TFB Exclusive: Tanfoglio presents an AR-15 Made in Europe

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At the IWA exhibition in Germany, the Italian-based company Tanfoglio presented their new AR-15.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner Massimo Tanfoglio, as well with the product manager for their new AR-15 line of sporting rifles.

The Tanfoglio AR-15 series is still in R&D and prototyping, but two of the first rifles were shown at IWA to give us an idea of what is about to be released.

The rifle will be chambered in .223 Remington and most, if not all, parts will be made in-house. For sure one of the challenges will be to keep the cost down, due to the limited productions runs vs. the USA for instance. Barrels will be made by Lothar Walther, good news in my book.

Before the competition version of the rifle is released I think we can expect some changes to the design, and your input is greatly appreciated.

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Detailed photographs of the handguard. Design before function, or perfect fit?

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Right side of the rifle, Meopta 1-6x on top of a rather high mount.

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Below: Tanfoglio team in the rear, with multiple-world champion Eric Grauffel to the left.

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Below: Tanfoglio AR-15 with Meopta 1-6x scope.

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Below: Tanfoglio TAR. An M4-style rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm caliber, with a DI gas system in a 14.5″ barrel. Target – professional users.

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Photo: Franco Palamaro

I understand this version will be available in LEAF versions with select fire as well.

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What sort of features would you like to see on an optimized competition AR-15 rifle, both in terms of design and function?


Erik B

Competitive shooter and sometimes a hunter, with an European view on things. English is not my first language.


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  • Henrik Bergdahl

    There are a lot of AR15s made in Europe. On the top of my head I remember HERA Arms, Schmeisser, Oberland Arms, Luvo who even makes an AR in 6.5×55 Swedish 😀 etc.

    • But how many of those would go to the US market? The ones you are talking about make Euro versions since US made ones have to be converted due to Euro law.

      • Marc

        The only law constraining the sale of US-made AR-15s in Germany is ITAR.

      • Stefan Romeo

        Converted? In which way?

        • John

          Well they generally can’t be chambered in 5.56. For instance STI has or at least had a Euro model in .223.

          • Marc

            CIP .223 is identical to 5.56 NATO, no changes are necessary except marking.

          • Tierlieb

            @marc
            Not exactly identical (different leade allowed), but close enough (same pressure) from a practical perspective, yes.

            Americans usually get this wrong, because they assume that SAAMI .223 Rem, which is weaker than 5.56 NATO, is similar to CIP .223 Rem, which is not.

            @John
            There is no general problem in having a rifle chambered for 5.56×45 NATO rifle, if it is also proofed by a CIP member state. Since CIP does not recognise the caliber 5.56 NATO (due to being a NATO standard), it would need to get proofed again (with exactly the same overpressure the NATO tests with…), and then it might simply get marked .223 Rem additionally (since they are going to laser-engrave it anyway with import marks).

            But that additional engraving does not happen all the time. I have, for example, a Beretta Storm stamped 9×19 (which, again, is NATO nomenclature) that does not have 9mm Luger (which would be the main CIP name, with 9mm Para as an allowed alias) written anywhere.

            Now imagine an importer running into all these little traps – there is a reason why no one wants to import stuff into the EU…

      • Tierlieb

        There are few laws regarding guns that would qualify as “Euro” law, most gun laws are country-specific. For example:
        * Germany has some laws that do not allow guns using barrels from military rifles (hence the LuxDefTec rebuilt FALs with the Lothar Walther barrels) and easy conversions to full auto (no uppers with just a plug for the sear relief)
        * Austria is weird about flash hiders and bolts that can be exchanged with military guns.
        *Italy has the famous law prohibiting 9×19 while allowing 9×21.
        * France used to prohibit ownership of rifles in military calibers (hence the ARs and Sig 550s in .222 Rem)
        All of this shows why, besides the ever-annoying ITAR, US producers usually ignore the European market – it is way too fragmented.

        • Steve_7

          France never prohibited rifles in military calibres, they were Cat. 1 and you could only own three iirc, so because most people wanted to use that limit for handguns, they made them in non-military calibres which were either cat. 4 or 5. Prior to 1992 they were all Cat. 5 so you could buy an AUG with a stupidly long barrel (around 22 inches) in .222 over the counter.

          9×21 was actually invented for the French market so that IMI could sell the Uzi carbine there (with a 570mm barrel!) The French reclassified it as a military calibre a few months later. Then the Italians thought that was a good idea and started making handguns in 9×21.

      • Henrik Bergdahl

        Well, some have metric threading etc on bolts and barrels but most are milspec. Anyway, where I live in Europe there is not much difference between us and euro ARs. Except we have no SBR stuff to worry about.

      • Tierlieb

        @tootiredoftheright:disqus
        European guns coming to the US is rather improbable for two reasons:

        1) The 922(r) for specific guns and more generic laws favouring domestic production – there is a reason Glock has that factory in Smyrna and SIG has to tolerate that American company that keeps ruining their reputation.

        2) In Europe, owning guns is a hobby for rich people. So most guns are expensive (makes sense to build high quality guns if the cost of labour is so high anyway). If the brand is already established (e.g. H&K’s MR223), no problem. Otherwise the market for expensive AR-15s is saturated.

      • Steve_7

        AR-15s were banned from import into the US in 1989, which is why Norinco never imported any.

    • toms

      Also Zbroyar makes nice rifles I was surprised.

  • Matt

    Don’t mill a channel in the pic rail on the receiver. It’s not saving any weight and keeps it from meeting the updated spec for pic rails.

