Rigged Kalashnikov in Raqqa

    This image of a rigged 7.62x39mm AKM has recently been making the rounds on social media, one of the first being the Twitter account of KufriusMaximus, a pro-Kurdish commentator. From what the chatter is telling us, the photograph is of an AKM recovered in the currently contested city of Raqqa, the former capital of the so-called Islamic State. Troops finding it were elements of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), Peshmerga troops supported by Operation Inherent Resolve special operations elements through the use of advising and forward air controllers.

    What we appear to be looking at is a victim operated IED, placed in the receiver of a Kalashnikov. The hammer might have been taken out to make room for the main charge, wrapped in a waterproof plastic container. It looks like the so-called Islamic State fabricators of this device were planning on, was for a user to cycle the action of the rifle, forcing the bolt to press against what appears to be a divider between the Duracell 9-Volt battery, and a primed charge, thus completing the electric circuit and causing an explosion that would most likely harm or even kill the person operating the rifle.

    Rigged rifles are certainly not new phenomena, dating at least back to the Vietnam days of MAC V SOG inserting rigged ammunition into NVA weapons caches. It also isn’t new to the Syrian conflict, with Assad regime rigged ammunition being recorded in 2012. The problem for the SDF is that being a smaller, rebel force, it almost relies on captured weaponry and ammunition in order to sustain itself, especially operating very far from logistical hubs and markets back in Kurdistan/northern Iraq.


    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 [email protected]