Awash in Armaments

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AK-47 versus M-16. There are few more iconic examples of East versus West than these two individual weapons. Both of them are unique and not to be confused with any other rifle. Both of them are reflections of the nations that designed and produced them. The AK series also has the distinction of appearing on the national flags of several nations, and numerous male (and maybe even a few female) children were named "Kalash", in honor of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the original AK-47 and many other Soviet weapons.


The whole world is full of guns and weapons of every description. Rifles, pistols, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers, tanks, artillery, and explosives; you name it, chances are excellent that it is disintegrating something and/or someone, and/or putting holes into someone and/or something as you read these words. Although the U.S. seems to be the greatest villain in the world in this regard, some cursory research reveals that it was the Soviets and their successors that turned the world into a global shooting gallery.

 

Here are some rough production figures of some of the more common implements of war that are routinely seen in action these days in various parts of the world:

 

AK-47 and derivatives - 100 million+
M-16 and derivatives - <10 million

 

PK machine guns and derivatives - 2 million+
M60 machine guns and derivatives - 250,000+

 

RPG-7 and derivatives - 10,000,000+
M72 LAW, AT4, Carl Gustav - 2,000,000+

 

T-55, T-62, T-72 tank - 100,000+
M48, M60, M1 tank - 25,000+


So, it's fair to say that the Russians, and to a lesser extent, the Chinese, have armed the world to its teeth. Not counted are the millions of weapons from the WW2 era and before, which are just as deadly, and in some cases, even more so than some modern weapons.

 

It's not difficult to foresee the day when bank robbers here in the U.S., rather than relying on hoodies, badly-written stickup notes, and bulges in their pockets will graduate to belt-fed machine guns, RPG's and satchel charges to do their dirty work.

 

The seeming abundance of weapons and explosives in the Middle East isn't surprising. For example, shortly after the U.S. invaded Iraq and "Mission Accomplished" was declared, vast stores of Soviet-era weapons and ammunition were left unsecured at bunkers and ammo dumps that stretched over the horizon, fueling terrorism, insurgency and civil war for many, many years.

 

Although the U.S. is far behind the Russians in sheer production totals, that is misleading, as the U.S. historically has been reluctant to arm its "allies" with anything that said or implied "Made in USA", relying instead on securing Soviet-style arms from countries like Egypt and Israel and the open market to hide its hand, as if that is possible.

Comments

The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 9, 2018 - 11:31am
right on cue :) ref my earlier remarks in Neil's thread
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 9, 2018 - 11:33am
where there are buyers sellers will always flock
Steel Breeze Added Sep 9, 2018 - 11:38am
the current civilian AR is a vast improvement over the M-16 i was issued...there is a portable attack drone called Switchblade thats impressive...
Neil Lock Added Sep 9, 2018 - 11:41am
Michael: Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? The political class celebrate instruments of war. But allowing them to us plebs is a no-no...
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 9, 2018 - 11:49am
that genie's long since escaped the bottle
Michael B. Added Sep 9, 2018 - 11:58am
@ TBH - I thought we had "beaten" porn up pretty good, so I thought I'd switch the topic to other phallic symbols, lol.
Michael B. Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:00pm
@ Neil - Yes, I'm continually frustrated by the fact that I STILL don't have a flamethrower!
 
Which reminds me...what do you call a bouncer at a gay nightclub? A flame-thrower! Hahahahahah
John Minehan Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:00pm
After the Gulf War in 1991, we had an S-2 SICCUPS 577 Extension FULL of an amazing assortment of (just recently former) Warsaw Pact manufactured  small arms that was being gathered for the 1st CAV Museum at FT Hood.
 
Until you see that, you just don't have a feeling for just how much of that stuff is "out there." 
John Minehan Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:03pm
There are places in the world recently where you could buy enough small arms to kit  out a light infantry battalion with the appropriate small arms and crew-served weapons.  
Steel Breeze Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:09pm
this article has goaded me into looking into the the current status of the XM-25,an impressive bit of personal armament but plagued with initial problems....thanks
Michael B. Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:11pm
@John M. - Few here are more qualified than you John! Yes, the going rate  for guns and gunmen continues to drop.
 
