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Forget the AK-47: This Sig Sauer Rifle Might Be Better
In February 2019, the Indian Army announced the purchase of SIG716G2 7.62x51mm battle rifles. The SIG716 is meant to complement their purchase of AK-103 rifles from Russia and Caracal CAR 816 carbines. This will mean that the Indian Army will field service rifles in three different calibers in the near future: 7.62x51 in the Sig, 7.62x39 in the AK, and 5.56x45 in the Caracal.
But in the tender for the Indian Army contract, the Sig was mentioned to have beat out two other 7.62x51mm battle rifles for the final purchase: The Caracal CAR817 and an Israeli rifle from IWI, which either could have been the Galil ACE 7.62 or Tavor 7.
So how does the Sig rifle stack up to these competitors? Which factors could have lead to its eventual purchase by the Indian military?
In layout, the SIG716G2 is practically identical to the Caracal CAR817. Both rifles are AR-pattern 7.62x51mm battle rifles that utilize a short-stroke tappet gas piston mounted above the barrel. There are some minor differences between the two rifles in internal layout, piston design, and ergonomic features, but the primary functional difference is the setup of the gas block.
On the CAR817, the gas block is railed to mount a forward iron sight, presumably to better hold zero as the ironsight is mounted directly onto the barrel. However, on the CAR 817, this means that the rail terminates at the gas block, preventing the mounting of lights and lasers far forward on the rifle, where many users prefer to place them.