LAS VEGAS -- Sig Sauer is now offering a powerful 5.56mm version of its popular, ultra-compact Rattler personal defense weapon.
Sig's original Rattler was introduced last year in .300 Blackout.
"It became very, very popular very, very quickly, but we still had a lot of customers coming to us and saying, 'We need this same variation in a 5.56mm,' " Patrick Hanley, rifle product manager for Sig Sauer, told Military.com at Sig's pre-SHOT Show range day.
Like the original Rattlers, the 5.56mm versions come in semi-auto and full-auto versions and feature a 5.5-inch barrel and folding stock.
"These platforms, the Rattlers, they are built for specific customers for specific reasons," Hanley said. "We have people looking at them for vehicle guns, for guns for last-ditch effort -- things that allow you -- basically, if you are in a situation that you need to get out -- they wanted the smallest configuration possible in a rifle caliber."
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When the stock is folded, the Rattler is more compact than an MP5 submachine gun and delivers rifle firepower, Hanley said.
"We basically challenged ourselves to get to that length, and it got us down to 16 inches [with the stock] folded, so you are actually shorter than an MP5 9mm," he said. "The goal behind most of the people we were designing this for was to have a 300-yard effective range ... and when I say effective, it means that the gun has to be able to fire out to that distance and be able [to hit] a target."
Hanley admits that shooters will "lose ballistics, which a lot of people always do ask about ... but like I said, these are purpose-built. They are made for certain scenarios, and that is exactly what we designed here."
In full-auto versions, the Rattler fires between 750 and 875 rounds per minute, a rate of fire that engineers at Sig have had to work to keep under control, he said.
"The shorter the gun gets, especially with these short-stroke piston systems, the gun inherently wants to run super, super fast, so what we have to do is to figure out creative ways in order to slow it down," Hanley said. "It is the nature of the beast. If you want to get a rifle caliber in a platform this small, you are going to have it run a little bit hotter versus some of the longer guns on market."
All the Rattlers can interchange very quickly between 5.56mm and .300 Blackout, he said. They feature ambidextrous fire controls and a two-stage, match trigger.
The Rattler also features a smooth-side brass deflector behind the ejection port.
"That is purpose-built. We did that for a particular reason, not to have a forward assist. It's all about pulling it out of a bag or a car seat quickly to make sure there are minimal snag points on the gun," Hanley said.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.