India’s Prototype MCIWS Rifle In Detail



India’s Prototype MCIWS (Multi-Calibre Individual Weapon System) was on display at the DEFEXPO 2014 arms expo. The rifle has been designed to chamber 5.56mm, 6.8x43mm and 7.62x39mm. It appears to be based on the FNC design with some AR-15 features mixed in and is being built alongside an electronic optics and under barrel grenade platform which will allow the operator to launch airburst grenades.




Take a look at the top photo and the remainder of the photos which show the gas system and gas block. It appears that there is gap in the gas system inside the gas block. The magazine well cut out is designed to allow the operator to inspect how many rounds are left in the magazine … but seems like a good way to get dirt inside a critical part of the rifle action. The sling swivel attached to the barrel is very old fashioned and won’t help improve accuracy. It curiously features a AR-15-style rear changing handle.










Thanks to Senthil for the tip and twinblade and Trishul-trident for photos.


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.


  • mechamaster

    Curiously it’s like Pindad SS2 mated with M4.

  • Giolli Joker

    The older man grew old because he knows trigger discipline! 😀
    On the gas system gap I’d say: exposition piece, I wouldn’t give much importance to such a detail.

    • KLP

      Agreed. No one else pictured seems trigger-aware or comfortable with holding a firearm, including the man in the fatigues.

  • cdm

    that 45 degree gas block looks like it came right off an ak47

    • Geodkyt

      And I would expect it to have the same problems the Russians found with 45 degree gas port blocks in the AK74. . .

  • Dan

    I’m a little surprised that included the 6.8×43. It seems that some knowledgeable people see it as an excellent cartridge. If only it were a “standard” cartridge. Yet alas, it’s the chicken/egg dilemma.

    • iksnilol

      I can’t understand why 6.8 is more popular than 6.5. Thet both do the same thing, only difference is that 6.5 has greater range (and easier to find components).

      • troy S

        6.8 is better in 16″ and shorter barrels. The 6.5 needs 18″+ to shine.

        • MICHAEL

          if anyone saw the 6.8 tests at 100yards with 10″ barrel and 1/2 steel then more people would realize. 6.8 really shines with shorter barrels

        • iksnilol

          If people don’t have (too many) problems with 5.56 through a 10.5 inch barrel I doubt the will have problems with 6.5 through a 16 inch barrel.

        • FourString

          Sounds like a 6.5 would work best in a bullpup layout then

    • Hikerguy

      In a bullpup the Indians were developing a couple of years back, it was planned that it would fire the 6.8. In a country where military and police have small arms chambered in 9mm, Tokerev 7.62 x 25, 7.62 x 39, 5.56, 7.62 NATO, 7.62 x 54 Russian, and a few older claibers such as .303, what’s another caliber?

  • Al

    The barrel contour is strange, the FAL type sling swivel on it is a bad design feature. I actually like the cut-out in the mag well, it would allow secure armory rack storage by running a cable through it and not permit magazine insertion.

  • BryanS

    Its like they looked at a few firearms and several paintball guns, assembled them in photoshop, and had someone machine it all into working.

  • dp

    No wonder, after years of running mock ‘trials’ they are eventually coming with their new ‘kantalak’ (previous POS). That said however, the quick barrel change is definite plus if not outright necessity. It is challenging undertaking because basic rifle must not be heavier than 3.5kg. Those who claim to make “modular” rifles are typically boasting – if soldier cannot do it without tools by himself on spot it is kind of useless.

    • Disgusted Vet

      Individual soldiers have no need or business changing barrels. Keep in mind that the average trigger-puller, even in professional First World armies, is a 19-year-old with a high school education and a couple months of basic military training. Give him a golf bag full of barrels and bolts to play with and you can be certain that he’ll screw things up thoroughly.

      “Modularity” so far as calibers and barrels is nothing more than a marketing scheme to persuade the world’s armed forces that they need to jump on the “New and Improved!” bandwagon by replacing their existing supply of small arms.

