India Replaces All INSAS Rifles In “Red Zones” With AKs, Cites INSAS as “Defective”

The troubled INSAS rifle has met yet another stumbling block. Calling the rifle “defective, the Delhi High Court questioned the Indian Ministry of Defense’s and the Home Ministry’s issuance of the rifles, late last month, Indian Express reports:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Home and the Defence Ministries on a PIL alleging that ‘defective’ INSAS rifles were being given to CRPF and other paramilitary forces.

A PIL filed by retired Lt Col Deepak Malhotra, who fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak and 1999 Kargil wars, has stated that the Defence Minister had informed Parliament in 2012 that indigenous INSAS rifles would be phased out by 2014, as they were “defective and outdated,” but nothing had been done so far.

The PIL alleged that the lack of new-generation rifles had “repeatedly resulted in death and injury to the brave Jawans of the Indian Army and para-military services” while fighting “well-equipped” Maoists and terrorists.

The PIL has asked the court to look into records of the “long-pending decision” to replace the rifles, and has sought orders to phase out the INSAS rifles and replace them with modern firearms.


The Indian Armed Forces use at least two other rifles besides the INSAS, the X-95 (a variant of the Israeli Tavor), and AK rifles in 7.62×39. In response to the High Court’s notice, the Home Ministry announced that all INSAS rifles in the Red Zone (an area in East India that experiences significant Maoist insurgent activity) would be replaced by AK rifles, while 50% of INSAS rifles in Northern Jammu and Kashmir – a region disputed by both China and Pakistan – would be replaced by AKs, as well. The Times of India reported on that announcement three days later:

NEW DELHI: In an effort to enhance CRPF’s capabilities in fighting Maoists in the Red zone and terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir, home ministry has ordered replacement of indigenously built but faulty INSAS rifles that the force uses with AK-47s. All INSAS guns used by the force in the red zone would be replaced by the AK-47 while 50% of the INSAS gun armoury in J&K would now have AK-47.

The home ministry sanctioned the procurement of guns two days ago following a demand from the CRPF which has been pending with the ministry for almost a year. The sanction, however, is partial fulfillment of CRPF demands. The force had sent a proposal to the home ministry last year for 100% replacement of all its INSAS guns with AK-47 rifles in Maoist areas, 50% in Jammu and Kashmir and similar grading percentage for various other theatres. “The sanction is location specific i.e. limited to Naxal-affected districts and Jammu and Kashmir. In rest of the country, the force will continue using INSAS. The decision has been taken according to the operational requirement of the force,” a senior home ministry official said.

Over 40% of guns used by the three lakh strong force currently are INSAS guns built by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The development means procurement of over 67,000 AK guns at a cost of Rs 150 crore. While 54,000 AK-47s will be provided to forces in Naxal areas, about 13,000 will go to J&K. In its proposal, CRPF had said the INSAS gun gets frequently jammed at crucial times and is a danger to the life of Jawans during anti-Naxal and anti-insurgency operations. It had said that compared to AK and X-95 guns, Insas fails far more frequently. While the error percentage in AK guns is 0.02%, in Insas it is 3%. INSAS, however, has longer range (of firing) than AK 47. “But that can be compensated with other weapons we have. What we can’t afford is a gun jamming during an encounter. Thankfully, the government has realized that the lives of our jawans are more important than promotion of faulty indigenous technology,” a CRPF officer said.


India’s indigenous rifle has some very serious flaws in its execution. One TFB reader elaborated on the disappointing state of his rifle – which was brand-new. The general experience with the guns has been that they are loaded with superfluous features, are not very reliable or durable, and that they are expensive. This last I cannot confirm, as prices for Indian weapons are difficult to pin down, and it does seem that any INSAS replacement will most likely be more expensive. The Indian government is looking to replace the rifles with a foreign offering, but so far there is no word on how that program is developing.

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


  • Riot

    Ah yes the AK they wanted to be an FNC. In 5.56 to boot! Its a poorly built kalash clone that has been made to seem NATO.

    It is a failed galil.

    • Joshua

      Should have just gone with the FNC. The AK5C I got to handle was a superb rifle, and it is just a upgrade FNC.

      • Those give me a weight-induced brain aneurysm.

        Otherwise good rifles, though.

        • RealitiCzech

          Speaking of weight, the INSAS weighs as much as a G3 and is only 3 inches shorter.

          • BaconLovingInfidel

            The worst of everything wrapped up in one awful package.

          • iksnilol

            Look at the bright side; it must be very easy to control on full-auto.

        • I find they are very controllable on full auto – probably due to the weight. 😉

      • Esh325

        Why not a M4?

        • LCON

          no licencing. The Indians have used it but It seems not to there liking.

        • Joshua

          What LCON said, and if they wanted something with an AK like action in 5.56 the FNC is a superb choice.

