During the Vietnam War, the U.S. conducted many operations in Laos and Cambodia.
Many of the ground operations were carried out by Special Forces operators from the MACV-SOG.
The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group, was made up of Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, and CIA personnel.
The members of the group were tasked with carrying out secret, unconventional missions.
Because of the nature of the missions conducted by these men, they didn’t often carry typical gear used by the U.S.
For example, the U.S. soldiers wore a tiger stripe camouflage pattern similar to the uniform worn by South Vietnamese soldiers.
And when the Special Forces teams went into Laos or Cambodia the point man was often wearing North Vietnamese gear and carried AK-47s.
During the war, the U.S. reissued many captured AK-47 rifles to U.S. soldiers, and even started producing ammo for the AK-47.
An American with an AK-47 could confuse the enemy and make them think twice before firing.
Plus, the AK-47 was more dependable than the U.S. M-16 and had a 30-round magazine.
Also, the AKs had a distinctive sound, and the rounds from the rifles glowed green. This was very different from the M-16 rounds that glowed red.
One soldier said, “An M-16 would stand out to the VC or NVA, telling them where and possibly who we were.”
The AK-47 is one of the most well-known and popular weapons in the world.
Since 1949, over 100 million AK-47 rifles have been sold in over 106 countries.
Considering this, here are a few reasons the AK-47 is used by so many militaries, guerilla groups, and enemies of the U.S.
Simple to use:
Many countries that use the AK-47 for their military have compulsory service.
This means that the citizens in these countries are mandated to serve in the military – it’s not optional.
These types of soldiers need simple weapons, many will not be skilled enough, or care enough, to maintain complex weapons that are difficult to clean or fire.
The AK-47 is the best rifle for someone with limited training.
AK-47s are made mostly from stamped metal. They are easy and inexpensive to produce.
Plus, the rifles have relatively loose tolerances. This means production doesn’t have to be perfect.
Many of the countries that manufacture AK-47s are more concerned about quantity than quality, and they can get away with this when producing the AK-47.
In countries where terror organizations play a role in manufacturing there isn’t an easier weapon to produce.
One of the reasons the AK-47 became so popular is its reliability. The loose tolerances on the AK mean that it can get dirty and still function.
They are one of the toughest rifles and often have fewer malfunctions compared to other rifles.
The AK-47 will keep working with little maintenance, in any environment, from the desert to tropical climates.
Which is another reason the AK-47 is used by guerilla forces and terrorists.
AK-47s are everywhere:
Terrorists want inexpensive weapons in large quantities and aren’t often particular about where the weapons come from, and whether they are legal or not.
Countries such as Russia and China have no qualms about selling weapons to organizations fighting against the U.S.
Plus, there are large stashes of AKs all over the globe, especially in Soviet Bloc countries.
These rifles can last a very long time, so they can be passed down from one user to another over decades.
The AK-47 is cheap, reliable, and easy to find. It will likely continue to be used by terrorists and militaries for years to come.
And while it wouldn’t be my first choice for a survival or self-defense rifle, it’s better than nothing in a pinch.