Westroads Mall Weapon

Does anyone have an actual picture of the actual weapon used in the shootings at Westroads Mall in Omaha? It’s been called both an SKS and an AK-47.

A reader emailed that he saw a picture on the news and that it was definitely an SKS.

The police are calling it an AK-47.

The security camera image isn’t clear enough to really tell, though the front sight looks more like an AK than an SKS.


UPDATE: Here is an image that may or may not be the actual weapon:

omaha sks yugo 59/66 maybe

It’s from KPTM Fox 42’s web site and isn’t specifically labeled as the actual weapon.

This image is of what appears to be a Yugoslavian 59/66 SKS clone. I base that mainly on the NATO rifle grenade launcher extension on the end of the barrel. It has the original 10-round fixed magazine. The attached bayonet appears to have been replaced with what might be a bipod. That’s a rather common (and simple) modification seen on SKSes.

I’ve heard a number of reports that indicate 30-round magazines (and the message from a reader I got said it had a modified mag). One report even mentioned that two 30-rounders had been taped together for quick changing. So I question whether or not this is the actual weapon.

For that matter, it’s possible that the picture my reader commented on was not even the actual weapon.

Also, the front sight assembly on this rifle appears to be shorter than that shown on the mall’s security cam imagery.

UPDATE 2: Via SayUncle, here’s some discussion of the security cam pic which includes

The giveaway is his right arm. He’s holding a pistol grip. Front sight tree and the top of the rifle also match an AK pattern rifle. You can also see the hint of the curved magazine underneath.

I had totally missed the “holding a pistol grip” bit. It sure looks like he is. Now, you can get aftermarket stocks for SKSes with pistol grips, but they come standard on AKs. Now I really don’t think the picture from that Fox news site is the actual weapon. Either that, or someone pulled a switcheroo.


  1. The video capture shows a gas tube above the barrel and an AKM style front sight. That is the closest I have seen to showing the actual weapon not just a newscaster rendition. My money is on an AKM (not AK-47, he couldnt afford a select fire military rifle, so he would posess an AKM, the semi auto civilian version of the AK-47) (Mine is a beautiful yugo version)

  2. AKMs are actually modernized AK-47s introduced to the Soviet military in 1959. I don’t think anyone is actually claiming it was a ‘true’ full-auto AK. I’ve also heard several places that it had a folding stock.

  3. Rey, the AKM means Modernized Kalashnikov Automatic (rifle), and can be fired in automatic or fire-by-fire modes. Basically, AK-47 or AKM are the same thing. IMHO, looks in the picture like an AK family rifle. I used this rifle when accomplishing my mandatory miltary stage, and I would say that everything point to an AK.