The ins and outs of MMC Armory's Tactical Upper

Not long after last month’s do-it-yourself adventures, I tested MMC Armory’s Tactical Upper Receiver in 5.56. The model comes in two lengths: 14.7 inches and 16.1 inches. It is the same upper that goes on MMC Armory’s Tactical C14.7 rifle, basically a lightweight, competition-ready tool.

The test would not be complete without adding a quality receiver, optic and furniture so as to consistently validate its quality. Remember the Del-Ton carbine I built last month? I’ve put plenty of rounds through it since then, but I used the lower to test this MMC upper. Next I added some BATTLELINK furniture, a lightweight stock and tactical grip made of military grade polymer. To top it off, I added a Konus Sight-Pro PTS1 3x32 long eye relief optic.

I fed it HSM ammo (a company known for law enforcement specialty ammo like glass penetrators and monolithic bullets) and DoubleTap DTTactical cartridges (a company known for match quality duty rounds).

MMC Armory is a division of Mennie Machine Co. in Mark, Ill. Mennie Machine Co. has been an integrated contract CNC machining company for 40 years. Using their experience, they formed MMC Armory exclusively for manufacturing firearms, not just components. MMC is ISO/TS 16949:2009 certified and has some of the highest industry standards. They design and engineer their products using U.S.-made components, as well as U.S. production and labor. How appropriate, then, to put a Del-Ton, MMC and BATTLELINK gun together.

These days agencies have to scrutinize their long gun purchases more thoroughly than any other buyer, aside from a military contract. The law enforcement AR-15 will see hot, cold and wet weather. It will get yanked out and clicked into a car mount several times a day, and is expected to perform hot, cold, wet or dry. Not every user will clean and inspect after a shift—although this is good practice. On my car-mounted shotgun most of the wear on the finish was from transporting, not shooting.

The MMC Tactical Upper Receiver C14.7 is a conventional direct gas impingement upper. They make a longer one, but I like 14.7. Its barrel is profiled for heat dissipation and it weighs about six pounds. Attached to my Del-Ton receiver its balance is slightly forward, for a smooth transition on multiple targets.

Now, I get to shoot a lot of guns. I test a lot of gun components. I know it’s a dream job, but I do the same things our readers do. They all run together, unless something is outstanding. I found the MMC upper is unforgettable not just in quality, but in accuracy and handling. Besides its great handling, it is a collection of the best features to install in an upper, period.

The Upper Receiver C14.7 is machined from 7075 T6 alloy with a smooth finish and consistently applied hard coat anodization. It has M4 feed ramp cuts, and the barrel extension has M4 feed ramps. M4 feed ramps are additional relief cuts where the cartridge feeds into the chamber and the barrel extension. There is some debate about whether they provide any kind of advantage. Will my gun run without them or is my reliability improved with them? The answers range from “can’t live without them” to “really makes no difference.” I find that they allow for more margin of error in feed angle, which could compensate for a less-than-ideal feed lip, so I recommend them. The ramps in my MMC C14.7 are smooth and continuous.

My C14.7 fed anything I gave it. I used several different brands of ammo and never experienced any problems with operation.

The entire bolt assembly is nickel boron coated. This gives it a more durable and harder finish than the bolt material. Nickel boron coating is a process where a hard surface is plated on the metal surface. The plating forms round tipped microscopic nodes on the surface of the metal. Besides making the gun part look great, this feature reduces the metal-to-metal surface contact. Because it creates hills and valleys of the nodes in the metal surface, the metal dissipates heat better. Theoretically the parts can run together without lubricant (though I’m not testing this aspect) I always recommend lubricant. It does have a slicker feel than standard parts, and metal-to-metal surfaces definitely run better.

The bolt assembly’s bright finish exposes carbon buildup, making inspection and cleaning easier. As a law enforcement armorer, I had an inspection schedule for all service firearms. This finish would have made my job easier.

In addition, MMC Armory uses 4140 chrome moly vanadium steel for their barrels. The 1:8 twist is an excellent happy medium between a 1:7 and 1:9. It stabilized the heavier bullets for those longer shots and gives the agency excellent performance with a wide latitude of cartridges, including specialty munitions. The gas system is staked mid length, with a low profile block, which, along with the barrel is completely suspended under a TROY 13-inch Alpha handguard.

