[SHOT 2016] FB Radom MSBS Update

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Last year, at the 2015 SHOT Show, Polish gun manufacturer Fabryka Broni told us that they would be working to bring the MSBS modular rifle to the United States civilian market. Speaking with them at the 2016 SHOT Show, I learned that this effort is ongoing. In 2015, the company submitted 10 weapons – rifles and pistols – for approval to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but only one – a .22 rifle – was approved for importation. The MSBS pistols that were submitted were apparently rejected on the grounds that a removable vertical foregrip was mounted to a Picatinny rail section on the handguard. Fabryka Broni’s representatives told me that they are continuing to work with the ATF to get approval for the importation of their weapons, including the MSBS and BRS99 semi-automatic pistol.

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The company’s representatives also mentioned that he MSBS rifle has not yet been accepted by the Polish military, and that its these trials that are the first priority for Fabryka Broni, after which they can focus more effort on expanding to the US civilian market. Last year, representatives mentioned a location in Texas, and this year I made sure to ask them about this. According to the company’s representatives, they are still setting up the company’s headquarters in Texas, and plan for it to do assembling and minor manufacturing in support of the imported weapons.

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To give my readers a sense for the represenatives’ enthusiasm about the US market, I’ll quote them: “We think you deserve this rifle.”


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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  • Monty01

    The standard configuration MSBS looks remarkably similar to the Remington ACR. I know that the Polish SF unit, GROM, bought a quantity of ACRs which makes me wonder if FB’s designers were “inspired” by Remington’s efforts? There are enough differences to prevent the MSBS from being a blatant rip-off but they undeniably have much in common.

    • TDog

      Let’s call it what it is: it’s a rip off.

      • Twilight sparkle

        They were developed around the same time, it’s not really a rip off, they just adopted and adapted things they were inspired by.

        • “Inspired by” sounds pretty good to me. There are clearly some elements that appear to be carried over, but they are substantially different designs at this point.

        • Monty01

          Yes. The HK 416 is a blatant rip-off of the Colt M4A1 but that doesn’t make it a bad gun. In a way I’m glad that someone likes the ACR enough to copy it. The only thing wrong with it was the price.

          • Twilight sparkle

            But we’re not talking about the 416 and the m4a1, were talking about the msbs and the acr.

            I’ll agree that the lower half of the 416 is basically the same as an m4 but it’s piston system is quite different.

            Anyways it’d be nice to wait and see nathaniels article before saying anything definitive.

          • ColonelColt

            Everything the HK 416 did someone else had already done. HK just has good marketing.

          • Twilight sparkle

            Very true but you were comparing it to the m4a1 not what everyone else was doing. By the way… I wasn’t going to point it out earlier because I assumed you were talking about the original m4, but the 416 was developed before the m4a1

          • Jay

            Ar-15 patent is long expired, so, don’t be surprised other companies copied it without licence. The ACR is a pretty new rifle and if MSBS were such an ACR ripoff, Bushmaster would have come after them…
            But they didn’t. That should tell you a thing or two. Either is not close enough, or the areas that are similar, are ideas Magpul borrowed from other firearms.

          • mig1nc

            I bet if Remington lost out to the MSBS in a contract bid that would change.

          • Twilight sparkle

            That sounds more like a Colt thing to get butt hurt over, Remington just sues when Colt complains and gets the contract taken away from them.

          • iksnilol

            How the actual f*** is a 416 a ripoff of the M4?

            I mean, I’d get your point if they used the same mechanism or something. But it uses the antithesis of the M4s mechanism.

      • Some Guy

        >implying a decent quality ACR is in any way a bad thing

    • TheMaskedMan

      I don’t care if they copy the ACR as long as they don’t copy its BS price point.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Lol, you think these will come in under $1800?

        How do people not realize that if the AR-15 was developed today it would be $2500?

        The MSBS when it arrives, will the same price as everything else people here complain about.

    • I’ll be doing an article covering the differences between the two designs. There are many.

