Masterpiece Arms MPAR 556 Rifle

MasterPiece Arms, best known for their MPA Defender MAC-10 clones, has developed a new AR-like semi-automatic rifle called the MPAR 556. The rifle will be unveiled at SHOT Show in January.

The rifle features a short stroke piston, side folding fully machined aluminum stock and a side charging handle.

The feature heavy design has been under development for the past 10 months and will feature some serious upgrades including a short stroke piston design, lightweight Free Floating 2 piece aluminum handguard with user located picatinny rails, an innovative front handguard cap to keep debris out of the internals of the handguard will providing strength and stability to the assembly, side folder fully machined aluminum buttstock, locked bolt action, side charging handle with forward assist, flip up front and rear sights and compatible with AR15/M16 magazines. The weapon will be phosphate/hardcoat anodized.

The MSRP will be $959 and it will go on sale in the first quarter of next year1

[ Many thanks to Jacob for the tip. ]

  1. Just keep in mind that most new guns end up being delayed. 

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Jesse

    Wow that actually looks really nice, like how ar platforms are branching out into short stroke more, better system the DGI, the sock could be something a little more like an UBR style but that still looks cool.

  • Kenny Blankenship

    I want to see this in a showdown with FPS Russia’s new rifle.

  • Sivispace

    How do they control carrier tilt?

    • Probably by using a different action than an AR-15 buffer tube action? It’s hard to tell from the little bit of information given.

    • W

      ahhhhh, carrier tilt.

      Primary Weapons Systems has a very simple solution for such a problem.

      Of course, the only cases of carrier tilt I have seen were from LWRC gas piston carbines. Havent seen this symptom in 416s.

  • Nathaniel

    I feel like a broken record… How is this better than an AR-15?

    • Jesse

      It is an ar-15 platform, I don’t know if you are talking about the first armalite 15 from 1958 or not. But this is a short stroke piston system and ar-15 platforms are normally DGI which is a lot better operation.

      • Partizan1942

        Surely you mean the short stroke is better, not the DGI. Right?

    • RocketScientist

      New company comes out with a pickup truck model.

      “How is this better than a pickup truck??”

    • W

      Nothing will be substantially better than the AR15 until variable-power phase disruptors get introduced into the civilian market.

  • Trev

    The rifle they were looking for already exists. It’s made by a quality manufacturer and called the SCAR 16. Also, if that doesn’t float your boat, there is always the shrubmaster abortion.

    • Fitz19d

      Except this is a fraction of the cost. Barring terrible carrier tilt problems or something seems like a winner. Though I could take standard stock options over folding myself.

    • Ryan

      Partizan1942: If you are LEO/Mil then just ignore this question. How many times a day do you find yourself jumping out of planes with your ar-15? How many times a day do you find yourself struggling to exit a vehicle with your ar-15? How many times a day do you find your ar-15 uncomfortable?

      The simple fact is, less parts equals less potential failures. A full stock, a one piece stock is far more efficient then a folding or sliding stock. Now, that’s not saying a full stock is “best” just pointing to one alternative in which a full stock would be better then a folding stock. Oh, and the universe is this one, where I assume we both live…you know, the one in which there are many complex variables.

    • W

      you are referring to the bushmaster gas piston carbine? I used to bash those relentlessly until I was proven otherwise. I like the FAL-style gas system.

      Comparing a rifle like the SCAR designed from the ground up versus a AR15 integrated with a gas piston is not being fair either.

  • mechamaster

    Love the concept, but NO if the left-side charging handle does reciprocating like SCAR or Galil ACE. ( it’s dangerous when it’s snuck and scratch cloth or something in middle of shooting )

  • Nick Pacific

    Just renderings for now, but its nice to see some new engineering from an unexpected source.

  • SiloZen

    HAHA, I knew it.
    See, you’ll praise a lookalike which has near enough the same damn features.
    Bunch of hypocrites.

    • Partizan1942

      The AR-15/M-16 design has a lot of features that make it inferior (please do not hate on me just cause you learned to like it. Just like tonic even if you like it, it’s still freaking bitter.) It is a well known fact that the direct gas system that the AR-15/M-16 design uses is inferior to other designs like the original AK-type long stroke or the short stroke system that for example HK uses simply because it is not reliable. So, using the short stroke system makes this rifle more reliable than almost all AR-15/M-16 clones while retaining their ergonomics. Speaking of ergonomics, this design is actually better than the original in another way as well because it has a side folding stock, which means that it can be much better handled than most of the AR-15/M-16 clones. We do not have info on weight, materials used, price or what comes with it but so far if you only look at it from what we know and compare it with most that look similar, chances are that this is an improvement compared to most.

      • SiloZen

        What? No you have fair points and I’m not hating on you.
        This rifle has pretty much the exact features that the Rifle that FPSRussia was designing and people shunned it for that exact reason, overlooking it completely when it has all the features that this does.
        Apologies, I was not hating on you.
        I’m just kind of sick of the Gun community just being silly.

