Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) took the shrouds off its new in-house, original rifle projects – the BW20 and BW21. The POF BW20 and BW21 are chambered for 7.62×51 mm rounds.
Citing videos released by Salman Ali, the lead designer of the POF BW20-series, The Firearm Blog reported that the BW20 uses roller-delayed blowback. This is the same mechanism used in the Hecker & Koch G3, which is the standard-issue battle rifle of the Pakistan Army (PA) and one of POF’s main current products.
It seems that POF is pitching the BW20 for the PA’s next-generation rifle requirements. According to POF’s Salman Ali (via The Firearm Blog), the BW20 is a new rifle design that delivers cost savings by re-leveraging POF’s existing production infrastructure, which is geared for the HK G3.
Though the BW20 has some commonality with the G3 (around 30%), the BW20 is not an upgrade of the HK G3. It is a new rifle.
Pakistan Ordnance Factories BW20
For example, where the G3 comprises of 200 parts, the BW20 uses 125 parts. This is a clear difference in design and build. Moreover, the BW20 uses POF’s in-house trigger mechanism, which is based on the AR-15, while its feed system make use of AR10 magazines. The final production version will have a polymer lower receiver, ambidextrous magazine release and selector system, and bolt hold open mechanism. The BW20 also has picatinny rails for accessories such as sights and forward grips.
POF is also reportedly working on 5.56×45 mm and 7.62×39 mm versions of the BW20. The latter design will reportedly be compatible with AK magazines. POF will likely pitch the 7.62×39 mm to both the PA and the Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) paramilitary units as service adoption for that round grows.
As for the BW21, according to Salman Ali, is also a 7.62×51 mm design using the roller-delayed blowback mechanism, but “in an AR-style platform.” Ali said that the BW21 is entirely different from the BW20. It is unclear if the BW21 is a continuation of POF’s AR development, which it first showed through the PK18 in late 2019. However, it is interesting that POF re-applied the roller-delayed blowback mechanism to an AR-style frame. The BW21 might be even more of an original design than the BW20.
Pakistan Ordnance Factories BW21
In 2015, the Pakistan Army issued a tender for a new-generation assault rifle. It had tested many designs from all over the world, including the FN SCAR, Beretta ARX-200, CZ BREN, AK-103 and others. In the end, however, the Army did not select any of the 7.62×51 mm designs for local adoption. There were reports of Pakistan requesting the AK-103 from Russia, but the status of that program is unclear.
Ultimately, it seems that POF was given the greenlight to design an original rifle. Part of the reason seems to stem from a sense that none of the foreign designs substantially improved upon the G3 in terms of its accuracy and durability. This is not to say the other rifles were not good, but the added improvement they offered may not have justified the total cost of adopting and locally manufacturing a foreign design…
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