I.O. Inc Factory Visit

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I.O. or Inter Ordnance Inc, is mainly known as a manufacturer of AKs in the budget market segment. The company was started in 1995 as a military surplus importer. They eventually started to build East German pattern AKs a number of years back. TFB was invited to their 2nd Annual Buyer and Writer event at their new Palm Bay, Florida facility.

 

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Let’s be honest, the older I.O. AKs built a number of years back don’t have the best reputations. However, a lot has changed in the last two and a half years. I.O. Inc relocated to Florida’s space coast to take advantage of the availability of skilled work force from the aerospace industry. I.O. Inc now offers limited lifetime warranty on all of their guns.

 

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The morning presentation at the I.O. Inc headquarters.

 

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I.O.’s president, Uli Wiegand, is showcasing the prototype of their US-made PSL designated marksman rifle. The tentative product name for it is STG 97. Seated to the right is the company’s new vice president Eduardo DeBarros. DeBarros was formerly the general manager of Taurus with 20+ years of firearms industry experience.

 

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I.O. is planning to build the receiver completely in house. Both the original 7.62x54R and.308 calibers are planed. The .308 version will take H&K G3 magazine. Most of the components on the gun will be US made.

 

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The forward part of the tactical model. The production version will feature a new handguard design with one of the latest modular interfaces such as M-Loc or Keymod. The barrel will be a US-made nitrided barrel.

 

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The new I.O. “SBR Ready” model with the pinned fake can. The idea is that once the owner get a tax stamp, all it takes is to unpin the fake can then rifle will become a SBR.

 

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One of I.O.’s best selling guns is the Nano pistol. It features a 7-inch nitrided barrel and a very effective muzzle brake.

 

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There’s a small onsite museum section at the I.O. Inc headquarters. One of the displays is this WWII BMW motorcycle with sidecar.

 

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Close up of the MG34 pintle-mounted on the side car.

 

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I.O. Inc’s CNC facility walk-through.

 

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Most of the I.O. guns now feature nitrided barrels made from Mossberg barrel blanks.

 

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The jig for checking the sights on the AK. Multiple lasers are used in the process.

 

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The frame and slide of the commander size Venom 1911 .45 ACP pistol. The Venom is being revised with a better fit and new billet slide in place of the forged one of the current model.

 

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One of our guides of the facility is Tim Hand, the I.O. head gunsmith. Tim recently left the Marine Corps after 11-years with most of that time as an armorer in the USMC Precision Weapons Section. He was one of the marine armorers that build and rebuild the M45 CQBP and M40 sniper rifles.

 

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At the range. Most of the I.O. built AKs are a bit over-gassed. While most function just fine, there were a few case separation failures.

 

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Shooting the prototype PSL. The gun needs some fine-tuning. It’s a prototype after all.

 

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I.O. also makes AR-15 type rifles. This classic model is built from surplus M16A1 parts with a new lightweight nitrided barrel with a faster twist rate. This is a smooth shooting gun.

 

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The AK classic model with the wooden furniture. The wooden furniture set by itself is available directly from I.O. Inc.

 

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Some full-auto fun with one of the demo I.O. AKs.

 

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The company president also brought along a few retro firearms from his personal collection. I had a chance to shoot this 1937 made K98 in all original finish.

 

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A 113 year old Luger from before the Great War. The metal piece on the right is a quick loader for the Luger magazine.

 

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The Luger’s toggle lock in action. The Luger was surprisingly easy to shoot. Although its sights are tiny and hard to see by modern pistol standards.

 

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The Luger ran flawlessly with the WPA steel cased FMJ 9mm NATO.

 

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www.ioinc.us



Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry. Tim’s direct contact: Tyan.TFB -at- gmail.com


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Hopefully they can keep the PSLs at an affordable cost. With x54R being quite cheap in recent years, I’ve been tempted to get a PSL over a semi-auto .308.

    I bet Century Arms wishes they’d thought of the in-line laser checker thing.

    • NDS

      That laser jig could not have cost that much to develop and build. It’s a great QA tool for sure.

    • floppyscience

      Someone should send the blueprints to Cugir, as last I checked they’re the ones still making WASRs, not Century.

  • insertjjs

    A PSL that takes a hk G3 mags. Interesting but the price will be even more interesting to hear.

