Door Kickers

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Rob Curtis, long-time senior photographer for Military Times, is now the new, Staff Features Editor for Recoil Magazine.

This is a pretty big win for Recoil, a tactical firearms mag launched in 2012. Rob has become one of the most knowledgeable small-arms and gear writers in the business.

I have known Rob for about 16 years. For 11 of those years, we worked together at Military Times. We had our first real-world assignment together in June 1999 when the U.S. Peace-Keeping Force went into Kosovo. Four years later, Rob and I found ourselves together again during the start of the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003. We swallowed the same dust in an all-day street battle, shadowing soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Karbala.

Since then, Rob and I have worked together, argued like brothers and competed against one another covering weapons and gear used by the U.S. Military. He has also been a mentor as I still struggle to learn photography.

Rob is a skilled photographer and videographer, but he has also branched out and developed as a writer. He was the driving force behind the creation of GearScout at Military Times several years ago. Some of the leadership was skeptical of the concept at the time, but Rob has built the site into a respected source of behind-the-scenes gouge on the military small-arms and gear industry.

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Beretta USA said the U.S. Army has rejected the gun-maker’s request that the service reconsider its M9A3 pistol as an alternative to the Modular Handgun System (MHS) program.

Beretta officials sent the Jan. 30 request in response to the Army’s formal rejection of the M9A3 Engineering Change Proposal to the current M9 contract.

“Needless to say, we are disappointed,” Gabriele de Plano, vice president of Beretta Defense Technologies (BDT) Marketing Operations, said in March 2 email.

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It has been widely reported that the Russian military has adopted the AK12 rifle for its elite forces, but there is very little info available about its other new rifle choice – the AK 103-4.

Deputy Minister of Defence Yuriy Borisov announced on Russian radio on 24 January that the Russian armed forces had selected the AK12, chambered in 5.45×39 mm, and the AK-103-4, chambered in 7.62x39mm, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Without question, the AK12 is the big news. Improved ergonomics is the key feature that sets the AK12 apart from the AK family, according to AK12-maker Kalashnikov Concern, formerly known as Izhmash.

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“The AK-12 assault carbine also has a new ergonomic fire selector control … a person can operate the mechanical controls of the assault rifle with one hand,” Kalashnikov officials maintain. “A soldier can still do everything he needs to do with the weapon: move the safety, pull back the bolt and replace the magazine even if wounded or when using his other hand.”

But the piece of this story that has been driving me crazy is the lack of information or images of the AK103-4.

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U.S. Army testers recently evaluated a new type of hand grenade that allows soldiers to connect up to three sections of explosive for a more powerful blast.

The Scalable Offensive Hand Grenade offers conventional soldiers a new capability. Unlike the standard fragmentation grenade, this design offers mainly a blast effect that can be doubled or tripled to suit the job. It has also been fielded to U.S. Special Operations Command since 2010.

Army officials tested it during a recent live-fire portion of the service’s annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.

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I posted a story on Military.com today describing how the U.S. Army recently notified Beretta USA that its new M9A3 includes too many design changes to still be considered an M9.

As you may recall, Beretta submitted the M9A3 Engineering Change Proposal to the Army in December as an alternative to the service’s Modular Handgun System.

Besides its new earth-tone colors, the M9A3 features a  MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail for mounting weapon lights. It also has a much-thinner, Vertec grip for smaller hands and an optional wrap-around grip for those with larger hands.

The M9A3 will also feature a redesigned, over-center safety lever that cants slightly upward to help eliminate accidental safety activation when the slide is racked during malfunction drills, Beretta officials maintain. The new pistol has improved, removable front and rear sights and a threaded barrel for suppressor use. Beretta USA has also increased the magazine capacity from 15 to 17 rounds.

The M9A3 has a lot of new features, but it’s still an M9, according to pistol experts.

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I don’t normally do posts on military shirt makers, but Grunt Style LLC has some really sweet designs.

Their Basic Tee is priced at just $12.95 each. And based on customer reviews, the quality seems to be unusually high.

Grunt Style offers conservative as well as over-the-top designs — most with patriotic or warfighter themes. The Illinois-based shop also makes hoodies, polo shirts, beanies, patches and other novelties.

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The U.S. Army has included $2 million in its proposed fiscal 2016 budget for the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System program.

In June 2014, the Army released a request for proposal to invite gun companies to build compact versions of the service’s 7.62mm M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System. The CSASS program did not receive any funding in the Army’s approved fiscal 2015 budget.

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