Glock Generations: Detail and Feature Evolution

According to company literature, the first Glock pistols imported into the U.S. came in January of 1986. These guns had serial numbers beginning with a two letter alpha prefix of “AF” followed by a three digit number. This means for every two letter combination, there were up to 1,000 pistols produced with numbers from 000 to 999. As of this writing, current new production Glock….

Weapons Lab: Small Arms Development at USALWL

After the end of the Second World War, the United States military, the Army especially, saw its mission as one of countering potential Soviet aggression. If this were to come, the most likely battlefield would be in Northern Europe. With the Soviet Union’s acquisition of nuclear weapons the two world powers settled into the Cold War. Though a major land war between the two in Europe would have been catastrophic, other fronts presented more potential. By supporting insurgencies around the world the Soviet Union….

Weapons of Croatian Forces in Chad

Since it gained independence, Chad has been shaken by numerous armed risings, invasions of the neighboring military, conflicts regarding borders and scuffles among political leaders. Since 1973 the northern part of the country was placed under control of the guerrilla insurgents supported by Libya, but with French help the uprising was repressed and operations of Libyan troops were suppressed….

Indigenous Machine Guns of China: Part Two – Heavy Machine Guns

Up until the 1960s all machine guns manufactured in China were of foreign design. The first heavy machine gun to be produced in China was the 12.7mm Type 54, a straight-up copy of the Soviet DShKM 1938/46, made on Soviet machinery, using Soviet documentation and assistance. This weapon fired the 12.7x108mm round of Soviet origin, which was roughly similar in performance to the American .50 BMG round….

Emerson Electric’s Tactical Armament Turret Line for Aircraft

The Emerson Electric Company was founded in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri as the Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company. The company initially produced electric motors and then went on to produce entire electricity powered machines like fans, sewing machines, and power tools. By the time the Second World War broke out, Emerson turned its already half century of experience with electric power….

PLA Infantry Weapons: Small Arms of the World’s Largest Army

ABOVE: These company-level PF98 120mm rocket launchers have just a basic optical sight system. Note the basic tripod dropped to its lowest position. In a…

Mesko: Poland’s Ammunition Maker

Mesko, Poland’s leading ammunition manufacturer turns 90 this summer. From the beginning it was meant to provide the Polish Army with high-quality ammunition – and within the intervening years that’s what the plant, through its many guises, always did….

Gateway to the Battlefield: A Sniper and His Optic

A defining moment for a sniper is when he can positively identify a threat within his area of operation and exercise certain actions, from an intelligence report to target neutralization. The ability to identify a target is vital in a stability operation or counterinsurgency (COIN) environment, where precisely aimed fire is at a premium and collateral damage isn’t an option….

ISAF Peacekeepers from Croatia

The Croatian Armed Forces are changing from an army of defenders of their homeland, and becoming an Armed Forces that are preparing for entry into Euro-Atlantic political-military associations. They have become an army that contributes to building peace and stability, by taking part in peacekeeping missions under leadership of the UN or NATO. From a country that was the recipient of peace missions during the Homeland War, Croatia and its Armed Forces have, in a very short time, become an important factor in establishing and keeping peace in the world. Participation in peace missions is undoubtedly a confirmation of the maturity….

The Armalite AR-10: From The Beginning

The AR-15/M16/M4 series rifle is undoubtedly the most popular rifle in the United State for all military, law enforcement and commercial markets. It is the most versatile platform of a rifle on the face of the planet. Another rifle has crept up into that popularity; one that was on the scrap heap of the U.S. Army for nearly 40 years. That would be the one that started it all, the AR-10. “Tomorrow’s Rifle Today” in the late 1950s has turned out to be today’s rifle today. The rifle that Ordnance Corp….

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Black Hills Ammunition

There are many manufacturers making ammunition as well as remanufacturing it. Few have a reputation of being precision ammunition manufacturers let alone manufacturing military grade ammunition. But consider ammunition that is match grade loaded to military specifications? Trying to bridge match grade accuracy and ability to produce military reliability is very difficult. Loading any precision round is difficult in mass production. But there is one company out there that has done it, and that is Black Hills Ammunition owned by Jeff Hoffman and his wife Kristi, who is a co-owner and an integral, indispensable part of….

