Gun Digest

Modern Survival Guns: Windham Weaponry MPC 16 AR Carbine

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The Windham Weaponry MPC 16 doesn’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles — making it a top pick for a survival gun.

How the MPC 16 thrives as a survival gun:

The Windham Weaponry MPC 16 is simple, which makes it easy to maintain and use. During the stress of a survival situation, you don’t want things overly complicated. Photo: Windham Weaponry

Windham Weaponry, named after the town of Windham, Maine where the guns are made, may be an unfamiliar name, but it is far from a new manufacturer. The factory, machinery, owner, and most all the employees were formerly under the Bushmaster name. Now, that same experience and attention to detail are being devoted wholeheartedly to this endeavor.

I was quite eager to see how the new Windham Weaponry MPC 16 would look and perform, and I was not disappointed. The rifle is an M4-style carbine with a direct gas impingement system chambered for 5.56 NATO. The rifle’s solid, proven design and features — without a lot of extra bells and whistles — lend themselves ideally for use as a survival rifle.

Both the upper and lower receiver of the MPC 16 are manufactured from forged 7075 T6 aluminum and have a hardcoat black anodized finish. The upper receiver has a flattop design with a removable carry handle and A4 dual aperture sights that are elevation and windage adjustable.

There are no indexing marks on the top Picatinny rail; so, you would need to take care when removing and replacing optics to maintain proper zero.

The 16-inch chrome-lined barrel of the MPC 16 has an M4 profile and is made from Mil-Spec 4150 chrome-moly vanadium steel. Chrome-moly results in increased carbon content in the steel and adds significant strength and durability, both very desirable features in a duty rifle.

The 16-inch chrome-lined barrel on the Windham AR has an M4 profile and is made from Mil-Spec 4150 chrome-moly vanadium steel. Photo: Windham Weaponry

The barrel has a standard 1 in 9-inch twist rate, which does a good job of stabilizing a wide range of bullet weights, including very low-weight projectiles.

Another Mil-Spec feature is the addition of M4 feed ramps at the back of the chamber. The standard threaded muzzle is topped off with a removable A2 flash hider, and the front sight base is elevation adjustable.

Standard Mil-Spec AR

Some folks are sticklers for properly F-marked bases on carbines; the Windham Weaponry AR is not so marked, but this is a distinction with very little real-world application.

Because of the difference in sight radius of a carbine over a rifle, an F-marked sight base is infinitesimally lower than a standard base. This is only an issue when using iron sights at distances past 200 yards, and it can easily be corrected by installing a taller front sight post.

The CAR black plastic handguards have double aluminum heat shields and were extremely effective at protecting the carbine-length gas tube (as well as my hand) from a hot barrel during a full day of range testing. The bolt and bolt carrier are phosphate finished and chrome-lined.

The MPC 16's bolt carrier has a Mil-Spec M16 contour (as opposed to a cheaper commercial bolt), which is stronger and heavier to ensure longer and more reliable operation — and it’s paired off with a standard carbine buffer. It should be noted that Mil-Spec M-16 bolt carriers are legal to install in semi-auto rifles.

The controls on both upper and lower receivers, dust cover, forward assist, bolt release, magazine release, charging handle, and safety selector are all located in the familiar places with nothing ambidextrous. The trigger guard is the fold down aluminum type for use with gloves.

The M4-type collapsible buttstock has six positions for length of pull to adjust for shooters of varying stature or with use while wearing body armor, and it features the Windham Weaponry logo.

The stock of the MPC 16 was well installed and exhibited excellent fit with very little play. Also, the fit between the upper and lower receiver was excellent with only the slightest amount of play between the two. The lower receiver comes with a standard military-type plastic pistol grip with finger grooves and a slightly flared magazine well.

During his range sessions, the author did not experience a single malfunction of any sort from the Windham, and it performed admirably, certainly capable of 1 MOA accuracy.

The trigger is of the standard, single-stage AR variety with the typical utilitarian feel I have come to expect. Unfortunately, that means it’s not great, and the trigger exhibited a fair amount of noticeable creep that felt quite gritty, but mercifully avoided any stacking or over-travel.

It did break consistently at 7.5 lbs., and it should be noted that this was not developed as a sniper-grade rifle but rather as a utility survival gun. And in that regard, it should serve well.

Survival Gun Simplicity

At 6.9 pounds, this isn’t the lightest AR carbine one can purchase, but it is lighter than some of the feature-laden alternatives out there, and its short overall length and excellent balance make it easy to handle and pleasant to shoot. During my entire range session, I never experienced a single malfunction of any sort, and the rifle performed admirably.

Accuracy from a bench rest at 100 yards was about what one should expect from a Mil-Spec rifle, with groups measuring from the best of the day at 1 MOA to the worst at 4 MOA and averaging in between. With the right ammunition and a better trigger, this rifle is certainly capable of pinpoint accuracy.

Windham Weaponry ships their rifles in a black hard plastic case with one 30-round magazine, a sling, and a well-illustrated operators’ manual. Currently, the company’s offerings include state-compliant models.


Windham Weaponry MPC 16
Caliber: 5.56mm/.223 Rem.
Barrel: 16-inch chrome-lined 1:9 twist
Overall Length: 36.25 in. stock extended, 32.5 in. collapsed
Weight: 6.9 lbs. empty
Stock: M4 double heat shield handguards/6-position telescoping buttstock
Sights: Removable A4 adjustable rear sight and A2 standard base front
Action: Semi-auto
Finish: Black hardcoat anodized
Capacity: 30-round magazine
MSRP: $1,086
Contact: 855-808-1888;

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from Modern Survival Guns: The Complete Preppers' Guide to Dealing with Everyday Threats, available now at

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