Despite the fact that the main classes of handguns have long been formed and are quickly adapted to the new requirements of the military, law enforcement agencies and the civilian market, there are still a lot of negative points that need to be addressed. This can be common drawbacks for handguns, such as kickbacks and single class features, for example, a low-capacity magazine of smooth-bore weapons, without a significant increase in size. Just the last example will concern the separate models of guns described below.
Of course, it is impossible to cover all solutions that were proposed by designers in one article, since either this will be a very large article, or too compressed, so let’s dwell on three models of rifles, which are united by the country where they were developed - South Africa. These models are interesting not only by their homeland, but also by the fact that they became widespread, and the ideas that were used in them formed the basis for other guns. But let's not tread on the spot, and proceed to get acquainted with the weapon.
Shotgun with drum shop Striker
The first gun from which we will begin acquaintance is the Striker gun. This unit was designed by a well-known designer Hilton Walker. Work on his gun, Walker started in 1980, the idea was to create the perfect gun for law enforcement agencies, that is, the weapon was not originally focused on the civilian market, which is noticeable even in appearance. The main drawback, which was noted by the designer for the guns and which was eliminated by them, was the small capacity of the weapon shop. Box magazines contained 6-caliber cartridges of 8-12, which, according to Walker, was not enough.
The designer considered the use of a drum shop to solve this problem. The design of the store itself, we consider a little lower, but to consider just from the point of view of practical application, such a device can now. So, the Walker rifle store contained 12 cartridges, while it had considerable dimensions and, since it was metal, it was mass.
The advantages include the fact that the owner of such a gun could make 12 shots with a very high rate of fire, which is important when attacking a crowd of zombies in movies, but not at all during a police operation, when in addition to his weapon, you can also count on fire support from his colleagues . It turns out that the need for twelve consecutive shots is not so urgent. But then already begin solid minuses.
The total weight and dimensions significantly limit the ability to take a few additional stores for quick reloading, and the equipment of the store itself will take quite a long time. If we take into account the mass, size and total number of cartridges, it turns out that 2-6 box magazines from the Striker's 8 magazine. In other words, against 24 cartridges, we have 36 cartridges, if we take into account the 6 magazines with a capacity of 6 cartridges each. It is unlikely that anyone will argue that the replacement of a box store, with an adequate weapon design, takes very little time, which is absolutely not critical if there is support from colleagues. Separately, it is worth noting that in order to change a magazine in a Striker rifle, you will actually have to disassemble the weapon, that is, the process is not the fastest, which is traditionally considered to be an integral one.
But it should not be forgotten that in addition to this, guns can be double-barreled, as well as with a tubular magazine, Walker’s design has a distinct advantage over such weapon variants. However, you can find fault with such a comparison, since there are some nuances that we will analyze in more detail when considering the design of the Striker gun.
Striker shotgun design
The first version of the weapon, in fact, was a big revolver with a double-action trigger mechanism with a hidden trigger. Behind the aluminum case there was a drum with 12 chambers in which the cartridges were placed; when the trigger was pressed, the drum rotated 30 degrees and the trigger was disrupted. Obviously, such a system could not be viable, as the drum weight was too large for the trigger pressure to be acceptable. It was necessary to get out of the situation and the exit was the use of a spring that was cocked when the key located in the front part of the store was turned, after the weapon had been loaded with cartridges.
When you press the trigger, the store was briefly released, which led to its turn, in parallel with this, the trigger platoon and its subsequent disruption occurred. However, the design was not reliable enough, even a small wear of parts led to the fact that the store was turning not by 30 degrees, but by 60, and even 90, which naturally made it impossible to use the ammunition missed in the drum, without additional manipulations and nullified all the advantage of a large store capacity.
Ergonomics and ease of use
Objectively speaking, calling the Striker gun the most inconvenient would not be entirely correct, however it is certainly not ideal. Yes, indeed, in this weapon, the weight in 4,2 of a kilogram with a barrel longer than 304 of a millimeter seems excessive, especially under the condition that the weapon, although it has all the advantages of self-charging, but in its design there is no movable gate and a piston powder removal unit, which should have a positive effect on weight. But it is rather a matter of comparing similar designs or comparing models of weapons with similar characteristics.
The only significant drawback in the convenience of operation, which is worth noting is the process of reloading the drum. If it is not replaced with a pre-equipped one, and this, as noted earlier, leads to partial disassembly of the weapon, you will have to remove the cartridge case one by one and then insert a new cartridge into it and so 12 times. The process facilitates a little spring-loaded rod, located on the right side of the barrel casing, with which the cartridge case is pushed out. At the end of the recharge process, you need to remember to coil the spring, which turns the drum, having previously blocked it. In other words, it will be very difficult to meet even in one minute.
