Knight’s Armament Mystery Rifles for Spec Ops Units

In 2008, while attending the Gryphon Group mobile force protection course I was fortunate to be invited to attend a tour of the Reed Knight factory in Florida with a small group of soldiers from other Special Forces Groups. At the time, taking pictures was pretty much forbidden, but it seems that since then Reed Knight has hosted a number of open house events for the public.

Walking through the machine shop we were able to see automated machine units drilling lower receivers for the M110 sniper rifle from solid billet which was pretty cool to watch and something that was definitely not permitted when I toured the Glock factory at Smyrna, Georgia later that year. Viewing some of the fully assembled products, I was interested to see a half dozen short barrel, bolt-action .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifles that our tour guide, one of Reed Knight’s vice presidents, told us was bound for a certain SOCOM unit.

Outside in the lobby were examples of current products made at their facility, one of which was a M4 variant that fired 7.62×39 (AK-47) rounds. As our guide explained to us, a Special Operations unit was concerned early into OEF that as they were clearing deeper into cave complexes in Afghanistan that they were running low on ammunition and had to effect a battlefield recovery from dead enemy, claiming their Kalashnikov rifles for themselves. With a special order placed by this unit for a M4 style rifle that would fire recovered Taliban ammunition, Reed Knight shut down it’s entire factory for several weeks to dedicate their full effort to a separate compound on their property that houses classified weapons projects.

With the finished product in hand, SOCOM bought something like a half dozen of the M4 rifles chambered for 7.62×39 and Reed Knight never heard anything of it again!

(Photo: Above is NOT a Knight’s 300 WinMag)

Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger and SF Soldier and is the author of the military thriller Reflexive Fire.

  • Feral Jundi

    Very cool. Kind of like the MGI Hydra AK variant. I wonder how reliable the Knight’s weapon is?

  • Talon

    I LOVE the AICS rifles. Once I ditch my stock I’m getting a AICS 1.5, cant wait!

  • I thought that SCAR-H was suppose to fill the 7.62×39 mm and 7.62x51mm NATO multi-caliber requirement. I find it a little strange they are still converting M4 variants for this role. What is going on here?

    • reflexivefire

      It’s in the article. The modified M4 was built early on in the war, probably in 2002. Only a few of these rifles were ever built. I’ve never heard of a 7.62×39 SCAR variant. That’s news to me.

    • jared

      your close, but the SCAR-H only fires x51

  • Mr. Tacticool
    • reflexivefire

      Thank you! I’m sure this is it. Glad to see my memory was pretty much on target although I had forgotten the nomenclature of the gun itself. Good find.

  • Larry

    I don’t understand why they went away from the NATO round in the first place.

    • RMCFrank

      Maybe I’m getting the article wrong but seems to me like the 3rd paragraph explains the reasoning behing the round choice.

    • Riceball

      It’s not a full change, it’s only a stop gap due to concerns about ammo resupplies. The idea, as mentioned in the article, was to allow SOF personnel to resupply by looting the Taliban for ammo if they start to run low during an op. This can only be done when you and your enemy use the same caliber of round in your weapons hence the request for M4s converted to fire 7.62×39.

  • Lance

    Most units are staying with the M-4 for none DMR or long range shooting using 7.62X51 ammo. So a M-4 that shoots AK ammo makes sense.

  • FormerSFMedic

    The 6.8 SPC “program” began after the sr-47 failed to make an impression on SF operators. I sure would like to know where those rifles are. Can you imagine how much they are worth? Not to mention have a collectors item noone else would have!

  • MCTO

    im pretty sure one of the rifles is in a vault or glass case at the KAC factory and the rest were delievered to SOCOM and never heard or seen from again. hell, they might even be in use in some random corner of the world.

  • besides the very useful ability to recover rounds from fallen enemies, could SOCOM also be interested in covering their tracks in other areas where the AK47 is commonly used?

  • Tom

    The average engagement for non-special forces personnel (average grunt) in Afghanistan is 600-900 yards. NATO’s 5.56 cannot hold supersonic out to these ranges. So when our boys hit a target with their issued M4 or M16 at those ranges they don’t do much damage. If you are looking to drop targets quickly you need something bigger than 5.56mm. More kinetic energy.

    Wasn’t there an M4 variant a few years back that fired a 6 point something mm round? It looked promising.

  • tribulationtime

    I think it was a good choice for covert ops in first stages of EF. When you look pics of SOF personel embebbed into North Alliance you see Cap + Bears + without Long Banana Mag = US soldier. AK-47 mags are very long range distintive item. In such pics a quickly look for mags dont fooled you on who is who. i think. Other side use it for “dive” into caves…dont fit. Were they going inside caves like Resident Evil game or something? Spending their combat loads and take enemy ones, like MoH assault?.

  • J. Fleming

    Question: I read a article about the 7.62 round. It stated max. effectived range was 800 meters. What were they thinking? Tracer burn out is 900 meters Can anyone explain they’re statement? I feel this is the best round for
    short,meduim,and long range engagement of targets.

    • reflexivefire

      Could you post a link to the article or give us the reference information?

    • FormerSFMedic

      800m is more of an average than anything else. A sniper rifle with good match ammo can probably get out to 1000m with good accuracy and terminal performance. However a 13in. barrel MK17 with rack grade ammo might not perform well past 600m. Who knows what ammo “they” used to come up with that number. What we do know is that the 7.62 NATO is an outstanding medium range military cartridge.

  • Nmate

    6.8mm SPC. It’s ballistics aren’t that much different from 5.56mm, it just packs a lot more kinetic energy and works a whole lot better out of short barrels. It was developed for about $5,000 by some guy in the 5th SFG and a few guys in the Army Marksmanship Unit. They had originally looked at a round not very different from the 6.5 Grendel but discarded it because it wouldn’t feed and extract well in AR-type rifles. I remember reading a report where it was stated that 6.8 SPC had the best terminal effects of any round available that was less powerful than the 7.62x51mm.

  • bart

    Would a 7.62 x39 m4 be converted for an AK mag or would it use some special 7.62×39 m4 mag? The whole battlefield pickup thing would be laborious if it didn’t use AK mags.

  • Payce

    Hmmm…that’s an interesting theory.

  • CavScout62

    Ronni Barrett got the contract to build the rifle, it’s called the REC-7. You can buy one today as they are still making them. Quite popular with the deer and hog hunting crowd. I own onw myself and it is a great weapon. Piston driven, accurate as hell, 100% familiar to the AR, it is super reliable, easy to reload, and packs 80% of the 7.62X51 power into a cartridge that is just a tiny bit fatter than the .556 nato round. It does not have any FTF problems on either end of the cycle. Check it out on the Barrett site.

  • Johnny

    I think I would have just spent a couple grand on some Ruger Mini 30s lol.