With the poor condition that captured AK-47s are found, you could be forgiven for thinking the Afghans do not pay much attention to their rifles. Apparently they are very much into the “latest” gear and AK-74 are very much in demand, despite that they cost 2.5x as much as a Chinese AK-47 clone. The Guardian reports:
“The fortunes are to be made in weapons,” he said. “Prices are doing very well. If you bring in $20,000-worth over a month, you can make a profit of $5,000.”
Kalashnikovs, I presumed.
“No, Kalashnikovs are very cheap. They cost only $400. Sometimes the Tajiks buy them from us and we get them from the Chinese. But it’s the Kalakov everyone wants.” Kalakov is the Afghan name for a new model of Kalashnikov that is lighter and uses smaller bullets.
They seem to be under the impression that the 5.42x39mm round has some magical armor piercing capability! While the bullet the Russian currently use has improved penetration, compared to the original, I doubt it is any better than the 5.56mm NATO. I very much doubt that the Taliban are getting recently manufactured ammunition or the AP version of the 5.45mm.
“The Taliban like it because it pierces body armour.” Hekmat tapped at his chest to demonstrate and showed me a small bullet. “They cost $700 in Dushanbe and we sell them for $1,100. There is an extra charge of $150 if you want the weapons delivered in the south.”
This is good news for the coalition forces, better that they spend their money on weapons that they think will give them armor piercing capabilities, rather than weapons that could do real damage. I hope they do not catch on that the Dragunov SVD rifles they seem to love are not near accurate enough to be considered a real sniper rifle, nor can the 20 year old surplus Chinese 7.62x54mm be considered an accurate round for a sniper.
Hat Tip: Danger Room
UPDATE: I was emailed to say that vets report that AK-74 are not uncommon in Afghanistan. The Guardian’s source is a random smuggler that a reporter happened to talk to. I think this is pretty much a non-story.