Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Under The Bus

If I am reading a statement from Heckler & Koch correctly, they have thrown RECOIL Magazine under the bus.

From a post on Facebook by the HK Pro Shooting Team:
Some readers have misinterpreted a recent feature story in RECOIL magazine as a reflection of HK policy. Heckler & Koch has a long presence in the US civilian market and throughout that time has been an ardent and passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and the American civilian shooter. This will always be the case. The contents, opinions, and statements expressed in that feature story are t
hose of the writer, not Heckler and Koch’s. Additionally, the writer and RECOIL magazine have issued a clarification and apology for the ill-chosen words used in the story.

The HK MP7A1 4.6 mm Personal Defense Weapon mentioned in the story is a selective-fire product (capable of “full automatic” fire) and is currently restricted to military and law enforcement agencies by BATF. HK-USA has previously researched introducing similar commercial products, chambered in 4.6 mm, but it was determined that the final product would not have enough appeal or be legally feasible.

— Heckler & Koch USA
I've stayed out of this controversy because others have covered it so well.

I do not plan to buy/subscribe to RECOIL Magazine. The one copy I scanned at Barnes & Noble just wasn't to my tastes. I'm more of a Guns/American Handgunner/Rifle/Handloader kind of guy.

Moreover, they have done the gun rights community no  favors as this post by Miguel makes clear. You knew it was only a matter of time before the trolls at CSGV jumped on it.

RECOIL is as Grant Cunningham so aptly calls it a "dead magazine walking".
As I said on Monday, the new generation of shooters needs their own magazine. This one, bankrolled by someone whose political associations are highly suspect, may not be it. The shooting fraternity still needs a magazine like RECOIL, but it needs to be one which doesn't compromise on the Second Amendment. Could RECOIL become that magazine? I have my doubts, especially after their publisher dug in his heels to support the status quo, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt if they truly repent.
I agree with Grant that I have my doubts. When you have both the editor and publisher doubling down, it doesn't inspire confidence. It may not matter much as it looks like a number of major advertisers plan to take their money elsewhere.

I'll let Soldier Systems have the final word on RECOIL and its survival.
But, what is worse than some losing advertisers and readers is their relationship with the very industry that they are supposed to be covering. Rather than manning up and accepting Mr Tsai’s words, they are now blaming the words and associated anti-Second Amendment sentiment on Heckler & Koch. Well done. You’ve now alienated one gun maker and the others are probably rubbing their chins wondering if you’ll make them look bad as well. Who is going to provide samples for those cute little photo layouts? What gun company is going to take them to the range? Who will even talk to them? You can’t have a magazine without content. I supported ‘Recoil’ from the beginning and I would have stayed right behind them had they shown industry that they were willing to learn from this and move forward. Instead, they don’t get it at all. They’ve now taken an adversarial stance toward the firearms and tactical industries. I can’t abide by that.

I have heard various versions of this today so I’ll just paraphrase, “Recoil, you need industry. You’ve shown us we don’t need you.”

UPDATE: ToddG at provides a very astute comment on the whole RECOIL controversy with regard to HK and why they haven't made a semi-auto version of the MP7A1. He points out that not only does HK have to comply with US import laws but they have to deal with draconian German export laws as well.
Someone at HK presumably sat down and ran the numbers. First, how neutered would a US-legal over the counter MP7A1 have to be? Fire control group would need to be designed not just to be semi automatic only but also meet ATF restrictions on being converted back to select fire. A new 16″ barrel would have to be developed… not only does a 16″ bbl MP7A1 pretty much ruin the point of the MP7A1 in the first place, but do you know what HK goes through to develop new barrels? It isn’t cheap. Then you’d need 5- and 10-round magazines for various states, a fixed stock for some states, etc., etc., etc.

Next, you have to figure out how many of these neutered MP7A1′s will actually sell. It’s easy for people on the internet to say “I’d buy me one of them!” but that doesn’t actually translate one-for-one into sales of what would likely be a $2,000 firearm that uses hard to find, expensive, proprietary ammunition.

Finally, you plug all that into H.A.L. and ask him if the cost to come to market is a reasonable investment of company funds. The answer, in this case, is almost certainly no.

You want a civy-legal MP7A1? Commit to buying 25,000 of them and I’ll put you in touch with a guy at HK who might be able to make that happen for you. In the meantime, don’t get blinded by the “blame the manufacturer” smoke screen from Jerry Tsai and the public relations chimpanzees at RECOIL Magazine.
This may piss off some readers but you have to remember that gun manufacturing is a business and we can't get all the shiny new toys just because we want them. If a manufacturer can't make a decent profit on a line of firearms they aren't going to stay in business long pushing money-losing products. That's the difference between private enterprise and the government.


  1. BULLSHIT, H&K has had every opportunity to release and re-release other long-arms to the American gun market. G36, USC, HK94, HK91, HK416, MP5, G3, SL8-6 or other types...the list go's on and on. H&K hasn't made serious attempts to re-engage the US rifle market in years. Anyone who has ever gone to a SHOT Show and who has approached HK sales reps, gets laughed out of the booth and treated like a ignoramus for even suggesting such. FOAD HK...

    1. Would have to agree. Regulatory hoops haven"t stopped FN from marketing the FiveSeven or the PS90 to the "citizen" market.

