We are doing something a little different today. We were invited to Austin, Texas, to visit gun YouTuber Texas Plinking and test out the rifle that won the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon competition: SIG Sauer's MCX Spear.

Back from Texas, and after some time to reflect, I’m ready to give you my thoughts on the Spear.
 

Table of Contents

Video
Overview
History
MCX Spear
Features
Accuracy
Reliability
Observations
Conclusion

Video

 

 

Overview

 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The MCX Spear is not your average .308 rifle – this platform was built for the battlefield. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Ok, bottom line up front: even though it is a .308 rifle, you should not think of this as a .308 rifle. There are lighter and less expensive options on the market. 

This rifle is designed to defeat 5.56 or .308 rifles on the battlefield. In that respect, it excels, and the cost is justified. Now, let’s dive into the specifics. 
 

History

 

The Spear is the civilian version of SIG Sauer's XM7 designed for the Army. Here a soldier fires a suppressed XM7 rifle with Vortex XM-157 Fire Control during a stress shoot trial of the Next Generation Squad Weapons system at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in November 2022. (Photo: PdM Soldier Lethality Office/U.S. Army)


First, a little background. In 2017, the Army began the Next Generation Squad Weapon program to, among other things, find a replacement for the standard-issue M4 rifle. There has been talk of replacing the M4 for decades, but lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan have emphasized soldiers’ need for a battle rifle capable of effectively engaging targets at longer ranges. 

They also need a platform that can deal with personal body armor, which is being used more and more by our enemies. Many of our world counterparts have or are developing similar weapon systems with these capabilities, and our military does not want to be left behind.

In 2022, the Army announced that SIG Sauer’s XM5 chambered in a 6.8x51mm hybrid ammunition was the winner. The XM5 was later renamed XM7, and once officially fielded, it will be given the designation M7.
 

Related: Army Pushing Forward with SIG Sauer/Vortex Next Generation Weapons Program
 

MCX Spear

 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The civilian version of the Army's XM7 is the MCX Spear, with two main differences: one, the Spear is semi-auto only ... (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The civilian version of SIG's XM7 rifle is called the MCX Spear. There seem to be only two mechanical differences with the civilian version. First, it is semi-automatic only; there is no select-fire option. 

Second, the piston gas settings are different. The civilian version’s settings are labeled normal and suppressed. The military version has normal and adverse. I believe this is because the military version is designed to normally be run with a suppressor, while the civilian version is not.
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
... and two, the gas pistons settings are "normal" and "suppressed" instead of the military's "normal and "adverse" settings. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)

 

The MCX Spear is currently only commercially available in 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win), but we will eventually be able to get 6.5 Creedmoor and .277 Fury chamberings. The initial three configurations are a 13-inch SBR version, a 13-inch pistol version, and a 16-inch rifle version.

We got to play with the 16-inch rifle in .308. I’m going to focus on the rifle in this review. I’m not going to be talking too much about the revolutionary new ammunition, the 6.8x51mm Common Cartridge – also known as the SIG .277 Fury – because I haven’t yet gotten to shoot it. But I definitely will give you a report on that round once I get some experience with it. 
 

Related Review: Lots to Love About SIG’s Latest MCX Rifle – The Spear LT
 

Features

 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The Spear adds features like a left-side, non-reciprocating charging handle. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The Spear is the big brother to the 5.56 MCX Virtus. It’s basically the same design but enlarged to the AR-10 size. The Spear incorporates the MCX short-stroke piston operating system that has been out since 2015 and has garnered a reputation for reliability. Now let’s go over some of the newer features of the Spear rifle.

In addition to the AR-type “T” charging handle, there is also a left-side charging handle that is non-reciprocating. This side charger allows easier manipulation of the bolt while maintaining a right-hand firing grip. 


Related: New SIG Sauer MCX Spear Consumer Variant of the Army's XM7 Rifle
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
SIG designed the folding, retractable handle with detent to stay in place and avoid snags. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


One interesting feature is the detent that holds the side charging handle in place. From user end input, there is a common problem of side chargers snagging on clothing or gear and pulling the bolt out of battery. SIG engineers added the folding, retractable handle with detent to reduce the likelihood of this issue.

 
SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
This gun is truly ambidextrous, including a bolt lock on the right side. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


In addition, the lower is completely ambidextrous, including a bolt lock on the right side of the gun, which is usually absent on so-called “ambi” rifles. 

Integrated quick-detach sling points appear on both sides at the front and rear of the gun, which features a hard-coated anodized Coyote finish. Barrel changes are now easily done by the user, even in the field.
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The rifle comes standard with front and rear QD sling mounts. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The rifle ships with a flash hider that is quick-detach compatible with SIG suppressors. The trigger is a better-than-standard mil-spec two-stage trigger that breaks at around 5.5 pounds.
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The push-button folding stock is easy to operate and collapses the rifle into a compact package. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Finally, because the piston operating system does away with the need of a spring in the buffer tube, there is a foldable and collapsible stock. The folding mechanism is push-button-style and is easy to actuate, unlike many designs. It folds to the left of the rifle and stays captured by detent. The folder makes it a short overall package. The rifle comes with standard Magpul stock and Lancer SR25 pattern magazines.
 

