FX-05 Xiuhcoatl

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FX-05 Xiuhcoatl
Exposición Centenario del Ejército Mexicano 02.jpg
Second-generation FX-05 assault rifle and carbine on display at a Mexican Army public relations event in Constitution Square. Note the black colored finish and the mounted red dot scope on the carbine.
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Mexico
Service history
In service 2008–present
Used by Mexican Armed Forces
Wars Mexican Drug War
Production history
Designed 2005
Manufacturer Dirección General de Industria Militar del Ejército
Produced 2005–present
No. built 44,000 (2005)[1]
111,000 (2014)[1]
121,000 (by 2018)[2]
Variants Assault rifle
Short Carbine
Mass 3.89 kg (8.6 lb) (Assault rifle)
3.22 kg (7.1 lb) kg (Carbine)
Length 1,087 mm (42.8 in) stock extended / 887 mm (34.9 in) stock folded Assault Rifle
980 mm (38.6 in) stock extended / 780 mm (30.7 in) mm stock folded Carbine
Barrel length 480 mm (18.9 in)
Width 56 mm (2.2 in)

Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 750 rounds/min cyclic[3]
Muzzle velocity 956 m/s (3,136 ft/s)
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine
Sights Iron sights
Picatinny rail for mounting aiming optics on receiver[4]
Removable integrated optical sight/carry handle

The FX-05 Xiuhcoatl ("Fire Serpent", literally "Turquoise-Serpent" in Classical Nahuatl, an Aztec mythological creature) is a Mexican assault rifle, designed and built by the Dirección General de Industria Militar del Ejército (General Directorate of Military Industry of the Army) through the Fabricas Militares (Military Factory).[5][6] The rifle was officially presented in the military parade on September 16, 2006, in the hands of the Special Forces Airmobile Group, GAFE. (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales).[6] The design was coordinated by the Centro de Investigación Aplicada y Desarrollo Tecnológico de la Industria Militar or CIADTIM (Center of Applied Research and Technology Development Military Industry) and SDN and all of its parts are built in Mexico.[7] It is currently in use by the Mexican Army's Special Forces units[8] and Airborne Infantry Brigade[8] and is projected to completely replace the Heckler & Koch G3 in general service by 2018.[1]


The development of the FX-05 began as a 16-month research in 2005 with CIADTIM as part of research efforts to replace the HK G3A3 rifles that were in service with the Mexican military.[4] Originally the HK G36 was supposed to become the Mexican military's standard rifle as plans were already drawn to transfer technology and equipment to Mexico to initially build 30,000 rifles at a cost of €63,016,125 as part of Mexico's military modernization program. The Mexican government ultimately decided that they wanted a more cost effective alternative to the G36, which resulted in the decision to end the project before any technology or equipment could be transferred and the FX-05 project was undertaken.[9]

A Mexican report states that up to December 2006, $84,000,000 Mexican Pesos (€5,855,698 at the December 2006 exchange rate) were invested in the FX-05 project, including raw materials and using only national equipment and technology.[10] Leading the FX-05 project was General Alfredo Oropeza Garnica with Brigadier General Jose Antonio Landeros.[11]

On September 16, 2016, the Mexican military unveiled a new variant of the FX-05 known as the Xihucóatl Submachine Gun alongside an indigenous underbarrel grenade launcher made for it.[12]

Design details

Normal grooved rifling as used on many rifles (left), compared to the polygonal rifling used in the FX-05 (right)

Most details about the FX-05 are classified as Top Secret, as this is supposed to be a distinctive indigenously-produced weapon for use by Mexico's elite forces. This is to prevent anti-government and criminal organizations from mocking-up copies to aid in infiltrating secure areas, impersonating military personnel, or appearing to have legitimate support for their cause and its actions. It also helps to prevent hostile or enemy forces from learning the abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of the new weapon series.

The design of the weapon is compatible with telescopic, red-dot and mechanical sights and has a folding, adjustable butt stock. The barrel is hammer forged, and the weapon is capable of semi-automatic, three round burst and full auto fire. It has a cyclic rate of fire of 750 rounds per minute. Most of the rifle's receiver is constructed of a polymer reinforced with carbon-fiber with an underlying titanium frame and comes in black,[13] dark-green[13] and desert-tan[13] colors as well as the SEDENA digital camouflage patterns used by the Mexican army. The charging handle can be installed on either side of the rifle with gas piston located above the barrel, which operates under a multi-lugged rotary bolt system.[14] Safety/fire mode selectors are located above the pistol grip on both sides of the FX-05.[14] It can accept NATO-standard as well as specific transparent magazines.[15]

The internal mechanism and barrel are made of advanced corrosion-resistant stainless steel. An indigenous programmable air-burst grenade launcher is currently under development for the FX-05,[9] which will be able to fire standard NATO munitions in addition to Mexico's new RSE-7 fuel-air grenade round. The FX-05 is also compatible with the AG36 grenade launcher as used on the G36, which is in use until the proprietary design is finalized.[9] The FX-05 is one of the world's few assault rifles featuring polygonal rifling, which eliminates the normal grooves of a weapons barrel replacing them with a system of "hills and valleys" in a rounded polygonal pattern. The optical sight is an integrated one with a carry handle attached as standard.[9]

There has been some criticism that the barrel has reliability issues and a short operating life, blamed on low-quality materials.[16]

The FX-05 is available in several configurations optimized for differing use, including: assault rifle (Fusil de asalto), carbine (Carabina), compact (Carabina corta, literally "short carbine"),[14] light machine gun (Ametralladora) and sharpshooter (Francotirador) variants.[9] The variants are all essentially identical, excepting the short carbine having a shortened fore-end[17] and the sharpshooter being equipped with a fixed adjustable stock rather than the standard folding stock.

