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Industry News: CZ Introduces Civilian Legal VZ 58 Rifles
By Robert M. Hausman

The famous Czech SA VZ. 58 service rifle is now available from CZ-USA in two semiautomatic only versions: the VZ 58 Tactical Sporter, and the VZ 58 Military Sporter.

The SA VZ. 58 was developed by Ing. Jiri Cermak in 1956 and 1957, adopted by the Czechoslovakian army in 1958 and was produced by Ceska Zbrojovka in Uhersky Brod, Czechoslovakia until 1983. Approximately one million SA VZ. 58 rifles were produced during its 20 year production run. As of 2007, it is still the standard issue service rifle in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The new Tactical and Military Sporter models are manufactured by combining original SA VZ. 58 components with a new semi-auto only milled receiver, a new trigger mechanism and new fire control parts.

Consolidation in Czech Firearms Industry

Zbrojovka Brno, at one time the largest firearms manufacturer in the Czech Republic, has been purchased out of bankruptcy by Brno Rifles Company.

Brno Rifles is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eximat a.s, the majority owner of Ceska Zbrojovka a.s. (CZUB). Brno Rifles production has focused on shotguns and custom firearms, but its production is expected to be expanded since the acquisition.

The Brno shotgun and custom production is expected to complement the existing CZUB product line currently available in the US through CZ-USA, a subsidiary of CZUB.

New L.E. Division Coming From Charles Daly/KBI

While previously focused on the sporting arms market, a new division is forming within the KBI/Charles Daly organization to be focused on the law enforcement and self-defense market.

Initial products will be an Americanmade AR-style rifle as well as an American- made 1911-style pistol.

Richard Feldman’s Industry Book Released

Former firearm industry lobbyist, Richard Feldman, is now on a cross country tour to promote his long awaited book, RICOCHET, Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist.

This writer has obtained a copy of the book and will present a comprehensive review in a forthcoming issue of SAR. Feldman, industry veterans will remember, was formerly executive director of the now defunct American Shooting Sports Council.

FNH USA to Release SCAR Rifle for Law Enforcement

FNH USA announced during the recent IACP conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. that the FN SCAR, the only battle rifle selected for use by United States Special Operation Command (USSOCOM) since the release of the M4/M16 over 40 years ago, will be available for purchase by law enforcement agencies in 2008.

A few of the SCAR system features are: interchangeable barrels that offer caliber modularity (CQC, standard and long barrels); barrel changes that take less than five minutes without loss of previously established zero, the various configurations share approximately 82% of the same parts, a 90,000-round service life and a 35,000-round plus barrel life, available 40mm low velocity Enhanced Grenade Launcher (EGLM) handles all types of 40mm ammunition used by law enforcement, and the SCAR is completely ambidextrous with an enhanced telescoping/ folding stock.

FN 5.7x28mm Case Deformation

FNH USA has issued an advisory concerning the deformation of the shoulder area of fired 5.7x28mm cases.

The deformation of the cases fired in the Five seveN pistol is normal, and is a result of the design of the weapon and the cartridge, the gunmaker says.

When the arm is fired, some of the pressure created pushes forward against the case shoulders, thereby partly counter-acting the pressure pushing back on the base of the case. This reduces the recoil force and slows the opening of the chamber.

The Five seveN pistol does not use the short recoil of the barrel operating principle that is used in nearly all other pistols, but uses a delayed blowback principle. The main difference is that with the short recoil principle, the barrel and slide are locked together and only start to separate after they have recoiled a short distance.

With the delayed blowback principle the slide and barrel recoil together for a short distance, but the slide is recoiling slightly faster so the two parts start to separate during the beginning of the recoil movement. This means that the distance between the slide face (supporting the base of the cartridge case) and the shoulders in the chamber (supporting the shoulders of the case) is getting longer. As there is still pressure in the chamber the case is stretched.

The benefits of the choice of this cartridge design and operating principle are reduced felt recoil, and a lighter handgun. In summary, there is no risk for the shooter as the correct headspace is assured, the company says.

California to Adopt Micro-stamping Law

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ignored the pleas of the firearms industry and signed microstamping legislation, which makes California the only state to require all new semiautomatic handguns, starting in 2010, to come equipped with the technology (which stamps the make, model and serial number of the gun into fired cases).

The legislation dos not affect revolvers. Some 70% of new handguns sold in the state are reported to be semiautomatic pistols. The bill’s author, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) promoted the bill by stating there are no arrests in 43% of California homicides; as the killers don’t leave enough evidence behind. His arguments went that micro-stamping technology will provide such evidence in those cases involving a semi-auto pistol.

