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Small Arms Data by Wire: October 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. 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.

FNMI 7.62mm POLICE RIFLE: one new ‘fusion product’ born out of the acquisition of USRAC (aka Winchester) by FN Herstal in Belgium is the FN 7.62mm NATO Special Police Rifle, recently written up in The Accurate Rifle & elsewhere. Not to be confused with the old FN Sniper rifle from Herstal itself, this weapon comes from FN Manufacturing Inc (FNMI), the US subsidiary of FN, and comprises a pre-64 (controlled feed) Winchester Model 70 action mated to a chrome-lined modified MAG-58 barrel and a composite HS-Precision Pro Series ‘bedding bar’ stock.

The action has been squared up, there’s a four-round detachable magazine, a three-position safety catch, adjustable trigger, the barrel length is 26” and the weapon weighs nearly ten pounds empty. It looks less meaty than the Remington PSS police rifle, so may be better for those with smaller hands. Evidently it shoots very well, with half-inch groups reported at 100 yards, and is available to private purchasers as well at only $675 (scope & mounts you’ll have to find yourself).

Best of all, with that chromed barrel the thing will probably keep on shooting forever like the Duracell bunny and be something Junior will eventually be compelled to inherit, which we imagine will be no great hardship.

NEPALESE ARMY RIFLES: recent coverage of the protests in Kathmandu following the assassination of the Nepalese royal family suggest that Nepalese troops have some Indian 5.56mm INSAS rifles, an indigenous Indian design manufactured by the Ishapore plant. Reuters pix we’ve seen so far don’t provide a perfect view, but from the front end of the weapon shown it’s clear it is either an INSAS or a Galil, which look almost identical from the muzzle to the gas block. However the tapered handguard strongly suggests INSAS rather than the Galil, which has a more blocky handguard.

Given Nepal’s proximity to India, the INSAS would also make more sense, though if we’re correct in our identification it’s interesting that Nepal has already managed to obtain export weapons when India has had real trouble keeping up with INSAS demand from its own forces.

In fact, it’s still quite rare to see Indian units armed only with INSAS; most still appear to carry a mix of FALs, INSAS and AKs. Also, in the pix of Nepalese troops we also spotted what appear to be a 7.62mm G3 and a possible AK47, a mix which, as in India, presents a few challenges on the logistics front.

Incidentally, those thoroughly bad boys of Hamas, who have been giving the Israelis such a hard time lately, are no slouches in the small arms sphere - we spotted one guy armed with a pretty new-looking M16A2, with double mag clip & upmarket black web sling with shoulder-pad, fitted with a long commercial rifle scope. With his finger on the trigger, we might add....maybe he’d heard Sharon was visiting.

SAA AT MAXIMUM RANGE - TERMINAL BALLISTICS: IWM (now SWM) in Switzerland recently published some maximum range data (firings at 32 degrees elevation) from Swiss wound ballistics expert Beat Kneubuehl. The comparisons between military calibres were particularly interesting, as in:


(all of which suggests the 7.5mm Swiss, still relatively unknown outside that country, is a pretty powerful little number) also, compare the rifle data above with 9x19mm:-


Kneubuehl points out that in order for a human target to escape injury, energy density (Joules per square mm) must be clearly below 0.1 for skin and 0.03 for eyes, which puts rather a new gloss on the wounding potential of ‘spent’ projectiles. All the above projectiles vastly exceed these figures.

Even for airgun & shotgun pellets, the figures are significant, as below:-


All something to consider in the context of the favourite American New Year pastime (now the subject of widespread crackdowns) of banging off towards the stars with no great regard for where the resultant bullets may ultimately land.

WOMAN SHOT WITH BEANBAGS DIES: the Los Angeles Times reported on 24 Jun 2001 that an 89-pound woman who was suffering from a stomach ailment died after being shot with two rounds of beanbag ammunition by police in Long Beach (California).

The woman had reportedly been keeping police at bay with an eight-inch knife and was shot when she declined to drop the weapon. The beanbags were fired from a 12g shotgun at a reported range of 30-35 feet and struck the woman in her arm and torso, though her boyfriend claims the range was only 10-15 feet. The LA Times reported separately that - according to a county coroner’s spokesman - the woman, Glenda Lee Reymer (49), died of a “severe, focal blunt force trauma to the chest.”This is not the first fatality involving beanbags in recent months, and the time may well have arrived when these particular ‘non-lethal’ weapons need to be seriously reappraised.


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