Indian PDWs: AMOGH/MINSAS Carbine, the INSAS That Never Grew Up

    In the mid-2000s, India began looking for a carbine to replace their 9mm L2A3 Sterling submachine guns which they inherited from the United Kingdom. Two weapons were developed, one by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), and another by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a subdivision of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The Ordnance Factory Board produced the AMOGH carbine, while the DRDO produced the MSMC. These weapons reportedly competed against each other, and by the early 2010s, the MSMC had been selected as the Sterling replacement. However, the AMOGH is still being marketed to customers by the OFB, and has reportedly been purchased by the Indian Coast Guard.

    Indian defense YouTuber Sandeep Unnithan has produced a video overview of the AMOGH, embedded below:

    The AMOGH is essentially a modified version of the Indian Army’s INSAS rifle, chambered for a new 5.56x30mm cartridge, making it a descendant of the Russian AK rifle. The cartridge is a shortened version of the 5.56x45mm NATO round, designed for improved function with the shorter 13″ barrel of the AMOGH and other carbines. Interestingly, the designers at OFB and DRDO did not feel they could produce a weapon that functioned adequately with the Indian standard 5.56x45mm INSAS round, and therefore decided to create an entirely new, shorter round instead, despite the fact that 13″ is not a particularly short length for a carbine barrel. The 5.56x30mm MINSAS round has a muzzle velocity reportedly close to 900 m/s (2,950 ft/s), with a projectile of approximately 2.6 grams (40 grains). This is in contrast to the dimensionally similar 5.56x30mm MARS round developed by Colt in the 1990s, which fired a heavier 55gr or 62gr bullet at 2,500-2,600 ft/s.

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]