    2. @1freeman1951: FN has always had a civilian market since the days of John M. Browning and are more used to working with it. FN also owns Browning and Winchester (arms not ammo).

      HK, on the other hand, has always been primarily defense industry oriented company. They were created out of the remnants of Mauser. They got back into the arms industry with the G3 rifle of the Bundeswehr.

      You have two different corporate cultures when you are comparing FN and HK which accounts for a good part of the difference. If I had to hazzard a guess, one reason that HK doesn't do more with the civilian market is that they don't understand it that well.

      The other factor that comes into play is that FN is Belgian and HK is German. You have two different export regimes in place when it comes to firearms. The Belgians have always been big small arms exporters. Think FN-FAL and Auto-5s. By contrast, the Germans were exporters in the early parts of the 20th century but then had their flirtation with the Austrian.

    3. "Anyone who has ever gone to a SHOT Show and who has approached HK sales reps, gets laughed out of the booth and treated like a ignoramus for even suggesting such."

      That is just arrant bull$h!t right there.

    4. One other detail I just pointed out at the old Snowflakes in Hell is that after a stroke of G. H. W. Bush's pen outlawed much of H&K's US sales (and that import ban is still in place, BTW), their only recourse would have been to set up manufacturing facilities in the US. You can be sure they're glad they didn't quickly move on that, only to have something of a repeat with the 1994 "assault weapons" ban, which would have barely barely mitigated by all the used G3 magazines floating around.

      Whereas FN got the M16 contract in 1988, requiring them to set up facilities in the US to build them if they didn't have them already. Don't know when they got the contacts for machine gun barrels.

      Side note: while researching this I saw allegations that a condition of FN's contact was they couldn't sell civilian versions. Entirely believable from Bush 41 and would explain why FN has never sold us any during this red hot market while they're delighted to sell us eeeevil PS90s, Five Sevens, SCARs (once they got caught up with the military's requirements), etc.

      For them it's really worked out well, they make Winchester Model 70 barrels with the same hammer forges they use for machine gun barrels, when a subcontractor made a color mistake in anodizing SCAR receivers they turned those lemons into lemonade by using them for the first "gold limited edition" lot of SCARs sold to civilians, etc. I don't know if the receivers were intended for the military version (very possibly not), but I guess my point is that by being a happy part of America's civilian gun culture for over 8 decades they obviously have a different posture towards us.

  2. Probably the fastest/cheapest way to get HK to recommit to rifles in the US market is to get the NFA and the Hughes Amendment repealed or struck down. That would eliminate their cost of servicing the US civilian market.

    1. It would probably be much more simple to just to do away with the 'sporting use' requirement on imports. It's currently the largest single barrier to importing anything for civilian sales. Before 'sporting use' was put into place you could import as much as you wanted of pretty much anything you could get someone to sell you.

    2. "It would probably be much more simple to just to do away with the 'sporting use' requirement on imports."

      ...and you see how hard our domestic firearms manufacturers are lobbying to get rid of that!

      At the end of the day, kids, this is a business.

  3. They (Soldier Systems) posted a new list of the advertisers who have fled Recoil. Our local Boarders Books recently closed and the B&N is too far away for my active magazine perusal and I have never seen a copy of Recoil... but my taste also tends to Guns/American Handgunner/SWAT (thanks Tam, I think...)/Handloader.

    Article by Jerry Tsai

    It is with deep sorrow that I announce I am stepping down as editor of Recoil, effective immediately.

    It is very difficult for me to walk away from something I helped create, something that I loved doing, and something I firmly believed would appeal to a fresh new generation of gun enthusiasts, but I accept that the comments in my story in the current issue have made my position as editor of Recoil untenable.

    With that said, Recoil is bigger than any one person, and if my departure will allow Recoil to continue to grow and engage gun enthusiasts, then stepping down as editor is clearly the right thing for me to do.

    I accept I made mistakes, and I apologize unreservedly for calling Recoil’s support for Second Amendment rights into question.

    While I understand the passions aroused over this incident, the deeply hurtful words from some of my fellow gun enthusiasts have been painful to endure. I hope now we can all move on.

    Finally, I would like to thank all those who have supported me over the past few days. These are the people who know me to be at heart a passionate gun enthusiast whose dream was to make something bold and new in firearms media.

    Jerry Tsai

    Read more:

  5. HK is paying for their arrogance. they stopped catering to the U.S. civilian market after they stopped the 91,93, 94 series, which, by the way was their best sellers. Imagine glock stopping manufacturing right now. That is what HK did. They also counted on military and law enforcement sales of the MP5, not realizing that the M4 would take that nish quickly. They now have a pistol series nobody uses, rifles that are no where near as successful as the 91, 93 series and other manufacturers stepping up with rifles the public wants. They simply have to learn that the U.S. gun consumer runs the market not military contracts. Until they regain the appeal of HK to the U.S. Market they will not succeed. I remember my first HK91. I bought it at a gunshow and remember walking through the show holding it, and heads turning to look at it. HK has lost that feeling.

  6. Errr, it wasn't they who "stopped the 91,93, 94 series", it was the G. H. W. Bush administration who with a stroke of the pen banned their importation in 1989. See my comment above for a bit more, and don't forget they have their own set of German export laws and regulations to thread.