A closer look at the Orlando shooter’s weapon

Monday, the Senate blocked four gun control amendments

(CNN) – Investigators say they’ve obtained video of the Orlando shooter practicing with his rifle at a gun range.

Omar Mateen was using the same weapon he used to kill 49 people at an Orlando night club.

Inside Florida Firearms Academy in Tampa, lead instructor Kevin Wilde is firing a Sig Sauer MCX rifle, the same kind of rifle the shooter used in Orlando’s pulse nightclub. The Sig Sauer MCX has only been on the market since last year, and was originally designed for U.S. special operations forces. The industry refers to it as a “modern sporting rifle.”

The military version of the MCX is fully automatic. But civilians can only purchase the semi-automatic version, meaning it can only fire one bullet at a time. With each pull of the trigger, a new bullet reloads into the chamber. While many other rifles, including the AR-15, use only gas to load the next bullet into the chamber, the MCX uses a piston design too.

Wilde says, “Benefits of a gas piston is it’s cleaner and you may feel a little less recoil impulse.”

The MCX is able to fire a bullet at a speed of 3000 feet per second from the muzzle, the same as an AR-15, with an identical muzzle and bullet. An experienced shooter can fire dozens of rounds per minute.

Wilde says, “I would say I could fire 30 rounds in a minute – cause I would take my time.”

The Sig Sauer MCX offers a variety of barrel lengths. It has about the same power as an AR-15, assuming the barrel length is the same. It’s more powerful than a 9mm handgun, and less powerful than an AK-47. Like the AR-15, the MCX uses a .223 caliber bullet, which moves in a way to cause maximum damage.

(Kevin Wilde, Lead Instructor) “When it hits its target, it tumbles, by that I mean it enters and turns as opposed to going straight through.”

(Randi Kaye, Reporting) “So when this tumbles as it enters the target, it could tumble many times over or it could just tumble once?”

(Kevin Wilde, Lead Instructor) “Situation dependent.”

After watching Kevin fire the MCX, he invited me to see for myself what it feels like to fire this weapon.

First he showed me how to load the bullets into the magazine. The magazine holds 30 bullets.

I was actually surprised at how easy it was to shoot – even to pull the trigger, to hold it, to balance it, see down range.

Wilde says, “As long you’re maintaining the shooting fundamentals and trigger manipulations, you will engage your target.”

On Monday, the Senate blocked four gun control amendments. The amendments would’ve expanded background checks and banned people who are on terrorist watchlists from purchasing weapons.

Copyright 2016 CNN

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