Czech Army Cancels Purchase of SIG 716 and Meopta Optics

SIG716 Precision Sniper (non-standard desert finish) Photo © Bryan Jones

The Czech Defense Ministry has canceled a $4.5 million (USD) contract to purchase 238 USA-manufactured SIG716 rifles along with day/night optics and  spare parts and tools from Meopta, a prominent Czech optics manufacturer (Meopta was importing the rifles from SIG Sauer USA). The rifles were to replace their aging inventory of Soviet-era SVD rifles. The contact was cancelled because apparently the barrel life was shorter than what Meopta claimed.

Prague Post reports …

The Czech Defense Ministry cancelled the contract for the purchase of 238 new guns for long distance shooting for CZK98.3 million because the guns failed in the tests, Czech daily “Lidové noviny” writes on 24 October.

“In August, the control tests showed that the rifles do not have the declared lifespan of the gun barrel and that their breakdown rate is higher,” Defense Ministry spokeswoman Jana Zechmeisterova told the paper.

The ministry cancelled the contract on September 26, she said.

The new rifles were to replace the old Soviet-made SVD sniper rifles. They would also have the caliber that is standard in NATO countries, the paper writes.

The ministry signed the contract for the 238 rifles with a shooting accuracy distance of 600 meters with Meopta Systems in March. Night gunsights, spare parts and maintenance tools were part of the contract, too.

The problems, to which the Czech military pointed, concerned the Sig Sauer SIG716 gun that Meopta Systems, a producer of optical systems, bought from the U.S. arms maker.

“The producer declared certain parameters of the gun, but they were not met,” Šárka Vodáková, from Meopta, told LN.

This does not mean there was anything wrong with the guns, rather the expectation/promises of/made to the Czech Defense Ministry. Barrel life is simple to test, so the question is why

Thanks to REMOV for the tip.

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.


  • Zachary marrs

    What in the holy balls is up with that optic?!?!?!

    Yes i know what it is, its called humor

    • KestrelBike

      if it’s not going to cowitness with my mbus, I’m not interested in it.

  • MoPhil

    Honestly, when I had the chance to get a SIG716 in my hands and be able to compare it with other 308 AR variants, I was disappointed. Manufacturing tolerances are worlds away from the quality of an HK MR308 or of an Oberland Arms OA-10 (though the last one has a “disadvantage” in terms of a Stoner-system instead of a gas piston system).

    Although the SIG costs about 2.400 € and the MR about 2.799 €, I still would go with the MR instead of the SIG. The higher quality is worth the 300 € extra.

    And no, I am not an HK-fanboy. But the truth is, that about quality, the SIG is inferior to the HK.

    • Joshua

      Not sure where you get the stoner system is a disadvantage.

      LMT through LEI swept away the competition during the MoD trials for the L129A1. The LMT308MWS performed best in every category even against the SCAR and the HK417.

      Also the British soldiers I have talked to say its one of their most reliable weapons.

      I would also put the KAC M110K1 against anything HK has.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Not sure where you get the stoner system is a disadvantage.

        Popular internet opinion circa 2008. 😉

      • Nicks87

        The LMT is an outstanding rifle I would put it above the M110 as well. I think Knights Armament has been surpassed in recent years in terms of performance. I was out on the range with a guy shooting the 110 and he was having malfunctions left and right. He said it was an ammo issue but for a rifle that is meant to be carried into combat it should eat and digest whatever you feed it. KAC was top of the line 10-15 years ago but I think the competition has caught up in recent years.

        • Joshua

          Thats why I said the K1, whole different beast.

      • MoPhil

        That’s why I wrote disadvantage with “…”

        I know very well, that 308 AR’s don’t face the same problems as their 5.56-variants with Stoner System.

        Still I would go with an HK MR308, if I had to decide between it and the SIG716. Surfaces on the MR308 upper and lower are flush, while on the SIG there is a “step” about 1-2mm high! Sorry, but if I pay 2k + €, I don`t want only a rifle, but I want a GOOD rifle. Maybe this is different in the US, where in most places you are not limited in the number of guns, you can purchase.

        By the way, the HK417 also did not pass German military tests either. Therefore they went with the civilian version of the HK417 and called it G28, which is nothing else than an MR308 with adjustable gas block and RAL8000 coating.

