Modern assault rifles are designed to be very practical and effective on the battlefield, but there is a downside to that.
Traditionally, old bolt-action rifles and early assault rifles were used for ceremonial purposes, as they were robust weapons. This is not the case with new assault rifles, which are often shorter than necessary for a soldier to hold the muzzle of the barrel with the stock resting on the ground. Additionally, modern assault rifles are often made of polymer instead of wood in the stock and forend to be lighter, but this also makes them more fragile for ceremonial uses.
In some armies they have chosen to continue using old rifles for ceremonial uses. This is what happens in Spain, where the CETME C and Mauser Coruña Model are still used 1943, two weapons manufactured in Spain. Something similar also happens in the US, where they continue to use the M-14 and the M-1 Garand for ceremonial uses, and in Germany, where the Wachbataillon of the Ministry of Defense uses Kar-98K rifles from the Second World War for these purposes.
However, in Poland there was a problem: the Representative Battalion of the Polish Army - made up of soldiers from the Land Forces, the Air Force and the Navy and which is in charge of military ceremonies and the custody of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw- used Soviet SKS rifles, and having to use weapons from a communist dictatorship that occupied Poland for decades was something that should not be liked by the Poles. The solution to this was very original.
As we saw recently, when Poland developed its new MSBS Grot assault rifle, an excellent weapon that is on par with the prestigious German HK-416, the first 150 examples acquired in 2014 were of the version MSBS Grot R. This is a version specially designed for use by the Representative Battalion of the Polish Army.
Unlike the examples later acquired by the Polish Army, the MSBS Grot R has a 20-inch barrel instead of 16, so that it can be used in the "sidearm" position. leg" ("do nogi broń", in Polish), with an additional piece on the barrel to improve its grip in the hand in this position. The rifle without bayonet measures 990 mm (slightly less than an SKS, which measured 1,021 mm) and 1,145 mm with bayonet. In addition, the stock is reinforced with a metal piece to support the rifle on the ground, and it is not a folding stock like other versions of the MSBS Grot. The length of the weapon and the fixed stock also allows it to be carried in the "shoulder gun" position ("na ramię broń", in Polish), with more stability.
The MSBS Grot R also includes changes to the bayonet. Unlike the combat version, the representative bayonet has a polished stainless steel blade, with a blunt edge, to avoid accidental cuts. In addition, the bayonet release button was modified to prevent it from being accidentally disengaged during ceremonial movements of the rifle.
The changes also affect the most original part of the MSBS Grot: its ambidextrous nature. Unlike the combat version, the MSBS Grot R is designed to be used exclusively by right-handed soldiers, with the charge release button only operational on the left side, the rate of fire selector only on the left and the lever to mount the weapon only on the right side. This is because the movements of all soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Representative Battalion of the Polish Army are very synchronized. In fact, it is a unit known for its great martiality.
Another modification of the weapon is related to honor salutes ("salwy honorowe", in Polish). As we already saw here, in the Polish Army the honor volleys are fired with the rifle resting high on the right shoulder. Being accustomed to the use of the SKS, the Representative Battalion needed a weapon that worked like a bolt-action rifle, so the gas system that automatically recharges the weapon was eliminated, so that reloading was manual. In addition, the magazines are smaller, with a capacity for 10 cartridges, instead of the 30-round magazines of the combat version.
Another modification consisted of adding a rubber protector to the Picatinny rail that runs along the top of the weapon, in order to prevent the teeth of the rail from catching on the soldiers' clothing. Likewise, the weapon module is reinforced, to make it more resistant than the combat version (in which lightness comes first) and the barrel has been modified to fire blank ammunition strong>. Thanks to the modularity of the MSBS Grot, it is possible to easily change the barrel of an MSBS Grot R to use live ammunition like the combat version. In summary, the MSBS Grot R is an example of a well-designed and very functional weapon for these uses.
If you want to know more about the MSBS Grot R, I encourage you to watch this video published yesterday by Forgotten Weapons in which he analyzes this version of the Polish Army rifle:
In addition, you can see the MSBS Grot R in action in this video published in 2018 by the Representative Battalion of the Polish Army:
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