Skip to comments.Iraqi Army receives M-16 and M-4 rifles
Posted on 05/11/2007 6:44:12 PM PDT by mdittmar
CAMP TAJI, Iraq At the start of May, Iraqi Army recruits at the Regional Training Center here began receiving new M-16 and M-4 rifles.
The Iraqi government made the decision to crossover from standard AK-47 assault rifles to the American rifles as part of the reshaping of their military and security forces.
Under the program, Coalition Military Assistance Training Teams issue enlisted IA troops the M-16A4, while officers receive the M-4. With 200 basic training recruits per rotation, CMATT officials estimate that 1600 IA soldiers will receive the new weapons by the end of May.
According to Lt. Col. Walter Easter, Military Transition Team commander and senior advisor to the RTC, the exchange is as much a symbol of the new IA as it is an upgrade to the individual soldiers capabilities.
The M-16 has long been considered the worlds best rifle, Easter said. Theres a high percentage of [Iraqi Army recruits] who can shoot more accurately than we expected just because of the better weapon system that they have.
The weapon exchange is just the first step in a five-day program of instruction for the Iraqis. However, new rifles are not handed out in a one-for-one swap. Coalition Forces assign each IA recruit a weapon using a high-tech, biometric issue system.
Verified against a master list and having tuned in his old rifle, the IA soldier and his new M-16 continue on to one of ten biometric stations, where he is finger printed, undergoes a digital retinal scan and is photographed with the M16s serial number. Officials then transfer the information to a database in Baghdad, to ensure accountability and to prevent the weapon from ending up in the wrong hands.
We are very excited about it, said a 9th Iraqi Army Division second lieutenant, whose name is withheld to protect his identity. We have been hearing about getting the new weapons for some time and finally they are here.
U.S. Department of Defense civilian contractors provide hands-on instruction modeled after the same training American troops receive. Familiar box drills, sight picture training and live-fire weapon zeroing provide consistent and effective basic marksmanship skills.
It does a number of things for the basic IA soldier, said George Conrad, an assistant team leader providing the primary marksmanship instruction. The better weapon system puts the IA forces in sync with coalition troops and it builds their confidence.
Conrad said they have all seen change and new equipment at the higher echelons, but now, the soldier in the dirt has something new, something tangible, in his hands.
Its a sign of hope that things are changing, he said. Its something that needed to be done.
Easter said that training at the Taji RTC would continue at the company-size level, with program augmentation at Besimaya Range later this summer for IA battalions.
It sucks in sandy environments, like Camp Pendleton.
The AK is a "Chimp Rifle". Meaning that you could issue it to a chimpanzee and a year later it would still work.
The Iraqis are not chimps, but they are not Marines or US Army either.
I believe it would be better for them, and us, if we left them to a rifle they understand and know how to use.
Most of the fighting in Iraq is street-to-street. Short range. The extra accuracy of the M-16 is not required.
In my experience it was about 6 MOA, using a Chinese MAK90, (which, except for the stock, are considered to be decent AK's). A particularly good one like a Valmet would probably perform somewhat better. The problem seems to be mostly related to the cartridge. I have read that even AR's chambered in 7.62x39 tend to have disappointing accuracy.
If you go over to AR15.com and click on the AK47 tab you can find many threads on this subject. The consensus seems to be that AK's in 7.62x39 are capable of somewhere between 4 and 8 MOA depending on the gun in question and who you ask. AK's in other calibers do much better, but they don't seem to have the potential to be made truly accurate.
Thanks for the insight, LibKill. I, too, am concerned about the effectiveness of the M-16 in a high particulate environment and with an army that is still being broken in.
Thanks, elmer fudd, for your info, too. I will look up AR15.com. The MAK 90 sounds like a nice arm.
Okay, I missed this one. What is an M-4 Rifle? Anyone got a picture?
That’s because most of the 7.62X39 shot in them is cheap Russian Wolf and old surplus ammo. Accurate it ain’t The 7.62X39 ain’t no slouch itself. Various bolt-gun makers chamber it with good results. Heck the 6mmPPC widely regarded as one of the most naturally accurate cartridges ever made is a kissing cousin in design to the “Russian Short”. Also Ak’s aren’t accurate because of their designed loose tolerances. The good side of this is it allows for their legendary reliability.
No, the FAL is a symbol of the free world, in fact it was called “The Right arm of the Free world” and for good reason. Heck of a gun and if it was picked over the M14 our military would have used it for many years.
I thought Iran was using G3’s built in Iran? Heck of a good .308 battlerifle in it’s own right.
The shift from AK to AR is a sign they are becoming professionals.
I think that is what we are seeing with this, they aren’t planning on staying third world. AK to AR is a cultural shift in its self.
I remember seeing a semi load of M-16s that had been captured from Salvadoran guerillas. Many of them had the mag housing corroded badly. There were a series of photos of a Vietnamese “arms dump” on some site a couple of years ago that would make a collector cry. Huge heaps of rotting, rusting guns of every type just piled up in an open field. Most of the wood stocks were rotted clean away.
Poland still uses a design based on the AK, and they are professional.
Just could be....
As for the quality of Wolf and other surplus ammo out there, it seems strange to me that one particular cartridge would do so poorly. The 7.62x54R is no slouch when it comes to accuracy and although I've never owned a 5.45x39, people that do report that AK's in that caliber generally shoot 2 to 3 MOA.
Iran wants to distribute the KY-2000 to all frontline troops by 2010.
WW is fine ammo. I have one AR that will not hold accuracy with it. Funny, been through it several times can find no reason. My bolt action stuff all loves it.
I think the biggest issue here is marksmanship.
Sure, an AK-47 is nearly unjammable and the M-16 requires intense maintenance but one huge difference in our military and the terrorists is the ability to hit the target.
Clearly, the Iraqi’s think the M-16 gives them an advantage.
Philosophically, I was shocked to see this decision by the Iraqis but maybe it indicates they’re bonding well with our guys, embracing our tactics and training, and are moving in a positive direction?
That's how it looks to me too. Adopting the M-16 says "upward mobility".
And doesn't Israel use the M-16? I think it's significant that Iraq would be willing to be seen with the same weapon. In Al-Jazeera footage of Israeli soldiers committing "atrocities" against the Palestinians, the soldiers carry M-16s.