FBI Purchasing .40 S&W AR-15 carbines

rra_lar_40-tfb-tm

Back in August (2009) the Department of Justice published their intention to purchase AR-15 carbines chambered in .40 S&W from Rock River Arms.

Civilian model of the LAR-40. FBI will probably use a short barreled version.

Their reasons for choosing the RRA LAR-40 carbine is that, because they already use AR-15s, training and maintenance will be minimized. From the solicitation notice …

BASED ON THE MARKET RESEARCH AND FBI REQUIRMENTS, , USE OF A COLT PATTERN .40 S&W CALIBER CARBINE, WILL RESOLVE THE MAINTENANCE ISSUE, ENSURING A RELIABLE SOURCE OF PISTOL CALIBER CARBINES. FURTHER, THE ROCK RIVER ARMS LAR40 PISTOL CALIBER CARBINE WILL ALLOW THE FBI TO MAXIMIZE TRAINING, SINCE THE OPERATIN SYSTEM AND CONTROLS ARE VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL TO THE COLT PATTERN 5.56 X 45 ADDITION, BY USE OF A COMMON WEAPON PLATFORM, THERE IS A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF PARTS INTERCHANGEABILITY BETWEEN EXISTIN FBI 5.56 X 45 MM LAR15 ROCK RIVER ARMS CARBINES AND THE LAR40, FURTHER ENHANCING THE COST EFFECTIVENESS OF THIS ACQUISITION. THE FBI REQUIRES AN INTEGRAL MAGAZINE WELL (AS OPPOSED TO A PINNED MAGAZINE WELL ADAPTOR) AND A CALIBER DEDICATED MAGAZINE, DEVELOPED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS WEAPON SYSTEM AND CALIBER, WHICH ENSURES THE LEVEL OF RELIABILITY REQUIRED BY FBI SPECIAL AGENTS DURING HIGH RISK SITUATIONS. THE FBI REQUIRES THIS CARBINE TO BE MANUFACTURED IN .40 S&W CALIBER, WHICH WILL PROVIDE GREATER OPERATIONAL EFFECIENTCY, SINCE BOTH THE ISSUED SERVICE PISTOL AND THE PISTOL CALIBERCOLT PATTERN CARBINE WILL BE CHAMBERED FOR THE SAME AMMUNITION (I.E., .40 S&W CALIBER). ROCK RIVER ARMS IS THE ONLY MANUFACTURER KNOWN TO MEET THESE CRITICAL REQUIREMENTS.

You have got to hand it to the FBI, first 20mm rifles and now AR-15 carbines chambered in .40 S&W, they do think outside the box.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • johnny donuts

    It’s a shame they think outside the box of the Constitution too otherwise one wouldn’t mind them so much.

  • Carl

    Seems like a very long and cumbersome barrel if this is intended for indoor use. And I wonder wether the .40 S&W really benefits from this. I saw a test somewhere where pistol caliber rounds seemed to max out at just slightly longer than pistol length barrels. Which, of course makes pefect sense, since it is pistol ammo.

    And I really don’t know if using the AR for everything can be accurately described as “thinking outside the box”. Seems more like conservatism bordering on stagnation to me.

    Question: is this blowback operated like the Colt 9mm SMG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_9mm_SMG)?

    If it is indeed blowback operated one wonders how much similarity in parts and maintenance with the regular AR there actually is.

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    Is it just me or are all the Federal Law enforcement agencies rearming?

    Every time I turn around there’s another order for a new type weapon.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Solomon, probably not much different to any other point in time. Right now the AR-15 is very fashionable and so many are switching to it. Hell, its only the military that seems to be reluctant to buy new guns (marines being the exception).

  • Aurelien

    “Seems like a very long and cumbersome barrel if this is intended for indoor use.”

    If this is a replacement for the MP5/40 the probably will use them with a 10″ barrel at most.
    The picture is just a picture from the RRA website.

  • Bill

    Looking at the synopsis, it was dated at the end of August 2009. I wonder if the FBI has taken delivery of these AR-15 in .40s yet.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Bill, I missed the date. Well spotted. I have updated the post.

  • http://www.dooms-day-device.com Puke

    Have to spend that budget money on something or they won’t get as much next year. Every gov’t bureaucracy does it. Be it office furniture or guns.

  • Shootin’ Buddy

    Outside the box? I fail to see how.

    Feds have long used Colt 635s.

    However, females agents at FLETC have long moaned about the “crushing recoil” of the 5.56 rifles. Hurts their qualification scores and they gripe to DOJ supervisors and EEOC.

    Return of the dual standards.

