Letters to SAR: June 1999

By The Small Arms Review Editorial Staff

Dear SAR,

Please find enclosed a photo copy of the manual that came with an Armalite Corp AR-7 Serial #25XX. I can’t find any information on this variation. The barrel is ported and it has a pull through cleaning kit. It looks like it was imported by BTC in the mid 90’s. Someone told the dealer that he had one just like it under his seat in a chopper in Vietnam. If you have any information or can tell me where to find it I would appreciate it.

Thanks - David C. Terrana


The AR-7 series of survival rifle has undergone many incarnations. Interesting manual, and it depicts a variation that I am unfamiliar with. SAR is printing your letter in the hopes that some of the readers may have a photo of this gun, with some history on it.

Dear SAR,

I have been a subscriber to SAR since the start. It gets better every issue. My favorite feature is Nick Steadman’s SADW. I just got the December issue and have only read the HK-21E article at this point. HKs are my favorite and the pictures were outstanding. I wondered if you caught this mistake. The author wrote that the 21E improvements included receiver reinforcement bars. This seems to be wrong as I have a manual from a 21A1 and it shows the reinforcement bars. Once while talking with Jim Schatz I mentioned that I wished I could buy an HK23E. He said that the 23E was not nearly as reliable a gun as the 21E and he didn’t like the 23E for this reason. He told me this in 1993 so maybe they fixed this since then, I don’t know. Have you heard anything regarding this?

Also, have you heard anything about the thumbhole version of the HK36? Made in USA? Take M-16 mags? I realize that you may be sworn to secrecy so an answer of “I am not at liberty to say” will be understood”.

Wayne Harried


Jim Schatz is a big fan of the HK21E. We have not seen him wearing a cheerleader outfit, (Scary thought) but he generally is one sincere promoter of the system. I am also an advocate of the system- now that the improvements have been made. You are correct that receiver reinforcements were added in the HK21A1 series. Generally speaking, the comparisons we make are with the HK21 itself. The HK23E is basically the same gun in 5.56 NATO caliber. Enter the controversy over caliber. One must first define the role of the weapon before judging that issue. I have not had any problems whatsoever with my encounters with the HK23E, and Jim assured me the modern version is accurate and reliable like the 7.62 NATO version. As my good friend Peter Kokalis frequently points out, machine guns are “Area weapons”, not point weapons like rifles. The HK21E series of machine gun is an attempt to cross the boundary, and it is a good solid piece of work at that. You truly can accurately hit a target with the semi auto mode, and the three shot burst does in fact increase hit probability. “It ain’t no water cooled”, but the full auto function works just fine, as frequently demonstrated by Jim and the HK team at military demonstrations. We have covered this before in SAR.

The thumbhole version of the G36 is coming to the US now. It is not made in the USA, it is an HK Germany product. The magazine well is not capable of accepting a high capacity magazine, and it has its own unique ten round magazine. SAR will be testing it in a future issue. The product name is the “SL-8”.

Dear SAR- Aside from buying more firearms, one of the ways for everyone to financially support the legal ownership of firearms, and to ensure a supply of the finest arms made in the world, is to get the gun owners to take strong positions in the stock market in the manufacturing companies. If the stocks increase in value, even those against the legal ownership of firearms might inadvertently buy into the performing market, adding even more coal to our boiler for the preservation of guns in the U.S. You never know- even the anti-gunners might catch on and start wasting their money in advertising some other company stocks as “this company does not support the Second Amendment”. This would work in our favor! It seems that each day we are moving down the road to the erosion of our personal security both fiscally and physically. If anyone cannot afford stocks then buy more products, but the last time I looked the stocks are less expensive and there is no waiting period.

M. Brandon

M. Brandon,

Well, buying stocks is NOT as much fun as shooting firearms. At least to me, I am sure some of our more financially astute readers might enjoy the stock market as much as a day at the range. Too bad we can’t combine the two... have stockholder meetings for Colt at Knob Creek... Ruger meetings at the Hiram Maxim Historical Society Shoot, and then get Remington out in the Great Northwest! Maybe the management of these companies wouldn’t forget who their customers were if they were out there.

Actually, this is a pretty good idea. I don’t know if it makes sound financial sense, but if we could have more say in the companies that make the products, perhaps we could influence some to make more of a politically strong stand in regard to the Second Amendment.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N9 (June 1999)
and was posted online on March 25, 2016


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