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Ultra Compact Individual Weapon (UCIW)

Around 2010/2011, United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) held trials to select a compact weapon for specialised use by its troops. They were looking for a 5.56x45mm-NATO-chambered weapon with a maximum length of of 22 inches / 55.8cm. The design was to be designated as the Special Forces Ultra Compact Individual Weapon (UCIW).

Several arms manufacturers submitted designs for the UCIW trials. LWRC International, a U.S. company, eventually won the UKSF UCIW contract, seeing off competition from others such as Heckler & Koch, who offered the HK416C, a compact version of the HK416.

The LWRC International (LWRCI) UCIW is a highly compact variant of the tried and tested Colt M4 platform, shorter still than the shortest L119A2 carbines employed by UKSF.

The M4 design features a buffer tube that extends to the rear,inside the stock. The length of this tube puts a lower limit on the length of stocks that can be used, and hence, the overal length of the gun. The UCIW gets around this limitation by using a custom shortened buffer tube and action spring design that enables reliable cycling of 5.56x45mm NATO rounds while allowing for a very short overall length. With the stock fully collapsed the UCIW is only twenty two inches long. The UICW uses LWRCI's in-house short stroke gas-piston system and features a seven inch barrel.

ultra compact individual weapon
The LWRCI UICW is about as compact as an MP5 9x19mm sub-machine gun but carries the punch of the 5.56x45mm NATO round. Another advantage of using a M4-based design is that UKSF soldiers have already developed muscle-memory from operating their M4-based L119A2 carbines. The UICW is small enough to be carried concealed in a backpack or even under some types of clothing.
photo: LWRCI

Accessory rails allow for the mounting of scopes, grips, lights and laser devices. Suppressors can be used if required. UCIWs spotted being carried by UKSF in Afghanistan have featured Surefire suppressors and either Aimpoint Micro red dot or EO Tech holographic sights.[1] Front and rear flip-up backup iron sights are fitted as standard.

The UICW is designed to used by UKSF soldiers working in specialist tasks such as close protection and covert reconnaissance. Its compact size means it may be carried by UKSF dog handlers, signallers, medics and those operating in vehicles.

UCIW Specifications

Calibre 5.56x45mm NATO
Weight 6.25lbs / 2.8kg
Barrel Length 7" / 17.78cm
Length 22" / 55.8cm (stock collapsed)
Rate Of Fire Semi-auto; select fire 600 rpm (+/- 100 rpm)
Rifling 1/7” right-hand twist
Pistol Grip Magpul MIssion ADaptable (MIAD)
Sights LWRCI flip-up front and rear back up iron sights
Magazine MagPUL 30 rd P-Mag or any standard M16/M4 magazines
Muzzle Device A2 flash hider 5.56 - 1/2 - 28 TPI

More Info / Further Reading

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