SR 88A: Singapore assault rifle

Eric Sof

SR 88A assault rifle chambered in 5.56mm

SR 88A was an improved version of the SR 88 rifle manufactured by Chartered Firearms Industries between 1990 and 2000. Chartered Firearms Industries began rifle manufacture by making the United States M16A1 rifle under license from Colt for the Singapore Armed Forces. They saw a potential market in the Far East for a modern assault rifle, and since they could not market the M16, they set bout making a rifle of their own.

In 1980 a design from Sterling Armaments of Britain went into production as the SAR80 rifle; it has gone through two stages of modification and improvement to reach the present SR 88A model.

Soldier holding SAR 80 assault rifle
Soldier holding SAR 80 assault rifle (Photo: XY)


The SR 88A rifle, like its predecessors, uses the conventional gas piston, bolt carrier, and rotating bolt method of operation. The lower receiver is an aluminum forging, the upper receiver is a steel pressing, and the stock is of glass-fiber reinforced nylon. The bolt group assembly is modular and consists of the bolt, carrier, buffer springs, and rods. The bolt has seven locking lugs, and the bolt is always kept forward in its carrier by the firing pin spring, a concept that allows for rapid assembly after cleaning and little risk of the bolt falling free during stripping.


The barrel is held to the receiver by a locknut and detent system and oriented to the receiver by special slots in the barrel extension, simplifying accurate assembly. The gas system consists of a chrome-plated regulator and a long-stroke piston assembly connected to the bolt carrier. The regulator has three positions, two of which provide different amounts of gas, and the third shut off the gas flow so that the rifle can be used for launching grenades.

SR 88A is assault rifle manufactured in Singapore between 1990 and 2000
SR 88A is an assault rifle manufactured in Singapore between 1990 and 2000 (Photo: XY)


The standard rifle has a fixed butt; where compactness is important, it can be fitted with a telescoping butt. There is also a carbine version of SR 88A for airborne and other troops who need a more portable weapon. This has a 292 mm barrel and a telescoping butt but is otherwise to the same general design as the standard rifle. An interesting submachine gun variant is also chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge and a different barrel and bolt assembly. The bolt is not locked in this model, and it operates as a simple blowback weapon. In appearance, it is the same as the short carbine, except for a thinner magazine that holds 32 rounds.

Technical data

Manufacturer:Chartered Industries Ltd., Singapore
Type: gas-operated, selective fire
Caliber:.223 (5.56mm)
Barrel:18.1 in (460 mm)
Weight:8.11 lbs (3.68 kg)
Magazine capacity:30 rounds
Cyclic rate of fire:800 rounds per minute

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