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The oft-maligned Beretta M9 is slated for retirement. On July 12th of 2014 Fox News reported that “The Army wants to retire its supply of 9mm handguns and replace it with a more accurate and user-friendly model that also will provide soldiers with more “knockdown” power.” The Army has stated it requires a hammer-driven pistol with a manual safety: our apologies to Glock and M&P fans.

The advances in ammunition in the past decade have created more and more options for defensive carry in the United States. Better propellants and better projectiles have led to better ballistics out of all rounds, but particularly the 9mm. There are two main issues why this does not factor into the Army’s new service pistol.

Firstly, the faster +P and +P+ loads increase wear on firearms. This leads to shorter service life, and when we are discussing 400,000 pistols, service life is a major concern. The 124grn+P 9mm NATO standard is what has worn out the current inventory of M9 and M11s.

Secondly, the Geneva Convention limits troops to Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) rounds. All the high-tech hollow point ammunition is a no-go for the military, at least non-SF units.

Due to theses two above reasons we are left to choose a caliber other than 9mm. .40 Smith and Wesson should be ruled out immediately, as its higher pressures produce even more wear than 9mm+P ammunition, and firearms chambered in it are typically 9mm sizes, which further shortens the service life. .357 Sig is an option, but it is a high pressure, high speed round, and is not produced in nearly the numbers as the option I advocate – the venerable 230grn .45 ACP.

The chorus of “Bring back the 1911!” comments begins immediately as you attempt to engage in any discussion involving service pistols or the .45 ACP. There should not be any debate around bringing the M1911 back into service. John Browning devised that workhorse before manned flight. The storied M1911’s place in history is secure, but our service personnel deserve more than a 7-8 round magazine. They need the best chance to live, which means higher magazine capacity. Also, the M1911 was not a perfect design. There has been much progress in firearm design since the 1890’s.

The Army is seeking a pistol with improved ergonomics, higher capacity, and better “knockdown power.” The answer in .45 ACP is simple: FN’s FNX-45. With a 15-round capacity, fully ambidextrous controls, interchangeable backstraps for ergonomics, and excellent accuracy, the FNX-45 meets all of the Army’s requirements. Its polymer lower receiver is cheaper to replace than the all-metal lower of the Sig Sauer P227, which lacks the FNX’s fully ambidextrous controls (specifically the de-cocker) and is limited to a 10 round capacity. A 14 round magazine exists for the 227, but it is quite extended.

The FNX also bests the Beretta PX4 Storm, with it’s lower-capacity 9 and 10 round magazines. The Heckler and Koch HK45 is another option, but again, has a 10 round magazine. The Colt M45CQB is a wonderful pistol no doubt – the pinnacle of 104 years of development since the design’s adoption by the US Army – but a 7 round magazine is unacceptably low on the modern battlefield. We can and should offer our service members better.

As of 14 February 2015, on Gunbroker.com, the FNX-45 is selling around $650-700, the Sig 227 around $1000, the Beretta around $550-600, Heckler and Koch’s HK45 runs $1000+, and a sole Colt M45CQBP is listed at $2295.00

No doubt Government contracts will involve a different cost per unit, which brings me to the FNX’s strength; single source integration. FN America manufactures the M4, M16, M249, Mk.46, Mk.48, and M240 families of weapons, as well as the M2HB and GAU-21 systems for the US Military in their Charleston, South Carolina plant. There are numerous advantages to awarding the contract to FN, but the largest one is keeping production in the United States and assuring American jobs.

The only consideration the Army should be looking at with a new equipment purchase is soldier survivability. The FNX-45’s 15+1 round capacity gives a soldier a 5-7 round advantage over other pistols. That’s 5-7 more chances to neutralize the threat. If a soldier is down to their pistol, a reload is likely not happening. In that situation, I would want the best pistol I could have. That is the FNX-45. The unit cost, American manufacture and jobs, and single-source maintenance advantages all point to FN. Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

– Bison

 

Watch Dugan show off the ultimate in open-bolt goodness.  The LMG Comparo by Carnik Con.

Which is your favorite LMG?

-Stoner LMG 5.56x45mm

-AUG LMG-T 5.56x45mm

-COLT LMG 5.56x45mm

-Stoner 63A 5.56x45mm

-Ultimax 100 MK II 5.56x45mm

-Cemte Ameli 5.56x45mm

-PKM 7.62x54R

-MK48 7.62x51mm

-M203 KAC Standalone

-MG3 7.62x51mm

 

A special guest contributor from the Swedish Forces wrote an overview of their service weapon, the AK5c.

The Swedish AK5C

Well, you know the FN FNC? The Swedes have their own modern version known as the AK5 C the C stand for Cesar, it’s a licensed built and standard issue weapon for the Swedish Armed Forces. I’m a Swede, soldier, photographer and gun nut so please bear with my English while I’ll write about this weapon system.

