Polish Army Purchases 8K Beryl Rifles, Dropping MSBS?

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The Polish Army has ordered almost 8,000 Beryl rifles, an improved AK variant. Does this mean the Polish Army no longer has interest in the MSBS, or that they are refilling their stockpiles as MSBS production comes on line? Defense24 has the story:

The Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence is carrying out negotiations within the scope of acquisition of the Type 96 (wz. 96) rifles – also known as Beryl and Mini-Beryl. Procurement of these weapons is to be completed in 2016.

The negotiated order refers to delivery of 5 498 sets of the Beryl and 2 400 sets of the Mini-Beryl rifles. The final quantity has not yet been determined.

The acquisition is realized as a single-source procurement procedure, due to the fact that the Army is willing to acquire the same weapons it has been using so far, manufactured by the same contractor: the “Łucznik-Radom” arms factory. The delivery is to secure the ongoing needs of the elements of the Polish Army, which also stems from the fact that the post-soviet AK rifles are being replaced with the weapons that are utilizing the NATO standard ammunition.

The Ordering Party stressed the fact that the “Łucznik-Radom” facility is the only manufacturer of the 5.56 mm Beryl rifles. Selection of any other weapon would create a great deal of technical difficulties within the scope of maintenance and operational use of the new rifle.

The Beryl was introduced in the 1990s as a 5.56mm improvement over the 5.45mm Tantal rifle. From 2005 forward it has made up the bulk of service rifles issued to the Polish Armed Forces.



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 can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Hokum

    And I have not believed the guy I know personally from Polish mil.intelligence that only Polish SF will adopt the MSBS…
    Nathaniel, any news about Lucznik US branch?

    • JS

      Yeah were is FB USA?

    • None that I know of. At SHOT they were saying sometime in late 2015 or early 2016.

    • BS

      Thing is that Polish SOF probably will not adopt MSBS.

  • Weaver

    I think they might be replacing worn out rifles until the msbs is ready for production.

    • Joshua

      This is a possibility. Also possible the MSBS is not doing what it should.

      Won’t know until time lets us.

      • BS

        MSBS wasn’t tested in the field by the Army yet.

        • Joshua

          Thanks. With the way the company has been pushing this rifle I thought it was already in trials.

    • kuba

      They dont replace worn out rifles with new, they just fix them, its different contract and procedure for maintenance already bought ones.

      • iksnilol

        Ship of Theseus and all. There’s a limit to how much you can fix without needing to get a brand new rifle.

        • Esh325

          Internet folklore has said that the AK is the type of rifle that it’s easier to dispose of it and buy new rifles than repair them when they get worn out. I’m not sure how true that actually is. Removing the press pinned barrel on the AK must be a bit of a pain in the butt compared to a lot of rifles today.

          • iksnilol

            Depends. In your garage, an AR is easier to work on. Though changing the barrel on an AK isn’t that hard… if you got the equipment. Old AKs have the barrel threaded instead of pressed in. So they might be easier to work on.

          • Esh325

            The vast majority of AK’s will be of the press and pinned variety. I don’t think any country makes AK’s with threaded barrels anymore. Even the milled AK’s out of Bulgaria have press and pinned barrels.

          • iksnilol

            I doubt it aswell, it was the AK47 that had the barrel threaded. Legit AK47s are pretty damn uncommon.

            Most of them are AKMs. Though I am sure you know that. I presume you have more experience than me.

  • Jay

    If I remember correctly the Polish Army didn’t ask for the MSBS. It was done by the company on their own. They are hoping to get them bought by the army.
    It looks like a solid, locally designed rifle. It would be a shame not to buy it.

    • iksnilol

      It’s like the ACR done right.

      To me it is the only interesting modern rifle. The only assault rifle I would get for serious purposes that isn’t an AK.

      • Joshua

        I’m not as sold on it. The bolt is a very strange design.

        The lugs are the same design and layout as the AR bolt, but the extractor is larger and angled differently and due to this it only has 6 lugs.

        It’s a really strange idea for a bolt.

