Thursday, February 27, 2014

M-96 and XCR

American company Robinson Armament introduced its M-96 Expeditionary Rifle in late 1990s. It was basically a semi-automatic only modular weapon, patterned after famous Stoner 63 weapon system. It was available in several configurations. In 2002, Robinson Armament also introduced a military / police only RAV-02 rifle, which was based on same design but added selective-fire capability. Over that time,M-96 series rifles were no more than limited production items, sold mostly on civilian US market. Unlike original Stoner 63 design,no belt-fed versions were made in M-96 line.

Robinson Armaments M-96 rifle in standard configuration

In 2004, Robinson Armament unveiled a new design, which, while retaining basic modular concept, stepped out of Stoner pattern in several aspects. The new XCR rifle was submitted to SCAR special forces rifle trials, which were won by FNMk.16 and Mk.17 SCAR rifles. Since mid-2006, RobArm XCR rifles are sold on civilian US market in semi-automatic only versions; selective-fired versions are available only for government buyers.

Robinson Armaments M-96 rifle in top-feed ("Bren-type") configuration with short barrel

RobArm M-96 rifles were built on single,universal receiver, made from stamped steel. These receivers hosted quick-detachable barrels and basic gas-operated actions with long-stroke gas piston and rotary bolt locking. Receivers had mounting points for trigger units on "top" and "bottom" surfaces, and feed unit mounting points on "bottom" side only. In standard rifle configuration receiver is put with gas tube below the barrel, and magazine and trigger units mounted on the underside of weapon. In the "Bren-type" configuration, receiver is turned upside down so gas tube lies above the barrel, and magazine inserts from the top; the trigger unit is installed on the opposite, "bottom" side of weapon. Both trigger unit and magazine feed units also were made from stamped steel. Barrels with appropriate front sight mounts were used for every configuration, and rear sight block was attached to the mounting points on receiver, opposite to trigger unit. Guns were fitted with detachable, solid polymer stocks, and detachable plastic forends / handguards. In "standard" rifle and carbine configurations, charging handle was located at the left side of receiver, and ejection was to the right. In the"Bren-type" configurations, charging handle was on the right, and ejection was to the right (because the receiver was turned "upside down").

Robinson Armaments M-96 RAV-02 assault rifle (selective-fired), version chambered for 7.62x39 mm

RobArm XCR rifle is quite different from M-96. Most important, it abandoned the idea of single receiver with detachable units, that can be turned upside-down. XCR rifle reverted to the more common upper / lower receiver configuration, in which upper receiver hosts removable barrel, gas system, and basic action with rotary bolt locking. Gas system features traditional gas piston, and four-position gas regulator. Bolt has three locking lugs and locks into the barrel extension. Lower receiver hosts trigger unit and pistol grip, and has an integral magazine housing. Manual safety (which doubles as fire mode selector in "military" versions) is located on lower receiver, above the pistol grip, and can be located on left side only or both sides of receiver. Bolt catch release button is located at the rear of magazine veil, just ahead of trigger guard. Cocking handle is located at the left side of upper receiver, and can be used to assist the bolt closure.

Robinson Armaments XCR rifle, caliber 5.56x45 mm, with open sights (detachable and folding).

XCR rifles are fitted with side-folding skeleton buttstock. Top of receiver is shaped into integral Picatinny type accessory rail, with three additional rails located around the barrel at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions. For more convenient use, these rails can be covered with special polymer panels, that form rifle's forend / handguard. There are no standard sighting equipment "as is", but any compatible open or telescopic and night sights can be installed using Picatinny rail.

Robinson Armaments XCR rifle, caliber 5.56x45 mm

Robinson Armaments XCR rifle, caliber 6.8x43 mm Remington SPC, with Trijicon ACOG telescope sight

Caliber: 5.56x45 NATO; also 6.8x43 Remington SPC and 7.62x39 M43
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 959 mm (stock open), 696 mm (stock folded)
Barrel length: 407 mm (other lengths available)
Weight: 3.4 kg
Rate of fire: n/a
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Colt CAR-15 Commando

The first carbine version of the M16 assault rifle appeared under the name of CAR-15 in 1965, an was intended for US Special Forces who fought in Vietnam. The original M16 was simply shortened by cutting the half of the length of the barrel (from original 20 inches to 10 inches) and by shortening the buttstock by another 3 inches. The butt was plastic and retractable, the handguards were of triangular shape and the flash hider was of original three-prong type. Based on the original CAR-15, Colt quickly developed the CAR-15 Air Force Survival Rifle, intended, as a name implied, to serve to downed airplane and helicopter pilots. This version had tubular handguards and metallic tubular buttstock, and for some reasons the pistol grip was shortened.

