Caracal VERSUS – Competition Rifle with promising specs

    I own several of my own and have specified a few competition rifles for friends over the past years, so it’s one of my favorite subjects.

    From time to time I see claims from various producers how “competitive” their firearm is going to be, and unfortunately it’s easy to get disappointed as you scroll down the parts list. You know when you have what looks to be promising, but end up with a Mil Spec trigger from hell to keep cost down.

    Once I even got the opportunity from a rifle maker to help them specify a top-of-the-line competition rifle. Unfortunately most of my recommendations were considered “too expensive”, and they ended up with a product that was far from the original target (read entry-level).

    I have to admit that when I saw Caracal’s heads-up about their new VERSUS competition rifle I wasn’t expecting to be surprised positively.

    But as I kept reading and scrolled down the features it seems Caracal from Idaho had some very good advisors, and they seem to have kept to the original plan.

    That’s a nice watch, too.

    Proof Research Barrel and Geissele Trigger.

    The most outstanding feature of this rifle is probably the fact that it comes with a Proof Research 18″ Carbon Fiber Barrel. Many friends use Proof barrels, and they seem very happy. This one is chambered in .223 Wylde which definitely is the right choice.

    If you want to read more about Prood Research’s barrels and technology check this link.

    That wonderful CF barrel is surrounded by a 15” free float hand guard with M-Lok, and it looks nice and slim.

    Trigger-wise Caracal went for a Geissele Super 3 Gun (S3G) trigger. I’m not the biggest fan of Geissele, but that’s just a personal preference and they make really good triggers.

    The trigger is described as: “very short, light pull and reset. We do not recommend it for duty use, bench rest, accuracy work or shooting small groups. It is designed for close course competition use where rapid target engagement with quick follow up shots are required.”

    The trigger alone is USD 240 if you were to buy it separately, check here for a direct link to Geissele.

    To keep the weight down they put a minimalist butt stock on the rifle, which still keeps all the normal functional requirements with six positions.

    Usually a well-balanced rifle is more important than the overall weight, but remember that the Carbon Fiber barrel is probably keeping things down on the opposite side.

    There’s an XMR Extended magazine release on the rifle, which is four times larger than the standard button.

    The weight without a magazine is 6.2 lbs.


    18″ Versus Competition Black as described by Caracal:

    The VERSUS™ Competition Rifle was designed by competitive shooters, for competitive shooters, with features that today’s top competitors demand. By focusing on the essential aspects of dependability, accuracy, reduced weight, and superior ergonomics, the VERSUS™ Competition Rifle gives you the perfect foundation for your podium finish. This rifle provides a true “out of the box” solution for any competitor ranging from novice to World Class shooters, at a price point that allows everyone to run with the pack.

    • Caliber: .223 Wylde
    • Operating Principle: Gas operated, Direct impingement
    • Modes of Fire: Safe and Semi
    • Overall Length (stock extended): 38″ (965mm)
    • Overall Length (stock collapsed): 34.7″ (881mm)
    • Barrel Length: 18″ (457mm)
    • Barrel Contour: Medium / .750″
    • Rifling Twist: 1 :8″ Cl :203mm)
    • Muzzle Device: 2-Port, Self-timing muzzle brake
    • Weight w/o Magazine: 6.2lbs (2.8kg)
    • Trigger Type: Geissele S3G Single Stage
    • Trigger Pull: 4lbs (1.8kg)
    • Magazine Type: Lancer Systems L5 AWM
    • Magazine Capacity: 30 rounds / 10 rounds
    • Hand Guard: 15″ Free Float with M-LOK®
    • Buttstock: Minimalist, 6-Position
    • Grip: Caracal®






    The product is formally called CAR814 A2, 18″ Versus Competition Black.

    The list price is $1799.00 which seems fair, and it’s available now at Rainier Arms for instance.

    Made in the USA, which will be important for a lot of buyers.

    I cannot see if the Versus comes with an adjustable gas block or, but hopefully yes. Otherwise I would see that as someone didn’t keep to the original plan or specified it incorrectly, but again that is my opinion.

    You can check Caracal’s 2018 catalog here.

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too. TCCC Certified medic.