Thursday, August 4, 2011

The development of the Knight's Armament SR-25 EM Battle Rifle

by Kevin Boland; a personal friend of mine and the Knight's Armament Company Military/Government Product Liaison.  Kevin has the unique experience of having been there and done that in both of our current theaters for the Canadian Army and as a private military contractor.

  Shortly after 9/11 elements operating in Afghanistan noted that the M4A1  even with our (KAC) MRE FF RAS, and S&B Short Dot was not up to the task of going from the CQB fight to the edge of the villages or out in the mountains, and while the 18" Mk12 Mod0 and Mod1 are capable in the accuracy department, that they where neither very handy for CQB, nor would 5.56mm, even with then newly adopted 77gr AA53 round (Mk262) capable of barrier penetration at range.  

  Larry Motherf---in' Vickers did a segment on Tactical Arms to air this year where he talks about why the M4 was picked over the MP-5 for CQB, as to somewhat paraphrase him “you sometimes need to step out of the house and make a 100m or 200m shot,” he then relates to the 7.62mm SR-25 EM Carbine, and the 7.62 Battle Rifles, “well in Afghanistan, sometime you need to step out or go up on a building an make a 400-600m shot, and 5.56mm is not ideal for that.”

  We had built pre-ban SR-25K 16" guns, and some other 7.62 carbines, however they where not really designed for the “M4 type” roles that where being envisioned.

 We came up with the SR-25 14.5" Battle Rifle:

 With the idea is that it was very similar in appearance to the M4's and not going to draw undue attention, as well unlike the majority of systems, it used the same manual of Arms as the M4/M16, so soldier who have years on the M16FOW, don't have issues relearning drills, especially valuable under stress.

 7.62mm is more optimized in longer than 14.5” barrels and really wants at least a 16" barrel, and a lot of concerns about the reliability of the 14.5" gun were being given, so shortly after the 16" SR-25 Battle Rifle was developed, which was really just a longer barrel.

 We had never envisioned a 7.62mm gun being run like an M4, and especially with a suppressor neither the 14.5 nor the 16" gun where at the reliability level that was desired.

  Especially suppressed, I ran the 16" SR-25BR at training classes, and product demonstrations. 

  Accuracy even with the chromed barrel was always good, sub-MOA and a fair amount under the 1/2MOA mark.

  It is a good gun, but in high suppressed round counts it got dirty and finicky.

  Near the first quarter of '09 we started work on a PIP (Product Improvement Program) of the 16" gun, as well as the 20” M110 (current USMC and US Army issue sniper rifle). 

 High-speed video, lots of rounds, more high-speed video, changes to the gas system, and more rounds and video, a lot more stuff and changes to the bolt carrier, the recoil system resulted in the SR-25 EM Carbine.

At the same time, the optical industry was busy working on a 1.1-8x scope to give the user the ability to take advantage of the added capabilities of the 7.62 round.

   What we ended up with was in our opinion the finest 16" 7.62mm gas gun on the planet.

  We shot several EM’s for over 1,000 rds fully suppressed with no additional lube, with no stoppages

  We have done extensive lifecycle work on the guns, endurance testing etc.

  We wanted to build the best gun we could, so if someone on a mountain top in Afghanistan or wherever else needed to have a gun that would go and go and go, it would.

  If he has to dump it in snow to cool it down, it would go and go and go.

  With well over 50,000 rounds thru it, including a day where Mr. Knight and I stood in a puddle of muddy water splashing the gun to cool, we feel we are there.

  Unlike our previous carbines, which we showed at SHOT (I have a pic somewhere of me holding the 14.5" gun at SHOT'04 when I was still in the Canadian Army) and never really publicly released for sale, we wanted a short 7.62 like this this gun to be our Flagship.

   So it's here, and available.

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