A Strange Choice Of Gun For An Insurgent

The Arkenstone blog published this propaganda photo by the Iranian insurgent group Jaish ul-Adl (“Army of Justice”) that operates in the South East of the country. There is not much information about this group online. They formed last year and seem to be a generic Sunni insurgent group on a “holy war” against the Shia majority. The Iranians claim they are being funded by Pakistan. In October they attacked a police station killing 14 police officers near the Iran-Pakistan border.



Why the above photo is interesting is that the two men in the foreground are holding expensive civilian firearms. The gun on the left is a suppressed Steyr rifle and the man on the right is holding a Walther G22 bullpup chambered in .22 LR. In mountainous terrain, that .22 LR must be close to worthless. It is a novel and fun rifle to shoot but nobody has ever claimed it is an accurate rifle.

A propaganda photo published by Jaish ul-Adl after the October attack.

A propaganda photo published by Jaish ul-Adl after the October attack.

I do wonder if these men are weekend warriors taking their favorite hunting rifles into the mountains to play Cops n’ Insurgents, after which they go back to their dreary office jobs and dream of jihad. Photos published by the group (see above) after the police station massacre show the usual suspects looking like disheveled desert nomads carrying rusty pre-Revolution weapons. They are not carrying expensive consumer rifles while wearing pressed uniforms and quality mountain clothing.

Thanks to Nic for the tip.

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.


  • floppyscience

    Weekend terrorists… that’s a funny thought.

  • Giolli Joker

    The Steyr (SSG69? Police?) is a sweet choice, though…

    • mikee

      Yea, so much for the UN IATA convention. How much paperwork did these “insurgents” fill out to own these weapons. Pathetic!

      • Mouldy Squid

        It was most likely legally acquired in Pakistan and sold/given/joined up with the insurgents. Besides, why would a “hunting” rifle and a .22 long arm be subject to the UN IATA convention? These aren’t exactly military grade small arms.

        • mikee

          Mouldy Squid – in answer to your question. ALL firearms including hunting rifles are controlled by the UN IATA convention. If you import/export firearms and their proscribed components such as triggers, actions, bolts, firing pins etc., and some telescopic sights the country that is signatory to the UN IATA (which includes most (all?) Western countries) have to abide by this convention. For example, please look at US web sites and examine “export controls” criteria to get some idea of the requirements for importing/exporting firearms and prescribed components. The US Department of State requires considerable “paperwork” before an export licence and or an end user certificate is presented for all firearms and prescribed components. This process can take up to three months and may cost hundreds of dollars. Also, the client importing the firearm(s) and or proscribed components must comply with the importing country’s Federal, State and Customs regulations before an import permit can be granted. The process can be complicated and time consuming as well as expensive in some instances. Been there done that!

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            Excellent points. However, human nature being what it is, there are still a lot of ways to circumvent or plainly evade the rules and put the firearms in question in the hands of a paying client regardless of legality.

          • mikee

            You’re absolutely right! Unfortunately the drafters of these kind of conventions are deaf, dumb and blind and pursue a “one size fits all” mentality where the unintended consequences discriminate against the law abiding citizens in Western countries who do the right thing.

  • Chuck

    He also has a underfolder AK behind that 22lr.

  • Alex Nicolin

    That bright yellow stock wrapping sure helps him blend in with the terrain.

    • 11b

      As well as the UCP backpacks. Must be a lot of gravel pits and floral couches over there.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Haven’t you seen Tactical Yellow before?

  • Jason

    I wonder if 22LR is hard to find over there too…

    • Chris Richard

      It’s probably where all of ours has gone šŸ˜›

      • jamezb


  • schadavi

    They remind me of arab nutnfancys.

    • Giolli Joker

      Technically they’re not Arabs. šŸ™‚

  • jamezb

    Back in my day that Steyr SSG was considered a premier sniper rifle…combined with a good suppressor, a decent marksman could raise a lot of hell with one of those. As to the Walther, being as the man is also carrying an AK slung behind it, I suspect it’s purpose is either to procure small game or it is used with a suppressor for assassinations or quietly stirring up trouble instead of being relied on as a main combat weapon.

    • jamezb

      What I found even more bizarre was the guy on the left’s antique Nokia cellphone on his belt and the guy on the right’s Nike gloves! And how about those fancy hats and furry facemasks…or are those artificial beards?

