.22 LR AK-22s used in Holey Artisan Bakery Attack

The ARES Hoplite blog has researched and reported on a growing trend within terrorist groups in Bangladesh using .22 LR cosmetically similar Kalashnikov blowback rifles to carry out violent attacks. This particular attack was carried out on the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 17 2016 and was the most violent terrorist operation to have taken place in Bangladesh so far. ARES has put forth research indicating that the rifles were locally made in Bangladesh, possibly with help from Pakistani gunmakers in Dharra Adam Khel, the notoriously famous home gun-making village in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Previously firearms in Dharra Adam Khel were very localized, most of the usage within Pakistan and Afghanistan. This example is one of the first to show the “weaponizing” of local gunmaking abilities. The fact that Pakistani gunmakers traveled to Bangladesh indicates a larger operation on the part of the terrorists there. I personally find this odd, as acquiring small arms on the local black markets would seem logistically much easier than resorting to producing them locally. The weapon is known locally as the AK-22. From ARES-

The weapons are cosmetically similar to the Kalashnikov series of rifles, appearing somewhat similar in size to the compact AKS-74U. Variants featuring both side-folding and telescoping wire and sheet metal stocks have been identified. Despite the visual similarity to AK type rifles, the weapons are mechanically much closer to simple sub-machine gun designs such as the British STEN, firing from an open-bolt with a simple lever sear trigger mechanism and having relatively few moving parts. The weapons are capable of automatic fire and use high capacity magazines of various sizes, which may also be craft-produced. Variations in quality and finish can be observed, with some examples being clearly hand painted and assembled with cheap Phillips head screws, while others appear to be blued and assembled with rivets or Allen head bolts. This likely suggests that designs are improvised from materials at hand, and may indicated the work of multiple gunsmiths or groups.

India’s National Investigation Agency have reportedly learned through police interviews with a suspected operative of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) that Pakistani gunsmiths had visited the district of Malda to train local gunsmiths in the production of AK-22 sub-machine guns. The gunsmiths who received assistance were from Munger in Bihar, a region notorious for the widespread production of locally made single-shot ‘katta’ pistols, supplemented by relatively sophisticated self-loading handguns in more recent years. Officials suspect that the Pakistani gunsmiths who visited were  from Darra Adam Khel in the Northwest Frontier Province, famed for its production of high quality copies of military small arms.

However, surprisingly or unsurprisingly the caliber of .22 LR is the most interesting development, and from a terrorist point of view, it would actually make sense. The terrorists aren’t necessarily worried about penetrating body armor, as they know they are going to be overwhelmed by security forces at the conclusion of any siege. Thus, they simply need something to temporarily hold off security forces, and of course to fulfill the disgusting and twisted plan of killing hostages.

Everyone doubts the diminutive .22 LR cartridge, but in this case it took over 100 security forces to overcome six .22 LR armed terrorists. The IDF has also made use of the .22 LR cartridge in a tactical role.



Miles

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. You can also follow us on Twitter- @Silah_Report

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 miles@tfb.tv


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  • Matt B

    Everyone who isn’t a mall ninja knows 22lr is deadly

    • rjackparis

      Well, aside from the Israelis. They use that to disperse crowds as a less-lethal

      • sdelcegno

        They stopped doing that because it ended up being to deadly.

        • Wow!

          Honestly, any situation where you have to use LL force is actually a situation where lethal force should be used. LL force is really only for situations where overpenetration with a firearm is too great, you absolutely need someone alive for whatever information or leveraging purposes or for those with mental disorders. Violent riots only happen because people see officers as just a part of a game, not as a serious enforcer of the law. I think the police should be able to use all force needed to quell any riot. If rioters throw molotovs at officers, officers should be able throw them back. A riot is not freedom of speech, it is a mean of terrorism. Freedom of speech would be to convince people based on the content of your argument, not how much you can scare the population.

        • frankspeak

          also good for special ops…

  • Johnsmyname

    Sure, a .22 can kill, but how in the heck does this make more sense than using 7.62×39? I can’t imagine it is all that difficult for these guys to procure guns in that part of the world.

    • Matt B

      Hard times in India. Have to terrorize on a budget

      • Johnsmyname

        Haha, yeah I guess. I wonder if there will be a shortage on .22 ammo in India due to all the terrorists neck-bearding the stuff.

