Bullshido Exclusive: Daewoo K2 / DR200 / AR100 review
In return of bullshido's embrace of my new business venture, I decided to do some Bullshido exclusive reviews of hard to find hipster cult tactigoodies. Although it is somewhat self-serving, rest assured, the stuff I'll be reviewing will be fairly unique. So here comes some actual content, bullshido, instead of my usual rambling.
this particular rifle is not currently available to civilians. But it is available to law enforcement agencies and other government entities. Rest assured, we're working very hard to bring these to market.
I'm going to make the history part sound as less boring as it can be, so I'll be using colloquial english and not cite any of my sources.
Tense, is probably the best way to describe South Korea in the 1970's. Soldiers were still exchanging fire over the DMZ, with patrols engaging each other with surprising regularity. Sometimes it makes it to the news; other times it stayed hush-hush. Yes, the not-so-cold-war within the cold-war was in full swing these days. (off topic but badass read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axe_murder_incident)
In the late 1970's, South Koreans realized that they needed to start becoming less dependent on the US for their national security. Although it is an economic and technological landmark when a nation is able to produce its own weapons, to South Koreans it was only a secondary benefit. Their primary concerns were the North Koreans.
Preisdent Park Chung-Hee, a man who is both praised and criticized for this 18 year old dictatorship in South Korea, is a military man. Logically, the first weapons that were to be indigenously produced are firearms. A service rifle, to be more exact. The location is none other than Pusan. Southeastern Korea is to this day, expected to be the last stronghold in the event of another Korean war. As most of Korea is, this place is very mountainous, and easy to defend. My sources tell me that Pres. Park climbed aboard a helicopter, and personally scoped out an area to build the facility where the first South Korean designed weapon would be produced. He selected a spot that would be difficult to bombard and easily defensible. Yes, a factory was built there, and at the time, it was a military-owned operation. To this day, most dual-purpose heavy industrial factories are located in Pusan. Many have similar beginnings. And the factory still looks just like an Army base. It felt very familiar to me when I visited; looked just like the places I grew up in (my father was a career officer in the ROK army). Today, a congloremate called S&T owns this facility. Previously, and before the late 90's IMF chrisis that plagued east Asia, Daewoo owned this facility.
The first rifle born was the K1A. This is a direct impingement short-barreled rifle designed to fire a 55gr 5.56mm round.
Its a good, and very standard rifle. Today, it is mainly used by support personnel and special forces. It is classified as a submachine gun, even though it is nothing but a short rifle. Nothing special. But it was made in Korea. 'Rea. Most importantly, now Koreans know how to design and develop a rifle.
Using that experience, the Koreans develop another rifle. This one is more refined, more thought out. Most importantly, this rifle beats the North Korean issue rifles (e.g. Soviet rifles) in every single aspect:
K2 / K2C 5.56mm NATO
This rifle is a rifle chambered in 5.56mm NATO. It uses a long-stroke piston operation with a rotating and locking bolt setup. Barrel is maded into the receiver using a barrel extension screwed into the barrel itself. Its receivers are made from aluminum. Trigger group is identical to the M16 (100% compatible), and the rifle is fed from NATO STANAG compatible magazines.
This rifle uses a long-stroke piston for its operation. What is that you say? Most piston driven AR type rifles today are "short stroke," which means the piston isn't actually connected to the bolt; it hits a connecting rod, which in turns moves the bolt. Long stroke means that the whole piston unit is connected directly onto the bolt. Neither distinctively advantageous, but the way it is realized in the K2, means a few things:
1. more reliable ejection, extraction and feeding. This is because of the direct connection of the piston and bolt, as well as the added mass makes for more consistent cycling.
2. weapon stays clean as gas does not enter the receiver.
the long-stroke disadvantages are eliminated through a few features:
1. there is a mini-buffer in the rear end of the receiver, to cushion the bolt as it reaches the end of a cycle
2. the use of a locking mechanism and the timing of the operation ensures that no disruption of aim happens as you fire the rifle
The ejection on the K2 works much differently than the system found on the AR-15. Instead of a spring-loaded mechanism on the bolt, the extractor is a solid piece of spring loaded steel that sits in the receiver, angled into the bolt. The bolt itself has a cutout where the extractor can freely travel through. The cutout cuts across where the cartridge sits. Basically, as the bolt moves back from firing, the extractor positively knocks out the cartridge from the extractor, and sends it flying out the ejection port. Oh boy, you've never seen a rifle throw brass so consistently.
Accuracy is achieved using similar technology of the AR-15. The barrel uses a barrel extension very similar to the AR. The bolt is a rotating bolt, just like the AR. In fact, the bolts from each gun will fit into each other's barrel extension, and move back and fro just fine. Of course, they are not compatible since the K2 uses a different ejector setup and a short bolt design.
