|Region of Origin:||Australia|
|Cartridge:||5.56 x 45|
The Leader T2 MK5 Series weapons were chambered for the 5.56 mm cartridge and manufactured by Leader Dynamics of Smithfield, NSW, Australia (1978-1982/1983). The Leader was the brainchild of weapons designer Charles St. George. It was originally a contender for a 5.56 mm Australian military service rifle to replace the then-issued Lithgow L1A1-F1 SLR and Colt M16A1 rifles. What was unique about this endeavor was that Australia had never designed or manufactured its own commercial gas operated semi-automatic rifle. The rifle was abandoned when the Steyr AUG was adopted for use by the Australian military.
Fred Riddle of Dupont Australia and Charles St. George worked together (with the input of Dupont USA) to select an appropriate engineering plastic for the pistol grip, handguards and butt-stock.
Charles St. George designed the production tooling and the factory at Smithfield began to initially turn out 200 units per month, which increased to 400 per month some months later. St. George developed a selective fire version called the T2 (including a carbine version of the T1 Leader) which attracted the interest of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, as well as foreign arms companies, including Luigi Franchi (a subsidiary of Beretta) in Italy, Fábrica Militar de Braço de Prata in Portugal, and foreign militaries, such as the Sultanate of Oman Armed Forces. ATA Target Systems of Albury NSW hosted the visitors, and Charles St. George together with Terry Dinnen demonstrated the Leader weapons on ATA's Dart System. The Leader demonstration resulted in Oman placing trial weapon orders for 12 Leader select-fire rifles (SAR) and 12 Leader assault carbines (SAC).
he Leader was originally imported into the U.S. by Ed Hoffman and Tim Painter of World Public Safety, CA. The Leader was exhibited at the New Orleans Shot Show and orders in excess of $3,000,000 were written. The original buyers/distributors were John Giovino NY, Bumble Bee CA and Ellett Brothers. These weapons are quite rare in the US as very few (less than 2000 rifles) made it into the country.