Look Ma, Its a Modernised Steyr…


KUALA LUMPUR: Pictured above is a section of Aussie soldiers armed with the latest F88 Austeyr assault rifles during training exercise in Germany, last week. Both AR are equipped with a removable ACOG optic sight on a rail, with lights and laser designators.

The soldier’s AR in the middle is equipped with an M203 grenade launcher. The rail on top of the receiver, where the optic is fitted, looked slightly different from both the Aussie and Malaysian A3 versions. It looked rather flushed on the receiver, perhaps to prevent it from snagging onto pieces of kit, I presume.

This is what we should be doing with our Steyrs, one that would have been done if not for the yahoos at SME. Instead we are now re-equipping with M4s and probably shortly with another set of AR. Talk about short term gains…


–Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Another Steyr AUG user who decided to upgrade as opposed to replace is NZ.

    Justification by the Kiwis:

    The decision to enhance the IW Steyr weapon, rather than replace it was based on a number of factors. These include the sound condition of the current Steyr fleet, the Steyr being at least the equivalent of comparable replacement options from a ballistic performance perspective, while the cost of a replacement system is considerably higher than upgrading options. Also, if the NZDF was to replace the Steyr, it would commit the NZDF to a weapon system for at least the next 20 years that may be surpassed by technological advances in the near future. The decision to upgrade is also consistent with developments overseas.


  2. That’s an ADI Lithgow A2 upper receiver. They are not identical to the Steyr product. Steyr and ADI have parted ways for some time now. The rear of the rail still cantilevers back over the buttstock assembly, you just can’t see it because of the rail adapter mount for the M150 ACOG.

    The ‘M203’ is from RM Equipment and is not best practice since it’s barrel mounted and thus exerts noticeable torque effects. A free floated rail mount would be much better in this regard.

    The ‘yahoos’ at SME are by and large competent at what they do but aren’t entrepreneurs. They are essentially privatized civil servants. The failure lies squarely on the shoulders of top management at NADI who screwed the pooch in 04 with Steyr Mannlincher Malaysia. They are classic Bumipreneurs, filled with hubris and hugely inflated notions of self worth who have little or no idea of the marketplace outside of the Malaysian tempurung. They fell hook, line and sinker for the pitch made by the then owner of Steyr Mannlincher and when things did not work out, they tried to bail.

    In 15 yars, SME never fully mastered the complete production process. There was no fundamental product development even if they did source a replacement for the 1.5x optic. The small issue of a 4x optic with a 14mm objective was however never tested as it was soon overtaken by events.

    Today, the capability is largely lost, the line having been disassembled and cleared out of Sungai Buloh and sent into limbo in Batu Arang. It would require an effort to recover the capability as a lot of the materials and systems are antique.

    MINDEF is as much to blame as SMEO. They were complicit in the diversion of funds to the M4 instead of insisting on Precision Engineering sorting their shit out with Steyr. This is why there was no tender for the M4s. The Auditor general has not yet picked up on this particular piece of creative accounting by MINDEF and Treasury. Even if they did, ini orang tak tahu malu, hanya tahu korek and bodek.

  3. Hate to break it to you, but there is nothing new about this weapon system. The F88 Steyr version above is the A2 version. The A1 version was the fix scope without any rails. It has been around for few years now. The rail system for scopes was developed from user feedback within the Australian Defence Force. This allows the shooter to adjust their sights to provide the best view.

    While it is a good rifle, it does have limitations and would not be surprised that the Aussies may replace their standard assault rifles. The A2 is getting to be a bit old and the M203 mounted on the rifle is not exactly ideal (Yes, I have used and evaluated above Aussie version). However, personal experiences with this weapon, there are alot of better weapons out there such as the HK416/417, KAC, Magpul PDR or SCAR. I would prefer the SCAR if given a choice.

    Now, I can understand why the Malaysian Govt might decide with the M4 – but I suspect that they have not done a proper study on the weapons system itself. Good weapon for yesterday, has the ability to mount a lot of options on the weapons…ie laser, M203, shotgun, etc…..however, it is quite a lousy weapon to maintain in field. The amount of stoppage on the M4 was quite high and would have to carry a pistol just in case the weapon jams. The Govt should drop a really old weapon system and just go straight to the A3. This should reduce the cost associated with the really stupid decision to buy the M4 in the first place. A simple shoot off and environmental test should prove to the Malaysian Govt that the A3 is a much better weapon than the M4.

  4. lupus…the Magpul PDR is a mockup. I finger banged it when it was first ‘launched’ at SHOT. Perhaps you are thinking of the Magpul Masada/Bushamster ACR…… SCAR, so light and so AK like in operation.

    How is the A3 any better? Same basic gun, no real improvements to the operating mechanism or more imnportantly the trigger, which is still stupid and super heavy. Then you have all the extra weight on the bare rifle before you mount the really crap GL they cooked up. In any case there is ZERO chance of the A3 being bought given the utterly acrimonious parting of ways in SMM s/b. The most galling part of the whole AUG thing is that we never ever even thought about any barrel length other than 20″. Indeed SMEO does not have the port diameter for any other barrel.

    Bullpups are way cool with folk who don’t gunfight. Those who do invariably pick a conventionally laid out gun because of the issue that pups have with support side work. You have the FS-2000 (itself a knock off of a Russian 60s design concept BTW) which has sold like….2 day old nasi lemak.

