MSAR Tooling To Be Purchased Soon?

Earlier, we covered Microtech Small Arms Research’s immediate close and the sale of their assets. As a result of his coverage of the closure, Ethan of Aftermath Gun Club received several emails from a well known manufacturer seeking to buy the MSAR tooling. As Ethan is not affiliated with Microtech, these emails left him understandably confused:

This morning I received some awkward emails that I didn’t understand at first. After some silence on my part (being in a time-zone not awake yet) another email came in before I woke that explained the nature of the inquiry. A firearm manufacturer with a well known name was inquiring about purchasing the tooling and machines from MSAR for thier firearms and related products.

Somehow my brief write-up on MSAR caught their attention and they mistook my site as the seller of the equipment. I received so much appreciated attention from The Firearm Blogand Reddit, it took me awhile to scan all the emails*.

I called the inquiring company and straightened out the details. With posting only their closing press release, I was able to provide a little more contact information than what was listed as just Since this was a mistake on their part, I didn’t feel it was ethical to give up their name. Falsely attributed to George Orwell, but meaningful nevertheless, this quote came to mind, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.” Regardless, I’m not going to take advantage of a mistake, especially since said company may not be the name that purchases it in the end (assuming someone finds the pricing reasonable enough to buy).

The important detail here, is there are interested parties looking at continuing production.

As a fan of the AUG’s design, I certainly hope the MSAR tooling is purchased by a manufacturer looking to continue Microtech’s work improving the USteyr. We’ll have more information here as it becomes available.

Thanks to Daniel for the tip.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • toms

    Nothing is better than the original Steyr products cept maybe the Thales F90. Microtech produced a subpar product. Who is trying to purchase the equipment?

    • John

      Could be Thales, could be Norinco, and might even be Magpul. Those strike me as the three most likely.

      • floppyscience

        Why would Norinco bother buying the tooling from some American company? Why wouldn’t they just reverse engineer the AUG like they do with everything else?

        • javierjuanmanuel

          Its already done. You buy it at a cheaper price than can be replicated.

          As long as they are allowed to remove the machines. Some stuff like that you cannot ship to anywhere you want if it is really advanced.

      • An Interested Person

        Better question: why the heck would Magpul buy it?

        • I_Slacker

          Why not they’d probably just rework it to add theyre Magpul touch with the tooling they could not only produce theyre own rifle in house but also jump in on the rising bullpup market. I’d love it though we need more sporting rifle options

          • An Interested Person

            I`m no expert, but I`m pretty sure that by the time you redo all the tools, you may as well have started from scratch. The cost simply isn`t worth it.

    • colin

      The French government?

      • Sam Schifo

        As unlikely as that is it would be a good idea for the French. Buy some cheap(er) tooling and make their own AUGs.

  • Quincy B.

    My favorite part of this post: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

  • Tom J

    Two things. Steyr has been saying they will bring the AUG to the US for some time. They even have it listed on their website. I suspect Microtec didn’t cease production, they simply found a way to gracefully bow out of the market. They either didn’t want to compete with Steyr, or Steyr threatened them in some way.

    Second, Steyr is the likely buyer for the tooling. Who else would want to make a knock off AUG if Steyr is selling them in the US? They would have to offer a mechanical/design/price advantage for anyone to take notice. If Steyr buys the tooling they can produce a US made AUG and avoid the red tape and taxes that come along with foreign made firearms.

    Bam. Minds blown.

    • I_Slacker

      I like the Magpul angle from earlier or better yet…..Strike Industries

      • Tom J

        Strike Industries is all about selling high margin accessories made overseas. A US made knock-off rifle doesn’t fit with that business plan. Nothing againt them, but that’s their thing.

        Magpul already attempted a rifle, the Mosada. Why would they sell that design, only to resurrect a design from another company?

        Besides, the firearm industry has seen record sales for the last 6 years. We’re probably getting close to a slowdown, or even market saturation. Most companies try to exit a market at the peak.

        • I_Slacker

          or Masterpiece Arms

          • javierjuanmanuel

            That was my first thought.

            Or anyone who deals in clones. It does not hurt the company to deal in another clone.