    • El Duderino

      It will be interesting to see. But with PTRs running around $800-$900 the IO rifle will have to beat that. Despite the ergonomics the HK design is pretty darn good. Don’t have to worry about “oversize gas port holes” either 🙂

    • fleetwrench

      The old valmet m78 ak in 7.62×51 nato a used steel g3 mags.With the tabs on side milled flat and a tab welded on the rear.

  • Just a Guest

    The scopes on all the rifles are literally airsoft products. The side mount they use are a cheap Chinese rip-off of the Midwest Industries AK mount that looks exactly the same.

    The AK magazines they use are Promag (known for absolutely awful durability).

    “Case separation failures” Enough said.

    All of this, coupled with IO’s reputation for building AKs with cast metal parts that break off during shooting, poor reliability, and gas port holes drilled so large that they would be dangerous in a gun, make me laugh at anyone who falls for any of this PR stunt (go to the AK Files and you’ll learn about it all).

    This company is the spawn of Satan. Shame on TFB for not doing it’s journalistic duty and mentioning any of this.

    • andrey kireev

      Don’t forget pins and rivets that walk out on their own…

      • Turbo92

        Out of the 4 I’ve owned from Florida none have had walking pins. Older IO guns had that’s issue because of improperly heat treated recievers.

    • Turbo92

      IO has had some issues in the past, but which “pot metal” parts are you talking about? Have you had personal experience with any of their firearms from there Florida location? Or are you repeating information that was posted on the internet that you have not verified? I have owned and do own quite a few AKs, anything from a krebs built from a siaga, wasrs, DDIs, arsenals, and yes some IOs. Personally I think they are decent guns for the money. And yes if you spend more money you can get a nicer rifle. But after 1500 rounds my IO 214 is still going strong and actually groups better than my Wasr all day. I have a IO 247 and it also shoots about 1.5-2.0 Moa. It only has 500rounds fired.

      • Dracon1201

        I’ve seen them and sold the ones from both locations. The bolt carriers are still cast pieces of crap.The rivets still look like crap, and they don’t rivet the correct way. This has been verified by The AK Guy.

        • joedeats

          Actually the new bolts are forged pieces that are machined at IO per AK Guy whom I asked that exact question.

          • Dracon1201

            I said bolt carriers, not bolts.

        • J.T.

          Don’t forget the cast trunnions.

    • Nicks87

      Maybe that Marine armorer joining the company is a step in the right direction. Marines are @holes but their attention to detail is astounding.

    • dshield55

      The scope mounts kind of grossed me out on the PSL. Way way way too high. Unless the objective was to be able to see the Iron Sights under the mount. But even if that was an intended benefit… IO could seriously benefit from somebody else overseeing their aesthetic designs.

      I actually bought three of those cheap chinese Midwest mounts from DHGATE. One for an AK47, AK74, and Saiga 12. They work well enough with Bushnell TRS-25 red dots I had. They’re a little bit touchy on their tightness though. They go from too loose to lock up to need to use a soft mallet to close it in one change.

    • Brett

      Looks like someone is in the need for an emergency sand removal.

      • Dracon1201

        I’d agree if he wasn’t speaking the truth.

      • Doom

        But IO is garbage. Go to any reputable AK guys. They use molded trunions instead of normal forged one, they are terrible at riveting, their metal is so soft that their bolts mushroom on the back AND THE FRONT causing dangerous head spacing issues. If they used forged parts and stronger steel they would be great.

  • Jeff Smith

    God, I remember when places couldn’t give those Romanian PSL rifles away. I was considering buying one when they were +/- $400, but never got around to it. Now they’re going for triple to quadruple that. I hope some new production guns bring the prices down.

  • Steve

    Is being the GM at another company with horrid QC for 20 years supposed to be impressive or scary?

  • Philthegardner

    Specially prepped guns for a PR stunt and “over gassed” and case separation issues as well as feeding issues. Yup, confidence inspiring.

    • ozzallos .

      Specially prepped guns.
      Overgassed guns.

      You may only choose one.

      • Dracon1201

        Funny thing when they can’t even get their show guns to work right…

      • Squirreltakular

        I think he meant that their media day rifles should have undergone at least some special prep. I mean, a legitimate company would just pull one off the assembly line and use it, knowing that their QC is on point without having to do any special prep.

        Either way, whether these were straight of the line or specially prepped, the issues they had do not make me want to buy one.

        I’ll stick with my WASR until I decide to splurge on a Krebs or Definitive Arms.

