Malhama Tactical, The Fanatics Tactical Guru!

Malhama Tactical is a Youtube and Twitter tactical training entity that is the creation of a certain Abu Rofiq, an Uzbek who claims to have served in the Russian Airborne Forces. Rofiq speaks Russian, and all his media is also in Russian, but that doesn’t necessarily explicitly mean he was enlisted in the Russian Army. Russian is a second language to many of the Central Asian Republics, however there was a measure passed by the Russian Government that allowed foreigners to enlist. His “company” bills itself as a tactical consulting company for various groups within Syria. Specifically he allies with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formally Jabhat al-Nusra. Al-Nusra proclaimed alliances with al-Qaeda but that really appears to be a formality rather than a complete branch of the group in Syria, al-Nusra’s aims and motivations are much more Syrian focused, than al-Qaeda’s MENA and international intentions.

Either way, unlike much of what we have seen when it comes to the fighting skill sets of any side in the Syrian conflict, Malhama Tactical does have a fair dose of legitimacy. You can see this in their Youtube videos emphasizing trigger safety, transitions, marksmanship, and even tactical care under fire. But from what I can observe, it appears more so that Rofiq has undergone some legitimate training, but only at an entry level. For example, in his medical care under fire video, although he showcases tactical medical care, he completely forgets to maintain a security posture, instead completely focusing on the patient with his team. This is a common mistake that many new soldiers make, myself included as a young Infantry Marine. Getting your wounded buddy taken care of is certainly important, but all the medical care in the world will go to waste if you can’t provide good security around your patient.

But notice the quality of medical materials they have on hand. CAT Tourniquets, SOC-Ts, NAR products, Combat Gauze, H&H bandages. These are common issue items among modern militaries and command a premium on the civilian market, even in the United States. The fact that the group has access to this shows some sort of supply line or at the very least a corrupt official somewhere along the line, chucking them downrange to the guys.

Another example is in one training video where his “team” is online, providing fire downrange, while an RPG gunner goes for an RPG shot, prepping the RPG while online as well. Any soldier knows the importance of an HE solution, but an experienced soldier will understand why “Cold” and “Hot” positions exist, prepping the RPG undercover in a “Cold” position, then moving to the “Hot” position while friendly forces provide covering fire.

Then in this video, Melhama Tactical is shown assaulting a Syrian Army position. Although their individual actions are up to par, utilizing cover, having a stable position to engage with the PKM, reloading, their understanding of movement and working as a team just isn’t there. This is also something that a new soldier would also make mistakes with. Guys are rushing, alone, far ahead of their teammates, and essentially moving haphazardly across the battlefield, without any coordination.

They even have this odd grip attached to a PKM, which probably feels really cool, but shoulder firing a medium machine gun is completely dismissing any real capability it has when shot from a bipod or otherwise steady position.

Again in this video, we have a good grasp of tactical reloading, pieing corners, frag battle drills, and making use of cover. But there isn’t the holistic approach that is required when it comes to actually clearing rooms or buildings. Namely that you cannot clear a building with two fighters, you need more like a squad or even a platoon. And that isn’t even considering the blocking force outside, providing external and internal security around the building itself. Examples in the video show Rofiq and his buddy entering rooms alone, which is never ever acceptable in a military application (LE is a different story).

His group is also manufacturing their own hand grenades. Hand grenades from legitimate manufacturing faculties can be dangerous enough, never mind homemade ones. Indeed, even from a tactical side, the fuses appear to take either a good while to explode compared to standard grenade fuses.

tnX0MrkBF50-768x1024In conclusion as I mentioned earlier, Rofiq certainly has the individual actions and tactical necessities in order that most young soldiers possess, in any modern army. But he lacks the overall necessary tactical decision making that comes with being an experienced Infantry soldier, or an NCO. This leads me to believe that he was a soldier of a legitimate army, whether Russian, or Uzbek, but he deserted or left before he could get to a level necessary to actually lead men into battle. Does he pose an actual threat in the amount of training that he can provide al-Nusra or even as a direct action participant? I wouldn’t really say so. A special operations capacity can be a tremendous advantage to any terrorist organization, but if it can’t be supported tactically and logistically by a properly trained force, whatever short-term advantages it offers won’t be a long-term gain.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • BattleshipGrey

    So are they using the videos to legitimize themselves to gain more clients to consult? Or are they just trying to prove how well they can “fight the good fight”?

