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A few weeks ago I reviewed LWRC’s IC-A5 rifle. In general I thought the engineering was solid, but the details were holding the gun back. It seems like someone else (a former SEAL named Jeff Gonzoles) had the same impressions I did, and so LWRC introduced a limited edition run of rifles dubbed the “TRICON” series that fixed almost every complaint I could think up and then some. What exactly makes this gun better? Let me count the ways . . .

There are a number of improvements, but the overall form of the gun is the same tried and true LWRC design. The handguards are still integrated into the upper receiver just like the standard rifle. The barrel is a fluted, cold hammer-forged 14.7 inch affair with a pinned and welded flash hider (no other options available). It also comes with a LWRC stock, just like all their other guns. And, most importantly, it has the same quick-detach top rail system and short stroke gas system.

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I like to highlight this easy-to-remove handguard because it really does make life a whole lot easier. Instead of needing to break out the tool kit to get at your gas system for a deep and thorough cleaning, all you need to do is pull the cover off and you have all the access you could want.

The screws at the end of the handguards are finger tight, and they are captured to ensure that you will never lose them even on a dusty, dirty battlefield. It shows that LWRC put a lot of time and effort into thinking about who would be using their firearms and how…and designing something for them specifically that is both functional and useful. I like that.

One potential downside I see is that the gas system doesn’t appear to be adjustable. That’s not such a big issue since the flash hider is pinned and welded, meaning a silencer would not easily be attached to this gun. Therefore the current gas setting should be just fine. Nevertheless, I always prefer more options.

The TRICON edition also comes with a short vertical foregrip attached to the handguards that I really couldn’t care less about.

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Moving along, the operating system is the same as the IC version. This is a short-stroke recoil system, meaning that the operating rod is housed inside the upper receiver and doesn’t come out during field stripping. That makes takedown and cleaning time easier for those simple post range session tear-downs, but also means getting in there for a good deep scrubbing takes a little extra effort.

The bolt carrier in use is coated with a nickel boron finish that not only gives the rifle a little extra bling but also tends to accumulate less dirt and fouling than a similar phosphate bolt carrier. That’s great for reliability.

Rounding out the upper receiver is a full-length Picatinny rail, capped with MAGPUL MBUS Pro metal iron sights. I love these sights. Yhey are not only slick looking but functional. They lie extremely flat to the surface of the rail (especially compared to their polymer counterparts) and are very durable. Inside that upper receiver the TRICON version sports a Bravo Company BCM Gunfighter charging handle, which is my personal charging handle of choice. Well played, LWRC.

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The biggest changes are actually the smallest pieces of the firearm, but they make a huge difference. Instead of the terrible milspec trigger present in the bare bones version of the gun, LWRC has installed a Geissele Super 2-Stage trigger. Geissele makes some amazing stuff for a factory trigger, and this is no different. After a short take-up, the break on this trigger has just a tiny bit of roll followed by a crisp and clean feeling. It isn’t just for precision shooting though — I was able to run this gun hard in the short range bays, and getting a 2 stage trigger to run like a single stage trigger is easier than you might think. Definitely no points down there.

Another change is the safety. Instead of the slim ambi safety on the IC, the TRICON version has a standard right-handed safety selector switch installed. That not only increases the surface area available to get your thumb on the safety, but it also means there’s nothing to dig into your trigger finger while shooting precision shots prone.

Other than that, the lower is pretty standard for a LWRC gun. The dual pingpong paddle bolt catches are present, as is the ambi magazine release. The trigger guard is a plastic MAGPUL replacement, and while I would prefer to see the aluminum version, I’m not complaining. Much.

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Shooting the gun in a short range bay was fun, but the real test is how accurate the gun is on the known distance range. Using a box of 69gr .223 Remington rounds from Eagle Eye Ammunition (our official ammo sponsor) I fired a series of 5-round groups at a target 100 yards away. That 2-stage trigger made a huge difference, and the results are plain to see on the target.

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The milspec trigger in pretty much this exact same configuration (14.7 inch barrel, 1:7 twist, same scope and bipod, same day) clocked in around 1.76 MoA. With the Geissele trigger installed, that group size shrank to 0.96 MoA — meeting my requirement for 1 MoA accuracy for rifles over $1k. A trigger really does make all the difference when it comes to the accuracy of a firearm.

For an AR-15, that level of accuracy is pretty good. It isn’t the best group I’ve ever shot with a gas gun, but that’s plenty good enough for realistically any application you can think of. From 3-gun to hog hunting, this rifle would be A-OK to use for any of those endeavors.

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The LWRC TRICON edition is a definite improvement over their stock rifle. The features are all very nice, but the one that really made a huge difference to me was the trigger. Swapping out that terrible milspec atrocity for something more civilized definitely elevated the results that this gun could provide, and I get the feeling that we could see even more improvement with just a touch more barrel and a different muzzle device. For what the gun was designed to do (operate operationally with operational operators), this is just about perfect. I would take this gun into combat any day of the week. But with just a few more tweaks it could be perfect for everything else, too.

Specifications: LWRC TRICON MK6 Rifle

Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Action: Semi-auto
Barrel: 14.7″ 1:7 twist, cold hammer forged, fluted
Magazine: One 30-round magazine included, accepts standard AR-15 magazines
Street: $2,512.49

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * *
For an AR-15, it meets the criteria for an acceptable level of accuracy for the money. Not perfect, but acceptable.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
They fixed the trigger. And the safety. And the charging handle. But a forward grip? Not my cup of tea. Then again, it comes off easy.

Reliability: * * * * *
Bang. Every time.

