FERFRANS of California produces what it describes as an improved version of the classic M4/M16 select-fire assault rifle/carbine as the SOAR - "Special Operations Assault Rifle". While retaining many of the proven features of the M16/M4 family, it brings about several changes to the design in an effort to improved upon inherent long-term reliability and general accuracy. Production of the SOAR has been ongoing since introduction in 2004.
The key feature of the SOAR is its "Delayed Sear Activation System" (DSAS) which is a patented system used to reduce the full-automatic cyclic rate-of-fire of the M16/M4 and thus improve accuracy as well as overall system life. This brings the original 850-900 rounds-per-minute of the M16/M4 down to a manageable 550-680 rounds-per-minute rate. The result is a long gun offering better control in automatic fire and less wear-and-tear placed upon the bolt system. The rifle is chambered for the ubiquitous 5.56mm (.223 Remington) intermediate rifle cartridge and these are fed from a 20-, 30-, or 90-round detachable box magazine (STANAG type). The internal action of the base weapon is of gas-operation with a rotating bolt and direct-impingement system.
Near the pistol grip is the fire selector offering three modes: safety, semi (burst), and full-automatic. The shoulder stock is the M4-style collapsible type (six positions possible) and the M16-style carrying handle (removable) is identified over the receiver. The barrel is chrome-lined and of a heavy-duty type construction for sustained fire operation and lengths range from 10.5" to 20". The muzzle brake is multi-slotted for improved recoil reduction. Sections of Picatinny rail, for mounting various tactical accessories, are all around the handguard assembly. All other physical characteristics of the weapon are in line with the original M16/M4 family.
The SOAR-P ("P" = "Piston") is an offshoot of the SOAR product featuring an enhanced "out-of-the-water" capability for amphibious-minded operations. It derives its name from its short-stroke, piston-driven system (with rotating bolt) and independent sear disconnector.
The SOAR is in limited service with several global parties as of this writing (2017). Malaysian special forces police rely on the type as do American SWAT and Philippines special police. Peru is another named operator.