I.O. Inc Factory Visit

Timothy G. Yan
by Timothy G. Yan

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

I.O. Inc’s CNC facility walk-through.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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


Timothy G. Yan
Timothy G. Yan

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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  • Winter Winter on Oct 11, 2015

    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.

  • Martin Frank Martin Frank on Oct 18, 2015

    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.