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Beryl
The rifle cal. 5.56 wz. 96 Beryl.
TypeAssault rifle
Place of originPoland
Service history
In service1997–present
Used bySee Users
Wars
Production history
DesignerFB "Łucznik" Radom
Designed1995–1996
ManufacturerFB "Łucznik" Radom, Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria
Unit cost$1,570
Produced1997–present
Variants
  • FB Mini-Beryl
  • Kbk wz. 2003
  • Beryl IPSC
  • Beryl Commando
  • Beryl M762
  • Beryl M545
Specifications
Mass3.35 kg (7.39 lb)
(without magazine)
Length
  • 943 mm (37.1 in)
    (stock extended)
  • 742 mm (29.2 in)
    (stock folded)
Barrel length457 mm (18.0 in)

Cartridge
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire700 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity920 m/s (3,018 ft/s)
Maximum firing range600 m
Feed system
SightsRear sight notch on a sliding tangent, front post

The karabinek szturmowy wzór 1996 "Beryl" (English: assault rifle model 1996 "Beryllium") is a Polish 5.56mm assault rifle, designed and produced by the Łucznik Arms Factory in the city of Radom. The rifle replaced the 5.45×39mm FB Tantal used in the Polish Armed Forces; it also replaced the Armed Forces' stock of 7.62×39mm AKM rifles for operational purposes, though reserve and training use of the AKM still continues to a limited degree.

Development

wz. 88 Tantal - progenitor of wz. 96 Beryl

Development work on a new service rifle (both a standard and carbine variant) adapted to use the intermediate 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge had been undertaken in 1995, however a functioning 5.56 mm rifle and carbine variant had already been available in Radom since 1991, known as the wz. 1991 (a rechambered wz. 88 Tantal rifle). The new weapon's specifications were approved in February 1995 and in December the same year, a prototype production batch consisting of 11 Beryl rifles was produced. In 1997 the weapon had been successfully evaluated and adopted into service as the 5,56 mm karabinek szturmowy wz. 1996 ("assault carbine pattern 1996").

The Beryl subsequently became the standard Polish rifle. In 2011, there were more than 45,000 in the inventory, accounting for about half of the assault rifles in the Polish Army.[1] On May 25, 2016, FB "Łucznik" Radom announced an order from the Polish Army for 26,000 Beryls and Mini-Beryls, though did not break it down by system.[2]

Apart from Poland, 80 wz. 96A Beryls and 10 wz. 96A Mini Beryls are used by Lithuania (donated in May 2000 by Poland, including 10 rifles with Pallad grenade launcher and 10 rifles with CWL-1 scope with integrated laser rangefinder). Until 2002/2003 they were equipment of a special forces unit SOJ Aitvaras, operating in Afghanistan.[3]

Design

6th Airborne Brigade paratrooper equipped with the Beryl rifle, NATO exercise Swift Response, 26 Aug 2015

The Beryl's design layout and system of operation are similar to those of the Tantal rifle, and the principal differences, resulting primarily from using a different cartridge, include the following components: the barrel, receiver housing, buttstock, foregrip, muzzle device, sight system and magazine. With an adapter, it can use M16 NATO standard magazine.

The 457 mm-long barrel, has six right-hand grooves and a 228 mm (1:9 in) twist rate. The barrel's external profile (from the breech to the front sight base) is identical to the Tantal's barrel, but the length from the foresight base has a visible tapered contour with a decreasing diameter towards the muzzle end, used to mount a flash suppressor.

The flash hider can be used to mount and launch rifle grenades. The flash hider has a slight taper at the front that supports a bayonet and a little further to the rear – six side ports arranged in pairs. These ports are placed asymmetrically around the circumference of the flash hider and stabilize the weapon during continuous fire. Internally the flash suppressor features threading at the muzzle used to screw-in a blank firing attachment. Located mid-length on the flash hider is a cut-out with a ring retainer spring that secures a rifle grenade to the barrel.

