Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

New Arms For A New Iraqi Army (Iraq’s Symbolic Switch: AK-47 Out, M-16 In)
Los Angeles Times ^ | December 2, 2007 | Doug Smith

Posted on 12/02/2007 3:55:26 PM PST by DogByte6RER

New arms for a new Iraqi army

Soldiers are trading in the iconic Soviet assault rifle, the AK-47, for a U.S. military symbol, the M-16.

By Doug Smith

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 2, 2007

BESMAYA RANGE, IRAQ — The company of Iraqi soldiers pressed together for the dance of valor, singing of their bravery, stomping in the desert sand, thrusting their weapons skyward, just as they might have done not so many years ago to honor Saddam Hussein.

But what were those sleek silhouettes they jabbed into the air? Not AK-47s. The iconic Soviet bloc assault rifle that has been synonymous for decades with America's adversaries and the developing world is being phased out of the Iraqi army.

Its replacement? The M-16, a rifle that first saw service in the jungles of Vietnam and has since, over a sometimes difficult evolution, become the dominant symbol of the Western soldier.

Over the next year or two, the 190,000 projected members of the Iraqi army will be issued M-16s or related weapons, to the consternation of some military aficionados and pundits, with some saying the U.S. is tempting fate by offering the world's premier assault rifle to a country with an unstable government and a healthy black market.

Others see a stroke of genius in giving the Iraqis a weapon renowned for its temperamental nature.

"Having an insurgent pick up and use an M-16? Possibly detrimental to their efforts in the long run," one blogger wrote sarcastically.

The controversy reflects the two weapons' remarkably different characteristics and their competing roles in global power struggles over the last five decades.

The AK, bred in the Soviet assembly lines of 1947, is easy to mass-produce and renowned for its indestructibility.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: ak47; banglist; combatarms; iraq; iraqiarmy; m16; machineguns; rifle; wot
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-30 last
To: DogByte6RER
The Russians only have three good things going for them...caviar, vodka and the AK-47.

I do not agree. Kournikova, Sharapova, and Dementieva.

21 posted on 12/02/2007 5:22:12 PM PST by ricks_place
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red6

And don’t forget, Colt and other make new uppers in a useable calibre

7.62 X 39 and 6.8 X 43.

Me? I like the vesion in 7.62 NATO.

FWIW, I also own a AK in 5.56 as my ‘semiauto’ for house use. Fun to shoot as well.

22 posted on 12/02/2007 6:08:32 PM PST by ASOC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

Yes, you’re right.

That said, you must admit that at the time and years later most people had no clue of how novel a design the M16 was. Cast aluminum (Very light and corrosion resistant - but very expensive to manufacture – also a first); high velocity and unstable round (Small and light ammo that does a lot of damage on a human); a lay out that allows nearly complete operation with a single hand (Selector, magazine release etc); and highly modular in design (Changing the stock, upper or lower receiver, barrel is easy), made this small little weapon a trend setter others would emulate, since today S. Korea, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Austria, Australia...... all use 223. I think it’s overlooked that this weapon was actually quite “revolutionary” in concept going against the stream and to a smaller cartridge that was very fast and a slug that was inherently unstable after impact. Later the smaller high velocity concept was cloned by nearly everyone, even the Russians with their 5.45. The basic bolt design of the M16 can be found on other weapons today. The German G36 is essentially a direct clone of the M18, which was ArmaLites follow on design to the M16 and shares some design features as well. The M16 was adopted fully or in part by the armed forces of 71 different nations; and remember, the M16 is a very expensive weapon in comparison because it’s a cast aluminum weapon with chromed star-chamber and barrel. No way can this weapon compete in price with a stamped sheet metal gun like an AK. When the M16 came out in 1964, there were “NO” weapons that were this light, small, accurate, with that much firepower, and so easy to use.

For example:

The German G3 was a good weapon. It was in service all the way into this millennium with the German armed forces. The M16 has a point target range of 550 meters, the G3 400. The G3 weighs more (1.7 pounds) and is bulkier. The little 223 cartridge against a human will actually (on average) do more damage than the larger 308 because of the higher velocity and specifically instability of the slug. For the same weight and volume, an infantryman can carry about 210 rounds 223, or 120 rounds 308. The M16 upper and lower receiver is less susceptible to corrosion and the stock is synthetic vs. wood (which in the mid 60s was still the norm for a stock) See a difference?

The M16 had birthing issues. Had it not been for an extreme climate (hot and wet) combined with less that perfect ammunition, this issue would have been benign and probably not come to the forefront as it did. Nonetheless, a design with a weakness was put under the least ideal of conditions and there were many failures. This was identified and corrected quickly with the A1, but the legend of the unreliable M16 lives on.