  • jody

    this is a great time to visit

    http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/

    and look up the results of .40 sw

  • Zach

    What’s the point? If you already have and train with 5.56mm carbines, what does it add to have a .40 S&W carbine? Less power, heavier ammo, and greater overpenetration? Sure sounds like a great combination to me.

  • Todd

    My affection for PCC’s seems to have been vindicated. I have and love my 9mm AR. Lots of fun to shoot and cheap to feed. 100% reliable too.

  • Chad kipper

    I am surprised that they didn’t choose the Olympic arms .40 cal AR-15 rifle. Does the Olympic arms use a “pinned mag well adapter”? I did not see anything on their site. All that it says is “Pistol cal 40 S&W in an AR-15 platform with a purpose-made lower receiver that uses GlockĀ® magazines. ”

    http://www.olyarms.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=60&category_id=7&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=37

    It would make since to use the Olympic arms since their agents are issued Glock 22 and 23 pistols. They then could use the same mags. What am I missing?

    Anyone have any experiences with this gun?

    • George Clooney

      Agreed. The Oly Arms Gl-40 makes more sense. I’ve got one. Blends nicely with most department’s G-22 mags and accomodates extended capacity mags, too. Saves taxpayer money.

  • Jared

    What kind of a chump packs a pistol caliber (short and wimpy caliber at that) rifle to a “high risk situation”.

    Also, I’d bet my life on a MP5 any day over a AR conversion.

  • Beaumont

    Agency training does not always seem as thorough as one might think. I’ll be watching news footage for a guy with a .40 carbine and a tac vest loaded with 5.56 mags.

  • http://tslrf.blogspot.com/ theotherryan

    Seems pointless to me. I would get M4′s in .223. Anything the .40 can do the .223 could do better.

  • zach

    What’s with the shitty grammar punctuation and spelling?

  • carter

    ‘Twould be a better choice in 10mm.

  • jdun1911
  • Destroyer

    i find this transaction a little ironic since the FBI apparently arrested S&W executives at SHOT show :) . that being said, i think the 5.56 would serve just as good, if not better, than the 40. loaded with polymer rounds, the 5.56 does not have the over penetration issues it normally does.

  • Brian

    Don’t they already have 10mm MP5′s? What a waste.

  • Oswald Bastable

    Would this tie in with the huge order of .40 ammo posted on a while back?

  • Erwos

    Yeah, I think I’d pick the 10mm MP-5 every time over this. Only reason I see for it is to maybe have magazine compatibility with their sidearms, and that seems rather over-rated…

  • Lance

    Im with therreyman on this just buy regular M-4s or CAR-15 with good TRU or TAP ammo alot better than going to .40 S&W. Pistol caliber caribines are over grown pistols. Might as well buy Glocks with a 16 inch barrel same thing.

  • http://gunscoffee.blogspot.com/ Fred

    If I had to guess, they’re simply a replacement for aging MP5′s that H&K doesn’t build or support well enough anymore.
    Add to that the fact that it does simplify training (same control and manual of arms for sub-guns and carbines) as well as maintaining ammo compatibility between sub-guns and pistols, it’s not a bad move in my mind. I’m sure that needing to cushion the budget had something to do with it, but switching from worn, high maintainence MP5s (roller-lock system vs. blowback) is probably cheaper in the long run.
    Of course this all assumes that they are going to be select fire. If not, then it’s retarded and a 5.56 would be better.

  • Stella

    Destroyer:

    Most .223/5.56 bullets have fairly poor barrier performance and in most mediums pistol rounds will produce similar if not greater over-penetration issues.

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    After the “Miami Massacre” in 1986, the Bureau purchased 9mm MP5 for issue to field agents, but these had semi-auto trigger groups installed. The MP5/10 purchased later were for the high speed/low drag types. The Bureau tried to get HK to make more a while back, but clearly HK has no interest in reviving the MP5/10 and MP5/40. The Bureau also evaluated the UMP in .40 S&W, and rejected it. There is an unflattering briefing available that shows the effects of a 9x19mm cartridge finding its way inside the UMP’s barrel followed by the firing of a .40 S&W round. It wasn’t very healthy for the UMP’s plastic receivers.

  • jdun1911

    I can assure you Stella that the 5.56 will penetrate far more then any pistol caliber at any range.

  • Stella

    jdunn1911:

    Really? .223/5.56 penetrates less than pistol rounds in the stuff that homes are made of. Examples:

    http://www.downrange.tv/bestdefense/wall-penetration.htm

    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot12_2.htm

    Purpose built bullets like TAP will do even worse. If the FBI is concerned with over-penetration defensive .223 is a better choice than .40 S&W JHP.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Stella, hmmm … I can’t argue with their results but it is depending on the 5.56mm bullet tumbling. If it does not tumble it is going to go much further.

