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We here at TTAG haven’t always been kind to MasterPiece Arms. Back in our early days Robert had some problems with their Protector handgun and things just went downhill from there. More recently I wrote a piece about one of their newer guns (“From the Deepest Depths of Uselessness” — the title should give away the tone) and as a response MasterPiece’s main man Phil Cashin invited me down to their facility to take a peek behind the curtain and see what’s really going on at MPA. This past weekend I flew to Georgia to do just that, and see for myself if the truth matches their reputation . . .

When I told a couple of my friends where I was going this weekend, the response was immediate and universal: “what did you do wrong?” They thought I was being punished, and their response just about sums up the popular opinion of MPA and their products.

MPA is considered by many to be roughly on par with the likes of Norinco for manufacturing prowess — pumping out cheap copies of old guns and various derivations thereof, with an eye towards quantity and not quality. Naturally they still have their fans, but not so many among the higher level shooters. So when MPA announced that they were going to start producing a $4,000 bolt action rifle at SHOT Show, it really didn’t make sense in that context.

Was this really a case of a quality manufacturer with a bad rep, or a crappy manufacturer trying to squeeze every penny from their customers? I needed to find out.


I rolled into the parking lot of their manufacturing facility a few minutes behind schedule, but not for a lack of trying. Their factory is located in a small and easily overlooked warehouse in Corner, Georgia, making it very easy to drive right past without realizing it. Despite the small and unassuming nature of the place, a quick look at the names on the work orders pinned to the machines was my first glimmer that there might actually be something worthwhile under all the grime.

One person was making drive shaft covers for a company known for their large green tractors. Another CNC machine was turning solid copper stock into some very recognizable hollow point bullets that made a media splash recently. Then there were the magazine wells for a certain quick-change multi-caliber firearm, right alongside parts for MPA’s own firearms. If MPA’s quality really was as low as their reputation led me to believe, I thought, why were so many companies turning to them to make some of their most important parts?

I first met Phil in his office just off the factory floor. It may not have been the tidiest office space I’d been in, but as he said, he preferred to put the money back into the equipment and personnel rather than re-carpeting a visitor’s area that was just going to get dirty again a month later. Phil seemed genuinely happy to see me and share MPA’s story, and I was just as happy to start putting the pieces together in my own head.

The history of MPA really starts in 1973, when the previous owner opened his own machine shop. It wasn’t until some years later that the focus of the company started to shift toward firearms manufacturing. That was after the ATF declared “open bolt” firearms to be verboten and the MAC-10 needed a re-design to stay legal. The previous owner came up with a design for the old girl that worked well, and over the years that design continued to be perfected.

Phil came into the picture around 2008, when he bought MPA from the previous owner. He’d made his money in selling machine tools and associated equipment.

If you ask Phil, what sets his shop apart from others is that they’re machinists first and foremost. MPA started life as a straight machine shop first, then slowly drifted toward making firearms. With most manufacturers firearms designs usually start with the marketing teams and then it’s up to the engineers to make that work somehow in the real world. At MPA engineering comes first.

At the time Phil bought MPA the shop was only devoting 21% of its time to making firearms. Six years later, 90% of what MPA does is make its own guns and Phil plans to phase out that last 10% as quickly as he can. “It’s much easier to make your own finished product than to deal with other companies,” Phil says.


After getting the basics of the story from Phil, we wandered out onto the shop floor and straight into the barrel making section. While FNH USA’s barrel shop is roughly the size of MPA’s factory, this smaller version consisted of four machines squirreled away in the corner of the shop: a gun drill, a reamer, a rifling machine, and an oven for heat treatment. MPA makes all of its barrels on-site, from the short 9mm barrels for handguns to the new precision rifle barrels for their bolt action rifle — something I really wasn’t expecting.

It was while watching one of the employees drilling out a barrel blank that I started to realize that this wasn’t just some no-name shop churning out junk guns — there was real craftsmanship at work here. Instead of simply setting the drilling machine the same way as higher volume operations do, MPA’s operator individually mounts and adjusts each blank to get the straightest bore and then watches the machine like a hawk for any sign that it might not be cutting cleanly and smoothly, varying the speed of the drill as needed. After each barrel he takes a hand file and sharpens the bit. “It makes the drill cut cleaner and last longer,” he says.