Anyways, the two key elements of an AR which made the M16 so accurate, is that the headspacing is done at the barrel extension/barrel unit, and that the locking mechanism ensures that the bullet has left the rifle by the time the bolt starts moving, causing a change in the point of aim. This has been faithfully replicated in the K2.
So unlike most other battle rifles on the market, such as the FAL with its 4MOA "combat accuracy," the K2 is more of a 'precision rifle' much like the M16. Most samples will fire dime sized groups with the proper ammo.
Other than the obvious differences in the way you charge the weapon, the controls are very similar. An almost-directly compatible bolt catch is on the left side of the weapon, right where the AR's catch is. The trigger group and selector switch is identical to the ARs'. The hammer, trigger, and pins are compatible to the AR15's, even though there are slight differences in the pins' length. The weapon handles very similarly to an AR, except for slight weight differences.
The K2 has a folding stock. The stock's locking mechanism is forged out of one piece and achives this super-tight fitting fitment. The stock does not feel like a folding stock, once it is deployed. The stock-to-receiver movement is minimized at the time of firing. The rifle will also fire folded, which is really neat for patrol officers and the likes, since you can deploy the weapon from inside a squad car, or use it as a makeshift entry gun when necessary.
The sights are pretty neat; although i dislike the complexity of the rear sight mechanism, the K2 uses a diopter/aperture hybrid. You can acquire a target very quickly, like you would on an HK weapon. Furthermore, the front sight hood has a knotch built into it. After you are familiar with the weapon, at CQB ranges you can still make accurate hits using that knotch, without actually lining up the sights. The sights come with tritium inserts for LEO guns.
The whole rifle is pretty compact for a service rifle. At first, it might be difficult to tell if it is any longer than a 16" AR-15. That is because the barrel is 18.5" inches, and not 20." The stock is also a bit shorter than the M16's full sized stock. Not much muzzle velocit yis lost. This was done this way because Korea is densely wooded, and the designers wanted a full-sized service weapon that could still be used in such forests. For us, it means it is the perfect do-it-all rifle, great for the modern environment where you may be expected to engage targets from CQB ranges all the way out to many hundreds of meters. When you hold one in your hand, it feels significantly more compact and 'handier' than a full sized AR-15.
The barrel is a military profile, chromed-lined barrel with a 1:7.3" twist, optimized for 62gr ammo. The selector switch is 4-way or semi-only. Cyclic rate is same as the US M16; right around 825rpm.
Zeroing the rifle is very similar to zeroing the AR-15; the height of the sight axis from the bore axis is the same as it is on an M16. You can use any battlesight methods suitable for M4s and M16s.
The rifle has almost no muzzle climb. Part of it is due to the heavier weight, but the secret lies in the positioning of the barrel in relation to wherre your stock meets the shoulder. The strange shape (i.e. p**n shaped) of the stock is just for that reason; it aligns the barrel right into the middle of the butt.
The standard flashhider is pretty cool. It actually works alright as a compensator, and does a better job reducing flash than the A2 flashhider. In short, the flashhider actually works on this thing. Of course, since this rifle uses the same threads as an AR, most aftermarket muzzle devices and suppressors will screw right in. You do need a lock nut though, because the threads are longer.
There are a couple of things in this rifle that I don't like. First, it is a heavier rifle than the M16. Much of the weight comes from the extra metal that makes up the piston mechanism. Secondly, the the optional rail kit does not allow for co-witnessing using standard CQB optics such as aimpoints and EOtechs. To me, that means I am limited to QD mounts. Some complain that the support hand can't be held out further, due to the location of the handguard. This is partially mitigated with the optional rail kit.
If you want ultra-reliability without sacrificing accuracy, this is the weapon to have. It is not a cheap rifle, but you certainly will not be shelling out 2000 dollars to purchase a European-made rifle. I can't state the exact police MSRP, but the civilian ones, when they are available, will be under 1600 dollars. Rail kits and such are available. Oh, if you are lucky, you can find a 1989-1994 import. The folding stock versions have 1:7.3" twist rates, and the fixed stock versions have 1:12" twist rates. Replacement parts are available through www.daewoorifleparts.com. They will actually be carrying new, factory made replacement parts soon.
(K2RIS - optional rail)
(K2C - 12.5" SBR)
Anyways, there you have it. The most comprehensive review of the Daewoo K2. I'm working on getting more samples, and maybe then I'll do a review of more cool, Korean made rifles. Yes, we are looking for more LE/Gov't customers, and we have a pretty awesome special going on right now. So if you work for a LE/Gov't agency, please send me a PM.
Post any questions here, please.