Some weapons throughout history have gone beyond popularity, beyond fame, and have achieved truly legendary status.
The English Longbow, Greek Fire, and the Muramasa blade are great examples of such historical legends.
Even in modern times, there are some firearms that have seen their legend grow far beyond their real-world effects.
Here are 5 legendary weapons you (probably) don’t own, and how you can (besides being rich).
The HK PSG-1 is one of the world’s most easily recognizable precision rifles. Designed in 1968, the PSG-1 entered production in 1972, continuing into 2014.
The PSG-1 started off using the G3 design of roller-delayed blowback operation and added a number of improvements to accurize the rifle. With an end weight of ~16lbs, it’s much easier to see the PSG-1 in law enforcement roles than military ones.
The PSG-1 was famed for its accuracy during the first couple of decades of its service, and with good reason. Few semi-auto rifles were capable of beating 1 MOA at the time, with fewer still reaching the .5 MOA range.
Nowadays that level of accuracy is routinely achievable, thanks in large part to increases in precision manufacturing technology and ammunition design. Further, that degree of accuracy is within reach at a FAR lower price point. Read on.
Why you aren’t getting a PSG-1
There are a couple of you reading this article who can afford one. I’m not talking to you.
I’m talking to the rest of us who won’t be dropping $42,000 on one of these gorgeous rifles. That’s the high water mark for one sold in the last few months, with others coming in at $25,000 and $33,000.
Not only are they expensive, but true PSG-1s are hard to come by. There are only a few hundred in the US, out of the nearly 400 million (estimated) guns in private ownership.
How you can get a PSG-1, kind of
It’s not a PSG-1. It’s not a roller-delayed blowback gun. It’s not even HK.
But armed with only a small percentage of the money a true PSG-1 costs, you can build up an AR-10 platform rifle that looks an awful lot like a PSG-1, shoots the same .308 win/7.62×51 round, and has the potential to be just as accurate.
First, head to Monarch Arms and pick up their ARG3 AR-10 platform receiver set. The lower has the magwell cut to resemble the iconic German wundergun. This receiver also accepts surplus HKG3 mags, adding another touch of authenticity to the build.
Add in a Magpul PRS Gen3 stock, which not only looks right but is a highly functional piece designed for precision shooters.
An Ergo Tactical Deluxe Supergrip is a key near-clone of the PSG-1’s distinctive piece.
For a forend, I’d go with the PRI Delta Carbon Fiber handguard, with its triangular shape that’s highly reminiscent of the PSG-1.
Now it’s up to you to pick the last couple of parts. The PSG-1 has an amazing barrel, I’d recommend copying it with something like Faxon’s 20″ heavy fluted barrel. Match it up with a quality BCG, gas block, gas tube, and lower parts kit. We’re nearly there!
Don’t settle for the mil-spec trigger in the LPK. If you want great accuracy, you’re going to need a great trigger. The Rise Armament Rave 140 trigger is a precision unit that comes in at a 3.5 lbs pull, with aesthetics that closely match the curve of HK’s triggers.
Another HK icon, the MP5 was designed as early as 1964. Eventually entering production in 1966, the MP5 has seen more than 50 years of service in military, law enforcement, and civilian use.
The MP5 saw a number of variants released as well, with different configurations of buttstocks, trigger packs, foregrips, and an integral suppressor version in the MP5SD.
The little 9mm subgun cemented itself in Special Operations lore during Operation Nimrod, during the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980. British SAS troops stormed the embassy, killing 5 of 6 hostage takers, and rescuing all but one hostage.
Why you aren’t getting an MP5
Once again we run into the issues of cost, and availability, but now we also add some additional hurdles.
Being a submachine gun, the full-auto/burst-fire nature of a true MP5 place it under the purview of the National Firearms Act in the US. Not only is the purchase of an MP5 subject to extra paperwork and wait time, but some states have also flatly outlawed such guns.
That’s only an issue if you can get past the cost and rarity though. After combing through all my favorite NFA sales sites, I’m only finding one authentic MP5 (that’s pre-may ’86 civilian transferable) for sale right now, at $48,000. Forty. Eight. Thousand. Dollars.
How you can get an MP5, kind of
This is easier than with a PSG-1. We have multiple options that don’t cost $48K!
A semi auto MP5 pistol variant (unlike the 16″ barreled HK 94 rifle), the SP5 runs around $3,000. It’s HK made with HK parts. It’s as close as you can get for less than the price of a car. Editor Scott Witner asks, “Is the SP5 the best civilian mp5?“. Yes.
Attack of the Clones
HK has licensed its designs to a number of countries and companies. Many MP5 clones have been built using HK specs, and HK-approved tooling. Century makes the AP5 at $1747, and the AP5-P at $1449. Zenith makes the ZF5 at $1836. Palmetto State Armory has been teasing an MP5 clone for years.
Quarter Circle 10 makes their QC5, an AR-15 platform-based receiver set that feeds from MP5 mags, and has a forward, left-handed charging handle like the HK icon. A Bowden MP5 handguard looks good, or do as I did and mate an MP5SD shroud to a Smoke Composites carbon fiber forend (below).
