Skip to comments.New Arms For A New Iraqi Army (Iraq’s Symbolic Switch: AK-47 Out, M-16 In)
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 latimes.com ...
The US went to great lengths 4 years to arm the Iraqi forces with AK47s(or variant).
From the color of the magazine, isn’t that an AK-74?
Hamas uses M-16s. It’s the king of beers.
Leno should hire Smith to write his jokes.
Why is it I'm suddenly reminded of Jason Blair and his story about Pfc. Jessica Lynch's West Virginia tobacco fields and cow pastures.
Rush says politics is just show business for ugly people. Maybe Journalism is just creative writing for dullards.
Awful big hole in the end of that barrel to be the 74?
Isn’t war profiteering great?
For a reason, the Ak 47 is a bit more *ahhem* durable and better suited to desert conditions and a third world army and the lack of maintenance that comes with that army.
Perhaps they should have issued ACOG sites for the Ak’s instead of M-16’s?
” 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...
Why is it I’m suddenly reminded of Jason Blair and his story about Pfc. Jessica Lynch’s West Virginia tobacco fields and cow pastures.
Rush says politics is just show business for ugly people. Maybe Journalism is just creative writing for dullards.”
Hmm as I recall Pfc Lynch’s rifle failed to function.
And they should be doing a bravery dance upon being issued the M-16, the longest serving rifle in US Military history..
Even the AK knockoffs and derivatives sell for $400 to $1500 over here. The real AK47’s go for abut $20-$40 in the countries where they are prevalent.
It just ain’t fair.
“Isn’t that an AK-74?”
No, it’s definitely an AKMS in 7.62 x 39. Orange bakelite magazines are common as dirt in 5.45mm for the AK-74, but scarce as hens’ teeth in 7.62mm like the one in the photo. Had one, sold it, been kicking myself every time I think about it.
That’s a neat looking AK. And yes, there are good reasons to prefer the Kalashnikov to the Armalite. Loose tolerances keep functioning when tight tolerances jam up, but it may be symbolic as well, Iraqis now carrying M-16s.
Just wonder what Iraqis whose lives depend on rifle reliability think about the switch.
Bulgaria, China, Germany and Russia made bakelite magazines for the AK-47. From the muzzle this appears to be an AK-47.
To all that corrected me on the caliber: Thanks. I did notice the barrel but thought the magazines were color coded for the cartridge. Oleg also has a knack for the unusual so I thought it was the 74.
This is not good. The Iraqis do not understand the need for cleaning a rifle. The AK will tolerate filth, but the M-16 will not. If the M-16 doesn’t work, then many Iraqis will think that we sabatoged their weapons. I know this sounds silly, but I saw it time and time again.
Hope this helps 7.62x39 prices to start going back down to pre-2005 prices. I’ve been sitting on my last 2000 rounds because of the significant increase in price of the last few years.
The AK was simply picked because of the “familiarity” we knew many of the Iraqi’s had with this firearm. The ability to recruit and train is much easier when 3/4 of the troops already have experience with a weapon. Furthermore, the AK is extremely cheap, easy to mass produce, and can be procured in vast numbers quickly from friendly countries like Jordan. We can literally buy 100,000 of them tomorrow, and have them in Iraq as fast as we can move them there.
That said, it’s a piece of junk that is in vogue among 20 something olds in the US. The AK receiver is stamped and more easily damaged than an M16, to include the gas tube. The weapon is more rust susceptible compared to the M16 which is cast aluminum and partially chrome plated internally (star-chamber, barrel etc). The M16 weighs less, is more accurate, is more controllable in a full auto variant and burst, is more adaptable in its modern versions to accessories for CQB, night image intensifiers, laser pointers, scopes etc. The M16 is even more ergonomical in CQB and other roles as the soldier tries to manipulate it. As a weapon for a military organization, the M16 is by far a superior weapon when compared to a normal AK47, as the Iraqi Army carries. The only weapon currently fielded to an Army which is superior to the proven M16 is the German G36. Based on the AR18 design it simply has less bolt fouling and because its a much newer design it uses composites which are lighter and even cheaper. When the M16 was developed, some of these new polymers didnt exist.
What I suspect will happen within the next few years-
After WWII and as the Cold War began to spin up, the Germans needed to arm their new Bundeswehr (We actually already had them armed before their Army technically stood up). We equipped this force with M1 Garand, M47/48 tanks, etc. As we equipped them, we replaced much of the equipment we had in our inventory with more modern systems. Our phased out hard-ware was going to an ally that desperately needed it while we upgraded to newer systems like the M14 and M60 tank. All through Latin/South America among friendly nations youll see old UH1 Helicopters working, many of them are old US machines that were replaced with the UH60. I know the DoD has been looking to replace the M16 for a while. There have been several large efforts to this end. I wonder what it will be?
Whatever comes next, I hope its birthing is a bit easier than the M 16’s...