    • poamm

      A few advantages.
      Training costs would be drastically reduced. And terrorists instead of going into battle with 300 bullets can go into battle with 1500. Remember these attacks aren’t about the body number but causing as much mayhem for as long as possible.
      Even injuring people instead of killing them with this weaker calibre may be an advantage as they will survive to tell the tale to never mess with islam.

      • That’s the main thing right there; the intent of a terrorist is right there in the name, they’re in it to terrify an entire populace, not to kill a small number of victims as dead as possible.

    • Tassiebush

      I wouldn’t be surprised if 7.62×39 just isn’t as available there. Bangladesh has India all around it except for the border with Burma/Myanmar. It doesn’t have any neighbouring conflict zones except perhaps for the whole Rohinga crackdown in Myanmar which wouldn’t be supply point anyway. There has to be a point of origin (conflict zone, foreign patron, legal market etc) and a supply network with any illicit arms trade and if. 22lr is much more accessible and less detectable then it’ll shape their preference.

    • Andrew Miller

      When a hospital is “hours away” then 22 LR gets more “bang for the buck”.
      Especially when distributed by an automatic weapon into a crowd.

  • Scott Connors

    I’ve read accounts of particularly ballsy hunters taking down an elephant with a .22–shot through the eye. (This is definitely something that falls into the “don’t try this at home” category!) Don’t know how much truth there was to that, but I’m not going to put it to the test….

    • Stephen Paraski

      When I was a child near Tampa a .22 in eye would kill a gator.

  • FOC Ewe

    My old man swore he’d rather have had twin .22LR’s with a high cyclic rate over his modified M-60. He was a door gunner with HA(L)-3 so obviously YMMV.

    • Johnsmyname

      Maybe until the feeding and barrel leading issues! 🙂

      • FOC Ewe

        Different Breed of Warrior?

        He was smart but stubborn in his opinions. I came back from Germany and he’d bought a pair of dental pliers from the flea market to pull his own absessed tooth. He figured it was easier than dealing with the VA or NAS Jax.

    • Iggy

      There was a quad mount made for the AM-180…

      • I’ve seen a pre-Youtube VHS video of one of those things firing and it was freakin’ amazing.

      • frankspeak

        I’ve fired that weapon..and it was quite impressive..

  • Tassiebush

    This is interesting. It is in all likelihood the most abundant and least restricted round globally and it doesn’t require a particularly strong steel. It’s not surprising to see guns made for what is around.

    • anonymous

      > It is in all likelihood the most abundant

      Where the hell have you been for the past four years?!

      • Tassiebush

        Haha well I’ve not been in America so locally made ammo supply bounced back

        • PersonCommenting

          Yeah but I would imagine it is still hard to get over there. I was in the UK last year and they were feeling the effects of it at ranges still.

          • Tassiebush

            Yeah we (Australia) were impacted by the ammo drought too. I’d say though that .22lr and 12gauge were by far the most available if you weren’t fussy. If you were trying to scrounge up a few hundred rounds you’d be so much more likely to get it in that round than anything else.

          • frankspeak

            whatever happened to the 500 rd bricks for less than 20 bucks?

          • Tassiebush

            That would be really nice to have that back!

          • iksnilol

            I literally never had problems getting .22 LR ammo. CCI standard (which is even American made) and some German brand I can’t quite remember.

          • PersonCommenting

            Even during 2013?

          • iksnilol

            Yup.

            Benefit of being in Norway.

            I’ll admit, several times I was tempted to take a picture of the 30-40k round store of match grade .22 that my club has and post on American gun boards just to tease y’all. But I decided against doing so.

          • PersonCommenting

            Very cool. So you were buying it though? It wasnt just from your private storage.

          • iksnilol

            Club buys a bunch yearly or so. I buy from club when I am shooting there. 30-50 rounds or so at a time almost each week.

          • PersonCommenting

            Nice nice. I need to do this with 22, 9mm and 223. Once I have a house and a place to store it I think I will start buying a 100 rounds each month.

          • iksnilol

            You get bulk discounts buying much at a time. Buy like a case every half year or something. Winds up cheaper.

          • PersonCommenting

            May end up doing it. Right now I just buy 100 to 500 round boxes that I plan to shoot within a few months. I would like to to buy my shooting ammo and long term storage but my current place is only 800 sqft so I can only store so much ammo and it is usually going to be the ammo I shoot from.

      • valorius

        It’s been readily available in my neck of America for some time now.

      • Paul White

        Our academy has boxes and boxes and boxes of inexpensive 22; CCI mini mags are still kinda hit or miss though 🙁

        • Marcus D.

