Random Thoughts On AK Versus AR Magazines

The AK-47 and its variants are probably the most ubiquitous firearms in the world. They have been made everywhere from the armories of Russia and the former Soviet Union to the tiny workshops of Peshawar, Pakistan. There have been multiple books written about them and how they changed the face of war.

They have the reputation of working in all climates and in all regions of the world. They are not considered finicky as compared to the American M16/AR15.

Given all this, why are their magazines so damn finicky?

I just got a couple of orders of AK-47 and AK-74 magazines delivered in the past few weeks. They included magazines made by Magpul, by KCI in South Korea, and by AC-Unity in Bosnia. My AK-47 is a FEG AMD-65 imported by Tennessee Gun and my AK-74 is Bulgarian variant also imported (and assembled) by TGI.

The results so far is that the Magpul AK-47 magazines fit and lock into place. Their AK-74 magazines have required quite a bit of sanding and finagling to fit and lock.

You can see how this had to be sanded.

The metal “tanker” 20-round KCI magazines are working just fine.

Don’t even get me started on the AC-Unity AK-47 mags from Bosnia. Despite having metal tabs, I have yet to get one that will lock into place without pounding. Likewise, they won’t drop without a good hard slam from the heel of my hand. They are going to take some work just to make them into range magazines.

AC-Unity metal tabs highlighted.

In the past, the actual milsurp ComBloc mags seem to have worked OK. The Tapco ones were a bit of hit and miss. ProMag is to be avoided at all costs.

Contrast this with my experience with AR magazines.

I have used mil-surp, Colt, Magpul, D&H, the Israeli eLander and Orlites, C-Products, Lancers, and others that I can’t even remember. They all work. They lock into place and they drop out when the mag release is pushed. I think I even got Thermolds to work.

These have fitted in lowers made by Aero-Precision, Anderson, CavArms, Essential Arms, and probably others than I have around here.

The only explanation I can think of to explain this is that milspec means something when talking about ARs and not a damn thing when talking about AKs.

2016 SHOT Show Day Two: Gunblast.com

Who would have ever thought Colt would have released a semi-auto M4 carbine for less than $700? I guess that is one of the “benefits” of their bankruptcy. Jeff Quinn interviews Colt about it. The carbine doesn’t have a dust cover nor a forward assist. That said, it is a simple matter to add them to the carbine if you want them.

What I consider the major find from Day Two is the Inland Manufacturing-Ithaca collaboration on a reproduction of the Ithaca 37 Trench Shotgun from WWII. It will retail for $1200. I’m not sure if it comes with the bayonet or not.

These are two of the finds that Jeff found in Day Two of the SHOT Show. More can be seen below.

It’s Official – Colt Is In Bankruptcy

It have embedded below the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed by Colt Defense LLC and its associated companies with the US Bankruptcy Court for Delaware. The associated companies include both Colt’s Manufacturing Company and Colt Canada. The petition was filed on Sunday evening according to their press spokesman.

I have not had time to read the whole document and I’m not an expert on reading bankruptcy petitions. However, I did read through the list of unsecured creditors to whom it owes money. Number two on the list was Magpul. Colt owes Magpul almost $1 million presumably for PMags, MOE furniture, etc. Many of the other unsecured creditors are small companies that provide services to the firearms industry. As such, Colt’s bankruptcy is going to be felt throughout the industry.

Jim Shepherd at The Outdoor Wire has some good commentary about the role of Sciens Capital Management in the Colt bankruptcy. They are the favored buyer or stalking horse bidder. Also read the commentary on the bankruptcy at Weaponsman.com.

More filings and the press release can be found here.

Management Changes At Colt

A month and a half after reuniting the two halves of Colt – Colt Defense and Colt’s Manufacturing Co. – they have announced a management change. Even though Colt’s Manufacturing Co., or New Colt Holding Co. as it was legally known, was the one bought, it is their CEO, Dennis Veilleux, who will now become the CEO of the reunited company.