  • Anon

    Cheap PSL’s? Yes please

    • El Duderino

      You get what you pay for…

      • dshield55

        … Because Russia’s cost per AK-74M from Izhmash is only $200. AK’s were always meant to be built with the cheapest of production quality… and still be awesome. How IO screwed them up previously is quite the mystery, but I’d give them a second chance.

        • Dracon1201

          I wouldn’t. They’ve proved that we cannot be Russia when it comes to production. IO is dangerous.

        • All the Raindrops

          They’ve had the 2nd chance several times. The line about “aerospace engineer talent” is hilarious.

          • floppyscience

            I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “IO is good now, trust me! They’ve changed!”.

        • BrandonAKsALot

          I love these lines about how the AK was made to be cheap and low quality. Shows who knows anything about them. They were first and foremost designed to operate in the worst conditions possible and much attention over time was put into streamlining production and making it efficient. They are made to be mass produced and function even when used by the lowliest conscript.

          If you have ever even seen a real Russian AK, you can see that quality doesn’t take a back seat. Their precision may not have been as high as ours way back, but every single part was quality checked and stamped once it passed inspection. Even the mag catch was tested for hardness before assembling. Setup for AK production is exceptionally high because they are meant to be made in massive volume. Machining stamping dies, casting molds for parts that should actually be cast, machining trunnions, bolts, and making barrels costs a lot to start.

  • dshield55

    I’m really excited about their PSLs. I love those rifles. I’m glad they’re going to have options for classic and new. I’d like both furniture sets because the original was such a beautiful work of ballistic art.

    I was slightly burned by one of their rifles from the old location. The trunnions weren’t spaced right in the receiver which made the dust cover too tight to fit in. The person doing the assembly would have had to have used a mallet to get it to snap into place on the receiver… and for whatever reason that was acceptable to them. Anyway, I just dremelled off some material from the front and everything else on the rifle was fine. I hope they still don’t use roll pins for the barrel attachments (gas block, front sight) versus solid metal pins.

    One thing I still have to complain about IO AKs is the polymer furniture is very tacky looking. Look at that club foot stock? Who the hell wants that? I’m sure the magazines work well enough, but they could benefit from a substantial aesthetic redesign.

    • All the Raindrops

      They used roll pins to attach your fsb and gsb?

      Hahahaahahahahahahahahahshshshshshahahahahahajajsuajsusjsjhahahahaha

      • dshield55

        Lol. Yes. True Story.

    • Simcha M.

      I had the very same problem on my Century Galil, er, um, “Golani” rifle! The action cover was hard to get off and even harder to get back on! Eventually I sent the whole rifle to Jeff Miller of Hillbilly Firearms and he set things right.

  • Lance

    Good company and they don’t gouge prices like Arsenal does. Looks fun to shoot all of them.

    • J.T.

      That extra money for the Arsenal gets you a rifle that is actually built properly instead of a gun that is over-gassed, poorly headspaced, improperly riveted, and made with sub-par components.

    • All the Raindrops

      They’re getting case head seperation on their media day rifles. They are inept.

    • Steve Truffer

      A “good” company doesn’t drill gas ports that should be 0.4 cm out to 0.4 INCHES, providing SIX TIMES the gas to the action. A “good” company doesn’t blame poor construction such as this or improper riveting on the consumer. A “good” company doesn’t take advantage of a panic by reselling spoken-for products.

    • Stronghold

      Such a good company that during the Sandy Hook panic they canceled people’s bought and paid for orders for VEPR RPK’s and the turned around and sold them on Gunbroker at a super inflated price. Yep, really great company.

    • Doug73

      Guess what? Arsenal doesn’t “gouge”, either. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever had a gun held to their head and been forced to buy an Arsenal. And I’m just not sure I understand how someone can claim to have been “gouged” when they freely, voluntarily agreed to pay X amount of dollars for a particular product.

      I’ve often found that “gouging” is a term used by cheapskates and people with terminal cases of entitlement mentality, who for some bizarre reason think they’re “owed” a certain (always low) price.

  • Dracon1201

    Oh great, now I can have a PSL blow up on me with 54R. I hope they don’t cast those bolt carriers. If they produce those the way they produce their other AKs, I will definitely be giving that a pass.

    • dshield55

      Why would a cast bolt carrier be a problem? As long as the locking portion of the trunnion and the bolt are good, a cast bolt carrier shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Dracon1201

        The bolt carrier is subjected to a lot of force, especially when it travels rearward and impacts the back of the receiver. Casting is significantly weaker than machining. In a 54r, I want all the strength I can get out of it, especially when IO is known for oversized gas ports, thus throwing the carrier even harder. It’s a symptom of a bigger problem.

