The Dashprod SAR M14 Rifle

| 19 February 2010 | 5 Comments

Originally Posted on 8th August 2008

SWATG and the Dashprod SAR M14 RifleNote from the author

As most of you know by now I am the owner of a company called SWATG, specializing in the supply of tactical equipment and training, unfortunately I am one of those people who always skip through the technical parts in articles as I am much more if you can fight with it opposed to what it is based on and what type of rifling twist a gun has, so please if I made some technical mistakes, deal with it!

I have to state that sales generated directly from my side comes with a small commission from Dave Sheer Guns, but I am in no way officially connected to Dave Sheer Guns or it’s products, and attempted to be fair on my assessment of the weapon. If you do decide to purchase this weapon, please have the professional courtesy of informing them of this article.

I am definitely not a professional writer nor is there any financial gain for me in this article, so if you spot an occasional error, stop being so pedantic!

SWATG and the Dashprod SAR M14 Rifle

Introduction

With the shutting down of the factories that manufactured the LM range of rifles and Vektor type pistols a huge void was created in the firearms market especially the Law Enforcement, Military, and Security company facets. This is where brands like the Glock pistol quickly moved in and cornered the market especially the Metro Police markets.

I was amazed to note a very slow response from dealers and importers to recognize the opportunities for new Assault Rifle’s.

It will be only a matter of time before the venerable LM and R’s would need to be replaced, and spares would become scarcer by the day. I know a couple of brands who came in with some Patrol Carbines like the Beretta, and various other esteemed manufacturers with their Rifle’s, the one big problem with most of the manufacturers excluding possibly the Beretta carbine, was pricing.

Although many of these rifles are well worth the investment, one has to look at it from the perspective of the current market which is the government and private security companies, where budgets and tenders play a major role. This is not always a good thing as past experiences have taught us that cheap is most probably the most expensive way to go in the long run.

Forward came Dave Sheer with the Dashprod (Dave Sheer product) otherwise known as the SAR M14. With all the respect to Dave Sheer for naming it after himself, but not the greatest name for marketing purposes, yes we all know a name should not play any role, but in the marketing world it does.

The question now is can the SAR M14 Rifle take over from the LM and R series of rifles. These rifles (although not everybody’s first pick) have served the country very well, through warfare and various other encounters and have quite the reputation, and are both battle tested and proven.

To make a comparison such as this is not totally fair towards the SAR M14, Tactical applications and requirement for assault rifles have after all changed dramatically over the past 15-20 years, and therefore I will attempt to steer clear from direct comparisons, bearing in mind that the SAR M14 is the new kid on the block, and therefore we will have to work with what we have on the rifle, also note that the first demonstration model fired almost 40 000 rounds with no problems and is also one of the rifles that we are using for this article.

Technical specifications as per Dave Sheer GunsSWATG and the Dashprod SAR M14 Rifle

  • Caliber 5.56 mm (.223 Rem)
  • Length Overall 730mm
  • Height 210mm
  • Length with butt stowed 504mm
  • Barrel length 215mm
  • Rifling 1 in 7 ; 1 in 9 (they currently only do the 1 in 9)
  • Warranty 4 years
  • Gas operated
  • Rotating bolt
  • Sight radius 345mm
  • Weight 3,2kg
  • Magazine 5,10,20,30
  • Magazine weight with 30 rounds 480g
  • Trigger pull 3,5kg
  • Muzzle energy 1100 J
  • Cycling rate approx. 720 rounds per minute
  • Weight unloaded 3.2kg

General descriptions

According to sources from all my friends at Gunsite Forum the weapon is manufactured in Bulgaria (not confirmed by Dave Sheer Guns) There is a bit of cloak and dagger stuff going on and to acquire all the information on what exactly comes from where etc was somewhat challenging. maybe understandable in such a highly competitive industry.

The concept seems to be based in the AKSU system, some quick research thanks to KHUMBA shows these little rifles started popping up in the early 80’s, I know currently especially in the US you can also purchase similar weapons in Kit form. In some descriptions they even call it an AK pistol; if you run some wide searches on the Net you will find various different models available. The flash hider looks very similar to the Krinkov design that was also manufactured in Bulgaria; apparently the Krinks or Krinkov has never been officially registered.

