Auto-Ordnance Salutes 75th D-Day Anniversary with Custom Guns (PHOTOS)

Auto-Ordnance Salutes 75th D-Day Anniversary with Custom Guns (PHOTOS)

Auto-Ordnance has a trio of commemorative firearms paying homage to the men, units, and feats of courage related to D-Day. (Photos: Auto-Ord)

Thompson Auto-Ordnance has landed a series of GI-style guns in a salute to the upcoming anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II.

In remembrance of Operation Overlord, which saw more than 160,000 Allied troops descend on the coast of France on June 6, 1944, Auto-Ord has unveiled limited edition, commemorative models of their Thompson .45 ACP semi-auto rifle, 1911A1 .45ACP pistol, and M1 .30-caliber Carbine. Each carries custom engravings by Outlaw Ordnance of West Monroe, Louisiana.

“America’s brave warriors were called to do the impossible, beginning the struggle to wrest Europe from the hands of Nazi tyranny,” says the Pennsylvania-based company of the D-Day invasion. “Auto-Ordnance offers this series to honor the many American soldiers who fought so others could be free again.”

The commemorative “Ranger Thompson” is dedicated to the memory of the elite U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc to attack a key German position on the morning of the invasion.

Cerakoted in Army O.D. Green, each has a series of engravings including the image of an Army Ranger, the Ranger patch, and a grappling hook used to scale the cliffs. At the time of the D-Day landings, the M1928/M1 “Tommy Guns” was the most prolific submachine gun in U.S. service. Auto-Ord’s semi-auto version sports a 16.5-inch barrel.

One 30-round and one 20-round magazine, a Kerr sling, and a WWII 3-cell mag pouch are included.

The Ranger Thompson has an MSRP of $1,886.

The special edition “Soldier M1 Carbine,” pays respect to the “war baby” .30-caliber weapon carried by thousands of GIs at Normandy– which included many paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine D-Day commemorative

Engraved on the left side of the rifle’s walnut furniture are newspaper headlines from the invasion as well as part of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s address to the troops prior to the invasion.

Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine D-Day commemorative

The buttstock has images depicting the beach landings while patches of the various Army divisions involved in Overlord are on the right-hand side of the stock.

Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine D-Day commemorative

MSRP on the Soldier M1 Carbine is $1,391.

Speaking of Eisenhower, “The General 1911” has engravings of the Texas-born Allied supreme commander and later President as well as his words, “Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.”

Auto-Ordnance M1911 The General D-Day Commemorative

The .45ACP also has engravings of Gen. Omar Bradley, and Navy Adm. Alan Kirk.

Auto-Ordnance M1911 The General D-Day Commemorative

MSRP on the General 1911 is $1,134.

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FN Announces MK 48 Machine Gun Variant in 6.5mm Creedmoor

FN Mk48 6.5mm Creedmoor

FN this week announced plans to make the MK 48 machine gun, typically chambered for 7.62 NATO, in 6.5mm Creedmoor (Photo: FN)

Virginia-based FN America this week is unveiling a new version of their MK 48 light machine gun chambered in 6.5mm Creedmoor.

To be shown off at the 2019 edition of Special Operations Forces Industry Conference & Exhibition in Tampa, the new chambering comes just after USSOCOM’s qualified the caliber last year. Developed from the now-classic FN Minimi, the standard 7.62x51mm version of the MK 48 was adopted by SOCOM in 2013.

The 6.5 CM model of the gun, which is in the prototype stage, features an adjustable stock for length of pull and cheek height as well as an improved, locking charging handle. The gun has also been updated with an improved, double-notched sear; improved handguard with 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions with a new style bipod; and a more robust feed tray latch.

