RECOIL Magazine, HK, and A Day Late

11-Sep-12 – 11:09 by ToddG

By now, unless you live under a rock, you’ve read all about the giant pit that editor Jerry Tsai of RECOIL Magazine has dug himself with his anti-RKBA comments regarding the Heckler & Koch MP7A1 PDW. Rather than rehash it all here, you can find details, smart commentary, and more links at:

In typical fashion, after a major public blunder, the magazine editor made another major public blunder and before you could say “Facebook!” it was being discussed in every gun-culture corner of the internet. Having failed to appease the masses with his first not-a-retraction, Tsai then decided to throw Heckler & Koch under the bus by trying to make it sound like it was that company, not him, that was opposed to “non-sporting” firearms.

As anyone who’s been reading for the past few years is well aware, HK does in fact support private ownership of firearms for reasons other than playing games, hunting, or whatever else is supposed to fall under “sporting purpose.” The company worked for years to get through the minefield of German small arms export laws and U.S. small arms import laws — not to mention a huge investment in U.S.-based manufacturing — to bring their famous 416 carbine to the consumer market as the MR556. Suggesting that HK won’t produce a “civilian” legal MP7A1 out of spite or disrespect for the Second Amendment is just stupid.

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.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 23 Responses to “RECOIL Magazine, HK, and A Day Late”

  2. They’re going to have to replace the editor and make a real apology if they want to stay in business.

    By jellydonut on Sep 11, 2012

  3. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. If the guy comes out and says he realizes now that he was being an idiot, that people obviously have a right to own non-sporting guns, and that he let his editorial license move too far toward the “cool stuff only cool guys can have” end of the spectrum, I think most folks will accept and drive on.

    By ToddG on Sep 11, 2012

  4. They must have a real hard time with import requirements (or building items in the US). Have you seen their USC (UMP civie version) or SLR-8 (G36 c-version)? Terrible…

    If Sig can sell a weapon that seems to have all the features of 551/550 but in semi-only, how come HK’s product looks so distinctively different? Is it because Sig builds them here – or is it due to HK’s neglect of the non-LEO/Mil market?

    Also, they could start simple with a true MP-5 (with the 16″ barrel) or MP-5k (with no stock) and I’m sure they would sell many, many units chambered in the ubiquitous 9mm. Or how about a 91/93 in 7.62/5.56? Certainly, there are many companies making clones of these that sell for well over a grand new. You would have to think that H&K is either a) unwilling to manufacture in the US or b) is neglecting the civilian market or c) both. Heck, Colt did it for years – but now that their contract is on the fritz, I’ve seen many more LE6900 AR-15 for sale!!!

    By bo on Sep 11, 2012

  5. With everyone so pissed off around the net sounding off their indignation (and with good reason) HK was bound to get some blame tossed at them. It’s nice to hear from someone with firsthand experience of HK, their motivations and the restrictions they have to deal with.

    Certainly one of the strategies of the gun grabbers here in this country revolves around slowly piling up enough restrictions on manufacturers that it just becomes unprofitable for them to stay in business. Unfortunately it becomes tough, and tricky during certain conflicts, to outfit a military the size of ours with weapons entirely outsourced to other countries.

    By Kevin 61 on Sep 11, 2012

  6. Jerry said something dumb, then followed it up with saying more dumb stuff.

    By Dave on Sep 11, 2012

  7. I dislike eating our own but in these cases, the people writing these articles need to understand that when they sign their name at the bottom, they need to take full responsibility for their actions.

    By Kirk in Utah on Sep 11, 2012

  8. Certainly Jerry Tsai will take some medicine and do some penance, but I’m hoping to see some real good come out of this. Now that everyone has called for Jerry’s head, let’s direct some of that energy where it will do some good. Let’s call for doing away with the “sporting purposes” language that has been ensconced in federal law since 1934 and again in 1968. The NRA won’t do it on their own (although I would fully expect them to take credit once it gains steam).

    Write your elected servants both in Washington and within the NRA and tell them that in this post-Heller age, it’s proven that “sporting purposes” is no longer the only justification for owning guns.

    By Chris Knox on Sep 11, 2012

  9. Reminds me of the Jim Zumbo editorial fallout of a few years ago…

    By Plan on Sep 12, 2012

  10. I’d buy an un-nuetered one if they could produce it domestically.

    But I feel bad for HK, they have an awful CS rep, and anti-gun rep that they’re trying awful hard to get rid of and dickheads like Jerry Tsai aren’t helping…

    By Robert on Sep 12, 2012

  11. While we are doing away with the “sporting purposes” language, how about repealing the import restrictions? They really don’t make much sense to me. But then, I’m in favor of dissolving the ATF entirely after that whole “fast and furious” fiasco. The hatred of civilian ownership of firearms appears to be to ingrained at the BATFE for it to be salvaged.

    By DanH on Sep 12, 2012

  12. The only real hope here is to fix our broken guns laws. I fail to see how a 16″ barrel or gun OAL has anything to do with why a gun can/can’t be sold in the US.

    Is a 14 inch barrel on my shotgun REALLY going to cause the end of the world?

    I prefer my rifles to be rifle length because I don’t like giving up all that velocity. If you want one, why do I care?

    In a pretend world where I had $2000 to spend on another gun, and my choices were the MP5, MP7, or MP10 non-neutered. I’d pick the MP5 because it has ammo commonality with my pistol, I get some extra velocity with a 10 inch barrel, and I my environment doesn’t contain bad-guys wearing body armor. HOWEVER, your threat level my be very different than mine, perhaps the armor piercing bullet makes sense in your town.

    By Brice on Sep 12, 2012

  13. Brice,

    I fail to see how a 16? barrel or gun OAL has anything to do with why a gun can/can’t be sold in the US.

