Armistice 17

There’s a lot of posts about armistice day and remembrance out there, I don’t think I need to remind anybody yet one more time about the importance of it.

I’m on duty at the moment, which means I’ve been in work a couple of times over the weekend and I pretty much have to stay on base for a week. Everyone takes a turn, just means I spend a lot of time here in the barrack block and I do a lot of thinking; so I’ve been thinking all day about what to say on the subject.

From a social media perspective, I think it’s very, very easy to post ‘prayers for’ and ‘respect to’ posts every time there’s a tragedy or a marked public holiday/event. If those posts come from the heart, if you genuinely take the time to think about the sacrifices that heroes have made and great people we’ve lost, that’s great.

Personally; I won’t lie I didn’t even buy my poppy until yesterday, I didn’t spend a long time pausing at 11am today to be silent either. I think about people who’ve been lost and those who’ve lost a bit of themselves near enough every single day. I can’t even ‘take credit’ or claim that’s a conscious effort it just pops in to my brain without trying. Makes my heart weigh pretty heavy truth be told.

Like to use this post here to share a video I watched on Soldier Systems Daily from Sitka. As some context to something well known in popular culture, this is a story somewhat akin to that told in American Sniper. However there’s no actors here, just the man himself, his tale and his reality. He might be American but his story is no doubt very, very similar to that experienced by so many thousands upon thousands more across the globe.

The internet stops at your screen. I think a few too many people can forget that, hit post and think they’ve done something; I’ve been guilty of it and I reckon if we’re honest we likely all have been at some point. So if you want to, if you can, if the opportunity is there or you can make the opportunity, at the very least say a kind word to any veteran or service person who’s been there, done that. Of course not just during WW2, but Korea, The Falklands, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq (at various times), Syria, the Balkans… and the list goes on and on. There are people who need help all of the time.

Watch, absorb, contemplate, try and genuinely be as grateful as you can manage to for each day.

Skip ze 6 – A7

First time I’m seeing the 416A7 as selected by German SF, deets over at Soldier Systems Dailyhttp://soldiersystems.net/2017/10/13/spartanat-2/#comments

G95

45 degree selectors and HKey over the quad pic. Not sure on other changes right now since the HK site still only displays the A5.

VERY similar rail to the one being proposed for the L85A3. I find it interesting the way some of these military arms are insisting on fitting parts that would be relevant on commercial ARs about 2-3 years ago. I had an original Fortis REV with the 12 and 6 o/clock pic rails and side KeyMod, was not a fan of the ergonomics, however I’ll take any weight saving over quad pic. M-LOK all around is simply the way to go.

Cash is King

I can’t mention the L85 without somebody telling me that “It’s shit and needs to be replaced”.

Let me address this with one very key point right now, because if you knew enough to be qualified to really put forward a worthwhile viewpoint on this subject you’d have understood this already. If you want to understand the over-arching key to this issue please read this piece over at Soldier Systems Daily:

http://soldiersystems.net/…/armys-peo-soldier-bg-cummings…/…

I’m quite happy to bet every penny I have to my name right now that whichever new calibre/cartridge the US military selects (and various testing is going on currently as part of that) the rest of NATO/ISAF/’the nice guys’ will follow suit, as will many, many other people. It happened with 556 before and the firearm industry in the USA leaves it as basically the only nation in the world (certainly in the west) with the infrastructure of everything that’s needed to develop and select the new standard round to a sufficient level of overall quality as far as the end result goes. H&K may be popular and in Europe, but all they’re really doing is iterating on current weapons for the most part. The MP7 was one of their most innovative weapons but everything I’m reading suggests even that has been phased out and potentially replaced by a rifle from Q, LLC – a company I’d wager is substantially buoyed by (and far more viable as a result of) the existence of the US civilian firearms market. Similar story with FN.

Replacing a general issue service carbine or rifle is a long, tricky, very very expensive process that 99.9% do not understand at all. I don’t pretend to understand it fully by any means myself. But the key word here is expensive and cash-money is very high indeed on the priority list right now, to put it extremely lightly.