This wasn’t a match grade barrel — this one was destined for their smallest 9mm handgun.


Off to the side was a rifling machine. MPA uses button rifling rather than cut rifling for a reason: equal pressure. According to Phil cut rifling might be more precise, but it unevenly stresses the barrel one side at a time and leads to a less accurate gun. Button rifling evenly stresses the barrel, which leads to a more accurate gun. I asked if they had ever considered cold hammer forging, but Phil says they just don’t have the money or space and don’t see a huge benefit over what they do now.

In a room off to the side of the barrel area is the testing equipment with all the same equipment I’d seen at other shops before from a barrel scope to a pneumatic diameter gauge. Phil wanted to illustrate why they made their barrels the way they do, so he popped a Remington barrel on the scope and had me take a look inside. To the naked eye it looked mirror smooth, but with the barrel scope you could see a never-ending line of concentric rings cut into the side of the bore. “Chatter marks,” Phil said, from the drill not being precisely aligned and monitored. He then put one of his own barrels on the machine, and there was nary a stray mark to be found. “It might not impact low volume shooters” Phil says, “but the carbon and copper builds up on those chatter marks and degrades the barrel over time.”


For the handgun barrels this would be the end of the line; they head off to a CNC machine to have the chamber cut into the part and get the proper profiling. Rifle barrels get an extra treatment: hand lapping. Every single rifle barrel is hand-lapped by the master barrel maker himself and worked until he’s happy with the quality. Only the very best pass inspection and even a single tooling mark left in the barrel kicks it out of contention.


There was one product MPA made that I hadn’t seen in their catalog before: silencers. MPA has started making a monocore design 5.56 and rimfire silencer that easily comes apart for user servicing. It looks to be a truly interesting and novel design. They also make a permanently welded version for .30 caliber guns. This was the first glimmer of true innovation and stepping outside their comfort zone that I saw, and it made me want to see what else they could do.

For MPA’s firearms, just about everything is made in-house. There are exceptions  like the receivers for their MAC-10 clones and the bolt action rifle (they don’t have the necessary machines), as well as the springs and some small pins. But everything else is made on the premises. The tolerances for those parts are on par if not better than the QC at the other big-name manufacturers I visited, and the level of care that they put into each firearm is clearly visible in the finished product.

But therein lies the problem.


The MAC-10 was an interesting design when it came out in 1970, but time hasn’t been kind to the old girl. Back when the MAC-10 was still new it seemed like every two-bit shop was cranking out their own version of the gun, and as a result the market was flooded with cheap, poorly built guns. It quickly earned a reputation for being a collection of pot-metal scrap not even worth its recycled value, something that falls apart and easily breaks. While the MPA version is solidly built, it still suffers from the same reputation and taints the company as a whole. After all, how good can a company be when they produce a gun with that kind of a track record?

The other problem with the design is that it’s a dated, distinctly 1970’s style. Think Volvo 240. It’s a boxy, utilitarian stamped sheet-metal pistol, a direct blowback design with a massive bolt and a chunky frame. The world of firearms had moved past the direct blowback design about the time bell-bottoms went out of style, but MPA has kept cranking out the exact same design with the exact same appearance all along.



MPA did come out with a new firearm a couple years back in the form of their MPAR, an updated Leader T2 MK5, but in the same way that they haven’t strayed very far from their original MAC design, MPA hasn’t made the design changes needed to really make the MPAR a competitor in the modern sporting rifle arena. All it needs are a few minor changes — a magazine catch release button, thinner handguards, free-floating the barrel, and a rounded mag well — but their desire to have any improvements “backwards compatible” with the rifles already in circulation is keeping them from making those few simple changes.

The problem, as I see it, is that there are two MasterPiece Arms.

The first MPA has a problem common to a lot of businesses: stagnation and target fixation. Their MAC-10 clones and MPAR rifles sell well enough to keep the company afloat. But management seems to be so afraid of losing that market that they’re unwilling to change the appearance other than bolting things to the exterior. In Phil’s opinion people buy his guns because they look like a MAC-10. Unfortunately, that same feature is the reason for the negative perception of their company in the market.