    All this is moot…..no money lah. Our M4s like our AUGs are carried a lot, shot not very much. Now we have M4s with farkin carry handles. We are mongs.


  5. MeesterT/Simon – yes, I was referring to the mockup and yes, I’ve “finger banged” and live shot the M4, A3, A2, SCAR and HK16 during evaluation. I even had the company reps tell me how wonderful their product is and my job is to see thru the PR bull.

    How is the A3 any better?
    Have you shot the A3 and compared it to the A2 ? If you had a choice – M4 or A3, which would you take into the gunfight ? I was suggesting that the Malaysian Govt, inorder to avoid footing a bigger bill for the mistake of picking the M4 to go with the A3. Training and spare parts would not be an issue. The question of barrels for the AUG, I carried the A2 carbine version, issued when I was operating out vehicles. So, there are barrels for AUG that are shorter or longer – again depending on your mission requirements. GL crap – you would not be saying that when you get into a firefight. US is thinking about the MK47 AGL for individual units. GL give the army unit more firepower, but then again, unless you have been in operations, laid cover fire, it is something that the average civilian will underestimate the capability of the GL mounted on a rifle.

    Given a choice between the M4 and A3, I pick the A3 every time – far more reliable. Give the choice of any assault rifle that I have used – SCAR. It suits me as I can decide 5.56 or 7.62 or even 6.8 with choice of barrels and one tool to change caliber and a very easy to attach the GL – no special tools required. Adjustable stock, great when I am wearing body armour. Best of all, common parts, something break, “borrow parts” from other non working SCAR rifles.

    So, coming back again to the Malaysian Govt, IF they decide to change to another weapon at this late stage, then the A3 would be a cheaper solution for the tax payers. Like you said, bullpups are “cool” with folk who don’t gunfight, A3 would be ideal – no requirements for body armour and only problem would be jamming due to the amount of ammo fired, in other words, no real gun fighting.

    Never knock the AK – it is a proven battle weapon that operates that the barrel can be bend back, simple to use (seen fathers teach their kids in middle east under 4 hours!). However, it is a crap weapons as it hard to hit anything unless you are inside the room.


  6. Lupus,

    How do you know the AUG A3 is far more reliable than the M4?

    The AUG A1 definitely wasnt far more reliable than the M16.

  7. Lupus….The A3 shoots just like every other AUG. Same shit trigger on a heavier gun with crappier magazines. AUG mags were big but tough. Going to STANAG on the AUG is pointless.

    The GL Steyr cooked up for the A3 sucks ass. It is heavy and difficult to use. There is an underbarrel GL on the market the weighs 1.4lbs(yes….it’s no typo) and will deepthroat a paraflare or any 40x46mm projo.

    I already told you that SMEO has never produced anything other than a 20″ barrel. And by extension the MAF has no shorter or longer barrels. There are however a number of LMG barrels in the SMEO.

    As far as the AUGA3 goes, due to the shitfest that was SMM, the MAF will not touch it with a barge pole. They are suffering the fall out of that as SMEO’s support contract for the AUGs was terminated as Steyr declared that they were no longer OEM. This in spite of the fact that SMEO owns the IP to AUGA1 as part of the tech transfer agreement. This has left the MAF with no 3rd line and no possibility of further spares. AUGA3…dead. Do not resuscitate.

    I love the AR. I love it more when it doesn’t need cleaned and lubed every few hundred rounds to stay in top form. That’s why I favor the LWRCI M6-series piston ARs. Specifically, the M6A3 with a 14.5″ barrel. It uses a mid-length piston action that is smoother and softer shooting. They also have nitrided CHF barrels that shoot around 1 MOA and are more durable than hard chrome. Inside and out no less….no more smoke from oil in the Park. I can have it with the excellent Vltor EMOD stock and optional 2-stage FA trigger. Replace grip with an ERGO and voila.

    4 hours to train someone on an AK? Ye gods man, were they very slow? 😛


  8. Ree,

    The statement made about reliability of the M16 vs the AUG A1 – How did you come to that conclusion ? Did you run any trials ? Did you speak to the users who have use them in operations ? Your statement implied that you had used both weapons ? Give some examples of your statements or experience in regards to both.

    However, if you are in the small arms industry or a user or done trials – I bet you if you ask any of the Malaysian Defence force members if they prefer the M16 or AUG A1 for combat – good luck in finding anyone who wants an M16. That why NS kiddies are getting to play when them or Malaysian Police get to carry them. Operating in a nice clean environment.

    Marhalim: Actually, I ve met a lot of GOF guys who love their M16s. The army boys are more non-plussed about it although they do appreciate the M16 lighter weight esp the para boys

  9. Lupus,

    I have come acrossed many Malaysian army troops (some retired , some currently in service ) who stated that they prefer the M16 to the Steyr (SMEO made ones and not the ones made by Steyr Mannlincher)…. I guess the Steyrs you refer to are not SMEO made ones…. then again I am just guessing here….

    Marhalim: Of the Steyrs that I have shot (not many I must confess) I prefer the Austrian made ones. Of course, the Austrian ones are quite old already, they were the ones that came online about 20 years ago.

  10. wah so hot topic M4 vs AUG,but personally i would bet my life with M4 if ever im in a fire fight. reasons in a fire fight u need speed to decide u walk the next day.and to change a magazine from a bulpup rifle,even trained is a fumble,u need to see where ur magazine go,where else for M4 u can just load a fresh magazine even without worry,n thats leave u looking out for enemies around while u r for a fresh mag access

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.