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Short History

The AK5 which means Automatic Carbine was adopted in the later 80’s, replacing the old AK4 (HK G3A3) the AK5 is a licensed built FN FNC by Bofors modified for the Swedish climate and specs. The two first versions Adam and Bertil was in service until somewhere in the 2006/7 where it was replaced by the now issued and modernized Cesar and David, the David being a shorter barreled version.

www.SoldF.com

AK5B above and AK5A below. Not my picture so copyright goes to Henrik Svensk
 

The Features

Well, Imagine having magazine compatibility with the STANAG magazine (AR-15 rifle platform) but the somewhat same operation and reliability of the famous Kalashnikov rifles?  Well here it is, today, there are lots of manufacturers that can use a long stroke piston and AR-15 magazines in their weapons, but the FNC was designed in the late 70’s so this was somewhat new.

 

The gun itself operates very similar to the Kalash, using a rotating bolt and a long stroke gas piston system, the gun could be fired a lot before needing actual cleaning unlike the M16. Now using M16 mags giving it compatibility with other NATO countries that uses STANAG 5.56 magazines. Instead of having a big chunky Kalash safety, the AK5 has a more and ergonomic style selector resembling the G3 and MP5 series.
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AK5C left side fire selector, and bolt catch

AK5: Old versus New

The main difference is that it of course has M1913 rail systems, ambidextrous safety and missing of a burst fire function (only semi and full auto), the sliding stock is also new and it’s still fold able as all other versions, also in the new C and D versions, a bolt-catch was installed.

All the new features and touch ups makes the system more modern in all ways, and in my humble opinion the FNC was a gun before it’s time.

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AK5 Technical Data

Caliber: 5.56×45 Nato using STANAG Magazines.

Weight: 5 kg loaded and with red dot.

Barrel length: 350 mm (13.8 inches)

Combat effective range: 400 meters.

Rate of fire: 650 rounds per minutes.


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Personal Experiences and Thoughts

As compared to other weapons, 5kg is quite heavy, for a gun in 5.56, but since the gun was designed to fire rifle grenades it needed a rugged construction, otherwise the ak5 is quite ok.
The safety is very easy to operate, it moves easily  without needing to change grip of the gun.
The bolt catch is a nice addition but since the old A and B versions did not have bolt catch function, using the old steel issued mags the gun will not lock up when the last shot is fired, the new “plastic” mags solves that problems but they are arguably the worst magazines, being wider and bigger inserting the plastic mags into the magwell is harder than the steel ones, and no the FNC does not have a flared magwell like the M16, which is kind of a downer, the plastic mags is also less reliable and more sensitive to sand/dirt, using a non issued mag, Magpul Pmag Gen 3 for example, its more reliable, sturdier and the bolt catch actually works, but the if the officers catch you using it they will do insane back flips of anger, hate and discontent.

 

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The mag release and bolt catch is located in the same positions as the M16/AR 15 system and they’re not ambidextrous, so AR operations would still be able to operate this system without much re-training, the charging handle though is like a Kalash, it moves with the bolt and BCG and is located on the right side of the gun, the dust cover is spring loaded and will always keep dirt out of your gun.

 

The flash hider is just terrible, we could at least had a flash hider and comp hybrid… the rails are quite ok, no need for fancy stuff, and if needed an M203 40mm can be mounted under the gun.  The Aimpoint CS which is the issued red dot has lots of points to improve, in my opinion, but the kill flash and see trough covers are nice!

 

In arctic climate it performs good, just keep you gun dry when it’s colder than -30c and your gun should not freeze, walking in and out of -30c to +15c and back out could still make your gun sweat and freeze,(even at warmer temperatures)  and that happens to basically every gun.
Overall, the AK5 does not have the same reliability as the famous Kalash weapons, but it still jams less than an AR-15 direct impingement system and in my time using it from mid 2010, I had less than 50 jams, and if I remember correctly 4 were operator error and 2 were from a mag mixed with sand… but in the end, I guess it depends on how much your weapon is worn, many ak5s are all too worn and as as result more jams are popping up.

 

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Only dust, nothing that will interfere with the gun. my rifle, also tape on steel mags, I prefer the steel ones.

 

Summary: The AK5C is still a good carbine, rugged for harsh use and a reliable gun when used correctly, a skilled operator can go pretty far with it, and even though it’s been upgraded to modern standards , the renovated guns are still wearing out.

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Me, at the range 2012 I think, a borrowed Ak, with tape for marking that it’s just been maintained from the armory
 
 

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Mates from the platoon, practicing CQB with BFA and blanks

 

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Unloading procedure,thumb in magwell then dry firing

 

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Medic going to take care of wounded during exercise

 

 

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CQB Training, mount for aimpoint magnifier seen on top rail, it’s issued.

 

An analytical comparison of the IWI Tavor, FN2000 and the Steyr AUG by Jerry Miculek. The bullpup design places the gun’s action behind the trigger, in front of a short buttstock. This decreases the firearm’s length and weight while retaining the same barrel length. Bullpups generally allow for a 25% reduction in weapon length, which allows for better maneuverability in confined spaces.

The results are in.

Are you a fan of bullpups?

Watch this torture test by DS Arms as they push the limits of “torture testing.”  The results may surprise you.