      • Monty01

        Your comparison articles are always well researched and objective, so I look forward to it. Great SHOT show coverage; I would have missed visiting certain key booths without TFB’s reporting. Thanks very much.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Since Bushmaster/Remington basically bought the Masada design from Magpul, I wouldn’t get carried away in hyping Remington’s “efforts” too much. The Masada itself was an amalgamation of various ideas that were not necessarily invented by Magpul, but were already floating around the firearms design community, put into one complete package. The MSBS takes those same ideas (along with a generous amount of influence from the design path that the Masada/ACR established) and adds in some improvements in the receiver’s modularity, amongst other things.

    • Jakub

      GROM never bought any ACRs. ACRs are, or where no one knows for sure, in service (20 or even less) with Polish Military Intelligence. They where bought because of Afghan deployment.
      GROM does not use ACRs. Period.

    • Chris22lr

      Nope. Firstly it was BOR (Polish Secret Service – tasked with protection of government officials), and secondly they bought it in 2011, while work on MSBS started around 2006/2007.

      It’s rather a thing of common heritage. MSBS, ACR, G36 are all descendants of AR-18 design, and if you’ll look at the bolt group, it will dawn on you. Actually, bolt carrier and recoil spring assembly of MSBS are more like G36 than ACR variety.

      First working prototypes of MSBS (2009) were more similiar to early SCAR or Czech CZ 805 – simple, rectangular shapes. Think of a “Glock rifle”. When all the internals were designed (and remember that MSBS main feature is easy conversion between conventional and bullpup variants, also gas piston design is original and patented) then WAT (Military Academy of Technology) contracted external company to design an outer shell. These guys were clearly influenced by Masada/ACR, and that’s how current MSBS look was born.

      Also, for everyone hoping for civillian MSBS – this may not happen at all. FB Radom doesn’t own the design – MSBS is a work of Ministry of Defence (via WAT) and FB acts only as a manufacturer. MoD may not allow them to make their weapon for other users, military or not (this was similiar case with Beryl back in 2004 – FB had to redesign quite a lot of things in their first attempt of civillian Beryl known as Beryl-IPSC. Archer/Radom-Sport is based on the newest wz.96C upgrade which was designed by FB in-house so that’s not a problem now).

      • iksnilol

        I wonder what a Glock rifle would be like?

        *Shudders*

      • Yeah, the more I dig into this (thanks to my readers for the kick in the butt to do that, BTW), the more I think the similarities between MSBS and ACR are more incidental than deliberate, and that what the reps said (or rather, what I heard) a couple years ago about the MSBS being heavily influenced by the Masada was the result of garbled translation (Polish-English is pretty hard, and I applaud the FB Radom guys for learning my mother tongue).

        I talked with them about this subject this year (Krzysztof’s English has gotten a whole lot better, which is fantastic), and they clarified it a little for me – it looks like the engineers were interested in the Masada, but had no way of acquiring one, obviously. There are some clear “inspirations” (charging handle, some elements of the bolt carrier design, etc), but overall the MSBS is pretty different from the Masada/ACR.

        That’s why I am planning a “differences” post, to explore this subject. There’s too much info for one of the SHOT Show posts.

    • Grzegorz Widera

      Not GROM but Służba Wywiadu Wojskowego SWW (Military Inteligence Service). GROM (and other polish main SOF units as well) are HK416ish. SWW support other SOFs in Afghanistan. And if I remember properly they buy less that 20.

  • Twilight sparkle

    Thanks for the article, this is quite informative

  • nobody

    >The MSBS pistols that were submitted were apparently rejected on the
    grounds that a removable vertical foregrip was mounted to a Picatinny
    rail section on the handguard

    Wow.

    • Anonymoose

      dgaf about a pistol version if I can get the bullpup.

      • Rick5555

        Get a X95 or MDR, supposedly available in early spring and summer time respectively. I think IWI will definitely meet their time table for release (spring). Since, they were accurate with the Tavor release. And the company can probably anticipate sales will be quite vigorous for the X95. As for the MDR, who knows. At last years Shot, the MDS was purportedly being release in the 3rd quarter of 2015. When the Tavor was initially released, in April of 2013. It wasn’t till spring of 2014, in which you could easily find a Tavor. So hopefully, IWI learned from this. And have plenty on hand for release of the X95. Which is going to be my first purchase of the all the new stuff that’s coming out. Also, the refined Tavor (X95) is lighter and the trigger is “drastically improved and lighter too.” Maybe the Tavor will come down in price? I doubt it, but you never know.