    The OAL and barrel length restrictions in the NFA only make sense when one takes into consideration that ALL handguns were to fall under Title 2 as well.

    The National Revolver Association successfully lobbied to get handguns exempted but, paradoxically, the OAL and barrel length reqs for long guns remain.

    By Tam on Sep 12, 2012

  14. I’d like to compile a history of the NFA. Among the strange things that happened during the fight over that law was the NRA Treasurer coming out (in The American Rifleman) against a “freak class of weapon” — the .357 Magnum pistol. There was a very real fear that handguns — and lots of other guns — would be included in the NFA. In fact the law puts all those tax stamp restrictions on “Firearms” and then defines firearms as full-auto. It was an early example of “If you don’t accept this, then worse will be forced down your throat!” The correct action in that case, as in so many cases since, is to call the bluff. Can you imagine Treasury agents driving into Pecos, Texas or Prescott, Arizona in 1935 and telling the locals to line up to be fingerprinted and and buy a $200 stamp for each and every pistol they owned? The 1934 NFA is full of absurdities. My brother and I wrote an column for ‘Front Sight’ magazine last year about Steve McQueen’s “Mare’s Leg” 1892 Winchester. You can read it here:

    By Chris Knox on Sep 12, 2012

  15. Chris Knox,

    Can you imagine Treasury agents driving into Pecos, Texas or Prescott, Arizona in 1935 and telling the locals to line up to be fingerprinted and and buy a $200 stamp for each and every pistol they owned?

    Why would they? Back then the NFA only applied if you transported firearms across a state line, otherwise how would the federal government have any jurisdiction without amending the Constitution?

    Ah, those were the days, when more than half of all politicians could not only spell the word “constitutional”, but also say it with a straight face…

    By Tam on Sep 12, 2012

  16. I can’t argue with the analysis, but someone should point out that Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal managed to make a very similar equation work with regard to the PS-90 and FiveseveN.

    By JesseL on Sep 12, 2012

  17. JesseL,

    Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal managed to make a very similar equation work with regard to the PS-90 and FiveseveN.

    The FiveSeveN doesn’t count, as it runs afoul of no import regs.

    The PS90 gains a step in the “evil features sweepstakes” from the jump-off, in that it has a fixed buttstock, and so a simple barrel length change is all it takes to get it past the ’89 Bush/Bennett Ban…

    By Tam on Sep 12, 2012

  18. Also, to repeat my post from elsewhere:

    “The fact that internet gun dorks almost instantly turned this into a discussion about HK guns* rather than about their exploitation by a shallow and calculating publishing company that didn’t even think highly enough of their intelligence to hire someone who was actually a gunnie to run their new “Maxim For Gun Owners Who Use Axe Body Spray” book depresses the living **** out of me.”

    By Tam on Sep 12, 2012

  19. One thing to consider is that the NFA minimum barrel length for rifles was originally 18″, and was later rolled back to 16″. I once read a profile of Sam Cummings that credited him for greasing the skids to get the minimum barrel length changed. The author claimed had Cummings wanted to import a large amount of surplus carbines that were too short to legally sell.

    By Daniel E. Watters on Sep 12, 2012

  20. Why would a civilian MP7 need to be a carbine? Why not a pistol? Delete the buttstock, give it a semi-auto trigger group, voila.

    It would make enough points for import just on length and weight alone.

    I am, of course, more angered by the statements that the American public that imply *any* small arm is just too much for civilians (let alone a little SMG in a goofy caliber), and that “sporting purposes” is any kind of legitimate lens through which to view the RKBA.

    By JesseL on Sep 12, 2012

  21. Because a stockless semi auto MP-7 pistol is pretty much a range toy. Basically, you would have a oversized, bulky pistol firing a underpowered and unusual cartrige all for a really high price.
    Not really worth it.

    The better thing to do is to let GSG do a licensed .22lr copy.

    By Joe in PNG on Sep 12, 2012

  22. So all we need to do is raise 50 million USD and HK will make it happen! Does Kickstarter do firearms? ;P

    By Curby on Sep 13, 2012

  23. JeeseL, as stated in the other thread, the “sporting language” is required by the gun control act of 1968 (ours…not Germany’s). It is pretty much very protectionist of US companies, which is probably why no serious Constitutional challenges have been made to it. Hk isn’t trying to insult you with this language. They want to sell you guns, and the only way to allow you to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights is to bring in guns with a “sporting” use. Our rules, not their choice.

    The issue with a MP-7 pistol is that it would also be illegal in many of our most populist states. Additionally, many places have magazine restrictions that would limit the capacity to 10 or less rounds, which would make it even stupider. For those who want a “MP-7” just to have something that looks like the real thing as a range toy, a .22 cal replica would be a very good way to go and actually sell.

    By nyeti on Sep 13, 2012

  24. If I could buy a real MP-7 (and find and afford the ammo), I’d primarily use it for “sporting” purposes such as shooting targets and probably a fair number of water-filled plastic bottles as well. The ATF might not consider those to be “sporting” pursuits but, if so, that is only because the ATF’s definitions are incoherent.

    That isn’t entirely the ATF’s fault–standing as a whole the federal firearms laws are, and have been since 1934, an epistomological nightmare, largely because they are written by persons who have no real understanding of the subject on which they are legislating since they regard anything dealing with firearms with repugnance.

    There is a lot that could be said about a governing class that refuses to understand even the basics about the tools that are necessary to preserve our liberties, but some good has come out of it. As this episode confirms, an increasingly large portion of the American population has increasingly educated itself about what the Constituion in fact means, and why that is important.

    By SteveJ on Sep 14, 2012

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