by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com
All photographic images contained in this article were taken by DefenseReview.com, and they are the exclusive property of DefenseReview.com. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these photos. All photos were shot with a 7.2-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot digital camera (Model #: DSC-P150).
July 9, 2007
While DefenseReview was at NDIA Small Arms Symposium 2007, we got to take a quick look at a select-fire (full-auto) short-stroke gas-piston/op-rod-driven 6.8x43mm SPC (6.8 SPC) caliber AR-15/M16-variant subcarbine/SBR (Short-Barreled Rifle), as well as a few other gas-piston AR-config rifles made by Land Warfare Resources Corporation (LWRC). It appeared to be a LWRC M6A2 CQB-type (8" barrel) config weapon with ARM-R rail system and MagPul CTR Carbine Stock collapsible/telescoping buttstock (and EOTech 551 HWS) just in the larger caliber (6.8mm vs. 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem.). While we didn’t get to run it (i.e. test fire it), the weapon looked well-executed. The weapon pictured is designed specifically for PSD (Personal Security Detail/Personal Security Detachment) work where an operator may have to deploy the weapon for close quarters batte/close quarters combat (CQB/CQC) while situated inside a vehicle. The weapon also looks to be well suited for Direct Action missions (structural assaults, etc.).
DefenseReview received some good feedback recently on both the LWRC M6-series short-stroke gas piston-driven carbines/SBRs and LWRC’s customer service from one of our private security company contacts. Our contact is a PSD operator who works in high-threat environments OCONUS (Outside the Continental United States). His experiences with LWRC so far have been very positive.
We’re actually glad to hear from sources of ours that LWRC has made serious efforts to…
get its act together–and appears to be succeeding in that regard–since the company was purchased in a "management buyout" and reorganization in January, 2006, and Pat Bryan took over as chairman/CEO. In the preceding years, Paul Leitner-Wise had been in control of operations, and, during those years, DefenseReview’s experiences with the company had not been positive, at all.
At SHOT Show 2006 and 2007, DefenseReview got a chance to meet some of the new management and view and handle some of the guns, which looked pretty good. LWRC personnel at the booth during both of these shows were very peronable and enthusiastic about their products, and it showed. LWRC was also at the recent 2007 NDIA Small Arms Symposium. However, we unfortunately did not get to shoot any of the LWRC weapons, since there wasn’t nearly enough time allotted to do so at the firing demo portion of the show at Blackwater USA. While we’re not going to say who’s fault this was, it definitely wasn’t LWRC’s or Blackwater’s fault.
We did, however get to shoot the HK416 and HK417, which are similarly gas-piston/op-rod driven, on both semi-auto and full-auto–and those guns ran. While we haven’t gotten the chance to run any of LWRC’s 5.56x45mm NATO guns at the range yet, based on what we’ve heard from several of our professional contacts, they may be a good domestically-manufactured (U.S.-made) alternative to the HK416, especially since they’re currently available to civilians in the U.S., and the HK416 isn’t. LWRC is also a U.S. company (owned and operated), vs. a German company, i.e. German-owned company (HK).
A quick note on Heckler and Koch (HK):
While DefenseReview is still a fan of certain HK products (my first carry gun was an HK P7M13, after all), and the HK416/417 series weapons look pretty good, we’re not big fans of the way they’ve handled things so far with regard to the HK416. At the time of this writing, there still is no semi-auto-only HK416 or HK416 replacement upper receiver available to civilians in the U.S., even though the HK416 has been available to U.S. law enforcement and military end users for quite some time now (several years). From this, one might conclude that HK’s primary focus is on the U.S. law enforcement and military markets, and not the U.S. civilian market. If this is true, this might have started when the HK XM8 program began, and HK was going after that juggernaut Big Green Machine (U.S. Army) infantry assault rifle/carbine contract a few years ago. Perhaps it started earlier than that (back in the 1990′s, perhaps). Either way, HK management’s mindset/philosophy appears to be a distinctly European one (German, specifically), and that doesn’t necessarily work well in this country. Even the Mil/LE operators with whom Defense Review has spoken seem to resent the lack of availability of semi-auto HK shoulder weapons like the HK416 to civilians. In general, civilian tactical firearms enthusiasts in the U.S. are disappointed and "not very happy" about HK416s and/or HK416 upper receiver assemblies being available to them. It would seem that HK has really dropped the ball in this regard.