        • andrey kireev

          so if it’s different it means it wouldn’t work ? Pretty sure back in 60s people had similar thoughts about AR15/M16, because it was a departure from the ordinary M1 / M14

        • Esh325

          I don’t really see how the bolt design being different from most rifles out there is a bad thing. And it could be subject to change anyways if they do encounter any issues like you say.

          • Joshua

            It’s built like a 8 lug bolt, yet only has 6 lugs and a slightly larger extractor, which is placed in a different orientation requiring 2 lugs to be removed from the design.

            It is a very uneven design and it would be my biggest concern for the rifle.

            The AR bolt is already not the strongest design created, could you image removing a extra lug and sliding the extractor over a bit to make it centered between the two farthest lugs.

            If it proved to be a problem, and I have no proof one way or the other in regards to it outside of what I have seen from weapons using a 8 lug design. However if it is an issue the only way to change it would be to make it identical to the AR lug pattern, changing to say a SCAR type bolt with 6 larger lugs and an extractor would require a modification to the receivers and the bolt carrier. It would be an expensive change if this bolt design proved to be problematic.

      • Esh325

        I think there are few other good choices out there for serious purposes. HK416 is quite combat tested I would say. Perhaps the Tavor also. Galil ACE.

        • iksnilol

          Eh, 416 ain’t bad but it never really attracted me. I wouldn’t mind one as a status symbol, but that’s it. I don’t really do the whole 5.56 thing.

          Tavor? A bit rare in my part of the world + I don’t support Israel (don’t want to veer off into politics now). That and it has its own set of issues. ACE ain’t bad, though I don’t really consider it that much of an improvement. At least not enough of an improvement to go through all the trouble of acquiring. Only thing that interests me with the ACE is the gas tube.

          • Esh325

            I think the 5.56×45 is a good combat round, I think most of its problems stem from improper loadings like the M885. I share your views on Israel, not a big fan of them either.

        • Bungameng

          HK? The moment Russians stepped into Ukraine, Germany ordered APCs that were being manufactured for Latvia to be delivered to its own armed forces, leaving Latvia with empty hands/old APCs (up until the moment when German army will have enough and the manufacturing can focus on exports).

          After this experience I wouldn’t expect any country in Europe to be considering German arms. Because when SHTF, Germany will prefer its own forces that are thousands of kilometers away sitting in safety over allied NATO country’s forces that sit in the hot water.

          Compare that to Slovakia which realized they really, really need new guns when things got ugly in Ukraine and the Czech government ordered CZUB to postpone its own shipments of CZ805 in favor of Slovak army.

          (CZ805 is now battle tested in Afghanistan and Mexican narco-war)

          • iksnilol

            What do you expect. UN and NATO are just farces. Just to convince the world we care about each other. Last people you can trust are your allies.

          • Bungameng

            The Czechs remember too well the 1938 diplomatic alliance of Germany, Italy, France and UK leading to Munich Agreement and de-facto military alliance of Germany, Poland and Hungary leading to the occupation of borderlands.

            Greetings from Zaolzie.

    • BS

      The Armed Forces has some right to MSBS.

  • Vitsaus

    Eastern Europe is not messing around anymore.

    • iksnilol

      *thick Eastern European accent*

      We never mess around.

    • Tom

      Technically Poland is Central Europe not Eastern – which would be Ukraine, Romania, Russia etc.

      • iksnilol

        And the Balkans are South-Eastern Europe. AKA the weird corner of Europe where you go to either:

        -Die in a bad way (getting shot is one of the better ways to go here, historically speaking).
        -Die in a good way (good food and drink).

      • FarmerB

        Historically, we call everything the other side of the Iron Curtain to be Eastern Europe.

        • Krzysztof Mendera

          So you are doing it wrong

          • FarmerB

            Sorry, I was simply explaining a long-established practise (that many younger people might not be aware of). Before there was even an EU, there was a big fence down the middle of Europe. That on the Western side was “Western Europe” and that on the East was “Eastern Europe”. There was some dispute about “Central Europe”. Now geographically you can argue about whether it’s right, wrong (or in my opinion) stupid to argue about, but the historical distinction is a fact I’ve lived with for many years.

