New Assault Rifle from ST Kinetics

This week ST Kinetics (a subsidiary of ST Engineering), makers of the bullpup SAR-21 rifle, have been displaying a new conventional assault rifle at the Singapore Air Show 2012. The rifles looks a lot like the current generation of FN SCAR / Beretta ARX / Remington ACR rifles. The below photo is taken from the show magazine.

New Assault Rifle

The ST Kinetics SAR-21A, a modernized version of the SAR-21, was supposed to have gone into production last year.

ST Kinetics SAR-21A

[ Many thanks to Nigel for emailing us the photo. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    It looks like a cross between a paintball gun and an AUG.

  • Lance

    Looks like a XM-8 copy. And the SAR-21A looks cool.

  • Any details of the changes made from the SAR-21?

  • lucusloc

    how big can a trigger guard be before it stops being an effective trigger guard?

    • Nadnerbus

      Totally. I always think that when I see some of these bullpups, the Aug, Tavor, and FAMAS G2 among them. For the Tavor and Aug, you can at least say it’s only open on the bottom.

      • Nadnerbus

        I get all that guys. Same reason a stock AR trigger guard can be hinged downwards and a lot of people replace them with aftermarket curved ones like the Magpul offering. Some of those designs just leave a lot of room for other stuff to get in and snag the trigger. Which comes back to the original question from lucusloc: How big is too big?

    • Komrad

      They make the trigger guards so big so that you can fit a winter-gloved hand in for winter conditions. It makes sense for Austria and probably parts of France. Middle-East, and South East Asia, I have no idea. Probably just for regular gloves to fit or something.

    • Joe Schmoe

      @ Nadner –

      The trigger guard on the Tavor is not just a trigger guard but acts as another contact point for the supporting hand (wrist and arm) and thus increasing stability and accuracy, it can also be used as a foregrip if that is to your liking.

      @ Komrad –

      The size I explained above. And trust me, spend a cold night in the desert and then write me an essay about why big winter gloves are good. πŸ˜‰

      • Komrad

        I completely forgot about how cold deserts get at night. The sad part is that I knew that.

  • Nathaniel

    It may just be an HK G36 that was incorrectly associated with STK.

    • noob

      at least there’s a little shelf on the pistol grip to stop your hand sliding up to the trigger

  • bima86

    i was curious about that too, whats the story behind that hand/trigger guard design..

  • Ron

    If you want better pictures of the new ST range, I found a few in a curious place:

    They seem to have several new designs being prepared, not bad for such a small company with a limited market.

    • Josh B

      I checked out you link, the very bottom photograph seems to be of the same rifle at the top of this post. It looks like an XM8 clone with a different stock there is also some other firearms mixed in their as well, nice link.

  • John Doe

    You’re supposed to able to put your finger(s) in the trigger guard, not your whole arm!

  • Wosiu

    I may clarify you some things:

    1. SAR21A

    – it is old thing, from Singapore Airshow 2010. According to some infos project is stopped due to lack of interest from SAF. Strange looking handguard is not so strange, in fact it is very clever thing:
    – it can be used as bipod equivalent in some situations,
    – it is transport handle when rifle is upside down,
    – front part of handguard is removable and can be replaced by various things (grenade launcher mount etc).

    2. New things of STK from Singapore Airshow 2012:

    – Next-Gen Concept Rifle mock-ups , conventional and bullpup (perhaps idea of common parts, like in Polish MSBS-5.56),

    – new version of STK 40GL ubgl,

    – 7.62 GPMG,

    – Ultimax 100 MK 8 (!? – last version was MK 5).

    Photos of these thing can be find in Chinese language internet, please try on own πŸ™‚

    • Avery

      Next-Gen Concept Rifle mock-ups , conventional and bullpup (perhaps idea of common parts, like in Polish MSBS-5.56)

      I’m thinking we’re going to see this as a new trend. Militaries have start to become quite hesitant with bullpups due to perceived tactical inadequacies, but really need more compact weapons to provide to the soldiers who aren’t expected to see direct combat. PDWs require whole other cartridges and magazines, so the rounds expected have to be standard-issue rifle calibers and other logistics. Until caseless cartridges become more acceptable and ejection methods more variable, rifles are going to have to be built around that. Until then, convertible bullpup/conventional systems seem to be the best of both worlds.

      I love how the Ultimax looks very SCAR-like now.

      • Wosiu

        Remember, Poland was first πŸ™‚

  • PCP

    So they are making both a conventional and a bullbup rifle based on the same mechanism. Why nobody else makes things like that? I mean you have a gun for the bullpup fans and one for the traditionalists with many parts in common so with a relatively small kit you can have both.

    • Chucky

      A lot of people do make things like that, though not necessarily from the same people. Plenty of bullpup kits for guns that aren’t bullpup like the AK, M14, 10/22, 870, 500 etc.

  • Matt

    Another weapon citizens of Singapore will likely never put their own hands on. Seems like they gave up an awful lot to get that perfect society they wanted. William Gibson hit it on the head when he called it Disneyland with the Death Penalty a while ago.

