GORE-TEX Professional

VSASS by Geissele Automatics

Yesterday, we showed you the Super Night Owl Suppressor from Geissele Automatics, but that was just the icing on this cake. What Bill Geissele and his team have served up, is a complete family of rifles called the Very longrange Semi Automatic Sniper System and developed internally under codename JG06. The project started as a single weapon for a special requirement, but it quickly morphed into a family of rifles in .260, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 7.62 NATO.

In late May, I saw Bill at the NDIA Armaments Conference where I jokingly asked him when he was going to take all of those parts he’s developed, and put together a full rifle. It didn’t take him long. They began development on July 1st and completed the weapon just eight weeks later. The result is a weapon weighing 12.3 lbs without a magazine or optic, and is just shy of 43″ with the stock collapsed. As you can see, it’s offered in Coyote 498 anodizing.

You’ll look at it and know that it’s a Stoner pattern weapon, but when you look at the breadth of enhancements, it’s obvious Geissele Automatics has been studying the AR family of weapons, in order to improve what are considered standard design features. In particular, they’ve concentrated on reliability, and there are multiple components with Durable Solid Lubricant by Nano-Composite Coating. Like for instance, the Bolt and Gas Rings feature Nanoweapon coating.

The Geissele DNA is also evident throughout this custom design, whether it’s tried and true Geissele parts, or new fabrications specific to this build. For instance, you’ll notice a Maritime Bolt Catch, but it is crafted from billet and has been modified to fit the VSASS. However, the Super Charging Handle is stock.

While we won’t be looking at the internals, here are a few features. The Bolt Carrier features axial stability enhancements and has a raised gas key, for improved wear. Additionally, they strengthened the upper receiver for improved stiffness near the lengthened Barrel Extension and added a hardened steel Cam race. This is important because the Cam Pin is crafted from a Cobalt alloy which would result in increased wear on a standard Upper Receiver.

The M-LOK compatible Super Modular Rail is super stiff and made from 6061-T6 aluminum. It’s got a full length Picatinny rail along the top and is machined within .005″ flatness. There’s some extra Geissele magic in how the rail attaches with the Upper, like the 2.4″ Barrel Nut. Interestingly, the VSASS Upper Receiver is slightly taller than standard models. Conversely, the Lower Receiver incorporates an enlarged Magwell and oversized Trigger Guard. Both are machined from billet 7075-T6 aluminum.


VSASS relies on the two-stage SSA-E trigger, which is around 3.5 lbs. While there’s an aluminum Buffer plate, the QD insert is steel. In addition to caliber choice, the customer may also specify barrel length (18″, 20″ or 22″), although the .260 VSASS pictured here has a 22″ Bartlein Stainless Steel barrel.

Thankfully, the magwell accepts M110 magazines. Another thing on the rifle that isn’t Geissele, is the B5 Systems SOPMOD Stock. It’s joined by the standard issue Pistol Grip. Many companies provide USGI Pistol Grips because they are inexpensive and it’s one of the most often replaced parts, even on military weapons.

In addition to the full VSASS rifle, they’ve also developed a M110 Capability Enhancement Package. Essentially, it’s an Upper Receiver Group which can be fitted to a customer’s existing M110. In addition to the URG, the M110 CEP comes with a .308 version of a Super 42 Buffer and braided wire Buffer Spring kit as well as an SSA-E Trigger.

You may notice that the top front of the rail is cut back on the 7.62 rifle. This is for an adjustable gas block they developed for VSASS. However, they’ve found these are running well without it. Granted, these rifles are tuned for specific ammo, but the Adjustable Gas Block is there for those who require it.

I had the chance to put a couple of magazines through it yesterday and it shot well. I’ve gone to demonstration ranges where weapons jammed, failed to feed, or exhibited other malfunctions, but not with these rifles. There were three different VSASS and all of them ran like tops, with a constant line of those waiting to get their chance. After all, how could you turn down shooting a weapon with laser-like accuracy? The targets were steel at 600m and the range was live the entire time, so we can’t share any target data with you. However, the steel was falling. The .260 was extremely accurate, even in yesterday’s windy conditions.


The Super Night Owl Suppressor is made from Titanium and specific to VSASS. Bill told me he is not getting into the Suppressor business, but rather that this was a requirement for this weapon. It’s a screw on Suppressor and the serialized shroud comes off the core for maintenance.

There’s a final surprise on this build. This is also the first look at the new Vanguard mount for range finders.

It features a separate cap under the range finder mount portion, so you can take off the diving board without losing zero. There are also screws underneath for added stability. In case you are wondering, that’s the Steiner M5Xi 3-15 in Tan.

VSASS is currently only for government clients. Right now, demand is very high for their products and it was developed for a very specific purpose. However, I expect we’ll eventually see a commercial rifle from Geissele Automatics, even if it’s not this one.



27 Responses to “VSASS by Geissele Automatics”

  1. Jeff S says:

    Sweet baby Jesus…

    I wonder how much of this will trickle down to the masses?!

  2. jackson says:

    Beautiful piece of engineering. Too bad I’ll likely have to wait a few years to shoot one, much less buy one. Good to know they’ll be putting in work on America’s behalf until then

  3. Joglee says:

    12.3lbs… cmon Bill you can do better than that.

    Not to mention 12.3lbs and in a full size AR-10 package.

    • Joe says:

      The standardized AR-10 platforms are developed enough that if will take something truly revolutionary like the LSAT program to make sense moving away from them. Most of these customs are a 10% improvement to problems that don’t really exist

      My personal feeling on the matter is while this will cost 3x more than a competing AR-10, you will certainly not be getting 3x more accuracy, reliability, or ergonomics.

