy one. I changed my mind and decided to deal with the extra weight in exchange for a rifle that functions.

  • Anthony

    Can’t believe that Kel-tec and masterpiece arms are in this list. You may as well give Hi-point a spot also.

    • josh

      There were lots of rifles that should have been listed other than the Kel-tec and masterpiece arms such as LWRC’s PDW for example. And no knock against the M1A Socom II, I’d love to have one but I guess I just wasn’t expecting it on this list. I did notice there wasn’t a single AK variant on the list…

      • dev0311

        The us military will never use ak’s
        Thats why they weren’t on the list

        • josh

          Agreed that the US military would never use an AK, but I didn’t notice that this was specifically the top 20 for the US military.

  • dan

    What about Beretta ar160?

    • josh

      The civilian version AR100 was on the list as these were all civilian models.