It is abundantly clear to anyone who looks around in the military or law enforcement industries that the "black rifle" (AR style weapons) dominates the field. As I sat discussing such rifles with a fellow firearms instructor the other day I was asked what my preference was in manufacturer. I wasn't sure I could voice a preference for a specific manufacturer but I did realize, as I sat contemplating the AR style weapons I'd owned or tested, that the Rock River Arms rifles I've had always performed without a glitch. So this week I thought I'd take a look back on a couple of them.
My first experience with rifles from Rock River Arms came when I purchased on of their rifles (top photo) from my best friend. No, it wasn't finished like that when I first purchased it. That "urban tigerstripe" finish was provided by R-Squared Custom Gun Finishing. The rifle is a CAR A4 (flat top / removable carry handle) with an Entry buttstock (shorter for use with thick vests / equipment). The hard rear sight / carry handle was removed in favor of an EOTech 522 holoscope. With the EOTech mounted, R-Squared applied the finish and even "dressed" each magazine so that the lines flowed. That rifle, as shown, repeatedly produced sub-1/2-moa groups from a rested position. "On the fly" sub-moa groups were no challenge. For what was originally meant to be a CQB weapon, that is exceptional accuracy.
My second Rock River Arms rifle was also a CAR A4, but this time "accessorized" differently. Instead of the Entry Buttstock I got this one with a collapsible stock. The hard rear sight / carry handle was replaced with a LaRue quick-release rear sight. The foregrips have been replaced by the SureFire Quad-Rail system. A SureFire M900A Vertical Foregrip Light provides an advantage in low-light operations. I still have mixed emotions about the vertical foregrip. I know that they are popular and that there are handling benefits to them, but I'm an older guy who "grew up" handling a regular fore end. Of course, with a quad-rail set on the weapon (which is almost mandatory these days for attaching lights or other accessories) it can be uncomfortable to grip the fore end without gloves. The vertical foregrip, especially with a light and light controls built in offers a more comfortable option. This rifle too was sufficiently accurate. From a rested position 1/2-moa groups were no issue.
One rifle that Rock River makes that I haven't had the opportunity to shoot, although I have handled and examined it, is their .308 caliber LAR-8 in the A4 configuration. Specifications are:
- Chambered for .308 / 7.62
- Upper forged A4 with forward assist and port door.
- 16 inch Wilson Chrome Moly barrel with a 1:10 twist.
- Standard A4 front sight.
- RRA Two Stage trigger.
- Mid-length handguard.
- Hogue Rubber pistol grip.
- 6-position "tactical" CAR buttstock.
- 8.1 pounds, 38 inches long.
The only thing I really debate is the barrel length. Sure, the 16" barrel makes for easier maneuverability in close quarters situations, but the .308 is capable of a greater energy delivery at farther distances. To take advantage of that, would the 20" barrel on the LAR-8 Standard A4 be better? A conundrum each of us would have to address ourselves.
If you like the Rock River Arms' quality and general design (which is pretty common to AR-style weapons) but want something other than .223/5.56 or .308/7.62, they also offer rifles chambered in 6.8SPC and .458SOCOM. Since both calibers can present challenges when you look for ammo, Rock River is nice enough to include links on the website - on the appropriate rifle pages - to information and sources for the ammo.
All in all I've been quite happy with my RRA rifles. For more information about them please visit the Rock River Arms website.