An M16A1, and the following designs are no more or less susceptible to failure than most other assault weapons. I’ve seen AKs fail, just like I’ve seen Glocks, my Sig 226 and many other weapons fail. Given the right conditions you can “set-up” any weapon to fail or look impervious to malfunction. In reality the M16’s major draw back is in design because it blows carbon down into the bolt, but this issue is minor since malfunction from this would require serious neglect, bordering on stupid. I used an M4 under arctic conditions (-68F) while in 1-17 Infantry and in Iraq at 122F (1AD). Never did this weapon fail me, but I did see an AK fail for an Iraqi guard. Misuse and or neglect can cause malfunctions on all weapons, and the M16 is generally no more susceptible than others. I too hope that the follow on weapon to the M16 has no “birthing pains.” I also hope we get a weapon that gives our troops a performance edge as the M16 did; that we procure a weapon that is a leap in technology and is so adaptive and universally designed, with future threat developments in mind, that like the M16 the design can viably survive 43 years and still be among the best fielded standard issue rifles in any army.

23 posted on 12/02/2007 8:07:44 PM PST by Red6 (Come and take it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]


556 over penetrates (especially here in the US where everything is drywall) and you risk killing others besides the intended target in “house use.” Buy a shotgun.

556 = small, light weight, flat trajectory, low recoil, easy to manage with burst or full auto. Combined with SS109/M855 is makes a big mess inside a human because of the instability and high velocity.

Non-elastic organs (Heart, liver, kidneys, and spleen) are ripped to pieces inside a human from the shock wave. The slug itself begins to rotate and after 7 cm penetration is on its side, unlike 308 which tends to punch nice clean holes through people because it does not begin to do so until 18 cm of penetration. The little 223 often comes apart and exits with two holes since the M855 ball has a penetrator tip and lead core back which usually split in two when the slug is rotating. Bottom line: 223 makes a huge mess of humans.

Nothing can replace good shot placement. If you hit the brain or spinal column the dude no matter how big or tough or what he’s doing, will drop. If you hit someone with a 50cal in the leg, as it happened at a TCP with us, the guy will sit there with his leg essentially blown off, but alive and conscious. A bigger bullet often does not bring better results and you can see that when you hunt. With my little Marlin 308 I drop big game, and someone else might shoot the same animal with a 338 (8.6 x 70) and this animal suffers. If I take someone and have them kneel, shooting them into the back of the head, a 22 will do the trick 100% of the time. If I shoot someone in the lower abdominal region with your 6.8mm he will be in agony, but most likely alive. Where the bullet goes will make the difference!

223 is a general purpose round. It depends on the ranges you’re shooting at and what you’re engaging. Against a human from 0 – 300 meters it’s nice to just be able to put the dot on the target and know that the bullet will only be 2 inches bellow, above, and then bellow line of sight in that range span. 223 is adequate to kill humans, that simple. On burst or auto you can control the weapon. Even when taking quick aimed shots you have an advantage because your recovery time is so little, practically none. I could easily go to the range and shoot with less than one second between shots, and every shot is actually an “aimed” shot, because 223 is like a kids cap gun. Because of the almost “toyish” feel when shooting it’s not an intimidating weapon that can easily be learned on even by those who might be intimidated with something like a G3. I can carry lots and lots of little bullets, and that’s nice, because they don’t have legs of their own and I had to carry them. 223 is not something you go bear hunting with, but it will do well with hogs or humans. 223 might not be the best choice when hunting dall sheep in Alaska on a mountain side at long ranges, but it will do perfectly well against a human from say 10 – 150 meters which is what over 90% of all your engagements will be at.

The 223 cartridge is a balance in performance aspects that while not perfect in all situations, all the time; is more perfect than any other cartridge most of the time. It’s a round that was designed for a specific target in mind, operating at a span of ranges that a soldier might work at, and incorporating other aspects such as transportability. If having slightly more range that might only pay off in 1% of the realistic engagements means I have to carry a weapon that is heavier 100% of the time, I didn’t make out on the deal! So while 223 is not perfect in every situation, it works very well most of the time and has a good balance of characteristics for meeting the purpose of what it’s intended use is, a general purpose cartridge for killing bad guys.

24 posted on 12/02/2007 9:14:14 PM PST by Red6 (Come and take it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Red6
Thanks - after 22 years in the military, I am pretty familiar with a M16/M4/GAU 5.

My point was that M16 doesn’t always = 5.56mm - I should have been more explicit.

I now use .223 for varmints - I can hold to a dime sized group at 100M - the bipod and glass helps as does the handloading ; )

For any social situations at the house I have a 45 ACP that is always handy..... Intrestingly I have seen 90 gr 5.56 loads advertised at 'surplus' Must hit like a buzzsaw at close range - it has to upset almost at the muzzle....

