The LAR was designed by Sterling in the late 1970s. It was designed to be an affordable and compact 5.56×45mm carbine for export sales. When Sterling acquired the rights to produce the ArmaLite AR-18, the LAR was shelved and consequently never saw full production.
The LAR was a basic gas-operated assault rifle constructed from stamped steel pressings. It cocked from the right side and ejected from the cocking slot. The LAR was offered with both a fixed stock and a patented over-folding wireframe stock.