Why do I like the MMC upper with the Troy Alpha handguard, rather than the Troy Bravo handguard, which is on the MMC Recon Upper Receiver? It’s more comfortable under recoil. I don’t need all the Picatinny rail cuts in my hand, but I think the Troy handguards are durable and well manufactured for the price. For officers who like more rail cuts, get the MMC Recon.

If anyone was wondering, I mount my light on the MMC C14.7 using a Safariland RLS (Rapid Light System). This is designed for a handgun, but works fine on anything with rails. VLTOR makes a product called the Offset Scout Light Mount that works for this, too.

 

Furniture

This test wasn’t complete without optics and furniture. I was trying to make it a compact and light package so I started with The Mission First Tactical BATTLELINK Minimalist Stock (BMS) with a NEMO Rapid Assault Team Strap or NRAT Strap and Engage Tactical Pistol Grip—an ergonomic grip with a waterproof compartment.

The BMSNRAT is one of the lightest AR-15 stock on the market. The NRAT part is approximately seven feet of (real) paracord woven onto the stock, giving the user emergency cord when one needs it. The stock slips right over a standard buffer tube. MFT has a commercial and MILSpec version.

The first noticeable thing about the BMSNRAT is the kicked up toe of the stock. Put this up against an external vest and you’ll understand how much of a difference just a little tweak can make. This stock makes rolling through doorways, muzzle up, then down, easier than ever. For shooters who rotate 45 degrees to access their same-plane fixed sights, it allows a little more clearance for the extended shooting arm. The BMSNRAT also has better feel for cheek indexing than a standard stock and gave me rattle-free shooting on the range.

Since I accidentally spilled three different solvents onto it, I can attest to the chemical resistance of the material. I tested the Engage grip and the BMSNRAT during rainy weather and the textured surface works when wet. The Engage Tactical Pistol Grip has a water-tight storage compartment and a grip angle that was twice as comfortable than a standard one, especially when shooting prone.

 

Optics

Before I shot the MMC Tactical Upper Receiver C14.7, I speculated that it would group at 100 yards and wanted an optic with a little magnification. As usual, the upper shot better than I could. It needed a decent optic that allowed the officer to engage at interior distances and deliver accurate fire half a block away. For me, the AR-15 is a perfect “traffic stop gone bad” tool, where the rifle may engage a barricaded suspect.

For the optic, I picked the Konus Sight-Pro PTS1, a 3 by 32 prismatic optic with a four-color ballistic reticle. This is a prismatic optic, which gives pretty good eye relief and a little less parallax at carbine ranges. The Sight-Pro PTS1 is bright enough for an AR-15, light enough (14.1 ounces) to add balance to this package and quick enough for the fluid engagements for which it was designed. It is completely waterproof and has a solid, repeatable mount. It also has a ballistic reticle that does not take up the entire sight picture. It illuminates in three colors: red, green and blue.

Since I used Birchwood Casey’s Transtar Blue targets, the red was an excellent contrast in the dwindling twilight. Since I left the reticle on overnight a couple of times—I would say that the 2032 cell lasts long enough for your operation.

I found that 3x power was fine for targets out to 100 yards. Although one can shoot an upper of this quality at pretty extreme ranges, it really does its best work under 100 yards.

I’m sure the big question is whether a 3x prismatic will work within 25 yards, normally a no-magnification zone. The Konus PTS1 has a pretty bright reticle, which can be used for ranging by the way, that are easy to pick up for near targets. Because of the brightness and eye relief, it is not hard to steer the moving gun on target. I would say yes, but I would likely rotate into iron sights at contact distances.

At 100 yards, I did not use the bullet drop stadia lines. I fired center mass and the free floated barrel took over. This upper can do anything the tactical officer demands of any upper in the business. I know officers are always looking for an upper that has quick handling, but it also excels in deliberate shooting positions like unsupported and supported prone shooting.

The MMC upper is a moderately priced upper with features found only on elite packages. Its quality is self evident and, besides being an excellent duty upper, will solicit pride in ownership.

I think this combination was one of the best carbine tests I have done in a long time.

 

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade, enjoys competing in shooting sports, running and cycling events. He welcomes comments at lbertomen@letonline.com.

Loading