Characteristics of the Striker rifle
As mentioned above, with a barrel length of 304 millimeters, the mass of weapons without ammunition was 4,2 kilograms. The total length of the rifle with the buttstock extended was 792 millimeters, with the butts folded down the length was reduced to 508 millimeters. In addition, a model with a barrel length of 457 millimeters was produced. It is worth noting that it is often possible to find information about the possibility of using this weapon without a barrel. Yes, the weapon will indeed work, even if the barrel is completely dismantled, but it’s stupid to say that such an application would be effective.
Summing up the Striker mini-review rifle, it is impossible not to notice that this weapon has all the advantages of self-loading rifles with a similar weight, but the use of an expanded-capacity drum in this case is unjustified in view of not the fastest reloading process. It would be possible to counter the high reliability of the revolving system, but in this case it was changed and the mechanism itself was not the most successful to talk about reliability in general, so, alas, but it is impossible to call it a gun successful.
Despite this, the weapon received even the smallest, but the spread and even became known in the United States, where it became known as Streetsweeper. This gun differs from the original Striker with a longer barrel, as well as two sealed drum chambers, which were quite successfully drilled even at home, which is remarkable, the folding butt of the original design was preserved.
Despite the fact that the first pancake came out as a lump, the idea itself was further developed by the designer, so at the end of the 80-s the logical continuation of the improved Protecta gun appeared, the design of which became the basis for many other weapon models, but more on that below.
To be objective, a person far from a firearm hardly distinguishes Striker from Protecta, and indeed, the weapon externally has changed little, but there are still differences. First of all, you need to pay attention to the fact that the “key” disappeared with the help of which the drum was turned after equipping it with cartridges. On the back of the store, there were also changes, namely, an additional 12 hole appeared, smaller in diameter than the reload hole. Their appearance is due to the need to control the amount of ammunition in the drum. There would be to argue about how difficult it is to count to 12, but the ability to visually see how many cartridges are left is really needed, at least from the point of view of the safety of handling weapons. After all, when the drum is discharged, you can simply remove the ammunition to the first empty chamber, but if there are cartridges then it is unlikely that someone will constantly check, and there is such a probability.
Despite the fact that the main drawback of the weapon was the fact that it was impossible to replace the magazine, this deficiency was not eliminated, although some things were nevertheless refined, so let’s look at the design of the gun in more detail.
First we will deal with the design of the drum. It was not changed radically, the spring is still driven by the spring squeezed when reloading, the drum itself is briefly released when the trigger is pulled. To prevent overshooting, the camera received thicker parts, which provided a larger working area and, as a result, increased the durability of the mechanism. That is one problem solved.
The cocking of the drum spring and its rotation when reloading is now carried out not with the key located at the front, but with the help of a swinging lever under the barrel, roughly speaking, this disgrace is a ratchet mechanism. That is, now the procedure of equipment of the drum is as follows, a cartridge is inserted into the chamber through the hole in the back of the drum's protective casing, the lever is pulled down once, which causes the drum to rotate, the next cartridge is inserted, and the lever is again retracted. It is quite logical to ask where the item with the spent cartridge case got out of the reloading process, but it’s really now missing in the Protecta rifle and here is why.
In order for the reloading process to become faster in the weapon there is a gas outlet node, which is connected with a spring-loaded rod to extract the spent cartridges. Thus, at the moment of firing, the rod moves backwards, pushed by powder gases withdrawn from the barrel bore, and throws out the cartridge case from the previous chamber of the drum.
The most attentive have already noticed that the holes on the back of the drum of the entire 13 are one for reloading and 12 for controlling the amount of ammunition. This is explained by the fact that now in the drum is not 12, but 13 chamber, one of which is not used. Rather, it is not even a chamber, but simply unused space. It is necessary for the following reason. Suppose a drum consists of an 12 chamber, evenly spaced in a circle. When the trigger is pressed, the 30 degrees are rotated and a chamber with a cartridge appears opposite the window for ejection of spent cartridges; when fired, the rod simply pushes out the unused ammunition, destroying it, which is clearly not a good solution. It is for this reason that I had to add another chamber which is not used.
There is one more nuance in the recharge process. After the last cartridge is used up, the next shot will not happen for obvious reasons, which means that the last cartridge case will have to be removed in the old manner, manually.
