Posts Tagged FN FAL

Weapons: Oh, The Weapons Contractors Use…

This is a fun one. On Facebook I posted a TOTD or Thought Of The Day on what types of weapons contractors have used in the past on contracts. What I got was an incredible amount of feedback on this and it was really fun to see what popped up. Here is the TOTD I posted:

TOTD: Contractor Weapons. I think this would be a fun one. I would be interested in all the various weapon types that guys have seen issued as contractors, or had to use as part of their contract. Or stuff that you saw or heard other contractors use. Everyone hears about AK’s, M-4/ARs, and Glocks, but what are the other rifles and pistols seen issued. Or even the heavier weapons used for contracts. This should be a fun one and I will probably make a post out of it on the blog.

I have mentioned in the past that Facebook has been incredibly useful for interacting with the contractor community. The amount of feedback and interaction is amazing and very useful. I am also able to share more ideas in a more efficient manner there, which also helps to get more ideas in return.

So back to contractor weapons. Guys posted pictures and everything, and it was cool to see any trends in what we are using out there. Obviously AK -47’s and M-4/AR-15 variants are the top primary weapons. But the various types of other weapons issued and their histories are very interesting. Some are just recaptured weapons that were given to contractors by outgoing military units in the various AO’s, or some are weapons the companies were able to ship into that country. Others were bought in gun markets in the region, and it is fascinating to see what contractors we able to get a hold of.

What I will do below is list every gun mentioned and I recommend going to the post on FB to see the various stories behind these weapons. I did notice that the G-3 was mentioned quite a bit. I got to play around with one in Iraq, but didn’t use it for work. In the photo below, Patrick brought up a heavily modified G 3 that I thought was cool.

The other thing to point out is how many copies of weapons were mentioned. Stuff that was either reproduced by Iraqi factories or stuff that was made in the weapon making villages of Pakistan. Lots of junky weapons that fell apart or barely worked, but were cheap and helped to stand up a contract. It is a huge problem in the industry, and companies continue to outfit contracts with junky weapons and equipment, all because of money or because they do not have the connections to get the good stuff into that war zone. That is the one thing that I continue to see and hear from contractors out there, and I have experienced the same, and that companies are horrible at providing good weapons or equipment. It’s why guys become good at fixing weapons or why folks prefer to bring their own kit–because the companies are horrible at this stuff.

Back to the list. There is also the mention of heavy weapons used, or the use of explosives. Stuff that you would not associate with contracting, but was certainly used at one time or another by contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the early days of Iraq, you saw everything. Now, not so much because regulations and contracts have become very specific as to what can be carried. I saw that change during the 2006 to 2008 time frame, and especially in Iraq. But there are contracts that are out of sight or out of control of the Big Military, and you continue to see the heavy stuff come up on contracts.  So here is the list, and feel free to add in the comments section stuff that you used on contracts. –Matt



This is a PDW Patrick McAleer made in 2007, out of an Iranian G3, in Iraq. Photo Credit Patrick McAleer.



Glock 19
Glock 17
HS 2000
Caracal F
M 9
SIG P226
Turkish Kanuni
Walther P 38
Iraqi Berretta
Browning Hi Power
Walther P 99
CZ 75
.455 Webley
Smith and Wesson Sigma
Norinco NP 22 (Sig 226 copy)
FN P35
CZ 70
Zastava EZ9
Ruger P95
.38 Colt Diamondback
Colt 1911
.455 Colt Eley

M 16 A2
AK 47
AR 15
M 4
Colt 722
G 3
G 36
Type 56
K 98
British SMLE
Sturmgewehr 44
Saiga M 3
Benelli Argo
Remington R 25
Remington 700
Browning BAR
Mosin Nagant
FPK Dragunov
AR 10
Ruger Scout Rifle in .308
AMD 65
HK MR 308
FN FAL para
VZ 58
AR 18
HK 416
East German MPi KM 72
SIG 550


NOR 982
Remington 870
Italian double barrel

Submachine Guns

Swedish K
MP 5
Beretta M 12
Beretta PM 12S

Machine Guns

MG 42
FN Minimi Para SAW
FN M-249 SAW
M-240/MAG 58
M 60
MG 3
VZ 59

Grenade Launchers

M 79
HK 69
M 203
M 320/AG 36

Mortars, Grenades and Mines

M 67
M 18 Claymore
Tear Gas/CS
Improvised Claymores For Defense
Mortars for flares

Rocket Launchers

AT 4

Heavy Machine Guns

M 2

Automatic Grenade Launchers

MK 19
AGS 17


Regular Archery Bows
Kitchen Knives
ASP baton

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Company Spotlight: Primary Weapons Systems

    You know, a lot is said about the various weapons companies and defense companies in the East coast or in the Southwest, but you never hear a lot about the fantastic companies in other parts of the country. And specifically, you never hear much about my neck of the woods here in Idaho. Companies like Primary Weapons Systems, Chris Reeve KnivesMilt Sparks holstersGemtech suppressors, Cheytac precision rifle systems, and the list goes on. In the future I plan on doing more company spotlights on Idaho companies that offer some quality equipment, weapons, and weapon parts.

    So with that said, let me get started. I have a friend named Dave who works at PWS and he invited me on down to the shop to check out the operation and the guns. While there, I got to see where all the magic happens and talk to some of the folks that make that happen. Stacey Nagy was one of those folks, and he was very helpful and informative as well. A big thanks to both for showing me around.

