When it comes to military gear, lighter is generally better. Mobility is the name of the game. FightLite gets it. They’re pairing their lightweight automatic rifle with polymer cased ammunition to further relieve the physical burden on our men and women fighting on the front lines.
FightLite’s belt-fed firearm was designed in 2002, marketed as the SHRIKE upper receiver. The rifle allows AR-15 owners to use standard magazines or linked belts of 5.56 ammunition on their existing lower receiver.
The biggest benefit was for machine gun owners: those with a [registered] full auto lower receiver could have both a belt-fed rifle and their existing machine gun with no extra paperwork. Production was slow to ramp-up and unit costs remained high ($4,414 per upper receiver). Very few SHRIKEs made it into the wild.
FightLite is now trying to sell their weapon system to the government as a lightweight replacement for existing automatic weapons, paired with a new polymer ammunition (presser).
The ammo appears to be the same as the PCP Ammunition we reviewed some three years ago, in 5.56 NATO (not 7.62 NATO). The polymer case reduces total ammo weight by a reported 20 percent — doing nothing to lighten the actual projectile.
Anyway, at $4,450 FightLite’s complete MCR (Mission Configurable Rifle) rifle with its belt-fed upper is a steal — only $45 more than the cost of the upper alone.
At a full 10 pounds lighter than the M249 SAW (above) it seeks to replace, the MCR is better on paper. Lighter, cheaper with better parts compatibility to firearms in use by the same squad, it’s a logical step.
One critical, unanswered question: is the MCR is reliable enough for military use?
With its usual efficiency [/sarc], the U.S. military is ramping-up its replacement program for the rifles and automatic weapons. It might be a good time for FigheLite’s MCR to get its foot in the door. Watch this space.