LWRCI (Land Warfare Resources Corporation International) is a recognized industry leader in short-stroke piston-operated AR rifles, which, along with the improvement they offer over gas impingement designs, are the company’s entire raison d’être. Whether piston-driven ARs are superior to their gas impingement brethren often generates heated discussion. However, one thing that is not debatable is the number of manufacturers, even those that already maintain traditional ARs in their production lineup, rushing to create piston-driven ARs. And this does not even take into account the myriad AR calibers that are coming online, ranging from 5.7mm to .50 Beowulf with many stops in between.
LWRCI offers an array of ARs that includes LE/military-only select-fire models and guns with various barrel lengths and profiles, such as the 7-inch-barreled UCIW and the 18-inch-barreled M6A3 DMR. Unique among these is the M6A4 IAW, which fires from a closed bolt on semi-automatic then goes to open-bolt function on automatic fire. Considering all the mission-specific configurations that can be had, the AR platform possesses a flexibility that is hard to beat. Another excellent LWRCI gun is the M6 Individual Carbine (IC), a direct descendant of the rifle developed to meet the requirements of the U.S. Army Individual Carbine program.
The M6 IC is centered on a fully ambidextrous lower receiver featuring dual controls for the bolt catch/release, magazine release, and fire control/safety lever. This means that both right- and left-handed operators can use the rifle to its full effectiveness. The dual controls also give operators the option of using their off-hand side to better accommodate barriers or injury without having to switch hands to manipulate the weapon. The LWRCI Monoforge upper receiver evolved from the LWRCI SPR platform introduced in 2011. The Monoforge upper features a user-configurable rail system with the rail mounting base machined as part of the upper receiver for added strength and reduced weight.
The LWRCI M6 IC is the epitome of a well-balanced and fast-pointing tactical carbine. The M6 IC’s use of the Monoforge rail contributes to a sense of better balance and lightness. At 12 inches long, the rail is 33 percent longer than other LWRCI rails but still 5 percent lighter. The weight reduction in the M6 IC’s front end and the svelte feel of the user-configurable rail make for an incredibly balanced rifle. A LWRCI Compact stock and MIAD pistol grip finish out the M6 IC’s ergonomics. The standard-production IC rifles are finished in black, but a Limited Edition model with a 14.7-inch, spiral-fluted barrel and Flat Dark Earth finish is also available. The M6 IC measures 32 inches long with the stock collapsed and 35.25 inches with the stock extended. The 16-inch barrel maximizes portability and handling while maintaining ballistic and terminal performance. The M6 IC’s forend top rail is easily removable and can be reinstalled without affecting the zero of any sights or target designators. The rail allows for mission-specific configuration with lights, lasers, target designators and other items. As befitting a rifle in the IC’s price range and one intended for LE and military users, the M6 IC comes standard with folding LWRCI BUIS open sights that proved able to co-witness with a variety of optics mounted. The iron sights can serve as standalone battle sights or be folded down to act as backup sights once an optic is mounted.
The M6 IC’s 7-pound weight is derived from its minimized rail design, which also contributes greatly to the rifle’s overall balance and feel. Not all weapons need full-length rails ready to be festooned with an array of accessories to be considered viable. While reliability should never be compromised in terms of cost/performance ratios, other items considered a must for some may not be a high priority for others. The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach can pay dividends in freeing you and your rifle up for other duties. LWRCI does away with a full-length quad-rail in favor of a lower-profile handguard that’s been tapped and threaded along its length so the end-user can install Picatinny rail sections as needed. The top of the rifle, from the back of the receiver to the front gas block, has a full-length Picatinny rail. The minimalist approach for rails still allows plenty of room for foregrips and lights/lasers.
