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As reports, the Type 69 75mm Airburst Anti-Personnel High-Explosive rocket-propelled grenade—which “impacts the ground before bouncing to about chest height and detonating”—is indigenous to China and North Korea. So the chances that you know how to load and fire the weapon are low. The chances of needing to do so are even less—unless you’re one of our armed services’ readers deployed in some third developing world hell hole. If you are, and you’re a Marine, good news! The Corps are training grunts how to fire that bad boy, and a bunch of other non-standard issue weapons you may encounter in the course of your travels. This is mission critical stuff! If only from a safety perspective . . .

There is also an important safety component for Marines seizing enemy weapons caches, Hiett said. During one classroom presentation here, he recounted an occasion in Fallujah, Iraq, when Marines seized weapons that included a PKM machine gun. Marines opened the feed tray and removed the belt, thinking they had cleared the weapon. But because they did not have a thorough understanding of the PKM, they didn’t realize a loose round was still on the feed tray, he said. One grunt threw the weapon in the back of their Humvee and it discharged, striking another Marine in the leg. He had to be evacuated from the battlefield.

Unfamiliarity also meant Marines were less likely to spot booby trapped rifles. In Fallujah, insurgents would pack AK-47s with explosives and leave them behind, Hiett said. Marines would strip the magazine and rack the bolt to clear the chamber. When they sent the bolt home, it would strike a blasting cap, turning the rifle into a large grenade that would kill anyone within five meters and potentially wound others.

By the time he and his fellow instructors finish teaching the students in the class, they will have an intimate understanding of the nine weapons systems, their capabilities and their advantages and disadvantages. That could give them a tactical edge on the battlefield.

So, the question to you: how many guns can you run? Not that your average concealed carry Armed American is likely to have to pick up a bad guy’s gun and use it to defend life and limb but you never know . . .

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  1. They should use this video to teach the soldiers how to strip an AK. “We’re going to show you a dozen children doing this, so you have no excuse.”

    “So, the question to you: how many guns can you run?”

    Now that I think about it, not as many as I would like. I shall have to work on that.

    • Awesome video. . . kind of heart warming, though I’ll bet that AK rattles like a clothes dryer full of loose change.

  2. I think most of us (people of the gun) are pretty intelligent and can pick up most firearms and figure out how they function. Most combloc(ak47,74, RPK) small arms are set up in a simliar manner.

    • This is assuming that the average first-tour E2 is as savvy as “people of the gun” which isn’t so. Youngsters who have received massive training on their service’s issue weapons have a history of disasters while figuring out captured weapons. During WW2 the Japanese had a small mortar that had a curved “stock” designed to be placed over a log instead of a base plate (neat idea for lightweight fire-and-maneuver) which was erroneously named by the Americans “knee mortar.” There were several (perhaps lots) of cases where US troops captured one, tried to use it by placing the stock on their thigh, and broke their legs.

  3. Charging handle, safety/selector switch, mag release, mag insertion, stock extender/folder — those are the basic controls. Once you run an AR, an AK and an HK, you should be able to extrapolate everything else.

    • Aye, once you know at least one gun inside and out, you’ll know how to run just about any gun on the planet.

  4. If you need to take a class on how to use and field strip an AK…then you aren’t too bright!

    The AK was made so that any Joe-Shmoe Farmer could pick one up and use it intuitively.

  5. Not sure why all the negative remarks. Seems the point of the article was teaching our troops the “insides and outs” of the enemies’ weapons, just as they did during WWII.

    And, the quick field stripping and reassembly by the kids was cool, but they didn’t have to worry about an explosive weapon when they were pulling parts off it.

  6. I think I’m comfortable running anything that isn’t to insanely proprietary but then those aren’t apt to be found lying around either. AK/HK/M16/FAL style rifles are all no brainers. Pistols that don’t deviate radically from 1911/Glock/Sig/CZ-75/Berretta standard configurations are simple and cross over well. Makarov fixed barrel types are self explanatory if you’re familiar with pistols in general.

    Oddball stuff like a Bear Cat might slow me down with the tilt barrel and there are so many proprietary and relative rare things like them that under severe stress and time constraints they really might end up being fancy rocks for me.

