INSAS Malfunctions Caught on Video in Combat

by Miles

A short video clip has recently emerged depicting an Indian soldier in contact with a distant enemy. It appears the soldier is suppressing the enemy positions more than his own bunker is receiving any fire throughout the video. The video was initially posted on an Indian Facebook page but was sent to TFB by an eagle-eyed reader. Apart from the combat, what is particularly interesting about the encounter is that the soldier’s INSAS-LMG starts to fail about a quarter of the way through the video. Which isn’t unexpected given the plaguing reliability problems that the Indian Armed Services have faced with the weapon system ever since its inception, or any program designed to replace it.

At 00:43 the gunner appears to have a misfire when the round chambered doesn’t go off-

He racks the weapon once but then realizes the LMG still isn’t ready, then brings it back into the bunker. It appears that there are still rounds in the magazine, but they aren’t loading, possibly due to a double feed or bent magazine lips.

He discards the magazine, replacing it with another. This is tactically sound as replacing the source of ammunition is one solution to feeding issues. The time stamp is 1:02.

However, THIS magazine is ALSO faulty, or the gunner simply can’t insert it into the magazine well, so he AGAIN trades magazines! Time stamp is 01:08

This magazine appears to work and the gunner empties it downrange. It is worth noting that the next several magazines appear to work, although the gunner cycles the action of the weapon after each magazine is completed. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be necessary in a properly functioning weapon.

At 01:50 the bolt accidentally jams forward on what appears to be a partially inserted magazine, causing a stovepipe.

At the same time, A-Gunner has his muzzle in the dirt-

Then at 2:06, the gunner appears to have issues simply racking the bolt to the rear while clearing the weapon-

One point that must be mentioned is that the gunner continually drags the entire machine gun out of the porthole opening he is firing in order to fix each malfunction. On the one hand this is hurting the gunner tactically by creating more movement visible to the enemy, in addition to unnecessarily flagging his buddies directly behind him when he swings the weapon around. But on the other, the inconvenient location of the forward charging handle on the gas tube almost makes pulling the weapon out a non-choice for the gunner who otherwise wouldn’t be able to manipulate the weapon system.

Special Thanks to TFB Reader Siama C. for sending the video in!


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

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  • HandsOffOurFreedoms HandsOffOurFreedoms on May 08, 2018

    Can't be anything left of the barrel.

  • Craig MacMillan Craig MacMillan on May 09, 2018

    Have great respect for the Indian troops, they have to deal with a LOT of vermin. Hard to pinpoint the exact problem. Shitty weapon?poor maintenance?poor training? the list goes on. Years ago, working with the Malaysian troops, we asked them what they thought of their issued H&K G3s. They liked them, but mentioned magazine feed problems. Then we saw the same soldier actually SIT on the magazine (placed the butt on the ground). We just shook our heads.