Top 5 Guns We Wish Were More Popular

In a world full of AR15s and AK variants, few companies dare to be different. This list deals with a few offerings on the market that we wish would make more range appearances but tend to sit on the shelves or in distributor warehouses. Criteria for this list requires the guns to be listed by the manufacturer on their website.

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys it is Alex C with TFBTV.

And today I thought it might be fun to make a list of five firearms I wish were more popular.

The criteria here is that the guns must be listed as in production by the manufacturer.

In a world where quality factory made ARs can be bought for under $1000 and built for often half this much by thrifty enthusiasts, it just makes it plain hard for any big company to produce competing design at a similar price point that offers enough to justify the difference.

Mind you this list isn’t necessarily about underrated firearms because most of these are very well regarded by the community but numerous factors prevent any kind of proliferation.

First up is a gun that is coveted by many.

Peerless in the marketplace and tactical as you know.

This is FN SCAR® 17S.

The 762 x 51 version of the SCAR platform.

The SCAR 17 is a self-loading rifle that uses a short-stroke piston and a Stoner Johnson style rotating bolt.

Pretty straightforward in this regard but the controls and ergonomics are simply wonderful compared to other battle rifles like the HNKG3 or FAL rifles.

In my opinion the SCAR 17 is again peerless in the marketplace when it comes to self-loading 30 cals and in my experience, the accuracy is rivaled only by the SIG STG57 and its variants.

The SCARs handle like an AR 15.

They are fairly light, user friendly, accurate, recoil is manageable and they are very, very reliable.

The after market is also decent for a new comer to the marketplace and you can accessorize them to your heart’s content and your wallet’s disdain which brings to me why they aren’t common.

They are very, very expensive.

With a factor MSRP of $3349, it is no wonder that you don’t see these on the range too often.

While I will be the first to sing the praises of this gun, I think it is frankly insane to expect a rifle to sell for this much when the alternatives that fill the same role or niche are one third of the price like the PTR 91, which isn’t as good but the SCAR is certainly not three times better.

Really for the SCAR 17 to get more popular, it needs to come down in price.

I think most consumers in the market for a self-loading 308 would pay $1500 for one especially when M1As move quickly at that price.

But value isn’t there at three grand.

So for the SCAR to get more popular, it needs to come down in price substantially.

I wish that would happen so it could proliferate.

Next up is another offering from FN.

The FS200.

FN seems wishy-washy on whether or not they want to continue to make this rifle for commercial sale or not.

But as of this video, it is listed as available on FN USA’s website under carbines.

I’m a huge fan of the FS2000.

They are so damn strange looking that you can’t help but gravitate towards them and want to see how the heck something so bizarre works and performs.

Also within an MSRP right there with the AUG or TAVOR it was priced to compete with its peers, but for some reason it just never garnered any traction.

It never got much attention and advertising was also almost non-existent.

We here at TFBTV have a lot of hands-on experience shooting the FS2000.

We’ve even made a video of us shooting it from a moving vehicle at targets in a field, which was fun and showed that the gun itself works and handles very well.

Well the manual of arms takes some getting used to.

The FS2000 is a solid, sturdy platform.

While I personally think the AUG is a better option for most situations, the FS2000 is a much more fun and interesting gun to shoot.

It garnered little interest from consumers due to either poor marketing or perhaps its unconditional appearance and that’s a shame because I feel that FN has a great gun to compete with in the bullpup arena, sad really because it is always great to have as many options available to consumers as possible.

Third we have a gun that is enigmatic in that in some places it is very well regarded and popular but in other countries it is existence is almost overlooked entirely.

This is a civilian variant of the Czech VZ. 58 rifle and they are fantastic.

The reason this one isn’t popular is pretty obvious.

Cheap AKs exist and they have a following and aftermarket in the USA.

However, interestingly in Canada where AKs are not available to civilians with the exception of a handful of walnuts, the VZ.58 is a great option for shooters who want a non-restricted military style semi-automatic rifle chambered in the venerable 7.62 x 39 cartridge.

The VZ.58s are terrific and have a milled receiver while also weighing a pound less than most damned AKs.

They lock like a giant P38 which is mechanically interesting for a rifle, have a short-stroke piston system, folding stocks are available and the aftermarket is terrific.

While clones like these can be bought for around $600, you can get factory made guns from the Czech Republic with all new parts for around $1100.