The M6 IC utilizes LWRCI’s patented self-regulating, short-stroke gas-piston operating system, ensuring reliability in the harshest theaters of operation. LWRCI has sought to engineer a complete solution for the deficits found in direct impingement ARs, and the short-stroke piston’s principal benefit is derived from its elimination of hot, carbon-laden gases being vented into the receiver and bolt carrier group, thus reducing the finicky cleaning needed with direct gas impingement ARs. This also results in the bolt carrier group and associated springs not being subjected to the searing heat of the tapped gases, one of the major causes of small-parts failures. The M6 IC utilizes a cold-hammer-forged barrel made of 41V45 steel alloy and treated with NiCorr surface conversion technology, which has prove more lubricious, harder wearing, and more heat- and corrosion-resistant than the hard chrome lining normally used in a service rifle’s bore. LWRCI advertises its barrels as being able to handle 20,000 rounds before replacement, compared to the 6,000- to 10,000-round life of standard chrome-lined barrels. The bolt carrier is coated with a proprietary nickel coating that nearly eliminates corrosion while providing greatly increased lubricity. This coating provides permanent lubrication to the moving parts and is similar to that being used by the U.S. Army Research Lab and USSOCOM to extend the service life of their weapons systems.
The M6 IC’s piston system is a mid-length design, which provides a smoother recoil impulse for faster follow-up shots. LWRCI has chosen to use an adjustable gas block with the M6 IC, with settings for normal and suppressed fire. The M6 IC separates itself from other ARs in ways that aren’t obvious to the casual observer. Unlike most AR platforms, the M6 IC has no barrel nut securing its barrel to its upper receiver. Rather, LWRCI has machined the integral rail mount, barrel nut and receiver out of one piece of aluminum. When you install the barrel into the receiver and install the handguard/rail system, there is a torque ring that can be tightened with an HKS wrench, which ensures that every barrel is secured with the same amount of torque. LWRCI first explored this integral rail mount system with its REPR rifle, giving the system a tweak in the M6 IC, whose rail design features more coils and a rectangular (instead of square) spring profile. The square design spring stopped rearward movement after full compression, whereas the rectangular design, which has more coils, does not fully collapse during operation. This combined with the piston stop on the operating rod serves to greatly expand the spring’s life span so that it equals that of the barrel.
LWRCI’s ARs are not marketed as the least expensive AR option (most are priced over $2,000), and the IC is sold for over $3,000 from various retailers. But at that price, you do get a rifle that’s ready for use right out of the box, a weapon intended for maximizing effectiveness during a fight and for realistic training on the range. The key component in a fighting rifle is reliability—no matter how accurate or powerful the rifle, it’s a liability if it doesn’t work 100 percent of the time—and the piston-driven M6 IC certainly delivers.
I chose to evaluate the LWRCI M6 IC with a Weaver Tactical 2-10x36mm scope with an illuminated MDR reticle, where both a red and green center reticle is accessible by the user. The Weaver Tactical scope is designed for instinctive, close-range/low-magnification situations with its illuminated reticle and maintains magnification for longer-range precision work. The Weaver scope will strike many as unconventional in terms of the optics that are commonly found on military-style rifles. However, for law enforcement, civilians or private security contractors, the Weaver is a worthy consideration as it supplements the M6 IC rifle’s performance flexibility.
Various ammunition of different makes regularly produced 1.5-inch groups at 100 yards. Premium Federal American Eagle and Speer loads were tested, and no ammunition, including full-metal-jacket rounds, generated greater than 2-MOA accuracy levels. The LWRCI M6 IC’s 16-inch barrel, combined with 55- and 64-grain bullets, produced velocities between 2,833 and 2,955 fps when tested over an RCBS chronograph.
The M6 IC made short work of striking various targets. The 2-10x Weaver scope was flexible, handling both close-range engagements and longer-range accuracy shots. The concern for operating the magnified optic in a CQB environment is quelled once you become familiar and actively train with the Bindon aiming concept. (Human vision is based upon a binocular [two eyes] presentation of visual evidence to the brain.) The LWRCI M6 IC mated with a variable-power Weaver optic can handle diverse missions, and combined they are bound to enhance the effectiveness of the operator and weapon.
For responding to a “bump in the night” or commotion on the beat, the LWRCI M6 IC is certainly a worthy candidate to grab and take with you to the scene. While the carbine is unlikely to see wide use by our military, it is within reach of law enforcement agencies, not to mention private contractors and security-conscious civilians. With budgets constantly under pressure, the M6 IC can be that one rifle that fulfills a multitude of roles, including as a DMR, general-purpose patrol rifle and entry weapon. That speaks volumes ofß the M6 IC’s accuracy, reliability, handling and ergonomics. For more information, visit lwrci.com or call 410-901-1348.