      • SSD says:

        For something to be revolutionary, it has to work. This works.

        LSAT? Well, just try to get it apart when a round gets stuck.

      • Chris K. says:

        With all due respect, how would you know? Have you shot this thing? Touched it? As stated in the post, it was for a very specific purpose.

        • Jeff S says:

          From the article:

          “I had the chance to put a couple of magazines through it yesterday and it shot well. I’ve gone to demonstration ranges where weapons jammed, failed to feed, or exhibited other malfunctions, but not with these rifles. There were three different VSASS and all of them ran like tops, with a constant line of those waiting to get their chance. After all, how could you turn down shooting a weapon with laser-like accuracy?”

          Unless I’m not understanding your questions properly?

          • Joe says:

            What I’m getting at is accuracy and reliability are now a commodity.

            You don’t need to pay an absurd premium anymore for a proprietary, non-standard pattern custom rifle.

            Glock used to be the leader is reliability, but now that reliably is commonplace and for a cheap price.

            .5 MOA used to be a $3000 custom rifle, but both common man brands like Ruger and Savage are making sub $1000 rifles that get that out of the box.

            The point being, if you’re going to make a premium custom rifle for a premium price, you need to get premium performance, which is close to impossible when “Average Performance” is already so high.

            It’s like buying a Rolex when all you want is the same time any Casio can deliver. All you’re getting for the extra money is the privilege of making your D*ck feel bigger.

            I’ll be impressed when they publish mean time before failure, MOA, ETC. Some joe saying “I hit a steel target at 600m with the 30 rounds I shot!” is hardly worth parting 4K for.

            • ClickBoom says:

              It’s competing with the 417, SR25, etc. Those are not cheap guns. This is purpose built from the ground up to be optimized for suppression and is oem with the 6.5 rounds, unlike the others. This is an incremental advance that will have increased range, less wind hold, softer shooting and is built with the gas system to match the can

  4. Kemp says:

    Like all geissele kit this appears to be a work of art, but i wonder if the “precision machine all the things” approach hasn’t passed the point of diminishing returns on this one

    • Joe says:

      As Kemp said with “”point of diminishing returns “, that’s why big Army hasn’t moved away to something like this, or the SCAR, HK, etc.

      You just don’t get enough more for it to be worth it. They’re not going to waste their once in 50 years chance and 10 billon for a 3% improvement.

      Now SOCOM? They have all the money in the world to chase the latest and greatest, and the latitude to get what they want, when they want, and as often as they want.

  5. Code says:

    Can’t say it any better Kemp/Joe

  6. RockyMountain9 says:

    Looks great, but that thing is HEAVY. No reason for a new, premium AR 10 derivative announced in 2017 to be 12 lbs plus.

    • Joe says:

      It is a 22″ barrel. The other barrel lengths and profiles would make it considerably lighter.

    • Pat says:

      That depends entirely on what you want the rifle for. Weight is a factor of requirements. “The project started as a single weapon for a special requirement.” This sentence makes me think of something like an updated CSASS program, not a pure fleet infantry rifle. Without knowing the requirement that this rifle addresses, saying there’s no reason for an AR-10 type rifle to be 12lbs is shortsighted. If this rifle was built for the Interim Service Combat Rifle program, we’d likely see a completely different animal.

      • Kemp says:

        Agree re:socom/jsoc. Considering the people who like to shop at geissele the requirement might not have been “make a better sr25” but “make a semi auto PSR/xm2010”

      • Matt says:

        Could be used for hostage recuse where you need something accurate but shoots a lot faster than a bolt gun.

    • Marc says:

      You have not looked at the real weights. A knights 110 SASS is a full 4 pounds heavier. Where will you shed weight ? You want a lightweight gun then you are back to an M-4 with no optic and no suppressor at 7.5 pounds. A 16 inch commercial AR-10 is 11.25 pounds. If you look at it realistically it is a huge improvement.

  7. lcpl1066 says:

    I hope we can see the .308 Super 42 Buffer and braided wire Buffer Spring kit available on the website.

  8. d says:

    If Geissele ever released a complete precision AR, it might break the internet as everyone cancels their OBR backorders at once.

  9. E-Rock says:

    The G team, as always, is world class. Thanks for the article.

  10. Jon, OPT says:

    Outstanding, good to see high end brands pushing the limits! Great job to Bill and the team!

  11. brando says:

    “mother of god”

  12. Chris B says:

    Take my money now!

  13. Robert Bruce says:

    Excellent piece on the VSASS on the range at MDM17 with great pix and authoritative text !

    But profoundly puzzled that the author’s byline isn’t apparent. Did I miss it?

    Assuming it was done by Eric Graves, please ask him to send me his contact info. I’d like to follow up with him.

    Most cordially, Robert Bruce, SAR Military Affairs Editor http://www.smallarmsreview.com

  14. Robert Bruce says:

    Eric Graves — Pleased to meet you at MDM 17. Thanx for taking time to talk for a few minutes. I’m following your excellent reports on the event and look forward to “borrowing” some info here and there for my feature in SAR/SADJ. Please contact me directly. We have much to discuss.
    Most cordially, Robert Bruce
    SAR Military Affairs Editor http://www.smallarmsreview.com
    [email protected]
    ( BTW — The email contact link on SSD’s header doesn’t work for me. Error — “…default mail client not properly installed” )