When the subject of the gun making markets in the village of Dharra, within the autonomous region of Peshawar, Pakistan comes up, most of us wouldn’t be wrong to think of the copying of older firearms designs, such as your typical Peshawar Kalashnikovs, Martini Henrys, Tokarevs, and the list goes on and on. However, recently the gun markets have been pushing towards modernity in their new designs, much like any firearms community the world over. These designs have some interesting characteristics and twisting of various old time features alongside the new. Whether that means they are safe to fire is a whole other ball game but just from an enthusiasts perspective, the rifles and handguns coming out of the gun markets are some kind of eye candy, and makes me wonder what is going on in the minds of some of these guys! The majority of variants appear to be AK based platforms, including an interesting twist on things with incorporating an AR charging handle into the top cover of an AK. This modernity doesn’t seem to have reached handguns yet, as most of the handguns sold appear to be Turkish imports from the various Turkish companies out there. A really interesting note is that these gunmakers are putting alot of effort into adding design elements of the AR15 into their rifles. Such as charging handles, carrying handles, entire rail systems, stocks, etc… You would think that in a part of the world where the AK has been the most reliable, more people would want to stick with the status quo. However, similar to the Iraqi Army wanting M16s over AKs, or even the Karen Hill tribes in Burma wanting M16s as well, the AR platform turns up in the oddest of places. Either way, the ingenuity put into these designs is quite something, and remember that most of this is being made by hand in Peshawar.
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.
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