Characteristics of the gun Protecta
The mass of weapons remained unchanged 4,2 kilogram with a barrel length of 304 millimeters. Length with folded butt slightly reduced to 500 millimeters, but with the expanded, it grew to 900 millimeters. Just like last time, there is a model with a barrel length of 457 millimeters.
What did we get in the end? As a result, we got a gun with a not very successful modernization of a revolving design, with removal of powder gases for ejection of spent cartridges, and the procedure turned out to be with its own nuances. Questions remained unanswered about why it was impossible to abandon the spring in the design of the drum and not to tie it back in the same way to remove powder gases? Why make it difficult to remove the casing around the side of the drum to make reloading easier? How justified is this design as a whole, given the fact that the drum significantly increases the thickness of the weapon, and if all this disgrace already has a gas outlet, what is the advantage over self-loading rifles that feed from detachable double-row box stores? In general, a lot of questions and no answer.
However, despite this, it is impossible not to notice that the design turned out to be interesting. And let it be in its original form, let's say so as not to offend anyone, specific, this design has found application in other models of weapons, albeit with modifications. The most striking example of this can be our domestic RG-6 manual grenade launcher, which, although it has a number of significant differences, is undeniably similar to the idea itself.
The gun with two tubular shops Neostead
If you think that the previous weapon model from the article was original in its design and that in South Africa there were no more designers who thought outside the box, then you think it is wrong. In 1990, two designers, Tony Neophyte and Wilmore Stead, set a task similar to the one that Hilton Walker was engaged in - creating the perfect combat rifle for the police and army. Implement our plans came not immediately. The basic concept was formed only by the 1993 year, and it was only at the beginning of the 2001 of the year that the design was brought up to acceptable reliability indicators and mass production started. The emphasis was again on the capacity of the weapon shop, and again the implementation turned out to be quite original, but first things first.
Appearance and ergonomics guns Neostead
The appearance of the weapon turned out to be really quite unusual, resembling rather something from Hollywood science fiction films, however, the weapon received quite a good distribution, including in the civilian market, thanks in large part to the efforts of Truvelo Armory. The main feature of the gun Neostead, which makes the appearance of the weapon is not quite normal, is in the layout. Moreover, the weapon itself is made in the bullpup layout, which makes it very compact while maintaining the normal length of the barrel, as well as the supply of ammunition is implemented in a very interesting pattern.
It feeds the gun Neostead from two tubular stores, which are located above the barrel of the weapon. This feature creates the impression that we have a double-barreled gun, which for some reason has attached a tubular magazine. Since there are two stores, the designers had to solve the problem of supplying power from both the store and the other, which was done in the simplest way, using a switch located in front of the trigger. It is with this switch that the shooter chooses from which store the next cartridge will be sent when reloading.
Such a design feature is often positioned as the main “plus” of a gun, and indeed, the possibility of choosing the type of ammunition seems very useful, both for the police and for the civilian market. Well, the choice can be the most diverse, from "rubber bullet / shot charge" to "bullet cartridge / shot." The location of the switch seems to be also very convenient, because, firstly, its position can be easily controlled tactilely, and secondly, switching is carried out without unnecessary passes with your hands, which is especially important for military weapons. The question remains of the reliability of the operation of this mechanism, but we will analyze this moment in more detail in the description of the design of the gun.
As it is easy to guess from the appearance of the weapon, the Neostead rifle is non-self-loading, that is, reloading is carried out manually during longitudinal movement of the foregrip back and forth. Sights are located on the rack, which is also a carrying handle. The distance between the whole and the front sight is minimal, due to the dimensions of the handle. For the civilian market, such sighting devices are unlikely to be satisfactory, but if we consider the Neostead rifle as a policeman, then, taking into account the extremely short application distances, this will not be so significant. In circulation, the weapon as a whole is completely analogous to the so-called pump-action rifles, to which it applies.
Neostead rifle design
We turn to the design of weapons. You need to start with the fact that the forearm is connected with the barrel, that is, in the process of reloading the barrel will move, not the bolt. At the beginning of the forward movement of the forearm, the shutter and the breech breech are disengaged, after which the weapon barrel comes into motion. The cartridge case is removed from the chamber, held by the ejector behind the rim and, after the sleeve is completely removed from the barrel, the spring-loaded reflector pushes it down. After the place for the new cartridge has become free, ammunition is delivered from the previously selected store. When moving the forearm back, the breech rolls over to the new cartridge, simultaneously aligning it with one axis with the barrel and bolt.
