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[SHOT 2018] Hands On with FightLite’s MCR Lightweight Belt-Fed, Raider Pistol

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At the 2018 SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, Florida gunmaker FightLite Industries, best known for their SCR “ban state” lower receiver that allows “compliant” rifles to be made using AR-15 components. FightLite also is the manufacturer of the MCR upper receiver, a conversion kit that transforms an AR-15 into a belt-fed light machine gun.

The MCR light machine gun upper has been available in a number of different forms for years. Initially marketed under the name “ARES Shrike”, the MCR is an improved version of the original Shrike. The basic design of the weapon is similar to the AR-15, but inverted and coupled with an MG-42/MAG/M60 style top cover design to facilitate belt feeding.

Like the AR-15, the MCR uses a multilug rotary bolt, long round bolt carrier, and the AR-15 buffer from the original lower receiver. Unlike an AR-15, however, the bolt carrier “key” is rotated 90 degrees to the left side. The “key” serves as an impact surface for the left-side mounted operating rod. Mounted near the back of the firing pin channel is the cam which interfaces with the belt feed pawl in the top cover.

Above two images taken from FightLite’s website.

The MCR comes in four variations, each with either 16.25″ barrels or 12.5″ barrels, and either 1913 Picatinny rails or KeyMod slots. In assembled configuration with an AR-15 lower receiver, the MCR weighs approximately 10 pounds unloaded. The MCR accepts either linked ammunition with M27 belt links, or ammunition in magazines fed through the conventional AR-15 magwell.

Shooting the MCR was an interesting experience. The combination of AR-15 ergonomics and a light machine gun upper half is a strange one. Normally, light machine guns are fairly awkward weapons that make up for their brutal, spartan ergonomics with firepower. However, the MCR thanks to its lightweight and AR-15 foundation feels a lot more like a rifle with a different feed system.

Put your brass in the air like you just don’t care!

At Range Day, I also shot the FightLite Raider pistol. This unusual (and, frankly, novelty) weapon couples the SCR lower receiver with a pistol upper receiver and a modified bird’s head grip. Probably the most interesting thing about this pistol was figuring out just how you’re supposed to shoot the thing. I tried a couple of different methods, and found I wasn’t very comfortable with either.

The second way was particularly bad.

Ultimately, the Raider was pretty unpleasant to shoot under cover, thanks to its large, loud brake. I think the weapon would be improved either through a different muzzle device or rechambering to a milder round (such as 9mm).

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