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Application Note: NATO Testing for Firearm Manufacturer

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A firearm manufacturer located in the Southeast United States competing for a military bid required help with NATO testing on their AR style rifles. While they had the capability to do some testing internally, they lacked the facilities needed to run the full battery of tests required by the NATO standard. Cross Precision Measurement’s testing team was able to accommodate all the needed tests in their Greenville, SC ISO 17025 accredited test lab.

The customer needed a number of tests run to ensure their firearms would operate in harsh conditions. Specifically in military applications, it is critical that the rifles work reliably even in the most extreme conditions. The tests included:

  • Durability testing at temperature: The firearms were placed in an environmental chamber and exposed to both extreme heat and cold. They were then fired inside the chamber to ensure they would still operate in those conditions.
  • Mud testing: Weapons were immersed and agitated in mud solutions of various degrees of viscosity, then the guns were fired. If the device fired properly, they would move to a more concentrated mud solution until they reached the most concentrated solution or the gun failed.
  • Salt fog testing: This is a standard testing procedure used to identify areas prone to corrosion or rust. This particular customer had very tight tolerances, so even a small amount of rust could jam the mechanisms. After the completion of this test the rifles were fired to confirm that they would still operate properly.
  • Sand & dust testing: Our team built a custom test rig for this particular test. The rifle was placed into a box that blew both sand and dust at it. For the static test the sand and dust were blown at the rifle then it was removed and fired. For the dynamic test, the gun was fired while the sand and dust were actively being blown onto the rifle.
  • Water spray test: This test simulated heavy rain conditions. The gun had to fire in multiple directions and orientations while the water was sprayed onto it.

Overall, the customer was satisfied with the test process. They did find a few issues during testing and were able to take the data provided by Cross to make some design changes and improve their product. The process helped them to raise the quality of their product and gave them an edge in their pursuit of a military contract.

Cross Precision Measurement’s test lab has both a Federal Firearms License (FFL) as well as a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) and offers a wide range of firearm testing capabilities. To learn more contact our team of testing experts today.


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Did you know… Cross Company is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Our ESOP started in 1979 and as of 2006, we are 100% employee-owned! Learn more about our ESOP and how that benefits both team members and our customers.
Did you know... the precision measurement group at Cross was founded in 1939 by our current CEO's grandfather, Jim King. That's a whole lot of calibration!
Did you know... A fingerprint weighs about 50 micrograms. We know, we weighed it! The residue left from a finger can actually make a difference in weight results which is why we wear gloves when we calibrate weights. For reference, a sheet of paper is about 4.5 grams, that’s 4.5 million micrograms.
Did you know… Cross Company has grown significantly since our start in 1954. Over the years we've acquired 26 companies! Today, our five groups have expertise in everything from industrial automation to precision measurement, and industry knowledge going all the way back to 1939.