Gun Review: NiteScout A3

NiteScoutA3

I have a little familiarity with the Lusa USA – Lusa 94 SA carbine and was interested in the next evolution of the firearm. The NiteScout comes with a polymer H&K Navy type semi-automatic trigger housing, with the markings SE for safe and semiautomatic (German Sicher and Einzelfeuer). The welds are very clean and the overall presentation exceeded my initial expectation, much better than I’ve seen on MP5 parts kit builds. The finish has a satin black powder coat with the aluminum parts hard coat anodized.

The included magazine is a standard 32 round Uzi magazine. This is an upgrade from the 28 round Lusa proprietary Uzi-like magazine. The magazine release is easy to manipulate and feels natural with a little practice. I didn’t try it left-handed on the range but tried it a few times at home afterwards and found it easy to do by feel. The charging handle is on the left side of the firearm, just forward of the magazine well. The handle is of metal construction and easy to grasp with thumb and forefinger of either hand. The selector is not ambidextrous but being H&K type, aftermarket options are available.

The handguard is an eight inch aluminum tri-rail. My demo model did not include the rail attachments for the handguard, though they appear included with purchase, but you have the option to install them or not. I like the smooth handguard personally. If the firearm were registered legally as an AOW I’d install a forward grip but otherwise would leave the bottom rail off. The A and A2 models have much shorter handguards. The handguards do not need to be removed for a field strip, but lefties will want to take this apart to move the front sling loop to the right side.

IMG_0589

This is done by removing the three 3/32″ hex screws from the front of the handguard, then removing the sling loop (I had to break mine free with pliers), once the sling loop bolt (which secures the handguard) is removed, the handguard retaining piece (the horse shoe shaped piece in the fourth photo below) will clear the factory flash hider. This has to be flipped around in order to place the threads to the bolt on the opposite side. In my photos I also remove the front sight shield with a 3/16″ hex wrench, this isn’t necessary.

The weight of the pistol, without magazine, is 6 pounds and 6.5 ounces. The balance of the firearm is centered at the magwell.

IMG_0649NiteScout A3
9mm Parabellum

Barrel Length: 8.5″
Overall Length: 18.5″
Weight (no magazine): 6lbs 6.5oz
Height: 8″
Width: 1.6″ (at handguard), 2.5″ (at charging handle)
Sight Radius: 14″

This firearm would be a lot more to my liking if it had a stock. This would require either a 16″ barrel or registration as a short barrel rifle. the latter is something I can do on my own and then look for a stock that fits. Shown below you will see the Lusa stocks wouldn’t fit because of the flare at the top of the receiver and the hole alignment for the stock or end cap bolt is not in the same location. I assume this was to accommodate using the polymer trigger housing. Regardless the NiteScout Facebook page now shows both a new carbine version that is coming and some different stocks that will be available. While I’m sure some MP5 stocks would fit with some custom fitting, as this was done on some Lusa’s, I’ve not yet seen any for the NiteScout.

IMG_0586
In the photo above, the NiteScout is on the bottom, and the photo below, the NiteScout is on the top. The other firearm is a Lusa 94, double checking which sights are on the firearm is an easy way to identify them, the NiteScout A3 also comes with a steel picatinny rail. Note the hole placement for the retaining bolt as well as the little flared wings on the Lusa below.
IMG_0585

The first time I took it to the range we were at an indoor facility with a maximum distance of 25 yards. I prefer the long distance peep hole settings of the rear sight, but the close range notch was used for accuracy testing at 25 yards. Out of fifty rounds fired my best five shot group was over six inches. The weight of the gun took its toll over time and my shot groups increasingly got wider. This was with PMC 115gr FMJ. Continuing with the same ammunition I sat down to fire off a few rounds with a hard rubber rest, provided by the range. The rest moved enough that it was impossible to keep the gun in the same place for a second shot. Using up another box of the PMC ammo the best five shot group I could produce was 4.75″. I’m sure the firearm can do much better but I was pleased with the results and out of ammo.

The field strip is pretty straight forward on the NiteScout. In my own words: Remove the magazine and check that the firearm is not loaded. Remove the end cap retaining bolt (I had to use pliers to get it started). Remove the end cap. Pull the trigger housing down. The safety selector will come out if put in the 12-o-clock position. The trigger pack pulls out easiest from the extractor (make sure the hammer is down when reinstalling). Make sure the charging handle is all the way forward so there is not tension on the return spring. Push the retaining pin out (I found mine to work from right to left) while pushing slighting on the retaining piece, this will remove tension on the pin. When the pin is removed the spring will push the retaining piece out. Remove the return spring with encapsulated buffer. Remove the bolt. The bolt extractor and firing pin are held in with roll pins, no further disassembly required.


Reassembly is everything in reverse. Push on the buffer to get the retaining pin in easily. Aligning it on the other side is simple with a small amount of pressure to control the movement. the reinstalled trigger housing needs the hammer locked back. The extractor slides into a grove of the bold and simply slides into place. The bolt carrier and bolt are the same piece, fewer parts is one advantage of the recoil operation over a delayed-roller.