          The FNC is basically a better AK in 5.56. Oh and it has around 3,500MRBS and 12,000MRBF, just fyi.

          • kqn

            The Galil Ace is also AK like and comes in 5.56

          • Joshua

            True, I just have never used one. I have had the luxury of using the AK5C and it is very nice.

        • brian

          Bexause if they jump ro the other side the ammo that the other side uses will fit and then rhey won’t be stuck with a gun that is camber ed in a round that isn’t available

      • Kivaari

        My understanding of the FNC is it has firing pin failures nearly as often as the FN-CAL.

        • Joshua

          Wrong person.

          • Kivaari

            In the jumble of comments supporting the FNC, your post seemed as relevant as any of the others. I still have not heard if the firing pin failures were addressed in any FN-CAL, FNC, or variant.

          • Joshua

            Sorry bout that. My initial reply was meant for someone else in a different topic.

            As to the firing pin I’m not sure. I haven’t heard of any and speaking to the Swedish armorer I had the chance to spend time with he had not heard of it or seen any significant breakage of parts outside of their normal maintenance items. However he didn’t specify what those were either.

  • Finally!

    • Azril @ Alex Vostox

      Yeah, Finally the last linage of Lee Enfield family evolution (Lee Enfield stock) died.

      • UnrepentantLib

        It’s a camel – a horse designed by a committee.

        • Ben Loong

          I’ve always felt that statement was a grave injustice to camels: They’re stronger, more resilient and are faster on average than all but purpose-bred racehorses.

          • Zebra Dun

            Horses don’t spit.

          • Kivaari

            Horses bite and step on your feet.

          • Zebra Dun

            Mine don’t bite but they will step on your feet!
            Got a sore toe to prove it!
            Point taken.

      • Ben Loong

        That’s a bit of a tenuous connection. I mean, the shape of the stock? Not even the same materials.

        If anything the death of the Lee Enfield family would be with the Ishapore 2A1, but as I recall some police in India still use them.

        • B-Sabre

          I remember seeing some video from the Mumbai attack of a lone police officer with an Ishapore/Lee-Enfiled holding off some of the attackers. A bolt-action against AKs!

          That takes some big, clanging balls right there.

          • Azril @ Alex Vostox

            The funny things is the top brass of India NSG claims that MP5 9mm bullet is more deadlier than Kalashnikov.

          • BaconLovingInfidel

            It’s a fact.

            A 3-round burst of 9mm coated with cyanide to the heart or brain is far deadlier than a 7.62×39 round to the pinky toe.

          • iksnilol

            Well, depends on the bullet. M43 ammo isn’t really effective (very stable), M67 is very effective (yaws within 10 cm of penetration). So if the MP5 uses hollow points while the AK uses M43 I could understand why they would claim what they claim.

          • Kivaari

            That is a huge difference. JHP in 9mm really works well. We had issued Federal 9BPLE +P+, and found it expanded too fast in the MP5. We went to 124 gr Gold Dot for better penetration.

          • Kivaari

            As much as I like the MP5, my issue weapon for over 10 years, those guys are wrong. I’ve probably shot close to 50K rounds through MP5s and as many through a variety of AKs. My personal choice is an M4 over either the others. I showed up for a stake out with my Car15, and the chief said take the MP5. I told him how I preferred the selector placement and wasn’t worried about over-penetration. Within a few months we had M4s. The stake out worked. We caught the two bad guys. On the video, the chief could see me moving the MP5 to reach the selector, it made him investigate more.

          • Kivaari

            Or as in Garland Texas, a police officer using a pistol took down two men with “AK47s”.

        • Kivaari

          It does resemble some of the FN LAR-L1A1 butt stocks.

  • iksnilol

    Why not just buy AKs in 5.56 and then add AR mag adapters for STANAG compatibility? Seems like a cheap solution.

    If they want to be fancy/”modern” they could get the new AK-12s.

    • TGM

      Production of their own service rifle was a matter of National pride for India. But probably even more the INSAS programme was implemented to ensure that defence funds were spent domestically. The manufacturer; Ordnance Factories Board is state run.

      • iksnilol

        Why not do like Venezuela? Just buy a license and manufacture them domestically.

        • MR

          If they’re still built to the same substandard level of quality, what would that help?

        • TGM

          Because Indian would like to get in the business of licensing and exporting not being a licensee. India with a GDP of 1.877 Trillon USD (2013) is not a good comparison with Venzeuela 438.3 billion USD ‎(2013).

          • iksnilol

            I don’t see the problem. You make the factory (or multiple factories) in India, which keeps jobs in the country.

            They have obviously proven themselves to not be good weapon designers so going with a proven design seems smart

          • MR

            Doesn’t provide the national pride of producing an indigenous design.

          • iksnilol

            They, to put it mildly, f**** up majorly making an indigenous design. So go back to the drawing board, increase quality control or go with a proven design.

