Industry Slowdown Shows No Impact on IWA 2019
[IWA Outdoor Classics / Enforce Tac 2019]
This year’s IWA show carried on in the turbulent time of industry slowdown and increasing tension between countries such as the U.S. and Turkey; yet the show did not slow down, with 1622 exhibitors compared to 1562 the year before. The number of attendees was down slightly to 46,000 from 46,562 in 2018.
Heckler & Koch
At Enforce Tac, Heckler & Koch Germany (HK) proudly showcased its next generation rifle for the German Bundeswehr tender, the HK433. It is now HK’s prototype iteration version number 4. HK representatives are usually tight-lipped about what was changed internally; externally, the charging handle has been revised such that the charging handle can only be removed when it’s pulled back in the middle position very similar to the IWI Tavor 7 prototype (SADJ Vol. 10, No. 3). This is to prevent the handle from coming off if the operator grabbed it under stress. The handguard lockup has been revised again compared to the version I saw back at the Heckler & Koch factory in Oberndorf in 2017 (SAR Vol. 21, No. 9).
The HK433 was shown in both black and RAL8000. The RAL8000 seemed to gather more interest due to various shades of tan, which HK claimed is effective camouflage. Many clients now opt for colors other than black due to its high visibility in the IR spectrum.
HK was also showing off the new SFP9-OR SD with a push button magazine release in RAL 8000. “OR” means Optic Ready, and “SD” means it features an extended, threaded barrel. Unfortunately, the pistol was not available for a photograph for the later part of the second day, as it was being shown in meetings with potential clients.
The HK416A7 (German military designation G95K), used by Germany’s special ops units—Kommando Spezialkrafte (KSK) and sailors of the Kommando Spezialkrafte Marine (KSM)—was also on display showing the new, 45-degree safety.
HK did not show the above products at IWA due to commercial restrictions via German regulation. The company did, however, showcase the new SFP9L-OR with push button magazine release at IWA. The “L” stands for Long Slide, which is designed for competition use.
Back in early March this year, Heckler & Koch Germany sent out a letter to all its commercial distributors that it is no longer accepting orders indefinitely due to existing military and law enforcement contracts from various countries such as France, U.S., UK, Germany, and so on.
Currently, the company has the French Army HK416F contract for 102,000 rifles; the UK MoD/British Army SA80A3 upgrade for 44,000 rifles; the USMC M27 IAR contract for 50,814 and M38 contract for 15,000 rifles; the U.S. Army M110A1 contract for a maximum of 3,643 rifles; and the Berlin police SFP9-TR contract for 24,000 pistols.
Heckler & Koch representatives have since clarified that they are continuing to accept commercial pistol orders, with lead time of 12 months or longer. They are capable of producing over 10,000 pistols a month; however, the allocations are for both commercial and military/law enforcement.
FN Herstal was only present at Enforce Tac with the new SCAR-L and SCAR-SC (Sub Compact) with updated keymod handguard with keymod mounting slots at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, slightly shedding weight.
The SCAR-L was shown equipped with an Aimpoint Micro with the 3x magnifier. This configuration won the contract with the Bavarian police as their patrol rifle.
The SCAR-SC rifle is now offered in both 5.56x45mm NATO as well as .300 Blackout. It features a 7.5-inch cold hammer forged barrel, and with the stock collapsed, it is only 21.1 inches long and weighs under 7 pounds unloaded.
At the enormous Beretta booth at IWA, the company announced the new 92X Performance 9mm competition pistol. This is, for the first time in over 10 years, that Beretta has reintroduced a frame-mounted ambidextrous safety for the 92 series. The pistol features a Vertec frame made of steel as well as a thick Brigadier slide. It has more aggressive checkering on the front and rear of the slide as well as on the front of the grip and on the backstrap. It has a standard fiber optic front sight with adjustable blacked-out rear sight. The trigger is fully adjustable. The take-down lever is extended and can function as a “gas pedal” or thumb rest for your left thumb. Even with a manual safety, the 92X remains a double and single action with added cocked-and-locked feature. Interestingly, it has an extended beaver tail that curves downwards. The slide and frame have a nickel or satin finish; however, the barrel and controls are black. We can only assume this is a cost-saving measure.
We noticed that the wide safety, while easy to engage, is actually in the way of your right thumb when you try to hit the slide release. We wish Beretta would take note and offer a different sized safety and slide release to remedy this issue, as many competition shooters prefer to hit the slide release button for quicker reload instead of moving their hands to rack the slide. In addition, the adjustable rear sight is sitting further back which makes it difficult for the user to cock the hammer.
There is no official pricing or ETA for the North American market, but the 92Xs are expected to be available after June and are expected to be around $1500 retail.
We were told this will become a new series of pistols designed for competition, with the 92X Performance designed for the Production division of IPSC and USPSA; future models will be for Standard and Open divisions. This will be an uphill battle since the 92X is not optic ready due to the lack of room to accommodate a red dot on the rear of the slide. It has been 10 years since Beretta released the 92G Elite II for competition shooters.
Beretta also announced its 1301 Comp Pro 12-gauge, gas-operated semi-automatic shotgun designed for competition shooters. It features a synthetic stock with a recoil reducing Kick-Off Plus System, which it claims reduces up to 40% of recoil. The synthetic forend is also rubberized for enhanced grip. The 1301 Comp Pro also features extended charging handle and bolt release. Like all Beretta shotguns, it has a cold hammer forged barrel with an extended forcing cone for less recoil and enhanced durability and accuracy. It comes with Optima extended chokes in black finish.
Unlike the Benelli M2, the 1301 features a 3.5-inch receiver with a 3-inch chamber which offers a larger loading port for faster reloading.
The receiver is finished in the signature anodized blue. Overall, the gun is well thought out and offers out-of-the-box performance unrivaled by other manufacturers. Naturally, shotguns are Beretta’s strong suit.
At the Chiappa booth, the Black Rhino CBR-9 9mm carbine or PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) in semi-automatic form was unveiled. It has a 9-inch long barrel and only weighs in at 4.8 pounds. It fires from a closed bolt and is a blowback design similar to the CZ Scorpion Evo. The upper receiver is made of aluminum and features a Picatinny top rail with built-in fiber optic sights. The Rhino CBR-9 has a collapsible stock for the European market; however, Chiappa is working closely with the ATF to get this firearm approved as a pistol with a pistol stabilizing brace.
The Rhino features an extremely low bore-axis similar to the Rhino revolver. Unlike most traditional firearms, the hammer is upside down. It has a polymer lower receiver that accepts patent-pending, double-stack polymer magazines in 15-, 18- and 30-round capacities. This magazine design is unique in that it is double stack but necks down to a single-stack feed which the manufacturer claims reduces fatigue on the feed lips.
Spuhr was present at both Enforce Tac and IWA, showcasing its new MP5/HK33/53 stock assembly. It is a 6-position collapsible stock with a removable cheek piece. It is designed to be used in conjunction with mounted optics. The company recently won the Dutch police contract, and it supplied them with 500 MP5 stock assemblies, which can be seen being used during the tram shooting in Utrecht.
Spuhr also continues to introduce more models in its hunting series of scope mounts and scope rings. Now available for scopes with diameters of 1 inch, 30mm, 34mm, 35mm and 36mm for Blaser and Sako / Tikka.