Is Bigger Better

THE AR-15/M16 family of weapons has proven itself over the years. Although it had teething problems early on, most malfunctions nowadays can be traced to a rifle or carbine that is improperly lubricated or faulty magazines.

To some, its greatest weakness is the cartridge it fires—5.56x45mm/.223 Remington.

While there have been quite a few AR-type firearms chambered in larger calibers in the past, they have become more popular—and prevalent—in the last few years.

Many of these larger caliber firearms use the same lower receiver as a gun that is chambered in 5.56mm, while others must use lowers that have been “stretched,” such as those chambered for the venerable 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester cartridge.

So, is bigger better? Not necessarily, because like anything else, it is best to choose the right tool for the job.

S.W.A.T. Publisher Rich Lucibella has taken tough Texas hogs with his SLR15 Grail rifle chambered in 5.56mm, but he is an expert hunter and will be the first to admit that bullet placement is everything.

I have taken a hog with an AR-type rifle as well, though my preference is one chambered in .450 Bushmaster.

Similarly, while a long-range shot is possible with the .223, it is better to use a cartridge more capable at long distances—especially when lives hang in the balance.

In upcoming issues, we will be taking a closer look at some of the rifles chambered in calibers other than 5.56/.223. Calibers will include .308 Winchester and .458 SOCOM, among others.

These reviews begin in this issue with a T&E of what some believe will set the standard for .308 AR-type rifles— LaRue Tactical’s PredatAR rifle.

We hope you enjoy reading the reviews as much as we’re enjoying putting them together for you.


We’re proud to announce the appointment of Bix Bigler as Design Director for S.W.A.T. Magazine. After careful review of the work of half a dozen qualified candidates, Bix was awarded the position due to the freshness of his vision and his long-standing work with firearms magazines and advertisers.

Bix brings more than 25 years of experience in the firearms publishing industry. He has held design positions with GUNS Magazine, Soldier of Fortune, The Reserve & National Guard Magazine, and Combat Tactics.  As a freelance contractor, Bix has also designed magazines for Guns & Ammo and Harris Publications. Beginning with this issue, you’ll notice the changes to S.W.A.T.’s layout and visuals— we’re certain you’ll be as excited as we are.

Until next time, stay low and watch your back.

About Author

Denny Hansen

Denny Hansen served 13 years with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (AZ) including duties with patrol and SWAT He is an NRA and Arizona DPS certified Firearms Instructor and an NRA and JPFO life member. The graduate of numerous firearm and tactics courses, he has been the editor of S.W.A.T. since 1988.

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