        • dshield55

          You skirted around explaining how it’s a problem. The bolt carrier is subjected to a lot of force. Okay… how is that a problem? Cast metal can’t take that force? Can’t take the force how? I get it that cast metal can be weaker than something milled from a piece of billet, but that doesn’t speak to whether or not it’s strong enough to do it’s job. I just don’t see a cast bolt carrier (not the bolt, but the bolt carrier) being a concern as all it does is cam a bolt into place and bump against a rear trunnion. The properties of cast metal should be plenty adequate to hold up.

          • Dracon1201

            No, I don’t believe cast will do it’s job. Not over extended periods of time. Cast is widely acknowledged to have a much lower life and , and I know it won’t have nearly the strength. If you are buying a firearm, are you okay with lower strength parts? I wouldn’t be. The failure rate will be higher. Have you ever wondered why every other quality AK and rifle uses machining instead of cast? Or why Russia doesn’t use them, even though cast is cheaper? I know it’s because they don’t want to sacrifice reliability and strength on a moving, working, important working part.

            Handling the fatigue that the part will be subjected to is not something that cast will deal well with.

      • BrandonAKsALot

        They use cast trunnions in their AKs just like century. Not sure about the bolts, but internet rumor says yes too.

  • ASterisk

    Notice that the author wrote more about the 113 year old Luger than he did about the IO rifles. If that doesn’t say something…

  • Rob

    I can’t speak to their quality in any way, but did anyone else notice their sign at HQ? Sorry that really makes me think they could close up any minute.

  • mosinman

    i really like the retro AR-15

  • All the Raindrops

    Wow those look rough.

    You can tell they have no idea what they’re doing by the way they use a Chinese airsoft ripoff pepr mount on top of a Chinese rip off MI AK mount to put optics on the psl. Lol. Wrong height ak mount and they still use a riser one piece AR mount. Color me not impressed at all.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    I can’t figure out where to start making fun of IO here. There’s just to much material. So, they think bringing in a exec from Taurus is going to help them not be one of the worst companies in the firearms business? Although, I guess it’s a step up. Taurus probably has slightly less defective guns. At least Taurus doesn’t sell guns to people, have them pay in full, cancel their orders, and then resell them on Gunbroker for 3x the amount. People that paid months and months in advance that is.

    LOL at the case head separation at a media day. They really know how to make an impression. I like the “Classic” model which is a random cobbling together of styles and parts from variant AK pattern rifles. Yes, it’s classic. Classic because there’s wood, now shut up. That laser level system to align the barrel components has totally won me over. Home builders have definitely not been doing that for ages now. A real setup would involve a jig to support the components and align them to be pressed in correct alignment.

    Hey IO, let’s see how you buck your rivets. I’m more than willing to bet it’s some cheap substand rivet that is a SAE vs metric, the incorrect length, and bucked against the barrel.

    • Dracon1201

      They do buck against the barrel.

  • Twilight sparkle

    Try getting pics of how the front trunnion is riveted in next time…

    • J.T.

      The AK Guy was there as well. In his video he states that they weren’t allow to take pictures or video in the production areas. Any photos of those areas were taken and provided by I.O. He did say though that they rivet the front trunnion with the barrel in place and use the barrel as a bucking bar.

      • Twilight sparkle

        Well that’s what I wanted to know, it seems that io hasn’t learned from their past mistakes, this is probably gonna bite them in the butt pretty soon

  • Rick5555

    Not an AK person. I know quite a bit on materials and the process of how an AR should be properly made. What got me was, their 1911. They’re switching from Forged Slide to a Billet Slide. A forged slide would be significantly stronger. However, Billet can cost more sometimes. due to slide design and possibly more milling work is necessary. But, I rather have a forged part over billet, every time. I like knowing my firearms are as strong as they can be. As for the AK over gassing problem. That’s an easy fix and something that should’ve been address for a media event. Granted most civilian AR’s gas port is slightly enlarged. To ensure the rifle will fire all the different assortments of ammo out there. However, we taking about .0635″ milspec gas port to .0700″ over sized. And that’s on a carbine and mid length gas system.

    • dshield55

      It’s always been my understanding that billet was stronger than forged.

      • Squirreltakular

        Yeah, could anyone link to a good article explaining this issue? I though that since billet was machined from a solid piece of medium, it was stronger.