Colt CAR-15 - earliest version

Initial combat experience with CAR-15 brought up some problems. First, the carbine was too loud, deafening the firing soldier quite quickly. Second, the muzzle flash was also terrific, blinding the shooter at night and giving away the position of the shooter to the enemies. Colt partially solved this problem by installing a new, longer flash suppressor. This version, known as the Colt model 609 Commando, also carried new handguards of tubular shape. This model was officially adopted by US Army as XM-177E1. This version had M16A1-style receiver with forward assist button. In the mid-1967 Colt slightly upgraded the Commando by lengthening the barrel up to 11.5 inches (292 mm), and this version was adopted as XM-177E2.

Colt Commando (model 733, note M16A2-style brass deflector and forward assist)

Later, with the introduction of the M16A2 and M16A3 (flat-top) models, Colt also changed the design of itys Commando line, adding three-burst options and flat-top receivers with Weaver-style rails.

Current Colt Commando carbines (Colt still called these Submachine-guns) are based on either M16A2 or M16A3 receivers, and had 11.5 inch (292 mm) barrels with M16A2-style flash suppressors, and available in either 3-round bursts or full-auto versions. Colt Commando carbines are used by various US Special Forces and by some foreign forces, including Israeli ISAYERET.

Colt XM-177E1

From the technical point of view, the Colt Commando is similar to contemporary M16 rifle, having same light alloy, two parts receiver, direct gas operated, rotating bolt action, with non-reciprocating charging handle at the rear of the receiver. The telescoping buttstock is made from metallic tube. Due to recoil spring, located inside the butt, the Commando cannot be equipped with side- or underfolding stock without some redesigning. Currently Colt Commando assault carbines are issued with standard M16-type 30 round magazines, but any other M16-compatible magazine can be used, including the 100-rounds Beta-C dual drums.

Caliber: 5.56x45 mm (.223 Remington)
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 680 - 762 mm
Barrel length: 292 mm
Weight: 2.44 kg empty
Rate of fire: 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds (or any other M16 type magazine)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


MILAN ER (extended response) is a new generation man-portable anti-tank weapon system manufactured by MBDA for the French and Indian armies. It is an extended range variant of the combat-proven MILAN anti-tank missile system which is in service in more than 40 countries.

The Milan ER can be deployed to provide tactical fire support for land combat forces in close combat operations in urban and open terrains.

MILAN ER missile system development

MBDA and Bharat Dynamics signed a memorandum of understanding at Aero India exhibition in Bangalore, India, in February 2005, for the development and production of the MILAN ER.

Initial test of the complete system with ADT (Advanced Technology) firing post and ER missile was performed in October 2006 in Bourges. The system was qualified by the French DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement) in January 2007.

A successful series of evaluation trials was completed in March 2007. A series of three industrial test firings of the system were conducted at the DGA's Etablissement d'Expérimentation Technique de Bourges (ETBS) site in central France in April 2008. The three tests were conducted to verify arming distance to demonstrate accuracy over a range of 150m and to evaluate performance against a moving target at a range of 3km.

The MILAN ER missile system has been available for deliveries since 2011.

MILAN ER features

"The MILAN ER infantry weapon system provides reliable, accurate and flexible tactical operations."

The MILAN ER infantry weapon system provides reliable, accurate and flexible tactical operations. It can be effectively launched against fixed and stationary targets, such as heavily armoured tanks, command posts and fortifications.

The missile system is equipped with new extended response ammunition powered by enhanced propulsion system for high lethality, in-flight manoeuvrability, and maximum operating range. It can also be configured with the next generation technologies to meet the new combat requirements.

The improved anti-jamming capability of the system provides operators with continuous communication without any interference. The system can also be incorporated into future Network Centric Warfare (NCW) systems.

MILAN ER missile

The MILAN ER guided missile was produced by MBDA France. The first test firing was conducted in May 2006. Each missile weighs 13kg including tube, and can engage and destroy targets within the range of 3km.

The missile has an enhanced warhead, which consists of a new dual-mode tandem charge in the front to defeat early and new generation explosive reactive armour with optimal terminal effectiveness.

The warhead can penetrate 1m explosive reactive armour (ERA) or rolled homogenous armour, or over 3m of reinforced concrete.

Firing post

The MILAN ER is launched by MILAN ADT (advanced technology) digital firing post. The firing post supports built-in-test, maintenance, support and geo-positioning tools, and is fully digitalised.