          I stopped looking because it was never on the shelves, but when I see it advertised, it is still at .08 to .140 per round. And the stuff my rifle likes, Remington Goldens, are never seen. There seems to be a cottage industry in my neck of the woods of old farts buying everything off the truck at 6 in the morning and then reselling it for exorbitant prices at local gun shows. It seems like yesterday that my son and I cold go into Big 5 and get a 500 round (or 550 round bonus box) for $12 to $15. Now those boxes on line are usually over $40.

          • Tassiebush

            $40-$60 is a shop price here for a brick but our $60 must be closer to your $40 with exchange rates.

          • frankspeak

            wal-mart still sells it cheap..but they’re always sold out by 9 AM!

  • Tassiebush

    I find it interesting and concerning to know that the expertise is being shared from Pakistan to Bangladesh and clearly at least one of those involved was in India too.

  • valorius

    Aguila 60gr SSS would probably pass several of the FBI protocol tests. It displays 15″ penetration in bare gel and it tumbles end over end on impact. Even out of a 2″ barrel it gets over 12″ penetration. No recoil, low blast, and it borders on hearing safe.
    If you rely on a .22 LR for self defense this is to me the clear choice ‘best’ defensive cartridge available by a pretty wide margin.

    • Mick Finn

      I agree. Low recoil .22 allows for rapid follow up shots.

    • Darren Hruska

      The tests I’ve seen for the Aguila 60-grain SSS are pretty damn impressive for a .22 LR loading. It should also be mentioned that due to it being subsonic at the muzzle, it shouldn’t really have the downrange accuracy problems that typical .22 LR loadings have when they drop from supersonic to subsonic. So, it should be quite accurate, in theory. However, I’ve heard that the long 60-grain projectile generally doesn’t like the rifling twist ratio of standard .22 LR arms (can’t really confirm if true or not).

      • Matt Fulghum

        It doesn’t, in my experience. keyholes at five to seven meters. What it does shoot well out of is a standard AR with a conversion bolt. The 1/9 and 1/7 barrels I’ve shot it out of stabilized it just fine out to 100.

        • Miguel Raton

          If you do the numbers, the ideal twist for it is 1:11.25, iirc. So even an original AR15/M16 with the 1:12 twist should still shoot it OK with a conversion kit. It’s just extremely sub-optimal from the standard 22lr 1:16 barrels. For contact range shooting out of a 22lr mini-revolver it should be an interesting choice, tho’…

          • Matt Fulghum

            Totally; no accuracy beyond maybe ten yards, but in close? it’s freaking awesome on vermin.

      • valorius

        It’s fine at self defense ranges even out of a 1:14. But for longer range shooting you really want a 1:9.

    • frankspeak

      got a ruger MK11..that can be loaded with 11 rds..it’s virtually impossible to hear the report of each rd when it’s emptied quickly..it’s no wonder it became a mob “favorite”!

  • Porty1119

    I would have a blast with one of those- effective way to turn money into noise.

  • Dude

    And if the security have body armor, the main area where rounds can use theyr full energy in the first place (torso) is covered. So shooting an absolute storm of .22lr with absolut zero recoil, going trough arms and legs can increase % hit propability of non covered areas sicnificantly, while actually not having too much a diffrence to 7.62×39 icepicks trough arms.

    • Marcus D.

      The lowly .22LR was, and may still be, a favored assassination and execution round. Two behind the ear is inevitably fatal, as the bullets have enough energyu to enter but not to exit, and thus expend their energy bouncing around off the interior of the skull, scrambling the brain tissue. I have read–but not verified–that .22s are responsible for more human deaths in the US than any other round.

      • iksnilol

        .22s don’t bounce around, that’s a myth.

        They just go through.

        • frankspeak

          actually,..they tend to fragment..creating a surgeon”s nightmare..which is what happened to Reagan….

  • Hellbilly

    Soon to be imported by Century.

    • I wonder how long it’s going to be before imitation Khyber garbage murderguns become the new REAL NAZI WAFFLE AMP on Gunborker.

  • Charlie Victor Alpha

    That’s where all the .22 went, dicks!

  • PersonCommenting

    I wonder where they get the ammo. If there was a shortage in the US you can bet it was felt in India…

    • Andrew Miller

      Ponder in that part of the world, people aren’t hoovering up the Wally World truck to turn around and resell tomorrow, they’re doing a little practice and function checking then loading mags to use right now.

