When it comes to LE patrol rifles, lighter is always better. This has been one of the primary advantages of the AR platform, due to its aluminum upper and lower receivers and simple direct gas impingement system with its requisite few parts. For a weapon that may have a few pounds of extra gear attached to it, every ounce can count.
But, what if you were to employ a material even lighter and more advanced than aluminum? Well, Windham Weaponry has in its Carbon Fiber SRC (Sight Ready Carbine). At first glance, it looks like a standard AR-15-type rifle. But this AR has molded carbon-fiber-composite upper and lower receivers.
Without a magazine, Windham Weaponry lists its Carbon Fiber SRC at 5.85 pounds. The same rifle with an aluminum receiver lists at 6.3 pounds. The company has shaved off nearly a half-pound with the use of this cutting-edge material. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, try holding your rifle up to cover a hallway for a half-hour while your team clears the rest of a house. Weight matters. The longer you use your rifle, the more it matters. In today’s age of holographic sights, visible and IR lasers, mounted flashlights, and stocks and grips that carry extra batteries, the super-light AR rifle has found itself needing to go on a diet and shed a few pounds.
The rifle arrived in a black hard case with a 30-round aluminum magazine, a sling and an operator’s manual. The barrel is chambered for the 5.56mm NATO and has a 1-in-9-inch twist rate. I prefer this twist rate because I rarely buy or shoot rounds that are heavier than 70 grains. In my experience, the 1-in-9-inch twist rate can handle any round up to 70 grains and generally will not increase pressures or cause throat wear as fast as a tighter twist. The MSRP for the Carbon Fiber SRC is a very reasonable $958.
I opened the case and, at first glance, the rifle looks like a normal M4. The rifle has a collapsible stock and a large, round forend with double heat shields. It comes with no sights. I think that is a huge plus. Odds are, almost everyone who buys this rife will do so with a purpose in mind. The guy who will use it on raids and entries needs folding iron sights and some type of red-dot sight. When Windham Weaponry decided to leave off the sights, they did so with the end-user in mind. Not adding iron sights helps keep the price down. I think most people will appreciate that.
Next I inspected the rifle’s upper and lower receivers. Both have a matte, non-reflective black finish that is perfect for tactical operations. The area around the rear takedown pin is built up. The triggerguard is an integral piece of the receiver. The serial number is etched onto a piece of aluminum that sits above the pistol grip.