A number of pretty good guns have come to us by way of South Africa. There is the way cool Milkor Multiple Grenade Launcher (MGL), the 6-shot grenade system that is capable of raining lethal, 40x46mm ordnance downrange on enemy troops.And there isthe ever-capable, enemy shreddin'South African, revolver-operated, 12-round, 12-gauge tactical shotgun, the Armsel Striker or Striker-12.

I would trust either gun in a pinch - for the specific mission it was designed for.

Whether it's 12-gauge double-ought buckshot or High Explosive ordnance being dumped on the bad guys, either or both will perform the mission with lethal effectiveness - and certified enemy KIA.

Then there is another South African gun of the assault weapons kind - the R4 Assault Rifle.

The R4 succeeded the 7.62mm Belgian-made FN FAL rifle for South African Defence Forces. It's one mean hombre, a licensed variant of the Israeli Galil - but then, aren't they all - MEAN?

We have come to know and love the combat effectiveness of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) guns. Better step aside when the IDF comes to town - they know only one speed - FULL AHEAD.

The R4 was designed in the 1970s, manufactured from then to the present by Vektor, aka, Denel Land Systems. It is one of a family of guns that includes the R5 and R6 and the LM4, 5 and 6.

The Israelis developed the Galil in the late 1960s as a replacement gun for the FN FAL. The IDF seldom make mistakes - and when they do, unlike others - they rarely make the same mistake twice. IDF saw firsthand the combat effectiveness of Mikhail Kalashnikov's vaunted AK-47...hell, anyone that has gone up against the Kalashnikov is either soon dead or in awe of this Russian assault rifle. And they either adopt the AK as their very own, like the Warsaw Pact countries, many African nations and Red China, or they take its superior features and incorporate them into their own rifles. The IDF did the latter.

The end result of Israeli battle field lessons learned: the IMI Galil.

But any child is born of two parents: the Galil owes its birth to the AK-47 and Finland's M62.

The R4 is chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO. It's gas-operated with a rotating bolt, and it lays down rounds at 700 or better per minute, using a 35-round, synthetic detachable box magazine.

The R4 weighs about 9 1/2 pounds. (Successive R variants have gotten lighter.) With its side-folding tubular stock folded (right), it measures just 29 inches, nearly 40 inches extended.

The gun has a handy, slotted flash suppressor that doubles as an adapter to launch grenades. Flip up the rear sight, use the front post to acquire your target, move the selector switch from S (Safe) to R (Single Shot), A (Full-auto) and commence fire - sending lead downrange at 3,200 feet per second.