        And if you want precision, go with bolt action: on long distances (600+) you will actually have no benefit in using a self loading rifle, if it’s about PRECISION. In military other things count.

        • Joshua

          Still not seeing the disadvantage of 5.56 stoner drive rifles.

          But that is a nother topic.

          • iksnilol

            If in good contidition then rifle is fine. If chit-rifle from Vietnam of A1 or A2 variety that is held together with tape and a nail then not.

        • Dr. Zarkus

          The G28 has a steel upper receiver, while the one on the MR308/HK417 is made of aluminum.

        • JSmath

          It’s okay, not everyone that read what you wrote is too dense to understand why you quoted “disadvantage” in your post. 😉

          • Rusty Shackleford

            I’m glad I wasn’t the only to comprehend his meaning.

        • kingghidorah

          HK has been terrible to their customers. Like a hot, stuck-up 17 year old female cashier, HK makes itself extremely desirable, yet completely unattainable.

        • Of course the HK rifle flunked GERMAN Army testing, not able to meet accuracy requirements, four years ago. . .

      • toms

        KAC until recently had a very poor reliability record with their .308 guns. I don’t know how many people I have met who called em jam-o-matics. People say they are performing better now but still for the price they charge it should be a flawless gun. The LMT is very very heavy. Too heavy for what it is, but it is reliable.

        • Joshua

          Its not that heavy. The L129A1 weighs 9.8lbs, which isnt overly heavy for a 308dmr that has to be accurate past 800M.

          As for the M110 they have come a long way, they had a upgrade package recently for them and the K1 kits fix alot of their issues.

      • n0truscotsman

        LMT builds an awesome AR10. Good on the brits for adopting that fine rifle.

    • toms

      I wouldn’t let sig anywhere near any firearm contract that is meant for front line military use. No way, no how, never! The days of SIG being synomous with quality ended in the late 90’s. Swiss arms is the last vestige of that once prestigous company and soon will be all but a memory. I have seen enough screwed up SIG products to justify my claims. HK does produce a superior product, but with their financial situation and hostile government, their future is also grimm. Its sad to se so many great innovators fall apart from gross missmanagement or hostile PC governments.

      • john huscio

        I’d still take a SIG pistol over any HK pistol. Its the one sector they still excel at (the quality control issues of late seem to finally be gone) besides, there’s a good chance HK won’t be around in 5 years…

        • toms

          Their pistols are good but I have seen many MIM parts failures in those as well. I had an X5 tactical that was a very nice shooter through 10k+ rounds, alas it was stolen. That was a Sig custom shop gun though made in Germany. I had a sig 556 and a sig 553 the difference in quality is unbelievable. I would trust the 553 but the 556 had canted sights, loose rails, flaking barrel chrome ect ect. I even sent it back twice and they did nothing to fix it. I will never buy one of their rifles again, period. The whole experience left me feeling violated in some dark intimate way.

          • justme

            Oooh, yeah those dark intimate violations are the worst.

  • Guest

    Apart from life-span, a major problem was with the reliability. They were breaking down way too much in the tests. That is also part of the quote, so why does the article itself omit it and claims that “there was nothing wrong with the guns”?

    • iksnilol

      Weakling imperialist will rather sell mother than admit weakness of ARs.

      • toms

        The reliability here has nothing to do with the gun being an AR, and everything to do with it being a “sig rifle”. AR’s when specd properly are very, very reliable. Not as reliable as a top line ak, but they more than make up for it with their accuracy, weight savings, ergonomics ect.

        • john huscio

          Sig should stick to what they do best: making pistols. They haven’t made a good rifle since the 550 series (and those are so expensive that they never got a whole lot of military contracts for them) their AR series seem to be hit or miss….m400 doesn’t have some major features a rifle in the price range they are trying to sell it for should have (CHF chrome lined barrels, 1in7 twist) and reports of spotty reliability. The 516 seems to be garnering good reviews though….

          • david

            My M400 is 1in7, what features do you think it should have, that it doesn’t,for less than a $1000?

        • iksnilol

          Decadent capitalist prove point of comrade. If Sig can’t make it work then there is something wrong.

          I hope you realize I am not being serious here. Personally I don’t find much difference between ARs and AKs, though I have had bad experiences with M16A1.

          • billyoblivion


            In what decade did you have these bad experiences?

