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….
There are two small arms conferences in the West that this author considers to be the most important in the world for the serious small arms community to attend: the NDIA Small Arms Symposium held every May in the United States, and the Small Arms and Cannon Symposium at Shrivenham held every August in the UK. While there are many excellent, larger trade shows that have some educational aspects to them, these two conferences stand out as events that encourage the dialogue between the shakers and movers in small arms design and end use….
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….
Metal Storm is a radically different concept for weapons and ammunition, the brainchild of a self-educated Australian inventor with brilliant intuition for practical applications in engineering, physics and electronics. Following its genesis in the early 1990s, this novel electronic ballistics technology has suffered from what might charitably be termed unrealistic expectations. Early claims of a rate of fire capability at 1 million rounds per minute inspired some fanciful applications ranging from covert wrist guns to missile defense….
There has long been a requirement for a personal defence weapon, or PDW, for soldiers whose primary duty does not involve carrying a rifle. They need something much smaller, lighter and handier which does not burden them or distract them from their main task. Originally, the main priority was for officers, who were almost invariably given revolvers or pistols; but handguns also found a place with cavalry and, later on, with soldiers such as gunners who might come under infantry attack or with tank crews whose space was at a minimum….
Skarżysko-Kamienna is a relatively young city receiving its city charter in 1923, yet a settlement has existed in the Kamienna river valley since prehistoric times due to the ore-rich region in which it is located. Steel mills prospered in the region and the State Ammunition Factory, as well as many other defense related industries after World War II, are located in the city. It was here where Polish squads ordered by Józef Piłsudski fought during World War I….
Developed in the aftermath of WWII and fielded in 1957, the light and handy 7.62mm NATO caliber M60 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) has been alternately praised and cursed by GIs who have carried it combat from Vietnam to Iraq and beyond. Inspired by the WWII German MG42, the M60 was intentionally designed for mass production – cheap and fast on a stamped sheet metal receiver that houses a clever gas operated, carrier-cammed bolt mechanism first seen in the Lewis Gun of WWI….
What’s not to like about a real machine gun that’s significantly lighter than a chunky M240, about the same size as a puny SAW, pumps out powerful 7.62mm rounds with reliability and accuracy, and has long been a force multiplier in elite Navy SEAL Teams? GIs who’ve tried ‘em love ‘em, they’re comparable in price to buy and sustain as the FN guns, they’ve been in the logistics and combat doctrine chains for ever, and they’re 100 percent American designed and built. Slam dunk? Sorry….
Over the past 10 years the industry has seen several new weapon systems emerge with the older piston technology making a comeback. Due to the campaign of certain manufacturing firms, the consensus is that the older retro piston operating system is superior to the current direct gas system of the current issue M16 and M4 weapon systems. While no statistical data has come forth to support the claim, several manufacturers are coming out with piston operated 5.56mm weapon systems including Colt, POF, Heckler & Koch, LWRC and, now, Magpul Military Industries….
The War & Peace Show, also called “The Beltring Show” by many, is an incredible experience. SADJ decided to bring the readers a short report on this amazing civilian “Militaria” show, since it is coming again this summer and, without question, is the largest militaria show in the world. War & Peace also provides an opportunity for military historians, end users, and people in the industry to see up close the weapons and kit used in conflicts all over the planet. The displays cover the full 450 acres of the Hop Farm recreational facility which is southeast of London in Paddock Wood, Kent. You read that right, 450 acres of display areas….
Eurosatory 2008 was held at the Parc du Exposition, located outside of Paris, France on June 16 – 20, 2008. As one of the largest tradeshows in the world dedicated to the international arms trade, nearly 1.3 million square feet of exhibition space was filled by 1,180 exhibitors from 51 countries, including 127 exhibitors from the United States. Approximately 50,000 individuals from over 145 countries attended the show. Of note were several new product releases and market trends from well known and lesser known manufacturers….
The sniper and spotter have been lying in their concealed position for hours observing the handful of windows and doors. Luckily they were shaded from the heat by the hide chosen in the rear corner of the room looking thru a hole in the wall caused by earlier combat in the area. Intelligence had indicated that the insurgent commander was in the area and likely using the observed structure as a safe house. The team had inserted by dropping off the back of a patrol sweeping thru the area. Range was not going to be a problem as the spotter and sniper had….
During the 1920s China was embroiled in a civil war between the Chinese Communists led by Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) who were led by Chiang Kai-shek. The fighting briefly subsided after 1937 with the Japanese invasion of China. During World War II, the United States became allied with the Chinese Nationalists and provided massive military and financial aid to help China fight the Japanese. The wartime plan of the U.S. was to assist China in becoming a strong ally and a stabilizing force in Asia after the war….
The conflicts in the Middle East go on, as they have through the ages. The shores of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan look out over the salt-mineral flats towards the West Bank, as they have through the ages as well. There is trouble brewing in that West Bank community, claimed to be the oldest continually occupied city on the planet, and to the East is Iraq, then Iran. Looking north is the Syrian border. Not far away, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This is the cradle of Western Civilization, the wellspring for the three great religions of the West – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam…
Argentina was an early user of the Maxim and began by ordering 50 Maxims from the Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited in England in 1895. These first 50 guns were given Argentine Army serial numbers 1-50 and chambered in the 7.65×53 Belgium Mauser caliber. In 1898, a second order of the Model 1895 was placed with Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM), a licensed Maxim manufacturer in Germany, for another 150 guns still chambered for the Belgium Mauser 7.65×53 caliber. These guns were serially numbered 51-200.
The 2005 Lion’s Gate film The Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage, is well known in the international small arms industry. Allegedly based upon the acts of former KGB major Viktor Bout, the movie makes a political statement against the international arms industry and claims that the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) are the world’s leading arms suppliers.
Sound is defined as air in motion, which produces pressure variations that the human ear can detect. It is a form of overpressure, and how it is interpreted depends on a variety of factors, including frequency, duration, intensity (amplitude), and variations in the observer’s hearing acuity. The subject of this column is related to firearm sounds.
Pelican Products acquired longtime rival Hardigg Industries to become the largest manufacturer of protective cases. The transaction was valued at US$200 Million. The merger combines the world’s largest roto-molded case manufacturer with the world’s largest injection molded manufacturer. Pelican will employ over 1,500 employees with 22 offices operating in 12 countries. The combined company boasts 6 manufacturing plants located throughout Europe and North America.
It’s been a wild ride being a part of the U.S. firearms industry over the last forty years. I have worked at more than a few firearms producers, from the largest to the smallest, and from the best to the worst. It has given me a special insight into the business. I’ve seen a lot of great designs evolve and I have been lucky enough to have not only met but spent quality time with all the greats: Chinn, Stoner, Uzi, Knight, Galili, Colby, Marquardt, Kalashnikov, Chiabrandy, Patenaude, Wetzel, Ruger, and Barrett.