Direct impingement system or gas piston operated? What length barrel should you choose? These are all concerns for AR-type rifle buyers, but Ruger may have the best answer with its new two-stage-piston-driven Ruger SR-556 Carbine, which has a hammer-forged, 14.5-inch barrel that is civilian-legal to own because of a permanently attached flash suppressor, taking things out to a full 16.12 inches. In the December 2013 issue of Special Weapons for Military & Police, author Dave Spaulding got his hands on the new carbine to put it through its paces.

According to Spaulding, “At just a shade over 7 pounds, the…Ruger SR-556 Carbine…is sleek, incorporating a thin, lightweight, adaptable handguard on which sections of rail can be placed for needed accessories, instead of having a forend with enough rails to open a railroad! The thin handguard also allows the operator to wrap his or her support hand around the forend to better ‘drive’ the muzzle from one target to the next. The SR-556 Carbine [also] comes from the factory with a set of heavy-duty, flip-up iron sights, but the receiver/barrel-length section of Picatinny rail just asks for an easy-to-use optic.”

To learn more about this high-quality powerhouse and find out how it fared on the range, check out the December 2013 issue of Special Weapons for Military & Police, now available on newsstands and digitally. To subscribe, go to

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