AR Pistol 7.62×39 Takes AK Mags! – MGI Hydra -SHOT Show 2015

Will this 7.62x39 have the same reliability issues that other hybrid AR platforms have?

Will this 7.62×39 have the same reliability issues that other hybrid AR platforms have? If it runs like the MGIs we’ve tested, it will work fine.

MGI  has recently become one of my favorite firearms companies. In the endless crowd of cookie cutter AR-15 rifles, MGI has differentiated themselves. They have broken the mold by producing the modular Hydra rifle line. This year they’re bringing the same Hydra modularity to the AR pistol.

Because of the modularity of the Hydra line, I have a hard time picking a favorite. Yet I’m a fan of the practicality of the 7.62×39, so the MARCK – 15 Hydra Vipera in 7.62×39 speaks to me. This is a Franken-gun longing to belong. Torn between two platforms, the Vipera brings the best of both worlds to the table. 7.62 reliabilty and affordability from an AR patterned rifle? It seems to be a trend at this year’s SHOT show, but only this one has the Hydra modularity built in.

Designed to work from standard surplus steel magazines, and promising to eat standard surplus steel ammo, the Vipera looks to be a winner. The folks at MGI also offer conversion kits to feed and shoot 9mm, .223, and 300 Blackout, and all out of the same upper and lower receiver. They all come with a 7-inch barrel, a quad rail, an A2 style pistol grip, and utilize mil-spec (mostly), non-proprietary internal parts.

Pricing starts around $1289 for the Vipera Pistol, and the conversion kits start right around $500. The Pistols should be shipping within a few weeks, so keep an eye open, and your checkbooks on hand.

MGI 1824

With one pistol lower, you can have multiple caliber options.

MGI 1826

We’ll still want to do a full magazine test on this one. Polymer mags are often a sticking point for 7.62×39 ARs.

{ 54 comments… add one }
  • John January 30, 2015, 6:35 pm

    Love it !!!

  • Paul Ruffle January 30, 2015, 12:00 pm

    CZ-USA makes a very nice semi-auto rifle chambered for .22 WMR. The model number is 512, it has a wood stock and forend, a 20 inch barrel and 5-round detachable box magazine and sells for about $500. It was reviewed in the May 2014 issue of Gun Tests magazine and they gave it an A- score. They wrote, “…this is a gun that is good looking, fun, acceptably powerful, highly reliable and currently, unique.”

  • Onslaught January 30, 2015, 10:25 am

    I think some of you missed the point…
    It’s not a $1300 AKpistol, it’s a $1300 AR pistol with QD barrels and interchangeable magazine wells that can take AK mags, AR mags, Glock mags, Colt 9mm mags, 45 Grease Gun mags, 10/22 mags… And probably others I don’t know about.
    If you just want an AK pistol, get one.

    • Ultimate Survivor January 30, 2015, 7:21 pm

      No, I haven’t missed the point, it is still an overpriced AR. Changing calibers doesn’t change what it is. What, am I going to carry around all of these other conversion barrels and mags on the off chance that when I run out of .223/5.56 I’ll find 7.62×39, 9mm, .22WMR etc. ammo lying around and I’ll just swap out the appropriate parts to maintain my defensive position? I think not, I’ll just use the money that I save NOT buying another gimmick to buy enough ammo in the first place….

      • m. t January 31, 2015, 6:37 pm

        No your not going to carry it all on you. You decide at home what you want to shoot and set up accordingly. Wait i do carry multiple upper in myTRUCK where there is plenty of room weight is not a problem and i can shoot them all and change my upper when im out of ammo. Do that with your a-krap

        • Ultimate Survivor January 31, 2015, 10:32 pm

          Thank God you’ve got a TRUCK to carry it all around. Don’t forget your double Coyote drag-bag and shemagh when you load your TRUCK…..

        • Joe February 1, 2015, 9:52 am

          They will never get close enough to today’s educated game animals to hit with their AK spray and pray pieces anyway.