In a nutshell, whether or not that’s true, there are a lot of U.S. gun owners and shooters (including active and retired law enforcement and military personnel) who feel that HK management in Germany simply either doesn’t understand or care enough about its U.S. civilian customers. Even former HK personnel have voiced this opinion to us. DefenseReview hasn’t made up it’s mind about this, yet. We’d like to give HK the benefit of the doubt, but, again, we’re not happy about how HK has handled the whole "semi-auto-only HK416 for U.S. civilians" situation, so far. Hopefully, HK will get on the ball in making the HK416 and HK417 available to the U.S. civilian market, and right quick. In the meantime, companies like LWRC and POF-USA (Patriot Ordnance Factory, Inc.) are only too happy to pick up HK’s slack in this market (civilian U.S. AR fans).
Having written the above, we must note that the HK personnel (possibly Blackwater HK International Training Services personnel) at the 2007 NDIA firing demo at Blackwater USA were extremely accomodating and professional, and did a great job. They were as good as we’ve seen, and they were particularly cool with us. They really went out of their way to assist us, and we greatly appreciate it.
Bottom line, DefenseReview is willing to give LWRC another shot (everybody deserves a second chance from time to time, particularly after a management change), and we therefore recommend that our readers check out the LWRC M6-Series weapons, particularly if you’re looking for a gas-piston-driven system (carbine or subcarbine/SBR), as opposed to the standard AR-15/M16 direct-gas-impingement-driven system.
Author’s Note: You may notice that the LWRC M6A2 CQB 6.8 SPC (6.8x43mm SPC) SBR/subcarbine pictured sports a Genadier Precision (GP) lower receiver (and possibly upper receiver as well). LWRC owns Grenadier Precision. Also, "LWRC" being an acronym for "Land Warfare Resource Corp." is a very recent development.
Addendum (7/13/07): Airborne Combat Engineer (ACE) has published an article on LWRC (worth reading) in response to this article (the one you’re reading right now), at this link. ACE is correct in that "LWRC" was previously an acronym for "Leitner-Wise Rifle Company", as it was named after Paul Leitner-Wise. After Mr. Leitner-Wise was forced out of the company, the new owners went/stayed with just "LWRC" instead of changing the name right away (to something completely different, without all the baggage that had by that time accumulated) for business reasons relating to government procurement contracts they were going after at the time (This is according to what DefenseReview was told by an LWRC representative over the phone, recently). LWRC has decided to stick with "LWRC" and rename the company "Land Warfare Resource Corporation". This name change has occured so recently that the new name hasn’t even been communicated yet to the public. So, you heard it here first, folks. Also, to clarify, we didn’t state that the LW .499 Mini .50 had a bright future. DefenseReview stated that we felt that the LW .499 Mini-.50 concept had a bright future, which is not the same thing. This concept includes other companies’ weapons like the Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf. Also, understand that that article on the LW .499 Mini .50 was published in early September, 2002, and our opinion was predicated on the guns being reliable and working as advertised, which Leitner-Wise apparently could not accomplish at that time under Paul Leitner-Wise’s leadership. The new company leadership appears to be a much more capable. Anyway, Defense Review hopes that clears things up a little.
Company Contact Info:
Pat Bryan – Chairman/CEO – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahin Malik – Vice President, Foreign Military Sales – email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesse Gomez – Vice President, Design and Engineering – email@example.com
Darren Mellor – Vice President, Business Development – firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Bromley – Military and Law Enforcement Sales – email@example.com
George Joy – Director/Industry Relations – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kitoya Carter – Accounts Manager – email@example.com
Jason Bourland – Demo Team – firstname.lastname@example.org