[SHOT 2022] The Retro Roundup
Retro guns have been undergoing a renaissance lately, with an increasing number of manufacturers offering firearms that appeal to more classic tastes. Many SHOT Show 2022 vendors displayed wares of interest for the carry handle gang or vintage enthusiasts, or just people who already have plenty of modern guns and just want something different.
Palmetto State Armory
PSA‘s entry into the retro market may be the biggest “carry handle” news from SHOT 2022. In the wake of Remington Outdoor Company’s dissolution, many well-known brands were sold off to other companies. JJE Holdings, who owns PSA, purchased the Harrington & Richardson brand from Remington.
While some people expected a return of single-shot break action shotguns or the M1 Garand, H&R also produced some M-16A1 rifles under contract during the Vietnam War. Then news broke that JJE had also acquired M16/M16A1 receiver maker NoDak Spud, and that it would be an H&R subsidiary. The hopes and dreams of #carryhandlegang came true and H&R is once again in the M-16A1 market.The PSA/H&R M-16A1 on display at SHOT was marked “PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVT” and featured the lion logo as seen on H&R military contract rifles. Its markings did appear to be engraved rather than a true rollmark, but that makes for very uniform appearance. The receiver set had the gray coloring often seen on older ARs.
Windham Weaponry traces its lineage back to Bushmaster before Bushmaster’s sale to Cerberus/Freedom Group/Remington. As such, they are an inheritor of a long tradition of classic AR-15 configurations. Their “A1 Government” model caught my eye. It is not truly an A1, with a Government profile barrel and a C7 upper, but it did appear to be built to the standard you would expect from a company with Windham’s history. I asked about plans for a pencil barrel, but there are none at this time.I also asked if A2 uppers were in the works, but there are no firm plans at this time.
Brownells was a major player in starting the carry handle revival with their Retro line up. Sadly, that line has come to an end and Brownells has discontinued their complete rifles. They will continue stocking parts for classic AR-15 builds though, so keep them on your radar for your builds. Their 4x Retro Carry Handle Scope was still on display and is still available at the time of writing.
Stag Arms makes makes a “Retro” model that is essentially an A4 configuration, but it’s left-handed. The ejection port is moved to the left side of the gun and the left-handed bolt ejects to the left. Stag’s Retro model is available now for $1,199 (left-handed) or $1,149 (normal-handed).
Are the FN M4A1 and M16A4 Military Collector models truly retro rifles? You can argue over that in the comments. But the Military Collector models are definitely of interest to most people who like historically significant rifles. Both models continue to be available with an MSRP of $1,839.
Tony’s Customs is a smaller name than some of the others on this list, but their little booth was full of parts that would interest a builder of classic M-16 clones. They are currently in the middle of a production run of 5,000 C-7 and slick side A-1 uppers. They also make aluminum collapsible stocks a la XM-177 or GAU-5.
Several MarColMar CETME L models were on display in the MSR Distribution booth. In addition to the standard, LV, and LV/S versions, new .300 Blackout and SBR models are now available. The SBR models have fixed stocks, unlike the LC versions that are no longer available.
Navy Arms specializes in importing rare and interesting historical firearms into the US. Recently, they were able to import a batch of French FRF2 sniper rifles. The FRF2 is chambered in 7.62 NATO with a 24″ barrel. These highly collectible rifles are not cheap; listed prices range from $7,495 to $9,995.While the MSRP may be steep, some accessories are included. Each rifle comes with two magazines, magazine pouches, stock spacers, cheek risers, are more Navy Arms will be importing a batch of No 4 Mk 1 Enfield rifles from France that purportedly were used by the French Resistance in World War II. The Enfields will be available in April.
DSA is best known for their FAL rifles, but they also support the AR-15 market. A MK12 MOD1 was on prominent display in the front of their booth. Availability of OPS Inc. muzzle devices has limited MK12 production. However, DSA will soon be selling their MK12-profile barrels with thread protectors instead of OPS-style suppressor mounts. The barrels will retain the ability to mount the OPS collar, though.DSA also produces clones of the M4A1 and M16A4. In fact, their pinned and welded, chrome lined, 14.7″ M4 barrel is one of their best selling items. Complete rifles have an MSRP of $1,200. DSA also showed off some wood furniture for the FAL family at their booth.
It is a great time to be a retro rifle fan. More and more options are hitting the market, and older names are continuing to supply their throwback models. This “roundup” is only a partial list from SHOT, there were other parts and guns too. There were also many rumors of future projects that are not quite ready for publication. Keep an eye out for more exciting things for retro lovers.