Photos: Lancer Systems Brings High-tech Innovation to Modern Firearms

   11.11.14

Lancer Systems is known to most shooters for their translucent hybrid steel and polymer AR magazines, as well as their carbon fiber handguards and stocks. They also manufacture rifles, which are popular among many 3-gunners. I visited their new factory in Quakertown, Pennsylvania last week, and it quickly became clear that Lancer is not “just” a gun company—they are a tech company that’s bringing their technological know-how to guns and accessories.

Part of the new Lancer Systems factory near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Part of the new Lancer Systems factory in Quakertown, Pennsylvania.

Lancer Systems is an engineering-driven organization that makes ceramic and carbon fiber components for fighter jets and missile systems. They also manufacture advanced fiber-optic control systems and well heads for oil drills. They are constantly innovating in the use of ceramics, thermoplastics, polymers, carbon fibers, ceramic matrix, and compression molding.

The L5AWM AR-15 magazine, seen here in its final form on the right with developmental models on the left, is one of Lancer's signature products.
The L5AWM AR-15 magazine, seen here in its final form on the right with developmental models on the left, is one of Lancer’s signature products.

A lot of this technology factors into their firearm systems and gives the company a unique advantage in this market. The new L7AWM magazine for .308 Win/7.62 NATO rifles incorporates a stainless steel core (consisting of a steel front guard and rear feed lip) with a polymer body that completely surrounds the top of the magazine and is laser-welded.

Three new Lancer L7AWM magazines. The L7s are built around a stainless steel "core" with a polymer body.
Three new Lancer L7AWM magazines. The L7s are built around a stainless steel “core” with a polymer body.

Each L7 and L5AWM (5.56 NATO) magazine is individually assembled and hand-inspected. These magazines represent the most advanced and most reliable magazines available for their respective firearm systems. The 5.56 magazines are available in 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-, and 48-round capacities (with the magazine extender), while the L7AWM is available in 5-, 10-, and 20-round capacities. The L7AWM will work in SR-25/DPMS 308 pattern rifles, along with the SIG716 and LM308.

Lancer's single-point sling adapter.
Lancer’s single-point sling adapter.

Another innovative accessory from Lancer is their single-point sling attachment system, which was originally introduced early in 2014 at SHOT Show. This device installs over the buffer tube on AR carbines and features a polymer-coated steel cable that makes the system fully ambidextrous. With single-point slings, the cable offers the added advantage of providing flex so that the sling can’t be twisted off. The steel cable can also be easily replaced if need be, and Lancer has also just released a new system for the SIG516 which easily installs onto that rifle’s existing receiver QD sling attachment points.

A Lancer rifle equipped with an Adaptive Magwell.
A Lancer rifle equipped with an Adaptive Magwell.

All Lancer Systems rifles feature an interchangeable enlarged magwell. The largest sizes are used in competition, while the smallest is ideal for tactical applications. I tested these on the range and magazine changes are indeed much faster without having to look at the magazine or magwell. This allows the operator to change magazines quickly and remain threat-focused. The system has proven so effective and popular that Lancer developed a conversion kit called the Adaptive Magwell that fits mil-spec lower receivers.

The Adaptive Magwell can be installed on just about any AR-15 in seconds.
The Adaptive Magwell can be installed on just about any AR-15 in seconds.

The Adaptive Magwell is aluminum expanded magwell that slides over the existing magwell on your AR and attaches to a mil-spec winter trigger guard using the spring-loaded swivel detent. It can be installed or removed in seconds, makes no permanent modifications to your rifle, and enlarges the front of the trigger guard for gloved use. It is currently not available for other types of trigger guards.

The Lancer SRSM is a heavy-duty, one-piece solution for mounting optics.
The Lancer SRSM is a heavy-duty, one-piece solution for mounting optics.

ARs that have only a top rail and no extended handguard rail system often have to use a cantilever scope mount to get proper eye relief. Lancer developed a heavy aluminum bar stock single-ring scope mount, handily named the Single Ring Scope Mount (SRSM), that allows the user a much more solid and adjustable mount at the right eye level and with much more adjustable eye relief.

Lancer's new Viper brake for .30 caliber rifles.
Lancer’s new adjustable Viper brake for .30 caliber rifles.

Competition shooters prefer a flat-shooting rifle that offers fast follow-up shots and stays on target. Lancer Systems developed the Nitrous Compensator for just this purpose. It features two adjustable gas escape ports at the top that can be fine-tuned to a specific load or shooter to eliminate muzzle rise. Their latest version, dubbed the Viper, is a tank of a brake that significantly reduces recoil in .30 caliber rifles. This new compensator has adjustable gas holes at the top and on the sides so that the lateral recoil impulses of heavier calibers can be mitigated for both right- and left-handed shooters.

The author shooting a Lancer L30 rifle with the SRSM.
The author shooting a Lancer L30 rifle with the SRSM.

While the original development idea was for competition, it also has a tactical application—especially in law enforcement. One idea was to pair the Viper with a two-round-burst trigger for police snipers to use against auto glass. I tested both compensators on the range using the Lancer L30 .308 rifle and the new brake very noticeably reduced recoil.

A selection of Lancer's carbon-fiber, free-floating handguards.
A selection of Lancer’s carbon-fiber, free-floating handguards.

Lancer’s line of lightweight, free-floating carbon fiber handguards is also being expanded with new lengths and drop in systems for different rifles included a standard and extended-length handguard for the HK416. This handguard in particular significantly reduces the weight of the rifle. A carbon fiber collapsible stock may be in the works as well.

The Lancer L15 Professional Patrol Rifle.
The Lancer L15 Professional Patrol Rifle.

Lancer has expanded their L15 line with more of an eye towards the tactical market. The L15 Professional Patrol Rifle in particular is designed for the police patrol car, and combines the Lancer expanded magwell with the FAB Defense GL stock, which holds a spare magazine. A patrol officer can immediately deploy with 60 rounds at the ready without the need to carry spare magazines on their person. This rifle has a 14.5-inch barrel with a pinned and welded flash hider, and features ambidextrous magazine and bolt release controls.

Check out just how quick mag changes are with the L15 Professional Patrol Rifle and the Adaptive Magwell in the video below.

Billet components of the L30 rifle include the Tactical Magwell and lower and upper receivers.
Billet components of the L30 rifle include the Tactical Magwell and lower and upper receivers.

The .308/7.62 Lancer L30 rifles that were introduced at SHOT show in early 2014 are now becoming more widely available and feature all-billet construction, a monolithic upper receiver, a lower receiver with a short-cut magwell called the Tactical Magwell, and a choice of rail/handguard systems. It is available as a complete rifle or as a kit. The short magwell (and interchangeable magwell extenders) make it easier to reload the rifle from the prone position without having to move it.

Lancer Systems is a company to keep an eye on, as they proceed to introduce more and more high-tech advancements to the firearms world.

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