In this time of constantly accelerating innovation, any piece of equipment older than a few decades is due for replacement. This temporally-enhanced evolutionary process holds true for everything from refrigerators to battle rifles. A few years ago, Magpul designed the Magpul Masada rifle. Although the marketing department might have spent a little more time at Wikipedia (the siege at Masada only ended victoriously on the symbolic level), the Magpul long gun was everything the company believed a battle rifle should be. Remington took their concept to full production with their Remington ACR.

Just like the current M4/M16 platform, the ACR consists of an “upper” and “lower” receiver. End users (as shooters are called) can hang onto the lower and swap-out just about everything else on the rifle—barrels, optics, lights, etc. Hey presto chango! From 5.56x45mm NATO and 6.8 Remington Special (yet another 6.8 caliber) without an armorer.

The LE/Mil Remington ACR’s fire control components are extremely familiar; they’re basically the same as the M4/M16 controls. The only significant differences between the M4/M16 and the ACR: the bolt release is located at the bottom front of the trigger guard, and the charging handle is located in front of the chamber instead of behind against your face.

To activate the ACR’s bolt release, you have to positioned your finger dangerously close to inside the trigger guard. In contrast, Magpul’s B.A.D. device. I can release the bolt while my finger’s STRAIGHT and outside the trigger guard. With the ACR, I have to bend my finger slightly in order to put enough pressure on the release.

You can operate the Remington ACR’s forward charging handle without moving your hand off the fire controls or compromising your cheek weld. Unlike the FN SCAR, the ACR’s handle doesn’t reciprocate. So even if something gets in the way of the ACR’s charging handle the gun will still function. Yes but—the ACR’s charging handle is fixed on one side, not both. While they can be moved to either side based on user preference, neither the charging handle nor the safety selector switch are ambidextrous.

The safety / giggle switch is in the same position as the AR-15’s and operates in the same manner. It’s plastic. Personally I prefer my safety devices to be made of metal (especially when they’re on a machine gun); metal is less prone to bending and breaking than plastic. Style-wise, the flat dark earth safety selector switch blends in nicely with the rest of the rifle.

In terms of recoil, the LE/Mil Remington ACR’s hard to judge with the suppressor attached. Suppressed, the rifle has very little recoil, about as much as my AR-15 with a big-ass compensator attached (my friends tell me the rifle IS my compensator, but whatever).

While firing it, the rifle just feels right. Keeping the ACR on target during sustained fire isn’t that hard, but the muzzle does rise a significant amount. The cyclic rate of fire is a tad high, though, so bursts tended to be a little longer than I expected (to be fair, this was only the third fully automatic weapon I had ever fired, so take that statement with a grain of salt).

The ACR was a bittersweet joy to fire, knowing that the entire U.S. government stood between the fully-automatic rifle and my gun safe. Anyway, Remington designed the ACR to replace the M4/M16 family of rifles. While it is a fantastic piece I don’t see any major improvements that would justify swapping out the entire stock of the U.S. armed forces for the ACR. Which makes me sad. I was really rooting for it ever since it was unveiled at SHOT a while back. Still, the lobbyist-fed fat lady is just warming up.

Law Enforcement / Military Remington ACR

Specifications
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO / 6.8 Remington Special
Barrel: 10.5″ / 14.5″ / 16.5″
Size: 21 5/6″ to 37 1/2″
Weight: 8 lbs. empty w/ 14.5″ barrel
Operation: Gas piston system
Finish: Black / Desert Tan
Capacity: Uses standard 5.56x45mm NATO magazines
MSRP: $??? (Law Enforcement / Military Only) (Civilian MSRP $2,343)

Ratings (Out of Five Stars)
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category.

Accuracy: * * * *
From what I could tell, it seems pretty accurate. Even in fully automatic fire, I was able to keep the rifle on a target roughly person sized at 15-20 yards for five or six rounds.

Ergonomics: * * *
Everything feels pretty good on this rifle. It points well and moves great from one target to another. But compared to the AR-15, it’s a lot bulkier. Like, significantly bulkier. The AR-15 does the same stuff but is much more streamlined.

