The CIA & The Double Four Ammunition Of Darra Adam Khel, Pakistan

From Left-Right: Double Four, 7.62x39mm, 7.62x51mm

From Left-Right: Double Four, 7.62x39mm, 7.62x51mm

The Double Four, or “44″, is the name given to the 7.92x33mm Kurz, the round first developed for the famous Sturmgewehr 44,  manufactured by craftsman in the famous gun workshops of Darra Adam Khel, Pakistan and which are popular in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

Local lore says that the Double Four was introduced during early years of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in order to hide involvement of the CIA and Pakistan Intelligence who were supplying the Afghan Mujahedeen. While there is no way to verify if this story is true, we do know that the CIA went to extreme lengths to hide, or at least be able to plausibly deny, their involvement in shipping ammunition and weapons to Pakistan Intelligence who in turn distributed it to the Mujahedeen.

Post-CIA, I am not sure what the benefit of the slightly shorter round is in a full length rifle. The only benefit I can think of is that it may cost slightly less to manufacture. Most likely it is still popular because many rifles chambered for it are still floating around Pakistan. In the early 90s Colt developed the 5.56x30mm MARS and recently India developed the 5.56x30mm INSAS, but these were for use in compact PDW-style weapons not rifles.

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This AK-style rifle above is designed to fire the Double Four. I was told that is can be quickly converted to fire regular 7.62x39mm ammunition if required. It uses standard 7.62x39mm AK magazines.

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UPDATE: Turns out

Many thanks to Zain for the information and photos.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • radion

    In Pakistan, most military caliibers is illegal for civilian use, so in order to obtain an AK legally, all AKs are changed to accept rare or wildcat cartridges . In other words, these AKs accept 7.62×33 (44) and 7.92 x 33 mm “Kurz” ammunition. This same thing also happen in some parts of latin america , europe, etc. NATO .308 is banned , so .307 (a rimmed 308 was developed and rifles are modified to accept it).

  • Anonymous

    Pretty sure “44″ is actually 7.92×33 Kurz. Wikipedia confirms this suspicion:

    “In Pakistan, the same cartridge is also reported to be in use by the local name of
    “44 Bore.” This either refers to the “44″ of the MP44/StG44 series or
    the “L44A1″ inscription found on headstamps of reloaded cartridges. It
    is used in locally made AK-pattern weapons in semi-automatic only
    (produced or converted in Peshawer, Kohat and Derra Adam Khel, etc.)
    that chamber this cartridge, since 7.62×39
    is a restricted caliber (known as Prohibited Bore or “PB” in Pakistan).
    It is usually considered an inferior weapon and cartridge in Pakistan
    due to inconsistent quality of the ammunition and gunsmithing of weapons
    chambered or converted for this cartridge. It is sometimes used by
    private security companies.[citation needed]“

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Well spotted! I have updated the article.

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        There is a detailed article on this calibre in the Summer 2013 (vol 45, no.3) issue of the AFTE Journal, by a Pakistani forensic scientist. It confirms that the locals produced 7.92×33 AKs and ammo to get around restrictions on 7.62×39, and that they believe they invented the calibre! No mention of the CIA though.

  • Esh325

    I think .220 Russian or 6.5×39 would be the best cartridge to chamber an AK for if you couldn’t get 7.62×39,5.45×39, or 5.56×45 as they are based on the x39 case so you can use the same magazines and parts.

  • jamezb

    “update – turns out” (the rest of the update is missing)
    Turns out what? You have me wondering!

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I thought it was a shortened 7.62x39mm round, rather than the Krutz.

  • Lance

    In the South Asia region in the 80s I bet alot of Arab nations dumped alot of weapons to fellow Islamist fighting the Russian. Syria had alot of STG 44s they bought from Russia after WW2. So I bet they because a cheap and reliable weapon for poor fighters who couldn’t buy a TYPE 56 we where selling them at the time.

  • Mr Silly

    I’m pretty sure the Soviets would have at least suspected CIA involvement. The wording should read: the CIA went to great lengths to sanitize any tangible evidence linking them to involvement.
    It is correct the 7.92 by 33 Kurz (shortened) is indeed the MP43/STG44 kurz mittelpatrone. I was quite fascinated by the Wikipedia article- I had no idea how much it continued post war.
    My guess is that the CIA probably had an enormous stockpile of Kurz ammunition still left in then West Germany of East German origin and as the actual AK and Kurz are not radically different- solution.

  • zain

    I beg to differ .

    this cartridge is not 7.92×33mm Kurz, rather it
    is a whole new invention by the darra craftsmen. A very simple
    measurement with varinier caliper would prove it that it is not
    7.92×33mm Kurz cartridge

    local lore says that this bore was invented by Drra Craftsmen to
    dispose legally the piles of irreparable AK47s which Russians left
    behind after getting a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. Those
    irreparable AKs found their way ultimately to Pakistan as a scrap item
    as the Pak-Afghan border is too long and too porous and impossible to
    guarded entirely. Even the America could not seal it in her 10 year
    stay even being a Super power equipped with most modern satellite
    technology.
    So , in my opinion, it is an all new caliber/ bore
    invented by Darra craftsmen. The Wikipedia article appears to be wrong when it calls the 44 as 7.92×33mm Kurz.

    I think they have necked down the 7.62X39
    cartridge because the main intention behind the invention of this
    cartridge was to develop a bullet which could be fired by a weapon that
    could be easily modified to fire 7.62X39 also. The main attraction to
    the weapons of this round seems to be its ability to fire AK47
    ammo which is cheaply and abundantly available in local markets

  • Tom W.

    I pulled out a round of 7.92×33 kurz and it was identical to the one in the picture – including the bullet, the neck and the case. No, I don’t have an StG 44, but I do have the book “Die Sturmgewehr Patrone 7,92×33″ by Dr. Dieter Kapell, a great book on the development and history of the cartridge. In addition to the StG 45 experimental rifle, the Germans actually tried to used this round in a number of last-ditch weapons, including bolt-action rifles.