Libya mystery firearm

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As the problems in Libya spread throughout the country because of the sectarian violence, this mystery light machine gun has made headway in a recent Reuters article. Judging from the stock, pistol grip, trigger guard, gas tube, and compensator, it appears to be a Bren gun, however it also appears to be belt fed, which is unlike a Bren gun. In addition the furniture looks like unfinished wood made locally and thus either this a contraption from Bren parts using the design or something entirely different. Write in the comments section if you know what this is.

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Right hand fee, ammunition is probably 7.62x54r because of the prevalence of PKMs in the region, but that doesn’t explain the peculiar links in use here. There is no bipod but there is a forward pistol grip. The barrel also appears to be like that of a M240 or GPMG which can be quickly detached.

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Just to serve as another example of a modified Bren gun, this is an American experimental design that exists in Springfield Armory today. It was an attempt to create a belt fed version of the Bren but failed because the designers couldn’t get it under 26 pounds. More information about it at the Springfield Armory museum collection.

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An example of a Bren gun to begin with for comparison, from Wikipedia.

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And just for fun, this is a French soldier on patrol in Libya, helping out the government there. Those bipods thought…. Image from a BBC news clip about the region.

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Also in Libya, two G36s side by side but with different stocks mounted. From the same news clip as above.

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And what appears to be a standard FN FAL but with what appears to be a Galil stock mounted to it. Image from Al Arabiya. Another Libya mystery.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • James

    I think the last picture is simply a paratrooper FAL, with its side folding stock. They are very similar, and it could be either, though.

    The stock on the “mystery firearm” also looks like an unfinished FAL stock missing its buttpad, the pistol grip looks somewhat like an FAL pistol grip, and the handguard like that of a heavy barrel FAL, at least, maybe sort of. It has a similarity, at least.

  • Big Kat

    “Also in Libya, two G36s side by side but with different stocks mounted”
    Those are G3’s man.

  • Bj Higgins

    Looks like a PKT that they were stripping from armored vehicles. Looks like they just added a stock and a trigger instead of the election trigger.not the feed from the right, and 54r belted.

    • Tom

      You could be onto somthing there the stock looks both “unfinished” and pristine like someone carved it out the week before.

      • Bj Higgins

        During the rebellion rebels would fire PKTs offhand still using the solenoid. Looks like they are making them more useable.

    • Fuad John Khoury

      your absolutely right, PK type feed tray cover and coax type barrel, nice job removing the solenoid on thier part.

    • spotr

      Here it is in pictures using your suggestion and Mike’s “workshop” link.

    • Definately ! That’s bingo. Only one small and not very important for arabs thing is missing – sight 🙂

  • Tom

    My guess for the BREN look alike is the Czechoslovakian Vz 52 which is essentially a belt fed ZB 26 aka Bren Gun (the British simple aquired a license to manufacture the ZB 26 as the BREN the BR coming from Brno where the ZB was made and the EN for Enfield who made it in the UK).

    The FN FAL looks to be a normal folding stock which was common to the para version. The Galil stock is based on it so they look the same.

  • kev

    I read over on a different website it is a Pkmt with makeshift furniture as the original design for tanks has no grip buttstock or handguard.

    • UKShuggy

      Yes, good call. A PKMT with improvised furniture.

      • kev

        Think it was Ares defence research? They have articles on the small arms used in current or recent conflicts and are a great source of info.

  • Herr Wolf

    Ask the CIA- they’re the ones that arm these s##tbags

  • Phil Hsueh

    So, what did the French soldier’s bipod think?

    • Chief

      HAHAHA!

    • Zebra Dun

      “Mon Dieu?”

    • Phil Hsueh

      I see that the question hasn’t been answered (by the author) and the typo still hasn’t been corrected either.

  • Mike

    Most definitely a PK, really the only similarity to the Bren is the flared barrel.. Can’t tell a G3 from a G36? Also that’s a standard FAL Para stock? I expect better of TFB

    • SnJohnson

      That plus the misspellings are par for the course for TFB.

      • Nicks87

        Yeah this article is fail top to bottom but I expect as much from an ex-marine.

        • I get it that criticism is important so we can see input from the readership, but this is a little personal, especially comparing my standard of writing for a single post to my previous service as a Marine, inferring that I’m some kind of a dumb grunt bullet sponge. The G36s, were a typo, I know they are G3s, but somehow that didn’t translate into text and I must have had a brain fart and typed a “6” where there shouldn’t have been one. In addition I’ve written a number of articles for the blog that are extremely in depth, thought out and are thoroughly researched, maybe I messed this one up, but from my vantage point I put in the work on my part.

