Victor Aster is a Belarusian firearms concept designer. He shared with TFB one of his CAD designs of a personal defense weapon (PDW) called Humble-Bee. The idea is to have a compact firearm for law enforcement and military needs which would be very simple, lightweight and easy to use.
Initially, Victor was considering the Humble-Bee to be a less-lethal gun firing rubber bullets and dedicated for police use. Later he rethought the idea and now it is designed to be chambered in 9x19mm. The receiver of this firearm is supposed to be completely made of polymer. The overall design concept is inspired by the Italian Spectre M4 SMG. According to the designer, he moved away from having a magazine inside the grip to be able to design a more ergonomic and comfortable pistol grip. The grip also has a rubber backstrap. The muzzle device is a rough mockup and the designer would probably opt not to have one at all.
The magazine well is elongated to allow grabbing it with the support hand without applying any pressure to the magazine itself. The side opening from both sides of the magazine well is there to allow seeing the remaining amount of ammunition in the translucent magazine. The magazines are also Victor Aster’s own design. The magazine release button is on the rear wall of the magazine well, below the trigger guard. Its location makes it ambidextrous, too.
The iron sights are made with the simplicity in mind. They’ll be a set of fiber optic open sights with a possibility to install and detach them without using any tools. The gun also features a full-length top Picatinny rail as well as a short rail section on 6 o’clock.
The charging handle is executed similarly to that of AR-15 or HK MP-7. It is a non-reciprocating latch on the rear portion of the receiver. The nice thing about the charging handle is that it is almost flush with the receiver. However, it probably needs more aggressive serrations to ensure a rigid and consistent purchase. The safety selector is ambidextrous with distinctive raised triangular markings.
While talking to the designer about the Humble-Bee, I asked him a ton questions concerning the mechanism, operation, and other internal features. Well, it turns out that the mechanism is not yet finished. The designer considers several possibilities for it, but these are yet to be developed. Victor admitted that he is asked those questions pretty frequently. People also ask when a prototype will be ready. The short answer he gives is: “give me a million dollars, a team of engineers and a year of time and I’ll give you the final product”. My understanding of his answer is that it is pretty hard (both financially and time-wise) to go beyond the concept and make a prototype without any funding. Right now he is looking for investors and thinking about to manufacture and sell this firearm in the USA.
Overall, this concept is not anything revolutionary. At least nothing from what is disclosed is going to change the world. However, the vision of the designer is to make an extremely reliable and simple firearm. I think it is absolutely possible that a firearm without any significant innovations to it can become popular due to being well designed and reliable. For example, the Browning tilting barrel operation is used by virtually everyone in the pistol market. However, some companies can’t make good guns and others (one Austrian company) make them stupid simple and reliable.
I asked myself whether I would buy something like this? And I came up with several suggestions which I think would make it more attractive for the customers and will increase the chances of the Humble-Bee to succeed in the market. Here is what I would suggest Victor to consider changing/adding in his design:
- Glock magazines. I would suggest redesigning the Humble-Bee to use Glock magazines. That would probably require having a more angled magazine well or properly designed bolt and feed ramps geometry to feed reliably, but I think that design changes worth the result. Glock magazines have become kind of industry standard for SMGs and PCCs, which I think is not bad at all. Glock mags are cheap, reliable, several companies make them, they have a lot of aftermarket accessories and come in a number of capacity options. So being able to flush fit a Glock 19 or Glock 17 magazine in the Humble-Bee would probably be a good idea.
- Threaded muzzle. Victor told me that he’ll probably get rid of the muzzle device. I think that threaded muzzle would be an optimal choice. It may come with a thread protector and allow the end user to decide what muzzle device to install on it (muzzle brake, flash hider, compensator, suppressor etc.).
- AR-15 grip. To make the Humble-Bee even more customizable and modular, I would add an AR-15 grip mounting provision. That’ll allow the users to install the AR-15 grip of their choice from hundreds of available options. This will be a good idea unless there are parts of the mechanism inside the grip.
- Civilian version. The Humble-Bee is designed for military and LE use. However, I think these markets are kind of hard to reach. What I think would be even better is to design a version for the US civilian market. That would probably include a semi-auto only version of the current configuration to be sold as a pistol and a version with a stock and 16″ barrel to qualify as a rifle.
- Affordability. If the civilian market idea is considered good, then it must be affordable. Unless the Humble-Bee offers some space age mechanism which vanishes the recoil and breaks the rules of physics, it would be hard to compete with top PCCs like the KRISS Vector and such. If priced right, it will have better chances to successfully enter the market and get a cut from the PCC market pie.
These are perhaps the most common suggestions that will come to mind of any firearms enthusiast. It would be interesting to see what our readers think about the Humble-Bee and what they would like to see in such a firearm.