        • dshield55

          I’ve never had luck posting a link on TFB, moderators never approve them. Anyway, I looked into this more and it seems forged is stronger than billet.

    • Dracon1201

      The AKS have oversized ports. Does this extend to their ARs?

  • ozzallos .

    TFB, did you fire the Nano? I’ve only seen one person take a serious stab at a review on the interwebs and he was immediately assailed by IO hatred, Most of it rooted in the past.

    • Dracon1201

      You seem to have spelled ‘present’ wrong, sir.

  • floppyscience

    After watching other videos of this tour, no, they haven’t fixed the riveting issues. They insist riveting directly against the barrel is somehow an improvement and saves time.

  • Grindstone50k

    I just said “Oh my god what the f**k is that” out loud at work when I saw the top picture. And now everyone is staring at me.

  • Southpaw89

    That PSL type rifle has my attention, will have to watch that one.

  • janklow

    i think the best part of this article was a Luger from a personal collection being the high point of a company’s visit to the range to show off their product line.

  • Mike Price

    The IO AK sport I bought was a piece of junk. Bolt would bind up and hard to pull back out of the box. Could hardly open bolt 2″ back from the breech. After inspecting the bolt rail guides I noticed one was not spot welded in right causing the bolt to bind. Looked like somebody pounded on it some with a punch to “bend” it back in correct position. Also noticed receiver was twisted contributing to the binding of the bolt. Put a straight edge metal scale to the side of it, it had a gap at the end. After sending a email to them they said send it back to them. I told them the only way to fix this gun is to scrap the receiver and put the parts on a new one. They send the gun back with the bolt guide bent up worse yet and still had a bind in it. What a poor example of USA made gun. I ended up up just selling it as I knew they were not going to fix it right. I wouldn’t touch one of their guns.

  • Treyh007

    I own the new IO 214 AK and it’s a really nice rifle. For $550 you can’t beat it. I haven’t had any issues with it and have at least 1000 rounds through it! All rivets are straight, nice fit and finish and it’s accurate. I Can’t complain for $550.

  • Nothing wrong with Century they have seriously improved the last few years.

  • al

    They r or were in bed with Royal Tiger Imports?
    . I had nothing but troubles with them. In my opinion, they have the worst customer service in the sales industry.

    • Scott P

      They are one in the same. Royal Tiger Imports is I.O.’s retail branch.

  • Guido FL

    Interesting and a let down with failures which only reinforce the nay sayers. Until the day when a random rifle can do a 700 or 1000 rd burn without failure I’ll stay away. Then of course if Rob Ski get’s brave enough to put one thru his “tests” [ LOL ] and it passes ???

    Over gassed WHY ?!

  • Hank St

    Doesn’t look like much changed.. but hiring someone from Taurus isn’t a move in any direction but the wrong one. But can they get worse? They talk the talk, but haven’t yet delivered.

  • Winter

    I’ve wanted an all American made AK for quite awhile. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the US who can build AK’s that exhibit the reliability that made AK’s famous to begin with and that is just mind boggling. These guns can be built in third world “factories” with nowhere near the technology that US makers have access to and we still can’t build an affordable AK that actually behaves like an AK.

    I.O. opens it’s doors to showcase it’s best and their best seems to be over gassed guns, case separation issues and who knows what else. For a company like I.O., already known for poor QC, to hire the former GM of Taurus to be their new VP isn’t a step forward but a huge leap backwards in my opinion. Although I suppose both companies are kindred spirits in that they are both known for poor QC and an inability to produce more than a few guns in a row that actually function properly. Taurus quality is so bad not even their own military/LE want to use them because the guns simply don’t work.

    I guess I’ll go look at Century again since Phil says they have “seriously improved” and I.O. seems to be it’s same old unreliable self.

  • Doug73

    Not only do they not rivet properly, they also use cast trunnions. I literally don’t know of even a SINGLE AK manufacturer anywhere in the world that thinks using a cast trunnion might be a good idea.

    And when I.O.’s owner said in that video that his rifles are equal to or better than Arsenal’s, well folks…that demonstrates either a level of obliviousness or dishonesty that doesn’t exactly make me trust them.

    Let’s be honest: I.O. makes cheap, inferior quality rifles for the large market of uninformed and/or cheapskate AK buyers who buy on price and price alone. Caveat emptor, I guess.

  • Martin Frank

    Steel case tula out of a 113 year old luger? And thats the company president? Obviously that man makes horrible decisions and does not understand guns properly.

  • Zachary marrs

    Taurus quality has always been bad