Photo of the Day: Now Showing Rubber AK-47 Assault Rifles in Afghanistan

Given the continuing number of casualties from the ‘green-on-blue’ attacks in Afghanistan and the recent directive that all Coalition troops carry a loaded weapon at all times, we find this photo of Afghan police trainees with their rubber AK-47 assault rifles more than interesting.

The Threat Matrix blog reports that Taliban leader Mullah Omar claims that the Taliban “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year.” He urges government officials and security personnel to defect and join the Taliban as it is their religious duty to do so, and then warns that “the day is not far away that the invading enemy will flee Afghanistan.”

Obviously Mullah Omar is glossing over the fact about 2024. But this guy is more crafty than we thought. He probably learned somewhere that our politicians who hold the purse strings for all spending hate the idea of the US “fleeing” Afghanistan. Raising the specter of “fleeing” troops would help make sure that Congress will continue funding this nutty war, and in the process, the Taliban get their cut to fund their fight of a lifetime. A win-win situation except for the dead and the broken soldiers.

And so here we are with rubber assault rifles.

Two Afghan Uniform Police recruits practice aiming their rubber AK-47 assault rifles during a handcuff training exercise at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar province, Afghanistan, July 5, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Berner/Released)

Domani Spero

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4 responses

  1. Your comments imply that the “rubber rifles” known as ‘red guns’ were somehow issued pejoratively to the Afghans as a result of the shootings. This is not correct.

    Red guns are routinely used in law enforcement training to eliminate the possibility of a negligent discharge. Although rubber, the guns have the same weight and feel as the real thing making them useful learning aids. US Federal Agent trainees are issued red gun (pistols in this case) that they carry all through basic training so they get used to being armed all of the time. At Embassies with Marine Security Guards, they routinely use red guns when responding from the Marine house to the the chancery to practice responding armed.

    Incidentally, there is a competing company to the one that manufactures red guns that makes their simulated weapons blue. They are a bit cheaper so I’ve used them as well but all are known in law enforcement circles as ‘red guns.’

    • Drew- Thanks for your note and the explanation on red guns. I’ve never seen photos of them before in ISAF’s photostream and the caption was no more enlightening. Almost all photos of ANP trainees I’ve seen publicly released are with real guns. And then one day in July, there’s this photo of the red guns. Frankly, when I saw that, my gut reaction was what I put in the blog post.

      Are these rubber rifles issued then to real new recruits to give them the feel of the real gun? Can you take apart and put these red guns back together? How long do they carry these fake guns around? And when do these recruits get issued real guns with bullets? The ex-officer in my household said that the sure way to eliminate negligent discharge is not to issue ammunition. Which makes sense to me.

      • I haven’t served in Afghanistan so I don’t know their specifics but the procedures are the same just about all police/federal agent training academies.

        Recruits are issued red guns so they get used to carrying a weapon and can make mistakes without fatal consequences. During training, red guns are treated as if they are real. You don’t play around with them or face possible expulsion.

        They are solid rubber with, probably, a metal frame and metal weights on the inside to give them realistic balance and feel. They have no working parts.

        For Federal agents (and it’s been a while so these times are to the best of my recollection) we were issued our red guns the second week at FLETC. We carried them with us for the remaining 5 weeks of training.

        We didn’t receive our weapons until after graduation. For live fire, you check them out and then return them. We still use red guns during training to practice things such as room entries. I recently used red gun AK-47s to train a foreign government VIP protective details. They could practice not pointing weapons at each other and getting in and out of vehicles properly.

        Red guns are the only sure way to avoid a negligent discharge. Human error always comes into play and even with proper safety procedures, stories of ’empty weapons’ having a stray round in them are not uncommon. This is one of the reasons why the first rule of gun safety is that you treat every gun as if it is loaded.