They say necessity is the mother of all invention and the extreme poverty often found in Iraq certainly creates a need. Readers of this website are surely familiar with the inventiveness of their adversary, many of you have seen the improvised remote detonators and home brewed microchips that have been jerry-rigged to a set of batteries to trigger an IED.
Thankfully, some of these masters of improvisation work for the good guys. I worked with an Iraqi SWAT team member named Shahab who had a habit of creating bizarre chimera type weapons in his home workshop. Despite Shahab being a great soldier and a strong leader, I always made sure to stand off at a safe distance when he fired this thing out on our range.
Look carefully and you can see that he cannibalized parts of various weapons and fabricated a few of his own. He took a AK-47 receiver, a Browning Hi-Power pistol grip, and a PKM barrel, cobbling them together with what I think was a bb-gun scope. He cut the stock himself and created a M16 style charging handle that actually worked!
As a 18B, this Franken gun made me a little nervous but I never saw him have a malfunction with it much less the kind of catastrophic failure you might expect from the picture.
A co-worker rotated back into Iraq the next year to work with Shahab again, who had by now built himself a home made 40mm grenade launcher. He kept bugging my friend for a M203 grenade to “test fire” but needless to say he had to decline…
Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger and Special Forces Soldier and the author of the military thriller Reflexive Fire.