Thursday, July 09, 2009

As Confederate Yankee says, considering they think kitchen knives are too

dangerous to have a point, this was inevitable:
THREE proud centuries of tradition have come to an end with the revelation that Britain is no longer capable of making rifles to arm its own troops.

Instead, experts believe, all European armies will one day be using the same type of weapons.

The news, branded a national disgrace by one critic, comes after a warning that Britain is in danger of overspending on defence
I highlight that last because there are constant stories in the British press about troops in Afghanistan not having helicopters and other equipment they need(even basic kit in some cases) and yet they're talking about overspending?

The last attempt to produce a British rifle was the SA80 but the weapon was widely criticised for its poor quality until its manufacture was taken over by ­Germany’s Heckler and Koch.
I don't remember the specifics, but the SA80 was, as I recall, one of those 'designed by a committee by people who wouldn't actually have to use it' things. It had LOTS of problems and instead of actually fixing them they tried to bluster around them and finally basically rebuilt the whole thing. And it still had problems.

Some military historians also regretted the loss of tradition. Paul Cornish, curator at the Imperial War Museum, said: “It’s extremely sad, since Britain has had a proud tradition of developing and manufacturing small arms.
Yes, it did; and the British government destroyed it, right along with destroying the gun culture that had been part of Britain for so long.
Last night, the Ministry of Defence said: “We don’t make our own assault rifle because there isn’t a British company that still manufactures them. In any case, we are happy with what we are using.”
Because, I suspect, the Brit government made it so damned difficult and expensive to even try to make ANY firearms and destroyed the civilian market; when the only customer you'll be allowed to have is the government, and they'll screw you around on everything, why try?

Sad day, indeed. In more ways than one.

1 comment:

Keith said...

The story of the SA80 is a catalogue of mistakes, and denials.

First there was no traditional competitive trial of designs to find one suited to further development.

The then about to be "privatised" Royal Small Arms Factory just pirated the AR18 action, which was originaly developed to be manufacturable in third world countries, so in theory it should have been eminantly suited to Britain, except, no one took a ride down to Sterling Arms in Dagenham where the real AR18 was being produced under licence, to discuss the hows and whys of the thing.

There is an old newspaper article, that shows up if you have a good google of SA80, which describes the rapid turnover of young engineers with no experience and how all the old experienced and therefore expensive guys were cleared out, and how the project was rushed for political reasons.

The SA80 was 1950's technology at it's worst, Russia was working on more controlable guns which could double tap a target (Nikonov's design beat Kalashnikov's in that race)The US has a rifle that has excellent point and shoot qualities, and facility to mount all sorts of things that would be better as seperate weapons, the SA80 has none of those qualities.

There are still people in Britain who would love to tinker with experimental designs, but we are forbidden by law to even make an immitation of a firearm.

Philip Luty designed and built a SMG to show how easy it is, he ended up doing 5 years in prison for his efforts. Last time I tried to visit his websight it was either down or blocked (

There may be others who are keeping quiet about their activities.

and many more, like me, who would love to tinker with their ideas, to see if any really work, but have no chance of getting official permission, no intention of doing it illegally and going to prison like Luty did, and know that under the current system, there is no hope of reward if you are successful.

It is something that makes me really angry, but, I have my own life to live, and If others want to give their lives fighting in the names of Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, that's their choice, I'm not working in my free time to give them a gun design that might well be pointed at me or my family and friends.

If the British forces are happy with the SA80, it must be because they have no experience of anything to judge it by, and to taht I say;

Tough Shit!

You (British Govt) confiscated my Pistols, I have to jump through hoops for my other guns every 5 years, and you almost daily ramp up draconian legislation on your citizens, without effect on the armed crime and terrorists it is supposed to effect.

I'm not saying I could design a better rifle, what I am saying is I Won't even try it for you bastards!