The case of the copycat fire serpent

Mexico resumes production of controversial FX-05 Xiuhcoatl assault rifle.

Mark Rutherford
The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.
Mark Rutherford

When we hear knock-off, names like Rolex or Gucci usually come to mind. Now assault rifles can be added to that list.

Case in point: Mexico's new FX-05 Xiuhcoatl assault rifle is closely based on the German-based Heckler and Koch's G-36V, Mexidata columnist Allan Hall writes. So close that both the German government and HK accused Mexico of copying the G36V design.

FX-05 Xiuhcoatl on parade Shdowcrwler

Those aggrieved demanded that Mexico destroy the new FX-05s and pay damages or face legal action. Mexico temporarily stopped production on the Xiuhcoatl--which, by the way, means fire serpent in Nahuatl.

Apparently the whole production of this carbon reinforced polymer, 5.56mm weapon was so "fraught with controversy" that it was a determining factor in who--and who was not--appointed secretary of national defense by Mexican President Felipe Calderon. The FX-05 dispute has since been dropped, and production is back in full swing.

Ironically, HK had itself been in hot water on a similar charge, after U.S. arms manufacturer Colt noticed a striking resemblance between an HK rifle and the Colt M-4. Colt filed suit and HK decided to make changes.

Personally, we wish the parties would concentrate a little more on the original Mexican-German collaboration--brewing Mexican beer.