          • Voice of Common Sense February 1, 2015, 5:07 pm

            Joe,
            What’s your point? Firing a 7.62×39 from an AR platform will not give it more range, or make it more accurate. You will get the same performance from the round firing it from either a $1200 AR, a $500 AK or a $300 SKS. You decide how much to spend….

          • Joe February 1, 2015, 6:03 pm

            VOCS
            We can go round and round but what is the point ?
            Every shooter has an opinion and a sphincter. And both of them stink from time to time.
            I prefer mine to yours. I’ve owned guns since 1972 and before that the government let me play with theirs.
            Happy shooting.

  • Charles January 30, 2015, 9:57 am

    The Hydra receiver’s mag well is a top notch design in the modular AR arena with their base (only) modularity components allowing one to keep out of the +$1000 range for 7.62×39 ARs that use the standard AK magazines that actually work.
    The other calibers that they have are (so far) just the old stand-by s that aren’t impressive enough to convince (me anyhow) to opt to spend for the -high expense- of their upper components that allow the 30 second barrel/caliber swap that the company is so proud of (and rightly so!).
    I have been on the waiting list for their 45 ACP conversion parts for more than a year since I bought one of their modular lower receivers to pair that up to.
    Now that they have produced this 7.62×39 -pistol- configuration I will probably call them up and get some of those parts to use my lower receiver with the .30 cal. AK mag.s until the .45ACP conversion using M3/grease gun mag. parts kits are finally produced.
    While the rapid parts change – caliber modularity of their Hydra is a fantastically instituted idea , I am only interested in the magazine well modularity until which time that they develop their barrel change components to include some other hand guard than the current quad-rail ONLY (non)option.
    C’mon MGI, make the hand guard real estate modular also. I for one HATE the overly large diameter of a quad rail (ONLY) foregrip on my otherwise svelte AR upper chassis and WON”T be buying or using the Hydra as intended UNTIL you listen, and offer it as an – add-rails-where-you-want – hand guard that abandons the archaic quad-rail ONLY configuration that you have so far insisted on!

    I have a smattering of accessory parts (besides the modular lower receiver -ONLY-) that this company produces for other AR needs, and the parts are all of SUPER quality and design. So there is no need to convince me that they will supply the best possible modular conversion components , I just wish it were happening at a quicker pace.

    • Mad River Arms January 30, 2015, 10:57 am

      I agree on the handguard but unfortunately it seems they could only make the side rails removable due to the nature of the quick release mechanism keeper that rides on the lower rail. If we could realistically get spare parts I would look at getting an extra handguard to machine those side rails off.

      • Just Sayin" February 1, 2015, 7:52 pm

        Is it just me, or did anybody else notice Mad River Arms comment: “If we could realistically get spare parts”?

    • Voice of Common Sense January 30, 2015, 7:01 pm

      Sorry, not convinced to over pay for a direct impingement operating system. For the price of conversion parts between calibers, I can buy a complete gun in that caliber, and probably not have to settle for direct impingement.

      Beside, do any of us REALLY need one gun that I can change to other calibers? Oh, wait, I forgot, I can buy an H&R NEF Handi-rifle that swaps between dozens of rifle and pistol calibers for under $300….

  • Danny January 30, 2015, 9:19 am

    I’m curious as to the accuracy. I’ve seen several video demonstrating the various calibers and never once did any of them use any sighting system when firing. I’ve seen no demonstration regarding repeatability. Cool factor of fast barrel swap, but what good is it if not accurate?

  • JOHN P MCBRIDE January 30, 2015, 9:14 am

    CAN YOU TELL ME DOES SOMEONE MAKE 22MAG SEMI-AUTO MATIC RIFLE????/

    • Phil January 30, 2015, 10:09 am

      First, please turn off your caps lock when typing. It’s hard to read when it’s on. To your question, Magnum Research and Excel Arms might have what you’re looking for.

