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Whether it’s the constant stream of news about deadly events or the efforts of unscrupulous politicians trying to seize control of the lives of American citizens and deprive them of their rights, the American people have begun to speak … with their money. During the past few years, record numbers of firearms purchases have been made, and one of the most popular items is the AR-style rifle.

The AR rifle is available in different calibers and configurations and is now becoming almost as ubiquitous as the two-car garage—and for good reason: They are generally reliable, accurate, portable and easy to learn and use.

When it comes time to defend life or liberty, all that a person is, or ever will be, could be at stake, and that is not the time for a weapon to fail. There are dozens, or even hundreds, of AR manufacturers turning out products, but there are just a select few that reside at that upper echelon of makers whose names and reputations engender the respect and trust from those who expect the very best. One such company is LWRCI International (LWRCI).

LWRCI is known for its expertise in manufacturing advanced piston-driven AR rifles. The company has just this year introduced its first direct-impingement rifle, the IC-DI. In comparative terms, the direct-impingement model might be considered basic when stacked up against LWRCI’s gas-piston offerings, but don’t let its looks fool you; it’s a hot rod in disguise.


One of the key reasons LWRCI ranks among the best manufacturers of AR rifles is the fact that almost every part in the rifle is manufactured in house. This allows LWRCI to have absolute control over every part of the process, from the individual parts tolerances to the assembly and finish of the product.

Several of LWRCI’s parts are both patented and proprietary after the company went through the research and testing process to discover exactly what works best for each system it produces.

The IC-DI in 5.56x45mm (.223) receives the same attention to detail as the more-expensive gas-piston rifles. So, for the user who can’t fit a quality gas-piston design AR into their budget, they can still obtain a highly refined rifle based on the direct-impingement process. This was the original operating system for AR rifles when they were first introduced to the market.


Once the user starts digging into the specs of the IC-DI, it becomes readily apparent that LWRCI’s “base” model incorporates a plethora of superb components. A key feature of the IC-DI, the cold-hammer-forged barrel is 16.1 inches long, is Ni-Corr treated and is also spiral fluted for rapid cooling. Additionally, the barrel is surrounded by LWRCI’s free-floating, one-piece rail, and the barrel is finished with the company’s A-2 Birdcage Flash Hider.

Moving back to the internals, the IC-DI incorporates LWRCI’s Ni-Corr-treated direct-impingement gas system and its proprietary bolt-carrier group.

The upper receiver of the LWRCI IC-DI rifle is a monoforge assembly with an integrated, full-length Picatinny rail and ambidextrous charging handle. The lower receiver also comes complete with fully ambidextrous controls, including the bolt catch, magazine release and fire selector. Additionally, LWRCI’s own Enhanced Fire Control Group rounds out the lower receiver, along with the company’s advanced trigger guard. For added comfort, the rail is finished with LWRCI’s rail panels and angled forend with a quick-detach socket for a sling. Final touches to the rifle include a type III hard-anodized finish, an LWRCI Compact Stock and a MOE grip from Magpul. The rifle ships with one 30-round Magpul magazine.


Aside from its ease of use, light recoil and accuracy, the modern AR rifle has another characteristic going for it that makes it such a loved platform: configurability.

Because of the AR’s use in the military and adoption by so many civilian shooters, a large cottage industry of aftermarket suppliers has arisen simply to make it a more versatile and personal weapon system. Even though the industry surrounding the AR doesn’t seem as if it can get any better each succeeding year, the next year will see even more growth—and it doesn’t look as if it’s going to stop any time soon.

LWRCI is fully cognizant of users’ desires to customize their rifles. As a result, it includes plenty of rail space at the top, bottom and both sides for easy attachment of accessories. As mentioned, an angled forend is already included and resides on the 6 o’clock rail.

On the top rail, any number of optics choices can be installed on the Picatinny rail, including red dots, scopes, and thermal and night vision units. The side rails are excellent attachment points for lasers, LED lights and even action cameras for those who want to document their adventures.

Included with LWRCI’s direct-impingement rifle is a full-length Picatinny rail that is suitable for mounting multiple accessories such as iron sights, red dots, magnifiers or infrared units.

Included with LWRCI’s direct-impingement rifle is a full-length Picatinny rail that is suitable for mounting multiple accessories such as iron sights, red dots, magnifiers or infrared units.

Suffice it to say, a good deal of the success of the AR platform is a result of its ability to be configured for the individual shooter, making it an even more effective weapon should the time come for it to be used.

For those who don’t necessarily care to build an AR from the ground up to get the best rifle possible, LWRC provides an already advanced system in the IC-DI that requires only a few finishing touches by the user with their choice of preferred accessories.


