KUALA LUMPUR: Last Sunday (May 6, 2012) I spend almost the whole day at Kem Perdana Sungai Besi for the Army Media Day. Some 200 media personnel took part in the event, one of the biggest since the one held six years ago at the same venue. The event this year was smaller than the one six years ago where a lot of soldiers came from all over the country just to expose the members of the media to the capability of the Army.
This time around only about 100 soldiers, the majority of them from the 51st BN RAD together with other supporting elements, were stationed at Sg Besi shooting range for the event. Since the artillery battalion is supposed to be forward deployed anyway, hopefully their deployment for the media day was not too taxing.
Anyways, the highlight of the media event was the shooting competition,Steyr AUGs for the majority of the media while the editors joined the Army VIPs to shoot pistols.
It had been four years since I last shot the Steyr and despite more trigger time on the rifle this time, I have to say that I am more comfortable with the M4. For me, the M4 comes naturally to the eye, while trying to shoot the Steyr even with the left handed variant was a chore. Only once I got comfortable with the gun during the four shooting sessions. Yes the other shooters who won the individual and group competition seemed to enjoy their time with the Steyr but not me.
For me, getting a good cheek weld to properly sight the 1.5X scope was a touch and go affair. And even with the scope sighting the bulls-eye on a Nato style qualifying target fixed 100 metres away was almost impossible. That said the scope is good for one thing, at least for the uninitiated. At least two guys got ding on their faces by the scope during the event as they shot the Steyr. I believed the duo are left-eye dominant like me but were not aware of it. If you are left-eye dominant, it is almost impossible to get a good sight picture using the right-handed Steyr optic. And you will get smacked by the scope if you tried really hard!
So next time you get a chance to fire a bulpup rifle of any kind, please make sure whether you right or left eye dominant first. Heres how
As for the Steyr, a mix bag of Austrian and Malaysian made rifles, despite their age, performed almost flawlessly. I only had one stoppage during the day. There were other stoppages of course, but it was a much better record than the same event back in 2006.
Trivia time. How do you spot the Austrian or Malaysian-made rifles? Apart from the markings, Steyr Manchlicher or SME Ordnance, there are two other ways to differentiate between them. One is the colour of the frame, the Austrian ones are olive drab while the SME ones have a lighter shade of green. The other way is to sight the cross-hair on the scope. The Austrian made rifles had a donut shape reticle while the Malaysian made ones only had cross-hairs.]
By the way, the M4 was not sighted during the Media Day. With only 14,000 carbines delivered so far and another 12,000 on the way, the Army did not have any M4 to spare for the media.