    Great break-down Miles.

  • Preacher

    Please shoot a little bit more indoors without hearing protection. So many Videos – so tactical 😛 I know Airsoft Players who are posing less.

  • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

    The last video is not bad… Not bad at all!
    Over there (Syria) I guess you don’t have to be the best, just good enough I would assume

    • DIR911911 .

      I can’t watch more than a few seconds or that music makes me start mockingly sing along . . . and now every one on the bus is looking at me . . .

      • David

        Lol that musics good for the soul dont be afraid sing along

  • Random Disable Person

    In the first video(best view is about 53 seconds in),
    Something about the M-16/AR- they set down just does not look right. Maybe the video quality but it doesn’t look right for an upper and lower receiver. Plus why have one weapon not compatible with all the others…

    • RSG

      Beggars can’t be choosers. These makeshift forces get what they can find, buy, steal or pick up off the battlefield.

    • DIR911911 .

      the angle of the lens appears to be making it look a bit stretched (trigger guard looks elongated) but just looks like an m16a2 judging by the handguard ,stock, and rear sight. these cheap cameras they are using creates a “fish eye” effect near the sides of the screen causing some distortion.

      • Random Disable Person

        Thanks, also at 12 seconds there is just a couple of frames where you can see the right hand side. With the mag release button, the full fence design on the lower. The mag is questionable, it may be a 7.62x39mm . That would make some sense for sharing ammo with the AKs, other wise it may be a cheap promag option.

        *lol* on those frames, that the ejection port door is still closed on a weapon in firefight. How courteous of their shot team Member to put his AK’S lever back on safe, after being shot.

  • roguetechie

    Headed to the Jihad next week

    Don’t be a geek

    Train with Rofiq!!

  • Chris22lr

    Not knocking your analisys, but shoulder firing of PKM GPMG is practiced a lot in armies fielding this weapon. I’ve seen it done by Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Finns and so on. I have no idea if it’s officially allowed or just soldiers being soldiers, but it exists. I guess that since PKM is noticeable lighter than MAG/M240 it may be easier to fire from standing, shouldered position.

    The newest variant of UKM-2000 GPMG (Polish PKM variant firing 7.62×51) uses similiar front grip mounted in the same exact place (that’s where tripods attach to PKM in a MMG configuration), so idea may be not as far fetched as you think. I really dunno – no experience with any of these guns, but it may be a good food for thought.

    • valorius

      We shoulder fired M60s as part of our training, back in ze day.

      • That’s interesting and so is firing from the hip—LOL!

        • valorius

          We did not train to fire from the hip, but shoulder firing the M60 and SAW was something we practiced. It’s not hard with proper form.

          If you google shoulder firing M60 and hit the images button, you’ll get dozens of images of US troops from various eras doing so.

          • iksnilol

            Even Hickok45 has a video on it.

            I just presume you fatigue much faster when shoulder firing MGs like the M60 and PKM than you do if you fire an AK or AR.

          • valorius


    • Marines fire 240s and SAWs from the hip and shoulders all the time. In fact one firefight we got into, my buddy was raving afterwards, asking everyone in the squad if anyone saw him shooting the 240 from the hip. These are characteristics of young men with cameras in front of them, or egos to burn. Not professional soldiers looking to get effective rounds on target. With a belt fed machine gun, in proper employment, that only happens through the bipod or tripod. The argument could be made that within a short range a shoulder fired machine gun could be effective. But if your target is within 200 meters, why are you employing a machine gun with a capability to suppress at 500 meters plus, when you have riflemen who can easily provide enough fire for that 200 meter or closer target? It’s completely wasting a capability. I mean, you don’t use a Remington 700 to shoot a target 20 feet way, you use a handgun, if that’s at all a good analogy.

