ESSCOM Ferfrans Short Barrel Rifles in The Wild

An ESSCOM operator with the Ferfrans P10 SBR with a short suppressor and IAG Jaws armoured vehicle. ESSCOM.

SHAH ALAM: Back in 2019, the Home Ministry issued a tender for the supply of 155 lightweight modular 5.56mm calibre piston-operated, magazine fed carbine for the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) based in Lahad Datu.

The specifications call for a rifle with an operating system of an M-16 to ease operations and training but with a short stroke gas piston. A rifle like the HK 416, IAR M27 or the Colt Advanced Piston Carbine.

A soldier showing school children the Ferfrans P10 SBR at a career fair recently. ESSCOM

The contract was awarded to Lembah Sembilan Sdn Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur based company which offered the Ferfrans Special Operations Assault Rifle (SOAR) rifles. Unfortunately, the Eperolehan page on the winning tender did not reveal the contract price.
A teacher holding a Ferfrans P10 SBR with a long suppressor. ESSCOM.

Lembah Sembilan has also supplied Ferfrans SOAR to the UTK in 2013 (300 units). It has also supplied similar rifles to two Indonesian and Vietnamese companies likely meant for the country military or para-military units.
A primary school student posing for a picture complete with a helmet, vest and a Ferfrans SBR. ESSCOM.

The Ferfrans SOAR was delivered to ESSCOM in 2020. In the past, I have seen pictures of ESSCOM operators with the new rifle but it was difficult to identify the make (and I do not have the time to check out the page every day). However, thanks to various postings by ESSCOM within the last three months, Malaysian Defence finally can identify them as the Ferfrans P10 SBR with a 10.5 barrel. The gun is equipped with optics, lights, and short/long suppressors. The accessories are among the items listed in the tender specifications.

The security situation in ESSCOM has become more benign for the last six months or so, which allowed the operators to take part in career fairs and exhibitions where their equipment are displayed. The Sabah sea nightly curfew imposed since 2014 has also been recently modified to exclude the Tawau division. The curfew now covers Sandakan, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Semporna, Kunak and Lahad Datu divisions.

It must be noted that the Ferfrans SOAR with the UTK is the sub-compact version, which is very loud, according to the UTK operators, when fired without the suppressor.

A UTK operator with the Ferfrans SCW in 2015. It is not equipped with a suppressor;

Ferfrans claimed their SOAR is more controllable than standard M16/M4 when firing in full automatic mode, as the guns are fitted with a rate reduction system. Many Western special operators have converted to the short barrel rifles chambered for the 300 Blackout ammo which is optimised for suppressors. The ammo also has higher velocity than 5.56 ammunition when fired from short barrels.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2185 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Does it make sense to have so many AR15/M16/M4 from various brands in usage or can the upcoming Caracal replacements provide an opportunity for the various services to standardised their assault rifle type (customised to their needs ie short barrel, fixed stock etc of course)?

  2. Is there an initiative to get Ferfrans bolt carrier group and other upgrades for our M4?

  3. That’s not a short suppressor on the second pic, but the ferfrans blast shield muzzle brake.

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