      • Partizan1942

        @ SiloZen
        Hehh πŸ™‚
        I think we were kinda talking past each other. I did not realize you meant to compare with FPSRussia’s rifle not a general comparison of AR clones. By the way I know I saw this FPSRussia rifle somewhere on the web but being that I’m generally not impressed by AR clones I did not even read what I found just skipped through the info so I do not know much about the specifics of that particular rifle plus when I saw it the first time I thought immediately that it is just a marketing thing because of the name. But if it is similar to this one than that too can be an improvement on the heard of semi quality AR stuff that the market is flooded with.
        Why people hate on FPSRussia?
        Well first of all he talks with a Russian accent so to Americans watching him on youtube he is immediately the enemy.
        He does cool stuff that is fun to watch but it is more of a show than science or documentation. So people that do not like superficial approaches about guns often have a problem with him.
        If you read up on him you can find out that he is an American and to most of his fellow countrymen it is baffling why he chose to go with this fake Russian stage persona. Again this undermines the self esteem of most Americans that find out about this – so again these people hate on him because of that.
        And the cherry on top is that he is successful. He makes a ton of money shooting stuff and a lot of people think they could do that. Plus now he has a rifle named after him? Generally that makes people jealous as f@ck. πŸ™‚

      • W

        …I love tonic πŸ˜‰

        Objectively, I believe you are right. There is a reason why every rifle since the AR15 wasn’t designed with a gas operated, internal pistol or direct impingement. I think most AR15 users have obtained a immense level of operator experience to keep their guns up and running and on par with competing rifles as far as reliability and durability goes.

        Stoner had a compelling reason for using such a design for his rifle, though it wouldnt be known until later that gas pistons did not affect accuracy adversely since the bullet leaves the barrel long before the action cycles.

      • The “inferior” direct gas impingement system is inherently lighter in weight than most gas piston systems.

      • Partizan1942

        @ W
        We are of the same mind. And if I recall not just for the first time. πŸ™‚

      • Partizan1942

        @ Suburban
        This is not an argument for anything. My bycicle weighs less than my car. Still my car is a better way to travel.
        Plus I was not talking about weight. I was talking about reliability. A lot of good the worlds lightest rifle will do you if it doesn’t go “BANG” every single time you would need it to.

      • W

        partizan, i can understand how somebody that had to put a lot of time, treasure, and sweat into learning the ins and outs of a certain system would get butthurt if somebody suggested it was inferior to another design.

        That is one of the beautiful highlights of the human condition.

        There was a compelling reason for Eugene stoner designing the AR rifle with a internal gas piston system (not direct impingement like what folks call it 99% of the time).,%20Gas%20vs%20Op%20Rod%20Drive,%20020815.pdf

        There is also a compelling reason why weapons after that continued to improve and use gas piston systems; a case of the brilliant but unjustly shunned AR18 getting its spiritual revenge in the afterlife.

  • Nadnerbus

    if it is proportionally as heavy as the Mac 10 clone they make, it should weigh in at a svelte 20 to 30 pounds.

    • I was wondering about the weight also. Everyone was so disappointed when they found out how heavy Bushmaster made the ACR, which, along with the price, is hurting sales.

  • Pepin the Short

    Not too shabby a price for a short-stroke piston weapon.
    Unfortunately, we’ve still got a long way to go before they can compete with the ubiquitous SKS.

  • Marc

    Too bad they kept the worst part of the AR15: that way too small magazine well.

  • Brian P.

    Looks great, to me. If it gets good reviews, I’ll be sure as hell to get one, because I like gas piston rifles, and I’d much prefer one of these over a direct gas impingement AR-15 of equal, or possibly greater, quality.

    I hope MPA will also make a 5.45x39mm kit for this, and make a model with a 18-20″ barrel.

  • Leo Atrox

    Looks like an XCR to me. A LOT like an XCR.

  • gunslinger

    another AR “clone” ok. but i guess if it has all the benifits of SCAR but is cheaper…well why is it cheaper?

    does cheaper mean lower quality?

    • Kyle

      It doesn’t sport the FN rollmarks.

  • nobody

    The more I look at it the more it looks like an ar18 or the Leader T2 rifle. It doesn’t have the rear take down pin, the lower receiver looks incredibly similar to the Leader T2 minus the curved part behind the grip, the upper receiver looks square like the ar18 and Leader T2, and it appears to have the curved part at the back of the upper receiver that fits into the lower receiver like the ar18 or Leader T2.

    I hope they offer a model with a plain polymer butt stock as molded polymer is cheaper than machining the stock from aluminum, not to mention it wont wiggle back and forth.

  • MrSatyre

    I volunteer to write all their future press releases; that one was terrible. πŸ˜‰

  • J. Smith

    I love MPA firearms, but I had little interest in overpriced ARs. For $1k or so for a decent piston AR, I’d at least take a look.

    Maybe they’ll make a similar model in 7.62×51, using PMAGs? That would be a great gun.