An interesting feature is that the supply of ammunition from the store has nothing to do with the forearm movement. However, it must be borne in mind that the choice of which store will be powered from must be made before recharging begins, since after extraction of the spent cartridge case, the place will be taken by the cartridge from the tube that was previously selected. If, in one of the shops, ammo runs out, then you can switch to the second store in any position of the forearm.
Equipment stores are made by opening them when lifting the back side of the tubes up, for which you need to press the locking lever at the top of the weapon.
Actually this is all a description of the device design gun. To be objective, it is no different from what Christopher Spensor once proposed, except for the fact that the mechanism for supplying a new ammunition is rotatable, so that it can be powered from two stores.
Characteristics of the gun Neostead
Due to the bullpup layout used in the Neostead rifle, it was possible to use a barrel with a length of 571 millimeter, while retaining more than compact overall dimensions - 686 millimeters. The capacity of each store tube is equal to 6 ammunition, that is, the total capacity of 12 ammunition, while another ammunition can be placed in the chamber. The caliber is not difficult to guess, the twelfth, the length of the chamber 70 millimeters. The weight of the weapon without ammunition is equal to 3,9 of the kilogram, which in total with the handle located in the center for holding, makes the gun very convenient.
Positive and negative qualities of the gun Neostead
The main advantage of the weapon, which the manufacturer notes, is two stores with a total capacity of 12 cartridges, and, given the overall small size, it is difficult to disagree. The overall simplicity of the design has a positive effect on reliability, although much will depend on the liner at the base of the munition. In my opinion, the main positive quality of weapons is the ability to choose ammunition, although this choice is limited to only two options, in most cases this is more than enough. The choice between a lethal and non-lethal type of cartridge for law enforcement is indeed a necessary thing, but it must be borne in mind that with such a choice there is a risk of error, which can lead to disastrous consequences. For the civilian market, the ability to choose the type of ammunition is also a useful thing, both for hunting and in case of using a gun for protection, but, back, you need to remember in which store which type of ammunition.
The disadvantages of weapons can be attributed perhaps that the sights, which are too close to each other. But keep in mind that such a class of weapons as a gun does not apply to long-range weapons, and if you still take into account the fact that the weapon is designed for use at very short distances, then you can close your eyes to this shortcoming.
In general, it is impossible not to notice that a long time between the development of the general concept and the first production model was not wasted. It is enough to pay attention at least to the fact that there are no protruding parts in the gun that can catch on clothes or interfere with the gunner’s maneuvering with the weapon. Yes, and with more detailed study comes the understanding that the unusual appearance of the gun is not due to the desire to do something unusual and catchy, but the result of long and thoughtful work on the task.
Summarizing what was written above, it should be noted that among all the guns from South Africa, this sample can be considered one of the best in terms of the totality of characteristics and ease of use. It is impossible not to note that the design has received further development. For several years now, a self-loading rifle from Kel-Tec - KGS has been produced and sold. The main feature of this weapon in the power of the two box stores located under the barrel, in addition, the weapon has already become self-loading. However, it should be noted that the owners often complain about the capriciousness of this gun to ammunition and the frequent delays associated with sticking a cartridge, but this is a completely different история.
This model of weapon is known in the broad masses, but not because of its high fighting qualities, but because of its wide use in cinema and computer games, where the characteristics are greatly overestimated and different from the real ones. In general, in my humble opinion, with the combination of their characteristics and ease of use of the gun MAG-7 can be safely called one of the worst battle rifles, not only in South Africa, but also generally harm all the ugliness that has ever been in mass production. Just below such a low score will be disclosed in more detail, in the meantime try to understand how this weapon appeared at all.
Weapons owe their appearance to the designers of Techno Arms Pty. The task before the designers was all the same, that set themselves gunsmiths who developed the guns described above - the creation of an ideal combat gun. First of all, efforts were directed at reducing the size of the weapon, as pump guns were cumbersome enough for the free maneuver of the shooter in cramped conditions. Separately, it was noted that the weapons shop should be sufficiently capacious, but as we can observe now, something went wrong with this. One way or another, in two years the project was completed and the gun went on sale in 1995.
Ergonomics and appearance of the gun MAG-7
Regarding the appearance of the gun MAG-7 there are many opinions, someone like him, someone does not cause much enthusiasm, this sample personally reminds me of something Israeli Uzi that adds dissonance - a gun in the form factor of a submachine gun . But the appearance is important though, but it does not determine the characteristics of the weapon, but the ergonomics can already have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the use of the gun.