      India needs to stop trying to create a Swiss Army knife of a rifle — on the cheap, at that — and design a simple reliable rifle for its soldiers. That means pick a single chambering and stick with it. Pick a single magazine design and stick with it. Put function ahead of national pride and pick a design that’s been tested and proven already. And this time, don’t try to save a few rupees by stealing the design work and back-engineering from someone else’s product.

      • IAF101

        Stealing the design work and back-engineering ? There’s only “so many” ways to make a rifle – hell half the rifles copy off one other shamelessly. Even the M-16 is a rip off, a shameless one at that. Half the automatic assault rifles the soviets used copied german designs and so did the Americans in many cases. Even the cheap Belgian Glock has been copied, stolen and ripped off blindly by dozens of “professional” gun makers.

        Its ridiculous to talk about “Design work” and “back engineering” when there are only a limited number of ways a gas-block will work. The people who designed the INSAS chose “Technologies” and “Features” – not designs or engineering.

      • rob

        Actually India needs multi caliber. It’s because we have an insane geography. Counterterrorist urban warfare is going on in north India. We have icy Himalayas and hot desert facing our arch enemy Pakistan. We have cold desert at high altitude facing China. Then we got the jungle warfare going on against the Naxalites in the north eastern and eastern India. Its a mess. we can’t develop different weapons for each of these. So multi caliber carries a punch.

  • John

    India is the only country that can screw up modifying/”improving” an AK-47 (Insas) in order to make it unreliable, jam and break down. I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one. Despite some of the lowest labor costs in the world (pennies), they can’t even make a Happy Meal toy (I just checked ). I’ll take this rifle seriously when made in India starts showing up in my kid’s Happy Meal (which is how all the Asian export countries started).

    • iksnilol

      Talking from personal experience: It’s hard to mess up when AKs are in question.

    • Ajax

      But can make World’s no.1 selling Tractors & two wheelers like Mahindra & Bajaj yeh..?

      • FourString

        Mahindra screwed up their American light diesel truck (which was a middling product to begin with) debut and screwed over all the American distributors, literally cutting off all contact with them during the rollout. I wouldn’t take anything by Mahindra seriously, considering their downright sleazy business ethics.

    • Vivek Singh

      hahahahaha….so funny :p

    • Vivek Singh

      We have MODI

    • Vivek Singh


    • rob

      I still remember when India forced Nepal to buy these INSAS. During the Nepalese civil war, at one instance, around 30 Nepali soldiers died in an ambush simply because the Insas froze. I know a lot of Indian soldiers who still use AK 47 instead of INSAS during operations.

  • Victor

    It’ll probably be another piece of shit just like the INSAS

    • Hitler

      ya man, shit shit……….just like Russians and Americans copied all German equipments.

      • Paul Epstein

        It’s not about the copying, it’s about the engineering and production. The INSAS took very good ideas and used them very incorrectly and then built them to a standard that Taurus would find questionable and the manufacturer laughed all the way to the bank with the Indian people’s money.

  • gunslinger

    how important is it to run a mag dry in a firefight? coming from Battlefield and Borderlands, each new mag is filled to the max (unless you have less than a full mag’s worth of ammo left) so it’s shoot 4, new mag to “be full” for the next encounter. whereas in real life, would you fire all 30 rounds then wait for the click? or do you count 30?

    but this window means you’d need window’d mags. how many rounds are “hidden” in the mag well?

    • Graham2

      Why would you need windowed magazines? They are made from clear plastic!

      I think you need to pay more attention…

      • gunslinger

        The display is clear, but it looks like the other pictures from the spec sheets have opaque mags. And I cant see any spec for clear mags

        • Graham2

          Have a look at this.

          • gunslinger

            So they must use a new mag? Old mags wont work?

