To understand the situation, it is necessary to recall that since 1934, the Federal Firefoot Act (NFA) has been in effect throughout the United States, imposing certain restrictions on the characteristics of civilian weapons. In particular, it allows citizens to buy and use rifles with a rifled barrel with a length of at least 16 inches (406,4 mm). For smoothbore weapons, the minimum barrel length is 18 inches (457,2 mm). To purchase samples with a shorter barrel, the shooter will need to get a special permit and pay tax in 200 dollars.
Almost a quarter of a century ago, at the federal level, new regulations were adopted (Assault Weapons Ban), which banned the production and sale of new weapons with automatic fire regime. The turnover of already completed samples was not prohibited, but the import and production of new products were now impossible.
Amateur shooters have always wanted to get a weapon that matches their wishes, but the introduction of certain legislative restrictions sometimes prevented them. As a result, various ways of circumventing the restrictions appeared. Some of them were able to become popular, while others remained in stories as technical curiosities. The other day an interesting proposal of this kind was presented by Franklin Armory.
Until recently, Franklin Armory (Minden, Nevada) was one of many manufacturers of rifles based on the AR-15 platform. Fame to the company brought the product called Binary Fire System or BFS ("System of double fire"). It was a special trigger mechanism, compatible with existing rifles and giving them unusual opportunities. The design of the USM provided the descent as when you pull the trigger, and when it is released. Thus, each time the hook was pressed, the weapon could take two shots at once.
Recently, Franklin Armory specialists continued to search for ways to "circumvent" existing legislation, and were able to find another opportunity to create special weapons. Just last week, the company announced that at the future Shot Show 2018 in Las Vegas, the first public demonstration of the Reformation system (“Reformation”), based on new original ideas, will take place.
The Reformation product has a barrel of reduced length — a total of 11,5 inches (292 mm), which is noticeably less than the allowed minimum. However, due to some features of the design, it “falls out” of the current legislation on civilian weapons. As a result, such a weapon, despite its appearance, does not need any special registration. In addition, the owner does not have to pay 200-dollar tax. In this case, the finished weapon should show good firing characteristics and is suitable for use as an alternative to other samples based on the AR-15 platform.
The president of the developer Jay Jacobson noted that the main ideas of the Reformation project could create a completely new sector in the civilian arms market. Products in this niche will not require special regulatory approvals, which may be of interest to both manufacturers and potential buyers. It may be necessary to come up with a special term to designate a new weapon. So, representatives of the company "Franklin Armory" are already using the word non-rifle - "non-rifle."
A demo of a promising non-rifle was presented the other day in Las Vegas. This product was built using serial components from Franklin Armory and a number of other manufacturers. Like many other modern types of civilian weapons, the Reformation prototype is built on the basis of the AR-15 platform and outwardly almost does not differ from other systems on such a base. The main noticeable difference is a less long barrel, placed under the forearm of a complex shape.
Demonstration "Reformation" is based on the receiver Franklin Armory Libertas, divided into two so-called. receiver. At the top there is a trunk with a gas tube and a forearm; the lower one holds the shaft of the store and the firing mechanism, and also serves as the basis for mounting the stock. From the point of view of the overall layout and the basic principles of work, the prospective model is no different from other variants of the AR-15.
The main innovation of the project is hidden under the forearm of a complex shape, equipped with standard slats for installation of additional equipment. The non-rifle received a special 5,56 mm caliber barrel with a total length of 11,5 inches (52,5 caliber), built on the patented NRS technology. It is the barrel, or rather the configuration of its channel allows the weapon to bypass the existing restrictions.
The barrel bore received lots, but they are not located at an angle, but parallel to its axis. The shape and depth of the rifling probably do not differ from those used on traditional weapons. Straight cuts create a curious precedent. Their shape - even taking into account the type of ammunition used and the design features of the weapon - does not allow us to consider the Reformation product a rifle. The fact of the presence of rifles excludes the classification of the "non-rifle" as a smooth-bore gun. Naturally, it can not be attributed to the category of pistols. Thus, the "Reformation" is a kind of averaged weapon, which can not be attributed to one of the classes provided by law.
NFA law provides for barrel length restrictions for rifles and shotguns. The product "Reformation" does not belong to these classes, and therefore does not fall under its conditions. Thus, the non-rifle can have a barrel of any length, including shorter than the allowed 16-18 inches. Allegedly, the authors of the new project have already received approval from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which controls the circulation of weapons. No claim to the original sample has arisen.
The main feature of the Franklin Armory Reformation system, which is an advantage, also turns out to be a serious disadvantage. This weapon cannot normally use standard NATO intermediate 5,56x45 mm. Existing bullets of different types are designed for use in rifled weapons. In flight, they are stabilized by rotation, acquired through rifling the bore. The parallel straight rifling of the NRS system, in turn, does not allow unrolling a bullet and ensuring acceptable accuracy of the fire.
