While in the last 20 years many European firearms industries faded into obscurity (just look at France, Spain, and Portugal), other countries seem to successfully expand their industries. At the recent IDEF 2021 exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey, I came across several new Turkish gun manufacturers that were founded in recent years, and perhaps the most interesting one was System Defence.
Machine Guns @ TFB:
- Ukrainian Snipex LASKA K-2 Heavy Machine Gun
- FN Herstal’s New Ultralight Machine Gun: EVOLYS
- The SIG LMG-68 Light Machine Gun: Next Gen Firepower
At the IDEF 2021, System Defence showcased the family of light machine guns, based on the AR-15 lower receiver. Their new dual-feed LMG is called MFR 56 (MFR stands for Multi Funtional Rifle). MFR 56 is chambered in 5.56 and feeds from an M27 belt (used in FN Minimi/M249, HK21, and the Negev machineguns among others) or STANAG magazines. It weighs just 4.2 kg (9.35 lbs), unloaded, and 4.8 kg (10.5) loaded, which makes it significantly lighter, compared to most light machine guns on the market.
There are three versions of MFR 56 LMG. The first one is a classic open bolt design, typical for belt-fed machineguns (pictured above). This version has controls similar to M249, with a cross-bolt safety.
The second one is closed-bolt, since certain countries restrict open-bolt weapons, and also closed bolt machineguns are generally considered to be slightly more accurate. This version has a standard M16 selector, with safe, semi, and full-auto positions.
The third version is closed bolt and semi-automatic in order to comply with the various restrictions for civilian market sales.
All versions feature a quick-change barrel – the lever used to detach the barrel is located on the top of the receiver. According to the information provided by the manufacturer, the 16.2 inches (412 mm) barrel is hammer forged and has a 1/7 twist rate. The charging handle is on the right side of the receiver.
The company also offers an upper receiver that is compatible with standard AR-15 lowers.
The concept and the design of MFR 56 look similar to another machinegun, the US-made ARES Shrike, also called MCR (Mission Configurable Rifle). It appears that there is no connection between the companies. Also, I couldn’t fund any detailed information about the open bolt version of MCR, even though it existed at some point in time.
According to the information provided by the Turkish manufacturer, the company has “4 different patents belonging to SYSTEM DEFENCE in the upper feeding system”, primarily related to the open-bolt variant of the machinegun.
Apart from 5.56 LMG, System Defence also presented MFR 76, another light machine gun chambered in 7.62×51 (308 Win). I didn’t have a chance to inspect it closely, but the concept seems promising, especially since 7.62×51 machine guns are typically very heavy, and MFR 76, sharing a lot of features with MFR 56, appears to be very light.
The sales representative of System Defence was very welcoming and extremely knowledgeable, and according to him, a certain amount of new machine guns were already procured by a North African country. Considering the position of Turkey in the global arms market, both machineguns might have a bright future ahead of them.