India buys the Caracal CAR 816 Rifle

Adreesh Ghoshal
3 min readMay 9, 2019


The carbine version of the Caracal CAR 816 is being considered for now

India is about to get a new carbine, the Caracal CAR 816.

The 95,000 UAE-made rifles earmarked by India’s defense forces will be the first in a series of contracts to acquire almost 650,000 infantry weapons of 5.56 and 7.62 calibers in the coming years, as part of the ongoing modernization of the Indian armed forces. The total budget set aside for these acquisitions is INR 3500 crores.

The CAR 816 is also called the Sultan in memory of Emirati Col. Sultan Mohammed Ali al-Kitbi, who was martyred in a Saudi-led operation against Yemen in 2015. He was one of the highest-ranking officers to have perished in Operation Restoring Hope, an assault to regain control of Taiz, a city in Southern Yemen. He was killed in a rocket attack by the Houthi rebels.

While the brave colonel’s valor remains a testament to the soldier’s code, the war has been criticized widely because of the rampant human rights violations committed by both sides.

The CAR 816 supplied by Caracal International to the UAE armed forces bears an engraving honoring the fallen officer.

Interestingly, the conflict in Yemen was more or less a field test of the-then new CAR 816. It seems to have made quite the impact because India and South Korea were the first to walk into the Caracal International sales office.

While the rifle is locally-produced in South Korea, India plans to purchase 95,000 units. This rifle weighs 3.4 kg, and uses the 5.56 x 45mm NATO cartridge, and has a firing rate of 750–950 rpm. The 5.56 has a much higher bullet velocity and performs as well as the 7.62mm round used in the AK-series of assault rifles. Since it’s much lighter than the 7.62 or the currently-used Sterling 9mm weapons, it will lighten the Indian soldier’s loadout.

The CAR 816 uses a gas-operated rotating bolt system which is also used in the M-16. When the cartridge is fired, a large volume of high-pressure gas is released. This pushes the bolt forward and rotates it in the barrel, locking it in place. The bolt remains locked until the same gas pressure pushes it back to load a new round.

The rifle is available in 3 different barrel lengths:

  1. 267 mm — Compact assault rifle
  2. 368mm — Carbine
  3. 406mm — Assault rifle

India has ordered the second option,i.e. the 368mm-long carbine which is fed via a 30-round magazine. This rifle is a CQB(close-quarters battle)weapon and will be bought along with a larger, 7.62 mm assault rifle. The SIG Sauer 716 G-2 and the AK-103 are being considered for this contract. Interestingly, the Sig Sauer rifle, if purchased, will be $200 cheaper per unit than the CAR 816.

The CAR 816 will replace the outdated 9mm Sterling carbines currently used by the Indian armed forces.

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Adreesh Ghoshal

Automobile Engineer. Content Writer. Biker. Defense Enthusiast. Indian.