To solve this problem, the company Franklin Armory has developed a new bullet that can show the required characteristics during unusual cutting of the barrel. Instead of the traditional bullet of an elongated shape with a pointed nose, it is proposed to use a feathered product of similar dimensions. Slightly less than half of the new bullet is occupied by an elliptical head, which acts as a fairing. Behind it is the plumage with several triangular planes of minimal elongation. Apparently, the individual elements of such a stabilizer are located at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the bullet. In flight, they must create aerodynamic force, twisting the bullet.
While continuing to promote older designs, the Franklin Armory designers used the Binary Fire system in a demo of a non-rifle. It is controlled by a standard trigger, but it has a fuse-translator of fire with three positions. In the back position, the flag blocks USM, the vertical position provides for single shooting. Turning the box forward, you can turn on the Binary mode. In this case, when you press the trigger the weapon makes a shot. Returning to the starting position, the released hook performs the second shot. With this trigger, a non-rifle may show some semblance of automatic fire.
In accordance with existing laws and regulations, the use of a trigger mechanism of the Binary Fire type does not make the weapon automatic, due to which it does not differ in its legal status from standard self-loading systems.
Demonstration non-rifle "Reformation" received an adjustable inconsistent butt Magpul MOE SL, built on a telescopic scheme. On the upper receiver of the rifle there is a long Picatinny rail, on which a folding aperture sight was mounted. The upper plank of the forearm, mounted flush with it, was used to set the folding base of the front sight. Promotional materials include photographs in which the slats are used to install various additional equipment.
In the shaft of the lower receiver unit standard stores are placed under the intermediate cartridge 5,56 X45 mm NATO. The box store is fixed in place with a two-way latch. The use of new original bullets did not lead to the need to create special means of supplying cartridges.
The simultaneous use of BFS and NRS systems leads to very interesting results. The finished “non-rifle” of the Reformation type is distinguished by its small dimensions and small barrel length, and is also capable of imitating fire in bursts. With all this, it does not require special registration and payment of a substantial tax. It is obvious that such a weapon will be able to find its buyer in the American civilian market, traditionally loyal to various bold proposals. In the meantime, the company-developer expects even a revolution in the market. She believes that new weapons with non-standard cutting will be able to form their own market sector.
It should be noted that the Franklin Armory Reformation project is not the first attempt to create a shortened version of a civilian rifle that does not contradict the laws. In the past, similar problems were solved by creating specific samples that were registered as pistols. Such a carbine received a barrel of the desired short length, and instead of a normal butt, it was equipped with a special device with a stop or straps covering the forearm of the shooter. The use of this emphasis as a full stock was not provided. At least officially.
Weapons with such equipment usually had a very specific appearance and ambiguous ergonomics. However, due to the lack of alternatives, it enjoyed a certain popularity. Carabiners, turned into pistols, found their customers and were actively used in shooting ranges.
The new project from the company "Franklin Armory" solves the same problem, but does it in a different way. Unlike their predecessors and competitors, the engineers of this company decided to rebuild not the weapon fittings, but the main components of the whole complex, namely the barrel and the bullet. The result was an unusual “non-rifle” with a familiar look and normal ergonomics. It should be noted that such results in this area were obtained for the first time.
The obvious advantage of the "Reformation" is the ability to own a weapon of the desired appearance, not contrary to the requirements of the laws. In addition, the advantage of the project is the use of the original trigger mechanism with the ability to make two shots at one press of the trigger. The new "non-rifle" is based on the standard platform AR-15. This actually makes the weapon modular and allows you to install on it certain spare parts from different manufacturers. Perhaps in the future, Franklin Armory will begin to produce NRS-cut barrels suitable for mounting on weapons from other manufacturers.
A clear disadvantage of the new development is the high cost of the finished weapon. Prices for the Franklin Armory Libertas series rifles start at 1800 dollars, and installing a “dual” trigger increases their cost by another 410 dollars. There is no reason to believe that a batch of Reformation will be cheaper. Replacement barrels - if they appear - are also unlikely to differ in low cost. Thus, the chances of a new project to form a new market are not too high, at least for financial reasons.
The second serious problem is the need to use a cartridge with a special bullet and the fundamental impossibility of the effective use of serial products. Bullets of standard designs will not show the desired accuracy and accuracy. Whether the ammunition factories will be interested in the new feathered bullet and whether such ammunition will be produced in a larger series - it remains only to guess.
The original sample of small arms called Reformation was first presented to the public just a couple of days ago. Unusual development immediately became the subject of many discussions and disputes. In the meantime, while some weapons lovers argue, others are wondering whether it is worth getting a wallet and replenishing their arsenal with an unusual new non-rifle. The company-developer is not yet ready to ship systems of a new type to shooters and wholesale buyers. However, the non-rifle “Reformation” mass production will have to start soon.
Facing legislative restrictions, gunsmiths and gunners are forced to look for some original solutions. Until recently, most of these solutions did not differ in special beauty and originality. "Non-rifle" Reformation from the company Franklin Armory compares favorably with its predecessors, although it is not without certain disadvantages. Whether this development will be able to justify the hopes of its creators - so far it remains only to guess. However, in the foreseeable future, it will be possible to see the first successes or failures of the Reformation in the market, as well as to understand the real potential of the main ideas of the project.
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