I’m not sure there will always be a market for that gun and MPA seems to be wasting their potential by fixating on a design from the 1970’s instead of innovating and producing something new. Heck, even a MAC-10 derivative using all the same parts in a new form factor would be a welcome step forward.


The second MPA is the one that I’m starting to see peek through in the corners. Quality barrels, precision-machined chassis, brand new designs. Their new bolt action rifle line shows what MPA can do when they really put their minds to something, and it is truly incredible. It’s a functional firearm that holds its own even in the higher price range, and showcases the care and attention to detail that MPA puts into all of its guns.

But even then, it’s an old design with some minor updates — MPA business as usual. The real innovation is coming from MPA’s new silencers, which are a design that AAC should have come out with years ago instead of being suffocated by Freedom Group. They show real innovation and the potential within the company to actually break out of the old designs and make something new and awesome.


When I left, I told Phil exactly what I just told y’all — that MPA is stuck and needs to change to survive. There’s so much potential being wasted on the old designs, and it’s time for them to really spread their wings and show the world what they can do. This rag-tag company of machinists may have survived for decades on one old design, but the time has come for them to part ways with the MAC-10 and finally produce something legitimately “new.”

This company of machinists needs a designer.

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    • Agreed. They should start pumping out modernized Hi-Powers, as long as they are inclined to dig into the design archives. At least that gun is still relevant (after nearly 80 years).

      • It was J.M. Browning’s last project, finished by his son. Of COURSE it is still relevant.

      • Oooo. An affordable Hi-Power. I’d buy that for a dollar! (80’s references for a company stuck in the 80’s)

        • The MAC-10 is considered an ICON,

          It was used by the Navy Seals in Grenada ’83, Navy Seals in Vietnam, and was the most-often-used gun in the Miami 1980s drug wars.

          This gun is as iconic as Miami Vice itself, (and used in many MV episodes, in addition to the Delta Force 1980s movies starring chuck norris, etc.).

          Have you ever heard of “nostalgia”?? You’re an idiot, please get a clue.

      • I have had a few ideas kicking around and a shop like this would be just the place for it…
        One would be making a HighPower that could shoot the 7.62x25mm.
        Before you scoff, think about it… the ammo is cheap, commercial ammo is available from many makers. There is no “Hi Cap” gun that uses this round and one could just as well make the same gun in .38 super/9×21/9mm largo/ 9mm styer/and for full effect 9×23 Win & 9mm Nato for the less exotic crowd, with only a change to the barrel. Mags are the one lone hangup on this that I can think of.
        Hell I would even be happy with just a lower frame that allowed for high cap mags (say for the EAA witness?) to be used with a Tokarev slide.
        If there was no demand for a gun such as this, then why are the classic single stack models, that are identical to the surplus guns, THAT ARE BRAND NEW, getting imported?

        Idea 2 is the American SKS…. with all of the surplus SKS pretty much gone, and a good demand for the rifle by hunters, plus a HUGE aftermarket for parts and stocks thanks to being a very simple and robust design… even if it was to come in at say.. meh….$650?… it would compete directly with the likes of the Ruger Mini 30 and have a larger fan base (thanks to available parts from the aftermarket upgrades aimed at surplus guns where the Ruger, while a fine gun and all, just does NOT HAVE IT nor the track record that the SKS has)
        Why? you might ask, would someone want to pay $600+ for such a thing?…. Look at the price of a used Norinco that has been “Sporterised (cough) bubba’ed (cough) ” and you see that people are willing to pay that price for a USED LOW QUALITY version of that gun…
        Not to mention it would be bomb proof vs another potential “assault weapons” gun ban and markets where magazines with more than 10 rounds are illegal, not to mention states like California where mags are non removable (such as in many ar-15’s with the “bullet Button”)
        Hell one could do crazy crap even such as chamber it in other rounds…. there is no 6.5 Grendel AK, nor do I know of a 6.8 SPC AK either. But with the SKS, a mag well that could take ar-15/m-16 mags with little alteration to the receiver directly? Well you get my point…..
        And it has been done (the ar mag conversion I mean…) (its over priced but there is a design for it none the less)
        If MPA would only make the receiver, top cover, trigger assembly, and barrel, the after market would provide all the rest for parts!
        Hell if one wants to bash on using old deigns that are 40+ years old, then we should get rid of all of are 1911’s, DSA FAL’s, Ar-15’s, Barreta, 92’s, Mauser bolt actions, AK clones, H&K mp5/g3’s, Garands, M-14’s (oh look at that the rifle the Mini 14 & 30 were based on)… cause you know… they are too old and “out dated” to be of much use.