    • Mad River Arms January 30, 2015, 10:51 am

      Kind of a random question considering the topic at hand but the Kel-Tec CMR comes to mind as does the Ruger 10/22 in 22 Magnum.

    • Tony January 30, 2015, 1:59 pm

      Keltec cmr 30
      Keltect has 22mag pistol 30rnd mags are standard. Their guns look like plastic toys, but I can tell you that every keltec I’ve evr shot operated wonderfully.

      On the main subject of this discussion: I’ve HAD ar pistols, and I also HAVE a draco. Direct impingement pistol are for people who don’t know any better.
      No buffer tube, and you can throw a sigbrace on there if you do want it more controllable.

  • AR Nuts January 30, 2015, 8:54 am

    True, America seems to have a love affair with the AR and gun makers are just capitalizing on the fad. ARs are like Iphones, your friends all have one, so you want to be like them. Truth be said, ARs are a poor excuse for a duty rifle. Why would anyone want to bet their life on a rifle that pukes combustion gasses and powder residue into the receiver with every shot. If you really need a 223/556 rifle, buy a Mini-14. True, your tacticool friends won’t find it sexy, but you can stake your life on it’s dependability. The Mini-14 doesn’t use direct impingement to cycle, so it doesn’t “soil itself” when fired like the AR. It also uses the M-14 type gas piston and rolling bolt system of it’s real, built for business namesake. There’s a reason that the M-14 has been in (and continues to be) service longer than any other rifle.
    Luckily for all the mall ninjas out there, ARs are currently cheap to buy (as they should be), so get ’em while they’re priced commensurate with their true value. I’ll buy a Mini-14 for the same price.

    • Joe January 30, 2015, 4:56 pm

      The overwhelming reason for using the AR with the direct impingement gas system over the AK piston system and mini 14 system is Deadly Accuracy with less target loss between shots in a rapid fire mode. This has been demonstrated in every conflict the AR has been in since it’s humble beginnings.

      • Voice of Common Sense January 30, 2015, 6:50 pm

        LOL! Really? Obviously you’ve never carried an AR (or any gun) 24/7. Please, I’ve carried both the AR (M-16) and the M-14 in the Marine Corps, when given the choice most will choose the M-14. Anything can be “deadly accurate” at 150 yards, I choose to not let my enemy get that close. I’d prefer to carry the M-14; at 500 yards, if I can see it, I can hit it.

        That being said, given a choice between the AR and an AK, I’ll bet my life on the AK. I personally have had to live with the poor accuracy and reliability of the AR. You can drag an M-14 or AK through a mile of mud, pick it up, shake off the big chunks and keep shooting; an AR requires constant attention to keep it working. If the AR is so awesome, why does no other NATO member military force Carry it?

        Face it, you’ve succumbed to Hollywood action movies and good old fashioned marketing… If you really knew what Direct Impingement is you wouldn’t think it is acceptable. It’s just a cheap way to make a gas operating system.

        • Joe January 31, 2015, 10:39 am

          Congratulations you qualify for a all paid trip to fantasy island where big heavy guns (rifles ) and big heavy bullets carry the fight. The year is 1944 and the enemy has big heavy guns as well.
          The proof is in the historical puddin there jarhead, the black gun (rifle ) wins and the big heavy gun ( Rifle ) goes to the historic gun collector club.
          Ak’s….Yeah the battle fields are full of bodies that carried the spray and pray it hits somebody gun (rifle)

          • Voice of Common Sense January 31, 2015, 10:23 pm

            Since you obviously don’t know, Joe, The Army and the Marine Corps still use the M-14 to this day. As for your comments about the use of AKs in battle, it’s no different than the way that I see the ARs (M4) used today. The AK is not any more accurate than an AR, but it is a helluva lot more dependable, with 30% more knockdown power.

