Defence Services Asia is one of the top five defence shows in the world. First held in 1988 and takes place once every two years, it has since grown over the past three decades. 2018 saw its 16th edition taking place in the newly built Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur. It also marked the debut of the National Security (NATSEC) Asia conference.
DEFENCE SERVICES ASIA: A Tour With Pew Doodles – Part 1
From 16 to 19 April 2018, 1500 companies from 68 countries all over the world came together to feature their best in the halls of MITEC, spanning a whopping 43,000 m² (that’s 462,848 ft²).
The exhibition is only open to defence and security personnel, industry professionals, executives and other specially-invited guests. It also requires all visitors to be pre-registered and vetted internally before assigned an admission pass. This year there were 50,000 visitors from 56 countries, with 350 VIP delegates from 44 countries.
Being a defence show, there was a lot of stuff on display. Small arms, ammunition, ballistic protection, electronics, optics, vehicles, autonomous systems, and a whole lot more. But as a freelance illustrator drawing guns, I was obviously more interested in the small arms on display at the exhibition.
This is my third trip to the DSA, so here are some of the highlights (in my civilian opinion) from the show:
Glocks are the most popular sidearm among defence and security personnel. You can tell from the long list of its users on Wikipedia (Malaysia included). They are a regular exhibitor at DSA, showing the latest stuff they have to offer our good men. Alongside their latest 17 Gen 5, they also had the 19X on display.
The Glock 17 Gen 5, sans finger grooves, which fits into my hands very well.
Is it just me, or are the slide serrations on the 19X wider and deeper than the other models?
Armscor/Rock Island Armory
This Philippines small arms manufacturer is also a regular exhibitor at DSA, showcasing the wide range of hand-fitted 1911s they have to offer. One particular model that caught my eye was this XT 22 with a full-length Picatinny rail.
While many optic-ready modern handguns have slide cutouts or frame mounts, this one has a fixed top rail that is non-reciprocating, much like the one on the Desert Eagle.
Beretta Defense Technologies (BDT)
BDT is an alliance of Beretta, Benelli, Sako and Steiner, and also a DSA regular exhibitor. Beretta, Benelli and Sako had their various small arms on display, while Steiner showcased their latest tactical optics on mock rifles. Beretta had the APX, PMX and the ARX on display, all of which I think are some cool-looking guns.
The APX with a fresh definition of slide serrations. The raised ridges offer enough traction to manipulate the slide, even for a guy with sweaty hands like me.
The PMX was unveiled at Paris Milipol expo last year as the successor to the Model 12 submachine gun. The polymer furniture feels solid and comfortable.
The ARX 200 is also mostly polymer, with oversized and ambidextrous controls. Looks huge and feels solid.
They also had the full range of Px4 Storm handguns on display.
Oh, and also the M9A3.
Česká zbrojovka (CZ)
CZ is also, by no exception, a DSA regular exhibitor. Apart from their service and competition handguns, they also had the Scorpion and Bren 2 on display as well.
For someone like me, the slide height on the CZ 75 can make it difficult to manipulate the slide.
Czechmate. Apart from a longer, ported barrel, a red-dot, and a flared mag well, there’s also a much-needed charging handle to help slide manipulation on this competition handgun.
The designer in me is going crazy over all the facets on the Scorpion Evo 3’s receiver. In a good way.
The Bren 2 is really hefty for a rifle shooting the 5.56x45mm cartridge.