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I use a PWS Mk 116 as my competition rifle for one solid reason: it was the best 5.56 NATO rifle on the market when I made that decision. PWS makes some amazing stuff and their Mk116 was no exception. Now it appears that they have improved on the design, lightening the gun as much as possible while still retaining that rugged and useful PWS design. They dubbed their creation the Mk1 MOD 2 line . . .

As PWS points out in their video, there are a whole host of new changes. Only a few of those I really want to highlight, because they are fairly awesome.


First up the PWS team has lightened the receiver set as much as possible. They have removed a ton of material from the less structurally important locations, but unlike the F1 Firearms rifle where the receiver is open to the surrounding elements they have left just enough material to keep the gun sealed against dirt and dust.

Also on this side of the gun is the trigger finger bolt catch release button. This feature mirrors that of the SIG SAUER MPX / MCX and a few other guns, and while it isn’t as cool as the LMT fully ambidextrous rifle it definitely helps.


Moving forward there’s a redesigned handguard for the rifle. Previously the entire handguard was keymod with attachment sections available in the box. Now, the majority of the handguard is still keymod but the last few inches have been turned into a recessed picatinny rail section. This allows for mounting accessories much closer to the bore axis of the gun and slims down the whole profile. I like it — they did it very well.


Finally, the castle nut has been redesigned. PWS’ previous incarnation had a one piece buffer tube and castle nut thing that used a screw to index on the hole in the rear of the receiver. The new design goes back to the original (and slimmer) castle nut and lock plate assembly, but the catch is that there’s a ratchet built into the lock plate to keep the castle nut from moving. I liked their previous design better, but this one is definitely lighter — and cheaper.

MSRP on the Mk116 MOD 2 is about $2,050, which is in line with their previous products.

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  1. Love the receivers and picmod rail, smart.

    I’ll have to get my hands on the ratcheting castle nut before passing judgement. Typically I look for a properly staked castle nut as a sign of a decent build.

  2. I’ve got a few Mod1 PWS rifles. They’re the bee’s knees. Light, well balanced, long-stroke piston system, light recoil, dependable as hell, built to last tens of thousands of rounds, as accurate as any other auto loader anywhere (easily sub-MOA). You get what you pay for.

    That said, I feel like they jumped the shark a little with the skeletor receivers. Ratcheting castle nut is a cool idea and overdue.

    Thanks for checking in on PWS for us fanboys, TTAG!

    • I freaking love a piston AR. I can shoot 500 rounds of nasty russian steel case through it and it takes five minutes to clean

        • The PWS MK1 Mod 2 is a long stroke piston rifle. The rifle that Agency Arms and PWS are doing is a DI rifle. It’s basically the same rifle but with some upgrades but also costs $850.00 more than this one.

  3. It also has the Mk2 version of their FSC556 muzzle device. The new model has a closed end – like the traditional A2 birdcage – so probably has a reduced flash signature compared to the original FSC.

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