          • iksnilol

            I wasn’t in the Vietnam war if that is what you are asking. I will admit I am biased against the AR but I will also admit there is nothing wrong with the AR… at least the newer ones. As always inspect the gun before buying it. A friend of mine who was in the army loved the M16A2 simply because its sights are much better and easier to adjust than the AK sights. Another guy I know hated his, he had to tape it and use a nail to keep it from falling apart.

            Like always, bad experiences will make you biased against stuff. So, in short: get what you are comfortable with (and for civvies: what you can afford to shoot).

            Millitary procurement I don’t know much about, I work in neither millitary or logistics so I won’t really comment on that. The first post was just a tongue-in-cheek jab at the AR.

          • billyoblivion

            The reason I asked is that I’ve served in the military in 3 different decades (80s, 90s and 00s) and shot the A1 in the 80s and 90s, and the A2 in the 80s and 00s.

            In bootcamp (summer ’85) I shot a brand spanking new M16A2, and it was a pretty decent rifle. Then again, I was 18 and in Marine Corps Bootcamp. After bootcamp the unit I was assigned to still had the A1s. They were older and weren’t as nice. When I got out of the Marines and was in a Guard unit, we also had A1s (early 90s) that were in even worse shape. In 2004 I re-joined the reserves and was firing the A2, but it was a completely ragged out POS by that point. They’d estimated it had over 100k round through them. Awful, awful weapons–sometimes you’d get a double shot with a single trigger pull in semi-auto.

            TL;DR: The point during a firearms lifetime in which you fire it can affect your impression of it.

            I don’t care for the M16/AR15 for one trivial, pathetic reason. I have a “thing” about texture/feeling and the way spring vibrates next to my ear when I fire is annoying. That and I hate cleaning the damn thing. But if there was fight starting up and the AR was the only tool around? Yeah, no worries mate.

          • iksnilol

            The one I tried was mostly likely smuggled or stolen from NATO during the 90’s during the war in Bosnia. Back then we kinda needed anything and everything we could get our hands on.

            So yeah, they weren’t new but they weren’t worn out either. Especially since they weren’t used much after the war (practice, warmup or informal shooting only pretty much).

            I don’t really care much for the spring noise (though I am not a fan) it is mainly the cleaning aspect that bothers me. I am not a squeaky clean guy but ARs get really dirty and the bolts weird and sharp shape makes it hard to clean.

            You are right on the whole thing regarding bias, I thought I mentioned I might be biased against the AR.

  • Armando

    At $18,900 apiece, they should have been smart self-aiming and self-shooting flawless guns

    • Joshua

      Most of that is the optics package. Same as our M110, it costs over $10,000(forgot the exact price) but the rifle alone is not even close to that.

      • Anonymoose

        An SR-25ECR is about 5 grand, and the M110 differs mostly in the rail system. and comes with standard optics and suppressor. I still suspect these figures of price gouging when they hit the civilian or export market. It would be better to have (semi-)universal NV/thermal scope and suppressor standards to be purchased separately and also quit with the “it’s got a UID label so it’s worth 10x any comparable model!” crap (some company has been trying to sell a Colt M45A1 for $4200 on gunbroker for months now).

    • Noir

      Night vision is rather expensive..

  • guest

    A DI gun failed at a test other than an american red-white-and-blue-support-our-troo… I mean GUNS test!

    • Tyler Runo

      I could be wrong but I don’t think it’s a DI gun. I’m pretty sure I can see the gas piston adjustment under the night vision.

      • JSmath

        It isn’t a DI gun (which is why I upvoted your post earlier today), but you should know they do make adjustable gas blocks for DI guns as well.

        If you google adjustable gas block, Brownell’s has a nice list of various types.

        3Gun competitors install them in DI guns to achieve minimum recoil with reliability. Suppressor users also like them to reduce component wear (bolt thrust, gas pressure, etc.) and gas “blowback”/backblast/gasface.

      • guest

        Sorry my bad – it is even worse then: a DI system converted to have carrier tilt, and keep all the problems (minus carbon and heat in carrier).

        Same BS, different variation. This is like the dried up dog poop compared to fresh steaming turd.

    • Joshua

      Its op rod driven genious…….your letting your bias show.

      Then again I am sure the L129A1 trials were rigged in favor of LEI who no one in the MoD had ever heard of before that competition.

      • JSmath

        The Sig 716 isn’t op rod driven, either.

