Indian Army

Which Are The Best Indian Alternatives Of SIG716i Assault Rifles?

A Rifle is considered a soldier’s real partner in the Indian Army.

just like a wife

And a defective and incapable partner can leave you alone at any time in a war that can even kill you. And to give a powerful and right partner to its Brave Soldiers, the Indian Army has canceled the second batch of Sig Sauer 716i assault rifles.

In December 2019, the Sig Sauer 716 assault rifle was introduced to the Indian Army for the first time by inducting the first batch of 10,000 rifles into the Northern Command.

Recently The Wire published a report, In which it was told by the defence sources that the Indian Army has canceled the order of the 2nd batch of Sig 716i rifles due to some technical issues and now they are looking for indigenous alternatives.

What Is Sig 716i?

The Sig 716i is a family member of US-made Short-stroke piston, rotating bolt, and semi-automatic rifles designed and produced by Sig Sauer. But the 716i (impingement) variant features a direct impingement gas system instead of a short-stroke pushrod gas system.

It is the third and newest of the 3 upgraded versions of the SIG Sauer SIG516 rifle.

Sig 716i Rifle
Sig 716i Rifle

Specifications:-

Mass8.5 lb (3.85 kg)
Length37 in [940 mm]
Barrel Length16 in [406 mm]
Cartridge7.62×51mm NATO
Actiondirect impingement gas system
Effective Firing Range500 meters
Feed System10, 20, 30-round detachable magazine
SightsIron sights or Picatinny rail for various optics
Specifications of Sig 716i rifle

Why did the Indian Army Buy New Rifles Like Sig 716i & AK-203?

These are the 3 major reasons to buy new rifles but the replacement of older rifles is the primary reason.

1. Replacement of Old Rifles 

For almost the last 20 years, the standard rifles of the Indian Army have not been upgraded, most of the weapons of the Indian Army are from the 2nd World War. And the army of our neighboring enemy countries is equipped with new and modern rifles.

Today, the Indian Army is using INSAS and AKM family rifles as standard rifles, which have many technical shortcomings, and sometimes prove to be fatal for our soldiers.

Within a year after its induction, INSAS got the opportunity to prove its worth. It was the Kargil War of 1999. During the 1999 Kargil War, rifles were used in the high altitudes of the Himalayas. But this rifle did not meet the expectations. There were complaints of jamming, the magazine cracking due to the cold, and the rifle going into an automatic mode (luckily) when it was set for three-round bursts. There was also a problem with oil being sprayed into the eye of the operator. Some injuries during firing practice were also reported. In 2001, the 1B1 variant was introduced to solve problems regarding the rifle’s reliability back in the Kargil War, but it opened up other problems such as broken magazines.

2. Extra Powerful and Modern

According to some soldiers, one bullet from INSAS was not enough to kill its target. A confirmed kill often requires multiple hits. This might be because of the small 5.56 mm caliber. 

And the rifles that the Indian Army is now inducting, including the AK-203 with the Sig 716, will be chambered with 7.62mm caliber rounds with an effective firing range of 100 to 400 meters more than the older rifles.

Which will be lighter in weight up to 300 gm and can be mounted with various types of high precision and modern telescopes and sights also.

3. Rough Conditions

The best thing about AK-series rifles is they never get jammed. They can work under any extreme climatic conditions smoothly and are effective on land, soil, and sand.

Why Did The Indian Army Cancel The Sig 716i Rifles 2nd Batch?

Major Reason Is a Technical Issue 

According to the report of The Wire, the claim of cancellation of the additional batch of Sig 716 rifles. Any type of information has not been received so far from the Indian Army or the Ministry of Defence.

In this report, Snags in the gun are said to be the reason, and cracks in the barrel have also been reported when Indians made bullet rounds fired from this gun.

The rest of this report also mentions the issue of lack of sight, but it should not be considered as this rifle comes with Picatinny rail so that any sight can be easily equipped on it.

But these all issues come when the Indian-made 7.62mm bullets are fired from the Sig 716i rifle, otherwise, with the US-made cartridge, it’s working very well.

The Indian army didn’t buy more US-made cartridges because of these high costs. But the quality of Indian-made rounds is very low because when you fire, it releases more powder (residue). And the Sig 716i comes with a direct impingement gas system and any type of gas piston not used in this.

So propellant quality is a very important factor in these types of rifles.

When there is more residue in direct impingement type rifles then the gas tube is blocked and the rifle gets jammed.  And you fire after the jamming, more secondary issues also come like barrel Balz or barrel crack.