FX-05 Xiuhcoatl[13]
Type Barrel Length Length (Stock Extended) Length (Stock Folded) Weight (Empty)
Assault Rifle 18.9 inches [480 mm] 42.8 inches [1,087 mm] 34.9 inches [887 mm] 8.6 lbs. [3.89 kg]
Carbine 15.5 inches [393 mm]? [18] 38.6 inches [980 mm] 30.7 inches [780 mm] 7.1 lbs. [3.22 kg]
Short Carbine ? ? ? ?
Sharpshooter ? 47.4 inches [1,204 mm] -- 8.9 lbs. [4.02 kg]
LMG ? 49.0 inches [1,244 mm ] 41.1 in [1,044 mm] 9.3 lbs. [4.23 kg.]

Legal Dispute with Heckler & Koch

The influence of the G36 receiver, AK styled gas piston and Mexican recoil delaying system can all be seen in this partial cut away of a first generation FX-05 Xiuhcoatl.

On February 1, 2007, representatives of the SEDENA (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional) and Heckler & Koch met in Mexico City to address accusations of patent infringement from the German firm.[19] They claimed that the Army "replicated" the design of the HK G36 assault rifle. After an exhibition of detailed models of the FX-05, the HK representatives were convinced that, despite the similarities between the two rifles, there was not a patent infringement, therefore bringing an end to the disagreement.[19][20] In the end, the German firm stated that they would not sue on the basis that even though the rifle looks similar it is internally different with a completely different mechanism.[20]

The report concluded that while externally the FX-05 bears obvious design elements there are several notable differences. The receiver which was styled after the G36 is in fact coupled with a simple gas piston similar in operation to the AK series which is then attached through a delayed roller system to the weapons recoil delaying system.[citation needed] While the more advanced parts of the rifle were found to be independently Mexican produced, Heckler & Koch officials still questioned the DGIM (the manufacturer of the FX-05) regarding the issue of the rifles receiver system which is almost identical to the G36's. It is believed that the receiver was made to be as similar to the G36 to maximize commonality between the two weapons as many of Mexico's police forces are issued with the G36. Either way it appears that the newer post lawsuit versions of the FX-05 feature a different newly designed receiver,[9] as the newer FX-05 come with a four position fire selection (safe, single shot, three round burst, full auto) whereas the original FX-05 came with only three firing selections (safe, single shot, full auto). This theory is also reinforced by the fact the new black FX-05 models feature a visible metal protrusion before the magazine ejector and the receiver is noticeably smaller.


Comparable Weapons

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Mexico's 2014 plans include new assault rifles and more DN-XI trucks". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 6 Jul 2014.
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20170123053451/http://www.ceptm.iue.edu.ar/index.php/2015/08/11/mexican-army-develops-a-remote-controlled-weapons-station-and-rifle-mounted-grenade-launcher/
  3. ^ "Fusil FX-05 Xiuhcoatl: el brazo armado del Ejército mexicano" (in Spanish). 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  4. ^ a b James Dunnigan (March 2007). "Theft Resistant Assault Rifle". bahia de Banderas news. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  5. ^ Defence Industry Bulletin - October 2014 (#3), Page 3.
  6. ^ a b Daniel Watters. "The 5.56 X 45mm: 2006". Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  7. ^ http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=1553
  8. ^ a b "World Infantry Weapons: Mexico". Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Fusil FX-05 (Xiuhcoatl) Assault Rifle (2008)". Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  11. ^ Daniel Watters. "The 5.56 X 45mm: 2005". Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  12. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160921192840/https://www.janes.com/article/63962/mexican-military-parades-variety-of-new-equipment
  13. ^ a b c d allmilitaryweapons.com FX-05 Xiuhcoatl - Mexican Assault Rifle
  14. ^ a b c Max Popenker. "FX-05 Xiuhcoatl assault rifle (Mexico)". Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  15. ^ https://21stcenturyasianarmsrace.com/2014/03/01/the-assault-rifles-of-the-near-future-2-updated/
  16. ^ https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/defence-notes/analysis-mexican-defence-industry/
  17. ^ military-today.com FX-05 Xiuhcoatl
  18. ^ World Infantry Weapons: Mexico
  19. ^ a b Allan Wall (March 2007). "The Mexican Army and its Controversial New Rifle". bahia de Banderas news. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  20. ^ a b "Mexico and the 'new' FX05 Xihuacóatl assault rifle" (PDF). Small Arms Survey 2007. p. 7. Retrieved 2012-02-08.

External links

  • G36 and FX-05 Xiuhcoatl
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