M4 Carbines Turning up in the Kashmir Region, Indian Media Cries Wolf

    Recent evidence has suggested that there is an uptick of mounting evidence to suggest that rebels in the Jammu and Kashmir province of Northeastern India are slowly trading their traditionally used 7.62x39mm  Kalashnikov patterned derivatives for 5.56x45mm M4 carbines. This has been blasted all over the Indian media after an image of a Hizbul Mujahideen went floating on social media posing with an M4 patterned carbine. After that image came online, there was a raid in the district of Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir in which several Kashmiri terrorists were killed, along with an Indian soldier. During the raid what would appear to be U.S. made Colt marked 5.56x45mm carbine was showcased at a news conference. Alongside it was a pre-1986 AKS74U (or at least a copy of such), completely misidentified by the Indian media as an “AK47 Draco” under the headlines of “Recovery of US-made M4 carbine shows Pak complicity in Kashmir militancy”.

    The jump to conclusions by the Indian media in immediately shifting blame to Pakistan simply based on the make of the weapon makes one have much more respect for such organizations as Conflict Armament or Armament Research Services that go to great lengths to confirm such acquisitions in conflict zones.

    An example with this case is the flat top, A2 handguard “Colt” M4 the general has on display. What stands out is the location of the “COLT” signature etching on the lower receiver, underneath the iconic rearing up horse of the company. The example seems to match that of a Colt export version, sometimes marked as “M16 A2” or “M4/M16A2E”. But instead, it appears we have the makings of “M4 Carbine” underneath that. Specifically, within the Colt catalog, this is known as the RO777 or RO779, both export versions.

    Compare for example to this transferrable Colt for sale on Auto Weapons in the U.S.

    Or on the same website, this example

    Lastly, we have these two images from AR15.com

    These export models are probably much rarer than their Foreign Military Sales cousins. And if anything, the Colt export program probably wouldn’t be doing as much business with Pakistan due to the dicey political situation. There are Colt rifles in use by Pakistani LE and Military units, but these are through FMS sales, through the U.S. Government, and thus roll-marked differently. There are even examples of Sig Sauer PDWs in use with Pakistani Special Forces, which I assume must have suffered through a stringent export process with the State Department. However, there is much more of a supply of Colt M4s in India (despite attempts to introduce an indigenously produced rifle), among every branch of the security forces, where an export sale from Colt would have been much easier to go through. So ironically, unless this originated out of some factory in Pakistan or is an extremely well made Darra copy, the chances of this being of Indian origin are far greater than Pakistani.


    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]