The SWORD International MK-15 Patrolman Carbine is the product of a search for an M4-style carbine that was even more durable and reliable. SWORD International Founder Jeremy Elrod wanted to improve the weapon he was issued in the service. In his mind, the problems stemmed from loose tolerances, particularly in the magazine well, and a lack of durability. After searching for something better in the civilian marketplace, he was also dissatisfied with most of the aftermarket attempts to improve the gun. In his words, they amounted to little more than “poorly designed and manufactured gimmicks that focused on looking cool.” He felt that law enforcement officers and military troops deserved something better. His goal was to put “quality American-manufactured weapons platforms and systems in the hands of military, law enforcement and civilians.”
SWORD stands for Special Warfare Operations Research and Development, and the requirements for the MK-15 Patrolman Carbine were informed by Elrod’s experience overseas with the 2nd Ranger Battalion. In Elrod’s eyes, the way to make a better gun was to mill the upper and lower receivers from a billet rather than a forging. Starting with a billet has some advantages. It is easier for a small manufacturer to control tolerances. They cut every contour and critical dimension themselves, so they don’t have to worry about fixing or sorting out forgings from outside suppliers that
may be out of spec. Machining from a billet leaves behind extra material; this can be a disadvantage in that it leaves behind extra mass and bulk, but this is an advantage for SWORD’s purposes. SWORD believes that the extra material will resist twisting and warping—there is more material for bridging or mating a better joint between the upper and other components, such as the barrel and the forend. The extra mass and tighter tolerances also dampen vibration in the operating system during the firing cycle.
The exterior layout is generally similar to that of a standard M4, but where those familiar with an AR-15-style rifle would expect to see rounded shapes, such as the exterior contour of the bolt tunnel, these areas are generally flat planes with beveled edges. In particular, the case deflector at the rear of the ejection port is much larger and its rear dips like a roller coaster in order to blend into the shroud for the forward assist plunger.