There are very few countries in a modern world that have a respectable firearms industry and manage to keep a veil of secrecy over it. Besides North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Sudan, and some Gulf countries, Vietnam seems to be very secretive about its new guns. Thankfully, the situation is slowly changing and now we can see Vietnamese weapons coming out of the shadows.
In the previous posts, I talked about some of the weapons showcased at the DSE 2019 exhibition in Hanoi, but that exhibition was more Law Enforcement oriented and mostly displayed less-lethal Vietnamese weapons.
Recently, Factory Z111 and the General Department of Defense Industry of Vietnam presented two new AK variants, STV-410 and STV-416. While very little information is available, a true AK connoisseur can get a lot of information out of the pictures.
Both rifles use what looks like a modified Galil ACE milled receiver without a signature dust cover and charging handle on the left side, ambidextrous safety selector, or mag well. And there is a good reason for that.
In 2014, IWI (Israeli Weapon Industries) entered into an agreement with Vietnam to produce the IWI ACE rifle under license. Presumably, tooling and equipment supplied for Galil ACE production were used to manufacture STV-410 and STV-416.
STV-416 appears to be an AK-103 inspired AK variant with a milled receiver, side scope mount, and original handguard, muzzle device, pistol grip, and folding stock mechanism.
STV-416 looks closer to Galil or AK-15. While milled receiver indicates Galil heritage, rear sight, receiver cover, and its locking mechanism strongly resemble AK-15.
Overall, it seems that the Vietnamese firearms industry is following the modern trends and wants every weapon to be compatible with optics, reflex sights and magnifiers, as well as night vision and thermal sights.
At the moment, it is not clear if those rifles will be sold internationally or will only be produced for the Vietnamese military and Law Enforcement units.