          • B-Sabre

            This isn’t the first time. Every Indian domestic defense program seems to have been a dog – the Arjun tank, the Light Combat Aircraft, the Dhruv helicopter….all over budget, behind schedule and under performing.

          • Phil Hsueh

            The solution is simple, they just need to borrow a page from China’s or Ukraine’s playbook. License a design then make tweaks to it and call it their own and then offer to sell or license their “new” design to others. China has their own spin on the MiG-21 and Ukraine has their own take on the T-72 (or is it T-80) and both are offered internationally.

          • B-Sabre

            T-80 and T-84. The T-64 was built in Ukrainian factories, so when they split from the Soviet Union their army standardized on the T-64, which evolved into the T-80 and T-84.

          • Or, hire a decent foreign design team to work as contractors to their in-house ordnance board, and call the resulting product “indigenous”, like most countries do. 😉

      • Kivaari

        State embarrassment.

    • AR mags are not STANAG.

      • iksnilol

        Okay, draft STANAG as the correct terminology would be.

        • Which is meaningless. They’re not even a de-facto NATO standard.

          • iksnilol

            Well, it must have some meaning otherwise most NATO rifles in 5.56 wouldn’t have the capability to use them.

          • Moa Longkumer

            The ammunition is generally termed 5.56mm Ball INSAS. It is 2.6mm longer than 5.56mm NATO (the bullet) while the cartridge casing is the same with NATO standards. Because of the extra length it will not fit into magazines designed to NATO specs, though it will chamber and fire without problems if fed singly into other 5.56mm rifles. 5.56mm NATO ammo will, however fit and feed without much problem in the INSAS.

            Whether this is a deliberate measure to prevent effective use of captured INSAS ammo by insurgents or simply accidental, is not known.

            The 5.56mm INSAS bullet at 4.16g is also marginally heavier than the SS109.

            The differences have presented a logistic headache of sorts ever since the introduction of M4s, Tavors, X-95s and SIG551s, forcing the government to import large quantities of 5.56mm NATO ammunition. The Ordnance factory also claims to manufacture 5.56mm NATO ammo (as per their factory product listing) but I’m yet to see any in use.

          • You’re absolutely right. The INSAS round is actually not a bad design, but it’s not worth the reduction in commonality.

    • Phil Hsueh

      Or they could just buy G36s from Germany, I’m sure that they’d offer them a good deal on some used Bundeswher G36s. 😀

    • Because adding STANAG mag adaptors that *work* would be more trouble and expense than buying almost any off the shelf rifle that already takes STANAG mags.

      You practically have to carefully hand fit AK to STANAG adaptors to get them to be reliable.

      • iksnilol

        If they are so troublesome and expensive then how does Zastava make AR mag adaptors that work well out of the box?

        • The Zastavas are built that way by the factory, as far as I know.

          Look, why take an AK, throw away one of the biggest advantages it has, replace that with the very biggest disadvantage of the AR family, when it is wholly unnecessary and gives you *nothing* in return?

          Frankly, magazine compatibility to an army only matters in two situations: if you are exchanging magazines with allies, or you want to simplify your own supply chain by standardizing.

          How often does India conduct joint ops with NATO equipped troops?

          • iksnilol

            I’ll admit, you have a point + I don’t mind using 5.56 magazines in AKs (not like they are rare or anything). But the world seems to gravitate towards the stupid AR magazine and its magwell in spite of both being badly designed. Also, India might want to move more towards the West in the future so using Western magazines isn’t so stupid.

          • Kivaari

            The prime enemy of India is Pakistan. POF makes great HK clones and uses lots of AKM and SKS carbines. They both have the bomb and the ability to make first class rifles.

          • Yes, but “build” and “design and put into production” are two very different things.

            It’s *hard* to design a good rifle, especially if you are trying to do a “new” thing (for reasons of national pride and licensing).

            “Design by committee” also rarely works really well – if your really talented gun designer who truly has the spark (and out of a nation of a billion, even with the large segments of extreme poverty and resulting poor education (plus, I understand that India has a problem with a high percentage of “paper qualified” engineers, who really aren’t up to standards, despite having a university engineering degree; again, in a nation of a billion folks and higher corruption than the West normally sees, there’s a lot of room for diploma mills) gets overruled by a committee whose members *have* to show how valuable they are by changing stuff (it happens here, too), you’re going to have a crappy product.

            I suspect even the reincarnations of Browning, Kalashnikov, Stoner, and Paul Mauser would have trouble producing a good rifle under the Indian government development and procurement system.

  • noob

    I guess they aren’t going to buy any surplus G36 rifles…

  • Bal256

    I can’t be the only one who thinks that everything India domestically produces is a joke. There’s also the colossal failures like the Arjun tank, and the Tejas jet, which they just ended up supplementing with Russian imports anyways.

