The Caracal Assault Rifle 816, or CAR 816, is a piston-operated M-4 type carbine that was introduced earlier this year. The gun uses a two-position gas port for normal operation and suppressed shooting. Rate of fire is listed as 850 rpm. (Ed. note: See the September 2013 update at the bottom of the article regarding the gas port and rate of fire.)
The CAR 816 is chambered in 5.56 NATO and comes in three barrel lengths: 10″, 14.5″ and 16″. The barrels are chrome lined and cold hammer forged from chromolybdenum steel. The barrel uses a 1:7″ twist.
The barrels are threaded, and come with a “standard muzzle break [sic].” From the photos, it appears the muzzle device is a standard A2 type birdcage flash hider. Of course, with so many different muzzle devices on the market today, it is hard to say for certain from the photos alone.
According to Caracal, the rifle comes with a magazine release on the right side of the receiver, but an ambidextrous option is available. The gun uses STANAG-compliant magazines, and ships with a 30 round mag. The rifle is shown with a PMAG, but it is not known if Magpul magazines ship with the gun, or more pedestrian USGI mags.
Caracal calls the 816 a “modular assault rifle” due to the fact that it is equipped with “standard interfaces” for the buttstock and pistol grip. A four-position, adjustable buttstock is standard. Some images of the stock show a M-4 style stock, while others show a different stock. It is unclear which stock will whip on production rifles.
The rifle is equipped with a quad-rail fore end and a Picatinny rail upper. Folding sights are standard, which should work well with an optic like the Trijicon ACOG.
There is no information at this time regarding any plans for a semi-automatic version of this rifle being made for the civilian market. While shown abroad, the rifle is noticeably absent from the Caracal USA website. Additionally, the carbine was not shown at the 2013 SHOT Show. It will be interesting to see if this rifle is on display at the SHOT Show in 2014.
September 2013 Update
Caracal changed the rate of fire to 780 rounds per minute – down from the previous 850. No reason was given for the change, but it likely was done to improve reliability.
Additionally, the gas port is now listed as having four positions: normal, silencer hi, silencer lo, and off.