Rock River Arms R3 Competition Rifle

The Rock River Arms R3

The Rock River Arms R3

The Rock River Arms R3

Rock River Arms has a new 3-gun competition rifle in their line-up.  Despite being designed for a specific niche in the AR-15 community, the LAR-15 R3 Competition Rifle has a lot of features that any shooter can appreciate.

Jim, one of RRA’s law enforcement representatives, walked me through the finer points of this new offering. One of the first things that catches the eye is the 18” fluted stainless steel barrel.  The barrel is tapered down about mid-length.

I’m a big fan of fluted barrels, and not just for looks either.  In addition to providing more surface to allow greater heat transfer (cooler barrel), the fluting actually has a balancing effect on the harmonics of the barrel.  Not to mention that you can have the benefits of a bull barrel, with less weight!  In short, fluting is going to help your rifle shoot better.

The R3's fluted barrel and 2-stage compensator.

The R3’s fluted barrel and 2-stage compensator.

Jim had me compare the R3’s weight to its companion heavy Varmint series rifle.  The Varmint rifle had a standard bull barrel, and the weight difference was very noticeable.  Yet, Jim put forward that the R3 was going to perform at the same match grade level as the Varmint rifle.  The R3 also comes standard with the very nice RRA 2-stage match trigger, encased in the RRA Winter Trigger Guard for easier access.

Part of the reason for better accuracy is the muzzle compensator.  Rock River has put a 2-chamber compensator on the R3 to help keep the bullet in its natural path.  The first chamber has vent ports to strip the gases away from the muzzle at the top and sides to reduce recoil.  The second chamber is the real gem.  Located on the muzzle face of the compensator this chamber takes the backwash of expelled gas off of the bullet as it leaves the barrel.

The R3's compensator has vent ports on the top, side, and front.

The R3’s compensator has vent ports on the top, side, and front.

Jim explained that as the bullet leaves the barrel under extreme pressures there is a lot of spiraling gas effects once the constraints of the barrel are not longer in play.  The second chamber allows for those gases to expel outward instead of having the spiraling effect.  I’m no engineer but it seemed to make sense to me, and its not the first compensator I’ve seen on the market offering the vent ports on the muzzle face of the compensator.

Here are some of the other great features:

  • Length with A2 stock – 38”
  • Length with Operator CAR stock – 35.8” to 39.3”
  • Weight – 7.6 pounds
  • RRA rifle-length rail (has smaller exterior and interior dimensions to make it lighter)
  • Full Picatinny rail on top
  • Chambered in .223 Wylde (allows both 5.56mm and .223 caliber)
  • Forged A4 upper
  • 1:8 twist
  • Muzzle – RRA Tuned & Ported Brake with 1/2-28 thread
  • Low profile gas block – mid length
  • Star safety selector
  • Accuracy is rated at 3/4 MOA at 100 yards
  • RRA TRO-XL free-floated top-rail octagonal handguard
  • Hogue rubber pistol grip
  • Comes with one magazine.
  • MSRP – $1310

Now for the news everyone is asking about.  Jim said that there is NO estimated time of delivery.  In fact the RRA booth was a lot leaner than last year, and Jim explained that they only brought 32 rifle offerings.  That was because they only sent a skeleton crew to the Show, as everyone else was still back at the factory working on the extremely high production demands.

The R3 offers a rifle-length hand guard with mid-length gas block.

The R3 offers a rifle-length hand guard with mid-length gas block.

The multiple ports of the 1st stage.

The multiple ports of the 1st stage.

A stock offering for the R3

A stock offering for the R3


The R3's hand guard.  If you look close you can see the tapered barrel.

The R3’s hand guard. If you look close you can see the tapered barrel.




Aaron is a life-long firearm enthusiast and hunter. He has been a police officer for nearly 19 years, and currently is a Sergeant in Special Operations. He has served on the department’s SWAT Team for 14 years, with 8 years as the Sniper Team Leader. When not fussing over fractions of inches, and gut-less wonders, he can usually be found sipping from a ridiculously large coffee mug. Aaron is also the editor and main writer at


  • John Doe

    I’m actually a big fan of LWRC’s spiral fluting. I don’t know if it really offers anything more than normal fluting, but it looks really nice.

    • Aaron

      I’ve heard several arguments. Some say the spiral fluting is just for looks, some say it helps disperse the energy wave, and some say only straight fluting is effective because they travel in the same direction as the bullet. I’m not an engineer so I don’t know – but the spiral ones do look nice!

  • Spectre

    This isnt the Colt competition rifle?

    • Murdoc

      It’s pretty similar to everyone’s competition rifle, just with rock rivers parts and an actual accuracy guarantee of 3/4 moa.

      • Aaron

        Similar yes, but I really like the compensator as a stand out. Also the Rock River 2-stage match trigger has a very nice break and reset operation.

    • Aaron

      There are some similarities but I assure you this one is the Rock River Arms.

  • gunslinger

    can i get just the barrel and break? or do they make the barrel in 20″?

    • Aaron

      My understanding was that this configuration was the only offering at this time.

  • Dgott7726

    Will the new forearm accept additional pic rail sections? If so, where can i purchase them?

    • Aaron

      Let me do some checking with RRA. However, the slots on this rail are similar to the ones on Magpul hand guards, and Magpul offers polymer rail sections that can be attached through their slots. They might be usable on this rail.

  • Busa223

    Have they figured out any lead times. I have had mine on order for about 4 weeks?

  • USMC12

    I have had mine on order 4 1/2 months now and still can’t any lead time info! I sure hope this rifle is worth it?!?

    • Marine03

      I just received mine after, get this… 14 months!!!! Never could get a lead time. Didn’t even get a notice it was sent, just a UPS email and it was here. Nice rifle, but HEAVY TRO HANDGUARD!!! I mean heavy!!!

      • Illinois guy

        I’m in my 12th month of waiting. Patience is running this, but I could go elsewhere.

        • Illinois guy

          Patience is running THIN, I meant.