Dashprod SAR M14 Rifle Dashprod SAR M14 Rifle

The Flash hider is especially designed for the high velocity 5.56 round from a short barrel (according to catalogue) and is hard Chromed, whereby the flash is contained, reducing both flash and sound. If research and sources are to correct the system originated from Bulgaria and was manufactured for the AK 47 originally. According to manufacturers you should be able to place your bare hand next to the flash hider and receive no burns, the author was a bit of a wimp and tried this with a Kevlar glove, no traces of powder burns could be found.

The flash hider apparently directs all energy and blast away from shooter towards the target, in theory this should also make it more comfortable for other shooters next to you, although it has to be said that when firing in the confinements of a building it creates quite a stir!.

Felt recoil is less than the LM series rifle if memory serves me correctly, the flash hider claims to contain the flash, especially with night shooting, unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to shoot the rifle at night, but in my opinion should work well, as it performs during day time as stated.

Generally speaking with a Rifling of 1 in 7 it is better to shoot 5.56 NATO pressure rounds and not the SAAMI .223 rounds for 0-550 meters, which is further than what the SAR M14 was made for. According to quick research it would be possible to fire the 75gr and 77gr very accurate. Bearing in mind for normal LE shooting less than 170 meters then .223 SAAMI pressure loads should be fine.

A 1 in 9 generally is not that accurate with 70gr+ the lighter loads from 55-69gr should work well, but once again this is generally speaking, one can only assume that this is the reason they opted for this and not the 1 in 7 models, although available on special request.

Dashprod ReceiverA quick release dust cover gives you quick access to gas cylinder for easy maintenance and field stripping, but is non detachable. Most people who are accustomed to the stripping of the LM rifles had no problems in disassembly.

The fore end hand guard has a four rail Picatinny system which allows you to mount various accessories like lights, optical sights, vertical fore-grip etc.

Rear sights are of the flip-up design, preset for military ball ammunition at 100 and 200 meters, front sight is screw adjustable for windage and elevation.

All rifles comes with standard 4 X 30 round magazines, the pistol grip comes with replaceable inserts to fit various hand sizes, and consist of a sealed compartment where one can store batteries etc.

Magazine release is standard type with optional ambidextrous release, and the trigger is preset at the factory with a wide trigger guard to accommodate gloves.

Safety is stated as ambidextrous and selector switch for three modes: Safety, Single shot, or Automatic by special consent. Standard models have all three selectors working but will only perform safety, single and single shot.

Folding stock is quite robust and constructed of high pressure steel tubing with strengthening grooves in the tubing. The locking mechanism is constructed from ordinance steel whereby ensuring the stock stays in the right position, when folded the butt is kept by a catch witch is easily de-activated to rotate the but. One note to make here is that new rifles are very stiff and a bit difficult to collapse the stock in the beginning. An optional telescopic stock is also available.

According to the literature spare parts are easily available, conforms to international standards and is one of the most affordable 3rd generation rifle’s on the market, it also states that it is historically proven and tested, I am assuming they are talking about the system that the rifle is built on or similar systems that has been available on the market.

Shooting impressions

Firstly let me state that I am by no measure a sniper of sorts, and my belief is that the rifle was meant for urban environments, they state accuracy up to 300 meters.
Conditions on the range was less than perfect, but fights rarely occur in perfect conditions, it was overcast cold and windy with a lot of dust flying around, luckily I had my new pair of Bobster Prowler glasses with me which prevented any debris ending up in my eyes. Time and ammunition was not on our side, and I could honestly not say for sure what type of ammunition we used, let us just say that it was not of high grade, which might be a good thing when considering factors like reliability and accuracy.

Before we move along I have to admit that in my impatience I do not have the ability to fire slow aimed shots, I just can not seem to slow down, so average times for three shots was in the region of 1, 5 to 2, 5 seconds, the shooting platform was questionable to say the least and no real bench was used, ok that is it for excuses.

First, three shots was done at 75 meters, with dust flying around and target moving heavily it was very difficult to provide the rifle’s ability on accuracy, three shots was placed with the palm of my hand covering all holes, not match accuracy but under conditions and moving target plus reasonable rapid fire not to bad. The shots did however print slightly to the right, and was shot through the peep sight, too many factors to consider and too little time to really play around more on this distance and improve grouping. Maybe if I had the time I could have made some adjustments to the front sights, or most probably just shooter error.

