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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"AK-47 is the tool"

Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, says US soldiers in Iraq prefer his rifle to the standard issue M-16. Leftist news agency Reuters quotes the 86-yeard-old Kalashnikov as saying:

"Even after lying in a swamp you can pick up this rifle, aim it and shoot. That's the best job description there is for a gun. Real soldiers know that and understand it," the 86-year-old gunmaker told a weekend news conference in Moscow.

"In Vietnam, American soldiers threw away their M-16 rifles and used (Kalashnikov) AK-47s from dead Vietnamese soldiers, with bullets they captured. That was because the climate is different to America, where M-16s may work properly," he said.

"Look what's happening now: every day on television we see that the Americans in Iraq have my machine guns and assault rifles in their armored vehicles. Even there American rifles don't work properly."

It wouldn't surprise me if this were true. I remember one of my Drill Sergeants ("This one time, in boot camp...") taking an AK, throwing it into a puddle, kicking it around in the puddle for a bit, and then taking it out and firing it with no problem whatsoever. His point was that the AK handles being mishandled much better than the M-16 does, and is much less likely to jam or otherwise malfunction under adverse conditions or in harsh climates.

If any Milbloggers or veterans read this, I'd love to hear your opinions on this issue. I'd like to think that in the time I've been out of the service they've improved the reliability of the M-16, but if this article is to be believed (and obviously Kalashnikov may be simply being self-serving) it doesn't sound like that's the case. This, of course, would be another fine example of your tax dollars at work.

Blogger armynurseboy said...

My M-16 worked just fine in Iraq. It went bang whenever I needed it to. But I was also disciplined enough to clean and lube it every time I went outside of the wire....

The AK is a decent rifle. I can't hit the broadside of a barn with it at 100m, but it WILL go bang when you pull the trigger. It's also heavy, cumbersome and nowhere near as ergonomic as the M-16. But it WILL go bang when you pull the trigger.

Personally, the M-16 is a good weapon, although it could still use some more tweaking (ie upgrade the caliber to the 6mm range, change the direct gas system to a short stroke piston, etc) and it'll do just fine.


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