    The M60, M249,M230’s are all pretty straight forward if you’re familiar with belt fed weapons in the first place though I have too little practical experience with them to take one from empty to running quickly under stress I can get any of them going given either a relaxed atmosphere or a bit of time to sort them out. The M2 is fairly simple as well, like the LMGs GPMGs about it’s a matter of remembering whether you have to double charge or charge then shove or other little details but in a hurry getting the belt in the feed tray down then manipulating the bolt and trying the trigger until it goes back should get it running for me fairly quickly since I get the principle even if it’s not a muscle memory thing.

    Communist bloc LMGs get even more confusing (for me personally) due to lack of experience but given the understanding and familiarity with belt feed devices and automatic weapons in general it should only be a short matter of time until I find the right combination of bolt manipulation to run the gun. I’m not even sure it’s considered bad form to eject a few live rounds before you get the weapon firing if you’re new to it.

    I’m a gun guy though, I don’t care much for race cars or motorcycles or sports or gambling or any of the things other guys like to spend time on. I like shooting sports, and associated things. I’ve also had opportunities to handle lots of different guns enough and under such circumstances that I’ve come to know them. I’d imagine it’s a rare civilian who’s ever touched an LMG of any kind, let alone loaded and fired them but such opportunities are out there if you seek them.
    I’d imagine most POTG could get the more common pistols running and those who have experience with MSR’s can get most common rifles of the type going, there really is a lot of cross over and there they are all basically trying to make the same thing happen and there are only so many ways of doing it. I’d say the most important thing to learn is what has to happen internally to make a weapon of a type work (open bolt/closed bolt, mag feed/belt feed, etc), then no matter what controls are presented the concept is still there and should allow one to bring whatever is found online.

  7. It’s probably less that you can’t figure out an AK your own, and more that you don’t want to be doing it or teaching others to do it for the first time on-the-fly, especially if bad people are trying to do bad things while you are figuring it out.

    • I’m going to go ahead and guess the blasting cap in question is seated in an explosive charge of some sort (comp b, C-4, semtex, something) since no blasting cap I know of would exceed chamber pressures for an AK. Read between the lines, a cap + all the explosives that can be packed inside an AK would = one serious problem for anyone standing nearby.

        • EDIT: Also, in addition to being touchy in the extreme, caps are insanely powerful and with any sort of barrel blockage would easily shred any rifle — thus ruining the day of at least the poor sod holding it.

  8. uh…
    AR, AK, FAL, Mini 14, SCAR, ACR, Garand, Rem 700, PTR 91, MP5….Passing familiarity with FS2000, PS90,and AUG

  9. I’m squared away on small arms, generally, but I know fsck-all about care & feeding of belt-fed weapons. Never had a reason or opportunity to learn.

    I’ve generally found the wood-stocked medium and heavy rifles to be the most idiosyncratic and challenging to figure out without instruction. Seems like every family gun collection I’ve looked at has one or two older rifles in 30-06 or similar which have their own peculiar design.

    I can run an MP5, though. Not too many pure civilians (ie no LE/mil service) who can claim that. Not that I can actually own one here. Not as useful in case of zombie apocalypse these days since the half-eaten SWAT guys are more likely to be carrying M4’s than MP5’s.

    Also worth noting that simply being able to operate a weapon type falls well short of knowing the common failure modes and how to clear them. Especially if the clearance drill is particular to that weapon – not everything can be solved by dropping the mag and working the charging handle.

    • Belt feds are their own beast, but not as difficult as they might seem. Mostly the loading sequence in so much as getting the belt in is obvious with the feed gate open. The hard part is knowing whether to crank the charging handle once, twice, push it, pull it, open bolt, closed bolt etc. Learning one doesn’t give a whole lot of advantage to figuring out another. The only simple advice is get the belt in then goof with the charging handle and pull the trigger until it starts going bang,bang,bang,bang.

  10. I’ve intimate knowledge of very few weapons — only one of which is automatic — but can get by with many. F’rinstance, that PKM wouldn’t have slipped by me.

    A thing I do know is boobytraps and explosives, both “standard” and clandestine.

    Still, I’m most glad to be some years out of the fertilizer, and have no immediate plans to hop back in unless the excrement should indeed royally strike the impeller.

  11. And remember: just because you cleared the first ruger lcp that the EDP was carrying, it doesnt mean she doesnt have another one on her!

  12. Anyone tried to figure out Vz. 59 machinegun with no benefit of instructions? That damn thing does not even have any charging handle!


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