On September 30, 2019, the Polish Ministry of National Defense signed contracts to officially begin the production of Poland’s next-generation MSBS “Grot” assault rifles and the VIS 100 pistol for the Polish Army. Before this event, MSBS rifles were produced for the paramilitary Territorial Defense Forces (WOT) under the agreement that WOT would “beta test” them and provide feedback to the manufacturer, FB “Łucznik”.
The contract calls for 18,000 rifles by 2022, meaning that one-third of the Polish Army will be armed with the new rifles. The remainder of the army will continue to use Poland’s M96 BERYL 5.56x45mm AK variants, which are also produced by FB “Łucznik”. Defense watchers in Poland anticipate that FB “Łucznik” will complete the contract before schedule, given the rate at which they are producing MSBS rifles for the WOT.
In addition to the new rifles the contract also included an initial 2,000 VIS 100 semi-automatic pistols. It is planned that by 2022 FB “Łucznik” will have delivered 20,000 pistols to the Polish armed forces. During his speech at the contract announcement ceremony, Wojciech Skurkiewicz, Poland’s Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence hinted at the future saying:
This order portfolio is already impressive today, because it’s not only MSBS 5.56, it’s not just a VIS100, but in a moment a sniper rifle, and ahead of us also negotiations that will take place next year regarding a long-term contract, so that this the supply chain for the Polish army was continuous and that we should move away from post-Soviet equipment.
This is not the first time the Polish Army has gotten their hands on the new rifles. Back in July 2019, WOT transferred some MSBS rifles from their own stocks to the Polish Army so soldiers could begin familiarization with them. The 21 Brygada Strzelców Podhalańskich (21st Podhale Rifles Brigade), 6 Brygada Powietrznodesantowa (6th Airborne Brigade), and the 25 Brygada Kawalerii Powietrznej (25th Air Cavalry Brigade) were the units that received MSBS rifles from this transfer. As such, they will likely be the first recipients of the MSBS from the new order. All three units are part of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).
Witold Słowik, the president of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) which owns FB “Łucznik” said:
GROT rifles and VIS 100 pistols are world-class products. We are proud that Polish soldiers appreciate the quality of our equipment, which results in growing orders both at Fabryka Broni and other Group companies. This confirms the competence of our factories and the trust placed in us by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland and the Ministry of National Defense.
The MSBS is generally considered to be superior to the rifles that it replaces due to its AR-style controls, easy integration with optical sights, and the wide variety of ergonomic adjustments it provides for the individual soldier. FB “Łucznik” continues to develop other versions of the rifle, including the MSBS-5.56B bullpup version and a 7.62x51mm NATO version that might serve as the next designated marksman or sniper rifle of the Polish Army.
Fabryka Broni “Łucznik” press release (source)
PGZ press release (source)
Polish Ministry of Defense press release (source)
This article is written by Charlie G of Overt Defense, TFB’s sister website covering defense news and analysis on everything from missiles to main battle tanks, from jets to warships, and all the latest defense tech developments. Check out OVD here.