      • Magpul purchased Monolith Arms IP. Where is the P12 shotgun? Or the half dozen other designs they own?

    • No, Steyr already sells the AUG in the USA.

      • Tom J

        That’s my point. So would you you buy an MSAR instead of an actual Steyr? What did the MSAR do any different than an AUG? And now Steyr offers an AUG that accepts AR 5.56 mags. So you could either buy an MSAR, or an AUG that uses common mags.

        Unless you’re producing another AUG clone, what good is the tooling? You’ll still have to re-work it to produce a different gun. Either that or it’s being sold at a loss.

        I actually wanted to buy an MSAR. I don’t have anything against the gun. My whole point is the MSAR probably had limited appeal on the shelf next to a Steyr.

        If anyone can make a solid business case as to why someone besides Steyr wants the tooling, I’d like to hear it. We can speculate all day long based on our personal preferences or we can look at the facts, and the market and narrow down who the buyer might be. Either that or we wait a few weeks until it’s all public anyway.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          Cheap tooling, proven design. You get the design for free, tooling 2/3 off, add your well known name and brand and people will buy it.

          Just like ar15, 1911, cz75, 10/22, 870, there is room for original and many clones.

          Then you add warranty, american made and brand x that is respected and many owners of small companies with talented guys say hell yes we can do it as well or bettter!

          • Tom J

            So why didn’t that work for the MSAR then?

            That gun was a USA made AUG clone made on modern tooling with a warranty and customer service.

          • ReadyOrNot

            A new manufacturer making a clone of the original.. how comforting is that to most prospective buyers? I actually bought an MSAR E4 back in 2010, but then again it was my first rifle and I didn’t know better. What sold me over the original was the price point, STANAG capability with BHO, and rail space. Features that Steyr has SLOWLY started to adopt (minus the price). I still my have my E4 and haven’t had any issues after 3k+ rounds. I hope Steyr does purchase the tooling and continue with the E4’s features and stop selling their proprietary mag version in the US as they’re missing a huge part of the market which IWI has magnificently catered too.

          • I’m not arguing with you. Your initial post seemed less informed than sarcastic, but I’m with you now. In the complete post I wrote that my suggestion would be to make conversion calibers for the existing AUG, as I think there would be more market for that than a lower-quality clone at almost the same price. I know some say it isn’t a clone because it isn’t compatible; I’m still calling it a clone.

            I think the quality control issues with the MSAR bullpups is also a factor, not just Steyr also being on the seen. It takes Austrian craftsmanship to get the AUG right and even then there have been some reported problems, even on this exact website.

            I like to see market place competition, I also like to see a diversity of designs. For this reason, my hope is that it is continued to be made at a lower cost than the AUG or as I stated, just conversion kits. Both are small markets but could be profitable if the tooling and machines were sold at a decent price and it wasn’t a company’s only products.

  • Seburo

    I hope the tools will be purchased by somebody competent. Please don’t be anything under Freedom Group or Kel-tec.

  • TheDan

    Could be a foreign government or company, dont rule that one out.

    • Yalan

      True patents expired, anybody can make a steyr aug. Although no doubt there are laws to exporting weapon tooling overseas.

      • Mike

        Patents may have expired, but unlike the AR-15, you cannot clone the AUG due to Trade Dress laws, and those do not expire. MSAR got away with it for a while before Steyr Arms reentered the US market, but notice that they quickly went away? I hope whatever company is considering buying the tooling understands trade dress and they’re prepared to pay Steyr for licensing like Thales does to this day.

  • Gunhead

    Maybe VLTOR is looking to expand their existing AUG production- they are still making them, right?

  • Wolfgar

    I would love to see the MSAR rifles manufactured by a company that could do it right. MSAR rifles were never made with the quality of materials or workmanship as Steyr. The AUG is a great rifle and if it could be done with real optional calibers and accessories it would be a success. Having the wrong people in charge has seemed to have impeded other great designs such as the Bush master ACR and Alexander 6.5 Grendel.

  • CoCo

    I hope someone picks it up soon. The damn firing pin in my STG just snapped.