The issue of high recoil has also been raised in this report but this rifle comes with a 7.62 mm round which is much more powerful than the 5.56 mm used earlier by the Indian Army.

Indigenous Promotion

The Indian army and Government of India also promote the Indigenous weapons so this also adds some inspiration to this cancellation decision.

Best Indigenous Alternatives Of Sig 716i Rifle

There are 2 types of options/alternatives –

  1. Made Under Licensed in India
  2. Pure Made in India

1. Made Under Licensed in India

There are many reliable and tested options in India that are produced by Indian companies.

1. AK-203 Rifle

Simply increase the numbers

Yes, the Indian Army has already placed an order of 6,70,000 AK-203 assault rifles to the Russian company Kalashnikov Concern, out of which 70,000 rifles have been delivered to the Indian Army by January 25, 2022.

The remaining 600,000 rifles are to be manufactured by Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh under the Technology Transfer Agreement.

Specifications:-

Mass3.8 kg (8.4 lb)
Length940 mm (37 in) stock extended
Barrel Length415 mm (16.3 in)
Cartridge7.62×39mm NATO
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Effective Firing Range400–800 m (440–870 yd)
Feed System30-round detachable box magazine
SightsAdjustable iron sights or picatinny rails for various optics
Specifications of AK-203

This too is being inducted to replace INSAS and Ak-47 rifles like Sig 716i rifles induction.

AK-203 rifle
AK-203 rifle

But the Indian army can’t increase numbers because it is not battle-proven. And AK-203 is 30% cheaper than Sig 716i rifles.

AK-203 comes with the same capacity, power, and specifications as the Sig 716i but it is chambered with 7.62 x 39mm round and the Sig 716i comes with 7.62 x 51mm.

2. Tavor Tar-21 Rifle

This is powered by Indian Para Special forces

Tavor Tar 21 is the standard issue rifle of Indian Special forces. Tar 21 is an Israeli rifle manufactured by IWI. Indian Special forces use TAR 21, CTAR 21, STAR 21, and X95 variants.

Tavor Tar-21 rifle
Tavor Tar-21 rifle

It is much better in terms of mass, effective firing range, and other specifications than Sig 716i but it is chambered with a 5.56×45mm NATO round and Sig 716i comes with 7.62 x 51mm. So the recoil is less than Sig 716i. 

Today these rifles are being used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to wreak havoc against Russia in the Ukraine-Russia war.

Now, The Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems makes these snipers for Indian Armed Forces under license. So we can purchase these at ₹55,000 which is 65% cheaper than Sig 716i rifles.

For more specifications of Tar – 21:- Service rifles used by Indian army

3. ACE assault rifles

Like the Tavor Tar-21 Rifle, the IWI ACE is also helping Ukraine to stop the invasion of Ukraine by Russia today.

ACE 53 assault rifle
ACE 53 assault rifle

PLR Systems Ltd (PLR), a joint venture between Adani Group and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) manufactures ACE rifles in India under the license.

Specifications of ACE 52 and 53 rifles
Specifications of ACE 52 and 53 rifles

The ACE 52 and ACE 53 are comparable to the Sig 716i rifle. The ACE 52 is also 200 gm lighter than the Sig 716i. These rifles were originally designed and developed by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI).

2. Pure Made in India

There are some options in India that are designed and produced locally by Indian companies. 

1. P-72 rifle

This is Pure DESI (indigenous) power

The P-72 is a developing assault rifle being designed and developed by SSS Defence.

SSS defence P-72 rifle

SSS defense has also developed the P-72 family of rifles, with a design ideology equal to the ACR, FN Scar, and Czech CZ Bren 2 Family.

Initially, the P-72 rifle came in 3 basic configurations that were P-72 Rapid Engagement Combat Rifle (RECR), P-72 Recon Carbine, and P-72 Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR).

Also Read, SSS Defence: New Leader In Indian Private Sector Defence Manufacturing

The P-72 Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) and P-72 Rapid Engagement Combat Rifle give the competition to the Sig Sauer 716i rifle. P-72 (DMR) comes in both 7.62×51mm and 7.62×39mm rounds providing a range of around 800 meters.

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Prem Prakash

I am a defence lover with the skill of writing, not firing.

One Comment

  1. It’s a good news that our INDIAN ARMY looks for indigenous weapons.
    My opinion is that the army should go for pure made in india rifles.

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