  • jdun1911

    Put more walls up and see what penetrate further. Most pistol calibers have energy less then 400 lbs ft. The 5.56 has over 1700 lbs ft. It will penetrate more and dump more at all range compare to pistol calibers.

  • jdun1911

    Steve is correct that if you got a 5.56 bullet that is design to break up and penetrate less. Well it going to do just that. But a typical 62 gr bullet or higher will keep it shape and mass much more better then a bullet that design to fragment.

    Also try at different impact range. The closer the 5.56 impact on an object from the muzzle the more likely it will break depending on the bullet design and weight.

  • Destroyer

    stella, that is exactly what i was saying. Fast handgun calibers (like the 40 and longer 10mm) have a tendency to over penetrate compared to 5.56mm rounds because they stay intact. 5.56 ammunition does not over penetrate. This was discovered because soldiers and police officers, believing in the 5.56mm’s implied penetrative abilities, during firefights, did not have sufficient penetration of walls or even car glass (one law enforcement officer failed to penetrate an assailants front windshield with his AR15 loaded with polymer ammunition). The civilian 5.56mm’s comparatively higher tendency to tumble, thus reducing its odds of over penetration, makes the AR15 a viable solution for law enforcement. Stella’s references are pretty damning for the false conception that the 223/5.56mm is a over penetrating liability.

    • Sam Spade

      This is erroneous information regarding penetration of walls by the 5.56. It will go through 2×4 studs, drywall etc. etc. etc. The 62 gr military ammo is spec’d to go through one side of a steel helmet at 600 meters. think little blue helmets.

  • Ramtinxxl

    I, too, noted the very unprofessional nature of the “solicitation notice” with regard to spelling, word usage, etc. Adds to the idea of the FBI as ILLITERATE “jack boot thugs,” eh?

  • justdavid

    Erwoson, doesn’t look like this design will take Glock mags so they’re not even getting mag compatibility out of this. Not that it’s necessarily worth all that much.

  • GunBuilder

    I find it amusing how people like to critique firearms and the abilities of calibers like fine wine. The firearm is a just a tool. Truth is the majority of law enforcement has no use for this type of equipment in everyday work. A 12 gauge shotgun is good for an entry situation and a bolt action .308 is good for those outside ranged encounters. They buy them because they are cool and they like toys as much as you do. A perpetrator 99% of the time does not care if you shot him with a .223 vs. .40 cal he is still going to go down. You cannot plan every single firearm purchase around the LA bank robbery as this was a rare occurrence. It frustrates me to see civilian law enforcement tooling up with military style carbines, not because of the weapons but because of the cost to tax payers. Keep what you have already purchased no need for new rifles in any law enforcement arsenal at this point. Anyway back to my point on the critique of calibers. There is little in the way of consistency in bullets. One time a .22 will blast through a house and another time a .308 will stop in the first wall. You cannot simulate this in testing; combat is a very different thing. Regardless of caliber I prefer accuracy and dependability that my friend is the most deadly combination regardless of the firearm or caliber.

  • PIGamer

    While i understand the mentality GunBuilder, i have to disagree. Officers may want to subdue someone rather than straight out kill them. So headshots are a no-go most of the time. With body armor of varying degrees being more readily available year after year, law enforcement officials have to adapt by adopting calibers with a little more stopping power. While one might disagree with what should adopted, i feel it only makes sense that as criminal’s technology changes so should the officers’.
    223, for example, is not quite as reiable as it used to be. There are many accounts of enemies taking up to seven 223 rounds before collapsing, although not even dead sometimes. What do you propose then. Tell our soldiers to shoot better? Because changing to 6.8 or 6.5 ammo would be stupid right?

  • GunBuilder

    PIGamer, I respect your opinion but do not agree with it. You are implying there is some sort of everyday war going on out there in which criminals are wearing body armor and armed to the hilt, I disagree. On average police are facing civilians with civilian firearms. When the need arises they can always call in a unit like SWAT right, otherwise why do they have them? Please do not get me wrong, I am all for officers having high capacity firearms and calibers that will do the job, I just hate to see them re-purchasing over and over again at my expense. A sheriff here just replaced the M4s with P90s. I asked why in the hell did you do that? He said well the M4s were getting old and they needed something more compact. Ummmm ok, whatever…..

    Now your point on the and I will quote you “There are many accounts of enemies taking up to seven 223 rounds before collapsing, although not even dead sometimes.” is rumor and not reality. While there have been some real issues with .223 performance in the field you cannot just say MANY ACCOUNTS of up to SEVEN rounds without making my eyes kinda roll.

    I agree the .223 is not well suited for the mission but it is what they decided to buy with our tax money. Clinton also decided to destroy the majority of the M-14 stock (So I have heard) leaving no fall back.

