I was somewhat disappointed with the Israeli presence at SHOT Show 2015. Not a lot of surprises.
No new releases from IWI-US, albeit they certainly had quite a lot of announcements last year. Short Barrel Shepherd has a nice write-up, but couldn’t get them to talk about factory stocks for SBRs. Also seemed like there was some pull-back on the braces, which is not surprising given recent BATFE actions.
UPDATE: Adipose at Uzitalk confirmed with them that alternate stocks will be offered, including the Vietnamese wire folder. The “I can’t deal with AR stocks on rifles not an AR” crowd should rejoice, I suppose – horrible cheek weld will be yours again.
Meprolight launched a pair of new handgun sight lines that use tritium and fiber optics for illumination. The FT line is interesting from the perspective that TruGlo’s TFO sights are regarded as having durability issues, so Meprolight may be able to provide a better alternative. The RE series doesn’t use fiber optics, but does have an innovative (gimmicky?) dot-in-crosshairs approach. I’d give them a try, I suppose.
There was also a camo-skinned M21 (“M21H”) introduced. I can literally not think of a market that the M21H would appeal to. Hunters use magnified optics. Modern sporting rifle owners will spray the current M21 to match their color scheme, or just go with black. Maybe Mepro will prove me wrong and sell a zillion of these things, but it feels like an ill-conceived product. The Mepro 4x is still missing in action, which is a shame – maybe they felt it couldn’t compete in the US market against the ACOG?
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?)
Sorry about the lack of content lately. My camera decided to give up the ghost, and I’m not able to finish up a couple posts about various things. I am still working on content, and am looking forward to hearing what goes on at SHOT this year. (Who knows… maybe I’ll attend next year!)
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.
Cole’s Distributing has just posted up a whole bunch of Israeli-surplus M1951s on Gunbroker. These are all relatively cheap ($210-$260), and they’re C&R eligible to boot. Some of them are in rough shape, but they should shoot just fine.
The M1951 is one of my favorite single-stack 9mm pistols, so I encourage you to go take a look!