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.
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.