21 Mar 2020

“You should not have special fondness for a particular weapon, nor anything else for that matter.

You should have as much weaponry as suits you.”


1989 Import Ban

Since the 1989 Stockton, CA school shooting, and the subsequent panicked “import ban” of certain autoloading rifles (which is still in place) under the George HW Bush Administration, choices enjoyed by most American gun owners have actually expanded.

The ban effectively stimulated our domestic arms industry. I’m sure that was not the intent!

In 2004, FN ended production of their gas-piston (long stroke), rotating-bolt FNC, their 5.56×45 rifle designed to compete with the American M4. FN was unsuccessful in its effort to interest western powers, the USA in particular, in this rifle.

The FNC was a scaled-down version of the 7.62×51 FAL, but the two rifles have different operating systems, little in common.

The FNC was subsequently superceded (2009) by FN’s SCAR (Special Combat Assault Rifle).

However, both the FNC and the SCAR have reciprocating bolt handles, which is a deal-buster for most western militaries. Thus, neither ever garnered much interest from the Pentagon, although both were sold commercially in the USA, and some were purchased by small, foreign militaries.

There are many FNCs currently in America (imported before 1989), but today they are of interest mostly to collectors.

The SCAR is still in production (in both 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 versions) and enjoys an American civilian following.

SCARs are assembled in the USA, bypassing the import ban

Daewoo was a huge South Korean industrial conglomerate that was active during the Cold War years. Daewoo went bankrupt in 1999 and subsequently broke-up.

When Daewoo broke-up, their firearms division was partially resurrected under the name, S&T Motif

While Daewoo was active, their firearms division did produce an excellent military rifle, the K2, borrowing heavily from the Stoner System (with which they were very familiar, due to close ties with American military forces).

The K2 (in several versions) was adopted by South Korean Armed Forces in 1984 and civilian versions were imported into the USA for a short time. They still enjoy a good reputation, but have been unavailable here since the 1989 import ban.

Today, like the FNC, K2s are of interest to collectors, but few others.

The American “Stoner System,” which involves a gas-expansion chamber within the bolt-carrier itself, has over the last fifty years, proven extremely reliable, at least in rifles with “standard” barrel lengths of 16″ to 20″

Attempts to convert Stoner rifles into short-barreled SMGs have met with less success!

With short barrels, H&K’s 416 works better.

This is one reason western militaries are now gradually moving away from the original Stoner System, and toward the short-stroke, gas-piston H&K 416, now the 433

H&K’s 416 (and 433), chambered for 5.56×45, are improved ascendants of the H&K G36 (out of production since 2012).

The G36 superceded H&K’s roller-delayed blowback G3 (“HK91” as imported for commercial sales into the USA). The G3 was chambered for 7.62×51.

H&K’s attempt to adopt the its roller-delayed blowback system to 5.56×45 caliber, manifested in the H&K G41, met with scant success and thus enjoyed only a short tenure (1984-1996). A few copies were imported before the ban.

Thus, H&K finally abandoned its famous roller-delayed system in favor of its proprietary, short-stroke gas-piston system, H&K’s flagship system today.

H&K’s G3, HK91, G36, and G41 are now all out of production.

However, an American firm, PTR, continues to manufacture their own version of the HK91 (in 7.62×51). Their “PTR91″ has since earned an excellent reputation and enjoys a significant following, including me! PTR has never made a domestic version of the G41.

Also in America, DS Arms continues to manufacture the original FAL (in 7.62×51). DS Arms and their rifles enjoy an enthusiastic following, including me, and the FAL, while no longer in service within NATO militaries, is still in active service in many far-flung corners of the world!

Another American manufacturer, Robinson Armament, makes their proprietary XCR Rifle, a long-stroke, rotating-bolt, gas-piston system, which has garnered a stellar reputation since its introduction in 2004. The XCR (in 5.56×45, 7.62×51, 7.62×39, 6.8SPC, et al) too has amassed an enthusiastic civilian following, including me!

Yet another American manufacturer, POF (Patriot Ordnance Factory), makes both Stoner-System and short-stroke, rotating bolt, gas-piston rifles. POF rifles are top-drawer and also have a large following, including me!

And, our own Springfield Armory continues to manufacture the American M14 (marketed as the “M1A”). Though out of American military service since 1964, the M14 is still a formidable weapon and popular with a veritable army of civilian Operators, including me!

BCM, IO, Daniel Defense, and others continue to manufacture excellent Stoner-System M4s in America.

Kahr and Inland both manufacture M1 Carbines, in America.

Century Arms is now a major manufacturer of Kalashnikov rifles (marketed as the “VSKA”) also right here in America!

These domestic manufacturers are not affected by the 1989 import ban, so their rifles are all currently in production, in America, which means parts and accessories are readily available.

No American should be without one!

“There are many advantages in being armed, and accustomed to the use of arms, and no possible disadvantage.”

Joel Barlow