Saturday, June 11, 2011

Polish Forces Wz.96 Beryl Assault Rifle Commando

The Wz.96 Beryl Assault Rifle is a modernized version of the Tantal that fires 5.56mm NATO ammunition instead of 5.45mm Kalashnikov. The top of the receiver has a sight rail that can mount any NATO or Pact optics. The barrel is lengthened to 18 inches. The folding stocks are stronger than those used on the Tantal or Onyx, made from twin steel struts encased in shrink-shaped plastic shaped in roughly the same shape as a standard stock, and equipped with rubber buttplate (not a pad); it is similar in design to the folding stock of the Galil.) Most of the rest of the rifle is made from stamped steel, except for polymer parts such as the pistol grip and handguard.

Wz.96 Beryl Assault Rifle

The other furniture such as the handguard is made from gray polymer. The Wz.96 Beryl Assault Rifle can mount either the GP-25 or Pallad grenade launchers, or use the M-203PI or TGS, as well as use Polish rifle grenades or Western bullet-trap grenades. They can use most Western and Eastern optics and accessories, being equipped with a Polish modification of the MIL-STD-1913 rail, atop the receiver. Flip-up iron sights at the rear and a hooded front post sight are also available. The kbs version is the standard assault rifle; the kbk is a short-barreled assault rifle. The kbk is more commonly referred to as the Mini-Beryl, and it replaced the
Onyx. It uses a barrel only slightly more than half the length of the kbs (9.3 inches), tipped with an abbreviated (and some say, rather ineffective) flash suppressor.

Mini-Beryl Assault Rifle

 The optics mounting rail on the receiver is shorter than that of the kbs, but closer in design to the MIL-STD-1913 rail and therefore able to use a wider variety of optics and accessories. A new version of the Beryl, the Wz.04 Assault Rifle, was introduced and was already being issued to Polish troops. The Mini-Beryl Assault Rifle can still use rifle grenades.

In Iraq, Polish troops started equipping their Wz.96s Assault Rifle with non-standard features, ranging from Romanian-made foregrips to MILSTD-1913 rails atop the receiver and on the sides and bottom of the handguard to aftermarket reflex and ACOG-type sights, aftermarket finishes, and even more. At the same time, several deficiencies in the Beryl’s design were being noted, such as the heat-absorbent qualities of the stock, the poor flash suppressor, the sling (which was often replaced with US-built 3-point slings bought as US PXs in Iraq), the cumbersome safety/selector system, and the non-folding backup iron sights. This led to the Wz.04 Beryl, which had most of those improvements.

Beryl Random Spot Rifle

For game purposes, it is identical to the original Beryl. (A feature which fell by the wayside quickly was the translucent plastic magazines – they proved to be too brittle and reflective of sunlight). A newer version, the Wz.07, has since been introduced; the differences include a stock that both folds and telescopes, a new, tougher finish, and a Brugger & Thomet-designed muzzle brake. The stock was improved so as not to absorb heat like the original stock. (These improvements were applied to all versions of the Beryl).

In 2006, another version of the Beryl was designed – the mid-sized Wz.06 Beryl Commando Assault Rifle, informally called the “Midi-Beryl.” The barrel is slightly-over 14.75 inches long, and the stock is not the same as that of the Wz.07 Beryl – it is a US-built Lepers M-4-type telescoping stock which has six positions and is attacked to a folding mechanism. It was designed specifically at the request of the 1st Commando Special Regiment of Lubliniec, but apparently is not in production or issue at this time.

Wz.06 Beryl Commando Assault Rifle

The Tantal equipped about a quarter of Polish forces at the start of the Twilight War, and was definitely
preferred over the AK-74. Tantals in the Twilight 2000 timeline do not have the ability to use Western optics. The Wz.96 Beryl was originally produced for export in the Twilight 2000 timeline, but during the Twilight War were used by Polish special operations forces for use behind the enemy lines, in order to use captured NATO ammunition. Nonetheless, the Beryl is a rather rare weapon in the Twilight 2000 timeline. The Onyx was a fairly common sight among Polish troops, particularly higher-ranking NCOs andlower-ranking officers. In addition, special ops troops and bodyguard details like the Onyx.

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