February 24, 2011
While many firms are making rimfires that look like AR-15s, Spirit Gun Manufacturing is actually making true AR-15s chambered in .22 Long Rifle.
It looks for all the world like an AR-15/M4--and it is, albeit one chambered to .22 Long Rifle from Spirit Gun Manufacturing.
While many firms are making rimfires that look like AR-15s, Spirit Gun Manufacturing is actually making true AR-15s chambered in .22 Long Rifle. The inspiration for the SGM-11 came when a local police department approached Spirit Gun's Adam Trieschman to help them improve their training--no small task since their budget for rifle ammo was just $30 per officer per year.
Two models are offered: an M4 type and a competition model. The M4 has the standard M4 profile barrel, A2 flash hider, forged front sight post, collapsible stock and Magpul backup iron sights. The competition model has an 18-inch barrel, no sights, and a round fore-end with a fake gas block.
Suggested retail for the M4 version is $799. While that may sound like a lot for a .22, these rifles are mil-spec aluminum and steel and indistinguishable from a AR-15 in .223.
Because they're training rifles, the SGM-11s have functional forward assists and charging handles, and the bolts lock back on empty magazines. In fact, you could take a .223 upper and attach it to a Spirit Gun lower, and it would function perfectly. (A standard lower will not work with the Spirit .22 LR upper, however, as the rifle uses a proprietary hammer that is slightly longer than mil spec.)
I was able to test fire several prototypes recently, including an M4 with a stainless Kreiger barrel, and the rifle was capable of m.o.a. accuracy. I also put a lot of rounds downrange through the 18-inch competition model.
Functioning was flawless, and hundreds of rounds of .22 LR cost only a fraction of what the bill would have been if I'd been shooting .223.