    I am a gun lover and a military nut. This argument is from a tax payer perspective, I am paying way to much! Utilize the weapons in inventory and stop buying fad firearms. You will never convince me that a P90 is more effective for CIVILIAN Law Enforcement than an M4. They just wanted the P90 and had money in the budget to spend.

    There are more weapons in military stockpile the government could give to LEO than you might imagine. Instead they crush Colt 1911s and then LEO but piece of crap plastic Glocks. It makes me so mad! LOL

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com mike

    For what it’s worth,

    I can’t wait for this carbine to come out and have been following the news on it for a few years. I have all the parts for my build sitting in an ammo can. I check the low-down once in a while from Steve on the RRA forum on ar15.com and apparently, the issues with the magazine have been solved as of this date and production of them has begun so they can start shipping them out soon. But who knows. I’ll keep waiting, though.

    I get .40cal ammo free. Super. Saves me money.

    I reload .40S&W and have a nice recipe for 200gr rounds for use with my YHM Cobra .45 suppressor with .40cal adapter. I load Zero 200gr FMJs and am looking into getting some 200gr cast rounds for a great price. Subsonic fun for cheap.

    RRA has told me that the weapon functions well down to a 7 inch barrel, so that’s what I’d love to do. If I didn’t live in Washington State, I would. No SBR’s here. I’ll buy an extra barrel at the 7 inch length, throw it in my safe and hopefully I can get back to Oregon soon.

    Proprietary lower? Great. Less parts to pin/weld/whatever. I like that.

    Proprietary magazine? Great. Built specifically for the weapon platform. Hopefully they price them reasonably.

    As far as the rest of it goes, I don’t really care. On the day that the red balloon goes up, or the reckoning comes, or the zombies attack, I won’t be using this weapon. I have far more .223 saved up.

    But for a pistol caliber AR carbine (which I’ve always wanted) this is the best for me. Well, this and eventually that new S&W M&P .22lr AR. THAT little sucker is awesome. And with its polymer upper, forend and lower, it’s very light. If I could SBR that one and nest a YHM Mite down in the polymer quad rail, I would imagine it would be very, very fun. Interested in seeing how those polymer parts hold up over the years, though.

  • Anecdotal

    Anyone consider the possibility that the feeb wants something that penetrates car doors and glass better than 5.56? I’m not sure the 40 cal is the right caliber for that but it may do better than everything except bonded 5.56 rounds.

  • Some Guy

    It would be great to use this in 10mm atuo, lol :P

  • Jason

    I’m surprised at all the people who think that a .223 penetrates so much. Obviously people who have limited operational experience. A standard .223 round may be kicking along at nearly 3,000 fps, but the bullet only weighs 55-62 grains typically. Most LE .40 loads are 180 grains. Momentum counts for a lot. Whether you’re talking about bodies or structures a .40 S&W will almost always out penetrate a .223. Whether it’s a modern defensive load or an old FMJ. On duty I carry a Glock 22, a Glock 27, a 14″ Remington 870, and a 20 inch select fire Colt M-16. These .40 carbines, if they get the short barrels, are an excellent idea, to supplement .223′s, not to replace them. Anyone who has ever fired a short barreled .223 inside a room will understand why.

  • Jason

    And the comment about crushing mil surplus 1911s and getting “piece of crap” plastic Glocks? Wow. Obviously you’ve never handled any old surplus 1911′s. Now THAT is crap. You’re not talking about some $3,000 custom fitted 1911 here. You’re talking about old military junk that has been used and abused for decades and was purposely built with loose tolerances to operate even when covered in mud and junk. I carry 2 Glocks every day, and have every day for 12 years. When I first started I was 21, stupid, and thought Glocks were tactical tupperware. Now I wouldn’t carry anything else on duty. I sure as hell wouldn’t carry an old military surplus 1911.

  • still waiting

    I ordered one of these when they were first announced, been over a year and a half…

  • J.B.

    I sent RRA an email today asking about the LAR-40. They said that they’re still trying to work out an issue with the magazine followers and they’re not available yet. The automated email I got when I sent in my question said they’d try to respond within 3 business days. But they responded in like 3 hours. Makes me think they get that question a lot and have a standard response they send back. I can’t imagine it would be THAT hard to make a reliable .40 follower to go in a Colt pattern 9mm mag. Maybe with all the other military orders going on they don’t have many people to devote to it.

  • http://TheFirearmBlog grandpa

    Should have stuck with the .45 and bought the KRIS.

  • CeeDee Nairn

    THIZ ! GOOD ! 4FOR ” DOMESTIC ! SECURITY~OFFICER ” CODE ‘ 4 …