Iraqi Soldier Update and M16 vs AK-47

November 30, 2008 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 10, 2008


I was out on a battlefield circulation the other day and the soldier on the left summed up everything that I had talked about in my last post. Check out the scope on his M16. It is held to the carrying handle by electrical tape, he can still use the iron sights on M16 if he wanted to. The scope is a Bushnell 3×9 adjustable with a graduated reticle, only problem is that the reticle is crooked and looks more like an X than a +. If you look at the Soldier’s ankles you can see he is wearing his knee pads in the normal American Soldier or Marine manner around the ankles. Soldiers and Marines do this because kneepads strapped tightly to your knees cause your knees to sweat profusely in the heat. Most Soldiers have mastered the art of quickly pulling up a knee pad if they have to take a knee for an extended period of time. I asked this Iraqi Soldier why he wore the knee pads around his ankles and his response was that was how the Americans did it. Finally the piece de resistance and the reason I decided to post this picture as well, is the pistol that the young Soldier is sporting in a thigh rig. I don’t like wearing my pistol on my thigh, I prefer it strapped to my body armor, but that is just me, most American’s wear a thigh rig which is why this soldier wears it that way. I found it unusual that this young Soldier had a pistol, since pistols are a symbol of authority in Iraq and are typically only reserved for officers or senior NCOs that are related to officers, so I asked this soldier what kind of pistol it was Glock, Beretta, or Tariq (an Iraqi made copy of an circa 1950s model Beretta). The response that the interpreter got made him laugh and of course piqued my curiosity. Evidently the pistol was an airsoft pistol. For those of you not familiar with airsoft pistols they are replica pistols that shoot plastic BBs and are popular for teenagers who play war games with them. In this Soldier’s effort to look like an American and be more intimidating to the bad guys in the local population he was wearing a PLASTIC BB GUN as part of his duty uniform. Let’s hope he never runs out of M-16 ammo.
I’m sure many of you are wondering why one Iraqi Soldier in this picture has an M16 and the other one has an AK-47. Starting sometime last fall the Iraqi government decided to buy and field the M16 and a few M4s to their Army. This guy belongs to a tank battalion that was sent down from Taji to Basra about 9 months ago, as part of the only armored division in the Iraqi Army, he is considered part of an elite unit and as such his unit was among the first to be issued the M16.
I’m not sure if it was a good idea for the Iraqi Army to buy the M16. But when you talk to all of the Iraqi Soldier’s who have one they think it is much better than AK-47. For the desert environment I would prefer the AK-47 whose parts do not fit together as tightly as an M16/M4. This means that it can get extremely dirty and still function perfectly. The M16/M4 will function fairly well in the desert, not as bad as some of the recent media articles make it out to but it will fail more often than AK-47 because of it’s more precise nature and tighter fit of its component parts. You constantly have to clean it to make sure there is not much dust built up on it. I’m sure that the US government is selling stocks of older M16/M4 without the modular rail system as most Army units are switching from the M16 to M4s with the modular rail system, hopefully this allows the government to recoup some of the costs spent in Iraq on the war but it is more than likely an effort by Colt Defense and the other members of the Military – Industrial Complex that make versions of the M16 to continue to profit after the Global War on Terrorism is over.


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