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Law enforcement agencies looking for an AR-15 patrol rifle have a lot to choose from. For example, DPMS Panther Arms lists over a dozen variations. Combine that with the AR-15 weapon systems available from other manufacturers, and there are more rifles to choose from than there are tickets to write. DPMS’ newest rifle, the LBR (Lite Battle Rifle), looks like it will be a rifle that many agencies and a lot of individual officers consider.

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The DPMS Panther LBR 5.56mm is a lightweight and highly portable carbine made with the patrol cop’s needs in mind. Shown here equipped with an EOTech 556 HWS.

Depending on whom you ask, the attributes of a patrol rifle can be wide-ranging and diverse. If we break down the concept to its most basic description, a possible list of features and attributes could include compactness, light weight, suitability with open sights, optics or both, and finally and not the least important, a rifle that is comfortable to shoot. Of course, it also has to demonstrate unfailing reliability and reasonable accuracy. How does the DPMS LBR stack up to these requirements?

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The carbine’s flat-topped upper receiver employs all the familiar appointments of a modern AR, including a shell deflector and forward assist.

Let’s start with compactness. Compactness is important because cops have more and more gear they need to cram into patrol cars that seem to get smaller all the time. If you are going to have a patrol rifle in your car, you need to be able to get it out of your car in a hurry. It’s unlikely you’ll get a lot of advanced warning that the badge on your chest is now a target.

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During testing, the author found the 5.56mm LBR to be very accurate and completely reliable. Shown with a Leupold Mark 4 CQ/T. Photo courtesy Richard Mann

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