A Rifle Revolution: Pakistan Seeks Modern Replacement for Iconic G3
General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Army Chief in late 2015, revisited POF (Pakistan Ordnance Factories) to commend their efforts in supplying weapons for the Zarb-e-Azb operation against insurgents.
His visit also sparked speculation about a potential new rifle competition to replace the aging HK-G3 infantry weapon.
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Several international rifles were showcased during the visit, including:
- Belgian FN-SCAR: A powerful 7.62x51mm rifle known for its modularity and accuracy.
- Czech CZ-BREN: A reliable 5.56x45mm rifle known for its ergonomics and customization options.
- Italian Baretta ARX-200: A versatile 7.62x39mm rifle with multiple configurations.
- Russian AK-103: An upgraded version of the iconic AK-47, chambered for 7.62x39mm.
- US Zastava M-21: A modern 5.56x45mm rifle based on the proven AK platform.
This competition wasn’t just about replacing the HK-G3, but about acquiring a modern rifle that met Pakistan’s unique needs and ensured long-term arms independence in the 21st century.
From Competition to Creation: Pakistan Forges Its Own Rifle Path
The search for a 7.62x51mm rifle proved elusive for the Pakistan Army. Despite testing an array of international contenders like the FN-SCAR and CZ-BREN, none perfectly fit their needs. So, they turned inward.
POF, Pakistan’s state-owned arms manufacturer, received the green light to develop a homegrown solution.
But they weren’t alone. Private firms like GIDS and Cavalier Group entered the fray, showcasing their own 7.62x51mm rifle designs.
In 2022, the World Defense Show in Riyadh became a stage for Pakistani innovation.
POF unveiled its flagship creation, the BW-20, in three variants that cater to different combat scenarios. This marked a shift: no longer a passive observer of foreign technology, Pakistan was forging its own path in the world of rifles.
Pakistan’s Rifle Renaissance: BW-20 Leads the Charge
But the BW-20 isn’t alone. Following POF’s lead, private firms like GIDS and Cavalier Group showcased their own contenders: the Klass-786 and Maverick-22.
Both chambered for the 7.62x51mm round, these rifles offer modern features for infantry applications.
POF’s vision, however, extends beyond the battlefields. They plan to expand the BW-20 lineup with 5.56x45mm models compatible with AR-15 magazines and 7.62x51mm versions for AK magazines.
Furthermore, plans are underway for semi-automatic variants catered to the civilian market.
This flurry of activity signifies a turning point for Pakistan’s military firearms landscape. No longer reliant on foreign imports, the country is forging its own path in rifle development, driven by the likes of POF, GIDS, and Cavalier Group.
The competition promises not only cutting-edge technology for the armed forces but also potential spillover benefits for the civilian sector.
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Maverick-22: A Jack-of-All-Trades Rifle
The Maverick-22 is a versatile assault rifle that boasts multiple calibers (7.62x51mm, 7.62x39mm, and 5.56x45mm), making it adaptable to diverse combat scenarios. Weighing in at 3.9kg without scopes, it’s relatively lightweight and features adjustable sights for fine-tuning accuracy.
Its 16.14-inch barrel and 30-round polymer magazines provide ample firepower, while the 792m/s muzzle velocity and 600 rounds/minute firing rate pack a punch. The telescopic buttstock retracts for enhanced compactness, particularly useful in tight spaces.
Adding to its versatility, the Maverick-22 boasts ambidextrous controls (safety selector and mag release) for both left- and right-handed users. Picatinny rails on the top and forend allow for easy attachment of scopes, tactical lights, lasers, and other accessories.
With a total length of 34-37 inches and an effective firing range of nearly 500 meters, the Maverick-22 offers a well-rounded package for infantry use.
Klass-786: A Streamlined Contender
The Klass-786 is another contender in the multi-caliber arena, handling both 7.62x51mm and 5.56x45mm rounds with an effective firing range of 500-600 meters. Like the Maverick-22, it weighs 3.9kg without scopes and features ambidextrous controls for ease of use.
While the Klass-786 focuses on a slightly heavier punch with its larger calibers, its lack of a telescopic buttstock and slightly shorter effective range might make it less suitable for close-quarters combat compared to the Maverick-22.
Overall, both the Maverick-22 and Klass-786 offer compelling options for Pakistan’s military, each with their own strengths and target scenarios. The competition between these domestic rifle manufacturers promises exciting advancements in Pakistan’s firearms technology.
Choosing Pakistan’s Next Rifle: BW-20 vs. Klass-786
The quest for Pakistan’s new infantry rifle boils down to two homegrown contenders: POF’s BW-20 and GIDS’ Klass-786. Both answer the call for:
- Multi-caliber capability: Able to handle 7.62x51mm and 5.56x45mm ammunition, adapting to various combat situations.
- Ambidextrous controls: Safety, bolt release, magazine release, and charging handle can be operated by both left and right-handed users, crucial for versatility in the field.
- Modern features: Picatinny rails enable easy attachment of scopes, lights, lasers, and other accessories.
- Effective firing range: Both boast a range of around 500 meters, suitable for most infantry engagements.
Beyond these shared strengths, each rifle has its own edge:
- Lighter weight and more compact: Easier to maneuver in close quarters, thanks to a telescopic buttstock.
- Addresses shortcomings of the HK-G3: With fewer parts (125 compared to G3’s 200+), it likely simplifies maintenance and offers the potential for improved reliability.
- Slightly greater effective range: May offer an advantage in long-distance engagements.
- Streamlined design: Some prefer the simpler silhouette without the telescopic buttstock.
Ultimately, the choice hinges on specific priorities:
- Prioritize versatility and close-quarters maneuverability. BW-20 might be the answer.
- Looking for maximum range and a simpler design? Klass-786 could be the optimal choice.
Whichever rifle wins the competition, the emergence of these domestically produced contenders marks a significant advancement for Pakistan’s military independence and technological prowess.
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