You can get a semi-auto clone and then buy a full auto trigger pack/sear and slap it in. Obviously, it takes a little more than that, both from a parts standpoint and a legal paperwork one, but neither is too tough. Spending $13K on a sear and the semi-auto host is much more palatable than $48,000, but still improbable for most of us.
FN M249 SAW/Minimi
The Fabrique Nationale Minimi is a 20lb necklace that spits angry little .223/5.56 rounds. Designed in the early 1970’s, the Belgian Minimi was eventually adopted by the US military as the M249, filling the role of Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The M249 has become synonymous with the term “SAW”, to the point many have forgotten it doesn’t refer specifically to the M249.
Many who served in OEF/OIF and used the M249 in combat have a love/hate relationship with the gun, myself included. Whether or not it ran like a sewing machine or stopped more often than a school bus seems to depend largely on a roll of the dice. My combat experience with SAW 17 in 2/75 B CO 3-3 was pretty damn positive, except for carrying the damn thing.
Why you aren’t getting a Minimi
One. There is precisely one transferable FN Minimi. A former owner of it has stated the last time it went up for sale it netted over half a million dollars.
How you can get a Minimi/M249, kind of
In 2016 FN announced the M249S, a semi-auto variant of the Minimi designed primarily for American markets. With an initial release price of $8,000, many scoffed that there would be buyers for such a Gucci level semi-auto.
They were wrong. Consistently sold out, secondary market prices for the M249S have risen as high as $12,000 for some variants.
Guns.com routinely has them in the $10,000 range. If this scratches your itch, check them out here.
Maybe $10k is too steep for you. I feel your pain and smell the Ramen cooking. For a steep discount, there is another option.
Ares Defense (who is now Fightlite Industries) create the Shrike upper (now the MCR) as a way to replace the standard AR-15 upper with a belt-fed version. M249 plastic drums and fabric “nutsacks” clip into an adaptor that resides in the magwell. The same disintegrating links an M249 gunner will recognize run up along the left side of the gun, into the feed tray.
Brownells has the Fightlite MCR for ~$5900.
So we lead off with two HK guns, followed by two FN guns. When you strike gold, keep digging!
The futuristic-looking FN P90 was designed in the mid-to-late ’80s, eventually reaching production in 1990. Shooting small (27-40gr) projectiles at around 2300 FPS, the compact P90 was designed as a personal defense weapon or PDW.
PDWs are geared towards those who either work in confined spaces (tankers, truck drivers) and can’t readily bring a rifle to bear or those who would normally only have a sidearm and needed more firepower (pilots). Of course, special operations units have had their fun with the P90 and various other PDWs as well.
The P90 also stands apart from the crowd with its top-mounted 50-round magazine, which feeds down into the chamber after spinning the round 90°.
Why you aren’t getting a P90
There are zero FN P90’s transferable to civilians through commercial sales.
The Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 declared machine guns made or unregistered prior to May 1986 to be non-transferrable to the general public. The P90 was made starting in 1990.
Certain dealers and businesses may purchase them, so you’ll see phrases like “Post ’86 Dealer Sample” or “Pre-May Dealer Sample” in sale posts. Unless you pick up an FFL and some Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) add-ons, you’re out of luck for a true P90.
Getting your FFL and SOT for dealer samples applies not just to the P90, but M249/Minimi, and MP5 as well!
Even then, the Post May ’86 dealer sample P90’s on Gunbroker are selling for $10K-$12K right now.
How you can get a P90, kind of
Just like with the SP5 and the M249S, FN released a semi-auto, long-barreled version of the P90, dubbed the PS90 for the civilian commercial market.
The 16″ barrel brings the gun up to the minimum length to keep it out of Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) territory, and the NFA regulations entailed therein. As a side bonus, the longer barrel gives the 5.7×28 ammo roughly a 10% boost in velocity.
Converting the PS90 to a short-barreled rifle (SBR) isn’t that complicated from a machinery standpoint, nor an NFA paperwork standpoint.
The PS90 isn’t hard to find, nor is it exceedingly expensive. Guns.com has a number of them for sale in the $1800-$2000 range right now.
Other 5.7×28 guns
If you’re less interested in the gun and more in the caliber, you have more choices than ever.
- CMMG Banshee: A short AR-15 platform pistol, for $1529.
- Kel Tec’s P50: A design that’s uniquely “Keltec-y”, the P50 feeds from P90 mags. $760-900 on Guns.com currently.
- FN Five-Seven: FN even released a fairly standard handgun in the Five-Seven that is chambered in 5.7×28. $1099-1300.
These are far from the only four legendary guns to make their mark on the world, but they are four of the most popular and recognizable.
This article isn’t meant to be a dream crusher for those who have yearned to own certain rare guns, but rather a wake-up call to all the possibilities and loopholes you might find to own one version of that gun at the least.
What gun have you been infatuated with that wasn’t on the list? Sound off in the comments below!
-Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer
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