FightLite Released Improved MCR

FightLite has released the new version of their squad automatic weapon, the MCR (Mission Configurable
Rifle). The MCR is based upon the older ARES-16 AMG-2 ™ that has been on the Military/LE market for almost a decade and is an AR based solution to the M249 SAW. Numerous programs have been trying to replace it over the years, one of the most notable is the M27 program. With this version the company has improved various components of the operating system, essentially making the weapon much more durable when it comes to fully automatic fire capabilities. These include changing the feed roller housing to a square shaped design, configuring the feed tray to better accommodate the M855A1 round, changed the charging handle to become more robust, added a new compensator from the companies RipBrake design. Also added is a proprietary method of reducing the chances of cook-off in a closed bolt weapon system. We were able to get a hands on look of the older MCR at SHOT 2017 earlier this year.

From the product release-

Such enhancements include further weapon weight reduction and simplification, a square shaped feed roller housing, a heat treated steel feed plate that reduces feed ramp wear from M855A1 steel tipped projectiles, refinements in the breech bolt lug profile, a reinforced charging handle assembly, the company’s highly effective RipBrake ™ muzzle compensator, and a proprietary method of mitigating cookoff risk while maintaining a select-fire, closed bolt system of operation that is more accurate and user-friendly than standard open-bolt light machine guns.
Some additional key elements of the MCR ® are that it shares a 52% part commonality with existing NSN components already in the government system and the core technology can retrofit to any MIL-Spec AR15, M16 or M4 type lower receiver; meaning that it is rearward compatible to the very first Colt Mod. 01 (M16) manufactured in 1960. These accomplishments reduce a military’s logistical footprint and costs including spare components and operator and armorer training. Additionally, the dual-feed MCR ® permits squad automatic rifle users to operate during the assault with 100 and 200 round magazines of M27-linked ammunition, but also retains the ability to reliably feed from 4179 STANAG (M16/M4) magazines from other squad members should linked ammunition run low during combat.

Several designers have tried to tackle mounting a belt-fed upper receiver to the AR platform, but few with the success that the former ARES Shrike has. Combining the ergonomics and accessory potential of the AR platform with the ability to go belt-fed can be seen as a competitor to the many complaints about the M249 SAW, especially in terms of reliability. The fact that the MCR is around 8.5 pounds unloaded is a major plus when it comes to weight reduction as well. Another important factor is that it can reliably accept STANG magazines, which plagued the M249 for much of its development. The light machine gun hasn’t gained widespread acceptance, but it has had enough customers around the world to give reliable feedback to the company in pushing to the next step.

A photograph of the earlier Shrike from Autoweapons.com



Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • Gary Kirk

    I still really want one of these.. For absolutely no reason, but, since when do I need a reason..

    • Michael Rice

      They need a ‘sporter’ version in semi auto only. Might sell well in Cali. “Sir! You can’t have more than 10 rounds in a magazine!” “But I don’t have more than 10 rounds in the magazine…I don’t even have a magazine.” *shows empty mag well before going back to shooting*

      • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

        Seeing as its just an upper its trigger group is whatever is in the lower that you are using. I imagine 95% of these that are sold on the American civilian market are put on semis.

        But that does make me wonder about the legality of belt fed guns in CA.

        • RSG

          Which is perfect with either a bumpfire stock (which works exceptionally well with a bipod, fwiw) or a binary trigger. Wish I had the money.

      • Gary Kirk

        You could put it on their SCR.. Not sure about the whole belt fed thing in cali, but I believe it’s something stupid like you can’t have more than ten rounds linked..

        But at the rate they’re eroding gun rights over there, who knows, probably changed since last week…

        • Michael Rice

          Part of me says ‘why would you do that?!” Another part of me says ‘pics or it didn’t happen.’ and ‘yes please!’ *EDIT* about the SCR/MCR combo I mean.

          • Gary Kirk

            Sorry, I’m making Bbq, kinda takes most of my limited attention span..