      • Vindice

        Canadian Army has firing from the hip in its C6 manual. Not sure about from the shoulder. In most the clips of the guy firing from the hip he seemed to have pretty decent muzzle control, and that’s all he needs if he is employing it as an area weapon.

      • CommonSense23

        Using a belt fed from the shoulder at 200 yards or under is extremely effective. Otherwise MK43s and MK48s wouldn’t exist. Not to even speak of the SAW and 46. It allows one man to provide effective and constant suppressive fire.

      • toms

        Russians and Soviets fire PKMs from the shoulder a lot. They also emphasize volume of fire for suppression and linear movement vs accurate fire. They are evolving nowadays but a lot of the soldiers still have that drilled into them. Its not how we do things but he definitely has some soviet style training. The PKM is way lighter than a 240.
        His stance and some of the drill appear to be text book soviet in some of the videos. Its common for them to use the nut sack as a grip. His team is obviously less trained.

        • Tritro29

          The only one that are trained on practical basis to fire the PKM upright are VDV and Special operative groups. The weight of the PK with 50 round band, is extremely manageable so it’s almost natural for the guys to fire it like that, or Rambo style. However try doing that in maneuvers…with the Prapor being tighter than a virgin and you’ll have some bunk love while you try and sleep.

      • billyoblivion

        > I mean, you don’t use a Remington 700 to shoot a target 20 feet way,
        > you use a handgun, if that’s at all a good analogy.

        At 20 feet you use what is in your hand when the fight starts. If you have a bolt gun with a 10x scope, and someone pops out of a doorway 20 feet away you aren’t going to transition to your secondary you’re either going to point shoot the SOB or you’re going to die.

  • valorius

    Isn’t service compulsory in all the former Soviet Satellite states?

  • CommonSense23

    One man room clears is real world CQB. There are times it’s just going to happen.

    • I would disagree man. From an LE/SWAT standpoint, yes totally, the manpower just isn’t there and the threat isn’t high enough most of the time. However from a conventual military standpoint, where a battle depends on overwhelming an adversary with superior forces, the one man CQB thing just isn’t a tactical feasibility. Coupled with the cold hard fact that casualties in MOUT are often estimated at 70 percent or more, any conventional force is going to have alot of dead entrymen. Seeing that this guy gets alot of his training from a conventional force, he should know better, but he doesn’t, because he never made it to being an NCO, where that sort of information is more important.

      • Vindice

        With a 70% casualty rate, wouldn’t that lead to manpower shortages and needing to do things ‘unconventionally’ like one man clears because the manpower isn’t there. Just because we don’t like or believe in a tactic in the west definitely does not make it wrong. Even if it isn’t as good as ours, are you going to call the Russians or the British unprofessional the first time you see video of them doing it differently and in a way that you think is inferior to your preferred method?

        • As somebody who gets to watch British troops do CQB on a regular basis: I’ve never seen them do a one man entry. Even when they’re playing Opfor and supposed to be “loose.” They’re very good at keeping their battle buddy close.

          Further to that, if they don’t have the men for a particular task: they wait until more arrive or more are available.

        • billyoblivion

          “Casualty” doesn’t mean “Dead”.

  • Gary Kirk

    Operating operationally so they can meet their 72 virgins tactically..

  • .45

    I think the take away message here is that some of these are training and aren’t exactly “Abu What’s-his-face, what is wrong with you?”

  • .45

    Yeah, no, they would not enjoy facing the Russians.

  • Tritro29

    Half this group is dead, killed in Owija, another bunch was killed in Sadkop in October. Let the SSO some time to edit some footage and you’ll have these c*nts on tape biting the dirt probably by february for some Russia one footage.

  • Джон Доу

    >His group is also manufacturing their own hand grenades.

    I wouldn’t call it manufacturing. They just take factory-made 30 mm automatic grenade launcher rounds and swap standard impact fuses to standart hand grenade fuses. It is an old and well-known jihadists’ ‘invention’.