Customization: * * * * *
I would very much prefer to see a keymod or MLOC system on the rails, but LWRC provides three(ish) additional accessory rails in the box already. If you need more than that, you might want to re-think your setup.

Overall: * * * *
The improved accuracy as a result of the trigger swap is definitely worthy of an additional star. We aren’t quite at “perfection” levels yet, but this is damn close. Too bad it was a limited run, and they seem to be sold out.

36 Responses to Gun Review: LWRC TRICON MK6 Rifle

  1. I didn’t see a rating for price. Which would not be 5 stars.

    Bore? Chrome lined? Y/N? Nitrided?

    Welded flash hider? Plastic trigger guard?

    NiB generation 4? I would prefer one Gen 4 for that price.

  2. never lose them even on a dusty, dirty battlefield?
    What battlefields are LWRC on? There any army that has adopted LWRC?

    • There are plenty of contractors with LWRC. I don’t know any SEALs anymore, but I could see them carrying this as well. That wealthy guy at the range probably has one next to his .416 Barrett with the S&B scope.

  3. Having spent significant time on the range with an lwrc M6IC their price point is justified based on the features. There is a clear difference in performance and feel over a Daniel defense for example. (I also have a large amount of range time with a V5.) The gun I shot also had an adjustable gas block (we ran it suppressed). Out the door for this gun you should not pay more than 2300-2350. Also, lwrc guns do like certain ammo better than others. I have also shot one of their REPRs and that gun will shoot sub 1/2 moa groups with FGMM 168gr Sierra Mathcking but with another ammo hovers a little under 1 moa. Obviously the shooter plays a role. If anyone has bad things to say about lwrc as a whole it’s simply because they have not spent time with one of their products or owned one. Have had nothing but amazing experiences with their products.

    • Have you shot a Daniel Defense MK 12 rather than a V5, for look and feel let alone accuracy. With their top barrel and a SSA trigger and 1750 out the door price from LGS, I believe it shoots and handles + performs at sub MOA, real nice balance and feel.

      Or…a sig 516 that did not come with a fluted barrel or SSA, for $1200. A $165 G2S trigger upgrade fixed that issue. along with being built like a tank, very accurate, a one piece forged beast of a bolt carrier group (instead of screwing on the strike area like a gas key), 4 position adjustable gas key, pushrod comes right out for cleaning: not a bad value. 1000 rds and no failures.

      LWRC looks top flight, but they are overcharging, at least in my opinion.

      • I have not had the opportunity to shoot the MK12. I have read lots of reviews and would love to own one. I’m a big fan of the Daniel Defense products and think they are great company. The only sig I have shot is the 516 in an sbr. Great gun. All of sigs products that have come out recently have been impressive, especially there 1911’s. Only thing with sig that I have found is that some of their components are proprietary. Not something that bugs me but might some people that like to change out a lot of parts. Again, there are some great companies producing AR’s at a lower price point than lwrc. I just felt like there was nothing on the gun that needed to changed out for improvement since premium parts were already used in its manufacturing (talking about the M6IC). Can’t go wrong though with any of the ones you’re talking about.

      • ^ this, and/or a 716
        With the $ saved on a 516 you could waive the trigger upgrade, and go for the anti-recoil-mass-assisted horizontal foregrip otherwise known as a 12″ Spike’s Tactical 37 mm launcher. BECAUSE FLARE LAUNCHERS (I couldnt help myself there). ; )

  4. The pedant in me wonders why they didn’t put a Geissele Tricon trigger in their Tricon rifle. Oh well. Nice rifle, definitely not meant for me.

    • It is the Tricon Trigger. It’s a little hard to see in these pictures, but you can tell by the flattened curve of the trigger bow.

  5. I can’t get past the point that it costs as much as a SCAR.

    But maybe its better than a SCAR and I’m being irrational. I don’t know.

    What I do know is that I like the customizable aspect of an AR better, and a properly customized AR (or one I assemble myself) is better suited for me than my SCAR.

    But then again, I ran my SCAR in a 2 day carbine class with no cleaning or oiling and had NOT ONE failure of any kind. I can’t say that for any AR I own.

    What is better? I don’t know.

    Don

    • IMHO, Tricon feels MUCH smaller in and more comfortable in hand than a Scar16s. You also get great trigger and Ambi-bolt-hold-open device, ability to run any generation pmag while the scar can’t run unmodified gen1 or gen2s. The disadvantage is if you run your support hand forward you get blasted by gas (hence the vertical grip). Felt-recoil is greater than the Scar or a ar15 D.I. Carbine. The Scar16 has a softer felt recoil than even a 20 inch Di rifle. Scar also has an adjustable piston setting for running suppressed, while the tricon’s isn’t adjustable. The scar’s charging handle complicates Optics mounting. Backup sights are nice on both, it’s personal preference on that subject. Accuracy is similar, maybe slight advantage Scar until it heats up.

  6. Don’t know about the rifle, but Jeff Gonzales is a great instructor and a very knowledgeable guy when it comes to combatives. Having taken several courses from him (as well as other fairly noted instructors) I’d place him at or near the top of the heap.

    One nice thing about Jeff is that he isn’t dogmatic about his craft, as are many other well-entrenched instructors. If Jeff sees reason to change tactics, methods or equipment – he does so. His continued work with Gisselle and LWRC indicate his desire to improve the tools he (and we) work with.

  7. Nick, you reviewed the A5 and the Tricon; is the tricon worth the extra $400-600 over a platform like the A5. I can’t run suppressed so an adjustable gas block means nothing to me, so SPR is my likely buy. For $1900 + $100 for the trigger upgrade, i’ll be around 2k with a free aimpoint. Tricon worth it?

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