          • cahir

            There was a big fence, but It was some 26 years ago. Do You still call everything in southern Europe, northern Africa, and part of Asia a Roman Empire? Or call USA, the colonies.
            Wall fell, now we should use proper names of regions.

  • Lance

    Seems either Poland cant afford the newer rifle concept or the MSBS had too many issues to warrant a replacement for the problem prone Beryl rifles.

    • BS

      MSBS is still not in production phase. It wasn’t ordered by MoD yet.

  • Kuba

    Its only to replace AKM/AKMS within professional contract soldiers. In the same time Army addopt msbs for testing.

  • Riot

    They are worried about Russia, the army is taking this opportunity to gear up.

  • BS

    First thing first – nobody is dropping the MSBS. The MSBS is still developed, soon first hundred pieces will be delivered to the Polish Army for trials. No decision about adopting the MSBS was made to this moment.

    Second, they are still buying Beryl assault rifle as it is standard issue now and it must replace all remaining AK rifles which are still in some units of Polish Army.

  • BS

    MSBS–5,56K for tests in units wasn’t delivered yet.

  • Chris22lr

    Oh the drama!

    1. As others (Mr Kuba) noted: they want to completely ditch AKM/AKMS 7.62×39 rifles. MSBS is not ready yet, so they buy already adopted design – Beryl Mod.96C.
    2. Most of the Beryl’s in Army are of old variants Mod.96A and Mod.96B. That’s why we can expect even more Beryl buys.
    3. MSBS is going to be fielded as a part of Tytan future warrior project. Some parts are ready, some are not. But it’s all treated as a one. So no MSBS until whole Tytan is ready.
    4. Rights to MSBS are reserved by MoD. So no civilian MSBS until FB will do something (“redesign”) the rifle to be less mil-spec (same story is with civil Beryls/Radom Sports/Archers).

    • BS

      The sport version already exists in one or two units. Different lower and handguard are most distinctive. Currently, the pistol grip is fixed but probably this gonna be changed.

    • Weird that they’re not incrementally fielding Tytan. That sounds like a mistake to me, but maybe they have specific considerations in mind.

    • Hokum

      What do you mean exactly by “redesign to be less mil-spec”?

      • iksnilol

        Many European countries won’t allow you to sell a rifle in millitary config to us lowly civvies (putting in a semi auto trigger isn’t enough).

        So you add stuff like thumbhole or sport stocks or remove flash hiders.

        By going less milspec they probably will just make it less scary. The quality will still be there.

        • Chris22lr

          Not this case. It’s rather a thing of “we (MoD) don’t want anybody to use the same gear as we are”. They essentially block any production and/or changes of weapons which are owned by MoD. That’s why (for example) FB is not able to produce their new Beryl variant with top cover rail, instead of quick-detachable current one. MoD (as an owner of the design) must evauluate and accept this redesign before, but they’re not interested because of MSBS.

          (Beryl M762 for Nigeria is considered a different project, rights to which are owned by FB Radom, not MoD)

          • iksnilol

            Beryl M762, is that the 7.62 NATO version or the 7.62×39 version. Since it is the latter that I am interested in.

    • Chi Wai Shum

      I, for one, find this “either the whole Tytan or nothing at all” is questionable.

  • Esh325

    I don’t think they’ve given up on the MSBS, but I think it means the adoption of the MSBS may be a couple of years off if they choose to adopt it.

  • Wosiu

    Contract for future soldier system Tytan was already signed in June 2014, 14.000 pcs should be delivered till 2018. And part of this system is MSBS with Rubin thermal sight (with corner-shot capability).

    So, dont worry, MSBS is already contracted in number of 14.000.

    • Chris22lr

      It was signed, but it was just preliminary contract, as some parts of the Tytan are still not designed. MoD (for example) is still debating on which BMS to choose.