Ergonomics Firing: * * * * *
Oh man, it feels good. Like, really good.

Reliability: N/A
I didn’t have enough time to test the reliability, but given the operating system and other reports on this rifle I’d say it’s par for the course.

Customization: * * * * *
The rifle not only has a full length top rail, but it also has slots to mount other rails or accessories directly to the rifle. You can change the stock, the grip, the side the charging handle and the safety are on… Freedom of choice!

Overall Rating: * * * *
Is this rifle a great shooter and feel wonderful? Yes indeed. Is the Remington ACR significantly better than the M4/M16? Not by my estimation. Is it better enough for civilian shooters in search of the next biggish thing? Absolutely. Am I going to buy one? As soon as it stops being so ungodly expensive.

[DISCLAIMER: The guns I fired at the NDIA (National Industry Defense Association) symposium are generally not available to the public. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to give the weapons a full and complete review. But I did have enough trigger time to get a general idea of how the guns feel and handle.]

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29 Responses to Gun Review: LE/Mil Remington ACR

    • Nope. Check the video and the pictures, it’s only on one side. Even the charging handle isn’t ambi.

      I know, I think it’s dumb too. Ambi controls won’t be that much more expensive, and wouldn’t impact the shooter, but would be a boon for a leftie trying to use a battlefield pickup.

      • That’s weird. One of the rifles design philosophies was make the controls as ambidextrous as possible. I believe the charging handle was ambi originally, as seen in Modern Warfare 2. That might be something remington changed. But I’ve never heard that the safety was one-sided.

        • Yup, the controls are not fully ambidextrous on the production version. You can choose the side they’re on, but they can’t be on both.

      • Ive shot the Remmington ACR, and i even have the Bushmaster ACR, both had fully ambidextrous everthing; safety, bolt release, and the charging handle. I’ve ask my friend if they are taking anything out of the Bushmaster ACR and he said there only making the rifle lighter with diffrent materials.

    • the saftey is ambi but the charging handle is easilty removed for either side but if you get two charging handles you can put one on eacth side

  1. I disagree with you about replacing the M4. At the very least moving off of a direct impingement system will translate to less maintenance by the troop in their current theaters. Not getting gassed in the face is a bonus.

    • I agree the M4 and M16 as they stand are insufficient, but I don’t think this is “it”. Then again, I haven’t seen anything better.

      Changing out the entire stock will cost a LOT of money and effort, especially for training and spare parts stocks, and I just think that in order for it to be worth it we should find a rifle that’s a little slimmer. The HK416 option going forward would be cheaper (it uses a lot of the same parts already in stock) and slimmer and probably be just as good.

      Just my opinion, though.

      • I hear what your saying about the HK416, the first time I saw one I thought it was an M4. Personally, I think the HK416 is superior choice for a weapons switch over. It is more reliable, similar to the M16 (many parts are the same, and it may be easier for soldiers to become familiar with), but I have one hang up. It isn’t American. I know the US uses a lot of non-American made weapons, weapons systems, gear, and technology, but at the end of the day it all bothers me. I don’t think we will be going to war with Germany any time in the near future, but it still bothers me. I miss the days when Americans used American weapons, Germany used German weapons, Italians used Italian weapons, Belgium used Belgian….blah blah blah. Anyway, my point is Remington is American and that has weight with me.

      • This gun should be IT, but we will see with testing. One huge part to remember is this would allow for an easy conversion to a new caliber if we ever choose to, all that would be needed is a new lower and barre. The other components are multi-cal, this alone really sets it apart from other rifles like the HK416.

  2. Planned obsolescence has been the byword of American industry since at least the fifties. With that in mind, the right pictures of the right congressman just might loosen the old purse strings.

  3. I think just about ANY newer platform would be a significant improvement over the M16/M4, from the perspective of battlefield reliability and maintenance effort. The SCAR takes only moments to disassemble and clean, and except for the barrel it needs only one cleaning rag. (The HK416 may share this virtue; lets hope RF finds one for us to play with!)

    The ACR has also been tarnished by manufacturing defects, and buyers of the early examples are still sending them back under recall.

    • “The ACR has also been tarnished by manufacturing defects, and buyers of the early examples are still sending them back under recall.”