However, they always seem to be out of stock everywhere, and imports are spotty at best.

I’ve been trying to track down one of these high quality guns for a while to test for you all, and it is pretty darn difficult.

However, I have reviewed a clone and fired 700 rounds through it in one setting with no malfunctions and grouping about three inches at a 100 yards with iron sights and steel cased plinking ammo.

I know the rifles are capable of more and I look forward to when I can test one for TFBTV.

They are affordable, reliable, accurate, parts are cheap.

The aftermarket is big and yet they still remain underground.

I suspect that this will remain so unless AK productions suddenly halts.

Fourth we have a gun that many, many people were filled with optimism about and hoped back in 2007 or so that it would be released to great critical success.

However, when it hit the market, there was nothing but grumbling and disappointment.

I’m talking of course about the Bushmaster ACR.

The ACR’s history is quite strange.

It is outgrowth of the Magpul Masada rifle that promised great things to consumers at a price point around $1500.

People wanted a viable competitor to the AR15 that offered more and the Masada seemed to be the ticket, but when it hit the market with a 1:9 twist barrel and selling for a much higher price than originally quoted, the community was so angry that they overlooked the gun entirely.

Bushmaster promised all sorts of conversion kits and parts to that never materialized as well.

This also further upset people and rightfully so.

I’ve felt there was some minor improvements and changes the ACR could be a great rifle, but even the company that manufactures it seems to have forgotten about it.

While listed on the website, there are almost isn’t any information at all about the rifle.

The parts and accessory list is pretty barren.

You don’t hear much about it at all these days.

I’ve shot this rifle quite a lot.

It’s always run reliably including with a suppressor and I like it.

It is ergonomic.

User friendly, fun to shoot but that wasn’t enough to move the ACR.

While I have seen them price new at about $1750 which is expensive, guns like the TAVOR, AUG, and even the much more expensive SCAR 16 sell better.

I believe this is an example of a company rushing a product to market without listening to the demands of the consumer such as the desire for a 1:7 twist barrel.

And then further ignoring the marketplace when backlash is present.

However, there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Polish took notice of the design and their MSBS rifle while different has many of the positive features of the ACR.

Now that is a rifle I can’t wait to review.

Lastly we have a rifle that is overlooked now but seems to be getting some traction.

This makes me happy and I thought it might be good to end this video on a high note.

This is pistol version of the CZ 805 BREN and I have submitted paperwork to transform it into an SBR which I will run through the ringer in a review with ammo provided by Ventura Munitions if the stamp ever comes back.

The CZ 805 is replacing the previously mentioned VZ. 58 in Czech military service.

And CZ USA is importing them in pistol form as a carbine for civilian shooters.

Reviews are all favorable too and the guns have been very well received.

This gives me hope.

It shows that the industry isn’t as stagnant as you might think.

There are companies that dare to bring something to market that is new, unique, and an interesting design.

Sure it does cost around $1500 but that is competitive with most non-AR 15 or AK 5.56 self loaders.

The 805 is a piston design with a rotating bolt, is nice and user friendly, neat looking for what that’s worth, accurate and with a folding stock very compact.

It isn’t popular now because it is still a newcomer.

Whether or not it storms the marketplace like CZ Scorpion EVO remain to be seen, but I really hope it does.

As previously stated, the more crowded the marketplace is the better it is for consumers.

Competition brings innovation and lower prices.

I hope that if anything the 805 gains a following to show the industry that we like new and new can be lucrative and profitable.

So these are five firearms I wish were more popular.

Stagnation is the last thing the industry needs because improved designs and products are a large part of what makes things interesting, but in a world full of $600 ARs I understand why companies are hesitant to tool up and try and compete with a new and expensive R&D project.

Still though there are a few new rifles and pistols out there with close release dates that I’m very excited about and I can’t wait to review.

Thank you for watching us on TFBTV.

We recently hit 200,000 subscribers and we only have you all to thank.

Your continued support is what motivates us to keep moving forward and we hope to see you all next time.

(gun firing)



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Harry’s Holsters

    Great video! I’m surprised they still make the ACR. I usually see one at every gun show but never one in local shops. It’s a cool gun but doesn’t offer anything over the a similar priced AR15 with the ACR’s current after market.

    Faxon said they’d do barrels for the ACR if they could pre sale the run and get parts from bushmaster. If they’d do that I could see a small resurrection of the gun.