Having previously fired a couple of other LWRC rifles, there were no real surprises; rather, there was a strong affirmation of what I already expected. A variety of ammunition was tested during the range sessions, including loads for plinking, match rounds and general defensive ammunition. With approximately 540 rounds fired through the IC-DI, there was not a single malfunction— despite the different bullet types.

To gauge the IC-DI’s accuracy, we set up several targets at 100 yards and went to town with different loads, including Black Hills Ammunition’s 77-grain Tipped MatchKing rounds. Hornady was also represented via its 55- and 75-grain TAP FPD loads, along with the 53-grain Superformance Varmint and 75-grain Superformance Match rounds.

All the rounds shot pretty well with the LWRCI IC-DI rifle, but the two top performers were the Black Hills MatchKings and the Hornady Superformance loads, with results of .56 inch and .75 inch, respectively. All but one of the loads tested for accuracy had at least one of three groups come in under an inch.

Although not match ammunition, the Hornady 53-grain Superformance Varmint shot well with the IC-DI, as evidenced by this .81-inch group at 100 yards, making the DI a viable varmint rifle in a pinch.

Although not match ammunition, the Hornady 53-grain Superformance Varmint shot well with the IC-DI, as evidenced by this .81-inch group at 100 yards, making the DI a viable varmint rifle in a pinch.

Accuracy averages ranged from .88 to 1.67 inches. I don’t claim to be the ultimate rifleman, and I’m sure more-accomplished shooters could wring some extra accuracy out of most of the loads. That said, I thought the rifle performed extremely well, considering its build profile and intended use.

The trigger had very little creep, with a clean and consistent break at 6.25 pounds. This is not exactly a match trigger, but it is perfect for the role for which the rifle was designed—as a defensive combat weapon. Testing it for this purpose was where the fun really began.

With a simple Lucid M7 red-dot optic attached, the IC-DI was put to work taking out targets at various distances—and the rifle shone. Away from the bench, things get more real, and the shooter isn’t worrying about a few hundredths of an inch, especially for close-quarters or intermediate distances. Recoil was negligible, as with almost all 5.56x45mm AR rifles. The rifle was comfortable and easy to control, and it was child’s play to get precision follow-up shots on target. There are no iron sights included with the IC-DI package, and it’s not a bad idea to get a set to act as a backup if the user’s optic goes on the fritz.

Finally, working with the rifle during the testing was very satisfying. The action was smooth, the magazines seated easily and properly, and all the controls responded positively. And, most importantly, as mentioned above, function was flawless. (I can live with just about anything in a rifle except unreliability and the lack of confidence that goes with it.)


We live in a dangerous time that is rife with terror attacks, internal conflicts, nations posturing for war and trust in government by the body politic at an all-time low. Now, more than ever, is a time to guard that which is most precious to us; and to do so, we must be both vigilant and prepared.

I enjoy plinking and playing with sporting arms as much as the next gun guy, but when it comes to a tool with which I might have to defend my life or the life of others, I want the best tool possible for the job.

LWRCI has assembled in the IC-DI rifle an exceptional tool that is manufactured to exacting specifications and tolerances. Not satisfied with cobbling parts together to brand a rifle as its own, this company goes through the painstaking process of researching, designing and producing the best firearms it can to make sure they don’t fail when needed most.

With an MSRP of $1,599, the IC-DI isn’t the least expensive AR on the market, but its value exceeds the price when you consider what could be at stake. Besides, the savvy shopper can find one for considerably less. What matters most is whether or not it will perform as required when pressed into service. Having used it and other LWRCI rifles extensively during successful trials on the range, that question has already been answered for me.

What better testimony could I give—other than to note that I now have an IC-DI of my own standing ready right now … waiting for the call to arms.



CALIBER: 5.56x45mm (.223)
BARREL LENGTH: 16.1 inches
OVERALL LENGTH: 32–35.5 inches
WEIGHT: 6.6 pounds
STOCK: LWRCI Compact Stock
SIGHTS: Optional
ACTION: Semiautomatic
FINISH: Type III hard-coat anodized
CAPACITY: Varies; 30-round magazine supplied (where legal)
MSRP: $1,599


(410) 901-1348


Velocity* Accuracy Average Best
Hornady 53-grain Superformance Varmint 3049 1.22 0.81
Hornady 55-grain TAP FPD 2988 1.67 1.13
Hornady 75-grain TAP FPD 2737 1.32 0.94
Hornady 75-grain Superformance Match 2601 1.03 0.78
Black Hills 77-grain Tipped MatchKing 2645 0.88 0.59

*Velocity in feet per second 15 feet from the muzzle and accuracy in inches with the best of three five shot groups at 100 yards.


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.