Not new news, but worth mentioning as Stars & Stripes has a good article up:
In a major shift of weaponry, the Iraqi army is crossing over from the AK-47 assault rifle to the American-made M-16 and M-4 rifles, U.S. military and Iraqi officials have confirmed.
The first class of Iraqi recruits has already been issued M-16s instead of AK-47s, American officials said, and as many as 1,600 Iraqi troops will be using the standard American-issue weapon by the end of May.
The U.S. command issued a statement saying that –the Iraqi government made the decision to crossover from standard AK-47 assault rifles as part of the reshaping of their military and security forces.”
Under the new program, officials said, Iraqi army officers will be issued M-4 rifles while rank-and-file soldiers will receive M-16A4 models.
The M16A4 is the flattop version of the standard A2 model, allowing the use of M1913-compatible equipment in place of the “carry handle”-style rear sight. (Murdoc’s poodle shooter is an A4-style carbine, click here for a pic of the thing without the rear sight.) The Marines opted for the M16A4 rather than the XM8 back in 2004, and by now I think that most of the Corps has them.
Am I the only one curious to see if the Iraqis are patient with the slightly temperamental M16/M4? These folks have been AK users their whole lives, and though I can’t see anyone really wanting to switch to an AK after using a finely-machined AR with accurate ammo, I’m wondering if we’ll be hearing about griping over the need to, you know, actually CLEAN the weapon from time to time.
What do MO readers think about issuing US weapons to the Iraqis? The plans include selling them M60 tanks.