In 2008, while attending the Gryphon Group mobile force protection course I was fortunate to be invited to attend a tour of the Reed Knight factory in Florida with a small group of soldiers from other Special Forces Groups. At the time, taking pictures was pretty much forbidden, but it seems that since then Reed Knight has hosted a number of open house events for the public.
Walking through the machine shop we were able to see automated machine units drilling lower receivers for the M110 sniper rifle from solid billet which was pretty cool to watch and something that was definitely not permitted when I toured the Glock factory at Smyrna, Georgia later that year. Viewing some of the fully assembled products, I was interested to see a half dozen short barrel, bolt-action .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifles that our tour guide, one of Reed Knight's vice presidents, told us was bound for a certain SOCOM unit.
Outside in the lobby were examples of current products made at their facility, one of which was a M4 variant that fired 7.62x39 (AK-47) rounds. As our guide explained to us, a Special Operations unit was concerned early into OEF that as they were clearing deeper into cave complexes in Afghanistan that they were running low on ammunition and had to effect a battlefield recovery from dead enemy, claiming their Kalashnikov rifles for themselves. With a special order placed by this unit for a M4 style rifle that would fire recovered Taliban ammunition, Reed Knight shut down it's entire factory for several weeks to dedicate their full effort to a separate compound on their property that houses classified weapons projects.
With the finished product in hand, SOCOM bought something like a half dozen of the M4 rifles chambered for 7.62x39 and Reed Knight never heard anything of it again!
(Photo: Above is NOT a Knight's 300 WinMag)
Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger and SF Soldier and is the author of the military thriller Reflexive Fire.