            Granted, when you’re only carrying a rifle to impress the other mall ninjas, reliability and power aren’t as important as what your buddies think of it. If you really want a rifle just to shoot .223/5.56, buy a Mini-14. Its not too heavy for you, uses the M-14 operating system and still shoots a round with a light enough charge for you to handle….

          • Sad but True February 1, 2015, 8:41 pm

            As someone else on this forums said, “Americans will buy shit on a stick if you paint it black”.

      • Joe February 1, 2015, 6:54 am

        I had an AK and a mini 14 and gave them to relatives although I did like the mini 14.
        I have an AR and it will be my home defense weapon along with my 1911 A1 till I go to the next existence which has something to do with worm food..
        The M 14 is a good long range rifle but it also is surpassed by those modular .50’s and .338’s . their are a multitude of M14’s around still in service but they are just a re chambered garand with a box mag aren’t they.
        dream on…

        • Ultimate Survivor February 1, 2015, 4:36 pm

          Joe,
          I’m curious as to why anyone would give away an AK and a Mini-14 but keep an AR? They are all comparably accurate, but not all equal in bet-your-life-on-it dependability. I guess, “as the old song says, “two outta three ain’t bad”.

          ARs are an example of finding the cheapest way possible to manufacture a gas operated, semi-auto rifle, then sell it to the government. The AR’s direct impingement operating system was a bad idea when Stoner designed it into the AR, and just because everyone you know owns an AR, still doesn’t make it a good idea. Obviously Americans will buy shit on a stick if you paint it black.

          The M-14 is not a Garand with a DBM, but other than no DBM what’s wrong with a Garand? That aside, The AK is renowned for it’s reliability, packs a punch, and odds are you’ll never break it. The Mini-14 uses the M-14 style operating system and you can get it in either .223/5.56 or 7.62×39.

          Face it, you can buy any one of the three for pretty much the same price. Fact is, I own all three. Don’t get me wrong, the AR is fun to shoot in a perfect world, but can be finicky about what you feed it and a bitch to clean properly; if SHTF tomorrow, the AR would be my last choice.

          My first choice would be the AK, but because I can carry more rounds of .223/5.556 for the same weight, the Mini-14 would be my go-to gun. I’ll just bury the AK and come back for it later, maybe I can trade the AR for a piece of flint or a sharp stick.

          • Joe February 1, 2015, 5:56 pm

            U. S
            You need that reliability with that slop constructed AK because the dang thing can’t put two in a row in the circle beyond carport range, that’s the problem with the gas piston system when tolerances are kept loose to keep it running when full of junk.
            The mini was ok, I liked it but it lacked the versatility of the AR platform, I can fit my AR with a multitude of uppers, even ,308 If I go the extra mile for the new colt model.
            The Ak was a disappointment in accuracy and din’t rate a place in my safe.
            The bushmaster took a little time to zero in at fifty yards but the two hundred yard shot is worth the extra effort.
            The Italians converted Garands to box mag and all you have to do is rechamber that to ,308 and you are looking at a blueprint for the M-14, which is still a good round but not near the capabilities that can be achieved with the 30-06. If I feel like it I can convert the AAR to piston but for home defense and a trip to the range WHY BOTHER ?
            It runs fine in semi auto and I am NOT going to put a bump slide on it to rock and roll, I’ll leave that to you gung ho young kids.
            My AR and my 1911 A1 serve me fine along with my eight other toys..
            Happy shooting.

  • phil morris January 30, 2015, 8:32 am

    I have been a subscriber for a while and resisted commenting so far , but my thoughts on this are a brand new AK can be had for less than $500 , and you can find AK parts any/everywhere , piled up like cord wood + cheap , so whom are these high priced unproven/toys supposed to be geared towards? sounds like another solution looking for a problem , at twice the price , I heard many years ago , there is no underestimating the poor taste of the American public. just a thought.