  • UCSPanther

    A .22 LR SMG may not seem that intimidating at first glance, but multiple hits of small projectiles can be just as, or even more lethal than a single large projectile…

  • iksnilol

    Knock down power isn’t real.

  • Stephen Paraski

    You would be surprised at what they can make in 3rd world shytholes with hand tools and common plumbing material.

  • Bsk

    Why in the west no media informed us of this tensions in India?In Europe if one man shoot other in MCDonals, all media give us the new saying “see you we guns are like nukes?”
    But anybody tels nothins about countries ike Brasil or Isamist terror attacks of India.
    About those ” stetically ak”s, they are like one STEEN with AK handguard, grip and french style barrel.

    • Bsk

      Why in the west no media informed us of this tensions in India?In Europe if one man shoot other in MC DonNals, all media tell us the news saying “see you WHY guns are like nukes?”

      But anybody tells nothins about countries ike Brasil or Isamist terror attacks of India.

      About those ” stetically ak”, they are like one STEEN smg with AK handguard, grip and french style barrel.

      Please sorry for my english.

      • Doom

        Because people getting murdered in India and Brazil are incredibly common while it is very rare in Europe. Though murder is really common in the US and we are constantly reporting on it, at least as long as it fits the narrative they like to feed us.

  • datimes

    My American 180 is a real pleasure to shoot and to my surprise quite accurate at 50 yards. Reloading the pan magazines require a few minutes and it’s particular about the ammo it eats. I’ve found a reliable supply and purchase 10k rounds at a time. The gun choreographed at 1340 rpm so the ammo doesn’t last long.

  • valorius

    They did have rifles. “Knockdown power” seems to be a myth from where i’m sitting.

  • Some Rabbit

    Why waste a genuine AK-47 on what amounts to a “throw away” suicide mission? Especially when the goal is simply killing captive victims. The gun only has to look intimidating.

  • .45

    Well, if the local hospitals aren’t exactly up to snuff, even minor wounds from .22LR could be plenty deadly.

  • Warren Ellis

    I found it disturbing how 3 of the attackers in the attack mentioned were all wealthy people or of high status.

    Really belies the claim that terrorism is generally done by poor people or primarily economic in nature.

    Probably because poor people are too busy surviving to shoot up places or take hostages.

  • Dmitry

    God damn it, Yossi, you wer’e supposed to aim bel’ow ze knee.

  • disqus_PDmXLtTxJj

    When I bought a GSG-522 I was explaining to a freiend how I thought it would be a great home defensive tool. He instantly shot down HV.22LR as under powered. You can punch through aluminum pans, steel pans, an inch of plexiglass, 3in of plywood, modern automible steel, and you can do it with almost ZERO recoil. You can put 22 rounds out of a GSG into a 1in hole VERY FAST at home defense distances. The overall desighn of the GSG has some flaws, but a RUGER 10-22 also a great choice.

  • RocketScientist

    The technique was to disperse/stop advancing crowds/riots by shooting into the knees/ankle region with a .22. So with that implementation, I’d say you’re just as “less-lethal” as a hardened rubber slug knocking you in the temple.

  • JoelM

    They were skipping them off the ground into people’s legs. Their thought was that the recipient would see an impact on par with an air rifle. Which is still a terrible idea.

  • JoelM

    I can see their logic in skipping the standard channels for buying illicit guns and going straight to establishing a means of self supply. It’s easier for the authorities to restrict the flow of illicit weapons than it is for them to stop the sale of tools and metal stock. They simply headed off gun control efforts at the pass.

  • Miguel Raton

    That’s the clone of the American 180. Let’s get the !@#$@#$! Hughes Amendment repealed so we can get some more of these cool toys!

    • frankspeak

      don’t hold your breath on that one….

      • frankspeak

        back before that smg’s were selling for less than the transfer tax!

    • jcitizen

      The funny part is that despite being just 22 lr it still feels like your handling a hose when it is full auto like that. I used to shoot them in the late 70’s – I still have a semi American 180 made in Austria. Great prairie dog getter, and I used spare barrels even then. They’d get pretty hot with the high cap mags I have.

  • frankspeak

    yeh,..the Israelies experimented with select-fire AK-22’s some time ago;

    ;

    i

    • frankspeak

      I own one…and believe me…it’s a nasty little mother…especially when it’s suppressed..

      i

  • frankspeak

    shots placed “behind the ear” can be quite effective!