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–