While I may have already proclaimed 2015 the “year of the suppressor“, SHOT Show 2015 was loaded with plenty of other news-worthy developments and releases that should not be ignored. While I was once again unable to attend the show, I have endeavored to keep tabs on all the major firearms releases from last week’s show. After sorting through all the new guns, accessories, and gear, I feel that this round-up highlights most of my favorites from SHOT Show 2015.
Without further ado, let’s see which firearms will be lightening our wallets over the next few years:
Palmetto State Armory AKM
The last two or three years have been fairly rough for AK fans. Kits have been drying up, sanctions have been levied against Russian imports, Russian 7N6 surplus 5.45mm ammunition was recently classified as armor piercing and banned from import, and on the whole even garden variety AKs have risen in price to the point that an AR-15 is simply a better deal for most shooters. As prices have risen, so too has the feasibility of a fully US-made AK. Previously considered a waste of time and money, US companies are taking another look at the possibility of manufacturing AKs domestically.
Palmetto State Armory’s new AK looks at first glance like a reasonably well executed AKM clone. The receiver has relatively accurate dimples, the gas block looks like an early-to-mid era milled AKM block, and the front sight also resembles a mid production AKM part. From the images I have seen, the bolt carrier actually has the outward appearance of an AK-47 carrier, while the recoil spring guide is apparently collapsible aluminum (similar to some early AKs) rather than segmented wire like we have come to expect in most AKMs.
The barrel on PSA’s new AK is supposedly nitride treated. While I would rather have a correct chrome lined, cold hammer forged barrel, the nitride treatment should make for a very durable part. There is some disagreement as to who is actually making the parts for the PSAK-47, but based on what I have seen, it is not the same rifle as the Century RAS 47, nor does it share parts with the InterOrdnance/Pioneer Arms AKM. PSA has apparently stated that they intend to keep the retail price under $700.
Kinetic Research Group FOX-42
After Bushmaster and Remington botched the release of the Magpul-designed ACR, many firearms enthusiasts were to speculate on the future of Magpul’s other modern rifle design, the Massoud. Built to shoot 7.62x51mm along with other full power rifle cartridges, the Massoud was to be the ACR’s (Masada) bigger brother. Unfortunately (or maybe not), the Massoud disappeared after the release of the ACR.
Luckily for fans of the design, one of the original developers of the Massoud has decided to revive to project with Kinetic Research Group. While KRG’s FOX-42 will differ in some significant ways from the original Massoud, it retains much of the same appearance and ergonomics that made the original prototypes so appealing. While pricing and a release date have yet to be determined, this rifle looks like it will be worth watching
HK/Walther G36 .22 LR
Okay so this rifle probably is not as intriguing as some of the others in this round-up. Even so, I think it is worth mentioning. Like the MP5 and HK416 clones that Walther has produced, the G36 is another joint effort between Walther and Heckler & Koch to bring a .22 LR version of one of HK’s popular rifles to market. Based on my experience with the Walther straight-blowback system, these G36s should be reliable plinkers.
RWC/Kalashnikov USA AKs
Like PSA’s PSAK-47, RWC’s decision to rebrand and begin US manufacturing under the Kalashnikov USA name is driven by supply issues and sanctions against Concern Kalashnikov in Russia. Prior to the sanctions, RWC was the primary importer of Saiga rifles and shotguns in the US. Now, the company is facing inevitable supply challenges as new imports are unlikely to come any time soon. In response, the company plans to begin full scale manufacturing in the US by the end of 2015. It is unclear as to what configurations will be made by Kalashnikov USA, but many expect a 9mm AK variant to be one of the offerings. Modern Rifleman will be following developments on this front very closely.
Colt OEM AR-15s
While Colt has long been the measuring stick for the AR-15 market, the company has faced stiffer competition in recent years. Other companies like Bravo Company, Palmetto State Armory, and Spikes Tactical all have come out with milspec-or-better ARs at lower prices than Colt’s base 6920. In order to better compete with these brands and to acknowledge that most people replace the stock furniture on factory ARs, Colt will be releasing OEM models of their 6920 and lightweight 16-inch ARs. These are expected to sell for under $700 so they should be solid options for shooters looking to customize their rifle from the outset.
SIG Sauer MCX
SIG’s MCX is the rifle caliber companion to their highly anticipated MPX. Built around a piston system and three different calibers (300 BLK, 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm), the MCX seems to be somewhat like an evolution of the AR-15. This is partly because the MCX’s upper receiver group can be used on a standard AR-15 lower receiver. At 6 pounds unloaded, the carbine version of the MCX is fairly light for a piston rifle. All controls minus the bolt release are ambidextrous.
The only part of the MCX that I really do not care for is the stock. It is excellent that the stock can be folded to take full advantage of the MCX’s piston system, but the folding stock seems somewhat out of place on the otherwise attractive rifle. It also seems to lack the nice cheek weld that many of us who use SOPMOD or similar stocks on our AR-15s.
Fabryka Broni (RADOM) MSBS
The FB Radom MSBS was initially announced a few years ago as a sort of Polish answer to the Bushmaster ACR. Initially, there were no plans to bring the rifle to the US and FB seemed set on gaining Polish Army acceptance for the rifle. Now it appears the company will be bringing the rifle to US civilian shooters. Aesthetically, the MSBS is everything the ACR should have been. It has all the features shooters are looking for in a “next-generation” rifle, but is lighter than the Bushmaster and remarkably can be adapted to a bullpup configuration. As of now, details on release and pricing are scarce but with FB looking to begin importing their own rifles (instead of partnering with Inter Ordnance) and opening manufacturing stateside, it is a safe bet that we will see the MSBS here in the US at some point.
The LWRC SMG-45 might have been the most drool-worthy firearm at this year’s SHOT Show. According to LWRC, the SMG-45 was originally developed to compete for an overseas contract and civilian release was not part of the initial plans. However, after an impressively short 3-month development program, LWRC now plans to bring the piston-delayed .45 carbine to the US civilian market. Yes, that is right, the SMG-45 uses a unique piston system rather than the much more common and heavier straight blowback action that is shared by most pistol caliber carbines. While the SMG-45 resembles the Heckler & Koch UMP, the piston system and AR-style controls should make it a more appealing option. Unfortunately, we likely will not see the SMG-45 on the civilian market until at least the second half of 2016 and it will likely carry a price tag north of $2000.
German Sport Gun MP-40 9mm
GSG alongside partner ATI are well known for their popular .22 LR clones of several modern and classic firearms. Together, the two companies essentially created today’s “tactical” .22 market when they released the GSG-5 several years ago. However, after recently bringing STG-44 and MP-40 clones to the US, many collectors began to clamor for more. It seems GSG might have heard these cries.
Later this year, ATI will begin importing a 9mm pistol reproduction of the venerable MP-40 submachine gun. While it won’t fire from an open bolt and will feature a mechanical safety, GSG’s offering looks like it will be a respectable clone of the original. Even better news is that the gun will carry a very reasonable $550 price tag, one that might be even lower after it hits the shelves.