        Also they could serve as a ready parts supply for the guns already in market….just a thought…

    • He was probably thinking, “If you’ve seen one black cylinder, you’ve seen them all.” How exciting can the outside of a suppressor be, visually?

  1. Jumping from MAC-10 clones to 4k bolt guns is a hell of a leap, they need to hit something in the middle ground to catch my eye.

    • They need a small range of products. Not too many to over complicate their manufacturing capabilities, but a few in between weapons would round out their lineup and give some people who are not into MAC 10s something to look at. I am not a big MAC 10 fan, only because I can’t get it with it’s intended FA ability. That semi auto rifle looks interesting.

  2. Maybe they could do what all the other manufactures do. Produce 1911s and AR15s.
    We need something modern and different. I hope they don’t do a KelTec and produce great designs like the KSG, PMR30 and the Bullpup 308 which are very rare and of dubious quality.
    I think there is a need for a civilian PDW. Maybe a bullpup firing a high powered pistol round, 357magnum or 7.62×25. Or “pistol” with a Sig type arm brace.
    I am tempted with their 5.7×28 pistol. Now that is different.

    • “I think there is a need for a civilian PDW. Maybe a bullpup firing a high powered pistol round, 357magnum or 7.62×25. Or “pistol” with a Sig type arm brace.”


    • 10mm carbine with a 30 round magazine.

      Yes, I know ammo would be expensive….but still, damn. that’d be a hoot to shoot.

    • I like the way you think. There is, indeed, a need for a civilian PDW weapon. The best I can come up with atm is a .300 BLK “pistol” with sig arm brace.

      • I think that a .300 BLK “pistol” with a barrel of about 7-8″ would make for a perfect SBR. Add a polymer receiver to cut weight down, too.

        Basically, take Extar EXP-556 pistol (3 lbs unloaded!), chamber it in .300 BLK, and add a fake buffer tube to slip the SIG brace on, and there it is.

    • “I am tempted with their 5.7×28 pistol.”

      At the price point they’re currently running you won’t be disappointed unless you expect it to be something it wasn’t designed to be. I love mine as a fun toy and an inexpensive way to get into a caliber that fascinated me. Most of the complaints seem to be from people who don’t own one and have issues about daily carry, weight or how “ugly” they are.

    • Maybe some sort of AK pistol with double-stack mags in .357 and .44 magnum? The magazines would be prorpietary (need dividing wall in the middle and maybe make it for higher OAL if you want to use spitzer bullets) but it would offer a powerful, yet common cartridge.

  3. Not sure I see the “real innovation” in their silencers… looks an awful lot like the YHM’s (patented) phantom core. Yes the core is removable, but that’s not high on anyone’s 5.56 can “wish list” IMO.

    Can you give more details on what makes it special?

    • It’s the first expansion chamber. Where most other people just do a more substantial baffle, they put in a muzzle brake and a large chamber. It’s an interesting concept, and seems to work really well.

      • So it’s kind of like having a QD Phantom’s innards (if you use a brake) on a regular thread-on Phantom? Given that QD cans usually meter nearly identical to their thread-on cousins, I’m not sure this has me that excited… but I will wait and see it in the wild before forming an opinion. More options for the consumer is never a bad thing.

      • That sounds interesting. I suspect the concept is inspired in the original MAC-10 suppressor which was huge and two stage, and had a massive expansion chamber at the beginning of the can. So that’s pretty clever of them, do something new and different yet in keeping with the MAC-10 roots.

  4. Man I was hoping the article would say you actually asked him to his face why they thought a blocky, Mac-10 clone chambered in 5.7×28 was something the market needed. And whether they sell well or not.