Hornady Law Enforcement Ammunition

The name Hornady is well known throughout the industry.  Hornady is a much diversified company being involved in ammunition production, manufacturing bullets for the reloading community, manufacturing reloading supplies (presses, scales, etc.) and so on.  The ammunition business provides advanced projectiles for commercial hunters, target shooters and law enforcement….

Brazil’s Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais

As Latin America’s largest country and with a population of 200 million souls, Brazil faces massive defense problems. Although it does not have to cope with any imminent threat from overseas or any of the ten bordering nations, properly watching and defending 8.5 million square kilometers of land territory and an unbroken coastline of just about 7,500 kilometers long (corresponding to 3.5 million square kilometers of territorial waters) requires substantial effort from the three independent military services, the Exército Brasileiro (Army)….

Sales Tips & Tricks: An Inside Look at Sales Promotions Used by the Arms Industry

n 1968 the Kennedy administration closed the Springfield Armory. For the most part, it ended a long-standing process where the Government designed and produced small arms and medium cannons. The change resulted in private industry competing for contracts to procure weapons on a “best value” basis that ended up saving the taxpayer money. The change also meant that private industry would need to develop sales campaigns in order to get their products in front of military customers. Companies need promotional material, giveaways, and advertisement campaigns….

NAMMO Lapua: Tactical Ammunition for Special Forces

The origin of the company lies in the establishment by the Finnish government in 1923 of a cartridge factory in the town of Lapua in western Finland.  The State Cartridge Factory (as it was named in 1927) was the main supplier of ammunition to the Finnish Army during the Winter and Continuation Wars with the USSR between 1939 and 1944.  In 1991 it became an independent company under the new name Cartridge Factory Lapua, Ltd.  The next year, Lapua acquired the German cartridge factory SK Jagd- und Sportmunitions GmbH.  In 1996, Finnish military manufacturers were combined under the banner of Patria Industries; Lapua became Patria Lapua.  In 1998 Patria Industries Oyj from Finland….

The Military & Law Enforcement Ammunition of Federal Premium and Speer

Law enforcement and military ammunition has come a long way in the last 20 years. Military ammunition, not so much due to the Hague and Geneva convention restrictions but advances in LE ammunition have made calibers known for being poor man stoppers into very effective and efficient man stoppers. Federal has always been one of the top industry leaders in advanced ammunition development – perhaps the first true high performance hollow point with the introduction of the Hydra-Shok round that really saw its popularity peak in the mid to late 1980s. The new HST round has currently in the opinion of many been found to be one of if not the best LE/personal defense projectile on the market….

Barnes Military & Law Enforcement Ammunition

The name Barnes is renowned in the firearms industry. It has been since its founding in 1932 by Fred Barnes. In 1965, the company was sold and renamed the Colorado Bullet Company. Then in 1974, Randy and Coni Brooks purchased the company. After getting consult from Fred Barnes, they acquired the right to change the name back to Barnes Bullets. To date, Barnes has been known for producing solid copper projectile for hunting, law enforcement and military applications. They also load cartridges with OTM (Open Tip Match) projectiles….

Stormy Paraguay

Early last June 2012, news from Paraguay indicated that 321 police agents had been dispatched to Curuguaty. The police officers, supported by a couple of helicopters, were there to disband several peasants who had occupied a Ranch owned by a local politician. However, the aftermath of the police raid left 11 peasants and 6 police officers dead. Local reports later claimed that the police reinforcements had been ambushed by elements of a local peasant community organization (Liga Nacional de Carperos), and among those killed….

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2013 Chinn & Hatchcock Awards from NDIA

The George M. Chinn Award is presented annually to honor a government or industry individual who, in the opinion of the Small Arms Systems Division Executive Board, has made significant contributions to the field of small arms and/or infantry weapons systems. A significant contribution is considered to be a creative invention, new design or innovative concept in small arms weapons, ammunition or ancillary equipment that provides an advancement in the state-of-the-art or capability enhancement that clearly benefits the warfighting….