    • capacitygear January 30, 2015, 4:58 pm

      Hey Phil-
      H. L. Mencken said that “No underestimating the poor taste…”
      Quote– I laugh each time I read it, because each time I read it it’s 100% true!!

  • JhonnieB January 30, 2015, 8:30 am

    So it uses AK magazines but retains the direct impingement operating system? No thanks…

    • Mad River Arms January 30, 2015, 10:49 am

      You can order them with a piston system installed or convert it later on using something like the Syrac Ordnance kit.

      • Voice of Common Sense January 30, 2015, 6:12 pm

        Why the Hell would you buy something (and pay way too much for) that you need to fix???? Buy the right thing to start with.

  • Nathan Pitts January 30, 2015, 8:08 am

    Not sure why someone would want to do this. I have an AK pistol that I made from Hungarian AMD 65 parts that hangs from my shoulder under a long coat and with a 40 rd mag gives one all the firepower one would ever need. It has ultra-AK reliabity……..and doesn’t have that silly looking buffer tube sticking out the back.

    America has simply gone AR crazy IMHO!

    • James January 31, 2015, 11:02 am

      What kind of harness/lanyard are you using?

    • buck March 12, 2015, 3:54 am

      the whole point of the hyrda is to change the mag well for different calibers not just 7.62×39..and yes most ARs in the AK round suck mainly due to the MAGAZINE! this system was designed by a man with military experience in utilizing the ammo that is common behind enemy lines and the upper for that system is designed to feed off of AK mags reliably…..i personally dont under stand AR or AK pistols anyway because for every inch of barrel loss you lose something along the lines of 100 to 200 fps….stick with 16 inches (i thought it was 18 1/2 it must have changed need to look it up) the only thing short i would own is an SBS Saiga 20 ga with 14 inch barrel select fire and drums (but i need alot of money before that!) and besides that they offer in the rifle variant 4 different calibers and all parts for 3900.. (9mm, 556,300blk, 7.62×39) and you aint getting the same uppers at once for the same price i know i looked…..

  • rolls January 30, 2015, 7:50 am

    Is the price as nice as the gun?

  • AnotherOne January 30, 2015, 7:35 am

    1289 for an AR pistol that shoots 7.62 x 39 and taking a chance on feeding and reliability, or I could just buy an AK pistol for 400 that will run with sand in it..

  • AnotherOne January 30, 2015, 7:35 am

    1289 for an AR pistol that shoots 7.62 x 39 and taking a chance on feeding and reliability, or I could just buy an AK pistol for 400 that will run with sand in it..

    • No Sh**! January 30, 2015, 8:32 am

      I have an AK pistol (Zastava) that I paid $400 (new) for; it works perfectly. I agree, why would anyone pay $1200+ for another makes-no-good-sense wannabe. True, some will buy it just for bragging rights, and others will buy it because they’ve got no good sense; like P.T.Barnum said,”There’s a fool born every second”.

    • Mad River Arms January 30, 2015, 10:44 am

      You have to consider the whole package. The cost difference comes into play when you factor in the ease of caliber conversion on the MGI Hydra and Vipera. The fact that the these firearms can use standard AK mags is a huge plus in reducing known issues with ARs in 7.62×39.

      • Voice of Common Sense January 30, 2015, 6:10 pm

        Again, why does anyone need a 7.62×39 AR? Just buy a great gun (AK-47) that is made for that round, not a POS AR….

        • Donald Robinson January 31, 2015, 3:03 pm

          Why buy a AR in the 7.62×39. the price of shooting is for ONE ! you choose the 5.56 and pay stupid prices for ammo Not a good Idea if you like to shoot . I can run a 1000 rnds thru my AR in the 7.62×39 with more firepower penatraction than the 5.56 punk. like a lil BB gun PUNK ass baby bullets. Way cheeper and more bang for the buck. I built my AR Russian from Tactical Ambush upper and a Hybird Omni lower for less the 600.00 before christmas sales. Thats right less the 6 hundred bucks. One may find the same deals but its about 3am is when you will find them about 25 pages in on your search’s good luck.