  5. This description of the MPA facility reminds me of my visit to the Seecamp shop–an unassuming little building with a small staff of workers who take pride in quality. I love businesses like that.

    I wish that MPA’s investment in the Protector series had paid off. I got the ported version the year after Robert tried one of the early models, and it’s a neat little machine.

  6. No, they don’t have to stop the MAC 10 design. Where else do people who want a good one go to? They just need R&D and consumer feedback to improve designs. They need to be a new Keltec.

    • Kel Tec comes out with some great designs and I really like them, but they might as well be vaporware.

      Im still waiting for the RMR 30. MP7 style firearm in .22 WMR? Please!

      I secretly pray to the Gods that Ruger buys up Kel Tec and upgrades production and quality of their firearms.

    • I agree. What is wrong with the mac 10-11 series? It is still perfect for its role. No “improvements” seem in order. Why “move on” past your best selling product that keeps you solvent? The best thing would seem to be to keep making the bread and butter designs that keep you afloat, while moving into a new line, that might sell well enough to make you more profits later, for that day when the older products reach the end of their sales potential? And yet that seems to be exactly what they are doing!
      Most all of the objections herein seem to be based on the looks and “old fashionedness” of the core products, and not on their usefulness or utility, or even the quality of manufacture. Simply on the looks. I think that is a mistake. New products should provide something more than a new look for me to be interested.
      All that said, it does seem as if a great designer is what is needed here, but then that same thing can be said of EVERY manufacturer. Unfortunately, A John Browning or a Nikola Tesla does not come your way just every old day of the week, or even year. Mostly a truly innovative designer only comes along about once in a hundred years, worldwide.

  7. Someone needs to get MPA and Kel-Tec together for a licensing deal. If MPA really is the high-quality machine shop Nick says it is, it would be sweet if they could take one or two of Kel-Tec’s more interesting designs, improve the build quality, and make them actually available for purchase.

    It’ll never happen, but a guy can dream, right?

    And I totally agree with you, Nick, that tired-ass, boxy MAC-10 design has got to go. Keep making one or two models for anyone who might be nostalgic for Miami Vice and A-Team re-runs, but MPA needs some new ideas.

  8. I see a lot of suggestions on what people think MPA should be doing.

    I wonder how that compares with their sales figures and profit margin. Y’know, that funny thing we call reality. Are they in financial trouble? Is their market segment contracting? Is their market share contracting? If so, it seems like a re-evaluation on their part is warranted. If not, it seems like the naysayers should probably STFU.

    And no, I do not own a single MPA product. But this article (and the accompanying comments) reads like a bunch of know-nothing consultants coming in and telling a company why they need to change.

  9. They’re not going to be a new version of Kel-Tec, because from what I can tell they have about the same production capacity. Kel-Tec’s ingenuity is meaningless because as far as most of us are concerned, they make vaporware. Until any one of us can walk into just about any gun shop anywhere in the country and choose from a few different Kel-Tec models that aren’t subjected to the rarity markup, we will continue to buy other brands. MPA will have a tough road ahead because not only do they have limited production capacity, they don’t (yet) have Kel-Tec’s reputation for ingenuity. All that said, I honestly do wish them the best, it seems like they are very passionate and intelligent folks, I just hope they know what lays ahead if they want to be innovators and build the brand.

  10. maybe they could make a bolt gun that is a hair less than i paid for my car? that would be great.
    I want to see some more pistol caliber bolt action carbines, the ruger is cool but more delisle carbine in 10mm, i would pay for that.

  11. This company of machinists needs a designer.

    What does the relo package look like?

  12. Open Bolt and Silencers? Hmm, sounds like a sten/stirling could fit right in their comfort zone. Wonder if they could do it in .357 magnum.

    • How about a pistol caliber Sten like AR upper in pistol and rifle lengths. Design it to take common mags (Glock?) that connect to the side of the upper like the sten and it ejects case down the mag well.

  13. Nick really seems to believe he knows about about the product they push and their actual sales. I mean your critique makes no sense in light of the fact you know nothing about the health of their business to make any of the claims you make.