      • BillC

        Antique Nokias are the norm. They are very very cheap and they run on the old cell networks found in that region that that have been phased out here for the past 10+ years. The 800 network is what’s there, they aren’t exactly rolling in the 4G.

      • (_seba_)

        That’s not a Nokia cellphone, it is an ICOM two-way radio: http://www.rigpix.com/icom/ict3h.htm
        Or maybe a counterfait clone.

        • jamezb

          Good eyes there (_seba_)..

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Very good deductive reasoning. Also, let’s remember that insurgent groups, especially fledgeling insurgent groups without the benefit of properly-funded initial support, tend to use whatever is available to hand out of sheer necessity until they achieve some modicum of stability and backing.

  • Jonathan

    Insurgency in Iran?

    • jamezb

      Where there are both Sunnis and Shiites there will be internal conflict between the two, even as both are united by their hatred of US.
      We sure are lucky the Baptists and Methodists are better behaved than their Islamic equivalents.

      • Jonathan

        Yeah, but still Iran is one of the less unstable countries in the Middle East so it’s a bit surprising.

        • Lurgubbe

          Keep in mind that this region is really a “fringe”, like Albania for Europe or Alaska for the US.

      • Mouldy Squid

        You got it. Sunnis and Shia are mutually hostile and have been for centuries. A great deal of the terrorism and bloodshed in the middle east finds its origin in the Sunni/Shia conflict.

        An argument can be made that Islam is going through its Protestant Reformation (which if you know your history was exceptionally bloody).

        • Graham2

          If Sunni and Shia could just start singing their hits such as ‘I’ve got You Babe’ again, maybe the world would be a better place!

          • FWIW

            This may well be the best comment I’ve ever read

          • Graham2

            Thank you very much, I’m here all week!

          • PatrickHenry1789

            Nah, gotta be the coke song.

          • jamezb


        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Good point. We need to remember that Christianity, as with every other belief system, has gone through its share of cycles of sectarian violence. The only difference is in the historical timing ; in that respect, Islam just so happens to be having its time right now in an existing cycle.

          • Cymond

            “deeply-embedded, long-term socio-economic disparities as well as regional and ethnic disputes.”

            I’ve often thought that religion is rarely the cause of so-called “religious wars”. I personally suspect the reasons for warfare are almost always secular/cultural, while any religious aspects are primarily window dressing.

            Sorry, I’ll back away from the religio-political conversation now.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Please see my reply to Mouldy Squid below. Thanks!

  • Cymond

    It looks like the G22 also has the Walther laser module in front of the forearm. Again, it’s weird for them to have a laser, and even more so a factory-installed laser.

  • Geo

    My experience with the Walther G22 is not good. It’s a jam-o-matic.

  • Lance

    Like his sniper partner he might be an assassin not a fighter. a .22lr in close quaters can kill you as much as a .223 can in a shot to the head.

  • Canadian_Gun_Owner

    Why did I get the sickening feeling that the first pic is an American pic given to the this group, so the gun-grabbers could use it as an excuse to try and take more of our guns?

  • Sam

    Well, regardless of what people might think, among a great many iranians its no secret that there are elements of anti IRI government insurgency, unified by a very large international community of benefactors. They have radios channels, tv channels(even a tv channel based in LA with daily broadcasts and updates in farsi), web sites, accounts for donations. Im not saying that this IS one thing or the other, but i believe that the notion of these guys being iranian “westerners” is not totally unfounded. The iranian government often passes off these movements as terrorists and sectarian militias, referring to the sunni shiah conflict. I am iranian and i care a great deal about learning about these things, and the sunni shiah conflict has never really been that much of a problem there. However scarce the available information in english might be, i encourage everyone to try and learn about this not so well documented movement. You’ll find its a breath of fresh air.

  • “I do wonder if these men are weekend warriors taking their favorite
    hunting rifles into the mountains to play Cops nā€™ Insurgents, after
    which they go back to their dreary office jobs and dream of jihad.”


  • Casey

    Strangest of all is that he feeds his backpack straps through his epaulets. : /

  • tincankilla

    based on the eyes, brows, and noses, they could be brothers. add that to the arms and the dress and I suspect that they showed up as a package deal.

  • Jamie Clemons

    .22 is very quiet and easy to supress. .22 will kill you just as dead.