            What about my other questions

    • rob

      These mags are carried over from INSAS. Believe it or not, they have a reputation of cracking among the soldiers.

  • clinton notestine

    it looks like a cheap dollar store toy

    • Vivek Singh

      this cheap dollar store toy….fu#k you & your mother

  • ColaBox

    Normally what comes out of India looks dreadful, but this is actually pretty sleek id say. Kinda looks like a SIG556 though.

    • dp

      They had previously several takes on it and noting was fielded. BTW they have an enormous weapon building conglomerate in India – at least 12 plants involved just with small arms; this one well may be from Ishapore Arsenal in West Bengal. Overall, I’d say so far the best looking. Sure they were ‘inspired’ in process of running mentioned trials with foreign weapons including Colt and SIG.

      • IAF101

        LOL These designers have NOTHING to do with the testing of firearms from SIG or anybody else. What would make you say that ? Arms are tested by the military – not the civilian arms manufacturers who have never fired a gun in their lives!

        This design looks more like they were “inspired” by not having government watching their backs and the designers were given a free hand. Also, with the whining and moaning about the “looks” of Insas and wider media “feedback” the designers probably decided they needed to focus on some areas if they wanted to entice the Indian Army to “buy”

  • Joe

    If there was a version with a side charging handle, I wouldn’t mind having one (assuming the build quality was good).

  • Lance

    Another gun in a Army who uses a lot of guns doubt this would replace much of anything. Its not a FNC copy looks like even from the gas block a AK and AR marriage. I agree from many quality may not be so well.

    • IAF101

      Yeah, the FNC copy remark was pretty bizarre, its nothing like a FNC. Quality depends on price and price is set by the buyer – the Indian government which wants rifles for $200 or less.

  • Esh325

    Initially, one could say it doesn’t look too good, but the only way to judge a rifle is to see how it performs in the field. I suppose for India it keeps money inside the country and its a source of national pride to make domestic weapons.

  • AznMike

    Some of the pictures make it look kind of like the Galil Ace-N. Wonder if India is trying to steal ideas again. Didn’t they do that with the Tavor?

    • IAF101

      IF they “stole” ideas from the Tavor they wouldn’t need to “buy” the Tavor and its derivatives would they ? And “tavor” STOLE the bullpup idea from somebody else if you want to keep score.

  • kev

    India bought a shipment of tavors a few years back and are currently holding a competition for a new rifle with Colt Berretta IWI and CZ all offering their systems. Yet their developing their own (not to forget the Trichy rifle a FAL AK hybrid) whats the bet they will chose this over the other systems claiming its superior and then make an almost carbon copy of a system that lost or was suddenly blacklisted like they did with denel and their NTW 20?

    • LCON

      Thy did the same thing with there recent SMG order, they cooked up a “Prototype” then contracted to Beretta for the MX4

      • kev

        Aah i think i remember that it was advertised as being in a weird pdw style caliber based on a 5.56 nato, 5.56×30 or something if in not mistaken?

        • LCON

          5.56×30mm MINSAS and they also used it in some INSAS clones. but in the end for the MX4 they defaulted back to 9mm Nato.

          • kev

            I remember Colt had a weapon in a similar caliber the MARS, Interestingly India also ‘licence’ built their version of the tavor called the zittara cant seem to find it on the IOF factory website though?

          • Danny

            The quality of the zittara was not up to the mark of indian army hence it was rejected in favor of new Tavor X-95, (its no surprise coz even their AK47 clone the A7 was also rejected by the army)

          • kev

            Thanks Danny I was wondering about that for a while now, I probably shouldn’t be surprised after that problem child the INSAS

          • ob

            Zittara had a problem. The material they used was too heavy.