    The VZ58 and FS2000 are just cool!

    • lowell houser

      The Faxon thing is new to me. I personally think that so far the ACR is the best new design of the 21rst century for the civilian market, but Shrubmaster messed the whole thing up. The ACR should have been marketed as an ecosystem with multiple cartridge capability on day one -5.56, .300blk, 7.62×39 using an AK mag lower. That you can change everything on the gun without tools is the real beauty of the design, and how Magpul was selling it – More ambi than the SCAR, more LEGO than the AR.

      Hell if Bushy were to suddenly introduce the options for the rifle I just mentioned it would start selling, as long as they switch to a lighter profile barrel.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        I agreed completely. The AK mag lower was big at that time. They would have been the only game in town. Considering their are multiple AR quick change barrel systems now and the AK mag AR15 lowers are also becoming more common I think the ACR would be playing catchup. They would sell much better if Bushmaster released the accessories but they’ll never reach the level they could have if they’d have been introduced with a full line up and the base gun for Sub $1500. At sub $1200 I think everyone would know someone who owned an ACR.

        On M4 Carbine .NET there was a thread started by Mrgunsngear who spoke with Faxon.

  • Big Daddy

    Spot on, you took my thoughts and put them in a video.

  • Calimero

    I must be some sort of gun hipster: I own two out of those five guns.

    Ugh! I might have to start wearing skinny jeans and grow an ironic beard. Dammit!

    • Richard

      Which two?

      • Calimero

        Sa vz 58 and 17S.
        That’s a 1:10 price ratio (in Europe) but I like them both equally.

        The Geissele trigger is a must-have for the 17S (factory trigger is a bit of a shame considering the price of the gun).

    • kingghidorah

      and get a PBR ball cap for the winter, and a thick wool hat for the summer.

  • Bungameng

    I wouldn’t keep your hopes up for the vz.58.

    Most of those on the market used to be military surplus guns – put together from spare parts kits that Czechoslovak army had sold off after the end of cold war and adjusted to semi-auto only. They went for about € 200 here in the Czech Republic and they were plentiful, it seemed as if the stock was undending.

    Now that the EU Gun Ban has been proposed they are permanently sold out. Most shops have waiting lists to get onto a waiting list, and prices are over € 400. When I was buying my first one a month ago I emailed/called over dozen shops before finding one that had them on shelves.

    Then there are the Czech Small Arms completely newly built ones that go for € 900, but those seem to be as difficult to get nowadays too.

    Basically the only semi-auto rifles left on the market are those with pricetag above €1.500, PAR MK3, V-AR, CZ 805.

    To get to the point – if vz.58 are now hard to get by even in their home country, they’ll become unicorns in the US.

    • Vhyrus

      The biggest reason why VZ 58s did not take off in the states is that the czechs committed the cardinal sin of proprietary rifle magazines. No one wants to trade in their mountain of cheap functional AK mags just to get a gun that weighs a few ounces less or has bolt hold open.
      I would not be surprised if you see AK and AR mags become the universal standard in the next few years, much like micro USB and iphone became the universal standard in phone chargers (course now they’re changing them AGAIN… bastards).

      • Chris22lr

        I believe that when Czechs were designing the vz.58 “the cardinal sin” of proprietary mag was a non-issue. I mean – these guns were made to fight capitalistic Yankee pigs, not to be sold to them! 🙂

    • Chris22lr

      It wasn’t EU gun ban panic (panic since the gun ban is not effective yet and it’ll take loooong time to be) but rather Czech gov’t selling vz.58s to various armies and militias in Middle East, which made them unavailable for Ceska Zbrojovka (yeah, CZ-858 semi-auto rifles are in fact factory remade surplus vzs).

      CZ take them down from their web page for several months. IIRC in Poland there were no new CZ-858 deliveries from December to June. Existing stock dried up quickly since vzs are the cheapest semi-autos here and have quite following (maybe even bigger than AKs).

    • SP mclaughlin

      Gun shops in Europe sold out lol that sounds familiar across the pond.

  • Gary Kirk

    Nice list, wish I had the funds for a scar 17.
    Was also one of those people that wanted the acr to do well.. So much promise, so little delivery on bushmasters end..

    • Bushmaster is a Freedom Group company now, so you can forget about their output ever matching their promises again.