Next three shots was done from 50 meters using the table and wobbly seat and notch sight, the results were much better and I soon realized that far better results could be achieved in better conditions, and more play time. The last accuracy testing was done at 25 meters rapid head shots, and here is where I felt the rifle performing much better and realized that I am now coming close to its real playground.

25m_hand.jpg

Personally I am a big fan of optical sights on a fighting rifle like this, unfortunately the EOTech sight that they had did not work due to a flat battery, I believe this is like cheating in an honest way, but you still require some training to get use to these optical sights. I have shot the rifle with the EOTech sight system on previous occasions and found that it worked superbly and shots was acquired more rapidly and that accuracy was greatly improved.

PSD and security market Ready?

Given the compact dimensions and weight of the rifle it is almost a given that it should work well for those in a PSD team, it is almost so compact that you can literally hide it under a concealment vest, throw in a good sling and it should not be much of a burden to carry this puppy for extended periods of time. One note on the slings, the sling that they supply with the rifle currently you should use for something else, but not to carry. It is greatly my fault that the new slings for the rifle are not available and the first models should arrive within the next week, we will kick off with a single point sling but other models will be available shortly.

I have seen on many occasions when the PPU (presidential protection unit) battle with their LM’s from the vehicles, and this is where I believe the nimble SAR M14 has a huge advantage, especially with the telescopic stock, I am personally not a big fan of shooting a rifle without the stock and using the sling as a support unit, in my opinion you just loose to much stability. With the telescopic butt in the forward position one can quickly and easily em-buss and de-buss from a vehicle without any difficulty, and shooting from within the vehicle is a much easier and more efficient task, the combination is compact yet stable enough to engage hostiles.

As stated before we did not have a proper sling on hand and transition work had to be performed in the stone age way, here is also where the SAR M14 came into its own, once again and, thanks to its dimensions and weight, was very easy to transition to the secondary weapon by merely tucking the rifle into the body. Transition times could be kept well below the 2 second mark, with more training this should easily be achieved at under 1,5 seconds, with the right sling transitioning should be an absolute breeze, just merely drop and draw. Please note that author is not a huge fan of thigh rigs but had to be done for testing purposes. I used the excellent REAC READY RIG.

According to statements these rifles have been chosen by the top 4 Cash-In-Transit companies in South Africa, we can only assume that they thoroughly put it through their paces and were happy with the outcome. Once again it makes a lot of sense as they work primarily in an urban environment and confined spaces.
The compactness and weight combined with accuracy and reliability should suit this environment to a T, I know one of the companies has placed an order for good slings, let us just hope that they will put in the effort to train the personnel properly, and you will have a winning combination.
Although they have come under the spotlight of late I personally know some of these companies and they have very good instructors trying their utmost in difficult environments.

SWATG and the DashprodSWATG and the Dashprod

Law Enforcement Ready?

Once again the SAR M14 has a lot going for it in this department as stated before, size and weight counts here, and when looking at average distances of most contacts it should work very well. Law Enforcement officers requires a lot of mobility and confined spaces are the order of the day, once again this rifle makes a lot of sense.

I personally attended one of the impromptu testing sessions that they performed on the rifle. There were a couple of officers to assist with the loading the magazines while the others fired the rifle almost continuously, this went on for just over seven hundred rounds, no malfunctions at all.

In all fairness the rifle did get extremely hot and the front hand guard did start melting, this was reported and immediately a better hand guard was manufactured, made out of stainless steel, unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of trying them out.

The Israeli mini Galil which looks a lot like the SAR M14 had the same problems in the beginning with their hand guards, but quickly made a correction on this.

Here is a photo of hand guards that we have sourced, I will try and order one to see if it will fit. Whilst writing this article I received a call from my shipping agents informing me that some of our rails had arrived I am not sure about the fitment but will keep you posted.

I have to say that I was curious how a rifle like the LM would do under this type of torture, so I went to some of my friends at Mobile and Operations and asked that they should do the same with the LM. Let us just say that I was very surprised with the outcome, let us just say the LM’s did slightly worse and malfunctions were more numerous.

Bottom-line, would you ever have to shoot so many rounds in one go? I seriously doubt it, but the SAR M14 can do it. Currently whilst writing this I know the rifle is in for testing at Police logistics and it will be interesting to see what the outcome will be.

