In the last 30 years, we witnessed how easy it is for a country to lose its firearms manufacturing capability: the UK, France, Portugal, and Spain are prime examples. And building such a capability from scratch is extremely difficult, and UAE and “Caracal” seems to be one of the few successful examples. Founded in 2007, “Caracal” develops and manufactures handguns, sniper rifles, and perhaps their most well-known product – CAR 816, a select-fire short-stroke gas piston AR15 variant chambered in 5.56×45.
Caracal @ TFB:
In 2017, the name and markings on the CAR 816 changed, demonstrating a rare example of commemorating fallen servicemen by the defense industry. After the change, the official name of CAR 816 supplied to the UAE Armed Forces is “Sultan”.
The rifle is named after Colonel Sultan Mohammad Ali Al Ketbi, the most senior UAE army officer who died in Yemen during “Operation Restoring Hope”.
In 2015, UAE and Saudi Arabia along with Sudan, Bahrein, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, and Senegal intervened in the civil war in Yemen after the country’s president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, asked for military support. The name and the portrait of the colonel are located on the right side of the magwell of every rifle produced for the UAE market.
I had a chance to test CAR 816 on the range, and it is definitely comparable to HK 416, which is not surprising, considering that CAR 816 was developed by the same design engineers who previously worked for Heckler & Koch and participated in the development of SIG 516.
What impressed me was the quality of the barrel. At the range, we looked up the shooting logs to see how much ammo was put through a rifle I was shooting, and apparently, after tens of thousands of rounds, the barrel did not keyhole, and I could still hit small targets out to 300 meters.
Since Caracal owns Merkel and Haenel, two German firearms manufacturing companies, they have access to the best equipment and technology, which explains the long barrel life of their rifles. To read more about other firearms Caracal manufactures, check out this exclusive TFB article: TFB Factory Visit: An Exclusive Tour Through Caracal in Abu Dhabi.
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