    • Vitor Roma

      I know what you mean, India industry seems to have no notion of craftmanship. Seems like a reflection of the caste system, where the guys feel that what they make, no matter how shoddy it is, is worth lot because they are special people making fancy industrial things.

      • Azril @ Alex Vostox

        No national pride or patriotic feels. The workers there only worked to provide meal for their family. And because of caste system, They work sloppily and resulted product much worse quality than their traditional enemies. Pakistan and China

    • Ben Loong

      It’s a lamentable tendency of their state-owned indigenous defense industry under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). A lot of ambitious projects that become delayed for years, eating up government funds, and coming up short of the original goals. That’s not to say that they haven’t had had successes (their missile program in particular), but compared to the more modest but successful Pakistani projects, the failure of some of their projects to deliver satisfying results is rather stark.

  • ColaBox

    Not really a surprise. AKs are fine rifles. Got the accuracy of a shoe but the things never fail. Im more surprised by how long it took.

    • Joshua

      They do fail.

      • Rich Guy

        And they don’t have the accuracy of a shoe.

        • Uniform223

          In my experience at distance they have accuracy of 1 VMA… vodka minute of angle.
          In all joking aside they’re more accurate than most give them credit for, enough to get the job done but definitely not as accurate as M4/M16 at distance.

        • Aimz

          They are accurate enough for most folks

      • iksnilol

        Don’t know anybody (in person) who had an AK fail. I guess a bit maintenance goes a long way.

        • Joshua

          Must not have spent much time in the Middle East.

          Civilian side I can believe it. My M4A1 clone has never had a failure in 12,000 rounds either civilian side.

          Military usage in harsh environments is where things fail, and the AK does have failures over there.

          • iksnilol

            No doubt it fails, just don’t know anybody who did experience it failing (vets from the war in Bosnia).

            And no, I haven’t been in the Middle East. I doubt I want to go there.

        • *raises hand* Ooh, me! Me! I have!

          • iksnilol

            What happened? Have you considered playing the lottery afterwards?

          • Which time?

            Much as you may protest, AKs are not jam proof.

            Bad mags are the number one source of failures, same as everything else.

          • MR

            *cough* North Hollywood Bank Shootout *cough*

          • iksnilol

            I know AKs aren’t jam proof. I asked what happened because I wouldn’t mind knowing which parts fail first. So that I can get spares before I actually need them.

        • Aimz

          I’ve had my AKs fail during 3 gun matches. Nothing is fail-proof

        • Barry

          So out of curiosity, how many of your “friends”and dad’s AK’s failed? Oh, none? Amazing! That is some impeccable reliability there.

          • iksnilol

            Why put it in quotes? You really think people would go on the internet and lie?


            Then you really have no faith in humanity.

        • Yellow Devil

          I have had an AK fail on me one time. During the SF FTX Robin Sage , I was part of the “militia” group and some of us were given AKs or some derivative thereof. We got “ambushed”, and the one I had failed to work properly. It would short stroke, or continually fail to chamber a round. The thing was a piece of crap and in bad shape, probable because it was never maintained at all or never cleaned properly. I was surprised though, I figured these weapons were 1) AKs and they “never failed” and 2) were supposed to be taken care of by the SF support unit.

          Another side of that coin was that some of the M16s had issues during the FTX as well, due to the dirty blanks and rather austere conditions. I actually had to use that stupid forward assist when I borrowed one going on a “mission”.

          Granted these are training exercises, but I never had the “opportunity” to get in an actual shoot out using an AK as my primary weapon.

          Personally, I own both types of firearms, so I really have no dog in that fight.

    • Max Glazer

      AKMs does have higher dispersion, though still good enough to hit standing man-sized target at 330 yards. Group of Soviet Forces in Germany were doing that routinely. That was with IzhMash and East German-made AKMs and MPiKM. Some laid a claim to have hit targets out to 400 meters with AKM with single shots. However I never seen videos or pics of the target. But they were from areas of Russia where hunting is a way to get food on the table so that claim seem plausible. AK-74Ms groups were only negligibly larger then those of M-4 captured in Georgia.

    • Kivaari

      The most consistent military ammo I ever ran over a chronograph, was Chinese military issue.

  • Joshua

    From what I am told the competition to replace the INSAS entered the final phase in February.

    Supposedly it is down to the Tavor and M4, with the Tavor being the likely winner since their Special Forces use it.

  • kev

    Apparently the competition Is down between the arx160 the iwi galil and colt M4 but they have been hit with unspecified delays?

    • TDog

      Indian procurement is always hit by unspecified delays. And four months after they sign a deal, it’ll get derailed by a bribery scandal…

      • nova3930

        Yep, unspecified delay = kickback check hasn’t cleared yet

      • kev

        True, It really smells like the whole Denel scandal, just wonder how long it will take for a thinly veiled copy to start manufacture. Personally i think the arx or the tavor would be an excellent choice, however they would most probably like to make it themselves and i fear they lack the updated technology to do so.