The MK48 seen in Afghanistan

Both SOCOM special operations units and light infantry such as troops from the 101st Airborne, seen here in Afghanistan, have been using the MK 48 since 2013, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. In a nod to its roots with the FN Minimi, which went on to become the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the MK 48 is often called the “super SAW” in service. (Photos: U.S. Department of Defense)

Besides the MK 48, which is used by both special operations and light units such as Airborne and Air Assault troops, FN has supplied the military with models of the 7.62x51mm FN MAG — adopted since 1977 as the M240 — and the 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon since 1984. A 5.56mm version of the MK48, the MK 46, is also in SOCOM service as is the FN SCAR and MK 20 SSR rifles. Going back even further, FN is a modern manufacturer of the iconic M2 heavy machine gun as well.

FN is currently one of the five Next Generation Squad Weapon competitors — along with AAI, General Dynamics, PCP, and Sig Sauer — to submit a single NGSW for initial testing to begin sometime this summer to replace the M249 in Army service with a new, 6.8mm, weapon.

In related news, Sig Sauer has been showing off their own new SLMAG lightweight machine gun, a variant of which is billed as a contender for the Army’s NGSW contract. Chambered in .338 Norma Magnum and easily swappable to 7.62 NATO, the SLMAG has a three-position gas setting and is optimized for use with a suppressor– a key aspect of the Army’s next generation of automatic weapons.

Sig SLMAG machine gun

The Sig SLMAG (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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Ultimate Retro CAR-15: 1989 Delta Force Edition (VIDEO)

A former Delta Force assaulter walks you through the awesomeness that was his CAR-15 back in the day, to include cardboard, a dive light, and bicycle innertubes.

Before he moved on to becoming the Vickers in Vickers Tactical, Larry Vickers was a career U.S. Army Special Forces guy who served with Delta Force throughout the 1980s. In the above, he shows off a recreation of his personal blaster from the period. The Colt Model 723 was basically a shortened M16A2 carbine that was more developed than the XM177E2 used by Green Berets in the Vietnam era.

His CAR-15 has plenty of things you just don’t see today outside of retro builds to include an upper with a non-detachable carrying handle and a tweaked two-position stock, and that’s just for starters.

As detailed by Vickers, he carried an Underwater Kinetics Super QXL dive light (insert giant sucking sound here as every airsofter and Delta operator fan rushes to search the web for one) that had been wrapped with black innertubes and hose-clamped to the handguard. Other mods include a jungle mag clamp set up with cardboard and 100 mile-an-hour tape and an AimPoint 2000— which the optics company says was discontinued in 1989, the same year Delta Force went into Panama.

“This was a great gun, great optic, a great piece of kit,” said Vickers. “Got me through harm’s way and got me home safely, so I am very partial to this setup.”

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USAF Shows off New Aircrew Takedown Bailout Rifles

Airman with 366th OSS assembles GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon 190506-F-MM641-005

Airman First Class Zack Day, 366th Operation Support Squadron, assembles an Aircrew Self Defense Weapon (Photo: USAF)

The U.S. Air Force recently highlighted the new Aircrew Self Defense Weapons that make up part of the survival kit pilots would rely on should they have to eject.

The compact modified GAU-5/A rifles, which have folding pistol grips and a quick-detach barrel/handguard, have been in development for the past several years and are a component of a 40-pound bailout set that includes flares, a flashlight, a life raft, medical and survival modules, noted the Air Force earlier this month. The guns can be quickly assembled and are packed with four, 30-round 5.56mm magazines.

“Survival kits are there to make sure our aircrew have everything they need should a bad day occur,” said Master Sgt. Mark Caron, with the 366th Operation Support Squadron, supporting F-15E Strike Eagle units at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. The 366th trains and outfits aircrews for what the military terms survival, evasion, resistance, and escape– in short, keeping bailed out pilots alive on the ground in often unfriendly areas until they can be rescued.

For decades, the military issued various revolvers and pistols to aircrews but in 2017 began to switch to the modified GAU-5, a rifle the Air Force has fielded in one form or another since Vietnam. “Having this self-defense weapon rather than a handgun greatly improves an aircrew member’s ability to survive if they are ever stranded and engaged in a fire-fight,” said Airman First Class Zack Day of the 366th.