      • rob

        Well, let me tell you how things works in my country, India. Only the government is allowed to make weapons here. So DRDO makes the infantry weapons. But Indian forces are never force fed with these government weapons as we cannot have below par weapons as we have a lot of enemies. When in need, the forces call for competition to buy new weapons. Here the DRDO is just like any other competitor. The military chooses the best one. Usually its a foreign origin weapon. Then due to political pressure( and the money spent by it) the military is forced to buy the indigenous Indian weapon. So obviously the military declares them to be superior to justify their decision. And the entire process of buying a weapon takes a minimum of a decade in India.

  • Vhyrus

    Looks heavy.

  • guest

    AK and AR were at a party had one too many, and this was born some months later.

  • 101nomad

    The more things to go wrong, the more things that will go wrong.

  • John Dalton

    What I don’t understand is why they don’t just use the most common method and flat-out COPY the best of other designers. Then make small aesthetic modifications and call it “original”.

  • wetcorps


  • dave

    does it look, to anyone else, like that trigger curves forward abnormally more than most?

  • Cameron

    To be fair, had this thing come out of Israel, you guys would be hailing it as the third coming of jesus (the second coming being the tavor prototype).

    • Chase Buchanan

      Well, Biblical scholars agree that Jesus is Jewish in both human form and gun form.

      • FourString

        -Ecclesiastes 23:1

    • Geodkyt

      Well, we might have had more faith in the quality control and detailed engineering, but the same concerns about things like the gas port and front sling mount would remain.

    • suchumski

      hmmm, was there any praising of the, uzi2, the jericho, barak, bul, negev….
      sorry, its just the experiance that israel gives its soldiers
      the best what israel can afford.
      (thre soldiers are there kids.)

      let us shoot with this indian baby and if its good…. 😉 .

    • Vivek Singh

      Haan baba….sab saale tum log hi diye ho

      • Vivek Singh

        hum log ke pass sirf baba ji ka tullu hai

    • Vivek Singh

      jab fatti hai to….jalti bhi hai tum logo ki

  • Malaysian Fan
    • Malaysian Fan

      Singaporean new rifle. Looks pretty cool. Sorry for the double post. Internet is sluggish here.

  • whodywei

    Looks like it’s designed by a committee.

  • Josh

    Why are they making more guns? they could barely afford the INSAS.

  • SAR

    One HUGE problem… you can’t understand the customer service rep so I will have to pass based on that alone.


  • phonehome

    I love how well they seem to practice gun safety… There fingers are all over the trigger in every pic lol

    • IAF101

      Whats lovely is how you can’t resist making asinine comments about people you have no idea about – A bunch of civilian journalists at an exhibition who have most definitely never handled a rifle before let alone shot a gun and you want to rag on them as if they are some trained military operators ? How good are you at eating Naan with your fingers using only one hand ? LOL

    • Rob

      We Indians are not allowed to use guns, except for the police and the military, which is good as we do not have any tom, dick or harry running around a school firing at kids with a semi automatic he bought from the Walmart, as it happens in some “trigger disciplined” countries. And those guys in the Pictures are just a bunch of journalists.

  • gallann

    The sad thing is Indian pride won’t let them just make an AK or AR clone.

    • IAF101

      Why make AK clones when its cheaper to BUY them outside ? And AR rifles are not really popular in the Indian military, for some reason they just don’t like the AR. They like German designs like G3, FN designs etc.

      Tavor however has been a HUGE hit despite the non-traditional design.

  • El_Guapo_01

    It looks like a Sig 556 made sweet love to a Daewoo.

  • d_grey

    Quite ugly.

  • Vivek Singh

    India will become more powerful by this invention…(y)

    • rob

      ??? Its just an assault rifle buddy.

  • Vivek Singh

    i have too excitement for see new infantry power of Indian army

  • Vivek Singh

    it is too much better than INSAS

  • Vivek Singh

    Jai Hind…salute for Indian Army

  • Vivek Singh

    stop purchase of foreign weapon…developed own technology

    i proud on this rifle


  • چھوٹا ڈریگن ®

    MICWAS is a downgraded Galil ace.