The firing post weighs 34kg, including one MILAN ER missile, and incorporates an azimuth indicator and an integrated thermal imaging system with video inputs/outputs for remote operation and remote vision during all weather conditions. It is compatible with all types of MILAN missiles including the MILAN 2, 3 and ER variants.

WASP turret

The MLAN ER anti-tank missile system can be fired from armoured vehicle platforms using a modified WASP remote-controlled weapon station. The WASP turret can also be mounted with a 7.62mm machine gun. It offers protection for dismounted infantry or for logistic convoy escorts from enemy fire, and increases the responsiveness of the system.

The new turret was introduced by MBDA, Panhard General Defense and Sagem at the Paris International Air Show in 2009.

MILAN ER guidance system

The MILAN ER weapon system is equipped with semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) guidance system. The wire-guided SACLOS offers anti-jamming efficiency in clutter environments. The man-in-the-loop option further ensures accurate identification of targets and permanent control over the mission. It also prevents collateral damage in complex situations.

(Excerpts from:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Z-M LR-300

The LR-300 rifle was manufactured by the small US-based company Z-M Weapons between 2000 and 2007, when all rights for the design were sold to the Para USA, the US-based subsidiary of the Canadian pistol maker Para-Ordnance Ltd. The reworked LR-300 rifle will be sold in USA as Para Tactical Target Rifle, with first sales sheduled to "early 2009".

Z-M Weapons LR-300-ML assault rifle, early (circa 2001) version

Original LR-300 (LR stands for Long Range) rifles were designed by Alan Zitta as an upgrade to the well known and popular M16 / AR-15 rifle. In fact, LR-300 and Para TTR both use standard AR-15-typelower receivers; only upper receivers are different and contain patented modified gas system. The key reason for that modification was to provide AR-15-type weapon with capability to mount side-folding stock rather than partially collapsible M4 carbine-typestock. Z-M Weapons intended its rifles mostly for military and law enforcement personnel, by offering LR-300-ML weapons with short barrels and select-fire capability. Civilian (semi-automatic only) versions also were offered to general public, but at prices well above the average price of AR-15-type rifle. It is not known yet if the new Para Tactical Target Rifles will also be offered in military (select-fire) version or not; current Para USA advertising suggests that only semi-automatic weapons (and upper receiver conversion kits) will be offered, at least initially.

Z-M Weapons LR-300-SR semi-automatic rifle, late production version (circa 2006)

The LR-300 rifle is gas operated, and utilizes modified Stoner-type direct gas system. In this modified system, the gas key is extended forward to form the tube, that protrudes forward from the receiver and into the handguard. The protruding part of the gas key tube is used to host the bolt return spring, which is placed between the front receiver wall and the collar at the front of the gas key tube. The gas tube,which runs rearward from the gas block / front sight base, is strengthened as its rear end floats freely to enter the extended gasket tube when bolt group is in the battery. That way, at least some of the hot gases from inside the gas carrier are expelled outside the receiver and into the inner handguard area, through the extended gasket tube, once it has left the gas tube during the bolt group recoil movement. Additional benefit of this system is that it allows the bolt carrier to be made twice as short compared to the standard AR-15- type bolt carrier. In turn, this results in the fact that there's no need for the recoil buffer tube, which is normally protruding backward from the AR-15-type lower receiver. Because of this feature, most LR-300 rifles are fitted with side-folding shoulder stocks, either skeletonized non-adjustable ones made from metal or polymer ones, adjustable for length of pull. Otherwise the LR-300 is similar to the AR-15-type weapons and has similar trigger / safety arrangements, magazine housing and bolt stop device.

Para USA Tactical Target Rifle, with buttstock open

Para USA Tactical Target Rifle, with buttstock collapsed

Specifications forZ-M Weapons LR-300 rifles
  LR-300-SR LR-300-14.5 LR-300-ML
Caliber 5.56 x 45 mm / .223 Remington
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt, direct impingement
Overall length 946 mm / 37.25" 896 mm / 35.25" 820 mm / 32.25"
Barrel length 419 mm / 16.5" 368 mm / 14.5" 293 mm / 11.5"
Weigth 2.95 kg / 6.5 lbs 2.72 kg / 6.0 lbs 2.54 kg / 5.6 lbs
Rate of fire -- -- 950 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Specificationsfor Para USA Tactical Target Rifle
Caliber 5.56 x 45 mm / .223 Remington
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt, direct impingement
Overall length, stock open (folded) 838 mm (667 mm) / 33" (26.25")
Barrel length 419 mm / 16.5"
Weigth 3.45 kg / 7.6 lbs
Magazine capacity 30 rounds



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