      • Gary Kirk

        Yeah, too bad they sold the acr with everything.. Windham might have the initiative to keep going with it…

  • anon

    the 17s would probably be a lot more popular if it wasn’t $3000

    • Anon

      He literally said that in the video, so for future reference, watch the video before saying something that they probably said.

      • Longhaired Redneck

        Anon, quit picking on Anon…

    • cwp

      The SCAR is a great rifle that unfortunately happens to be priced like it was the second coming of Jesus. And, of course, once you’ve spent $3,000 on your rifle, are you going to want to cheap out on an optic or an optic mount or a bipod or whatever? No way! The next thing you know you’ve spent $6,000+ on just one rifle and are trying to figure out how to explain to your wife what happened to that money without sounding like you’re trying to hide an affair.

      I think it would be a steal at $1,500. That’s M1A retail territory, and not even National Match M1A retail at that. $2,000 would still be an excellent value, and even at $2,500 there’s a case to be made for it.

      • anon1

        If you look around you can find them for $2500-$2800. Now between politics, and being between import runs (receivers are still made in Belgium for now) they are pretty high.

        • cwp

          Bought mine for around $2,800. Apparently people now are asking (and getting) $4,000+ for them — which seems crazy, but supply and demand, I guess.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      They were down to $2400 or so a while back. You have to pay attention to FN’s production cycles if you want to get their stuff for a decent price. They rotate out production throughout the year and when the guns first hit the market, they are pricey because there was a small demand while they were almost unavailable. If you wait a couple months after they start popping up everywhere, you can snag them for a way better price. I paid $1400 for my FS200, $1100 for my PS90.

  • John

    I wish there was interest in making polymer versions of classic guns, like the Thompson.

    People complain about the weight, right? Polymer furniture, polymer upper, modern steel insides, polymer magazines. You could put a rail on top for sights and a railed fore end if you wanted a grip handle or not. Market it at least 30 to 50 percent less than existing models and voila, you’ve got an MP5 killer.

    • Dan Atwater

      So basically make a HK UMP ..?

    • Kelly Jackson

      I really don’t think a gun like the Thompson could be made in polymer, it’s design doesn’t lend itself to that. The receiver itself needs to be steel and it’s pretty complicated to machine it.

  • Kelly Jackson

    The Bren would be more popular if it were actually a rifle with a stock. I’ve handled one, front heavy doesn’t begin to describe it.

    • John

      They do make one. It’s called the Bren 805 Carbine

      • Kelly Jackson

        CZ making something, and being able to find a CZ product are two very different things. Their logistics may be worse than Kel Tecs.

  • ostiariusalpha

    Ha ha ha! I see where you are putting that left thumb on the FS2000, and I’ll tell you that I have two lefthanded gloves with holes in the thumb tips because that is right next to the gas relief port for the piston.

  • The_Champ

    I love Czech tech in the firearms world. I believe their firearms have always kept pace with the more popular western European and American firearms.

  • The 805 is a little “bleh” in detail, but where CZ has me excited is the prospect of the CZ 806 Bren 2, which is lighter and has other improvements (including being uglier for some reason).

    CZ has told me that they are planning to bring the 806 to the USA, but that will be a ways down the road as the Czech gov’t orders come first.

    • Vitor Roma

      What seems to impress everyone about the CZ is how smooth the action is.

      • That’s very typical for the G36 family, I think. It’s a good design, from a mechanical perspective.

  • james

    Disagree with Alex’s plastic ACR, SCAR crap. Agree the VZ-58 is awesome and in some ways its tough to import so that’s why it hasn’t taken off like Romanian and Polish AKs do.
    Other would be the Korean Daewoo K-1 style semiauto’s. The new production Bushmaster bullpup since they now use a AR-18 action and are as close to a L-85, SA-80 as a American can get. high price and little advertisement make sales for them slow. I think the SIG 556 series was good as well but failed to do any good in the market compared to cheaper and more ergonomically ARs. And I do wish HK would have done better with making a cheap G-36 clone for US civilian market. Combo of HK being HK, and ripping people off with astronomically high prices killed that pony.
    If it wasn’t for the 89 import ban I wish we could get the Norinco Type 97 imported looks like a fun cheap semi auto bullpup and a look into the Chinese Army’s Type 95 rifle.