While I know the rationale for reunification was to secure the consumer market for Colt Defense in the face of an uncertain and turbulent defense market, one must wonder if the directors of Colt also had in mind new leadership as well. It is one of those things that we’ll never know unless someone privy to the private discussions among the directors makes it public.

The Outdoor Wire has their release and I’ve reprinted parts of it below:

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Colt Defense LLC, a leading developer and manufacturer of small arms for the global military, law enforcement and sporting markets, today announced the appointment of Dennis Veilleux as President and CEO effective immediately. Mr. Veilleux was most recently President and CEO of New Colt Holding Corp., which was acquired by Colt Defense last month. Mr. Veilleux replaces Gerald R. Dinkel, who will remain on Colt Defense’s Governing Board.

Commenting on the leadership transition, Governing Board Chairman Daniel J. Standen said, “During his tenure as CEO, Gerry Dinkel has been instrumental in Colt’s transformation into a more diversified business, including the recent completion of the acquisition of New Colt Holding Corp. We are grateful to Gerry for his valuable contribution to the Company and look forward to supporting Dennis Veilleux as the new CEO of the re-unified Colt. Dennis has 27 years of experience in the firearms industry and has achieved considerable success in his stewardship of New Colt Holding Corp.’s growth in the commercial firearms market. We believe this succession positions Colt Defense well to address the different opportunities and challenges faced by the business.”

Wouldn’t This Make Them “In Common Use”?

The Fontana School District is buying 14 Colt Model LE6490 AR-15s to equip school police officers. They will be stored at school police headquarters to be used in case of an active shooter situation.

I won’t even touch up on the level of firearms ignorance espoused by the opponents of the police being armed with AR-15s.

However, as SayUncle pointed out yesterday, he doubted that the most popular rifle type in America is “unusual” taken in the context of the Heller decision. Sebastian takes this a step further.

I’ve also advocated that the courts should consider police use when
making a determination about “common use.” If a type of weapon is part
of ordinary police equipment, it can’t be dangerous and unusual, and
ought to be defined as in common use, even if it’s only in common police

I agree with both SayUncle and Sebastian that the AR-15 is in common use. One could argue that the move by the Fontana School District and their police force puts the “normal” AR-15 into common use in California. There is no mention of the police having to have bullet buttons or reduced capacity magazines in the report from CBS Los Angeles. This is something to bear in mind if the California Assembly tries to adopt even more draconian gun laws.

Colt And Remington To Relocate?

The Firearm Blog ran a story today about the potential for Colt and Remington to relocate manufacturing out of Connecticut and New York respectively if those states adopted the flawed technology known as microstamping. The story noted as have others that many states would welcome these firearms manufacturers if they decided to leave the Northeast.

Cam Edwards of NRA News did an interview this evening with Larry Keane, General Counsel of the NSSF, on this issue. Keane repeated the NSSF’s position that the technology needs more study before it could ever be adopted. Moreover, and I didn’t know this, he said the patent holder of this technology has come around to the same position and is urging more study of microstamping.

Joe Huffman of the View From North Central Idaho has an excellent overview of the technology and its limitations on his blog here.

Some Pocket Pistols Seen At The NRA Annual Meeting

I looked at a number of the sub-compact pistols today at the Annual Meeting. Patrick, a reader of this blog, was interested in a comparison of the Sig P938 and the Sig P238 in terms of the difficulty of pulling the slide. His mother is disabled, wants a pistol – not a revolver – and has difficulty pulling the slide on many smaller pistols.

To make the test somewhat objective, I had the Complementary Spouse do the testing of the slides. She is a health care professional and has some understanding of the challenges that those with weaker hand and arm strength might face.

First, we tested the Sig P938 which is their sub-compact single stack 9mm pistol. She didn’t find it hard at all to rack the slide on the P938. It fit her hand well, had rear sights that allow the racking of the slide against a pocket, and decent 3-dot sights.

Next up was the Sig P238 Scorpion. It was easier than the P938 and was the easiest to rack the slide of all the guns tested today.  It is a single-stack, single action pistol in .380 ACP. The single action trigger pull of both pistols seemed about the same though I didn’t test it on a trigger scale.

