One of the most maddening Israeli-made handguns to track down has been the “IMI Revolver 9mm”. There is simply very little reliable information about it floating around on the internet due to its age and lack of commercial imports.
There are conflicting accounts of what caliber the revolvers were chambered in (9×19, .38 Special, or 9×21), whether they were based on the S&W 1917 design or S&W Model 10 design, and whether they were ever produced in any real volume. (All sources agree that they used half-moon clips, which at is something, I guess.) Internet legend has it that the Israelis made them for the Palestinian Authority’s police units after favorably evaluating the 9mm S&W Model 547 (a different gun entirely), but the total lack of them in imported Israeli police seizure lots is baffling, if that is true. I have spent some time researching the issue, and I think I’ve got a better theory as to what’s going on.
One of the more sordid corporate firearms-related stories revolving around the Internets has to do with how the Charles Daly / KBI firm was ultimately bankrupted when an Israeli manufacturer, Bul Transmark, decided to screw them in favor of Magnum Research.
The story is interesting, and perhaps not well-remembered today, so I thought I’d write about it.
I’ve been doing some research and made some updates to the Kareen MkII article. For what I believe to be the first time on the Internet, I have detailed all six variants of the Kareen that made it to the United States.
I had been erroneously treating the “Kareen MkIII” and the “KA-MkIII” as the same gun. On detailed inspection of photos, it’s very clear that they have significant differences. The Kareen MkIII was an attempt to lower the manufacturing costs of the Kareen MkII. The KA-MkIII, on the other hand, looks exactly like an Arcus 94. I don’t want to claim I’ve solved the mystery, but I think my best guess now is that KSN was using rough Arcus frames and slides to produce the Mk II and Mk III, and then switched over to finished frames and slides for the KA-MkIII.
In other news, I have acquired a whole bunch of Israeli handguns, including a coupler rarer ones, and I hope to have some articles on them beginning in May.
I was recently able to procure two Barak handguns – one an early IMI model, and the other a later IWI model. I have been working on the assumption that the IWI model is a redesign of the IMI model, and not some sort of parallel variant that no one has ever heard of.
I’ve field-stripped both in an effort to determine what differences are between them.
I was doing some research on some of the less-known Israeli handguns, and ran across a picture of the Sirkis SQP. This is from a scan of the “Guns Handgun Annual 1985” magazine.
As you can see, the SQP has a Walther PPK-esque profile, with the addition of a squeeze cocker ala the HK P7. It is certainly a somewhat prettier gun than the Sirkis SD-9, and might have made a decent carry piece if it wasn’t too heavy (which was the SD-9’s ultimate downfall). Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the magazine to see what they said about it.
Nehemiah Sirkis is still alive (he designed the IWI Dan rifle), so it might be time to reach out to him and get some more details about some of his guns that we never quite saw.
TheFirearmBlog has a great post about the original prototype designs for the Tavor. Versia Military Design has designed a few clever items, including the Jericho B, and I recommend poking through their gallery and case studies if you’re interested in their work. Alas, no hidden gems – their redesign of the Tavor has been floating around for a while, and looks a bit impractical for full production.
One of the least-known modern pistols made by IWI is the Jericho-B, announced in 2010, discontinued in 2012. The Jericho-B appears to be an updated version of the IMI Barak pistol, the main difference being an updated slide design, removing the Barak’s characteristic (and unflattering) “rear sight hump” and making the slide more rectangular rather than cylindrical.
Hot on the heels of my “Why the Galil Failed” post, The Firearm Blog has linked to a pair of videos showing the GAL assault rifle in some detail. I am blown away at the excellent condition of the GAL being shown at what appears to be Silver Shadow, and it’s really reinforcing my desire to take a research trip out there sometime soon. If you’re interested in more information on the GAL, the book “The World’s Assault Rifles” has a section on it.
It’s tempting to think that the GAL would have succeeded where the Galil failed, but I believe that would be a mistake. The GAL weighed about as much as the Galil, and shared its inadequacy in the areas of being an LMG/SAW and a DMR. There’s also no reason to think that the IDF would have adopted it in a lighter configuration.
The Galil is generally considered to be one of the best AK variants ever created, standing right up there with the Finnish Rk95. It was adopted by a number of Central/South American militaries, and South Africa. It even came rather close to becoming Sweden’s service rifle instead of the FNC. Yet, with regards to Israeli military service, it’s the equivalent of the US experience with the M14: phased in, and then phased out in rapid succession.
What happened? I’ve been shooting the Galil for a couple years now, and I have some thoughts on the subject…
I have no idea how I missed this, but the Forgotten Weapons blog has an excellentpost up about the FFV-890C. The FFV-890C was the Galil variant submitted for the Swedish service rifle trials in the latter part of the 1970’s, which the FNC eventually wound up winning.
Most of the modifications are nothing terribly special, but the case deflector on the dust cover was a clever idea. The cross-bar safety on model 2 is just flat-out weird, though… seems like they should have just gone to the drawing board and redesigned the entire selector system.
Speaking of which, there’s one other Galil variant out there that doesn’t get a lot of discussion: the Bernardelli Mod.378 VB-SR. This was license manufactured by Bernadelli in Italy. The only major user is the Italian national police SWAT force, NOCS, although I’ve also read that the Italian Army also uses it for M203-equipped soldiers/grenadiers. The major improvement is that it was sometimes manufactured to use standard AR-15 mags. I’ve heard rumor that other things may have been changed, but I’ve never seen a list or any solid info.