The Way of the Gun

In his 1922 book, Story of the North West Frontier Province, author JM Ewart writes: “That gap in the low hills (south of Peshawar city) marks the Kohat Pass, which really has a better claim to being a historic highway of invasion than the Khyber itself. By it, across a neck of Afridi country, runs the Frontier Road to Kohat and Bannu, to Dera Ismail Khan and Razmak. The villages of the pass are famed for a strange industry — the manufacture entirely by hand of rifles and ammunitions, especially rifles, to the eye so like the products of European arsenals…

Velocity Systems: Armor Protection at the Speed of Need

The see-saw battle of armor protection versus armament has been going on since the first wooden shield deflected a bone or stone tipped spear. Most people associate the knights of medieval times as the epitome of armor over armament. In Europe, plate armor reached its peak in the 16th century until the evolution of firearms brought an end to plate armor ascendancy. Research & Development (R&D) in armor protection continued behind the scenes without managing to catch up to firearm effectiveness for hundreds of years…..

Saab to Supply Carl-Gustaf 84mm Recoilless Rifle System to the U.S. Army

Today’s ground forces are preparing for tomorrow’s demanding missions in which combat strategies and tactics must be seamlessly implemented – from open to urban terrain and through a three-block war scenario. Saab has extensive experience in supporting ground forces with solutions designed to meet the need for enhanced operational capabilities at a higher level of effectiveness. A weapon’s multi-role capacity can mean the difference between combat success and failure. In 1978 during a patrol mission in a valley in Lebanon, Norwegian soldiers….

ST Kinetics: Singapore on the Move

During our last visit, we were able to see the newest offerings from the ST Kinetics Small Arms Division.  The CPW, or Compact Personal Weapon, was the first item we looked at.  We were impressed with the ergonomic design, the light weight, and the multiple caliber concept.  On this visit, we got a deeper look at a matured design that is coming to market.  The choice was made to stay with 9x19mm due to the prevalence of the caliber…

Torture Test: U.S. Ordnance MAG-58/M240

The famous MAG-58 General Purpose Machine Gun has its roots in John Browning’s 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle: the BAR. FN Herstal’s relationship with Browning is well-known and it’s no surprise that the excellent BAR operating system would evolve in their hands. The FN Model D BAR added features such as a quick-change barrel, but the core operating system was alive and well throughout the evolution. Put simply….

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USMC Precision Weapons Section

There’s nothing else like it in any of the other branches of America’s Armed Forces.  Its uniquely lethal products, the work of a small and tightly-knit group, must function flawlessly and consistently 24/7 for the Corps’ Scout Snipers and other hard-chargers in some of the world’s most harsh terrain and weather.  Other weapons and custom loaded ammunition created there must also consistently deliver pinpoint accuracy for world class shooters of the USMC’s Competition In Arms Rifle and Pistol Teams….

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Way Off Target?

Indian Army’s snipers desperately lack adequate training, suitable weaponry and specialized supplementary equipment. The Army attaches little importance to snipers who can alter not only the course of battles and politics, but even history, by simply executing the one enemy who matters the most. After the Mumbai terrorist attack the operational usefulness of sniping has gained credence among military, security and law enforcement agencies. There is a new realization that snipers are force multipliers and that their skillful employment can impose caution, cause attrition and demoralize the enemy….

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The 3rd Generation: From the vz. 61 Skorpion Submachine Gun to the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1

The Czech arms industry made a great impact in 20th century weaponry history with a large range of remarkable products. Probably the most original of them all was a “special submachine gun” named the Skorpion, a successful effort for covering the gap between service pistols and traditional submachine guns chambered in pistol cartridges. The Skorpion, in its initial, less powerful caliber, i.e. 7.65mm Browning (.32 Auto), has not met modern security unit’s requirements for some years, much less that of the armed forces; nevertheless….

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MARSOC, Part 2: Training SOCOM’S Devil Dogs

The focus of our visit to MARSOC‘s Schoolhouse was Special Operations Training Branch, currently housed in an orderly formation of a dozen or so modular classrooms while construction is underway nearby on a more traditional campus. There, Lieutenant Colonel Clark Watson, SOTB’s Director, walked us through the high points of the Initial Training Course, a comprehensive SPECOPS basic training program that is the next step following Assessment and Selection for those seeking to become CSOs….