Will the timelines mentioned in the article be kept to? Probably not if we look at procurement programs in general, but unlike fast jets it is comparatively quick to develop new small arms. Emphasis on the word comparatively of course, but none-the-less the fact remains. I won’t pretend to know exactly what will happen and when, but a new calibre is almost certainly coming quite soon and spending out a fortune on rifles, optics, slings, rail accessories, training materials, training ammo, range time etc etc etc for another 556 rifle at this current point in time is the equivalent to tipping piles and piles of money in to a giant furnace – money you borrowed from one of those borderline-legal not-a-loan-shark companies at 2500% APR. The next big thing just is not available right now, it doesn’t exist yet, therefore we can’t buy it and I’m confident in saying that sticking with the current option is the only sensible and viable solution taking key relevant factors in to account.

There’s been a lot of talk from top US generals about a feeling of lack of ability to respond to soviet x54R weapons and there’s more than a few past examples out there of the US prioritising money in to new equipment vs training on the current equipment. So again, strong impetus there for something that carries energy farther than 556 does without going all the way back to 762×51 on a permanent basis for every service member.

If you’ve paid much attention to the rise of 6.5 Creedmoor amongst US civilian shooters and you understand some basics about trajectories, transonic transition, carried energy, wind effects etc you’ll know what the appeal is behind a 6.X calibre round on paper. The carbine isn’t the only area this is going on either, there’s plenty of noise around an FN MAG replacement/upgrade in .338NM (Norma Magnum), which itself is basically a slightly tamed .338LM (Lapua Magnum). The former being a round which would extend effective range of light machine guns and without dragging this post on even longer is, I would say, just ‘better’ for use in anything but a precision rifle vs Lapua Magnum.

None of this is even getting in to polymer cased ammo, but sufficed to say that new standardised round is a big old train and it’s steaming in to the station at high speed. It’s not Virgin Trains either, so if you lay the tiny leaf that is an iterative 556 gun on the track, that ol’ girl most definitely ain’t stopping.

Radom (Poland) at DSEI

First time I’ve been able to see the very well known Polish MSBS rifle system in the flesh. In terms of function it’s nothing that’s revolutionary, however a lot of investment has gone in to producing the modular components and design aspects of this rifle. The quick change barrels can be swapped between CQB carbine length, infantry rifle, DMR and LMG. With the upper receiver being the common component each of those is available in both bullpup and conventional layouts. There’s also a compatible 40mm launcher available.

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Great 3D viewer with more information here:
http://fabrykabroni.pl/en/produkty/karabiny/msbs/

Edgar Brothers at DSEI

I had a feeling EB were putting something pretty special together for their stand and I was not disappointed. They had essentially a mini SHOT Show setup all in one area and I was loving it I have to say. On board they had lots of gear from Daniel DefenseBlue Force Gear, Inc.S&S PrecisionVelocity Systems/Mayflower R&CGeissele Automatics, LLCTeam WendyMYSTERY RANCH BACKPACKSArc’teryx, of course Hot Shots Calendarand even more I’m forgetting right now.

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Great opportunity to take a close look at a huge variety of equipment in one place that you’d otherwise have to travel the world or spend a fortune to see. That in itself is a very large and key part of the reason why I run this outlet and try to put out as much information as possible to anyone who wants it.

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Special mentions to Rosie Jones and Kelly Hall smiling away as always raising some cash for Help for Heroes Official. Between the pair of them they’ve attended more defence and security industry expos at this point than probably the majority of people actually working in that business. They’ll be at it again in Vegas come January with some of the other ladies and I’ll be saying the same thing no doubt. What actually matters is the fundraising to help the vets who’ve suffered so you and I don’t have to and deserve absolutely nothing but the best. Last time at Shot the cash boxes at the Crye booth were quite literally bursting and overflowing, so credit where credit is due because a lot of the people coming up to the stand do ask some strange and unusual things but the girls are never phased. I’ve had some experience being the other side of the table as it were, presenting service weapons to crowds of people at open days and the like on base and the patience required just doing that for 1 day being asked the same things over and over again is substantial, let alone doing it for 3-4 days.

