Survival Gear Review: PWS MK214 Battle Rifle

Primary Weapon System Rifle Review

In the never ending argument among internet experts on pro’s and con’s of the AK-47 vs the AR-15, we give you an alternative to that argument.  The Battle Rifle, when you care enough to send the very best down range.

By Scott, a contributing author of

The Battle Rifle

The MK214 Battle Rifle was designed by Primary Weapons Systems (PWS) as an “urban environment platform for the PWS MK214 Rifle Reviewdesignated marksman.”  The MK214 may be the ultimate medium range battle rifle for survival situations.  This rifle has the feel and precision of an AR rifle chambered in 7.62x51mm, while the internal long stroke piston system gives it the reliability of the AK47 it was modeled after, making it an excellent survival rifle.  There have been a few changes on the most recent model but the core components are basically the same as the MK214 we are reviewing here.

We waited a long time here at to get our hands on one of the these and when it finally arrived, we weren’t PWS Rifle Reviewdisappointed.  Out of the box it was ready to go with Magpul BUIS sights, XT rail panels, 20 round PMAG, MOE stock and grip.  Picking it up, the rifle was considerably lighter than other rifles we’ve handled that are chambered in 7.62x51mm.  The MK 214 is only 8 lbs 7 ozs, unloaded!  The more current model has the Magpul BUIS 2 sights,  PWS KeyMod Rail System, and now has free floated handguards as well as an adjustable gas block (great for shooting suppressed).

Piston Driven

The PWS MK214 Battle Rifle is designed as an internal long stroke piston system.  This system is an improvement over the classic direct gas impingement operating system, AR style rifles have typically utilized.  The PWS MK214’s piston system doesn’t seem to have the problems associated with the much dirtier running direct gas impingement system.  It also doesn’t seem to have the carrier tilt and and bolt shearing problems associated with other piston systems.  This is probably due to the single piece PWS piston/bolt carrier that moves as one unit.  It’s probably also due to the PWS enhanced buffer tube, designed to eliminate carrier tilt, which increases bolt shearing in other piston systems.  PWS has taken a completely unique approach to their battle rifle by giving it the internal function and reliability of the AK, while giving it the ergonomics, modularity, precision, and appearance of the AR.

The fit between the upper and lower receiver is very tight and the Primary Weapon System Rifle Review MK214 collapsible buttstock is a solid fit.  I wasn’t able to to get any wiggle between pieces of the rifle.  This makes for a rock solid platform especially when going for longer range shots requiring greater accuracy.  The barrel is not free floated, but it has been locked solidly into place with the proprietary rail system.  I wouldn’t doubt the claims by others that it is extremely accurate with repeatable grouping out to 800 yards.  I have not been able to push the envelope yet myself to give you our input, but check back in with us later for updates.

The Experience

We got the rifle out to the range and were able to test it out.  I was Primary Weapon Systemamazed after sending the first round downrange at how little recoil I felt.  I would say it was comparable to what I would expect from a .223 (but with a stronger push and a less sudden kick).  I definitely expected the MK214 to kick quite a bit more than it did.  Follow up shots were easy, even from a standing/unsupported shooting position.  I’m not sure if it was the long stroke piston, the muzzle compensator/flash hider, or the combination of the two, but it made everyone say, “Wow!”  I would say, being able to stay on target while you are shooting for follow up shots and to see what happened with what you just shot, is a definitely plus!


Muzzle Compensator

I’ve read other reviews that claim the upper rail tends to get hot after shooting high volumes of fire in full auto.  Maybe the new Primary Weapon Systemrail system took care of that issue.  Either way, we didn’t encounter that nor did we have any malfunctions or failures to fire, but only put about 500 rounds downrange and we weren’t running full auto at all.  Honestly, whenever I’ve had the opportunity to run any gun in full auto, unless it was a fun shoot, I never really had much use for it.  While working overseas we had the guys with the heavy guns to cover that piece of the orchestra for us (the full auto melee).  I’ve always been a point shoot kinda person.  I like to pick a target, pull the trigger, see what’s left to shoot, and repeat until there’s nothing to left worth shooting at.

The Magpul BUIS sights were fine for the test fire but I definitely want to PWS MK214 Rifle Reviewget some optics on it and see what this Battle Rifle can do at distance.  That will have to be another article.  Right now I’m looking at trying to get ahold of a Leupold Mark 8 CQBSS 1.1-8x24mm M5B1.  The specs on this optic seem to make the most sense for this type of weapon system (close quarters to long distance).  I’m already convinced this is a great Close Quarters Battle Rifle and heck, it’s even just fun to shoot at the range with friends.  I’ll be looking to test it out to distance soon and will keep you posted.