Providing more details on the handy rifles, the Air Force’s Alaska-based 673rd Security Forces Squadron last month also posted several photos of the newest variant of the GAU-5 as the guns were shown off to F-22 unit commanders with a note that the guns, “will increase the firepower of our pilots if they ever have to eject over enemy territory.”

USAF Aircrew Self Defense Weapon together and taken down

The USAF Aircrew Self Defense Weapon shown together, top, and taken down, bottom (Photos: USAF)

The ASDW must stow inside a 16 x 14 x 3.5-inch ejection seat compartment, according to a June 2018 Air Force Times report. The guns get that small due to the use of an M4 style collapsible stock, flip-up backup iron sights, an Israeli FAB Defense AGF-43S folding pistol grip, and a Cry Havoc Tactical Quick Release Barrel (QRB) kit.

Cry Havoc, which confirms their QRB is being utilized by the USAF,  has demonstrated that guns with their barrel kit installed can be assembled and fired in under six seconds.

Joseph Trevithick with The Drive writes that the ASDW has the same 14.5-inch overall barrel length as the standard M4 series.

In all, some 2,137 ASDWs are reportedly being constructed by the U.S. Air Force Gunsmith Shop in San Antonio to equip the ejection seats in A-10, B-1, B-2, B-52, F-15, F-16, and F-22 aircraft.

A USAF Security Forces combat arms instructor shows Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Alan Boling, 8th Air Force command chief, how to assemble an Aircrew Self Defense Weapon at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 4, 2018. (Photo: USAF)

A USAF Security Forces combat arms instructor shows Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Alan Boling, 8th Air Force command chief, how to assemble an Aircrew Self Defense Weapon at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 4, 2018. (Photo: USAF)

The guns are not the first rifles to accompany USAF aircrews. Going back to the 1940s, the M4 Survival Rifle and then the M6 Air Crew Survival Weapon– the latter a double-barrel break action .410 shotgun over a .22 Hornet– were included in the bailout kits on several aircraft. Those guns, removed from service in the 1970s, are now considered museum pieces.

A Cold War-era M6 on display at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

A Cold War-era M6 on display at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Armalite’s AR-5, a floating semi-auto rimfire rifle that could be stowed inside its own buttstock, was adopted as the M1A but never put into production, leading the company to produce it for the commercial market as the AR-7. Likewise, the M6 has also gone on to be produced commercially in various configurations. The Bushmaster Arm Pistol in 5.56mm was another planned Air Force survival gun that made it about as high as a lead balloon.

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Marines Replacing Beretta M9 with the New Sig M18 (VIDEO)

A video posted this week by the Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico details the arrival of the new Sig Sauer-made M18 pistol.

The more compact version of the M17 Modular Handgun System first adopted by the Army in 2017, the M18 is based on Sig’s P320 and is set to replace the M9 Beretta in Marine service. In the above video, Col. Howard Hall details the advantages the Sig has over the legacy Beretta, which was first adopted in the 1980s to replace WWII-vintage M1911 pistols.

The M17/18 series allow grip sizes to be rapidly changed out and are optics-ready using a night sight plate on the slide top.

M17-M18-side-by-side-SIg

The M17 and M18 differ about an inch in overall length but share the same P320 series striker-fired action along with coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slide, M1913 accessory rail, and a removable top plate for optics. Each can use a 17-round 9mm flush fit or 21-round extended magazine. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

While the Army intends to field the full-sized M17s primarily, with M18s reserved for use by individuals and units requiring a concealed weapon, such as overseas training teams and advisors, investigators, and special operations personnel, the Marines are exclusively choosing the smaller handgun.

As noted in the Navy’s FY 2019 procurement budget justification for the Marine Corps, 35,000 of the smaller Sigs will not only replace M9s but also the Colt M45A1 CQB .45ACP railgun and the newly-acquired M007 Glock.

Likewise, the Navy is set to purchase 60,000 M18s to replace its current M9 handguns.

