A short-strokin’ big-bore AR platform built for reliability

The SIG716 Patrol is focused on self-defense, bringing robust big-bore power to an ultra-reliable AR-pattern rifle.

When the term “AR-15” comes up, most folks tend to think of the 5.56mm/.223 Remington cartridge. Fact is the first rifle of this genre invented by Eugene Stoner was chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) and known as the AR-10.


The AR-10 was created by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at the firm of ArmaLite. Hence, the prefix AR does not mean “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle,” but rather refers to the company first making the rifle.

When the Army began looking for a rifle to replace the M1 Garand, ArmaLite entered the AR-10 in the competition, going up against what would eventually be known as the M14 and FN-FAL and, of course, the M14 was selected to replace the M1. Since then, many companies have made — and improved — AR-type rifles chambered for the .308 Winchester cartridge. One of these companies is SIG SAUER.

Four-position gas regulator allows firing under all conditions, even when
fouled or wearing a snuffer on the business end.

Out On Patrol

SIG, not content to rest on its laurels, has improved the original SIG716 Patrol with the release of the 716G2. The subject of this article will be the original Patrol model which, besides having a different handguard and the use of a muzzle brake instead of a flash hider, is essentially the same as the newer rifles. It is available in Flat Dark Earth (shown here) or black, which I like to call “Scorched Earth.”

The 716 Patrol has a 16″ barrel with a 1:10 twist barrel capped by an A2-type flash suppressor. The barrel is free-floated and housed inside an aluminum quad-rail forend. Both front and rear sights fold down. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and the front is adjustable for elevation. The magazine release is ambidextrous.
Overall length of the 716 with the Magpul 6-position ACS stock fully extended is 37.4″. Two socket-type sling studs are located on both sides of the handguards and on the lower receiver behind the pistol grip. Yet another is located toward the butt end. This last one is reversible but not located on each side.

Unloaded weight is 9.3 lbs. The pistol grip used is the Magpul MIAD.

The rifle utilizes SIG’s short-stroke pushrod operating system, which some feel is more efficient than the direct impingement design. While recoil is subjective, in my opinion the 716 does indeed have less felt recoil than other semiautomatic rifles of the same caliber.

For optimal performance under varying conditions, the rifle has a four-position gas regulator. The four positions are:

#1: normal

#2: adverse conditions such as fouling or under-functioning ammunition

#3: firing with a suppressor — partial gas cutoff but still allows cycling of the action

#4: firing with a suppressor — complete gas cutoff, allowing the rifle to function as a single-shot rifle

The rifle ships with one 20-round Magpul PMAG but will work with AR-10 magazines from other companies. Hunting-legal five-round mags as well as 10- and 20-round magazines are available from Brownells while Magpul offers 10- to 25-round mags and even a drum 50-rounder.

All the controls on the SIG716 Patrol reside in the expected AR places, while the mag release is ambidextrous.

Seeing It All

For the evaluation, I mounted a Redfield Revolution/Tac 3-9×40 on the 716. I chose this optic due to its light weight — less than one pound — to keep the weight low on an already somewhat heavy rifle. The iron sights can be seen through the ocular lens, sitting in the lower 1/3 of the eyepiece.

The reticle consists of heavy four-plex lines with hash marks like a mil-dot optic, but the hash marks correspond to minute-of-angle (MOA) instead of mils, making it easier to zero for myself and other mathematically challenged folks. Windage and elevation clicks equal 1/4″ (.25 MOA) at 100 yards.

Using NATO 7.62mm M80 Ball (147-gr. FMJ), I obtained a rough zero at 50 yards, then moved back to 100 yards and made the necessary adjustments to finetune the scope.

Other high-end features include Magpul furniture including the excellent 6-position ACS stock.

The Little Creep

Although not a precision rifle, the 716 Patrol’s trigger still left a lot to be desired. Using my Lyman electronic trigger gauge, it broke on an average of 9.4 lbs. after some noticeable creep.

I used a variety of military and commercial ammunition — both match and defensive/hunting — to evaluate the overall performance. Magpul and Brownells’ 20-round magazines were used exclusively to feed the beast. All loads were shot with the gas regulator in the “normal” position and did not require any adjustment.

Three five-round groups of each load were fired and then averaged to obtain overall group size. The rifle was shot from the prone position with a TangoDown ACB bipod.

The best group from the match loads was the Black Hills 175-gr. BTHP, averaging 1.2″. In this sample, the Winchester 168-gr. Match performed dismally, averaging 2.7″. The best defensive/hunting load came from the Australian Outback 168-gr. GameKing, coming in at only 0.78″. No malfunctions were experienced.

I have no doubt better groups could be turned in with an improved trigger. Of course, pursuit of greater accuracy could be a quixotic pursuit — the majority of shots fired with a rifle by law enforcement are less than 100 yards. For the private citizen, I think with even a 50-yard shot it may be difficult to convince a jury you were in immediate fear for your life.

Overall, the SIG716 Patrol proved accurate and 100 percent reliable. If you like the ergonomics of the AR-15 but want something harder hitting at longer range, the SIG716 Patrol is worth a serious look.

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