The Specs:

Caliber:  7.62×51 mm NATO

Weight: 8 lbs 7 oz

Overall Length: 32.75 inches

Barrel Length: 14 inches (16.1 inches with permanently attached FSC30)

Barrel Specs:  Stainless Steel, Isonite QPQ Treated, Button Rifled, 1:10 Twist Barrel

Muzzle Velocity: 2500 ft/sec

Muzzle Energy: 2331 ft/lbs

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

wally June 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm

hey nice looking long gun my friend, thanks for the review!


Jeff June 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

It's not worth $2,600. Just buy an AK or Saiga ! People have been trying to make a version of the AK and they should just be honest and say buy an AK/Saiga .


Gray Hunter August 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Agreed Jeff, the AK platform is battle tested, requires less maintenance, and has been around for 60+ yrs. Is very capable of engaging man sized targets out to 300 yrds and is less than 1000.00. I paid 860.00 for my SGL 21. Ammo is less than 300.00 for 1000 rounds, cant say that about the 5.56 and certain cant say that about the 7.62 nato.


mr.keltec June 11, 2013 at 4:01 am

How much is this unit? It looks to be a beast, but well out of my price range. I'll no doubt be stuck with the poor man's version of this battle rifle, the saiga in 7.62×51. I imagine one could get outfitted three or four times with the saiga for what the MK214 would retail for. However, if I hit the lottery or that long lost uncle leaves me something I can work with this definately sounds like a fine choice.
Great article! It would be nice to see more write up's and debates on battle rifles.


KvGn September 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Only thing you need to do on the Saiga 7.62×51 is get the Barrel re-crowned. I will take the Saiga over the PWS any day.

If you looking for a proven Battle Rifle then you will want to buy the LMT MWS 7.62×51 UK version: has the 1-11.75 Stainless Steel Barrel, that is powder coated. This rifle beat out all others in the UK Trails. They UK version is just entering the US now, after LMT caught up on Supplying the SAS.

If you looking for a reliable 7.62×51 in the AK platform that will shoot anything and is accurate for under $700.00 US then go with the Saiga. Just remember to get the Barrel re-crowned.

In the $1100.00 US range – go with the Rock River LAR308 – Rock River bought the patents and dies from Eugene Stoner. Very Accurate. – uses FAL Magazines.


KansasScout June 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

I read through rather quickly and missed the price range of this rifle. I suspect if you have a decent budget it would be a worthy investment for your prep. I however have a limited budget and have a good weapon for my battle rifle though a bit vintage and another good weapon for my medium to short range rifle. It too is vintage. I have an M1 Garand for the battle rifle and a Yugoslavian SKS for my intermediate to short range defensive weapon. In fact since I was once a WWII re-enactor I have used my M1 in tactical situations not much different from training engagements I took part in during my time in the Army National Guard. If well maintained vintage weaponry can keep you alive in SHTF, WROL, and TEOWAWKI situations.


Dave H June 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Nice review! I look forward to reading your updated review with optics mounted.


Richard Wakefield June 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

Check out Leatherwood's M1000 scope, perfect for this rifle. Mk214 is definitely on my "gotta get" list.


Richard Wakefield June 12, 2013 at 6:12 am
Josh June 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

Especially with todays crazy prices….


CaptBart June 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm

A nice looking platform in a caliber I, personally, think is adequate for the survival rifle. The price does seem a tad steep to me since PTR-91 (American made clone of the HK-91) is still in the $900 to $1000 base price range and is also a 7.62X51. Even so, a nice looking weapon.


Minarchist_1776 June 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I would agree that it is somewhat pricey. Unfortunately to my way of thinking it also continues with the modern fad of barrels that are too short. IMHO if you're going to get a rifle you should be getting something with a 18" to 20" barrel. This allows one to get more power/range from the cartridge that they are using. I realize other people's mileage varies and shorter barrels are all the rage for CQB, but CQB is only one aspect of what one would be using a rifle for, and as a survivalist CQB is arguably something one should be trying to avoid if at all possible.

You do want to have a folding stock though. That enables you to move the weapon around using containers/cases/etc. that do not by their very size and shape scream that they have a firearm in them.


Zen811 June 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

14" barrel will get this round out to 700 yards effectively. That's plenty good for a survival rifle in my opinion. Anything out past 200 yards probably shouldn't be engaged in a survival situation when running or hiding is an option.


Larry August 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

You might want to actually research that information.


