The Old And The Ancient

It’s unfortunate that when tabletop volumes or works of fine journalism cover the weapons used in a particular time or place, they always seem to paint a nice neat picture: M16A1s squared off against AK-47s in Vietnam, Lee-Enfields against Mausers in the Boer Wars, and of course Martini-Henrys against spears in Isandlwana. A more clear picture¬†of history accounts for older weapons used along with the state-of-the-art: Berdan rifles were pressed into service in World War II, Lee-Enfield rifles continue to be fired in anger in Afghanistan, and Mongol riders still use snaphaunce flintlocks.
It’s then surprising, but not shocking, to see in use by Burmese police forces, alongside Colt 603 AR-15s, a Greener Police Gun… Or even two or three:

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To further add to the eclectic mix, some Burmese police officers are using a wood-stocked standalone grenade launcher I cannot identify.

The Greener Police Gun was developed after World War I as a police arm utilizing proprietary ammunition, so that captured guns could not be used by less savory elements against the police themselves! The weapon is based on the Martini-Henry, and the Mark III version fires a proprietary brass-cased bottlenecked shotgun cartridge (approx. 14 gauge). The base of that round is not too far removed from 12 gauge, so it is possible that the Burmese have reamed out the guns to accommodate the much more common 12 gauge ammunition, instead of the now long-obsolete Greener round. Interestingly, the Greener was also designed to make a sturdy club for disciplining unruly citizens, should the need arise.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Tassiebush

    I have read that 16gauge cases can be used in Greener 14 gauges albeit you can’t reload the case afterwards.

    • J.T.

      The Greener Mark I can if you wrap the shell with paper or tape. The Mark III changed it so you could no longer do that.

  • Nicholas Chen

    Out of curiosity, whats with the boy scout-esque neckerchiefs? They dont seem to have a strict uniform code and any old sloppy way of draping it around your neck seems to be sufficient. It does not look professional at all.

    • iksnilol

      Probably for easy recognition (to avoid friendly fire which isn’t friendly) or it could be for practical purposes (tying stuff, protecting face against elements, etc.).

  • patrickiv

    First rule of gun fight is “Don’t go.”

  • bernardg

    Talk about being multipurpose. When your firearm is sturdy enough to be your billy club.