MMC Armory MA-15 “Tactical C16.1” 5.56x45mm Semi-Automatic Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 28th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.







Unique tactical latch on charging handle.





Accessory rails attach to the Troy thirteen-inch Alpha handguard.



Top to bottom: case deflector, dust cover, forward assist, safety lever.







MMC Armory thirty-round polymer magazine.










MMC Armory is in the business of manufacturing top-tier AR-15 style rifles and components. MMC Armory is a division of Minnie Machine Company of Illinois. They have been in business for over four decades, producing machined parts for the military and industry.

Entering into the crowded field of AR-15 builders, MMC is not just a parts-assembly gun maker. While they do procure some high-quality components, such as their Troy hand guards, MMC manufactures many of their rifle components in house. The rifle shown here is their “Tactical C16.1”, and is my favorite of the rifles that they manufacture.

Many AR builders make their rifles too heavy. I have nothing against a heavy AR for benchrest work or for long range varmint hunting, but for a fighting rifle, I like a rifle that handles closer to the original concept of the AR-16/M16; a lightweight, portable, and effective fighting weapon. With the C16.1, MMC got it right.

The receiver halves of the MMC are machined from 7075 T6 aluminum and hard coat anodized. The buffer tube is mil-spec, polished inside, and is of the six-position style, wearing a Rodgers Superstoc buttstock. The pistol grip is a checkered A2 style unit. As mentioned above, the hand guard is from Troy, and is a ventilated aluminum unit with a full-length Picatinny rail on top. Thankfully, the rest of the hand guard is without rails, but sections of rail are included to position as desired, for the attachment of accessories. I like the feel of this Troy rail in my hand. It is not excessively large, as is often found on other rifles.

The barrel on the C16.1 is thin, reducing weight substantially compared to a heavy barrel. The barrel is made of high carbon 4150 chrome-molybdenum Vanadium steel, and nitride-treated to reduce heat and extend the life of the barrel. Thankfully, the barrel is not chrome-lined, as none is needed with the nitride treatment. The barrel measures sixteen inches in length, is rifled one turn in eight inches, and is fitted with a compensator at the muzzle. The compensator seems to be very effective.

The gas block is an MMC low-profile design, and the rifle uses a mid-length gas impingement system. The bolt carrier group is full-auto rated, and is coated with nickel boron to increase lubricity and eliminate corrosion. The coating also eliminates the need to lubricate the carrier group, which can be a great advantage when using the weapon in an environment of blowing dust and sand.

The MMC rifle shown here weighs in at six and one-quarter pounds on my scale, without magazine. The trigger pull is crisp, and releases with five pounds, ten ounces of resistance, which is a bit heavier than the specified four and one-half pounds, but did not seem to hinder accuracy testing at all. 

I ran several different brands and types of ammunition through the MMC carbine.  For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope, set at its highest magnification. The scope was attached to the Picatinny rail using an ArmaLite one-piece mount. Accuracy testing was done firing three-shot groups on paper at 100 yards, and allowing the barrel to cool slightly between groups. Accuracy testing was done with the rifle resting in a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest, to eliminate as much shooter error as possible. Two loads that exhibited excellent accuracy were Buffalo Bore 69 grain Sniper ammunition, and Black Hills 69 grain match ammo. Every type of ammunition tested produced decent accuracy, with the worst being Winchester white-box USA 55 grain, which grouped in the two inch range. The Winchester 62 grain USA load did much better. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set out twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, approximately. Temperatures hovered around the twenty-six degree Fahrenheit mark during all velocity testing, with humidity in the sixty-five percent range. Winds were holding a steady fifteen miles per hour, with an occasional gust doubling that wind speed. Velocity readings are the average of several shots fired, and the results are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. HP is hollowpoint. V-Max is a polymer-tipped varmint bullet. TSX is a Barnes Triple Shock homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. The handload listed uses the TSX bullet with 24.5 grains of Ramshot TAC powder, a Remington small rifle primer, and Winchester commercial .223 Remington cases.  Accuracy is the average of three groups fired with each type of ammunition. Accuracy is listed in inches.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy
Stryker V-Max 55 2778 0.82
Lake City M855 62 3012 1.50
Hand Load TSX 62 2809 0.92
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2828 1.00
Winchester USA FMJ 55 2990 2.12
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2865 0.63
Black Hills HP 69 2631 0.50
Wolf Gold HP 75 2502 0.88

As mentioned above, accuracy was very good with most ammunition tested, and excellent with some. The Black Hills 69 grain match load did exceptionally well fired from this rifle.  As expected, the MMC carbine ran pretty much flawlessly. There were no failures to feed, fire, nor eject, with one odd exception. Using the factory-supplied magazine, once the bolt locked in the open position with cartridges still in the magazine. This happened only once, and did not occur using any aluminum GI magazines. The compensator works very well to attenuate the already-mild recoil of the 223/5.56mm cartridge. The hand guard is relatively slim, and offers good control of the weapon. Many hand guards are too large on other AR-15 rifles, and feels to me like I am holding a fence post. This one is just right.

After completing the accuracy testing, for plinking offhand at targets of opportunity such as steel and rocks, I mounted my Trijicon 5.5x50 ACOG. The ACOG has superb clarity, and the 5.5 power was more than what magnification is needed out to 100 yards, but I have used this scope out to 1125 yards on other rifles, and it is an excellent choice on the MMC Armory carbine.

The MMC Armory Tactical C16.1 is one of the best-balanced, best-handling AR-15 style rifles on the market. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price, as of the date of this review, is $1639 US. This MMC Armory rifle is accurate, reliable, and made in the USA.

Check out the MMC firearms and accessories online at

Check out the high quality scopes shown here at and

To order quality 223 and 5.56mm ammunition, go to,,, and

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Click pictures for a larger version.



MA-15 with Trijicon 5.5x50 ACOG scope.



Trijicon 5.5x50 ACOG scope.



LaserLyte green laser bore sighter.



Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope was used for all accuracy testing.



Accuracy testing at 100 yard distance.