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MARSOC, Part 1: Devil Dogs of SOCOM

It defies logic that United States Special Operations Command did not include the Marine Corps until a little over five years ago.  All the more so because the Corps is arguably the most nimble, aggressive and experienced component of the U.S. Armed Forces in the dirty and demanding business of fighting “small wars” in remote corners of the world….

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Bumar Group: Poland’s Defense Industry Champion

Bumar is now a household name in Poland and one in circulation for over 55 years. But it was only in the last 10 years that it became a high-roller in Poland’s defense industry as a core company around which a concern of Bumar Group was built. It all started in 1953 when Bumar Construction Machinery Industrial Union was organized in Warsaw as a state holding company governing construction machinery, manufacturing and trade. Of course, as was a matter of custom….

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Future Industry Small Arms

Combat experience in Afghanistan has prompted some rapid changes in the small arms carried by ISAF foot soldiers; and most especially by the U.S. Army, USMC and the British Army and Royal Marines.  The purpose of this article is to outline these changes, determine the lessons learned, and look ahead to examine the extent to which the growing variety of rifles including DMRs (Designated Marksman Rifles), carbines, IARs (Infantry Automatic Rifles) and LMGs (light machine guns) might be replaced in the future by a smaller number of weapons without losing any capability.

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El Salvador: Standing Tall

The Marine looked sharp.  He was dressed in the new MARPAT green camouflage pattern, cut to the US M1967 jungle style and matched to a cover of the same material; he wore the Special Forces harness and carried the M4A4 Carbine.  The same standard was observed in the hands of elements of the DM4 from Comandos de Morazán and other troops.  This was definitely a leap forward from the rag-tag look observed only a few months before….

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Uhlan 21: The Polish Future Soldier Project

Designing “Future Soldiers” space-age suits of armor with TV and other creature comforts has been a popular fad since 1950s, but only in the last decade have such projects significantly moved from concept into the mainstream. Latest advances in microelectronics, mechanics and ergonomics, coupled with shifting the emphasize from the tanks and missiles back towards individual soldier as a result of the end of the Cold War and in accordance with the ‘asymmetric warfare’ doctrine, brought about Future Soldier projects popping up everywhere….

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Project Manager Soldier Weapons

By the time you read this, the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System with its uncannily accurate airburst ammo will undoubtedly have drawn its first blood in Afghanistan. This sci-fi looking individual armament, initially the “grenade gun” upper half of the ill-fated Objective Individual Combat Weapon, has been in combat operational test mode for several months now with selected elements of US Special Operations Command….

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A Visit to Caracal: SADJ Tours Caracal’s UAE Headquarters

19 February, 2011. A small group of firearms community writers from the United States had been invited to the Caracal facility in the United Arab Emirates. (David Fortier, Bryce Towsley, Tim Ford, and Mike Seeklander joined this author). We gathered at our hotels in the morning, and were taken to the facility where we were greeted by Saeed Ali Al Shamsi from Caracal and given the grand tour of the manufacturing facility….

Leupold: Modern Innovations in the Optics Industry

Firing the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR) set up on .338 Lapua, with the Leupold Mark 4, 6.5-20x50mm Extended Range/Tactical (ER/T) optic. Leupold, the oldest…

Peruvian Small Arms: Gunning for the Shining Path

About one week prior to our visit to Lima, the die hard guerrillas of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) had ambushed an Army patrol, killing all 14 soldiers.  The region known as VRAE (for Rivers Apurimac and Ene Valley) has become a hub of military activity with soldiers and police officers chasing the Sendero Luminoso guerrilla group, which has resurrected in a narco-guerrilla form.  The extremist Maoist Shining Path guerrilla group was decimated in the 1980s, but a core of some 300 insurgents escaped to the Vizcatán region….

