REVIEW BY JEFF JOHNSTON
For most American hunters, shooters, and home-defenders including this writer, nearly any sub-$1,000, mil-spec AR-15 will meet the performance requirements asked of it. But how boring is that? Most of us prefer a brand-name AR with enough features that we don’t have to spend so much money modifying it that we’re left wondering why we didn’t just buy a high-end model in the first place. That’s what Sig’s set out to do with its entry-level Tread series.
Tread rifles come standard with quality stainless-steel barrels, CNC-machined receivers, Magpul furniture, ambidextrous controls, aluminum M-Lok handguards, micro-gas blocks, optimal length direct impingement gas systems, rubber buffers to ensure tight upper/lower fit, and hard-polished triggers. These features form the foundation of reliable and accurate ARs. Then Sig tailored Tread models for specific uses by features, all while keeping costs pleasantly low. One such model for varmint hunters is the M400 Tread Predator.
Chambered in 5.56, the Predator’s 16-inch stainless-steel, free-floated pipe offers hunters a greater level of rust protection when nasty weather rains on your coyote calling. The gun is threaded for a suppressor and capped by a thread protector rather than wearing a flash suppressor.
Ambidextrous controls are standard. Sig even guarded its innovative left-handed mag release button from accidental activation by machining a protective gate around it. And rather than pinning a standard safety switch on the receiver’s right side for lefties, it shortened it so it doesn’t impede the trigger finger of righties.
Four main differences distinguish the Predator from other Tread models:
1- It features a full-figured Precision Adjustable Buttstock to fit the shooter’s exact length-of-pull and comb height requirements so shooters can choose any optic yet still obtain a comfortable cheekweld that aligns the eye perfectly every time. This is critical for precision accuracy.
2- The rifle’s mid-length gas system (superior to the shorter carbine-length tubes found on many 16-inch barrel ARs) is hidden underneath Sig’s aluminum, 15-inch handguard. I dig its squared bottom that facilitates solid resting whether on a benchrest, pack, or your buddy’s bony shoulder. Its top is scalloped so it doesn’t feel as blocky as it should. M-Lok slots perforate its sides and top for mounting accoutrements.
3- All external metal is finished in Sig’s “Elite Jungle” Cerakote that not only camouflages the rifle and protects it, but looks sweet. Cerakote is usually reserved for guns costing more, but it’s standard on the Predator.
4- A five-round Magpul magazine is included so hunters can go prone and still rest the rifle without teeter-tottering on a 30-rounder. Hunters rarely need more than a few shots at a time, so the five-rounder is the way to go. But of course any standard AR mag will function if you really need to quell the hog rebellion.
During testing I fired over 500 rounds and only experienced one jam. It demonstrated good accuracy with a variety of ammo, averaging 1.35-inch, 3-shot groups. It probably could have been slightly more accurate had its trigger been lighter than 8 lbs. 4 oz. Regardless, it was huge to be able to mount whatever optic I wanted (I tested an Eotech Vudu 1x-8x and a Leupold red dot) in whatever mounts I had and then was able to adjust the comb so it aligned the optic to my eye perfectly.
I only experienced one problem with my test rifle and that was with its five-round P-Mag. When fully loaded, it was excessively difficult to seat it with the bolt closed. I either had to only load four rounds in it or lock the bolt rearward before seating it. I know this is a magazine issue and not a flaw of the rifle, however, because the same problem occurred when I tested the mag in several other ARs. Ten and 30-round magazines worked fine.
If you’re primarily a varmint hunter or mid-range (100 to 600 yards) shooter, Sig’s new Tread Predator is a versatile, quality AR that comes standard with several specialized features for which you’d normally pay extra. But at $1,099 this green machine represents a fantastic value–so good in fact, that I’m now wondering why I’d ever pay more.
Barrel: 16”; 1:8 twist
Magazine: (1) 5rd Mag
Action Type: Semi-Auto
Stock Type: Adjustable Precision Stock
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Trigger Type: Hardened Polished
Metal Finish: Cerakote
Overall Length: 35.5”
Operating System: Direct Impingement
Weight: 7.5 lbs
MSRP: $1,099. For specs and more details, visit: sigsauer.com.