        • Joshua

          What? Yes it is. I even posted a picture of the BCG. Its clearly not a DI system.

          • JSmath

            I and many others are disinclined to believe the words of someone who cannot spell many of the words they type out.

            Your picture of a BCG means jack-all to a person who’s only ever heard the term op rod in the context of weapons with an external handle attached/machined into the operating rod (M14/M1 Garand), but instead only heard piston in its place applied to other weapons (including the AK, piston ARs, etc.).

            I knew the Sig716 wasn’t DI, but the vehement nature of your post lead me to doubt you knew what you were talking about as well. It’s nice to learn the difference, but that’s only because of Geodkyt’s post.

          • Joshua

            What? I just double checked and my post was spelled correctly. I do this on my phone so yeah I have typos.

            Does Push rod float your boat better?

            It’s not my fault you have never head of a op rod driven AR before. I have heard plenty of guys refer to the HK416 in that manner just fyi.

            But to help you understand better I shall from now on call it a push rod, since op rod is to difficult of a term for your simpleton brain.

          • JSmath

            “[It’s* op rod driven,** genius*** …**** you’re***** letting your bias show.]”

            I wrote a reply stating I was wrong, admitted it, corrected myself including a note that I was previously wrong, and replied that I now understood better.

            With you, though, basic English, reading comprehension, civility, and being an adult are permanent problems; That’s fine, not everyone’s perfect. I’m walking away from your retardation, though. Feel free to keep up your little tirade, I’ve got nothing to prove to you.

        • Geodkyt

          “Utilizing the short stroke pushrod operating system, … the SIG716 is the rifle of choice when you require the power of a larger caliber carbine.”

          From the Sig website.

          • JSmath

            Thanks. The definition of op rod, even wikipedia’s entry, would have sufficed as well.

      • brutal

        There are actually two variants of the 716. The early guns had issues cycling suppressed and are being replaced by Sig when the customer complains and sends it in for repair. The second gen (not officially called that) has some cosmetic and functional differences. Gas block and adjustment release button, BCG, Op Rod, Lower relief cuts for BC, BCG are all new design. Still working out if the new (replacement) scope or the gun is causing it to go from a .5MOA gun (my first) to a 3 MOA gun (the replacement.)

      • RNF

        With purchase of LMT guns (future L129A1) by British MoD case was exactly the same as with Czech cancelled purchase. MoD was not buying guns from LMT, but from local British company, that contracted rifles from LMT, just like Meopta offered SIGs. That is a common practice required by law in many European countries – want to sell equipment to army, you have to be local or have local partners. So rigging trails in favour of some unknown company could not be the case. If any rigging where to happen a local company, with lots of local ties, could be a real benefactor of that kind of practice. I’m not imping by any means that any rigging was happening, but it was not so simple, black and white as You described it.

        • Joshua

          I was being sarcastic, granted the internet can make that difficult to display.

          But the MoD had never heard of LEI so if it had been rigged HK would have won…not an unknown company offering an unknown rifle.

          • LEI

            Fascinating. The internet is a wonderful source of rumour and error. “MOD never heard of LEI” ? Our first MOD contract was the supply of kit to UK SF at the start of Gulf war 1 (1991) !!! As to the UOR requirement, we were a surprise bidder. HK were expected to win. However, as the LM7 outperformed the other 5 rifles – in terms of accuracy & reliability. it came as a shock to MOD. We were short listed along with HK and re-tests validated the results. 5 years later, the product is battle proven and the L129A1 is going army wide in the near future.

          • Joshua

            Thanks LEI, I may have confusesd the information I got. Coulda sworn I was told either LEI or LMT were unheard of, it’s been a few years so I coulda warped that in my mind.Thanks foor clearing that up.

            As for the LMT308MWS(as its called here) was no doubt the winner, and my initial post about rigged competitions was sarcastic as I know the LMT rifle was rhe top performing rifle.

            It’s exciting to hear that the L129A1 is going Army wide soon, fantastic news for one of my favorite companies.

  • Tom

    I hear the Sig716s are very accurate with their Stainless Steel barrel, maybe the vendor was claiming barrel life of Chrome-lined hammer-forged barrels. I hear SS barrels wear out quicker. I wonder if they’re now considering LWRC’s REPR or FN’s SCAR TSR (mk20)

  • Skyler

    And the bayonet stud is worthless on my sig716.