I guess I missed this because of high holidays, but FAB Defense has announced their 30rd AR-15 and AK magazines under the brand name of “Ultimag”. I’ve heard they’ve been in the wild for a few months, but expect a US appearance soon.
The AR mag is your standard windowed polymer magazine. I assume it is meant for export to non-US countries, given the complete market dominance of the Magpul “pmag” in the USA. FAB Defense might also try to sell them to the IDF domestically – they bought 10k CAA mags a few years back, and I suspect there’s a lot more aluminum magazines to replace given how often they become unusable due to dents.
The AK magazine is similar to Magpul’s MOE AK magazine, which is to say it doesn’t have steel-reinforced locking lugs. On the other hand, it does have a window, which makes it unique. I have had some evolution on my views of the necessity of a window on a magazine, but I admit that it’s a feature which can be construed as reasonably helpful. I am skeptical it will see much take-up in the USA, but I could see buying one for testing.
Sorry that content has been a bit sparse lately – a combination of high holidays and IRL zaniness has been conspiring against me. I have a few posts in the hopper that just need photographs to finish.
Still, I wanted to point out a new preview of the IWI X95 that was posted up by The Firearm Blog. Miles apparently got to use it at the recent bullpup shoot, and had some thoughts.
On the whole, I liked the article, but had some real quibbles with some of his criticism:
- There’s nothing wrong with polymer rails on the sides and bottom if they work correctly. The main complaints about polymer rails are that they tend to break when used with a VFG, and they can have zero shift issues on the top when the gun heats up. The former doesn’t sound like an issue on the X95, and, as for the latter, the X95 doesn’t have a polymer top rail.
- The constant complaints about plastic components. The AUG made these work quite well back in the 70’s. When are we going to accept that maybe materials science has advanced since Bakelite was invented?
- The complaints about the barrel length. If this were a PCC, yes, I’d agree that the extra barrel length is useless. I always chop my PCCs! But you get somewhat improved ballistics in 5.56×45, enough so that the “extra” barrel length can be justified.
- It’s hard to argue that the Tavor’s bolt release is not in a somewhat weird place. But the problem in actual usage is pretty minimal. In terms of reloads, you just rack the charging handle, which is conveniently located right above your support hand. And if your gun has failed badly enough you need to lock the bolt back, you’re not going to be shouldering it, and thus have two hands free for the manipulation. I suppose it’s annoying on the one-way range when you constantly need to show a clear chamber while the range is cold… but that’s not a high priority for me.
According to a Facebook post by IWI-US, the Galil ACE release has been delayed:
As all of you know, we have been seriously delayed in bringing the Galil ACE to market. Suffice to say that we believe it is better to delay deliveries if a problem is discovered, rather than bring the product to market prematurely. (Most of the issues encountered were in converting full auto to semi-auto configuration.) In any case, here is our revised delivery schedule (which could still be modified if necessary):
Galil ACE pistol in 7.62x39mm – September, 2015
Galil ACE pistol w/Stabilizing Brace, 7.62x39mm – October, 2015
Galil ACE rifle, 7.62x39mm – late October/early November, 2015
Galil ACE pistol in 7.62 NATO – January, 2016
Galil ACE pistol w/Stabilizing Brace, 7.62 NATO – February, 2016
Galil ACE rifle, 7.62 NATO – March, 2016
Galil ACE 5.56 NATO – 2nd Quarter 2016
We apologize for these delays, but again, we want to make sure that what we bring to market meets our standards and your expectations.
I am not surprised, given the delays the Tavor and Uzi Pro had. I am also slightly skeptical of the reasons given, too – converting AK platforms to semi-auto is a well-known problem that is easily solved by widely-available parts. The parts diagram of the Galil ACE that I’ve seen doesn’t really seem to suggest that the FCG is any different than the Galil’s, either. Personally, I would theorize some sort of import-related issue, especially with the suggested uncertainty of even this revised delivery schedule.
On the other hand, this is good news in the sense that the pistol version is going to be out in 2-3 months, in time for the holiday buying season. That should be good news for the IWI-US bottom line.
Much like I enjoy using my Uzi mags in different guns, I’ve been looking for ways to use my Galil mags in other platforms. Galil mags are interesting because they fit standard AK-47 magwells. So, if you’ve got a gun with an AK magwell, you’re halfway there.
Well, an “undocumented feature” of the Sig 556 platform is that if you put a Sig 556 upper on a Sig 556R lower, the gun will function just fine with Galil mags. There’s a small caveat there – polymer magazines won’t fit – but steel mags are just fine. I don’t know if this an improvement on the standard Sig 556, but it’s a clever hack.
Looks like a new Israeli manufacturer is releasing their own AR-style rifle, as reported on at Israel Defense. Doesn’t look particularly interesting, except that the manufacturer claims they’re making all the metal bits for QC purposes.
I think it’s interesting to see Israeli manufacturers moving into AR-style guns as the IDF moves away from them and towards the Tavor and X95. Due to the rumored high cost of the Tavor and X95, it could be that these manufacturers think that either domestic police forces will be investing in new AR-style rifles to replace more obsolete weapons (M1 carbines!), or that the Tavor will not be issued to reserve forces and some other cheaper rifle (AR-15!) will be used instead. As a pure export play, I don’t really see the business plan – Colt, FN, etc. all have far more capacity for large contracts, and can probably do them cheaper, too.
(H/T to gun.fm!)
I got an email this morning from Guy Tal over at MagLULA announcing their newest Israeli-made product, the 30-round AR15 / M4 universal heavy-duty Range BenchLoader. It appears to be a polymer cost-reduced version of their existing AR15 / M16 / M4 BenchLoader. Given that this new version has a MSRP of $165 (versus $430 street for the older one), I think it has much more of a chance at succeeding in the market. You can see how it works in this video.
Personally, I’ve always been a little skeptical of the need for this product for individuals – I find that the stripLULA works wonderfully if you get your stripper clip infrastructure in place ahead of time. I would have a lot more use for a cost-reduced variant for AK and/or Galil mags, since neither of those can use stripper clips effectively. (And where is the AK-74 stripLULA?)