If elected, Biden has committed to banning “weapons of war,” which is just political hyperbole for AR-style platforms. In a brisk act of defiance, today, I’m reviewing a SIG SAUER 716i Tread, before the probability of it getting lost in a tragic fishing accident increases exponentially.
I’m a sucker for SIG SAUER. The first gun I ever purchased was a SIG, and ever since, it’s the only brand from which I’ve purchased. This isn’t because I hate Glock, Springfield, or any other gun brand, I’ve looked into buying from those companies before, it’s just, well, I know exactly what I’m getting with SIG—a quality firearm. I’ll move on before you think I’m a paid reviewer or something (I’m not, though I’d jump at the opportunity if it was presented…).
A quick disclaimer before I get started: 1) always practice correct gun safety while using any firearm 2) I actually don’t know a great deal about firearms, so this review will be in layman’s terms from your average shooter.
Okay! Over the weekend, I had the chance to handle and shoot a SIG SAUER 716i Tread, which is SIG’s attempt at making a pocketbook-friendly AR-10. The German company did this by swapping out their short-stroke gas piston system for a direct-impingement gas system, which is what most AR-style platforms use. The main difference between the two gas systems is the amount of gas and debris left in the gun after a shell is fired—short-stroke leaves less, direct-impingement leaves more. This isn’t a huge downside, though, as long as you’re keeping your gun clean and oiled. The direct-impingement system also makes for a lighter gun (by almost a pound), and is way friendlier on the wallet, both nice qualities.
The 716i Tread is chambered in .308 Winchester, which means it’s also cleared to fire 7.62 NATO. The gun weighs in at 8.5lbs, has a 16 inch carbon steel barrel, and boasts an overall length of 37 inches. Not having the full 18 inch barrel doesn’t allow the bullet to reach full velocity, but I, your average shooter, couldn’t really tell the difference, and most people eventually mount a suppresser on their rifles anyway, which helps. Being an AR-10, it’s semi-automatic (to any liberals reading this, that just means for every trigger pull, one bullet is fired).
I fired 7.62×51 NATO, 175 grain Lake City surplus ammunition on the range, and the SIG felt awesome! The trigger was smooth, recoil was clean, and ergonomics comfortable to work with (the 716i is equipped with mostly ambidextrous controls, for you left-handed shooters). The ejected shells landed in the same place every time like clockwork, peppering the shooter next to me who was trying to sight in a new scope, and displaying how dialed in the Tread’s gas system is. One ammo net later, and I was back at it. I went through a couple mags taking my time with each shot on the 100 yard range, and then went rapid fire. The whole time, I only experienced one misfire, and that was due to a bad shell. No malfunctions other than that, it was just a good, all-around time. As for accuracy, I can’t really attest to that; any gun, even with a bad shooter behind it, should be able to hit a target at 100 yards, which is the length of my local range.
Cleaning the SIG was a breeze, too. The gun came apart easily, the internals look and feel solid (they’re basically that of an AR-15, just larger).
Normally, this rifle would retail for around $1,300, but with this year’s complicating circumstances—the pandemic, a Presidential election year featuring the most anti-Second Amendment Democratic ticket ever, and the riots sweeping the nation, all leading to a severe gun and ammo shortage—you’d be lucky to find the 716i for $1,500. Add to that the price of ammunition nowadays, and that’s a pretty hefty chunk of change. If you’re dead-set on buying it, though, and can’t find it at your local stores, try gunbroker.com or a state-wide website that facilitates gun purchases (provided it’s legal in your state).
The 716i Tread is a relatively short and light rifle for an AR-10, and ran like a dream the whole time I had the privilege of handling it, from shooting to cleaning. Overall, I had a lot of fun testing the rifle out. I’d highly recommend giving it a try and maybe even picking it up—if I had to rate it, I’d give the SIG a solid four and a half stars out of five.