The receiver housing contains several modifications over the receiver of the wz. 1988 rifle. It uses a reinforced rear stock trunnion, adapted for the new shoulder stock and a top-mounted Picatinny rail for mounting optical sights.

Polish Special Forces soldier holding a Beryl rifle at the high ready position, Operation Night Wolf, Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, 11 Nov 2005

The side-folding tubular metal stock is coated with a thermal polymer shrink film. It has a metal shoulder stop covered with a rubber recoil pad. More recent models come with a collapsible stock (see picture of wz. 2004 model on right side of page).

The standard lower handguard features an angled rib pattern designed to enhance gripping by the support hand. The rear of the handguard features two molded notches that enable the 40 mm wz. 1974 grenade launcher to be mounted under the barrel (early versions of the wz. 1996 lacked these notches, fitted instead with handguards with lateral grooves). Some Beryl handguards are equipped with short Picatinny rails and an integral vertical foregrip.

The Beryl's sighting system is very similar to the setup used on the Tantal, it does however differ with the addition of twin cuts made into the sides of rear sight base that are used to fasten a bracket for mounting the following optical sights: the passive PCS-6 night sight, a CK-3 reflex optical collimator (red dot sight), LKA-4 telescopic sight and CWL-1 scope with integrated laser rangefinder. However, the most used additional sight for Beryl is EOTech 552 holographic weapon sight and PCS-5M passive night sight. PCS-6 and CWL-1 are introduced in small number.

The weapon's unique magazine is molded from plastic and is not interchangeable with magazines from the kbk wz. 1988 Tantal.

The Beryl has a long, trapezoid-shaped safety switch, similar to those found on the AK-47 or almost all of the AK series, but unlike the archetype, it does not act as a fire selector (its function is performed by a separate switch on the other side of the receiver).

The Beryl fires 5.56×45mm ammunition with a steel-core standard round, a tracer cartridge and a training slug, which are produced by Zakłady Metalowe Mesko in the town of Skarżysko-Kamienna.

Standard equipment shipped with the rifle includes: three spare magazines, four 15-round stripper clips, a stripper clip guide, bayonet, cleaning kit, lubricant bottle, cleaning rod (two-piece, stored in the cleaning kit pouch), sling, a magazine pouch and bipod. The rifle can also be fitted with a mounting system for optical sights and a blank-firing adaptor.

The Beryl was used to create a carbine variant known as the Mini-Beryl.

Variants

kbs wz. 96A Beryl
kbs wz. 96C Beryl
Beryl M762 variant chambered in 7.62×39mm ammunition

Users

Map with FB Beryl users in blue

See also

References

  1. ^ Michał Sitarski, MSBS-5,56 in: Nowa Technika Wojskowa 7/2011, p.32 (in Polish)
  2. ^ FB "Łuchnik" Radom, Facebook page.
  3. ^ Remigiusz Wilk (REMOV), G36K/KV dla Litwy in: Raport WTO Nr.12/2007, p. 62 (in Polish)
  4. ^ "5.56 mm KARABIN SZTURMOWY wz. 96 "BERYL"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2023.
  5. ^ Wilk, Remigiusz: Broń strzelecka w Kielcach, "RAPORT Wojsko Technika Obronność" Nr. 11/2013, p. 37 (in Polish)
  6. ^ "G36 dla Litwy - Altair Agencja Lotnicza". altair.com.pl.
  7. ^ "Beryle M762 dla Nigerii". milmag.pl (in Polish). 11 April 2017.
  8. ^ Martin, Guy (29 March 2018). "Nigeria to manufacture Beryl assault rifles". www.defenceweb.co.za. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  9. ^ Michał Sitarski, MSBS-5,56 in: Nowa Technika Wojskowa 7/2011, p.32 (in Polish)
  10. ^ FB "Łuchnik" Radom, Facebook page.
  11. ^ "Polska broń hitem! Wykupili wszystkie w kilka minut". menway.interia.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2021-04-26.