“She rocks me like the rock of ages,” Paul Simon sang.

It had nothing to do with a fine Rock River Arms (RRA) carbine, or any of RRA’s other products, such as its stockless 5.56mm and 9mm rifle-based “pistols” or new polymer 1911. But RRA has rocked me for years with well-designed, well-manufactured firearms.

A number of years ago I started running law enforcement carbine instructor programs. At that time, red-dot (collimator or holographic) sights were just beginning to see duty, and there were only three or so Stoner designed and manufactured carbines in use. Yes, we had the old M16s, meaning the 30-year-old M16A1s that police agencies had gotten from the U.S. military, but there were only a few other makes out there—quality control was an issue. Intense carbine training can come to a screeching halt when your rifle breaks or continues to malfunction. We literally had to stop a line of shooters to repair an off-market carbine with duct tape. But I’ve never had this experience with an RRA carbine.

Law Enforcement Partner
Friends of mine would run a Rock as their primary carbine without a hiccup. So, back then, I asked RRA to send me a carbine that was outfitted the way RRA thought a modern LEO would need it for duty on the mean streets, whether in cities, the suburbs or rural towns. What I got was an RRA LAR-15 with a mid-length quad-rail, a SureFire Scout light and an EOTech Model 512 holographic sight. When I got the rifle, I mounted a single-point sling and headed to the range. Afterward, I used the LAR-15 as a primary or backup rifle for an untold number of five-day and three-day courses—it’s run without a hitch, even with duty Federal Tactical FMJ and Russian-manufactured 5.56mm ammunition. No malfunctions. No problems with fit, finish or function.
Still operating like the day I got it.

I’ve had the opportunity to run other RRA 5.56mm carbines on steel ranges and through indoor simulators at a Midwest training center. Even in low-light house-clearing scenarios, the RRAs were good to go. Upon leaving the training center and on the trip to the airport, we had a chance to tour the RRA offices and factory in Colona, Illinois. From the front office personnel to the shipping folks at the loading dock, all were extremely proud of their rifles. When you care about the firearms you produce, it certainly shows in the most important times and places—and that attention to detail and concern for quality can mean saving a good guy’s life.

On The Horizon
Recently RRA sent me a 9mm LAR-9 carbine for test and evaluation, to determine if a 9mm carbine could be used as an alternative training weapon to save on the cost of ammunition. Having shot the LAR-9 out to 50 yards with a fixed A2 carry handle and iron sights, I can attest to its reliability and accuracy. Although mag changes are a little different with the smaller, 9mm magazines, the LAR-9 carbine is a well-made piece.

Also just arrived is the LAR-8 Standard Operator 7.62mm carbine. I’ve unboxed the rifle and picked out the scope, but have yet to take the LAR-8 to the range. Once again, an inspection of the carbine has positive assessments from me on the RRA’s design and workmanship. Look for my reviews of RRA’s LAR-9 and LAR-8 in our sister magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement.

So, over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to stand next to a number of shooters with RRA carbines. I have instructed even more students in intense carbine operator and instructor programs, have run several Rocks in 5.56mm and 9mm, and am looking forward to busting a few 7.62mm rounds downrange with the newly arrived LAR-8. My experience with the RRA carbines does not consist of popping a few caps and plinking on a manicured range. It consists of running the guns hard during scrambles that had me moving from a piece of cover to the next covered position; of firing in close-range, indoor shoothouses out to 150 yards or more; of shooting from positions such as supine, junkyard prone and urban prone with the ejection port down from under vehicles. I’ve never experienced a bump or an unhappy moment with an RRA in all that time.

Wrap Up
There are a tremendous number of carbines out in the marketplace. Some are more recent entrants into the field, relatively untested or unproven. Others have been around a while and have established themselves on the range, street or battlefield. I’ve learned to appreciate the form, fit and function of RRA’s fine line of rifles. Inanimate objects don’t have the capacity to love you back, but I like to think that RRA “loves you like a rock,” or more appropriately, loves you with a Rock. For more information, visit or call 866-980-7625.

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