SIG VIRTUS – New Standard In Tough

Many boxes of 77 grain were harmed in the making of this video

A few months back, we started a reliability test on the SIG MCX Virtus. The operating system is so unique and different on the Virtus, we were really curious about how well it would actually run over time. We tossed down the gauntlet of attempting to run it 2000 rounds suppressed, without a drop of lube. This would be on top of the 500 I already put through it for the initial review. SIG not only told us it would pass with flying colors, they provided the ammo to do so.

For those unfamiliar, 2k with a suppressor on is a high bar. Being a former CQB instructor for Special Forces, we had ample opportunity to see this in training. An M-4 will really start to gum up at around 500 rounds suppressed, and by 1000 is completely unreliable. The Army issue suppressors also start to get carbon locked to the muzzle around 500, often requiring a torch to get them free again. 1000 rounds also tends to be about the limit before accuracy falls completely apart. Often you can take a 2 MOA gun, clean the can, and drop back to 1 MOA instantly. So these were all testable items both with the SIG VIRTUS and with the SIG SRD556 direct thread suppressor.

I really wasn’t sure going into this if the VIRTUS would take it. But I am happy to report now that it has, setting, in my opinion, a new high water mark in reliability. First, the VIRTUS never once wavered from ½ MOA accuracy. That was probably the most shocking part. From day one to day 120, the gun is still incredibly accurate. The SIG suppressor division deserves an open bar and a bonus, they have batted one out of the park. The taper lock system also seems to be a very real advance in suppressor technology. I took the can off by hand today, at the end of the test. That is simply amazing.

For reliability, the Virtus never even had a hiccup. All the lube burned off around 1000 rounds. I could tell because it stopped bleeding carbon between the upper and lower. But it never even slowed down. It is like the operating system found a maximum saturation of carbon, and nothing else would stick. There is a layer burned onto all the moving parts, but not nearly as thick as I would have anticipated. And nothing seems to have really changed from about 1200 rounds forward. If we had another 18,000 rounds, I would bet dollars to donuts the Virtus would continue all the way to the prescribed 20,000 rounds before replacement parts are prescribed.

I was skeptical of the VIRTUS, but I can now say it is a champion. SIG set out to offer a military rifle far beyond anything available, and they have succeeded. I would gladly choose the VIRTUS as my weapon if I were going back into harms way today. If you like spending more time shooting your guns than cleaning them, this is the rifle for you.

 

Learn more about the Sig Virtus click Here.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Russ H April 23, 2018, 12:34 pm

    Wow! Granted, that is hard to believe: With a suppressor, 1/2 MOA after 2000 rds, unscrewed the can by hand afterwards. I sincerely hope it is true. I’ve been looking at the Virtus for awhile – to include a suppressor. Nothing until now has really further stirred my interest in this platform, so now it’s something to note in the future. I also agree with a previous poster: Will the Virtus still be around in 5 yrs? I hope so.

    • Will Drider April 28, 2018, 1:56 am

      You bring up an interesting point “Will it still be around in five years?” I have two answers from different paths.
      1. Firearm design development and testing takes time. And that time span varies greatly based on the resources the Mfg want to invest. Sig is surely tweeking/refining the Virtus, new Models or Generations may follow. Like all companies, Sig will ultimately come out with something different or better down the road.
      2. I’ve got several Sig 556 (in 5.56), Gen I and II. Well, out comes several new models in a relatively short period of time. The Mfg has to plan production runs on a limited number of production lines and something has to give. The 556s get discontinued but that does not make them lesser firearms, they still retain thier quality, functionality. Some folks want the latest and the greatest, I on the other hand, continue to be quite satisified with my 556s and don’t want or need to change or “upgrade”.

      If you like the Virtus and it fills your requirements: Buy it. Unless something unforseen changes your requirements, you will be good for the long haul. Sig will continue to tempt us with new/hot developments, they have to sell new firearms. We just need to evaluate if the new bells and whistles are worth the the expense of changing over.

  • Andy Blevins April 23, 2018, 12:02 pm

    I have owned a MCX in 300 Blackout for a little over a year. What a great weapon. Most accurate semi-auto I own. I zeroed the scope I put on it with a laser and the first 3 shots could be almost covered by a nickle. Very clean running weapon. After a couple of hundred rounds 10 minutes to clean as the piston is the only thing that really gets dirty. I fully agree this weapon sets a new standard for battle rifles.

  • Highly Doubtit April 23, 2018, 11:17 am

    I would like a video review showcasing this rifle’s consistent 1/2moa performance. I don’t believe it for one second. Oh and also you should probably switch the ring locations around as it currently looks as if a fudd mounted the optic. Yes it know it functions perfectly.

  • Area 52 April 23, 2018, 11:15 am

    A couple years ago they finally perfected their 556 series with the 556xi. However that got discontinued. They came out with the next latest and greatest known as the SIG MCX. That has an unknown production status. Now the Virtus is the flavor of the month. I liked it when gun companies made a rifle that they had confidence in and stood the test of time. Ak 47 and Ar 15 come to mind. Now their coming out with a new gun more often the some people brush their teeth and discontinuing guns that practically just came onto the market.

    • Mike April 25, 2018, 5:03 pm

      The MCX isn’t going to be discontinued. First of all Sig had to bring in an engineering team to get the 556xi to even work. By the time they finished the MCX was being evaluated by some of those more interesting types. Second the MCX has been adopted for use by said interesting types both here and abroad. The 556 not so much. The MCX is also in use both with LE both here and abroad as well. 556 again not so much. Also the MCX out sold in the first year of the entire production run of the 556 series of rifles. Something to understand is that the MCX is basically two types of guns in one. It can be it’s own platform like a SCAR or a 556, or it can be an upper receiver replacement like a HK416 or an other piston upper. However unlike a SCAR the MCX hasn’t killed optics like it’s a cool thing to do, and unlike a piston upper the MCX was built from the ground up to be piston operated.

  • Kurt T Hollyday April 23, 2018, 8:40 am

    Can you run a few thousand rounds of green tip military surpluss ammo thru and see how it operates without a cleaning?

  • John R April 23, 2018, 8:11 am

    What are the factory options and the msrp?.I own a windham ar and even though it’s on the lower end of the price point it has performed flawlessy with good high end ammo and down to the cheapest I could find. Any others with similar experience ?

  • Fidd April 23, 2018, 7:36 am

    “…the VIRTUS never once waivered…” Just trying to help here. A waiver is a permission to proceed without meeting a requirement, often written on paper and called a waiver. The word you need is: waver. That is the tendency to flag or fail in the face of difficult circumstances. I’m sure the VIRTUS never WAVERED because it is quite a solid firearm. Mine never fails to impress.

    • Russ H April 23, 2018, 12:30 pm

      We know what he meant.

  • Mark Cutrera April 23, 2018, 6:07 am

    Send this article to Wayne Puffer on Facebook. He recently bought the 320 pistols and loves It! As he does all SIG products. I myself would love a 320. This VIRTUS rifle sounds like THEE rifle all American sportsman would be proud to have in their cabinet. That is if it ever got the time to spend in a cabinet. Too expensive probably for me, but surely would be my only rifle and proud to own. Beautiful job with this one, as expected!

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