Small Arms Data by Wire (SADW): December 2001

By Nick Steadman

SADW is a monthly electronic publication from Nick Steadman Features. Nick, intrepid world traveling reporter for much of the arms industry, files this 40,000 to 50,000 word report once a month to his loyal subscribers. Those lucky ones pay a mere $50 (US) £32.50 (UK) per year for the privilege of getting the hot tips and insights from one of the industry’s insiders. Nick’s unique perspective is globally based, as is his wit. Here is a small sampling of a few of the July 2002 SADW articles. You can contact Nick at the email above, and make arrangements with him to obtain the full service sent directly to your email address. In order to receive SADW your e-mail system must be capable of receiving attached files, and the e-mail software system or settings do not reject files as large as 400kb. Each issue is full of insight and information for those with an interest in Small Arms, as well as his observations on world travel.

NEOSTEAD SHOTGUN TO DEBUT NEXT MARCH: next month will see series production begin on the 12-shot Neostead bullpup shotgun (see previous issues), and the gun will get its official debut 1-3 March 2002 at the AIM Shooters Show aimafrica@iafrica.com in Kyalami, outside Johannesburg. It was to have been launched at the South African Big Shot Show in November this year, but that expo has been unexpectedly cancelled.

5.56mm RIFLE THUMPS TALL BUILDINGS!: According to the London Evening Standard, a 17-year-old boy and a 61-year-old man were arrested in early Aug 2001 after City of London police found a NORINCO Type CQ assault rifle (a Chinese budget M16A1 clone) fitted with a laser aiming pointer, plus 100 rounds of ball ammunition, in a stolen car.

Police were quoted as saying “This is a highly destructive and frightening piece of equipment. It is heavy-duty armoury with bullets capable of travelling through buildings. It could have caused real devastation in the wrong hands.” If anyone knows of a 5.56mm weapon which will kill building structures, please let us know right away - it would be something of a world first. Even 9x19mm is a better choice!

GUNSITE TRAINING CENTRE 2002 PROGRAMME: check out next year’s Gunsite Arizona training schedule at: http://www.gunsite.com/T_intro/T_intro.html

DROP-SAFETY TEST DATA FOR GUNS: the website of the Firearm Injury Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin offers some interesting drop-test results, by specific model, and published in association with Firearm Consultant Technical Services, which may surprise you. Go to: http://www.mcw.edu/fic/.

Data includes the score on the BATF Factoring Criteria (Form 4590) that guns would have to meet if they were imports, plus the frequency with which each model has been involved in crime & suicide in Southeastern Wisconsin (check out those mighty popular Raven .25s, which are clearly the people’s gat of choice).

SA80 UPGRADE A JOINT VENTURE: the MOD Contracts Bulletin (citing Preview) noted in Aug 2001 that the 5.56mm SA80 upgrade contract awarded to Heckler & Koch is actually a collaborative affair, with the British Army’s Base Repair Organisation (ABRO), acting as a subcontractor to the Germans, stripping unmodified weapons and preparing them in the UK before H&K installs the new components and ships the weapons back to Britain.

This represents up to five years’ work for ABRO, which has gained 20 jobs for the duration. The UK MOD claims that modified weapons have now fired some three million rounds without breaking a single new firing pin, which is a dramatic - in fact almost too dramatic - improvement on the previous state of affairs.

Just don’t ask why the entire job couldn’t have been given to the ABRO - or, better still, to Royal Ordnance (aka H&K UK) Nottingham - without the obvious hassle and security problems of transporting thousands of automatic weapons and parts to and from Germany. We guess this would have been too easy.

GREEK BOOST FOR H&K LAUNCHER: according to Defense News (20-26 Aug 01), the Greek forces have ordered (via EBO/Hellenic Industries) Qty 633 of Heckler & Koch’s new 40mm GMG automatic grenade launchers in a deal worth $17.4 million, for delivery starting in May 2003.

At the last count the Bundeswehr was still trialling this innovative launcher, but was still expected to buy it. An order of 633 is a serious vote of confidence from the Greeks, and should certainly help H&K in its home & overseas sales efforts.

HONG KONG 5.8mm ECONOMY JOB: when we were in Hong Kong the other week we made the ritual trip over to the back of what (till mid-1997) used to be HQ British Forces (HQ BFHK) in order to check out the latest PLA fashions.

Sure ‘nuff, the guards on the gate in their slinky, Hong Kong-only summer uniforms still have their ritzy new 5.8mm bullpups, but since our last visit two years ago we noticed they are now down to one per pair of sentries; could it be that keeping up with all those capitalist running dogs called Jones is proving a bit too pricey?

Incidentally, some while ago the PLA finally got around to chiselling off the large black lettering ‘Prince of Wales Building’ from around the outside of the old HQ BFHK tower block, but they’ve made such a bad job of it that the eye is now drawn to it even more than before. When the Brits moved out they cheerfully warned the incoming Chinese troops that if the lettering was ever removed, the building would collapse, and despite the rigorous precepts of Marxist-Leninist theory, this effectively deferred the project for some considerable time.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V5N3 (December 2001)
and was posted online on March 28, 2014


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