    I’m hoping they eventually update the MPAR line and add a 308 caliber and I’ll be buying one. I support what they are doing in offering excellent products and an even better price.

  14. As another poster said, they need to do a QUALITY HK MP7 style weapon that takes then FN 5.7 round.

    It would be unique in a sea of clones and if well executed, would really put them on the map.

  15. Folding PCC in 9, 10mm and 44 mag please!

    I too like small shops with high quality control and a hands on approach but my automotive experience tells me that this can often become a disaster if the quality system isn’t in place properly. I’ve seen too many machinists make small changes that shouldn’t matter, but really do…in a big way.

    It is refreshing to hear about american manufacturing with good quality and talented staff. I really enjoy that more than I think I can convey in text.

  16. I bought one of their mini-9 defenders earlier this year. Yes, I know, the design screams 70’s, it’s akin to holding a brick ( the desert eagle is a tad more comfortable),and it serves no real purpose. But, fwiw, the quality IS there. Although I didn’t do any real testing, and only shot around 250 rounds, it felt solid and performed without a hiccup.
    The only reason I did buy it was because I am not a rich man by any means and I could afford this mac-10/11 remake and I like collecting all types of firearms. The fact that it makes anti gun hypocrites shake because of its scary, evil looks is icing on the cake.
    In short, I have no regrets about owning one and am quite happy with it….and isn’t that what counts?

  17. Cool… I hope they make some people feel like fools and really turn the company into something great.

    I love to see American industry and American workers doing it right.

    Good article and a very interesting insight.

  18. There nothing wrong with a simple blowback design. The MAC-10 was meant to be cheap – just like the M-3 “Grease Gun.”

    The button cut vs. single point cut rifling issue has been proven pretty well by lots of benchrest and F-class shooters. Single cut barrels hold the tightest groups out there. Krieger and Bartlein are highly represented in the top scores and tightest groups.

    Cold hammer forged barrels have the most stress pounded into them. They’re the cheapest to make, once you’ve sunk the capital into the tooling and machines, and they have the advantages that you can hammer forge the chambers into the barrel at the same time and they don’t need lapping to look smooth on the inside.

  19. What if they went into the barrel boring business. If their barrel rifle cutting is so great, they could just sell those and buy their name into the competitive rifle business. Give Krieger, Borden, Shilen, and the others a run for their money. They could really change their company rep by having a guy win a match or two with a MPA barrels. One aspect of match shooting is the equipment the winner is using. Win a match with a Krieger barrel, BIB Bullets, modified 6.5 Grendel case, and a McMillan stock and the next season you will see at least 5 guys sporting that setup. Most matches I shoot the entrants declare their custom gun’s makeup. Winners drive sales.

  20. There is NOTHING innovative about those suppressor designs. The Ruskies have been making stuff like that for decades and those MPA baffle stacks potentially violate Mark White’s patent which is currently in use by YHM.

    Hardly anyone uses widely spread slant baffles like that because …. they don’t work very well.

  21. Here’s my big idea: Modularity of ar15 + long stroke piston + adjustable gas system (like a fal)

    Boom. Big money. Not a new idea mind. (Daewoo K2 anyone?) Still. It’d rock.

    • Good idea! Doesn’t take a John Browning either. They should have enough of a designer to do it all in house already. It would be esp good if they made it easily externally adjustable like a Jungmann or a Hakim.

  22. Bullpup carbines that take Glock mags.

    Hey, if Keltec can’t be bothered to scale up production/distribution of Sub2k, there’s plenty of room in the market for others…

    Also, long-slide short-grip pistols geared for IWB concealment, also taking Glock mags.

  23. That is some serious progress. From old MAC clones to ostentatiously priced high precision bolt guns with a few mid priced rifles in between. That is quite a leap for a company to make and it seems that they have the nohow on the engineering side of things to do it.

    I’ve got an older Master Piece Arms .45 carbine that I’ve put a few thousand rounds through over the years. Last year I broke a hammer in mine and sent it to them for repair. They honored their life time warranty without any hassle and took the next step and updated the gun with several very welcoming features.

    With the way the company handles their affairs, and their knack for redesigning and updating forgotten fire arm designs, as well as their new foray into High Precision Fire Arms, I have strong hopes for them and the future. Wish all companies out their handled their affairs as MPA does.

