Since 1960, India’s state-owned Ordnance Factories Board has produced a domestic variant of the British L1A1 inch-pattern semi-auto-only FN FAL, dubbed the Ishapore 1A1. Keep in mind most of the other Commonwealth countries at the time to include Australia, Canada, and New Zealand ran the L1A1 as well.
The FAL had a universal adaptor in the Free World in the 1960s-80s
With as many as 1 million of these 7.62 NATO battle rifles produced, the OFB slowed production in the 1980s and finally closed down the line in 2012 in favor of imported AKM variants from around the globe and locally-made FAL-like INSAS 5.56 NATO rifles, the latter of which had a poor reputation.
However, with India increasingly facing Pakistan and China on its borders in mountainous regions that favor longer-ranged rifles, the country has been looking for a modern 7.62 NATO battle rifle and seems to have found it in the SIG 716. Like the FAL, it is a short-stroke gas piston gun. Unlike the old “Right Arm of the Free World,” however, it is slathered in M-LOK accessory slots, has an adjustable Magpul PLS stock, is a flat-top design that readily supports optics and, most importantly, is in standard production.
India ordered 72,000 last year and just announced plans to pick up another 72,000 this year.
Sig Sauer’s 716-series rifles have proven popular since they were introduced a few years ago. Essentially a 7.62 NATO variant of the company’s SIG516 carbine, it has been offered increasingly as a battle rifle, patrol rifle and designated marksman rifle (DMR), seeing a good bit of adoption in military and police circles. After all, India just ordered 72,400 of them last year.
The problem is, they run well north of $2K, especially for the SIG716G2 series, with is a piston gun.
That’s where the new 716i, with the appeal of being essentially the same gun at half the price, comes in at.
With a lightweight direct impingement system paired with the company’s TREAD line of semi-customization, the 716i is chambered in .308 Winchester. Standard features include a free-floating M-LOK handguard, a 2-stage Matchlite Duo trigger, and an M1913 Mil-Std top-rail for optics.
Using a 16-inch barrel with a 1-in-10 twist, the overall length of the 716i is 37-inches while weight is 8.5-pounds. The barrel has 5/8X24 TPI threads for muzzle devices.