      True. I know a gentleman who has one with a sub 250 serial that he has had to ship in at least twice so far — first the barrel mounting issue, and then the slamfire issue.

  4. I don’t know if this applies to the Remington version, but it should be noted that the Bushmaster ACR’s internals are coated with a self lubricating silicone-nickle compound, (which according to Bushmaster means they don’t require any oil) and features a non-chromed, nitrate-hardened bore.

    In THEORY, this should translate into much less maintenance and longer service life. (For a much higher price)

    Leghorn, is the lower polymer like the Bushmaster, or aluminum?

  5. As an Army Platoon Leader I would be stupid to promote a weapon with the expressed purpose of “less maintainence”. Many of these guns are not maintained like they should be. Look at what happened when forces started fielding the M16 and was told it needed less cleaning. Soldiers thought maintainence didn’t matter and people died as a result.

    Go ahead and tell people they won’t need to clean their new rifle and they won’t.

    Also, I’m waiting till that pictured ACR is released. That’s the version I want. However, Remington says they won’t be making those handguards available to civilians.

    • The reason maintenance was absolutely necessary for the M16 is because it craps where it eats.

      • Yes and no; The majority of the issues early on with the M16 were primarily the result of ammunition not using the proper powder, which then caused excessive fouling.

    • I’m not saying that you don’t need to clean your SCAR; failing to maintain your weapon is begging for death in battle. I’m saying that it takes about half the time and half the weapon-maintenance consumables (oil, patches, brushes, rags) to keep a modern piston gun oily-clean and GTG, compared to an AR system.

      I’ve run and cleaned the two systems side-by-side, and where the AR action was a filthy mess after 250 rounds, the piston-driven SCAR was fresh and clean and still lightly lubricated after 600. Check up my SCAR cleaning video; it only took one large patch to clean the entire receiver, upper and lower.

  6. Not well thought out position for the bolt release, in my fevered mind. I’ve always felt much change was needed for the M16. I’ve seen one stock come off and the buffer assembly go flying-simply as a fellow Marine’s A1 was slapping against his shouldered pack. I had occasion to strike someone once with a standard M16 stock and broke it-I needed an M14 that day.

    • That reminds me of the muzzle thump. I know it is all the rage these days, but I also remember at the Citadel how we would slam our rifle butts down and hear the M14 fire. Just the risk of the wep’s internal hammer/striker slipping-it would be hard to explain blowing the guy’s head off.

      • There was nothing quite like the sound of those rifle butts hitting the quad in unison.. well; except for the secondary “CLACK” made by the bolts snapping back shut in the rifles where Cadets had cut their recoil springs to make it easier to perform inspection arms.. pansies!

  7. i dont think that this will replace the m4 because i doubt the military would replace it with anything short of a ray gun, but it would probably a favorite with spec ops forces because of it’s modularity.

  8. The M16/M4 won’t be replaced while they still work short of them being sold off as legal machineguns through something like the CMP. In the current political climate, this has about as much chance of happening as a snowball in hell.

    Thus they’ll just be replaced gradually as they become unserviceable.

  9. I see nothing on the ACR that the SCAR doesn’t do better. Spec Ops already loves the SCAR, apparently. Can’t fund them in 5.56, so they’re buying the 7.62 version as a special purpose rifle, lots of them. Later they’ll claim the 5.56 barrel kits are just an upgrade, thus allowed from a different pot of funding. Clever. You can’t go the other way (5.56 to 7.62) because of the ejection slot size. I put my real gun money into skeet guns but am fond, very fond, of my one cheap slim AR. Probably the result of RVN and nothing else. With a nickel-boron coated BCG it’s a cinch to clean. Given a Gas Buster charger/latch it isn’t unbearably gassy. I’d get a SCAR H tomorrow if it didn’t seem a bit excessive…to my wife. There’s no tax deduction for me. As an attorney I don’t shoot people. We use knives.

  10. Long stroke gas system anybody? Yes i know about the same as a FN AC but the SCAR family never rubbed me right. A bolt catch guard might be a good idea as well. Just this grunts 2 ceñtavos

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