At a recent media event held at HighSpeed Gear’s headquarters in North Carolina I had the chance to spend some quality time with the new Sig MCX VIRTUS. Aside from now being available in ultra operational grey as well as tactical peanut butter the MCX VIRTUS has a few practical upgrades over the standard MCX.
SIG wisely dropped the keymod handguard and has joined the M-LOK club. The new handguard also features holes that allows the end user to adjust the two-position gas block one for either suppressed or unsupressed fire. While those holes are useful for adjusting the gas block they also present an opportunity for burning your fingers when the barrel is hot, if you’re not careful. This feature I can confirm.
With a little training or more intelligence than I have this is easily avoided. The handguard has two areas to access the gas block because the gas block location changes with barrel length.
Like the previous MCX, the handguard is easily removed by pushing the forward takedown pin and sliding the handguard off. The SIG rep said zero retention is pretty reliable, though he recommended mounting the backup iron sights on the bit of rail that’s attached to the upper receiver, though doing that reduces your sight radius dramatically.
Like the MCX the barrel can be changed by removing two screws. I like the easily removable hand guard. It’s comfortable and sturdy. With the VIRTUS, SIG also released eight new handguards of varying lengths and internal widths to accommodate suppressors.
The new stock is still a side-folder but the butt stock has five length of pull positions. It’s sturdier than it looks and rattled much less than a lot of M4 style stocks I’ve tried. The adjustment button is solid and the lock-up is tight. Folding the stock takes a fair amount of pressure, however. When extended, it’s as tight as any non-folding stock.
The VIRTUS has a polymer insert in the lower receiver to ensure a tight fit with the upper receiver the original MCX made do with a screw.
As you probably can’t tell from the picture above, the VIRTUS features a spring loaded firing pin.
You get your choice of a 9″, 11.5″ or 16″ cold hammer-forged barrel chambered in either 300Blk or 5.56. The Virtus barrel has a heavier profile than the standard MCX.
The new SIG Matchlite Duo trigger is a satisfying two-stage trigger. It’s smooth, though the pull is a bit long as is re-set. Still, much better than your garden variety mil-spec trigger.
Shooting the SIG Virtus was a pleasure. The recoil impulse was smooth, muzzle rise was minimal and it proved completely reliable for the 200 or so rounds I put through it. I have two minor complaints, and I am really nit picking here. Inserting a full magazine is a challenge when the bolt is forward. Also, there’s that gas adjustment slot in the hand guard which can scald your digits. Still, After shooting the VIRTUS for a day I walked away wanting a lot more time with one.
Our man Leghorn gave the original MCX a four star overall rating and described it as “trigger-denied perfection”. With the addition of the Matchlite Duo trigger, the VIRTUS might have inched even closer to perfection. That near-perfection comes at a cost, namely $2,233.
Further testing and a full review is forthcoming. Who knows, we might even let Leghorn out of his cage to give the VIRTUS a go.