Rusticolus August 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I find it incredibly hard to believe that you will be able to consistently, effectively, and accurately reach out with precision to 700 yards with only a 14 inch barrel. The round will have less than even 1 and a half turns before exiting the barrel. It just isn't a realistic claim.


Kyle June 14, 2013 at 6:19 am

I'm really looking forward to the Rock River Arms LAR-47. It's an AR type rifle chambered in 7.62×39 and accepts standard AK magazines. Only $1200 for the base model. It looks like the best of both worlds if you ask me. I guess we'll see when it comes out though how good it is.…


M.O'K June 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

Just read about the LWRCI’s UCIW SIX8 in shotgun news. Looks like an AR but they have re worked this thing for the 6.8x43mm spc 90 grain gold dot round. They worked with ATK and MagPul. The 8.5in barrel version for this article produced 2450 muzzle velocity and 1199 muzzle energy. They claim the 16in version has 2900 m,v and 1680 m,e. I would like to find out more on this thing.


Zed June 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

I love the comment "Internet experts" – There are a lot of them out there.


T.R. June 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

If you have the cash , the SCAR is another good piston driven rifle . If your poor , a Ruger mini 30 .


Gray Hunter August 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I would take a Saiga AK over a mini 30 any day… In fact I did, Arsenal Saiga SGL 21.


TripodXL April 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm

@TR; Ruger Mini 30 will shoot minute of Saiga (about 2 moa) though the mags are much more expensive. An SKS will shoot more accurately than either one and is a whole lot cheaper. Be Well.


Randy K June 20, 2013 at 3:44 am

Just checking out PWS website, looks like they make some solid rifles. Never heard of them before. Thanks for the review.


Odinson June 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Problem is I live in Connecticut and I’m not allowed to buy anything like this anymore under the new gun law. But the good news is I already bought a .308 VEPR (Kalashnikov variant) with a bunch of twenty round mags. It WAS $799 at Classic Firearms when I bought it. They are still selling them, but they’re $999 now


Kyle June 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Anyone thinking about an AR chambered in .300 AAC Blackout?


alfred July 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Yes I am, only problem is no ammo at the local dealer or any place else, although he has some reloading conponets.


TripodXL April 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm

@Kyle and alfred; While the Blackout has some superior aspects to the round, if this is for a SHTF weapon, what do you think you will find when you come across some downed, NG or LEO or find a LEO or NG cache of ammo? Superior ballistics are numbers on paper. Rounds of ammo are the number of rounds in your pocket. Big diff! Potential availability of ammo, magazines and spare parts (BCGs, uppers, etc.) AFTER TSHTF will be what matters. JMHO. Be well.


WyomingWalt July 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Question. You stated it gets hot when fired on full auto. Is this an full auto weapon or is it just semi-auto?


T.R. July 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I would advise everybody who is planning to use a rifle of this type for home defense , to get a strobe as an accessory . I have a buddy that is ex military and trains LEOs in small unit tactics . He hit me with the one he has , They work !!! all I could see were bouncing blue and yellow dots in front of my eyes , no way I would be able to shoot anything by sight . On the shooters perspective , you can see fine , all it does is provide dim light pulses , very easy to acquire a target . as mentioned before , the victim of the strobe cant see shit for a good few min .


Gray Hunter August 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Are you kidding me? It's nothing got a .308 on a M4 platform… Battle Rifle?!?
If you're going to spend that kind of money on a rifle, get a Springfield M1A… A true battle tested Battle Rifle… Anyone that actually uses the "internet experts" over doing their own research is doomed.


Rusticolus August 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I would have to imagine that the majority of "own research" is from internet sources, including your "own research." I guess that means you're probably "doomed."


Gray Hunter August 24, 2013 at 4:16 am

To an extent, I would completely agree… Having said that, there are some truly valuable information sites on the interwebs… A person can find true and complete reviews of whatever piece of gear/ tool they're looking for. In articles such as the one here, the author takes the point of view as if this is the end all be all rifle, which of course is completely false and very misleading. Makes me wonder if said author has stock in the company that produces this rifle. A true and complete review will not only tell you all the great things about X piece of gear, but it will also tell you all the negative things associated with X piece of gear. I someone is new to prepping or naïve about firearms an article such as this could very easily lead them down the wrong path… And really, 2600.00 rifle from a lower tier manufacturer isn't money well spent.