    • Eugene

      It seems that you are ignorant of the fact that all Singaporean men have to do two and a half years of national service at 18… Put it this way: All the men over the age of 18 knows how to shoot and have military training. How many country can say that?

    • Eugene

      Forgot to mention: And guess what weapon they are currently trained on? SAR-21, having moved over from the Singaporean built version of the M16

    • Benjamin


      At least do your research about countries before condemning them outright, no country is perfect and definitely not your’s. Singapore’s crime rate vindicates their tough laws.
      And I always thought that TFB was about “Firearms not Politics”.

  • Matt G.

    Idk. That pic looks alot like an HK g36

  • Bob Barker

    I cringe whenever I see a open style hand guard without an actual trigger guard. I’d be curious to know the chances of someone going to grab their rifle under stress and end up activating the trigger as he attempts to position his hand on the grip.

    Perhaps this just seems more likely than it actually would be in real life.

    • noob

      with the f-88 austeyr the training is to pick it up at the thin part of the stock between the magazine and the pistol grip, then transition to a two handed grip with the support hand on the foregrip to control the muzzle. once that’s done you can move the strong hand forward and down to grasp the pistol grip. picking up the austeyr by the pistol grip onehanded causes the balance of the rifle to pull the heavy stock down, muzzling your face. your palm can then easily disengage the older crossbolt safety, and your thumb impinge on the trigger. always handle the weapon correctly from the middle and you’ll be fine

      • noob

        the new crossbolt safety is better, with a fence around it to make it a little harder to bump off

      • Bob Barker

        I’m thinking from a design point how it allows for a potential problem that might have otherwise been avoided. When picking a service rifle all worst case scenarios should be considered because that rifle will be used under extreme stress and during any number of awkward physical situations. I can imagine all that training about grabbing it from the forward stock going out the window after being slammed about in your motor-vehicle (no pun intended) for example.

      • Alex-mac

        @Bob Barker
        Remember the Steyr Aug has a ‘carrying handle’ in the scope. But in picatinny models used by most troops now, at least in the Australian military, this inbuilt carry handle is no longer present.

        The push button safeties have always been dodgy. Seems the combination of push button safety, no trigger guard and missing handle, make for quite a unsafe mix.

    • Alex-mac

      The Australian military has far higher weapon handling skills than your average gun owning civilian or your average military. So the lack of a real trigger guard isn’t a problem there.

      Saying that, in the Australian reserve forces negligent discharges aren’t exactly rare. They have much less training in weapon handling than full-time soldiers. One also needs to take into account the steyr augs ‘push button’ safety, which can and does change accidentally. Not a good combination.

      So your concern is justified for more poorly trained troops.

      Also the steyr aug may encourage the use of the index finger as a sort of trigger guard. It is held alongside the trigger not above it, this presumably allows them to feel if a twig or something attempts to press the trigger.

  • Benjamin

    The SAF are headed by pragmatic people, and I think they are rather unlikely to adopt most of the newer designs, when somewhat equally competent weapons are in use. For one, I think they are unlikely to replace the SAR-21 in the Army 12 years after it’s initial inception, being a functional and competent design (numerous National Servicemen have fired it from their left shoulder without much trouble) despite its bulk and slight ergonomic issues (it does have a rather clumsy feel). The Navy is known to still use M16 (“slab-sided” upper receiver) and Model 654 rifles with A1 lower receivers, despite their age.

  • I’ve talked to the engineers behind the SAR21 project, the SAR21A has been dropped due to requirements from the SAF, and hence they started the Next gen rifle project.

  • Philip

    The SAR-21 is a functional and competent design only to those whom have not used anything better. Even the old M16 is a more functional and competent design. Because Singapore citizens are not allowed to carry arms, most of us don’t know any better, and fail to realize the inadequacies of ST Kinetics designs. And don’t forget that our own SOF carries the M4 and M249, not the SAR-21and Ultimax 100.

  • chino

    @Philip: “The SAR-21 is a functional and competent design only to those whom have not used anything better. Even the old M16 is a more functional and competent design. Because Singapore citizens are not allowed to carry arms, most of us don’t know any better, and fail to realize the inadequacies of ST Kinetics designs. And don’t forget that our own SOF carries the M4 and M249, not the SAR-21and Ultimax 100.”

    I belong to the class of those Singaporeans you mentioned “who don’t know any better”.

    Since you obviously don’t belong in this category, please tell us your experience with having used – in a military context, of course – “better” weapons compared to the SAR-21 and Ultimax 100.

    And then elaborate how the SAR-21 and Ultimax 100 is not “a functional and competent design” compared to these weapons. For example, you mentioned the M16 being a “more functional and competent design”. I don’t agree or disagree, but please elaborate why you think so?

    I finished my military service with the M16S1 and the Ultimax before the SAR-21 was introduced. So I am very keen to hear your reply.

  • Another Singaporean

    I am another Singaporean that has used the m4, m16 and sar-21. I can clearly say that the sar-21 is superior and that is despite me having to shoot the sar-21 with my right hand although I am left handed… Phillip you just sound like one of those guys who loves to diss things that come from Singapore…