If we take an honest look at firearms these days, it is easy to see that now, in 21 century, there is significantly less diversity in weapon design compared to 50s or 60s. Everything we see now are gas-operated rifles based on AR-15, AR-18 and AK. But another major action type, roller-delayed blowback, used in G3, MP5 and other H&K rifles, seems to have faded into obscurity. Until now. Meet BW20, the new battle rifle designed by Pakistan Ordnance Factories.
Pakistan Ordnance Factories @ TFB:
Back in the day, H&K built several factories for license production of G3 and MP5 – in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Greece, Iran, Portugal, Sweden, Colombia, and Pakistan. Some of those factories closed down, some are still making G3s and planning a total overhaul of production facilities to start license manufacturing of new designs. But in Pakistan, they went one step further. After testing the most modern and advanced battle rifles (SCAR-H, Beretta ARX 200, BREN 2 from CZ), POF engineers evaluated the results and decided to give a try to designing a modern battle rifle based on a G3 roller-delayed blowback action.
BW20 stands for “Battle Weapon, designed in 2020”. While originally engineers considered the name “battle rifle” (BR20), the abbreviation BR is already widely used in Pakistan Army, so the factory went with BW designation instead.
In the video, the rifle is tested by POF engineer Salman Ali, who initiated the development of BW20 and is the primary designer of the project. Apart from being an experienced weapons design engineer, Salman is an accomplished precision shooter which helped him to refine some components of the new rifle.
While BW20 uses roller-delayed blowback, it is not just an upgrade of the G3. At the moment, BW20 shares about 30% of spare parts with G3 in order to decrease production costs and necessary investments. From the ground up, the rifle was designed to be produced on machinery used for G3 manufacturing to use existing infrastructure. The entire rifle consists of 125 parts, while the original G3 has about 200 parts.
The version presented in the pictures is a pre-production prototype, the final version should have a bolt hold open mechanism as well as an ambidextrous magazine release and selector. The prototype has a lower receiver machined from aluminum, the production version is designed to have a polymer lower receiver.
BW20 feeds from AR10 magazines and has a proprietary trigger mechanism based on AR-15. The stock is also based on an AR15 but has a massive cheek riser. The production version will be compatible with various AR-15 stocks.
The charging handle is on the left side, an armorer can move it to the right side if necessary. The standard version of the rifle has a 16-inch barrel, carbine version features a 12-inch barrel.
Versions of this rifle in 5.56 and 7.62×39 are being developed at the moment. The 5.56 rifle will use a standard AR15 magazine, while the 7.62×39 version will be compatible with AK magazines.
POF (Pakistan Ordnance Factories) is developing this rifle both for the country’s military and international market. There are plans to develop both a designated marksman version and a semi-automatic rifle that would be available on the commercial market.
At the moment, POF-made MP5s are available on the US market, and so far it looks like nothing should stop potential civilian versions of BW20 from coming to the USA unless ATF hates the roller delay gang.