In my previous article ‘A Brief History between KSC and KWA,’ I tried my very best to iron out the differences between the two companies and their products. To follow up in making the picture clearer, I have been working on a timeline that compiles the key events from both the KWA LM4 PTR initial announcement to the final release of the KWA LM4 PTR itself. A special thanks to KWA for allowing me to view the documents and mail sent back and forth between KWA and ATF; I was able to sort out a timeline that, I believe, gives insight and possibly definite answers to anyone who has been puzzled over the 2 year long project of the KWA LM4 PTR as well as the seemingly early releases of the KSC M4 GBBR.
If the response is good, I’ll try adding more of these timelines, for example, the AK GBBR, and possibly even updates on the generations of other KWA products like the ATP. Enjoy!
The Development of the KWA LM4 PTR GBBR
(1/19/2010) KWA LM4 PTR – The KWA LM4 GBBR was first Announced @ Shot Show 2010.
(4/16/2010) KWA LM4 PTR – KWA sends the 1st prototype, the ‘KWA LM4A1 PTR 6mm caliber airsoft gun’ to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF) for the approval of being classified as NOT a ‘firearm.’
(5/27/2010) KWA LM4 PTR – Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) of ATF examines KWA LM4 sample and confirms modification and testing has been done. FTB was able to modify an actual AR upper receiver to fire a 5.56 cartridge using the LM4 PTR lower receiver assembly and fire-control components. FTB classifies ‘KWA LM4A1 PTR 6mm caliber airsoft gun’ as a “firearm.”
(6/24/2010) KSC M4 GBBR – Announced on KSC Website.
(10/26/2010) KSC M4 GBBR – Released in Japan (KWA’s early prototype, which is NOT ‘ATF Approved.’ KSC M4 GBBR therefore has an aluminum bolt out of the box; KSC later offers aftermarket steel bolts for users and retailers to purchase, and replace themselves.)
(3/24/2011) KWA LM4 PTR – 3rd Prototype sent to ATF for classification after major changes to design and dimensions in order to comply with ATF guidelines. (The 2nd Prototype was never sent to ATF.)
(5/25/2011) KSC M4 CQB-R GBBR – Announced on KSC Website
(6/23/2011) KWA LM4 PTR – ATF and FTB responds to classification under the provisions of Gun Control Act of 1968. FTB recognizes several changes and failed modify the KWA LM4 PTR to fire real ammunition. Based on the examination, FTB determines that the redesigned ‘KWA LM4A1 PTR 6mm Caliber airsoft rifle’ is NOT a “firearm.”
(6/28/2011) KWA LM4 PTR – KWA makes additional modifications and sends the 4th prototype, the ‘KWA LM4A1 PTR2 6mm Caliber airsoft rifle’ to the ATF.
(7/22/2011) KSC M4 CQB-R GBBR – Released in Japan (Still includes an Aluminum bolt)
(7/26/2011) KWA LM4 PTR – The 4th Prototype, the ‘KWA LM4 PTR2,’ is received by ATF. FTB fails to modify the KWA LM4 PTR to fire real ammunition. FTB determines that the redesigned ‘KWA LM4A1 PTR2 6mm Caliber airsoft rifle’ is also NOT a “firearm.”
(8/12/2011) KWA LM4 Magpul Edition – Announced on KWA website
(9/16/2011) KSC M4 Magpul Edition GBBR – First announced on Tokyo Central Hobbies Blog
(10/20/2011) KSC M4 Magpul Edition GBBR – Released (Still only includes an Aluminum bolt. Why did some or if not many KSC M4 GBBR’s come with steel bolts? Some Japanese retailers actually swapped the KSC M4 GBBR’s aluminum bolt with the aftermarket KSC steel bolt before selling to customers. KSC M4 GBBR series has never updated to the current generation like the KWA LM4 PTR The latest KSC M4 GBBR’s still remain as one of KWA’s earlier generation. M4 GBBR’s which is not ATF approved and therefore still illegal import to the USA.)
(9/22/2011) KWA LM4 GBBR – Announced as ATF Approved
(1/17/2012) KWA LM4C PTR – Announced @ Shot Show 2012
(5/16/2012) KWA LM4 PTR – Released
(6/22/2012) KWA LM4 Magpul Edition – Released
- Official KWA & ATF documents on the LM4 provided by KWA Performance Industries
- KWA News & Announcement Page
- KSC Announcement Page
- Tokyo Central Hobbies Blog