  • kgallerno

    I like the carbon fiber fore end.

  • Renegade

    I have yet to forgive Tanfoglio for the GT380.

    • Dan Hansom

      What you don’t like throw away guns?

  • Nicks87

    A meopta 1-6x AND carbon fiber? Very euro sexy.

  • Ryfyle

    If only more Europeans had more access to the arms produced in their lands. On the plus side, yet more AR-15’s for our AR-15 drenched market.

    • Paladin

      Europeans will likely have more access to this than you will. 922(r) means it’s not likely these will be imported into the US as is.

      • Dan Hansom

        unlikely money solves all.

  • John

    You know what they say Tanfoglio stands for, right? Fix it again, Tony.

    (Just kidding, this actually looks cool)

    • Jeff Smith

      Your King of the Hill reference made me laugh out loud in my office, so you get an up vote, sir!

      • Dan Hansom

        i love me some KOTH. what was the ref?

  • Nicholas C

    Whats with the scope mount? Why is it so tall?

    • Tierlieb

      Because whoever set this up had no idea what they were doing?
      If you look closely, it is also a 20MOA mount. For a 1-6x scope. On a .223 rifle. Kinda ridiculous.

      Well, maybe someone was used to the chinweld on a G36 or AK…

  • Ben Loong

    Nice to see Tanfoglio coming out with some new products. Not that I’m likely to see any of them available here any time soon. But still.

  • iksnilol

    Euro AR 15 is usually the following:

    -best trigger you can get
    -slim free float foreend
    -short heavy barrel (16 inch or 14.5 with pinned brake)
    -obnoxious muzzle brake
    -shorter fixed stock
    -1-4x or 1-6x scope

    That’s the setup that’s won the most in Norway.

    • Tierlieb

      The pinned brake and barrel length do vary a bit. Germany has a required barrel length of 42cm, which is 16.75″ (on purpose, I guess), ruining the import of most American rifles.

      STI was importing some of their 16.1″ rifles with pinned brakes for a while, but they ran afoul of a restriction that defined barrel length as length of the rifled part of the barrel, so pinned the brakes did not help.

      • iksnilol

        True that, but you get the point. As short as possible with as obnoxious brake as possible.

  • Maxpwr

    Nice looking firearm. Too bad the EU is on the cusp of banning all semi-auto rifles from civilian ownership. Maybe they’ll let them keep a straight-pull version.

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      Not all semi-autos; those that ‘resemble’ full-auto ones.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        That word, resemble, means so little, it means it is basically a blanket ban for all rifles with AK/AR mechanisms, or even everything who has a pistol grip and extruding magazine.

        Fck the EU…

        • Tierlieb

          Hasn’t happened yet, looked highly probable a few months ago, but not anymore.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            I´m Norwegian, and we are not a member of the EU, but being member of the EEA, we adopt most of the EU regulations and standards. This subject concerns me a great deal and it would be very appreciated if you could give me sources on your post. Not that I doubt you, and what you just said warms my heart, but I´d love to see any info you may have.

      • Maxpwr

        Oh good. The Overlords in Brussels will let you keep those for a little while longer. That’s what they said in California and now California is on the cusp of banning ALL semi-auto centerfires regardless of what they “resemble”.

    • Just Sayin’

      Because, say, France is so safe because of their strict firearms laws.

      (More people died in the last year in France from mass shootings than in the U.S.)

      • kyphe

        False, 372 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2015, killing 475 and wounding 1,870. France 141 Deaths 379 injured but some idiots in the media like Laura Ingram combine the killed and wounded of France attacks and say casualties to miss represent the facts which is probably where you head this from.

        • ChierDuChien

          For every US victim of a mass shooting, 526 Americans were killed by incompetent doctors and nurses.

          THAT issue should be addressed first.

  • wetcorps

    Looks pretty sexy.

  • tincankilla

    if they did anything proprietary, i’d stay away from tanfo guns. parts for their pistols have gone up 3-4x over the past few years while the Euro has collapsed against the dollar. should go the other way, Massimo.

  • Treyh007

    Will these rifles be available in the US….?

    • Steve_7

      No, banned from import under 18 USC 925(d)(3).

  • Porty1119

    Can you say pistol import (with VFG replaced with rail to avoid AOW status)?

  • Robert B.

    These Rifles appear to be well finished and thought out. I don`t know how much of this Rifle can be truly domestically engineered and produced in Europe , but some of the parts appear to out sourced in the good ol US of A to me. If you look closely you`ll notice that the Lower Receiver is of the LWRC persuasion and the Upper Receiver from Voltr? You be the judge. Anyway, they appear to to nicely done. Robert B..

  • ihatelibs

    That’s a Damn fine lookin shooter

  • Time for sweeping changes

    Gee… another AR-15 manufacturer added to the 200+ already out there…
    Let’s see somebody offer a lightweight, ambidextrous, accurate, adjustable gas system with a receiver-anchored gas cylinder, full-power-cartridge firing, three-lug bolt, striker-fired, DA/SA/No-safety, easy to take-down, 20-inch barrel in q/c mount, folding stock/no stupid buffer-tube, built-in bipod, built-in 0 – 500 yd night-irons, Pic rail, adjustable butt stock, adjustable trigger, and adjustable pistol-grip angle; and, do it for $2000 or less.

  • I don’t hate AR-15

    Oh look… another copy of the overrated and overglorified AR-15… next.

  • CavScout

    Pft, we’ve been seeing Ukraine made AR15’s in that conflict too long to think this is really anything new. And who over there can even realistically buy one??