        • Kivaari

          India has the talent to build anything, to a high level, if they want it. There seems to be a purposeful desire to build things that look (and are) crude. I simply can’t figure out why they choose to keep that image alive.

  • Faroud

    Huh, I would’ve figured that Wolfy would’ve shown up by now to rant that the AK, contrary to documentation, is even worse than the INSAS.

  • MR

    What are the odds we’ll see a glut of parts kits hit the American market? Heck, if the US government would expedite importation and provide an exemption from NFA status (to help our Indian friends in this trying time), I’m sure the American collector market would readily absorb these rifles, warts and all.

    • El Duderino

      Even if the current administration gave this the green light (and they won’t), would you buy one? They have zero appeal and would require a home-built receiver and barrel.

  • Alex Nicolin

    They could give them painted broomsticks, just like the other army with a failed service rifle 🙂

    • LCON

      The Painted broom sticks were for there vehicle mounted MG’s not service rifles.

      • And more likely to avoid accountability for guns that they already knew *would not be fired during the exercise in question*.

        Still a dumb reason, IMNSHO, but more understandable.

  • Lance

    First G-36 is down now this all those new rifles that got such hype are not what some claim them to be. Nice to see AKMs still in use by more major power in the world.

    • LCON

      G36 was a surprise INSAS was a joke from the beginning.

      • The G36 wasn’t a surprise to anyone who followed the XM8 debacle.

        • LCON

          XM8 issues were what 2005-2004 at the Earliest.? G36 started issue in 1995. so 10 years of service before the issues started to be noticed reported.

          And Has yet I have never seen any actual report of the heat issue on XM8 only ‘It melted” being quoted.

          INSAS on the other hand started issue in 1998. It was already by then a dated design, and in 1999 the Reports of it’s failings were wide. G36’s issues are localized to Heat and Accuracy. INSAS has multiple. Cracking magazines. Jamming. a trigger that jumps from burst to auto despite only being built for 3 round,
          it was noted for shooting oil into the shooters face, overheating in action.
          it’s heavier then it needs ( empty weight 9.15 pounds Empty weight of a IWI Galil is 8.7, and FNC is 8.5 * note 17-18 inch barrel variants)
          It was introduced in the Late 90’s after Picatinny rails On M4, Flat top M16’s, Styer AUG and G36 as well as a number of other weapons appeared on the market with at least previsions of a rail system. yet it lacks such.
          Some use a Wooden stock, long after those were phased out of all but vintage armories.

  • idahoguy101

    India’s best engineers have moved to the U.S.A.

  • Bodhisattvya

    Maybe H&K could come in & do for the INSAS what they did for the UK & the SA-80?

    • Kivaari

      HK did make considerable improvements to the Brit club. Why anyone would buy UK military rifles boggles the mind. How they could screw up the bolt, has a close relationship to why British motorcycles leak oil every where.

  • Jimmy Cricket

    Just get some M4 carbines.

    • LCON

      They have used them for a period but It seems it just did not hit it off for them. Besides they want to build them in India, They don’t have any licencing and lord knows the issues of Quality the INSAS has.

  • Uniform223

    can I vote up that comment more than once?

  • Jose

    Funny thing, was, India was considering adopting the East German STG-941 AK rifle in the late 80’s; even they were seeking a license to manufacture that weapon. But, the Berlin Wall falls, and with it, the STG-941. Had the weapon were introduced more earlier, maybe, just maybe, India could have adopted it, and history could have been different. Heck, they could even developed a true INSAS weapon system, a product-improved AK type rifle, without the screw-up issues. Just saying.

    • Kivaari

      At this time in gun making history, they could have built a known quality rifle. Or bought melting G36sm from a long established gun maker that should have known better.

  • LCON

    India has in service INSAS, TAR-21, a few numbers of M4A1 and T91 carbines dozens of AKM varints and then the Multi Caliber Individual Weapon System prototypes. Really I think given there track record I have a bad feeling about the MCIWS given the INSAS. They have the licence for the Tavor and it has even been modified to better suit Indian duty.

  • This would be a great market for the AK-12

  • Esh325

    So where are their AK-47’s made? Honestly, I found it silly when I see countries using 3 or 4 different assault rifles. There should be only one type. If I were them, I’d buy more Tavors.

    • Aimz

      India has nearly a million men in arms and many more paramilitary and police units…they simply can’t afford to buy Tavors for everybody. AK’s make much more sense.

      • Kivaari

        AKs made with better rear sights would add 50 years to the design. The biggest failure in the AK has been sights and the anemic 7.62x39mm.

        • iksnilol

          I doubt 7.62×39 is anemic. Sure, the range leaves a bit to be desired (300-400 meters) but it is hardly anemic.