          • Nicks87

            Yep, because proof reading and fact checking are not really that important. We should just give you a pass because you tried your best, right? I just have a problem with people posing as firearms experts just because they served in the military and it seems to be most common with marines. Just because you did a few combat tours it doesn’t make you an expert. The right thing to do would’ve been correcting your mistakes but instead you decided to cry about people being mean in the comments section. Hoo rah!

          • Either I’m a dumb grunt who doesn’t know anything about firearms or a pompous ex-Marine flouting his presumed expertise, please make up your mind about your assertions. If you have a problem with my post, please take it up with the editor Phil White, or the blog originator, Steve. Either way I’m not commenting anymore on this.

          • J S

            Its all good Miles. You wanted to create a discussion, and we have one. Thanks.
            Trolling the internet is a sport for some people.

        • Kurt Akemann

          Don’t be insulting like that. It contributes nothing to the discussion and succeeds only in raising levels of hostility.

    • kalashnikev

      They do better with airsoft stuff on here…

  • Graham2

    Sorry Miles but please do a little more research into the more common battle rifles of the last century before commenting on photographs of mystery firearms. A para FAL and two versions of the G3 should be easy enough to spot for someone writing for a gun forum.

  • Lance

    Looks its either one of your modified Bren guns or its a FN MAG with a hand guard fixed onto it.

    • Mike

      The MAG is very boxy, this has a little bit of a rounded shape to the top cover, which is typical of the PK, which it is

  • Dave

    “Also in Libya, two G36s side by side”

    Thats a G3KA4 and a G3A3…

    The unidentified mg looks like a PKT like another commenter said, its rather common for them to be stripped from wrecks and used with ‘aftermarket’ furniture.

  • Anton Gray Basson

    So lets see what we have the belt fed “Bren” idk. Then the G36s could be G3A3 (the most common varient of the G3 in Africa) and an HK51 which made it into allot of the armories of elite units in Africa or locally modified G3 to that configuration . The FAL with the Galil stock? Really? Its on of the many FAL Para models, the Galil copied the FAL folding stock.

  • iksnilol

    Looks like the vehicle version of the PKM (PKT?).

    You can see by the right side feed and the ammo (HINT:it looks awfully a lot like 7.62x54mmR)

  • Daniel

    Also that is not a Galil stock on that FAL. It’s a standard stock they use for their paratrooper model…..so much fail in this article. How did you become a writer for these guys again?

  • Casey Gunn

    Guys, I’m pretty sure I ID’d all of the guns in the picture.
    The “mystery gun” is clearly a BAR with Chauchat furniture
    The French Soldier has a Mini-14 with a Choate stock
    The Lybians have Armalites
    And the last Lybian clearly has a Sten gun modified to accept SKS magazines

  • Zebra Dun

    Vogon Kill-O-Zap guns.

  • Nicks87

    I love the burberry earmuffs the guy in the first pic is wearing. Lol

  • Hanibal Rafael Herrera Casasbu

    pkt modificada

  • Swampthing

    It may not be a full auto. He may be the loader for the piece in the foreground, just holding a belt that happens to be draped over his rifle. That is my best guess on this one folks.

  • Victor Lourenço

    It looks like a North Korean Type 73.

  • Mike

    G36…. come on!!! you just lost all credibility there buddy! Those are G3

  • J S

    I just consulted Diane Feinstool and she confirmed its the gun with the shoulder thing that goes up. I also was told it will give you loose stools, but hey, I may be making that part up.

  • KW6

    That’s a FAL Para. It’s a METRIC FAL Para. FN has made about a million of thousands of them. Imbel made another couple of hundred thousand. They’re on the market today, with four on Gunbroker as I write this, plus you can buy a kit to convert a FAL Standard to a FAL Para. This is NOT a rare firearm.

  • Jamie Clemons

    I have no idea. But I heard last week that they got ahold of military weapons including tanks in Yemen

  • Fred Stecher Jr.

    Czech UK-59 w/homemade furniture. That’s why it looks like a belt -fed Bren. It is the ultimate evolution of the ZB-16 and then the British licensed Bren. They are still in use with the Czech army albeit in .308.

  • Clyde Bower

    In the second to last photo, those are H&K G3’s chambered in .308. The FAL in the last pic has a Para stock which predates the Galil by years.
    I shouldn’t have bothered to post since this has already been covered by Big Kat and Mike among others!