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Military News, Tech, and Intel

From Yesteryear To The Future

SONIC BOOM, 07-24-2017 — Winchester ’95

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SONIC BOOM – Extended: Sea-Air-Space 2017

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BREAKING — Palm Sunday Massacre

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SPECIAL REPORT: The Unseen Blade

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IN FOCUS: The Best Service Rifle

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The MPT-76 (Turkish: Milli Piyade Tüfeği, English: National Infantry Rifle), the new service rifle for the Turkish armed forces, debuted in 2014 at Eurosatory 2014, ADEX 2014 and MSPO 2014. It is a solid 7.62x51mm battle rifle, designed by MKEK (Turkish: Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu) that is beginning to get more notice.

Developmental prototypes were delivered beginning in 2008, in 5.56x45mm NATO based on the Heckler & Koch 417, but the Turkish troops testing the rifle were apparently quite loud in disliking the intermediate cartridge, loud enough that the design was re-engineered into 7.62x51. The new Turkish rifle is intended to replace the aging stable of H&K G3A4 battle rifles, which were also in 7.62NATO. This is a trend being noted more and more in military circles, as the limited performance of the intermediate rounds becomes increasingly apparent in heavily-researched combat around the world.

The MPT-76 incorporates many design features of the Armalite AR-10B, while clearly showing a lineage with the G3A4, yet incorporating many unique features. Among these are the rifle's beefy 12-position (!) collapsible stock, whose index positions are clearly marked, allowing a shooter who knows their particular ergonomics to easily pick up any stock rifle and customize it to themselves immediately. Interestingly, there is considerable extra mass at the joint connecting the recoil buffer tube to the upper receiver assembly, indicating that the designers recognize that as a major weakness in the AR-series' in-line stock arrangements. Additionally, the folding iron sights show a clear descent from the Heckler & Koch G3 design, using full-ring apertures with an adjustable drum.

Atop the barrel is a full-length M1913 'Picatinny Rail', whose T-joints are also clearly indexed, just as on the buttstock, allowing for rapid placement of removable optics and other rail-mount systems. An optional carrying handle slots into the Picatinny Rail, and incorporates backup iron sights. The system also features an adjustable forward handguard, which is fully adjustable and removable, allowing for mounting a full range of under-barrel attachments. One item of note is that the forward handguard must either be slotted forward or removed entirely in order to break the action open for field stripping. There are also additional screw attachments along the sides of the barrel to allow the mounting of additional rail sections.

Operationally, there are also features that derive from both the AR-10B and the G3A4, as well as unique features of its own. The rifle uses a short-stroke gas piston system, rather than the direct-impingement of the AR-10B, or the roller-locked/delayed blowback of the G3A4. It incorporates several ergonomic features derived from the AR-series, such as the pistol grip, charging handle, bolt forward assist and dust cover, whereas the ambidextrous selector lever shows clear influence from the G3-series. At the same time, the magazine release, while clearly based on the AR-series, is also ambidextrous.

The standard infantry rifle has a 16"/4.064cm barrel. There are apparently plans for a 12"/3.048cm carbine, and a 20"/5.08cm barrel DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle).

Azerbaijan is also apparently signed onto the MPT program, to replace its own aging stable of AK-74M1's.

The trend back to heavy caliber battle rifles is clear: no country orders 500,000 rifles lightly.

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