You need to start with the most obvious and conspicuous drawback - the handle to hold. As you can see, the desire to shove a non-crammed occurs in people not only when collecting luggage. The designers tried to place a weapon shop in the handle to hold, similar to pistols and machine guns. Obviously, such a decision was dictated by the desire to reduce the dimensions of the gun, and they were indeed slightly reduced due to this. But another problem arose, the length of the cartridge sleeve of the 12 caliber is 70 or 76 millimeters, add to this the size of the magazine, plus the dimensions of the handle to hold and get far not the most ergonomic handle that can be grasped by one. It should be noted that the domestic designers tried to crank up something similar, as an example you can call the small-sized automatic machine AO-27, where the store was used as a handle to hold. Only it is necessary to take into account that it was rather an experiment and the weapons did not go into mass production, plus everything, the domestic designers had more space for repair thanks to the shape of the cartridge 5,45x39, which could be turned at a sufficiently large angle in the store to reduce its width. However, this did not give a significant result ... But back to the gun MAG-7.
So, it was decided to place the store in the handle, which made the handle completely inconvenient to hold. The shape, dimensions and material of the ammunition did not allow them to be placed at a significant angle relative to the barrel, and in general this would not have the desired effect. The solution was found the most unexpected, but the simplest - it was decided to reduce the length of the sleeve, which was done. That is, the MAG-7 rifle for powering requires special ammunition with the 60 liner length of millimeters, which still did not make the rifle easy to hold, but at least made this very hold possible.
On the left side of the weapon is a fuse switch, which may seem convenient to switch with the thumb of the holding hand. In fact, switching with the thumb will be possible only if the size of the hand is one and a half times the size of the hand of a normal person, which of course occurs, but rarely.
Recharging is carried out using a movable forearm, which opens the bolt when moving backwards.
Separately, it should be mentioned that for those countries where the MAG-7 did not fit the strict requirements for civilian weapons, a version with a long barrel and a fixed butt was developed, which made the appearance of the gun at least strange.
The device gun MAG-7
According to its device MAG-7 is quite simple and ordinary gun, there is nothing in the design that could be considered something interesting. In fact, this is all the same pump-action shotgun, which is powered not from a tubular store, but from a box-shaped one. The barrel bore is locked with the help of a swinging lever, which is included in the slot in the receiver, and the spent cartridge is thrown to the right.
An interesting point is that the capacity of the box magazine is only 5 cartridges. If you close your eyes to the fact that the box magazine can be changed quite easily and quickly, then it becomes incomprehensible what the benefits of using such an arrangement were in the gun at all. And it’s not at all clear why the designers abandoned the bullpup layout, which would have kept the barrel's length and allowed the weapon to be made compact, not to mention a convenient retention handle.
Characteristics of the gun MAG-7
Despite the fact that the designers wanted to make the weapon compact, it turned out to be conditional. With a barrel length of 320 millimeters, the total length of the gun is 550 millimeters with the butt folded. The weight of the weapon is equal to 4 kilograms without ammunition. As mentioned above, the device is fed from box magazines with a capacity of 5 12-caliber cartridges with a sleeve length of 60 millimeters.
Pros and cons of the gun MAG-7
To be objective, the gun MAG-7 is the very rare case when the weapon has absolutely no positive qualities. But there will be enough cons at once for a dozen models. Absolutely ill-conceived design of the gun makes it very unsuitable for shooting, but perhaps the appearance of someone may seem attractive and unusual, tastes are not judged, but there is no convenience of use as such. If you add to this is not the most standard cartridge, then the picture becomes even more colorful.
Separately, you need to say about reliability. Quite often, you can find information that the cartridges are stuck in the feed. Consumers nod at the manufacturer, the manufacturer nods at the consumer, blaming the use of self-truncated ammunition. That is, the question mark can still be put and opposite the reliability of the weapon.
Despite everything written above, this gun has been produced and sold since 1995 until now, there are even fans of this weapon, although it is obvious that this model, to put it mildly, is not the best. Cinematography and computer games can be blamed for this phenomenon, and it would be ideal if MAG-7 was spread only there.
At this point, the review of South African battle rifles can be considered complete. It is interesting that only one of the three structures described was successful, although all were mass-produced. In any case, it is necessary to note not the most standard thinking of designers when creating weapons, as well as the fact that they managed to find an opportunity not only to realize their ideas in the metal, but also to bring them to mass production, although, judging by MAG-7, this is not always good.