          • Voice of Common Sense January 31, 2015, 10:09 pm

            I guess I’ll have to repeat this; Why buy an AR to do an AK’s job. If you want to shoot 7.62×39, buy an AK. Hell, even an SKS is a better rifle than an AR. You’re bragging about spending (only) $600 for an AR like that’s winning the lottery; I don’t care what you pay for an AR, it’s still an AR.

            The AR is a POS, period…. How’s that direct impingement workin’ out for ya? I guess you love swabbin’ powder residue out of your receiver. I know, with your quad rail forearm you can hang flashlights, lasers, QD swivels, a Holo sight, BUIS sights, can opener, Walkman and anything else that will convince you that you bought something to be envied; hope you didn’t sell all of your POGS and Pokeman cards to buy it….

          • Bob Rush February 1, 2015, 8:46 pm

            What’s “penatraction”? That sounds badass. I don’t know what it is but I wont it!

        • SmokeHillFarm February 1, 2015, 2:02 am

          I fully agree. I have never seen the point of spending a grand or more on a rifle with its long history of being finicky about ammo and cleanliness. And particularly for those who are preparing for some sort of zombie apocalypse when there may be no gunsmiths or spare parts available, and the only ammo may be old, rusty and/or scrounged from less-than-ideal storage.

          At last count I had almost 40 firearms (including my wife’s), but I won’t have any overpriced, unreliable platforms like the AR’s. I also refuse to carry a semi-auto for personal defense, though I enjoy shooting them. When my life is at stake, I rely only on a revolver, which guarantees six shots.

          When the zombies come, I’ll just have to make do with my AK’s, a number of bolt-actions (like the Savage-Anschutz), or my sloppy old M-1 carbines that will fire reliably regardless of dirt, mud or sloppy maintenance.

          • Ultimate Survivor February 1, 2015, 4:55 pm

            Here, here, Smoke Hill!

            Every firearm that I own was purchased with worst case scenarios in mind. I stick to commonly found calibers: 9mm, .223/5.56, .22 and 12ga. I think that you could go through most kitchen junk drawers in America and find at least one of them. Even though some would not consider 7.62×39 a commonly found round, since it’s always on the shelf at Walmart, I think that it qualifies; besides I have accumulated “lifetime” supply of it. Better to be prepared and not need it, eh?

            I understand your reasoning for carrying a wheel gun for self defense, but I prefer a double-action semi-auto for ease of concealment.

  • Mike January 30, 2015, 6:40 am

    I want one ! How does the atf regulate these sbr’s and pistols with butstocks ? I’ve heard that it’s the same process as the suppressers with the 200 $ fee and a long long wait.

    • Phil January 30, 2015, 10:04 am

      Does it have a butt stock, or just a buffer tube or arm brace? If it has a true butt stock, then it’s a SBR; otherwise, it’s just a pistol.

  • Joe January 30, 2015, 6:36 am

    Someday a gun maker will renovate the AR pistol to utilize a automatic shotgun type recoil spring wrapped around a piston to get rid of that rear buffer piece and make AR pistols as Bad ASS as they should be.

  • Jamison January 30, 2015, 5:12 am

    Don’t see how they ” broke the mold.” Cmmg has this with better quality and a lower price.

    • Mad River Arms January 30, 2015, 10:39 am

      Are you referring to the Mutant? If so really:
      http://youtu.be/NXMZr0kPpn8

    • joe February 18, 2015, 5:04 am

      I will stay with my M4 carbine..fits nicely under a coat. the trajectory of the nato 5.56 vastly out permorms the AK round.
      If you really want to kick it up a notch you can get a M4 in .308 or the better yet the military version of of the .308 cartridge..
      They are not the same, just like the .223 round and the NATO 5.56……..

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