Sterling SAR-87

The Sterling SAR-87 is a military assault rifle of the late Twentieth century. The Sterling Assault Rifle (SAR), which included elements from Sterling's earlier Light Automatic Rifle (LAR) design, was jointly engineered by Sterling Armaments Company and Chartered Industries of Singapore in the early 1980s as an advanced version of the AR-18 for the export sales.

TypeAssault rifle
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Production history
ManufacturerSterling Armaments Company
No. builtLess than 100
VariantsFixed/Folding Stock, 9mm submachine gun
Mass3.7 kg
Length0.95 m (3 ft 1 in), 0.75 metres (2 ft 6 in) for folding stock variant

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO, 9×19mm Parabellum
Rate of fire650 rpm
Effective firing range400 m (1,300 ft)
Feed system30-round detachable STANAG magazine
SightsIron sights

It was also offered to the British Armed Forces, who declined it because they were already in the process of adopting the SA80 bullpup design manufactured by Royal Ordnance Factories.


The SAR-87 was a robust weapon based on the well tried AR-18 with the versatility of the M16 rifle. It could also be converted from 5.56×45mm NATO to 9×19mm Parabellum by changing the barrel and bolt assembly, to provide a submachine gun for Police forces. Sterling Armaments tried to push the rifle, renamed SAR-87, for some more years, but at the end of the 1980s, it was bought out by British Aerospace/Royal Ordnance and closed. Less than 100 SAR-87 rifles were manufactured.


    • Military Small Arms of the 20th Century, 4th Edition, by Ian V. Hogg and John Weeks, ISBN 0-910676-28-3,Ca 1981
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