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Patrol Rifles 2007

Need a gun capable of stopping an active shooter? Then check out this roundup of serious law enforcement long guns.

August 01, 2007  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author


If you want a bolt-action patrol rifle, FN's Patrol Bolt Rifle and Patrol Bolt Rifle XP are worthy contenders.

Both are very similar to FN's SPR long-range precision rifle for match shooting. Both feature FN/Hogue stocks with a full-length aluminum bedding block for stability. And both are chambered for .308 Winchester.

The standard PBR is available in barrel lengths of 18 inches, 20 inches, 22 inches, and 24 inches. The barrels are cold rotary forged with four-groove, right-hand, 1-in-12 twist. Magazine capacity is four rounds.

Available in 20- and 24-inch barrel lengths, the PBR XP is an upgraded version of the PBR. It features a medium heavy fluted barrel and recessed target-style muzzle crown. The bolt-action features Controlled Round Feeding, a massive external claw extractor, a proven three-position safety, and a one-piece Mil-Std M1913 steel optics rail with oversize 8-40 mounting screws.

Heckler & Koch

Best known for the MP5 sub-gun, which can be used as a pistol caliber carbine, Heckler & Koch also makes a line of .308 and .223 rifles.

The most likely HK patrol rifles are the G36 and the HK416. Both are chambered in .223 Remington.

The G36 is a gas-operated, lightweight, full-size assault rifle. It is constructed of glass fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel inserts that make the weapon more stable and more durable.

HK calls its 416 model the "Enhanced Carbine." Here's a look at some of the enhancements. It features a free-floating quad-rail system that can accommodate a ton of accessories. The gas operating system does not introduce propellant gases and carbon fouling into the weapon's guts. It's available with 10-, 14.5-, 16.5-, and 20-inch barrels.


When it comes to unusual-looking patrol long guns Kel-Tec Firearms may be the industry leader. What sets Kel-Tec rifles and carbines apart from other manufacturers is that they fold, making them very easy to store and carry. This design allows you to carry a full-sized rifle in your gear bag.

Over the last few years I have shot several Kel Tec carbines. The first one I tested was a Sub-2000 pistol-caliber carbine in 9mm that used Glock 17 magazines. This compact firearm is blowback operated and functions flawlessly with duty ammunition. It is made safe with a cross-bolt safety that disconnects the trigger bar and locks the hammer and sear. The firing mechanism is deactivated when the carbine is folded for storage.

The Sub-2000 is designed to complement your duty weapon. It is available in 9mm or .40 S&W and uses magazines from common duty weapons such as the Beretta 92, Beretta 96, Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 22, Glock 23, SIG 226, and S&W 59. I found that this compact weapon handles well and is accurate at distances out to 100 yards. I did not test it beyond that range.

The success of the Sub-2000 led Kel-Tec to develop a larger version chambered in .223 Remington using AR-15 magazines. The SU16 series, like the Sub-2000, folds for storage and transport.

A unique feature of the SU16 is the two 10-round magazines that store in the butt stock of the rifle. This means you have an onboard source of emergency ammunition. That's a great feature to have in a patrol rifle. The 1917-style mount on the SU16's receiver allows the user to mount a red dot sight or scope. With a Bushnell 1X32 Trophy sight, my SU16 was capable of shooting two-inch groups at 100 yards all day long. That level of accuracy should be more than adequate for a patrol rifle.


Remington's 7615 law enforcement rifle is a duty version of its tried and proven 7600 pump-action hunting rifle. Chambered in .223 Remington and using AR mags, the 7615 gives officers a patrol rifle that doesn't look like a black AR-style military weapon. You know how it upsets some "liberal" folks when they see cops carrying "assault weapons."

A strong selling point of the 7615 is that the controls are like those of the 870 shotgun, so the manual of arms is very easy to teach to most officers.

My experience shooting the 7615 is limited. But overall I like the rifle. I will tell you, however, that the pump release button and the magazine release are very stiff on new 7615s. This is a minor irritation, and both break in quickly.

Rock River Arms

Just a few years ago Rock River Arms was known primarily for building custom 1911 pistols. Then one day the company announced that it would be the supplier of the DEA's new duty carbine. This contract vaulted Rock River into the public spotlight and established the company as a serious player in the tactical rifle market.

Rock River's DEA M4 is a select-fire carbine with a 16-inch barrel. The DEA package includes an EOTech 552 Holosight, a SureFire M73 Quad Rail, a SureFire M951 forearm light, and a six-position collapsible stock. My test model was wicked accurate, allowing me to easily shoot sub-one-inch groups at 100 yards.

If you are looking for a longer range rifle, Rock River's LAR8 may fit the bill. This rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester, is a tack driver. It is offered with varying barrel lengths up to 26 inches and, with premium optics, it is capable of sub-half MOA at 100 yards. That rivals bolt rifles.

CONTINUED: Patrol Rifles 2007 «   Page 2 of 3   »

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