You can see a size comparison of the P238 and the P938 below. They seem to be relatively the same size.

The third pistol tested was the Colt Mustang in .380 ACP. Many have said that the Sig P238 is merely a clone of the Mustang so it was an obvious choice for comparison. It seems to have a heavier spring than the P238 and is about equivalent to the P938. The sights are similar to a GI model 1911. To me, these sights were less user-friendly than those of the Sig P238 Scorpion.

Finally, given all the buzz about the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, we thought we should add this to the mix. It is the single-stack sub-compact 9mm (and .40 S&W) version of the M&P. The Complementary Spouse found this the hardest to rack of all the pistols we tested and wouldn’t recommend it to Patrick’s mother. She had some difficulty racking slide. It fit my hand well but I did find the trigger pull to be mushy and not crisp.

Colt Expands To Florida

Given the relatively hostile climate for gunmakers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, I think it should come as no surprise that Colt’s Manufacturing Company – the civilian side of Colt – announced yesterday that it is setting up a regional headquarters and production facility in Florida. According to the announcement from Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office, Colt is making a $2.5 million capital investment in a building owned by Osceola County. They expect to have a staff of 63 that will begin phasing in during 2012.

I don’t have a crystal ball but I think this is only the first of many expansions by firearms makers outside of their traditional “Gun Valley” home. I think the moves will be made for two major reasons: a more favorable  (and gun friendly) business climate in the new location and lower personnel costs due to non-unionized workforces. It was only last year that Olin Corporation’s Winchester Division began moving most of its center-fire ammunition production from East Alton, IL to Oxford, Mississippi. That move was done for both those reasons.

I would also keep my eye on announcements out of the state of South Dakota. They have an industrial development project run out of the governor’s office that is targeting firearms manufacturers and others in the gun industry. They promote their gun-friendly attitude as an attraction for businesses in the industry.

The full announcement for the office of Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is below:

12/1/2011 Osceola County, Fla. – Today, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC announced its commitment to create 63 jobs in Osceola County for its new regional headquarters and product manufacturing center. The center will hire people for engineering and manufacturing jobs, among others. In 2012, Colt is projected to begin phasing in the first of 63 jobs paying an average salary of $45,060 to be created during the following three years. Governor Rick Scott and Colt’s Manufacturing Company President and CEO Lieutenant General M. William Keys USMC (Ret.) were joined by the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners for the announcement.

“As a supporter of new job creation and the Second Amendment, this announcement sends the clear message that Florida is both open for business and a defender of our right to bear arms,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said. “My primary responsibility as governor is to be our state’s chief advocate for job creation. My personal involvement in bringing Colt to Florida demonstrates my administration’s deep commitment to rebuilding our economy.”

Colt is making a $2.5 million capital investment in a vacant building, which the company will lease, that is owned by Osceola County. Governor Scott and his economic development team at Enterprise Florida Inc. and the Osceola County Economic Development Department worked with Colt to bring this project to fruition. State incentives include $250,000 from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund and funds for workforce training. Osceola County is offering additional incentives, including renovation of the building and rent concessions.

“Colt looked at many possible sites across the nation, but we ultimately decided to locate our new facility in the State of Florida,” Gen. Keys said. “Florida offered a strong pro-business incentive package. Coupled with the low cost of doing business in Florida and a favorable regulatory environment, opening this new facility was very attractive to us. Governor Scott’s personal commitment to both Colt’s growth plan and America’s right to bear arms was instrumental in our decision.”
“Attracting an American icon like Colt, which is one of the world’s top brands, is a real coup for our economic development efforts,” said Commission Chairman John Quiñones. “Beyond creating new, high-wage jobs, Colt is going to be a great asset to our community.”
“Colt’s expansion to Osceola County is a perfect fit for the region,” said Dr. Sanford Shugart, president of Valencia College, which will design a specialized training program for the company. “Valencia College stands ready to deliver the best trained, best educated workforce possible. We welcome Colt’s Manufacturing Company to Osceola County and commit to partnering with them and serving their employees and families for many years to come.”

Osceola County is located southeast of Orlando and just due west of Cape Canaveral.