  24. If you think the “problem” with MPA is that they stick with a design that is successful, well liked by their customers, time tested and profitable, you should work for Fiat. That same level of thinking is what took the Cherokee from the boxy, old school uber-capable 4×4 and turned it into some ugly unrecognizable jelly bean that is neither capable nor what customers wanted.

  25. Seriously? They need to get away from the MAC because it’s “blocky”

    Have you looked at any Glocks lately???

    There are still PLENTY of people out there looking for MACs, and I love MPA for making a quality one. The whole point of the MAC is totally lost on the writer of this article. It is damn reliable, simple, and very effective. MPA’s MAC carbines strongly serve a home defense role, as you have a lot of firepower/ammo in a very stable platform, and some nice versatility. The whole premise of the article is stupid. We don’t need them to change, just because they are different. Designs that are old are not always “dated” as far as philosophy of use. Ever heard of the AK 47? Or maybe the 50 year old M16 (Older than the MAC). Thumbs down for the whole article. You paid little attention to MPA’s story because you were too busy trying to convey your prejudice.

  26. I noticed they have a new model. It takes glock mags and is begging to be sbr’d. I also like the ceracote options. Like others have commented a PDW would be a nice addition. I am in the process of building a side charging 9mm ar with a glock lower from quarter circle 10. The down side is its going to be expensive. Maybe they can bridge the gap.

  27. When they released their MPA BA chassis for the Howa, I decided to give MPA a chance instead of going with the Manners stock I had planned to order. MPA’s website promised delivery of the chassis in 1-6 weeks. So, I fired off an order and payment of a little over $950. That was 11 weeks ago and I still haven’t received anything from them. Emails I have sent have resulted in no responses and when I call the company, I get a recording half the time and excuses with dates continually farther in the future for delivery when I manage to get an actual rep on the phone. Note: this is despite the fact that their website now shows that there are 4 of the model I ordered in stock for immediate delivery. I am calling them next week and demanding either a date my chassis will be shipped or a refund.

  28. Follow up to my last comment – after nothing but excuses from MPA for 12 weeks as to why I didn’t have the chassis that was supposed to delivered in 1-6 weeks, I finally asked them to ship the stock or refund my money. They elected to refund my money which I suppose means they were incapable of actually fulfilling my order. MPA managed to delay my rifle build by three months and waste tons of my time – as such, my current opinion is MPA sucks.

  29. Did I just see on the description page for the MPA on their website that they ship this rifle with a trigger that is adjustable from 2lbs, down to just a half a pound?! Did they learn nothing from the lawsuits against Remington for a factory rifle with a sub-pound trigger? (see “Gun Modifications, Light Triggers and Reloaded Ammunition” at ) If the customer want to do it to their rifle after the fact, then fine. But opening up your company to lawsuits from actions that another company already suffered for is sheer stupidity. This group of machinists needs more that a designer, they need a legal team, and probably a new CEO. One with brains might be nice.

  30. Enjoyed reading your article. Retired after 20 yrs. active duty, most of that as a Green Beret with 1st Group out here in WA. I told myself I’d be damned if I carried and cleaned another M16/M4 platform firearm again!! Got into the AR scene, but still had a desire to somehow get back into 5.56 business.. then I saw Masterpiece Arms’ “MPAR” rifle. I was intrigued; and had no earthly idea of it’s history, so learning about that was very interesting. I kept my distance and waited, researched and read for close to a year before buying; basically, waiting for them to come out with a bolt hold-open feature. I purchased, and now nearly 1,500 rounds later and having put this weapon through some grueling tests of my own, I am wholly sold on this, and with what Phil is doing. I would gladly carry this into harm’s way. Love the weapon, and it has been 100% reliable for me. I have to say, I “wrote off” MPA in my mind, let there be no doubt. But I am a believer now. Love my MPAR. Yes, they make a thinner, smaller foregrip but I’ve yet to purchase it. My thoughts? Let ’em make the MAC’s if they like that. It certainly is Americana, and yes, they’re selling enough of them for sure. I like what they are doing, and Phil is one seccess story, with what he has done with Masterpiece Arms. Happy New Year to all.