  • Michael

    I think of Master piece arms as cheap guns, much like KelTec.
    But now Keltec are making $900 shotguns and $1800 7.62 Rifles, which are sold out. So maybe it will be a hit

    • noob

      I guess if you are unwilling to take out a massive loan, make your money on low priced niche guns (so you aren’t directly going to compete with freedom group straight out of the gate) and then move on to higher quality more ambitious guns during your “organizational transformation”.

      not everyone can inherit machine tools and government contacts from Fairchild Aircraft like Armalite did (and even then they lost their lunchmoney to Colt).

  • Mike Knox

    One of these days, someone’s got to come up with something that’s actually new. Unless you count Kel-Tec..

  • Be interesting to test it out.

    • Mike Knox

      Love those iphone kits..

  • Lance

    Looks like a marriage of AK and AR actions maybe, nice. πŸ™‚

    • noob

      short stroke piston reminds me more of the AR-18, with AR-15 inspired ergonomice.

    • DeeB

      AKs have a long stroke piston. Maybe you’re thinking of the Robinson Arms XCR. AK-style gas system with an AR-15 layout.

  • Reverend Clint

    at least you can swap the pistol grip

  • Critter_FL

    Short stroke piston? Folding, collapsible stock? Side charging handle? Standard magazines?
    It sounds like my Sig 556. And that is a good thing. And at the price discussed, that make it attractive for sure. I’m sure that there are plenty of differences and that is fine. Good for them!

    • Wes

      It pretty much looks about the same as the SIG 556, I have one myself. Plus I have actually seen the finished prototype and the handgaurd is much better then the standard plastic handgaurds on the SIG.

  • Kyle

    I like how this rifle gets overall good comments, but the FPS Russia rifle that looks pretty damn similar to this one got terrible ones.

    • Raven

      Maybe it’s got something to do with how MPA have actually built guns before, and aren’t just some guy with a Youtube channel.

      • SiloZen

        First time for everything.

  • atlemt

    alot are comparing this to the FPSrussia rifle.

    MPA is a firearms manufacturing company that builds a decent gun for the price. and they have years of experience in designing and building guns.

    FPSRussia is a guy from Georgia with a bad Russian accent with a YouTube channel.

    that is why people are more interested in this gun the the FPSRussia one. any questions?

    • Samopal

      Pretty much this. People are wondering why we’re liking this yet trashing FPS Russia’s gun.

      This is a gun built by an established company at an attractive price, whereas FPS Russia’s thing is designed by a Youtube star, has no confirmed price (will probably be much higher than this) and FPS’ BRAND NEW little company is touting themselves as a top weapons manufacturer.

      Yes, they’re both similar rifles, but one is simply a new gun while the other is an overhyped new piece of wonder-technology developed by a nobody who false claims his manufacturing co. is some established top-tier gun maker.

    • Otis

      Which Georgia

      • Chase

        The one in the USA, funnily enough.

      • Geodkyt

        True, Stalin was another guy from Georgia with a bad Russian accent. Other Georgia, of course. πŸ˜‰

  • Blastattack

    The best part about this AR-15 esque rifle is that it is NOT an AR-15, nor could it be classified as a variant. Though that is mindless dribble to you Americans, it is critical to us Canadians. This gun, sporting an 18.5″ barrel, should by all rights be designated a Non-Restricted firearm in Canada, and thus can be used for hunting, and not solely for use at an approved range. If it’s a quality product that can be brought in at a decent price, awesome!

    • Samopal

      The RCMP is very liberal in their definition of “variant”, given they classify the Armscor M1600 and AK22 abortions as AR15 and AK47 variants (respectively). If it looks like an AR-15 and uses most of the same parts as an AR-15, it’s going to be classed as an AR-15.

      • Griffin

        I believe this firearm only has 2 interchangeable internals with the AR not including the mag and butt/grip. Also the lower is different and that’s the part actually considered to be the firearm by the RCMP. So fingers crossed!

  • daniel in texas

    id buy one if theyd chamber it in 5.7.

  • VolkCNC

    It appears to be an AR18 type rifle with a billet aluminum lower. The sheet metal upper is obvious, likely uses similar internals. I’ve been working on this exact same thing for a number of years now as a personal project. I have more than just renderings, such as firing prototypes.

    I’m really excited about this gun but a little upset they are essentially making the exact same thing I’ve was hoping to bring to the Canadian market. That is if it is what I think it is.

  • Jeff

    Well this is uncommon…. an affordable AR competitor….

  • Benjamint_Tanklin

    These are great rifles.
    I do not like the safety on it as it is opposite of what a normal AR is, and takes some getting used to. Aside from that the rifle handles like a dream and I’ve had around thousand rounds through it without a problem.
    I’ve never been a suppressor guy, but with the adjustable piston block I decided to attach a suppressor and the rifle shoots, quiet as a whisper.

    I’m a big fan of MPA’s high(ish) quality Mac-10 clones and am glad to see them expanding their lineup.