            I forgot the SCR has a proprietary bolt carrier.. I’m sure some good ole boy, could figure out a way.. Or just use a Hera stock..

        • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

          Just did some looking and the internet says no more than 10 links can be attached; unless those links were purchased before 2000.

          • Gary Kirk

            That’s right, because they’re still third gen.. The gen 4s, although nearly identical are considered a whole new link, and therefore are not on the approved roster.. Oh, wait… That’s something else isn’t it??

        • tazman66gt

          I asked them about SCR-MCR mashup and they too said that the carrier was the issue, but I a lot of positive feedback from others about a “featureless” SCR-MCR, so, you never know, we might see something in the future.

      • KidCorporate

        You’d be arrested for hurting their feelings.

      • noob

        hmm what would happen if you daisy chained two 10 rd belts together?

        for that matter, is there a magazine that allows you to top off with a stripper clip without removing it from an ar15? I recall seeing something like that (with the words THIS IS NOT A MAGAZINE molded into the side of it) for the cali market

        • Michael Rice

          Yeah, think there’s a couple of things like that. TFB even featured a couple of them. I don’t know if it’s a stripper clip proper but you load the rounds into it, insert it into the ejection port and press down on a ringed tab to load the magazine. Hawaii doesn’t have magazine limits on long guns (unless they fit in pistols, then it’s 10 rounds…nobody tell HPD about that Zipgun that takes Ruger mags.) but I do like to keep tabs on ‘stripper clip’ fed weapons/innovations.

      • Wow!

        It is semi auto only and you can actually buy the upper in CA. I’ve seen several but the main thing keeping people back is the cost. Not that the cost is unreasonable, but most don’t have 7k to spend on a rifle.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Looking around my place theres only one or two things I REALLY actually NEED.

      And theyre both guns.

      • Gary Kirk

        True, but seeing as how I don’t have a real “range” (neighbors get a little weird when I start popping off with more than a 22).. I also kinda need my truck..

        Side note: And I kinda like my dog..

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          True, I also need my truck.
          And this ashtray, and the remote control and the paddle game…

          • Gary Kirk

            And the beer.. Never forget the beer!!

          • Twilight sparkle

            dont forget your thermos 😉

        • KidCorporate

          Sounds like what you NEED is a suppressor or two!

          • Gary Kirk

            You forgot “more”.. But honestly what I need, is no neighbors..

      • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

        Wife and children just spend your money so you cant buy as many guns.

      • datimes
    • iksnilol

      Good reason for a belt fed AR: you’ll save so much money on magazines and mag carriers/accessories.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        That’s some common core math you must be using 😀

        • iksnilol

          real reason why belt fed ars aren’t common: Magpul and other magazine manufacturers lobby against Fightlite/Ares/whatever to prevent them from being common so that they won’t go out of business.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I doubt it.
            First of all they’re no fun semi auto. And belt fed gets annoying and expensive.

          • Gary Kirk

            As someone who has had to pay just ammo for a M2 for a day, it’s not “annoying and expensive”. It is annoyingly expensive.. Buuutttt, then.. So much fun :)))

            My broke ass will just have to stick to the Barrett

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I own a Barrett myself and, I don’t know about you, but five dollars a trigger pull makes for an expensive afternoon.
            Especially in July in Texas when the thousand yard range is way the hell out there.
            I like it but there is a reason I’m stinking up the pro shop.

          • Gary Kirk

            I still have a stock of milsurp 50.. And to be honest, my 460 Weatherby hurts a lot more to pull the trigger on..

          • TexianPatriot

            They are plenty of fun with a binary trigger. And if you can afford one of these, you can afford the trigger.

          • USMC03Vet

            It’s a Big Magazine conspiracy!

    • Uniform223
  • Joshua

    My guess is Fightlite is gunning for the NGSAR should the Army go through with it.

    This does fit the requirements of the NGSAR.