    PWS is probably most famous for their compensators. They reduce felt recoil of the rifle, keep the muzzle steady and reduce the flash. You will see these compensators on many competition and field weapons being used out there, and the fit and finish of these things are fantastic. They are also designed to fit the popular suppressors being used.  And believe me, when you see all the attention to detail that the company goes through to produce these compensators and get them out the door to their customers, then you will definitely appreciate what you have when you get one.

     They are also in the market of making parts that will help to support this ‘AR piston’ craze that is sweeping the weapons manufacturing world. Everyone is making an AR piston gun or retrofit kit it seems, and they are all experiencing issues with modifying the AR to operate a piston. That is were PWS comes in.

     Another part I got a chance to check out was their new buffer tubes, and I was very impressed. It is one of those parts on an AR that I have seen fail or I have seen installed incorrectly on a weapon, and this new PWS buffer tube will help to fix many of those issues. You do not have to peen a castle nut and possibly ruin the finish of your weapon, and installing it only requires an allen wrench and following the directions. (check out the comments about the buffer tube on the site) The ridged/fluted aspect of the buffer tube also provides strength to the thing and they look cool.

    Probably what is most important though is that these buffer tubes are designed to deal with piston guns that have had issues in the buffer tube area. Notice how they have a specific buffer tube kit for the HK 416? (hint- there are problems with this gun) These buffer tubes have built in quick detach points and supposedly they reduce recoil as well. Bravo to PWS for making the better buffer tube and I hope they sell a lot of them.

    Finally, and this is the one that should be of interest to the companies out there, and that is PWS makes piston AR rifles. My first interest in PWS rifles was their cool little Diablo gun that fired 7.62 x 39 ammo. That thing was cool and here is a video of it in action. But once I started researching what PWS is all about and what they have produced, I wanted to learn first hand about what else they had to offer.

    Specifically, these guys are making AR piston guns that not only have the ergonomics of the AR, but have the internal operations of an AK style piston system. And that is what is unique here. They modeled the design of their piston systems on this world famous weapon and they have created a true ‘long stroke piston’ AR. So what you are getting with a PWS weapon, is an AR/AK hybrid. The best of both worlds, thrown into one weapon.

    The other big selling point of their weapons was weight. They are close to one pound lighter than their competitors who market similar piston guns. So not only are they tough, reliable and simple, but they are also lightweight.

    On a side note, they are also running the excellent BCM Gunfighter charging handles that you see many folks running on their ARs. These charging handles are tough and make charging the weapon a lot easier than with the standard charging handle in ARs. This is a fine addition to the PWS weapon.

    The barrels are also standard AR type hardened barrels with 1:8 twist and chrome lining, which will be nice for durability and for using different bullets weights. At the shop, they purposely feed as many types of ammo as possible through the guns to see how they operate. Especially the cheap low grade ammo, which you see PSC/PMC’s resort to using all the time for overseas work. I have yet to be on a contract where the company issued Blackhills ammo or something similar. It is always the cheapest or middle of the road ammo, or it is ammo that they got from the military. Having a piston rifle that can be fed with all types of factory ammo is definitely a plus.

    I even asked them about problems with the rifles, and it sounds like the barrels wear out before the piston systems wear out. But the big one here that I clued in on is that no one is sending their rifles back because ‘they are falling apart’. These things are built to last, and have the best features of the AK and the AR incorporated into the design. Did I mention that they have a 7.62 x 51 AR piston gun they just introduced? They will even make a 6.8 piston gun if you ask.

   Not only that, but Paul Howe of CSAT is now recommending this rifle on his website. He has mentioned them twice in his newsletters and the rifle is in his ‘recommended equipment’ section here. As everyone knows, Paul has had some bad experiences with another piston gun that I won’t mention, so for him to endorse this AR piston gun says a lot. (Although I am sure after he runs it over time, he will be able to provide more input about the weapon.)

    Finally, there is the part of this visit that I really was impressed with, and that was the customer service aspect of this company. Everyone there was very helpful, friendly and honest about answering my questions. They really helped me to get a good picture of the AR piston industry and what their company has to offer. It is a confusing and fast paced part of the industry, and everyone is trying to make the best product out there. It is exciting to watch and PWS is working hard to become a leader in this field. –Matt

Disclaimer: I was not paid to make this review, nor have I bought or was given any weapons or parts by PWS. I also shot their 5.56 piston rifle during the tour, and the recoil and function were excellent. 

     Primary Weapons Systems, Inc (PWS) is a Federally-licensed firearms manufacturer located in Boise, Idaho.  PWS is the designer and manufacturer of the MK1 and MK2 series rifles and uppers in addition to a complete line of flash suppressing compensators such as the FSC556, SM556, FSC30, and more.  PWS develops items based on real world requirements with the goal of redefining accuracy and performance in the piston-driven platforms.

     All parts manufactured by PWS are done so on state of the art CNC Machines such as Okuma Multus B300 lathes, HAAS VF-4 mills and more.  Any components that are not produced by PWS are purchased from only the best manufacturers to ensure the highest quality products are delivered to the end user.

     Our CNC machines are programmed and operated by true craftsmen who are also shooters. It is this combination that enables us to provide our clients with the highest quality products that are not only aesthetically appealing, but also very functional.

     Our mission is to provide the highest quality products and best customer service to shooters, sportsmen, military and law enforcement alike, and do this at a fair and competitive price. It is our goal to create lifelong relationships with our customers who believe in our ideas and the quality of our products. We invite our customers to provide feedback through direct contact as well as through customer reviews on the product pages throughout the website.

Link to company website here.

Video tour of company here.

Facebook page for company here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,