The new law does nothing to prevent the use of revolvers (which do not eject their shell casings) by criminals. It also apparently does not prevent the sale of pistols (not incorporating the new technology) made before the law’s effective date, nor will it ban them from possession or sale once the law goes into effect.

In the short term, sales of semi-auto pistols will likely increase in the state as the deadline for the law’s implementation draws near. In the long term, only the largest pistol makers will be able to incorporate expensive micro-stamping technology into their California models. The result will be a lucrative market for these makers, as much of their competition will be shut out from doing business in California. The losers will be California gun consumers, who will have a much narrower selection of firearms from which to choose and who will pay higher pistol prices than consumers anywhere else in the country.

The affect on criminals is expected to be minimal, as the technology is reported as being easily defeated with the use of a metal file. Criminals usually do not obtain their firearms by filing out paper work, so tracing a fired casing back to them will be impossible.

Not one Republican in either legislative house in the state voted for the microstamping bill, yet Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed it into law. No Republican voted for another piece of legislation the Governor has signed into either - a bill prohibiting the use of lead shot in areas inhabited by the endangered California Condor.

Blackwater Acquires Law Enforcement Training Firm

Blackwater Worldwide, a major provider of advanced law enforcement and military training has acquired The Backup Training Corporation.

Developed in 1997 by Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, businesswoman Yvonne Ellis, The Backup Corporation has maintained their goal of providing U.S. law enforcement with useful low cost training tools and state-of-the-art training tactics. The Backup Training Corporation provides CD-ROM training courses and online access to training coursework. Their training products are used in over 9,600 police departments nationwide. With this acquisition, Blackwater Worldwide continues to build its core capability as a key training provider.

Savage Range Systems Completes Test Ranges for Barrett Firearms

Savage Range Systems, Inc., manufacturers of indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, bullet traps, steel targets and shoot houses, recently completed delivery of a new bullet trap for Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc.

Barrett Firearms took delivery of a custom Proof and Function Model PF13000 bullet trap, specially designed to handle the powerful proof load used to test their .50 caliber precision rifles at their manufacturing facility in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ronnie Barrett, founder and owner of Barrett Firearms says, “We have a long history with Savage; a relationship that has been a win, win for both companies. I believe that we were the first customer for a bullet trap specifically for a .50-caliber rifle.”

Savage Range Systems seems to be the favorite among firearms and ammunition manufacturers for bullet traps and test ranges, according to the company. Virtually every major manufacturer utilizes SRS traps for their testing facilities, the firm says.

Olin Corp. Selling its Metals Business

Olin Corporation has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its metals business to a subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners, LP, for a purchase price of $400 million.

The price, which is payable in cash, is subject to a customary working capital adjustment. The sale includes all of Olin’s worldwide metals operations, including its manufacturing facilities in East Alton, Illinois; Montpelier and Bryan, Ohio; Waterbury, Connecticut; and Cuba, Missouri, as well as its A. J. Oster metals service centers. The sale is not subject to shareholder approval. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007. There was no immediate word on how the sale will affect the Winchester Ammunition Division of Olin Corp.

BlackHawk Completes Knoxx Industries Acquisition

BlackHawk Products Group has completed the acquisition of Knoxx Industries, allowing Knoxx to leverage BlackHawk’s world-class design, tooling and injection molding capabilities, with Blackhawk now offering Knoxx’s leading-edge recoil suppression technology for shotguns and rifles to its customers.

U.S. Terrorist Watch List Has Over 755,000 Names

The U.S. government’s terrorist watch list has swelled to more than 755,000 names, according to a new government report that has raised worries about the list’s effectiveness. The size of the list, typically used to check people entering the country through land border crossings, airports and sea ports, has been growing by 200,000 names a year since 2004. Some lawmakers, security experts and civil rights advocates warn that it will become useless if it includes too many people.

ATF Reprinting Form 7

Recently, ATF’s Distribution Center ran out of stock of ATF Form 7, Applicationfor Federal Firearms License. It was scheduled to receive a delivery of this form last fall. If ATF Form 7 is needed, it is recommended that you contact your local ATF office for its availability. ATF’s Distribution Center may be contacted at (703) 455-7801 to request an application package once the shipment has been received.

Gary, In Suit to Proceed

The Indiana Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that will allow the city of Gary’s frivolous lawsuit against 16 firearm manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Colt, Browning, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Beretta, to proceed despite a federal law that prohibits such suits. In 2006, a Lake County, Ind., Superior Court judge ruled the federal Act does apply to Gary’s lawsuit, but declared it unconstitutional. Now, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and ruled the statute does not apply and Gary’s case could go forward.

The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. He also offers FFLmailing lists to firms interested in direct marketing efforts to the industry. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.

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