      • kregano

        Honestly, if it wasn’t for the RDB, I’d be all over an MSBS bullpup or an X-95 in .300 Blackout. The RDB has an edge in a few categories over either, but if the MSBS is price competitive with the RDB, things get very interesting.

  • 360_AD

    And not a single word on the weight and balance of the bullpup or the rifle?

    • kregano

      I think one of the early Shot Show videos might’ve mentioned the rifle’s weight/balance, but since they’re not finalized, that could still change.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      The rifle is front heavy. I don’t remember the bullpup really except that it’s a heavy (8lbs empty) platform.

      I’m not sure why people are making a big deal about these, it’s pretty much the ACR with just as little support. The bullpup thing is over-rated, if you want a bullpup,’get a bull-up. Master of none and all that

    • The bullpup’s development is not yet done, they said.

  • Matt

    They get it here for a reasonable price and I will buy one, actually make that two of them, would love a 7.62 along with the short barreled 5.56

  • Lance

    Obama’s at work banning importation of as many new weapons as he can.

  • VTR1

    I think I deserve one too.

    Apparently my government sees fit to impede commerce for no good reason though. Apparently all systems are nominal….

    • micmac80

      They are just protecting host of pathetic US Ar15 builders that would be long gone if you would have anything aproaching free trade

      • mig1nc

        I think there is some truth to that. I have to wonder where we would be if the Chinese import ban wasn’t there. Supposedly they make a pretty good AR-15 clone too.

        • micmac80

          I bet NRA and the industry was not very loud protesting at US:Russia firearms agreement and China arms ban . Can you imagine millions of Chinese and Russian guns entering the market at rockbotom prices ,the AR15 as we know it wouldn’t stand a chance costing 3-4 more same goes for ammo .
          Many US firearms and ammo manufacturers would sink

          • Tom

            The US Gov is quite in favor of protectionist measures for all sorts of industries (agriculture being a massive benefit of both direct subsidies and protectionist measures) so there is no reason why Firearms manufacturers should not enjoy the same even if it comes at a cost to the consumer. As much as some politicians might not like to admit it there are a lot of jobs in firearm manufacture that would be threatened by actual free trade.

          • Bal256

            Not completely true. Cheap and expensive goods coexist in an economy. Lamborghini won’t go out of business just because honda civic exists. Wilson combat is still selling $3000 1911s the same time Rock Island sells them for $300. I bought my Russian Saiga at $300 while Krebs custom and other custom shops sold their high end aks.

            Those importation companies also make a big part of the NRA so the NRA has an interest in protecting them as well. Chinese businessman aren’t stupid and they’ve been talking with the NRA trying to get a deal to lift the inport ban.

            There’s no reason to beat up US manufacturers over a perception that they’re out to get you when the real enemy are the legislators who hate all gun manufacturers foreign and domestic.

          • M

            Where did you hear about the Chinese ban being lifted?

          • micmac80

            yes cheap and premium cooexist but at an ratio that is strongly in favor of the low end.

        • iksnilol

          They make a decent AR-15. Fantastic M14 receivers. Also good 1911s (again, good frames/receivers).

          Springfield armory would be screwed if Chinese imports came.

  • Hokum

    Thanks for the report, Nathaniel. I wonder when the MSBS will be available on the EU market.

  • mig1nc

    It’s at least the best looking bullpup under-barrel grenade launcher I’ve ever seen.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    They always say they want our money, but never seem to be in a hurry about it. How long did it take for us to get new Polish made AK barrels after the barrel ban? 10 years? FB makes nice stuff, but we all know they have 85 axis CNC robots and can have this stuff ready way faster. I’ve seen them playing in their factory in their overalls.

    • The ATF appears to be the current holdup, in this case.

      • BrandonAKsALot

        As if they would ever do such a thing!

  • Bungameng

    How will they avoid the abominations like CZ 805 BREN “pistol” and CZ Scorpion EVO 3 “pistol” and be able to get RIFLEs on the US market? Are they setting up full manufacture in Texas?

  • CommonCents

    I do love the bullpup new competition and innovation. bullpup is the future. long barrel performance in a shorter overall package. and room for a can.