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Eugene Stoner designed the original AR with space-age materials in order to save weight. The idea, of course, was that soldiers could carry more ammunition if their rifles weighed less. But ever since Vietnam, the M16/AR platform has evolved, and with it have come additions that increase weight.

The original polymer handguard was replaced with quad-rail systems for attaching all manner of accessories like lasers, lights, slings and bipods. And if you’ve served in the military, you know that ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain.

Now gunmakers are shifting gears again, however. Instead of offering heavy rifles that can handle every conceivable mission, they’re creating lightweight rifles that can be kitted out as needed without being too burdensome. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best rifles currently available that weight less than 7 pounds unloaded.

Ruger’s AR-556 weighs only 6.5 pounds but offers a cold-hammer-forged barrel and traditional M4 styling. The Smith & Wesson M&P15 VTAC II and Wilson Combat Tactical Lightweight are custom-grade rifles with enhanced triggers, modular handguards and next-gen furniture. But that’s not all

Scroll through the gallery above to learn more!

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