So, what exactly sets this pistol apart from the AR-15 it appears to be? According to the guys at 1911 Syndicate, this is what you need to know:
“It’s like an AR-15, but it’s not an AR-15, right? The reason for that is that it is a piston-driven gun, specifically a short-stroke gas piston, and we will get into that.
When you see it at first, and you’re like…it’s clearly an AR, is what you think…it has AR controls, between safeties and mag releases, bolt releases, all that kind of stuff.
“You see the handguard, and the handguard is really your first clue something is going on there. The handguard is interesting looking and there’s different things going on up here, and really what you’re seeing is the piston design and some of the modular [stuff] we will get into.
Once you start getting into this gun, [it is] definitely not an AR, it’s just very AR inspired, if you will.”
- More interchangeable/configuration friendly than some platforms
- Suppressed use
- Military applications
- Greater longevity and durability
This is a tough pistol to get your hands on, but if you can find one it is worth the time and effort. It’s backed by Sig Sauer’s reputation and has a variety of features to recommend it.
This pistol is available in two calibers: 5.56 NATO and 300 BLK — with the 300 BLK being slightly lighter weight and shorter. Features of the 5.56 NATO model include a 7.4 pound empty weight and an overall length of 31.0 inches.
When choosing calibers, first consider the pistol’s use. 300 BLK was specifically designed for close-quarters work while 5.56 NATO was made for longer distances.
However, this is a pistol platform with shorter barrels, meaning you won’t be getting the same range out of the 5.56 NATO model you would in a rifle-length gun. Compare the ballistics of the two calibers out of the barrel lengths they’re offered in and go from there.
- Get a closer look on SIG’s website.
- Sig MCX Virtus Specifications
- Caliber: 5.56 NATO
- Barrel Length: 11.5 inches
- Capacity: 30-round magazine (ships with)
- Magazine Type: AR-15
- Action Type: Semi-automatic
- Stock Type: PCB
- Barrel Material: Cold hammer-forged carbon steel
- Trigger Type: Matchlite Duo
- Twist Rate: 1:7
- Forend Type: Alloy
- Grip Type: Polymer
- Receiver Finish: Gray
- Overall Length: 31.0 inches
- Overall Width: 2.8 inches
- Height: 8.0 inches (no optic)
- Threads: 1/2 inch-28 TPI
- Accessory Rail: M-LOK
- Operating System: Gas Piston
- Weight: 7.4 pounds (empty)
- MSRP: $2335
Once in a while something new will come to the firearms world which leaves me feeling puzzled. The Sig MCX lineup isn’t all that new anymore, it’s held strong within the market and I’ve heard many good things about them but I still had a lot of unanswered questions.
Having recently gotten some hands-on time with a suppressed short-barreled rifle in .300 Blackout I decided to try and figure out what’s what.
At first glance the MCX line looks just like an AR-15 without the buffer tube. The usual bolt and magazine releases are in the same locations with the mag release being ambidextrous, the ambi safety selector has a ninety degree throw, the upper and lower receivers are held together with two pins, a T charging handle rides up top, a hinged dust cover and forward assist join the brass deflector on the right, and it takes AR-15 grips and STANAG mags.
If not for the stock situation it would be very easy to mistake it for another AR.
The MCX lineup has several models including the Virtus Patrol rifle and pistol, the Canebrake pistol, and the super extra short Rattler. Finishes seem to vary by model and caliber between black, grey, and flat dark earth.
The aluminum handguard features M-Lok at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions with an interrupted Picatinny rail up top.
The back of the lower receiver has another small Picatinny section positioned vertically to accept a variety of MCX style stocks and arm braces, all of which can be completely removed.
The standard MCX stock folds to the left and has a five position length of pull which will be very familiar to AR users. There’s also a QD socket on either side above the rear grip and set near the back of the handguard.
Under the hood is where the MCX gets more interesting. Gone is the AR gas impingement system. There is no buffer tube, weight or spring.
The MCX’s internals are derived from the lesser known AR-180 where the bolt rides on a pair of guide rods and is powered by a gas piston setup.
The handguard can be easily removed altogether which provides access to a series of bolts which allow the user to swap out barrel and piston units should the need arise.
Here is where my confusion begins. If the entire purpose of this design was to have an AR-15 with a folding stock then Sig has certainly succeeded but I have to wonder why they didn’t choose to create a completely new design?