Related: SIG Sauer MCX Review – Next-Gen Modern Sporting Rifle?
 

Accuracy


Early reports indicate that one can expect combat accuracy from this weapon. That seems to mean approximately 1- to 2-inch groups at 100 yards and man-sized targets out to its combat-effective range of 600 meters. 

At Texas Plinking’s range, we were unable to shoot groups, but we did net consistent hits out to 1,000 yards. Brandon was able to get five hits in a row at 1,000 yards on a 66-percent IPSC target. 
 

Reliability

 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
This is a big, beefy gun that feels like it is military quality. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The most notable feature of the rifle is its robustness. The first thing you notice when you pick up the gun is how well it is built. It definitely feels like military quality. The bolt is beefy, with dual extractors to improve ejection. Steel inserts in the aluminum upper ride along the cam path to reduce wear. 
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The bolt is ready for any conditions, with dual extractors to improve ejection. Steel inserts in the aluminum upper ride along the cam path to reduce wear. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The MCX operation system has been out for a while and has a good reputation for reliability. The design has also been continually upgraded over the years.

All this robustness is understandable because the round the Army is adopting, the .277 Fury, was designed to be an extremely high-pressure round. That is how it is able to achieve the program’s desired performance goals of longer effective range and body-armor-defeating capabilities from a 13-inch barrel. 
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
The thick barrel made of maraging steel should stand up well to the heat of the .277 Fury round, or in our case .308. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Because of this higher pressure, the barrel is made of a special steel called maraging steel – an aerospace alloy designed to be extremely tough to increase barrel life. SIG’s contract calls for a 10-12,000-round barrel life. That’s actually similar to an M4’s barrel life, except that the Spear is shooting a much hotter round that should degrade a normal barrel much faster. 

The thickness of the barrel is also a welcome addition. A thicker barrel should handle the higher heat of the high-pressure .277 Fury better and have less barrel movement as heat rises, which usually causes shot stringing.

The rifle was very reliable in my one day of testing. 
 

Observations

 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
Texas Plinking gets behind the Spear during our visit to his range in Texas. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


I’ve been really impressed with SIG over the last decade. SIG is one of the most customer-responsive gun companies out there – they really do take user feedback and implement it. They also actually bring their winning military designs to the civilian market. Many well-known military gun companies don’t do this and just rely on military contracts. This trait shows in the MCX Spear, as it seems designed with the end user in mind.

So, what did I think of the gun? Well, I’m not going to get into the issues of the military adopting this rifle. There are many more knowledgeable experts who can talk about the logistics of bringing this new caliber and rifle to the entire military. I’m going to focus on the MCX Spear for a civilian shooter.

Personally, I liked it. The recoil is about what you expect from a .308. I would not say it’s a soft-shooting gun. I suspect it would be softer-shooting if we had the suppressor for which it was designed. 
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
Author Dave Luu liked the Spear just fine, and found it's not overly heavy for a rifle in this class. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The forend is thicker than I usually like, but it didn’t make the gun much less controllable. This increases the rigidity of this forend, so it is an improvement. 

Also, I think the criticisms of the weight of the gun are overblown. Yes, it’s heavier than an M4, but it’s not particularly heavy for a rifle in this class with these capabilities. 

However, to maximize the capabilities of this rifle, the Next Gen ammunition it was designed for will be the key. From what I understand, the .277 Fury round from the standard issue 13-inch barrel is capable of 20-30 percent more energy on target at 1,000 yards than a 6.5 Creedmoor. 

It also drops around 6 feet less than the 6.5 Creedmoor at 1,000 yards. That’s incredible – but I have not been able to test that myself.
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
While currently available only in .308 (7.62x51mm NATO), SIG plans to offer caliber conversion kits in the future. (Photos: Don Summers/Guns.com)


SIG is only offering the rifle in .308 right now. But as I understand it, caliber conversion kits will be available in the future, and barrel swaps should be easy. I don’t think the .308 version is a waste, though. Having a .308 barrel is great option as a low-cost training round. The .277 Fury is expensive right now. I believe the military will also be issuing the .308 as a practice barrel.  
 

Conclusion

I know have droned on about this gun, but let me recap my top three thoughts. First, SIG is really trying to design weapons with real users in mind and this shows in the engineering and features of the Spear. 

Second, the biggest standout feature of the Spear is that it is robust. I think it should be a real contender for people looking for a bombproof, large-caliber battle rifle. 

And finally, while the .308 is an affordable training round for this rifle, what’s going to truly set it apart from its counterparts is the .277 Fury ammunition. If all the military testing is correct, the combination of this unique round and this weapon platform, for which it was designed, will be something very special.
 

SIG Sauer MCX Spear 7.62x51mm NATO Rifle
That's a good-looking rifle on just about any background. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Personally, I think this system will be a game changer. Once .277 Fury is everywhere and the companion Vortex optics system is released, I think this will be a true do-it-all rifle.

So, what do you think of the MCX Spear? Did the military make a good decision in choosing this rifle? Tell us in the comments below. 

revolver barrel loading graphic

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