    • Wow!

      They have been doing so for years (back when they were called Ares in the M27 program), but the military has had a really huge aversion to US manufacturers and everything is foreign favoring. I have seen several of their units in a couple other countries over the past 5 years though. Likely those who see it as a cheaper and easier to maintain option than other foreign manufacturers. Small quantities though, and unlikely to be an officially adopted platform.

      Pair this up with a colt LMG open bolt lower and you got a really light and fairly cheap package.

  • CharlesH

    I keep clicking buy, but nothing is happening 🙁

    • Gary Kirk

      Sounds like you may be suffering from the same affliction as me.. Gunfundus Depletus.. Happens to the best of us brother, at least it’s curable.. Till the next time anyways

    • noob

      ah you got a “preorder”?

  • John

    I wonder why these haven’t taken off. Seem to address a whole lot of problems, including belt-fed versus magazine-fed. It can’t just be Heckler and Koch pushing the 416.

    • Chatterbot

      There is the whole lack of quick change barrel, plus MCR has thinner profile barrel, plus close bolt….all this translates into much smaller number of rounds before it overheats.

      • tazman66gt

        The MCR does have a quick change barrel assembly.

        • iksnilol

          You’ve got the issue of them not making the damn things (MCRs).

    • Porty1119

      Get the upper to $2k or below and we’ll talk.

    • SGT Fish

      cuz they break and are unreliable. yeah youll have people comment how theirs works fine, or the m249 is unreliable and this cant be worse. but stack two of them head to head, both factory new and not messed up by a line of army armorers and joes, and the m249 will outlast the AMG by a large margin. there are a lot of quirks with the AMG, and the biggest of them all is an inherent problem with the design, bolt travel. The bolt does not travel back far enough to get enough inertia to strip rounds from fresh links reliably.

  • Porty1119

    The next thing on my “need/want” list is an LMG or SAW equivalent, probably with a binary trigger because I just don’t have the money for an RR or RDIAS. If the Hughes Amendment went away, that would be a different story, and I’d probably be saving for an M249.

    The MCR is a really neat system, but a little too rich for my blood at this point in time. I’ll probably just build a closed-bolt Colt LMG clone with a surplus M145 optic.

    • randomswede

      The “Military Arms Channel” posted a video shooting an MCR with a “FosTech ECHO AR-II” trigger just a day or so ago.

    • noob

      a binary trigger might even be better than an auto trigger: consistent trigger feel unlike a burst trigger group, and the trigger can’t run away from you like an auto trigger can so if you want a four rounds downrange rapid you get exactly four rounds downrange.

  • LazyReader

    That machine gun gives me the same sort of feeling I had when i first found my dad’s stash of Playboys…….. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a1a67f2a6a1ada953e03b07df7f1c53e3b5f246ec831ca7ed80d94c8178509ab.jpg

  • Kristoff

    I thought open bolt designs were supposed to be more accurate. Are they not? I’m genuinely asking.

    • mechamaster

      Open-bolt is generally not good for accuracy, because when the mass of the bolt-carrier is slammed forward ( to feed and shoot the cartridge by firing pin ) and it created “jerking” or vibration that make the whole guns to slightly vibrate and sway.

      Even in 1shot-semi-auto open-bolt, that “bolt-slamming forward” generally created vibration that decrease stability, and added the inaccuracy

      • Dave

        Also it is a lot harder for an open bolt to consistently align with the chamber, with a properly made closed locking bolt, the bolt positions the round at the exact same spot for each shot.

        • Kristoff

          I see where this is going. So what’s the advantage of an open bolt? Cooling? Reliability?

          • iksnilol

            Cooling and reliability.

            Thusly open bolt is liked for full auto and closed bolt for everything else.

          • noob

            and safety – if the round is not in the chamber before firing there is no heat transfer from a hot chamber to a round.

            If you put a round into a hot chamber on a closed bolt firearm and it cooks off you will have a ND to explain.