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REX firearms at DSEI

Rex had a small booth but what they did have was quite impressive I have to say. As a company they’ve only gotten in to firearms relatively recently, but they’ve been making other related items (training ammunition, links, tac gear) for a long time.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect quality wise from Rex Zero 1 pistol but they appeared to be very well manufactured. The de-cocker also acts as the slide lock and release, with the safety and magazine release both being ambi. The compact variants are shorter in the slide and grip as you’d expect, that tactical models feature threaded barrels and slide optic cuts. The competition model at the end has more going on than I’m even going to list in this post. The Firearm Blog very recently published a video on YouTube showcasing these pistols at the factory in Slovenia if you’re interested in seeing more.

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My feelings about modernising AKs are that it should absolutely be done but you should take a Military style approach to it, taking considered and incremental steps. If you slap on everything you can or make really huge changes to the DNA of the rifle it’ll end up a mess. The Rex AKB-15 may look like a totally different animal, but really the only huge change is up top. The receiver, BCG, barrel and fire control parts are pretty much what you’d want and expect in any AK, they have primarily just changed the obsolete top cover and soviet side mount for a monolithic top rail to fit optics in a secure fashion. Of course there’s also M-LOK slots on the lower handguard. Crucially the safety/selector is extremely smooth and with the downwards extension a right handed shooter can manipulate it quickly and very easily. For field cleaning you simply press out 2 HK style pins at the rear of the receiver to pop off the stock. Great design work.

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GLOCK at DSEI

I think there may have been a slight mix up with the Gen 4 G17s on the stand, because unless something’s changed and nobody’s told my armoury, we don’t get the extended slide release levers on our service pistols. However for those who may not be aware, yes the G19 is a service pistol, not as widely used of course as the full size gun but there are quite a few in inventory.

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No Gen 5 guns sadly, but the M variants are what I’d call a Gen 4.8 (more than a 4.5). The most interesting aspect for me was the magazines. I’m not sure if they’re actually standard for the M models or special for the show (other guns didn’t have them) but the cuts make insertion require more force and pressing the mag release causes the magazine to fly out of the pistol at a pretty rapid rate. Be very interested to try the design out live firing, seem like a nice option, especially for speed/emergency reloads.

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CZ at DSEI

CZ had their line of military long arms as well as a wide selection of pistols on display. From the uber fancy all steel competition gun going through the line up to the extremely practical and utalitarian P-10C.

The first thing I had to check out was the Scorpion EVO. For those of you who (like me) own the Team ASG replica, they weren’t kidding when they said you used a plastic for the body just like the original firearm. The Scorpion might not yet be ‘classy’ or iconic in the sub gun world with the efficient polymer construction, but in 10 or 15 years I’d bet it will be. The locations of all the controls and addition of a bolt catch vs some older SMG designs make it as ergonomic to run as any gun pretty much could ever be. The use of plastics make it incredibly light and handy and being chambered in 9mm it can get away with that.

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The 556 NATO and 762×39 variants of the Bren 2 were on the tables and the 762 version was new to me. Rather than simply fitting an AK pattern magazines, CZ have their own transparent mags that use a modern NATO style catch, no rock to lock. It’s a weird felling just straight pressing in a mag of that geometry but I think it absolutely makes sense. The actual housing is fairly short so I don’t forsee feeding issues in the straight portion being any significant concern. Both versions of the rifle share uppers, stocks, bolt carriers etc. Change the barrel, bolt and lower for the mag well and you’ve changed cartridge entirely.

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Last but not least – A good friend of mine who’s a true pistol connoisseur owns a Shadow 2 and the anodised blue grips obviously draw the eye. I’m not personally a fan of the internal slide when it comes to performing any manipulation thereof, but every aspect of the construction of the thing felt truly top notch. The polymer frame makes the most sense in the modern world but combination of the metal frame and precise fit of every fit really combine to a fantastic package.

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Truvelo Armoury Division at DSEI

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Truvelo were in the South African pavilion along with, as expected for SA weaponry, lots of other seriously heavy duty and impressive pieces of equipment.

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They manufacture some extremely high quality firearms that most definitely fit in to the military extreme range sniper rifle category. Very impressive numbers on the accuracy side of the house and a truly outstanding selection of calibres available. I had to feature these shots of a short barrelled 20mm mag fed (repeating) bolt-action.

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