Guns of the Spetsnaz: Specially Designed CQB Rifles

Pair of OMON (SWAT-type unit) operators prepare for entry exercise, armed with suppressed 9-A91 rifles. By the late 1980s, special operations elements of the Soviet…

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Elites of the Exercito Brasiliero

Brazilian soldier armed with M964 rifles and a Carl Gustav 84mm Recoilless Rifle. (U.S. DoD) The Brazilian government must rely on a number of crack…

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Guns & Gear of the U.S. Navy’s Riverine Forces (Part Two)

10 April 2009, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. A Riverine Patrol Boat executes a low speed turn in preparation for another pass in support of the…

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Dr. Dater’s LMO Suppressor Class

Each of the students had a chance to test-fire various weapons and suppressors on the range day of the class. Affable, cheerful and humorous, the…

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Serbia’s Tactical Training Team

Tactical attendee live firing the M55A3 triple barreled 20mm anti-aircraft machine gun in the ground anti-material roll. This weapon system is highly portable, and provides…

Guns & Gear of the U.S. Navy’s Riverine Forces (Part One)

Note: Part Two of this article is available here. The “Brown Water Navy” is back in force and elements of Captain Kruger’s command have been…

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NDIA 2010: Chinn & Hathcock Award Winners

2010 NDIA Chinn Award: Frank Puzycki Each year at the NDIA Small Arms Annual Meeting, the George M. Chinn Award is presented to honor a…

SADJ Visits ST Kinetics

We received an invitation to come to ST Kinetics in Singapore and view their newest small arms offerings.  As quickly as possible, we made the…

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ATK in Motion: Foreign Weapons Procurement

Karen Davies, VP and General Manager of ATK’s Small Caliber Systems including the U.S. Army’s Lake City Ammunition Plant, happily hammers away with the Garwood…

In Memoriam: Norman E. Justice

(Sept. 14, 1932 – March 23, 2009)  Norman E. Justice was born in Woburn, MA on September 14, 1932, the son of George and Ruth…

Lekhwiya: Qatar’s Special Forces Group

Faisal Essa Al-Kaabi, Qatar Special Forces Group, stands guard at the Lekhwiya Historical and Current use displays. Note M2HB .50 caliber (12.7x99mm) Browning machine gun…

Poland’s Bumar Group

As Poland emerged from the chaotic period after Communism, the country experienced many changes.  Today, we are just a little more than 20 years from…

2009 NDIA Award Winners

Each year at the NDIA Small Arms Annual Meeting, the George M. Chinn Award is presented annually to honor a government or industry individual who, in the opinion of the Small Arms Systems Division Executive Board, has made significant contributions to the field of small arms and/or infantry weapons. Joel M. Goldman has devoted almost forty years in the pursuit of better ways to design, develop, and manufacture small arms weapons, ammunition, propellant and explosives….

Industry Profile: Dr. Philip H. Dater

Dr. Philip H. Dater was born in the latter part of April, 1937 on Manhattan Island in New York City.  He has two brothers, Tom and Sheldon, and a sister Emilie.  Dr. Dater has two daughters from his first marriage, Diana and Valerie, and one daughter Julie with his wife, Jane, to whom he has been happily married for over thirty years.  He is one of the brains behind Gemtech and his private consulting practice with Antares Technologies has done a lot behind the scenes for the modern small arms community….

Volker Kurtz: NDIA Professional Service Award Winner

At the 22nd annual Small Arms and Cannons Symposium held in August 2008 at the Defense Academy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to simply as “Shrivenham” for the small town in England where the event is held, Volker Kurtz, formerly with Heckler & Koch GmbH for nearly two decades, received the coveted NDIA Professional Service Award for his dedication to the small arms end user, to advancing the state-of-the-science of small arms systems, and to the industry as a whole….

Mr. Metal Storm

Going Ballistic, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television documentary from 2000, has a collection of fascinating interviews with O’Dwyer himself and key persons in his life and work. Through it we learn that the inventor admits to being “not a particularly good student” during his high school years in a small town in Queensland, Australia.  Interested primarily in the odd combination of physics at school and working on cars in his stepfather’s auto repair business, after graduation he chose to enter the workplace rather than continue on to college….