Key point: It all began with a request from SOCOM.
The Rattler, a compact personal defense weapon built at the request of “elite military units,” is based on the Sig Sauer’s popular line of MCX gas-operated piston AR-15-style rifles. But MCX has the benefit of not needing a buffer tube in the stock like a conventional AR-15, allowing the rifle to host a more compact folding stock. As a result, the company claims that the is “shorter than any M4 ever produced.”
Sig Sauer’s new carbine goes even further, with a short 5.5-inch barrel and a specialized PDW upper giving the carbine an overall length of just 16 inches when the stock is folded. The Rattler offers “M4 ballistics in a subgun-sized package,” the company says, a manageable weapon just three inches longer than the ultra-compact MP5K.
So who gets first dibs on this shiny new toy? Those “elite units” Sig Sauer referred to might be U.S. Special Operations Command.
In March 2017, SOCOM released a Request for Information calling for a new PDW conversion kit chambered in primarily .300 Blackout cartridge, but also the standard 5.56x45mm round. The command is apparently looking for a kit that can convert a standard M4A1 lower by adding a new upper receiver, a PDW that weighs no more than five-and-a-half pounds and extends no longer than 26 inches with its stock folded.
The Rattler meets all of these requirements. Sig Sauer’s product page for the weapon explaining that the Rattler was “designed from the ground up to be as discreet as possible while retaining all the capabilities of the MCX.” In addition to a lightweight aluminium folding stock, the carbine also has a free-floating M-Lock handguard and a three-prong flash hider and can easily attach a suppressor.
Sounds perfect for U.S. special operations forces, and Sig Sauer knows it. On Aug. 22, the company released a slick new video, as part of a series of four short films on the MCX series of rifles, titled Tango Down. The video shows the Rattler in action with a SOCOM operator undercover in an Iraqi market when a firefight erupts. The operator is told he needs to “roll as heavy as you can without blowing your cover”; naturally, he readies up with a Rattler in a sports bag.
While it’s unclear if any contract will be awarded for SOCOM’s PDW, Sig Sauer has brought its new compact rifle to the civilian market with prices starting at $2,719. The Rattler is available in two packages: the Rattler PSB, which ships with a three-position pistol brace rather than a conventional stock, or the Rattler SBR, which has a folding stock but requires a short-barrelled rifle tax stamp to own legally.
It seems that Sig Sauer is only immediately offering the Rattler in .300 Blackout, but some buyers might hold out for the 5.56x45mm that Tactical Life hints is on the way at a later date. You might not be fighting it out in an Iraqi bazar anytime soon, but if you’re looking for a compact truck or pack gun or a slick new rifle that will turn heads at the range the MCX Rattler might be for you.
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