When you first see it, you think to yourself “this can’t possibly be light.” And it isn’t. This rifle weighs a LOT more than your standard AR-15, and even more than my exceedingly heavy Pretty Princess AR (18″ heavy barrel + 3-9×40 optic). It’s something that you COULD shoulder and fire offhand (as pictured), but you would be nowhere near accurate. This isn’t something you’re going to be clearing rooms with.
What you don’t get from the pictures is just how front heavy it is. While the operating system does add some mass to the stock, the barrel and muzzle brake more than offset the weight. The discrepancy isn’t so great that it couldn’t be offset by a loaded magazine of .50 BMG rounds, but it is noticeable.
The charging handle on this gun is a non-reciporicating handle on the left side of the gun, and is fixed in place (not able to be converted for lefties). That, in addition to the positioning of the ejection port, makes this something that no sinistral human can fire without getting hot fiddy cal brass in their face.
I was talking to the guy that designed it, and after noting all of these foibles asked a question that boiled down to “what the hell is this thing good for?” With a short barrel and a semi-automatic operating system, you’re trading accuracy for size and speed. His response was that it was designed to give marksmen in a convoy the ability to move in and out of vehicles easily, put fire on distant targets, and take out the engine blocks of cars at checkpoints. And for that purpose it seems well made. The ArmaLite AR-50 would be my choice for accuracy at distance, but that monster is a pain to lug around a range let alone parts of the “sandbox.”
After playing with it for a while, I only had two questions left. Are they bringing it to a civilian market? Yes, they plan to. Can I have one? As soon as they start production, they claim one of the first ones off the line will be destined for my FFL. Keep an eye out for a gun review in the near future.