I have been personally involved in other specialized units that individually tested the Rifle and no negative feedback was received, funny thing is the moment you supply them with a 3rd generation rifle how personal preferences comes into play as to who wants what mounted where on the gun, but in general it received a big thumbs up.

On one test they did however field stripped the rifle and rolled it on the ground, not particularly a good thing, but they reassembled it and fired away, not a single problem, this was the same rifle with which they fired the 700 rounds.

Some new very affordable SWAT G exclusive torches heading towards our shores, hand held models will also be available!

Private and competition use.

The one great aspect of this rifle is most probably the price, in today’s terms it is very affordable, and I seriously doubt if most will ever shoot the 40 000 rounds which the one rifle did.

I have to keep tabs on what I am about to say, but let us for argument sake leave the whole legal aspect of rifles and self defense out of it for know. This rifle will perform very well within confined spaces of your house, as it is lightweight and compact and very well balanced, with the right attachments it can be almost ‘PERFECT’ for defensive scenario’s, if however the law allows for it. I think this rifle would also fulfill the requirement of a farm environment, especially when considering the escalation of crime in these areas. If used in urban terrain just make pretty sure of where the bullet is travelling as it obviously has much more reach than your trusted handgun.

I am not an expert on the 3 gun shoots that both IDPA and IPSC host, however with the limited knowledge that I have I can see no reason why this rifle cannot become a serious contender and kick some serious dust in the more expensive rifles.
I know that Roger Stockbridge was very exited about the rifle the last time I popped in there, there was just some concerns about the flash hider I think, apparently something to do with the multiple rules of the game.

I have shot the rifle on several different occasions, and did everything from moving, multiple targets, awkward shooting positions, one handed operations etc. and have to state that this was one of the easiest and most comfortable rifles that I have shot in a long time!

Conclusion

Is the SAR M14 the perfect little assault rifle? In all honesty not a fair question to ask of any weapon in existence. It has a lot going for it, accuracy, reliability and its robust nature not to mention its dimensions and weight.

Would I like changes, yes? I would like to see the new hand guard, or replace it with another, the original ones was a bit loose and can provide inconsistent accuracy when mounting optical sights. I would definitely take the telescopic butt and fix a vertical front grip, maybe source another type than the one they have on offer, pop on a Pentagonlight and new SWAT G sling and I would be in heaven.

I would also like to see more communications and information flow from the agents and some more assistance to Carina who is in charge of sales, but this said it should be a fairly safe bet as Dave Sheer Guns has been around for a long time and one of the few in the industry who is actually expanding, which should make after sales service and warranties a safe bet.

My verdict would be that if you are in the market for an affordable reliable rifle, then you should not be wasting your time in reading this article, you should be working on your motivational letter for the SAR M14.

Want to discuss the Dashprod, or read further in our Forums

Please feel free to send me an email arnoswatg@gmail.com

**Note, this article was written in 2008, specs and products mentioned here may no longer be the same or available, please enquire with the relevant parties.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Brad Shaw says:

    This weapon still needs to be tested in combat. What about the Colt M4 – Thats the right rifle !!

  2. MY COMPANY WILL LIKE TO PURCHASE A FIRE ARM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO TO PROTECT ITS ASSETS FROM CRIMINAL AND PARASITES so the goverment must allow us to protect our self and it must not protect criminals and stop give criminals tools harm us and hurt as and take our belongings and assetes that we worked very hard for them

  3. T-bose flava says:

    I’m really passionate about firearms but this one is quiet impressive&precisional made rifle.AK74 should be on a lookout.check the spec

  4. Randall says:

    WOW! Unless there are kickbacks and deals being made some one is ripping off the Bulgarians!!!! That rifle is officially called the BG-Arsenal AR-M4SF and comes in 5.56 and 7.62×39. I actually just got one of these in a parts kit form (very rare here) and have been doing research on it and came across your article, very well done I might add but yes that rifle is Bulgaian!

  5. reanne olivier says:

    we use this beast in our 3gun club as well as for work…
    concealability…YES
    easy house penetration…YES
    even weight distribution…YES
    recoil…NONE
    easy carry ability in bush…YES
    love this baby and would not trade her for anything

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