Cons
The biggest con for me is the weight of the pistol, I’d like it to be a bit lighter. If I were to make another improvement it would be to have a bolt-catch mechanism for empty magazines.

Pros
The most notable positive aspect of the firearm was the lack of trouble. Many of these larger two-handed pistols have disappointed me within the first few rounds fired. Out of 200 rounds using Federal and PMC ammunition, I had zero stoppages. I simply had no problems with the NiteScout A3.

The NiteScout is currently available for $959.00.



Ethan M

Ethan’s firearm interests are mostly with Cold War era select-fire weapons and their semi-auto counterparts.


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  • Lance

    Looks like a cheap HK 94 copy that is way overpriced.

    • Oh it’s not cheap by any means.

    • hami

      Most HK94 copies are between $2000 and $2500

      • True they are much higher. It’s not cheap but I believe it’s worth the price. After talking with the owner at length there was a lot of redesign and improvement over the Lusa. The threads for a suppressor are standard 1/2×28 rather than the Lusa which had an off the wall thread.

        • hami

          I agree that it is worth the price. A lot of folks want something that looks like an MP5 in the collection. Why should they care if its a roller gun or not. Or what mags it uses.

  • Eric S

    That’s hideous and I kinda want one…I could dual wield that with my SW760 to make everyone at the range cringe.

  • mechamaster

    MP5 look with Uzi mag and blowback internal mechanism.. LOL

    • erwos

      Hey, for those of us in love with Uzi mags, it’s a nice new choice.

      • claymore

        Beware of UZI mags LOL. We had them in our State Police swat team issued Colt 9mm AR clones. They shot well and even the DEA had them

        UNTIL one of our guys dropped a full Uzi mag onto the floor and we all watched in amazement as every round came flying out the top of the mag one right after the other.

        When we all stopped laughing we did a bunch of drop tests and sure enough it was easily repeatable over and over.

        Colt took a few mags back to try and repair or redesign the feed lips with NO LUCK.

        Soon thereafter we switched to Mps.

        • MZupcak

          Do you mean you switched to MP5’s or are Mp’s some brand of magazine for Colt 9mm carbines? I’m not being a wiseass I honestly don’t know.

        • Kevin

          Colt 9mm mags are copies of the Uzi mag with slightly different mag lips.They are well known for kicking every round out the mag if the hit the floor base first.Colt did not want to pay IMI for making copies of the Uzi mag so they changed the feed lips.

          That does not happen with real Uzi mags.You can and the mag cutout to Uzi mags to get them to work in the Colt 9mm.

      • They also decided during the design process to use easily found mags that don’t cost a bunch.

    • Hey it works—

  • JT

    This looks like something that might be concocted as a mass-produced PDW if WWIII ever happens

  • Marcus

    This looks remarkably similar to a MP5 clone .45 ACP carbine (it was called the SW45, IIRC) I got to fondle at my LGS a few months back.

  • erwos

    Did they get rid of the quick change barrel nut from the Lusa design? That sucks… I was hoping to get the carbine version, do a form 1, and then just swap the barrel… looks like either a chop and thread locally or a long wait on a form 4. *sigh*

    Still, looks like a nice enough gun. If you weren’t constrained by OAL like I am down here in MD, I’d make an SBR out of the A2 instead, which should also be marginally lighter.

    • They did get rid of the quick change barrel. Having both to compare, I like the quick change barrel but prefer the NiteScout overall.

  • Fred Johnson

    I can’t afford it, but I sure like it.

  • Jeff Smith

    Could this be used with a registered H&K auto sear?

    • Possibly but I would think it may take some gunsmith work.

      • Jeff Smith

        Phil, thanks for the reply! I’d love to see someone give that a try!

        • I believe it has been done with the Lusa, and I imagine it wouldn’t be too different.

          • Jeff Smith

            Thanks! I searched and found a video of a Lusa in full auto. Oddly enough, the video was shot at a range down the street from my house.

            http://youtu.be/XDOP8hXFn0I

  • John Deere

    Such a similar profile to the Walther MPL – everything old is new again 🙂

  • Doug

    Why is it that these clone/knock-off sub guns have really long magwells? For some reason I really don’t like it when they do that. Maybe it’s just because it goes against the original designs…I dunno.

    • Cymond

      It has a really long magwell because it uses Uzi magazines, which have the magazine catch slot really far down on the magazine (because they originally fit in the pistol grip). A shorter magwell with a higher magazine catch would require different (more expensive, less common) magazines, or modified magazines.

  • Cymond

    Interesting. Atlantic Firearms calls it a roller lock, yet the pictures above do not have rollers.

    “Please Note : This item is not made by Heckler & Koch USA or Germany also referred to as HK. The item is a US built firearm with a reliable roller lock operating system. Please do not confuse the origin or affiliation of this item. If you have any questions please feel free to ask prior to purchase.”

    http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/component/virtuemart/shipping-rifles/nite-scout-a3-9mm-pistol-detail.html