The Air Force is also going all-M18, using the 9mm to phase out their M9s and M11s, the latter a version of the Sig Sauer P228, used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Further, the M18s ability to use blank firing kits and Simunitions will allow it to replace the venerable .38-caliber Smith & Wesson M15 revolver, which is still used to train military working dog teams.

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Two World Wars: Getting Trained on the M1911, the 1940s Way (VIDEO)

John Moses Browning’s M1911 was the standard handgun of the U.S. military for over 70 years, and here is how the GIs headed to Europe and the Pacific were trained to use it.

The above video, posted by premium 1911 maker Cabot Guns, surfaced this week on the occasion of VE-Day, the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

From 1912 to 1945 more than 2 million M1911s were produced for the military by companies ranging from firearm industry regulars like Remington-UMC, Colt and Ithaca to non-traditional manufacturers like typewriter maker Remington Rand, Union Switch & Signal, and the Singer sewing machine company. They did a good job, as the guns remained in service well into the 1980s when replaced by the Beretta M9/92F. Heck, the Army still has 92,000-ish 1911s in storage in Anniston, Alabama.

While the vintage training film is entertaining, keep in mind that the basic rules of firearms safety, storage, and use have upgraded a bit since the age of The Greatest Generation, so don’t go recreating it without those more modern guidelines in mind.

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The Russians Love a Big Military Parade (VIDEO)

Throughout Russia this week, large military parades with lots of interesting hardware were showcased as the country celebrated the anniversary of victory in World War II.

The 74th annual parade, held on May 8, commemorates the end of WWII in Europe in 1945. Across the world’s largest country on Wednesday were held no less than 30 large events with the biggest show taking place in Moscow’s Red Square.

The Kremlin Regiment also called the Presidential Regiment, carried vintage SKS's for the parade

The Kremlin Regiment, also called the Presidential Regiment, carried vintage SKS’s for the parade (Photos: Russian Ministry of Defense)

Russian SKS-45

I mean you have to love a good Russian SKS. Psst, this one is for sale. (Photo: Guns.com)

Russian Ural motorcycle DP28 Victory parade 2019

Other vintage gear included a WWII Dnepr M-72 motorcycle with a sidecar armed with a DP-28 light machine gun

Russian T-34 Victory parade 2019

Don’t forget the obligatory T-34 tank. Russia recently traded the government of Laos for a whole battalion’s worth of these relics the Southeast Asian country had in storage

Russian Ural motorcycle DP28 Victory parade 2019

Other vintage gear included a WWII Dnepr M-72 motorcycle with a sidecar armed with a DP-28 light machine gun

Russian Armata tank Victory parade 2019

There was also some newer equipment on hand

Russian Victory Parade Moscow 2S19 Msta 152mm howitzer

Such as this 2S19 Msta 152mm self-propelled howitzer

Russian hardware Victory parade 2019

And these giant pickles

Russian Naval Infantry AK100 Victory parade 2019

Speaking of newer hardware, these Russian Naval Infantry (marines) brought their AK74Ms

As did these Guards Airborne guys with the funny wife beaters

Members of the Zhukovsky-Gagarin Air Force Academy (blue) along with the missile troops of the A.F. Mozhaysky Military-Space Academy (green)

 

Meanwhile, one of the neatest smaller events was held in Kola Bay near Murmansk in the Russian Arctic.  There a recreation of the Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive of 1944 was staged complete with not only a T-34 and DP-28-armed bike but also all sorts of other vintage hardware to include Mosins and PPSh SMGs.

recreation of the Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive Kola Bay 2019 (1)

The Naval Infantry’s more old-school look.

recreation of the Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive Kola Bay 2019 (1) recreation of the Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive Kola Bay 2019 (1) recreation of the Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive Kola Bay 2019 (1)

In all, the Russian military had 57,000 troops, 1,500 vehicles and 139 aircraft on parade duty this week.

More photos here if you are curious.

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