  31. I’ve actually been to the factory on a Savage that blew up. It’s a great group if people and they were very helpful.
    I absolutely love the Chassis systems that they’re making now and have several. Just ordered a bolt gun in 6.5C. It is a sub 1/2 MOA guarantee rifle and can’t wait to see it.

  32. Once again, you spout-off about how others “should” do things. The M10 is their bread and butter. It makes NO sense to stop producing the gun that keeps their doors open.

    Not everyone looks down on the company. Many feel the MPA is the best variant of M10 available in current production.

    Maybe TTAG should stop focusing on firearms, and do a cooking blog? I see that French pastries are huge right now, and exotic foods like truffles have really taken off.

    Guns are unpopular today, according to CNN, nobody should buy guns. You’re catering to a small, dying niche of uneducated people. Only a matter of time before you beed to change your business model to adapt!

    Guns are antiquated, and soon people won’t care about them.

    Perhaps a website dedicated to legal dope, or a review of the latest hippie scents from the local granola shops would get more susbscribers.

    Don’t act like you have a clue about anything. I wouldn’t “invite” your opinionated arse to my shop to plunge the women’s room shitter.

  33. I get the big picture and what is best for MPA to move forward….but coming off a Barrett MRAD and looking for a bolt action that keeps up and has a dedicated staff of customer friendly engineers for us “needy” shooters that do it for a job and not for fun, I certainly hope what ever plane they take for growth keeps them in touch with their consumer. There is a number of reasons their long guns are doing well and quality is only one of them….have you ever tried to talk with Barrett? I have the feeling I could get assistance even knee deep in sand in the Middle East if I called MPA. That’s the vibe you get when you join their family. If their designs are stuck in the 70’s their customer care sure isn’t. I’d be overjoyed to see the release of new products…but having gone to shot show a few times myself I would rather them do it at their own pace!

  34. I think Hazard nailed it.
    Thanks for your service.
    I’m going to buy one of their chassis, a close friend did and it’s definitely top shelf.

  35. What was left out on the newer versions of their Defender line of 9mm, .45acp, &5.7mm X 28 pistols is the receiver is manufactured from hi grade machined aluminum. It’s no longer made from stamped steel and bent to shape. I had one in my hands a couple days ago. The sights are adjustable, front for elevation & rear for wind age. The sight protector wings are alumawelded in place. The receiver is Ceracoated in an attractive & unblemished finish.. The gun sports what appears to be a faux suppressor called a hand guard safety extension. There is available a short hand guard of machined aluminum. The rear of the receiver is drilled & tapped for a folding stock to make it a SBR if desired and has the flush QD sling socket. The model I examined has a full top rail for an optic. The pistol also accepts Glock 17 mags as well as the 32 round long mag.
    Will I buy one? I will as soon as I put the layaway in place for 60 day payoff.
    My use is for home defense with a holo sight topside & a mini laser on the short bottom rail.
    I like the quality of what I examined, but actual firing it will tell the story. The trigger is single action and around the 5-6 pound mark. Not a bullseye gun for sure, but 32 rounds of 9mm ought to do.

  36. A lot of “idiot” commentary above, starting from the original articles author on down. Show me YOUR functioning and successful firearms manufacturing business, including historical manufacturing and profit records BEFORE you start telling MPA what THEY need to do to stay relevant. I think they are doing just fine, their rifle was a huge surprise, but I bet it’s a real shooter!

    • Yep. To paraphrase an old saying, “Those that can – do. Those that can’t – write about those that can”.

  37. The MPA chassis is one of the most used in the PRS realm so i would think they knocked it out of the park with that one and are still innovating

  38. Another dumb review on MA. I have a 5.7DMG carbine and a locker full of high end custom rifles . I’m a Marine Corps Vet and a Machinist… this is all about how tacticool you think their products are. In both your reviews YOU NEVER EVEN TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE FIRING THE WEAPON!! ….Because , at least in the first review YOU DIDNT!! The 5.7 DMG Carbine is a 1/4 inch MOA RIFLE YOU RETARD! …and YES it’s on a MAC10 chasis. SO WHAT!?

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