          • Kivaari

            Iks, I base my complaint of anemic 7.62x39mm rounds based o the required medical care needed by the GSW victim. The wounds tend to be minor if flesh is struck. Vascular damage and repairs are less than 5.56mm or 7.62mm NATO. Any modern military round striking bone increases the need for wound prep prior to surgery.

          • iksnilol

            Depends on the bullet. In the Balkans the M67 bullet is most common (produced locally) and that one just wrecks thing (yaws very early). The steel cored M43 is pretty anemic due to just passing through.

          • Kivaari

            Yes, The M43 PS load is quite stable. The 122 gr. bullet has a profile almost identical to the 147 gr. 7.62mm NATO. The Balkans (Yugo) load is more destructive. When the Feds outlawed the Chinese PS steel core load, the legal Yugo load was more effective.

  • Jamie Clemons

    Not enough information on what the problem was or the history of this rifle. There is more on Wikipedia. Sell them surplus cheap enough and someone will buy them issues or not.

  • Miho

    The INSAS, the reason that Michail Kalashnikov is dead. For years, Death did not take him, on the principle that everyone knows that “A Kalashnikov never fails”. Then the Indians made the INSAS, and proved everyone wrong.

    • Kivaari

      About 30 years ago I was fortunate enough to talk with Nhamia Sirkis, He was with Galili inspecting battle field pickups. rifles in particular. Galili is said to have picked up an AKM, given it a look over, noticing it is just as un-reliable when the magazine is not protected from the sands of the Negev. Next Galili dropped it stood on the receiver and crushed it. The now obviously dissbled AKM was looked at, and Galili said, “When we make ours, it will have a machined receiver. That stated the process of buying Valmet RK62 actions, Colt M16 barrel blanks and Stoner magazines. Then Viol!!! the Galil was born. I have personally witnessed AKMs destroyed from side crush. The 1mm thick receiver is not as tough as needed. The Yugo using a 1.5mm thick receiver is superior to Soviet pattern AKM.
      AKs fail.

      • Max Glazer

        I’ve seen Russian troops holding AKs by the stock and barrel and using it like a step to boost their mate over an obstacle. Soviets were pretty damn big on reliability of AKs and thus the torture testing. I highly doubt that the AKM that Galili stepped on was IzhMash made. I’ve seen AKs ran over by a bus and not being crushed. So I’d take that account by Sirkis with a grain of salt.

        • Kivaari

          Personal eyes on showed me how fragile the AKM is. We had a man ram his car seat back hard, and he bent the receiver. The gun was totally disabled until it could be beaten back into shape. If you have noticed the Yugo’s use 1.5mm thick receivers and the RPK trunnion to make them tougher. The Yugo is much tougher than a Russian model having a 1mm thick receiver.

          • Max Glazer

            Gees well I would say that an impact such as that would disable most assault rifles. Essentially he put a truckload of force through a small area. I just as well take an AR, SA-80 or even Yugo AK and hit it hard with a sledgie. I guarantee you I’ll disable them too. ARs receiver would crack and the SA-80 and Yugo AK will be severely dented.
            And the price for that strength that Yugo AK has is much more noticeable mass. No problem at first or at the range, but when you go on a long pack march, every kilo counts.

          • Kivaari

            Such a move should not disable a rifle. An M1 rifle, M1 carbine, M14 or M16 would not have given up its receiver. An FAL might have crushed the sheet metal top cover. The Soviet era AKM is weaker – that’s a fact. I’ve packed them.

          • Max Glazer

            I heard reports from Aussie soldiers who were with US forces in Iraq and Astan where M-16s were cracking the receivers after an impact against a solid object. Being Aluminium piece machined from a casting, it entirely stands to reason as to why M-16 receivers cracked.

          • Kivaari

            Except when blown up I’ve never seen such issues. The US military uses forgings which are not simply cast. Of the 125 M16A1 in my unit, I never found a cracked upper. In police service I never saw it.

          • Max Glazer

            Just like I never heard of anyone in Soviet or Russian military crushing an AK receiver by stepping on it. Unless of course the export AKs had inferior steel used for them.

          • Kivaari

            How much information has been presented by the Soviet or Russian media about failures. I trust what the designer at Detonic’s related. Backup up with my personal observations.

          • Max Glazer

            If it could by crushed by being stepped on, then soldiers would break them if they boosted a mate over an obstacle using AK as a step. It’d fold in two. Neither could a bus run it over and it’d still fire. I’ve seen both done.

          • Kivaari

            I highly recommend you take an AKM built to Soviet standard and stand on it. It will crush. Sirkis had no reason to lie. Since I’ve seen them crushed, I have little reason to accept your view. Knowing something about why certain rifles suffer defective designs or manufacturing will only enlighten you. Think about it. Add 175 pounds of weight to a 1mm thick piece of sheet metal folded to create an AKM doesn’t make it invincible.

          • Max Glazer

            Then the only explanation to THAT is deliberately degraded steel for export purposes. Same for the IzhMash made AKMs you might have been packing. Which fits perfectly into the soviet doctrine of monkey models.

            PLENTY of people went through military in USSR, my father included. And they abused their AKMs and AK-74s by doing spetsnaz push-ups on them, using them as steps, some used them as crutch when rolled an ankle. And they never crumbled as you and Sirkis state. If that was the case, the info would come out from those who discharged after 2 years. And such info never been corroborated with anyone I spoken to who served in Soviet military.

          • Kivaari

            The rifles I saw fail were Egyptian and Chinese. My grand father served in the Russian army, but his rifle was a M91. He got out of the army in 1898.

          • Max Glazer

            Oooohhh THAT would explain it. Chinese and Egyptians aren’t known for advanced materials. I thought you were talking about IzhMash made ones that are produced in Izhevsk in Russia. It seems noone to this day can make an AK better then the Russians

  • Hank Seiter

    Nice looking rifle, too bad it’s defective. Seems to me a Galil in 5.56 would have been an easy upgrade for the Indian military though it is a bit heavy with a built-in bipod. Or possibly the South African R-5. clone in 5.56. I owned a Chinese AK in 5.56 some years ago and I found it to be very light recoiling, reliable and easy to maintain with clean shooting American brass ammo. The nicely made Valmet pretty much proved that, too.

    • Kivaari

      Several years ago there were many Galil 5.56mm rifles with cracked receivers, rear locking ledges. Does anyone have more details on the REAL service life of the machined Galils?

  • Moa Longkumer

    The Times of India ought to have at least got some basic facts right….The DRDO is the Research& Development house while actual production is carried out under the aegis of the mammoth Ordnance Factory Board, in a number of factories. The Historical Rifle Factory at Ishapore (RFI) was the primary manufactory while supplementary manufacture was set up at Small Arms Factory (SAF) Kanpur. another rifle factory was set up at Tiruchirapally in South India some years back but they seem to have been passed on the burden of manufacturing the good old 7.62 SLR 1A and the .315 Sporting Rifle (Yes the Lee Enfield is still alive) from RFI.

    While the design is basically sound, the INSAS suffers from poor quality manufacture and not the best choice of materials (Never mind what ‘patriots’ have to say). Also to be fair, the INSAS is pretty accurate. In fact the INSAS LMG makes a pretty useful DMR-ish weapon.

    The East German StG-940 series lives on…though somewhat indirectly in the INSAS Excalibur, which is basically a dolled up INSAS. The Excalibur’s handguard is more or less an unimaginative rendering from the StG-940.This along with some cosmetic ‘upgrades’ like a very SIG550 flavored folding stock and a piccatiny rail apparently has convinced the Ordnance Factory that they have a winner… with almost no major takers since its unveiling nearly a decade a go, they are now fiercely peddling the Excalibur too police agencies and the like

    India currently imports tens of thousands of AK series rifles in several models from Arsenal of Bulgaria. Decent guns.

    In the past, large quantities of AK series rifles were imported at one time or the other from Russia (Soviet-Era AKM and AKMS Stockpiles), erstwhile East Germany (Second Hand MPiKM and MPiKMS-72s), Romania ( MPiKM series clones), small quantities of Polish PMK-MS and Czech Vz58s.

    As regards the MCIWS, its too early early to comment since it appears currently to be at advanced prototypical stage. Yet again its a marriage of a number of established designs …primarily that of the AK and the AR-15/M16…The ‘designers’ appeared to have take pains to conceal the obvious AR flavor. In doing so they appear to have unwittingly developed a very close resemblance to a highly pimped up Daewoo K2.

    • Aimz

      You can have an accurate gun, but it doesn’t mean squat if it fails to perform well under extreme conditions. Also, exactly how accurate is this rifle? Is it on par with a standard M-4? And how long will it be accurate for under sustained fire? If constructed out of flimsy material, this rifle would not be very accurate. Just take a look at the G-36..sure it’s accurate after a few rounds, but after a few hundred….different story.

      Then there’s the issue with the magazines…20 rounds only and made from flimsy material? Again, how much abuse can these magazines actually take? You can have the best gun in the world, but it’s useless if you have crappy magazines.

      Did the committee who designed this firearm even bother looking across the border to see what the Pak Army employs? Mostly AKs and G-3s, and these rifles are very well suited for the terrain found in subcontinent (everything from mountains, deserts, marshes, etc.) The chances of a confrontation happening between Pakistan and India are much lower nowadays, but domestic wise…most terrorists and insurgents in India are carrying AKs.

      One of the reasons the Mumbai siege lasted extremely long (nearly three days) was due to the fact that Indian police officers were vastly outgunned. I just don’t see the logic behind buying huge numbers of foreign aircraft, tanks, submarines, etc. while equipping the domestic police force and many military units with crap guns. It’s a policy that has been in effect for at least two decades and it’s mind boggling.

      • Moa Longkumer

        You’re quite right Aimz…accuracy minus dependability is poor equation. As regards the yardstick for accuracy, I feel the M4 shouldn’t be it… just my humble opinion. Again to be fair, most weapons will start behaving rather less optimally after a bit of sustained fire. Mind you, I’m no fan of the INSAS and I’d classify it under a new class of weapon – ‘The Bureaucratic Rifle’. By the way, I wrote up that old close-up-exmination article on the link that Nathaniel posted,

        The Indian establishment also, of late, been bitten by the M4 bug….The Indian Army Paras/SF do use limited numbers of M4A1s along side the Tavors. A number of State police forces have also procured significant quantities of M4A1s.

        Call me a dinosaur, but since we still have a production line going for the old 7.62 SLR 1A , I’d be all in favor of going retrograde. In saying that, I’m also pointing out the fact that India was never exactly under-gunned in relation to the Pakistani G-3. The full auto feature in a 7.62×51 rifle is hardly a big advantage, so I’d say that the two old war horses were evenly matched up.

        Someone else mentioned here about its stock. Indeed, the INSAS stock is loosely modeled on that of the old SLR 1A, deferring essentially on how it attaches to the receiver. It shares the same aluminium heel plate with the SLR, I believe, is in turn influenced heavily by that of the old SMLE. The INSAS stock and pistol grip is made of Nylon-6 while the hand-guard is phenolic resin….all painted in this horrible brick-red finish.

        You mentioned the magazine…yes… I think its one awful bit of decision making. 20 rounds? I mean what were they thinking… there were some real ‘my-country-can-do-no-wrong’ types who defended the 20 rounder magazine solely on the point that the shooter could assume a ‘lower’ profile when shooting prone… by that logic, the rest of the world with their estoopid 30 round mags are plain sitting ducks… heh! …The INSAS LMG, on the other hand, has a 30 round capacity…with the same interface. The magazines are made of some material called ebonite. They are somewhat flimsy, though again, to be fair, I’ve handled plastic mags of other weapons that have a similar feel and ‘give’, but are commonly complaint free.

  • angrymike

    How about they sent the old “inferior” rifles to us American’s, I’m sure we’ll make the work……….

    • Joshua


    • MR

      I had the same idea, Labowski didn’t think there’d be a market.

  • gfr

    Didn’t the Indians make the FAL for quite a long time?

    • Noah Killough

      Yes a copy of the British L1A1 SLR

  • movarth

    Seems like a job for the AR-180.
    I’m sure there are some American companies who would love to provide our Indian allies with AR-180s.

    • Dolphy

      Nope. The AR180 failed in reliability trials around the world.

      • Kivaari

        True. The similar to the M16 extractors failed. I had 2 of them, and they worked very well. One of them would do sub MOA using Herter’s Norma ammo. That was when I had youthful eyes.

  • RicoSuave

    India doesn’t have a civilian firearms market as firearms are heavily restricted. There really isn’t any incentive for engineers to specialize in firearm design and production. Not surprised the Indian government decided to go with AKs . A time tested design and well suited for their combat zones.

  • Kivaari

    After reading so many well informed comments about the Indian rifle, it seems obvious that an M4A1 would be a superior choice. Even India could built them.

    • Max Glazer

      It took India 32 years to build Arjun which is basically an amalgamation of foreign-made parts. They had been building Tejas for almost as long and still it isn’t inducted. INSAS is basically an AK-based design and they butchered it into what INSAS is. If they managed to stuff up such a simple device that is the AK that is made of simplest techniques other then the precision stuff such as barrel, then what hope in hell do they have of manufacturing the M-4A1 to a good standard?

      • Kivaari

        I wonder why. India has many very talented people fully capable of doing anything they want. It should be quite easy to make firearms that work. If Pakistan can make HK clones and atom bombs India should be able to do it as well. India does have the bomb already. If you can build a nuke, you can sure make a rifle.
        Egypt is capable of producing firearms, but drops the ball on export items. If anyone remembers the Helwan, the issue models were great. The export models were junk. Like China, they will make the quality firearm, the customer is willing to pay for.

        • Max Glazer

          I doubt Indians themselves know how they managed to come up with the abomination that is INSAS. All they had to do was buy an AK production license from USSR/Russian Federation. And if they wanted quality assurance, get a Russian IzhMash rep present at every stage of manufacturing. If he were to smack the all of the ones that stuff up the production, quality would improve 😀

  • Moa Lonkumer

    Righg Aimz… useful points there.

    The circumstance here, however is the other way round. The police has always been the inheritors of ex-military arms. First it was SMLEs and the like, then it it was the SLR1A…now it looks like all the excess rejected INSAS rifles may as well end up with the Police!! Presently from a very simplistic perspective, the Police rifle firepower is more potent than that of the Army.