        • MSG1000

          Why is that? If seems like you just make them the same way as closed bolt. Increased tolerances?

          • Wow!

            If you are purely looking at open bolt, mechanically open bolts are as accurate as closed bolts. The big issue is the design. Open bolts have longer lockup time, which means due to marksmanship error, it is easier for sights to drift off target after the trigger is pulled and before the bullet leaves the barrel.

            The other issue is that LMG often have quick detach barrels. The tolerances for the mating of the barrels are usually pretty tight from the factory, but over repeated installation and swapping with other barrels, you get a bit of wobble. Not much to be noticeable aside from target shooting in many cases, but it is less precise.

      • Kristoff

        I get it. So it’s a similar concept as to why bolt actions are more accurate than semi autos?

        • DW

          Not quite. In the old days semi-autos need more “clearance” to run reliably so accuracy was sacrificed, but that is no longer true as you can find many AR that shoots as well as bolt guns.

        • MSG1000

          Adding to DW, any semi or full auto created harmonic disturbance from vibrations from something being on the barrel. Pistons are far worse than a DI gas tube. Free floating helps that but not perfectly. Bolt guns don’t have that so they don’t experience it nearly as much (there are multiple forms of harmonic disturbance).

          • DW

            In theory a fixed barrel delayed blowback should be the ultimate in semi auto accuracy. In reality only Psg1 or msg90 came close.

    • ostiariusalpha

      They are not. Closed bolt is more inherently precise.

  • mechamaster

    If they can made it work with RPD belt-fed non-disintegrating 7,62x39mm…

    • Wow!

      At that point you mind as well just use an RPD. DSA sells RPDs for about $1500 less than this.

      • SGT Fish

        yea, that’s why I got the DSA, they are fun too. and get crazy looks at the range. I set mine up for a bumpfire stock, the only one in existence that I know of

  • lowell houser

    Add this upper to an Anderson lower with the new gen 2 Echo trigger and you actually have a worthwihle beltfed for the class 1 market. The very first in fact.

  • Uniform223

    I want to see how this stacks up against KAC’s “new” LMG.

    • SGT Fish

      no where near as good as KACs new/old LMG.
      the constant recoil design is proven to be far superior.

      • Wow!

        Constant recoil makes sense for like 30 calibers, but the 5.56 is super light recoiling. These things do not move on full auto. In terms of weight and modularity I would go with this (ideally paired with the colt lmg lower).

        • SGT Fish

          if you think a shrike/amg doesn’t move on full auto, then you need to shoot a Stoner LMG or an ultimax.
          its not so much the recoil of the round, as the movement of the bolt back and forth. with constant recoil designs, the bolt still moves, but it never stops, so its is incredibly smoother than any conventional MG.

          • Wow!

            I haven’t shot a Stoner LMG but I have run one magazine through an ultimax (they are basically the same(?) design right?) and while yes it is smoother, personally I don’t think there is much pragmatic difference between the two.

            Admittedly, I’m not military trained so I am probably wrong on the tactics, but to me the role of the LMG is for aimed suppressive/grazing fire when on the offense, and area denial on the defense. The spread between the two from 3-4 shot bursts would not be significant, and non-existent when you use the newer aftermarket semi auto select fire open bolt trigger packs that a lot LMGs are being outfitted with. Plus in many cases MGs are placed in areas of cover so you probably will have some shooting support, or at the minimum kneeling (such as to clear low vegetation).

            Granted, I never did a head to head test, nor do I have that much training time with the ultimax since one mag is basically nothing, but just based on what I know now, I personally would rather have a lighter and more compact weapon than a smoother recoiling one.

            A 30 caliber like the M60 on the other hand definitely benefits (at least I think it is also constant recoil, it might have just been the weight). Shooting an AR-10 variant that was full auto vs an M60 was totally different, even with a good muzzle device on the AR. Controllable, but definitely limits the “effective range”.