25 posted on 12/02/2007 9:37:12 PM PST by ASOC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Red6
Your posts (#23 and #24) have some great info on the .223 and M16 series weapons, but IMO, it's comparing apples to oranges.

When I was on active duty, I prefered to carry the AK-47 (Romanian folding stock version) to the M16A2 or M4.

I found that the folding stock on the AK was safer and easier to handle during Fastrope and airborne ops. If you fastrope with an M16, there was a tendency to be butt-stoked by the weapon when you landed.

I found that the 5.56 round would be deflected in light foliage or moderate winds, while the 7.62 would not be affected as much. The 7.62 round is also easier to apply "Kentucky Windage" to since the splash of the round is easier to observe at medium-long ranges.

As far as the M4 is concerned, I hated it. Yes, it was a small package that was eay to handle, but that came at the expense of accuracy. We were issued the ACOG sight and that was a real boondoggle. Zero at 25 meters, confirm at 100 meters, and reconfirm at 250-300 meters only to find that the point of impact had changed at the greater ranges. I preferred my civilian AimPoint sight to the ACOG. The troops today have so many gimmicks attached to their M4's that it negates the weight saving benefits.

All in all, I preferred the AK series for the close in, heavy underbrush area's or CQB. The M16 was good for longer ranges found in desert area's. Both weapons are good when used within design parameters, or they wouldn't be as prolific as they are.

26 posted on 12/02/2007 11:04:27 PM PST by Sarajevo (You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I have an AKM in .223, why not buy the Iraqis the same thing?

The Polish Army and many others that were COMBLOC now run .223 AK’s or derivatives...

Oh I see, fix it until it is broken...

27 posted on 12/03/2007 11:06:37 AM PST by MD_Willington_1976
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Do you have Oleg’s permission to use his pictures?

Email him and find out!

28 posted on 12/03/2007 11:07:31 AM PST by MD_Willington_1976
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Sarajevo

Opinions are hard to argue. Facts are a different story.

Let me make this real simple. Outside the realm of some “feeling” some might have, an M16 will outperform an AK hands down in near all measurable evaluative tests. I can measure the weight of both weapons. I can measure their length. I can bench-rest them and fire them, seeing which one shoots tighter. I can measure recoil. I can measure which weapon punches through more steel at 100 and 200 meters (Believe it or not, the M16 wins out there as well). I can measure a lot of things, but I can’t measure what you “feel.”

The M16 is conceptually a more modern weapon than the AK47. The M16 is made using much more expensive manufacturing techniques and materials to make the weapon more durable, lighter, and corrosion resistant. The M16 is the Cadillac, while the AK is a Saturn. Some people simply don’t know what they have and they really love their Saturn.

There are three reasons why someone would carry an AK for a *practical* purpose (Opposed to wanting to be a cool guy):

• The dudes you’re with all carry them and you want to share the same ammo, parts etc. Imagine you’re working with a bunch of locals and they all carry AKs (Compatibility).

• You want a weapon that sounds like that of the threat and fires green tracers. You can use the enemy’s weapon to confuse him or to blend in better and not stand out as much which ties into point one. (Confusing the enemy and blending in)

• You want a weapon so you can do something very bad and illegal, i.e. a “drop gun.” Not your ammo, not your gun, not the ballistics of a 556 = I didn’t shoot him in the head. (You intend to commit a crime)

From a functional performance aspect, you do not carry an AK. It is an inferior weapon. You don’t IMT with an AK that has a folding stock, but you can with an sliding stock on an M4. Your AKs receiver is more easily damaged physically because the thin stamped sheet metal bends. The gas tube is more easily damaged as well. Finally, the weapon is actually more susceptible to rust. If you want a good AK, you’d actually buy one made by a Houston Texas based firm because they use a thicker gauge sheet metal when stamping it. The AK was designed as a cheap mass producible weapon based on technology and concepts many years past.

For the Iraqi’s an M16 would be an upgrade over their current AKs, some of which are brand new.

29 posted on 12/04/2007 11:55:30 AM PST by Red6 (Come and take it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: 2111USMC

Pakistani street shops stamp them out and sell them on the streets for just a few bucks.

It’s a throw-away, which is why it is the revolutionaries weapon of choice.

Actually, this is a GOOD IDEA.

The weapons and the ammo now have to be home-made, or brought in, instead of simply stolen/sold from the government....

30 posted on 12/04/2007 11:59:49 AM PST by tcrlaf (You can lead a Liberal to LOGIC, but you can't make it THINK)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-30 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson