Sig Sauer is well known for their reliable handguns in service with law enforcement, many of the government’s “lettered” agencies, as well as the U.S. Navy SEALs. The company also has a stellar reputation for producing high-quality rifles in several configurations. One such rifle is the SIG516 chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO that utilizes a gas piston operating system. Well, Sig has recently introduced its big brother.
The new SIG716 Patrol rifle brings all the familiarity of the AR platform with the added punch of the 7.62x51mm NATO round. For “tactic-cool” folks, the SIG716 looks like an M4 on steroids. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.
Included with the SIG716 Patrol is a cleaning kit, manual, gun lock, Magpul PMAG, a sling fitted with a pair QD swivels and a set of Sig Sauer-designed front and rear folding sights. Lifting the rifle from the case, the first thing you’ll notice is the superb fit and finish one would expect from a Sig Sauer weapon. The rifle is solid and leaves no doubt that you have left the realm of 5.56mm weaponry. The base rifle weighs in at 9.3 pounds (without magazine). As with many of the piston rifles I’ve handle, it felt just a little bit nose-heavy; however, the rifle is well balanced overall.
The SIG716 uses an advanced short-stroke piston operating system with a four-position adjustable gas valve. As Jarrod McDevitt, Sig Sauer’s rifle product manager, said, “The short-stoke piston system provides for lighter recoil, a faster cyclic rate, and it does not negatively affect accuracy like a long-stroke system would.”
The rifle is equipped with a proprietary aluminum Mil-Std-1913 quad-rail handguard designed by Sig that matches up with the flattop upper for plenty of space to mount optics and sights. Each of the four rails is solid and provides a stable mount for tactical accessories, such as lights, laser aiming devices, night-vision devices, and other mission-dependent add-ons. There are also four quick-detach swivel attachment points on the forend itself—a set fore and aft on the left rail, and a matching set on the right side—adding to the rifle’s overall versatility.
At the front of the quad-rail forend, just above the barrel, the SIG716 gas adjustment valve has four positions: normal; adverse, for conditions when there may be fouling; suppressed, which is the setting for use with a sound suppressor (the partial gas cutoff allows the weapon to cycle); and off, which allows the rifle to function as a single-shot weapon.
The 16-inch, free-floating, match-grade heavy barrel is chrome-lined with a 1-in-10-inch right-hand twist. The A2 birdcage flash suppressor is affixed to the muzzle end of the barrel via a 5/8-24-TPI thread pattern. This is the industry standard for 7.62mm NATO rifles, which allows the shooter to change or remove the muzzle brake as needed.
While some manufacturers lately have chosen to leave bolt assists off their rifles, the SIG716 features one that functions well. This is an important attribute for a combat rifle that needs to function no matter what. The bolt itself has been designed to reduce weight and has cutouts machined into it for that purpose.
Both upper and lower receivers are machined from forgings. The SIG716 Patrol’s ambidextrous fire control selector is clearly marked with “SAFE” and “SEMI” on both sides of the lower receiver, and it features a traditional 90-degree throw. The lower receiver also features an ambidextrous magazine release. The triggerguard can be opened by depressing a spring detent to facilitate trigger accessibility for a shooter wearing gloves.
Sig Sauer also equips the SIG716 with a Magpul ACS (Adaptable Carbine/Storage) mil-spec buttstock, which will store up to three CR123 lithium or two AA batteries. The ACS comes standard with a 0.30-inch-thick rubber buttpad, which provides a positive shoulder hold to prevent slippage. The ACS stock is also sloped to provide a positive cheekweld for the shooter. The stock itself weighs 1.14 pounds, adding to the balance of the weapon. The design also provides the shooter with a good position for the support hand when shooting prone with a bipod or other support.
Finally, the SIG716 Patrol is fitted with a Magpul MIAD (MIssion ADaptable) pistol grip. This is an excellent upgrade to the standard AR-15 pistol grip, and I found that it fit my hand better and improved the ergonomics of the weapon. The MIAD grip has anti-slip texturing on both left and right sides, as well as the backstrap, for a positive grip.
All told, the SIG716 is well made and shows plenty of attention to detail. The rifle is also compatible with SR-25-type magazines and it’s nice that Sig delivers the rifle with one 20-round polymer PMAG.
For a CQB optic, I mounted an EOTech XPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight. This 1X optic is parallax-free and provides the shooter with a wide field of view with unlimited eye relief. The reticle is a 65-minute ring with vertical and horizontal stadia and a 1-MOA aiming dot. The XPS3 is powered by one CR123 battery, which is fitted in a transverse position from other EOTech sights. This configuration shortens the base of the sight, requiring a mere 2.75 inches of real estate on the top Picatinny rail. The XPS3 weighs in at 8 ounces and is waterproof to one atmosphere.
Behind the XPS3, I mounted the EOTech G23.FTS 3X magnifier with the Flip-To-Side mount. The G23.FTS magnifier allows a shooter to transition from CQB to medium ranges instantaneously while maintaining the accuracy of the weapon.
For white light, I attached attached an EOTech/Insight WL1-AA tactical weapon light. Weighing in at just under 3.5 ounces, the WL1-AA is their latest offering in weapon lights. The Quick Release Rail-Grabber attaches to the quad-rail effortlessly with the flip of a single lever. Powered by two AA batteries, the LED light provides the operator with 150+ lumens for up to 90 minutes. The light can operate in momentary, strobe or constant-on modes.
I also attached the Laser Devices DBAL-I2 in the 12 o’clock position at the front of the top rail. This particular DBAL-I2 (Dual Beam Aiming Laser-Intelligent) was equipped with a Class IIIA visible red laser pointer and a Class I infrared laser pointer. The DBAL-I2 allows a shooter to effortlessly transition from daylight operations to low-light operations.
For my last accessory, I added a Grip Pod, which is just that—a combination grip/bipod. The Grip Pod allows me to transition from an upright CQB position to prone and have a stable base for aimed firing in place before hitting the ground. With the simple push of a button, the Grip Pod’s legs instantly deploy. Weighing a scant 0.7 ounces, the GPS02 Military Model provides a solid connection and stable platform for steady shooting—up close or out far—with no wobble. The Grip Pod mounts to the quad-rail via a thumbscrew and does not have a quick-release option.
I spent the day at my local outdoor range running the rifle through its paces. Taking into account the weapon’s use as a patrol rifle and for an entry team, I zeroed the gun at 25 yards. Firing a variety of ammunition, from basic to match grade, the rifle preformed flawlessly. Specifically, I tested the SIG716 with loads from Black Hills, Federal, Remington and Winchester. No matter what I loaded, the SIG716 fed the rounds and produced accurate shot groups. Though it was not the fasted chronographed load, the SIG716 punched the smallest group with Black Hills’ Gold 180-grain cartridge tipped with a Nosler AccuBond bullet, creating a six-shot group of only 0.29 inches. The rifle comes with a factory trigger pull of 7.6 pounds, which I found crisp and predictable, and I consider this one of the attributes that led to the tight clutters exhibited with all the ammunition tested.
Firing both off-hand and with Grip Pod bipod, the rifle was well balanced, solid and accurate. From my evaluation, I can tell that the SIG716 Patrol is ready to go right out of the case. The rifle’s receivers are close fitting, eliminating the need for an AccuWedge, as with other AR-platform rifles.
The price of admission to the 7.62mm club can be costly. However, the SIG716 is reasonably priced and the company did not cut any corners when it came to quality. It’s hard to beat the MSRP for the SIG716, especially because it’s such a hard-hitting piston patrol rifle.
Sig Sauer has combined the combat-proven AR platform with the reliability of the gas piston system. Everyone who has a military or law enforcement background, or anyone who has handled an AR, will be comfortable and familiar with the SIG716. Forty-plus years of shooting the AR design can not be overlooked; the military has spent thousand of hours and countless missions with the M16/M4, so a 7.62mm variant of that weapon makes sense when it comes to deployment, immediate action drills, maintenance, etc.
The SIG716 Patrol is a win for Sig and whoever decides to own one. Sig Sauer offers the rifle in black with black furniture, black with OD green furniture, and Flat Dark Earth with matching furniture.