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Pakistan unveils new riffles: BW20 and BW21

Principal designer of the POF BW20 series, the BW20 rifle has the same mechanism as the Hecker & Koch G3, which is the Pakistan Army's standard battle rifle and is currently a POF product. Pakistani munitions firms appear to have introduced the BW20 in response to the Pakistani army's requests for a next-generation rifle.

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Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) has presented plans for two new 7.6251mm indigenous rifles, the BW20 and BW21. According to Salman Ali, principal designer of the POF BW20 series, the BW20 rifle has the same mechanism as the Hecker & Koch G3, which is the Pakistan Army’s standard battle rifle and is currently a POF product.

Pakistani munitions firms appear to have introduced the BW20 in response to the Pakistani army’s requests for a next-generation rifle. It’s a new design that saves money by repurposing the HK G3’s existing production infrastructure at Pakistan’s weapons facilities. Although there are some similarities between the BW20 and the G3 (about 30%), it is not an upgrade.

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Understanding the specifications of BW20

The G3 rifle, for example, has 200 parts while the BW20 rifle has 125, indicating a significant difference in design and production. The BW20 also incorporates PMF’s internal trigger mechanism, which is based on the AR-15, and an AR10 magazine for its feed system. The BW20 will have a different magazine (the latter design will be compatible with AK series magazines), a selector system, a bolt opening mechanism, and Picatinny rails for accessories like sighting systems and front grips in the final version.

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.

Pakistani weapons firms are also apparently working on a 5.5645mm and 7.6239mm variant of the BW20. In conjunction with Pakistan Army and Interior Ministry paramilitary units, this plant is expected to create 7.62x39mm versions.

As for the BW21 rifle, it differs in design from the BW20 except that it uses the same 7.62×51mm caliber using an AR-style roller-delayed blowback mechanism. It is unclear whether the BW21 is a continuation of the AR development of Pakistani ordnance factories, which debuted in late 2019 with the PK18, and the BW21 may be more indigenously designed and built than the BW20.

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In 2015, the Pakistani army put out a tender for the purchase of a new generation assault rifle. Many designs have been tested from around the world, including the FN SCAR, Beretta ARX-200, CZ BREN, AK-103 and more. In the end, the Army chose none of the 7.62×51mm designs for domestic adoption.

In the end, the Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) appears to have given the green light to a domestic rifle design, and part of the reason appears to stem from the sense that none of the foreign designs have significantly improved upon the G3 in terms of accuracy and durability.