Rusticolus August 24, 2013 at 6:46 am

I completely agree, on pretty much every point here. I too have noticed a certain bias being presented in many of the articles I've been reading on here lately. I don't know if they are shareholders, or perhaps get some sort of kickback for only writing positive reviews, but I have to think that something is going on. No piece of gear is without some sort of flaw and many of the reviews on this site seem to point to gear that must be absolutely perfect. Also, I'd argue that $2600 even from a top tier manufacturer isn't money well spent. There are other alternatives that would prove to be more cost effective and more practical for the needs of the average survivalist.


Gray Hunter August 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Absolutely… 2600 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a "survival" rifle, especially when it is not battle tested. A Springfield m1a is 1500ish, which is a far better choice and the standard model comes with a 22 in barrel, which is actually capable of that 700 yrd shot… lol not to mention the price of ammo.
Personally, I would never even think of engaging a target at that range in a survival sit….. 200 yrds is my max limit and even then I would be extremely hesitant. At a dead sprint 200 yrds takes at a minimum of 20 secs and that is near world class speed. your avg person can probably do it in 30ish and that is running as fast as he/she can… Why would anyone even consider engaging a target that could possibly be several minutes away?

Randyhub December 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Well in reality needing a .308 is just not going to be what will keep you alive if in an urban setting or the bush. Engagements will be under 100 yards and having a 7.62 rifle will be just an ill balanced club when you ran out of ammo….. I am using 5.56 why because it is common ammo and standard issue to our Troops and Police. Add in a CMMG .22 rimfire kit and 2000 rounds of backup rimfire ammo and you will have a better chance then 200 rounds of 7.62…….


TripodXL April 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

@All; While I made some posts above, let me pull them together. While the price is good for what you get, I have to somewhat agree with a number of the folks above. First, the price is a bit much for a NOMINAL large caliber SHTF weapon. While there is a lot of interchangeability, this IS NOT a .308 on an M-4 lower. Also, the FPS stated is for the 7.62×51 from a 24" barrel, 9.5" less is going to make a significant difference in what you actually get in MV. I would also agree with whoever said "why would you shoot at someone that far away"? My question exactly. If you don't have overwatch, aircover AND a RRF to back you up, that's not tactically smart ops. Of course anyone that can run 200 yds in 2, 3, 4 minutes is a bad-ass, olympic BA. Also in regard to the piston system, if you are going to shoot a short barrel, then you should have that, but you defeat the point of having a .30 cal with a 14.5 inch barrel. Also, pistons have more parts to break. The Mk11 or the M110 are still DIGS…no pistons and work fine. When a DIGS weapon goes down, just clean it. When a piston rig goes down, IT IS BROKEN. Find an M14 manual and see what is after the IAD fails….turn in to amory for maintenance!!! If the op rod is jammed,,,,damn. Even if you can get it back into battery with the bolt ear, you probably broke the firing pin and….well…damn again. No weapon is perfect and they will all break for one reason or the other. A properly maintained DIGS rifle will only go down for ammo or mags unless it breaks. If it breaks you can get it back up in less than two minutes unless it is destroyed. I know guys that have had 1200 rd fire fights, per man, and no FTFs on the entire fire team. Be well.


TripodXL April 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm

@GH; Coupla things. If the quality is there then $2600 is a reasonable price for the weapon. As far as the Springfield M1A being "battle tested", it is no more battle tested than this PWS weapon is. IF you mean the DESIGN is "battle tested", then the Stoner based 7.62x51mm DIGS design, of which this design is made after, is even more battle tested than the "M14" based design. The M14 saw a handful+ of years in action in South Vietnam, whereas the Mk11 (SR-25) or the M110 (both mfg'ed by Knights Armament, with some minor diffs) have seen over 20 + years of use in the first gulf war and in Iraq and the Stan as sniper systems or spotter weapons. The M110 is an upgrade of the Mk11, and as far as a semi-auto, precision, tactical weapon, it is as close to perfect as you can get. The entire USASOC (all services) were in on the improvements to the Mk 11 into the M110. As far as the dialog in this sub-string, it appears there is a lack of military experience and operational knowledge as the aforementioned clarification would have been known and therefore previous comments a moot point. So, I suppose that if you are going to do your "own research" you'll get one of each and test them out and make a REAL, data-based, scientific evaluation of which one is ACTUALLY the better firearm…otherwise you'd just be another "internet commando" like all those "other" posers. I would be interested in hearing how your tests turn out. I bet we all would like to hear your evaluation. FYI, there is a reason we use the Mk11/M110 instead of M14s. Drafted 1972, retired 2010. Been shot at on 5 continents and returned fire. I'm still here. I did my "own research" and got paid for it too. How unbelievable is that, paid to shoot. What fun. Be well.


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