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Sabre Defence Rifle Review

One of the nice things about competition among firearms manufacturers is that it offers options for the end user. Take the current number of carbine manufacturers that are offering agencies fantastic quality and a plethora of options direct from the factory that heretofore had to be pieced together after buying a “plain Jane” rifle.

Over the years, accessories such as white lights, collimator sights, collapsible stocks and other aftermarket add-ons have shown themselves to be street worthy. Starting with their well-made carbines as the foundation, Sabre Defence Industries provides carbine packages direct from the factory with close to everything the law enforcement patrol officer or SWAT operator would need.

Not quite the new kid on the block, Sabre is a longtime manufacturer of barrels for the .50 caliber machine guns and 7.62 mini-guns used by the U.S. military, so it only makes sense that the company produces carbines and rifles as well. I obtained an M5 Tactical carbine and Precision Marksman Rifle in 5.56 to check out Sabre’s contribution to the market.

M5 Tactical

Put everything you might want on a tactical carbine on a wish list for Santa. On Christmas morning you may find a long, gift-wrapped package containing an M5 Tactical under the tree. Why go out and get a standard M4 or AR-15-style carbine and then have to add the options you want such as: a flat top receiver, back-up flip-up iron sights, a Picatinny quad rail system, EOTech® 552 red-dot sights, Ergo™ grip and a Magpul™ adjustable buttstock? Doesn’t it make better sense to just buy the package that delivers all this right from the start?

The M5 Tactical has all of those things and a chrome-lined 14.5-inch, vanadium barrel with a 1:7 twist. Caliber options include 5.56, 6.5 Grendel™ and 7.62 X 39mm. The M5 Tactical comes complete with two 30-round magazines, a ballistic nylon carry case and an Otis rifle cleaning kit.

The flip-up rear iron sight is adjustable for windage, with elevation adjustable at the front sight. The excellent EOTech 552 holographic sight, which uses the easily available and inexpensive AA batteries, is mounted directly atop the receiver. With the iron sights up, this means a “co-witnessing” alignment versus a lower third alignment, which I prefer. But since both iron sights fold down, this is not an issue.

The M5 Tactical was put through its paces during several carbine programs I shot in or instructed in 2008. The functioning was flawless, and the carbine performed as intended. With presentations from indoor ready, 90-degree and 180-degree facing movements, shooting on the move, prone, supine, urban prone, the M5 was up to the task. The M5 has all the options available that I like to see on a tactical carbine except for an easily installed white light. I do think a sling and a front sling mount that attaches to the excellent Samson Star-M-EX quad rail forearm should have been included.

Precision Marksman Rifle

From the factory, a ready-made, semi-auto system sniper system based on the proven M16 gas impingement design from Sabre Defence Industries, the Precision Marksman Rifle (PMR) has plenty of bells and whistles. The PMR is available in 5.56 or 6.5 Grendel and has a 20-inch, fluted 410 stainless barrel with a 1:8 twist. Sitting on top of the PMR’s receiver is the excellent Leupold 6.5 X 20 X 50mm Mark 4 LR/T M1 Illuminated Reticle Tactical Scope.

Sabre mounts its proprietary Gill-Brake compensator on the front end. The Gill-Brake is designed to further reduce the effects of recoil at the muzzle end by directing escaping gasses upward keeping the barrel down. This results in a further reduction of time for follow-up shots.

The rifle has a match trigger that breaks at just over 3 pounds, according to a Lyman Trigger Gauge. The Precision Marksman Rifle comes with a Magpul PRS (Precision Rifle / Stock), which is adjustable in both cheek riser height and length of pull. An Ergo Tactical Deluxe Grip with a palm rest is included as is a Harris bipod.

The PMR uses standard M16/AR-15 magazines, which make for quicker follow-up shots than a bolt-action sniper system and allow a larger number of shots if necessary. The PMR comes complete with a very nice ballistic nylon case, magazines and an Otis cleaning kit.

Most police sniper shots are fired inside 100 yards. Actually, the average distance is between 55 and 60 yards, where the 5.56 cartridge is certainly a viable cartridge. Although I shot several decent groups with the PMR, the best groups fired with the rifle belong to a sniper from the county sheriff’s department. The sniper enjoyed shooting the rifle and saw the benefits of a semi-auto rifle over a bolt-action for close in fast shooting with quick follow-up shots available.

The Sabre Defense Packages

So, here are the real questions. Are the factory-direct M5 Tactical package and Precision Marksman Rifle sniper package from Sabre Defence Industries well made? Do they have the options and accessories the police rifleman or sniper needs? The answer to both is yes. Do they deliver the accurate fire necessary in the tactical and precision rifle roles? Once again, the answer is yes. Sabre’s design team has taken the time to examine what LE patrol, tactical and sniper officers are looking for and put a sound package together for you or your agency.

Competition does indeed benefit the end user by combining quality carbines and rifles with proven aftermarket accessories.

Kevin R. Davis is a full-time officer with 25 years of experience. Assigned to the Training Bureau, he is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency's SWAT team. Visit his Web site at He welcomes your comments at

Published in Tactical Response, Jan/Feb 2009

Rating : 10.0

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