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The case of the copycat fire serpent

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

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.