Pat’s Product Reviews: MGI Hydra Modular Rifle

Update, October, 2011: This review has been updated to NEGATIVE. To explain: In my original review, I had posted favorable comments on the MGI “Hydra” rifle system. I am withdrawing that positive review, and alerting SurvivalBlog readers to NOT purchase this product. While the sample I wrote-up in SurvivalBlog worked flawlessly, I have been informed of some serious quality control problems with current production Hydra rifles. Several SurvivalBlog readers who placed orders have received defective guns. One SurvivalBlog reader, after many months, finally did get a working Hydra. Another SurvivalBlog reader is still waiting. He returned his Hydra before he even took it out of the gun shop – it fell apart. And now, despite numerous attempted contacts, he can’t get any response from MGI nor have they offered a refund.
It would appear that we were all disappointed to one degree or another. So, be advised that I recommend that you DO NOT do business with MGI until they have corrected their quality control problems and have established a good reputation for customer service in rectifying their past mistakes.

As with many guns and calibers, there is a debate over which rifle is “better” – the AR-15 style or the AK-47. Once again, I’ve avoided this debate, and as I have said before, there is “no better” when it comes to certain guns and calibers. One of the things folks don’t like about the AR-15 style of rifle is the caliber .223/5.56mm – some say it’s not powerful enough to reach out there and touch someone compared to the 7.62×39 (AK-47) round. Many say the .223/5.56mm doesn’t penetrate deeply enough compared to other rounds, especially the 7.62×39 round. I’ll not disagree entirely to the above statements. Many feel that nothing less than a .308 Winchester round will do for their survival needs. We can debate which is “best” from now, until the cows come home, and the argument will never be won.   I’ve been writing about guns and knives for about 18 years. And, any more, it takes a lot to really impress me in a new gun or knife. So many guns and knives are so much alike to another design, it can make your head spin. In steps the MGI Military “Hydra” modular rifle.

The Hydra is a true modular rifle based on the ever popular AR-15, with a few new twists of its own. The Hydra can be set-up as your basic AR-15 style rifle – firing the .223/5.56mm round, and it comes with a free-floated barrel for added accuracy, as well as a quad-rail handguard and flat-top receiver for mounting your favorite optic, laser, red dot or regular sights. If that’s all the Hydra did, it would be a good rifle, it’s a big step above many of the economy AR-15s on the market, make no mistake about that. What we have in the MGI Hydra is a rifle/carbine that can easily and quickly change from one caliber to another – in about a minute and a half. The Hydra can change from a plain ol’ .223/5/56mm to a good number of other calibers in less than two minutes, with no special tools. That is the good news. The bad news is that in recent months, serious quality control issues have emerged.

My Hydra is set-up with the standard .223/5.56mm 16″ barrel. I also have conversion kits so I can use AK-47 mags, 9mm Colt AR mags and Grease Gun mags. I have four different calibers I can shoot through my Hydra, and I’ll be looking at getting the conversion kit so I can shoot 9mm Glock magazines – for this, I only need to purchase a mag well that takes 9mm Glock mags – I already have a 9mm barrel and bolt. I added a flip-up rear sight, and a LaserLyte green laser to the quad-rail. the LaserLyte green laser is bright – it can be seen in bright daylight, and is military tough.   – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio