Starting Car Battery with an AK

The Kalashnikov platform continues to boggle the mind with the amount of practical use it has, from popping bottle caps open with a protruding metal device in front of the magazine well, to using the metal magazines as a frying pan for food over a fire. In this case, two Iraqi soldiers at what seems to be a sort of vehicle checkpoint are seen using their AKMSs Β to connect two car batteries together and jump start the dead engine. They very gingerly hold the rifles while the car starts, and then remove them as soon as it gets running, good thing that there weren’t any injuries in the video. They are both using their cleaning rods to extend the connection enough so that both engines might be reached. Apart from holding the object themselves, they seem to have their wits somewhat about them, and have removed the magazines, and hopefully any rounds in the chamber.

The AK on the left is East German, evidenced by the particular fold in the wire folding stock that turns into the buttstock of the rifle.

I’m no car expert, but I’d assume that this operation can’t be at all safe! I sincerely hope the owner of the dead vehicle invests in some jumper cables for future problems with his car. I think it goes without saying to not try this at home.



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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  • JumpIf NotZero

    For the most part safe, even with loaded guns. Human voltage into skin requires 48-53V or higher, so the 12V from the battery won’t be an issue.

    But you could arc from the connecting pieces I a poor connection. Won’t really hurt anything but the finish.

    You ever look at the amount of contact real jumper cables really get on battery terminals? It’s tiny.

    … Jumping using AK as a link, still better than taking an old leaded battery, turn it upside down and hold it on top of another battery in the car.

    • Jwedel1231

      Had never heard about holding one battery on top of another. You learn something every day.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Seen it twice in two different countries. Heard about it first at the Benign Jeep line in China.

      • Doctor Jelly

        I’ve done it with my bike using a buddy’s battery. At the time I was running an open cell which would’ve made a mess had it been the other way around… Even with the AGM I’ve upgraded to, I’d prefer to use some sort of jumper before resorting to terminal on terminal contact.

    • claymore

      Guessing you have never seen a battery explode from sparking connections and venting gases from the battery. google exploding or exploded batteries for the results. Happens even with proper battery jumper cables. THAT is why it ALWAYS recommends to attach the ground cable to the frame or engine NOT the battery.

      • HSR47

        That’s why you connect the red terminals to each other, and the black terminal on the good battery to a ground terminal on the car with the dead battery: A rapidly charging battery can release hydrogen, so since you remove the black connector first, you want it as far from the battery as possible.

        • wzrd1

          No, red jumper to the positive battery terminal, black jumper to the chassis. That avoids one source of spark.

          • HSR47

            I see how you misread me there, so thanks for pointing out how poor my original phrasing was.

            Also, it doesn’t prevent arcing as you remove the black cable, it just moves it away from the battery so that it is less likely to cause a fire/explosion.

          • wzrd1

            Using the chassis ground still leaves the positive lead to arc and rain acid from the explosion.
            For a bit, Ford gave a positive jumping post away from the battery. That stopped, I guess it was too expensive to protect the owners of their vehicles from the rare arc induced hydrogen explosion of a battery.
            Or the maintenance free holds the hydrogen in a little better, not really sure and I ain’t rich enough to experiment to see which is which.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        I’m an EE, and we’re discussing the difference between using an AK and jumper cables. There is nothing inhetently dangerous about using shotty connections like this compared to cables. Just as my post said.

        • claymore

          Yes there is because when “Making the connection using ANY metal object” the possibility of sparking is vastly more likely to happen. The difference is jumpers are MADE to be connected rapidly and make a fairly tight connection. Steel parts like an AK and cleaning rods, held in place by hands, DO NOT connect rapidly or securely making the chance for a spark more likely to happen.

    • Fred Johnson

      Arcing. Absolutely.

      I’ve done that by accident starting a car while tapping on the starter relay on an old Mercury. Arced metal right out of ring I was wearing.

      Another time was jumping starter leads on a Dodge with a big screwdriver. Little chunks of metal came out of that screwdriver.

      I was young. I was stupid. But, I got where I had to go. πŸ˜€

    • wzrd1

      I’ve watched a vehicle battery explode after a spark ignited the hydrogen gas released from it when jumping it. Could’ve been ugly if someone was right there by it when it let loose.

  • Giolli Joker

    As seen on TFB one year ago. πŸ˜›

    • Hey can you show me the post you are talking about? Because I make sure to search TFB, every time I post something, in order to avoid a duplicate post. So if this one really did slip through, I feel bad about it.

  • Will

    Field expedient repairs. Identify, adapt, overcome.
    I’m impressed.

  • wetcorps

    Yeah I always have a couple AKs in my trunk for this kind of situation πŸ™‚

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I put a suppressor on my tail pipe to meet inspections.

    • MadDog

      Did you previously work for VW?

  • Vhyrus

    In other news, metal still conducts electricity.

    Back to you, Tom.

  • Bal256

    Im surprised they didn’t somehow manage to kill themselves. Last time I was there their “mechanics” were putting engine oil in the radiator and coolant in the engine.

    • wzrd1

      Ah, trained by the National Guard!*

      *Joking, did time in the NG and love to rib old buddies.

  • BigFED

    Jumper cables, jumper smchmables! We don’t need no stinking cables!!!

    • wzrd1

      Ya ain’t doing that with a bunch of Glocks! πŸ˜‰
      Not doing it with 1911’s either, too many to hold. :P:p:P:p:P:p

  • BigFED

    Jumper cables, jumper smchmables! We don’t need no stinking cables!!!

  • Secundius

    At least they we Smart Enough to Remove the Steel Cased Ammunition…

  • unknown

    Have you ever ran a business [open all night] look down at the camera monitor and see a young black guy with hood gloves, small caliber handgun looked like a .25, anyway all I had was a 22 single action revolver and a snub nose .38sp. with 3 rounds. already had the 22 up and aimed, he didn’t back down, then I pulled out the stores .38 and he ran off. no shots fired, gave video tape to sheriff and they caught them all 4 0f them. the point- check the store gun, did not know it only had 3 rounds. after cussing and blaming the owner. it is your responsibility to check your weapons. oh yea my 22 only had 5 in it.- thinking it only takes one. well I did not know there were 3 more ready to come in. Thank You Lord.

    • wzrd1

      Wrong page, perhaps?

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    Will this void the warranty on my Lincoln?

  • ScoobyJD

    I know how to start my engine, and now I know how to start my battery!

    • wzrd1

      I just use a healthy dose of profanity, followed by an unhealthy does of profanity. If that fails, I use jumper cables and get the front half of the car repainted and the crazed windshield replaced.
      Profanity used in that manner fares poorly with flat tires, as they rapidly burst into flames and the already overheated brake fluid then ignites. Lost three cars that way.

  • Sometimes it can happen