    • roguetechie

      Umm, bushmaster doesn’t make a new bullpup. Bushmaster USED TO make an AR18 based bullpup known as the M17. K&M aerospace however does make an improved version of the M17 in 5.56 & shortly will be shipping 7.62 NATO chambered enlarged versions of their improved M17.

      I agree though on the Daewoo k1/k2. Not the newer and much less aesthetically appealing one being built now, but instead the classic one with the nice handguard and truly awesome folding stock.

      On this note manufacturers, AR15 buffer tubes are barely acceptable on AR15’s… Not at all on anything else! And for the love of baby Jesus and monster trucks, don’t saddle other guns with the poor AR’s vestigial tail AND neglect to put it at a proper angle in relationship to the action and sights. (AK manufacturers I’m looking at you)

  • SlowJoeCrow

    The one rifle on this list I really want is a vz 58 with beaver barf furniture. The SCAR and ACR aren’t sufficiently better than an AR to justify the high cost, and bullpups don’t interest me.

  • dltaylor51

    Yuppie guns at best,same people that pay six bucks for a cup of coffee buy these guns.

  • Steven Kaspar

    The fact of the matter is you just cant beat the AR platform!

  • The SCAR really is killing itself with the price tag; if they were in the $1800-$2,000 zone for the 16, and $2000-$2500 for the 17, I think they would be selling like hotcakes.

    From a manufacturing standpoint, it seems that price would be certainly doable – it’s an extruded aluminum upper, a polymer lower, and a reciprocating charging handle. And it’s not like FN is some mom n’ pop outfit.

    If a tiny company like Robinson Armament can offer the XCR for $1900 and the XCR .308 for $2,400, there’s no reason one of the world’s largest arms manufacturers can’t hit that price point with a weapon that is if anything even cheaper to produce.

    • aguywhoknows

      If they go under 3000, H&K has to offer the 416 and 417 (MR223 and MR308) for less, too.

      Both companies dont want that, so they sat down together and said: “You know what, lets f*ck those poor civilians.” “Yeah, sounds like a good idea! Lets go!”

      Same with Sig Sauer, Steyr Mannlicher, Oberland Arms, etc. pp.

      Just look at SAN rifles, nothing under 3000, neither.

      tl;dr:

      If you want a decent self-loading, modern (assault- or battle-) rifle in Europe, take at least two and a half grand out of your pocket to beginn with.

      I am cool with that. Suck it, poor basterds arent ment to own guns anyways.

      • That’s a novel theory. Ultimately I think there would be more money to be made selling more rifles at slightly less cost, but that depends on what the volume of rifles being sold it; perhaps they’re selling as many SCAR’s as they can produce already.

      • Calimero

        One common aspect is that all these guns are built – as far as I know – in Europe where labor is expensive and market size is tiny. It is hence tempting to position your stuff as almost luxury items.

        I’m just not sure this is a sound policy in the long run … *cough cough*

        SAN is almost dead (12-15 employees, barrel making equipment sold to LW) and we’re just waiting for the obituary.

        SCARs are made mostly in Belgium. I would really love to know who sets FN’s business policy (HQ in BE or HQ in the US).

        H&K is mostly geared towards LEO/military (again because the European civilian market is meh).

        SIG is probably the only firm with (quickly fading) European roots that has understood that they should adapt to their largest market: the US.

  • Mike C

    Guns we wish were more popular, but aren’t because they’re expensive (except for the VZ 58)…
    The SCAR 17 is great until you consider the $45 magazines, but I guess if you have the cash for a SCAR 17, you’re not complaining.

    I see an ACR at every gun show I’m at, and I never see anyone buying them; they are also nose heavy. Everyone wanted the Remington version, but that never materialized. I think the MSBS will be the ACR everyone wanted.

    FS2000 is pricey now that it’s out of production.

    I think the biggest thing holding the VZ 58 back is the availability of cheap magazines, which is of course because they were never as widely distributed and copied as AKs.
    You also have “the gremlin” you may or may not have to deal with.

    As for the CZ 805 (also nose heavy), just wait for the lighter, more balanced 806 to come in; I think it may stay under appreciated like most Czech firearms seem to be in the US (save for the Skorpion Evo).

  • PeterK

    Nice picks. Don’t care for some of these, but the SCAR is my dream gun, followed by a vz58 or bren.

  • Just say’n

    No luv for the Keltec SU-16?