In some of the immediate post-war footage, I also saw what appeared to be a small truck convoy full of what appeared to be Mauser 98-looking rifles, and I thought I'd be seeing them in Big 5 by now, lol.
Michael B. Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:16pm
@ SB - I have an AR-15 that I got around ten years ago, and it immediately reminded me of the love/hate relationship I had toward my military M16's. The short-stroke piston seems to have fixed a lot of M16's reliability problems. I'd still take an M16 over an AK any day.
Steel Breeze Added Sep 9, 2018 - 12:19pm
agreed...lucky for me my survival depended on my 'fifty' instead....
John Minehan Added Sep 9, 2018 - 1:16pm
My S-2 Sgt in the Gulf War was a great NCO who had served in the Ranger Battalions and was an expert on Warsaw Pact small arms. 
 
I had a Marine LCpl in the last war, who tracked down the origins of an RPG round by its serial number. 
 
Those guys are the true experts.
James Travil Added Sep 9, 2018 - 3:26pm
"It's not difficult to foresee the day when bank robbers here in the U.S., rather than relying on hoodies, badly-written stickup notes, and bulges in their pockets will graduate to belt-fed machine guns, RPG's and satchel charges to do their dirty work."
Nah, everyone is too chicken shit to need to be threatened by an actual weapon. All you need to rob a bank nowadays is harsh language. Good article though. Hey Michael got any stats on more modern tanks, like the A1 Abrams or T90s? 
Dino Manalis Added Sep 9, 2018 - 4:20pm
 All countries should strive to keep all arms out of terrorists' hands!
FacePalm Added Sep 9, 2018 - 10:39pm
Dino-
All countries should strive to keep all arms out of terrorists' hands!  
 
"War is the terrorism of the rich; terrorism is the war of the poor."
~Leon Uris
 
So the problem - as is often the case - is how do you define "terrorist," and who does the defining?
 
After all, to the British in 1777 and later, the Americans were certainly terrorists - weren't they?
 
Of course, then you run into globalists and their politics; they are by no means opposed to using any kind of criminals(mafia, gangs) or terrorists(Hamas, Isis, Taliban) to achieve their ends, so that they can keep "plausible deniability" in their arsenal of untouchability.
 
Don't know what could truly stop it, except global surveillance by extremely ethical people intent on stopping as much bloodshed as humanly possible.  But there are the deaths-head cults who know that the only way you make REAL money is by killing people - and the usual math is "more dead people - mo' money."  Ask Skull and Bones members - oh, wait, they're sworn to secrecy.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 10, 2018 - 2:57am
Anyone know where I can find a stash of old Teller mines? 
Michael B. Added Sep 10, 2018 - 8:48am
@ SB - Yes, I was also fond of Ma Deuce! Not fond of humping and cleaning her, though! LOL
Michael B. Added Sep 10, 2018 - 8:48am
@ John M. - I was the OPFOR expert in every unit I was in, but never to that level....the S-2 types didn't like me because I was from California. As I found out, military people seem to have an institutional hatred of people from CA, I guess because we're a bunch of hippies, drug dealers, gangsters, and general free-thinking anarchists, lol. Rednecks, Soul Brothers, and to a lesser extent, Puerto Ricans pretty much run the Army, at least in my day.
Michael B. Added Sep 10, 2018 - 8:49am
@ James T. - Very true for the most part, however, as long as such things are available, some asshole(s) will want to use them on something, for no other reason than to make the evening news.
 
I think the U.S. produced about 9500 M1's over the years, while the figures for the T-90 are unknown to me. The Russians aren't churning out tanks and other hardware like their Soviet predecessors any more, and seem to have embraced a "quality over quantity" approach, which is approx. 180 degrees from their previous philosophy.
Michael B. Added Sep 10, 2018 - 8:50am
@ TBH - Your best bet for finding WW2 German ANYTHING would be Russia and environs...for example, I know someone who wants an MG42 machine gun, and he may get one...demilitarized, but for a few extra rubles, who knows what one could get from there? I'd love to have a Panther tank, or at least a Sturmgeshutz III....hope remains, lol.
 
Rusty Smith Added Sep 10, 2018 - 10:36am
I don't just think it's the US's reluctancy to supply arms that makes Chinese and Russian weapons so popular, I think a lot has to do with the cost and motives of the country that does supply the arms.
 
Most people in conflict countries might be able to buy American made weapons if they had the money, but usually they don't and look for support from other countries.  China and Russia have been quite willing to cozy up and supply lots of those entities with arms in order to help them develop a good political relationship with them.
 
Russia and China's agendas are very different from the US and so are the nature of who they are willing and often quite happy to arm.
FacePalm Added Sep 10, 2018 - 2:09pm
Last i heard, the S. African "government" is planning to use the force of law - then actual force, if need be - to disarm all the white S. Africans before stealing their land and buildings.
David Montaigne Added Sep 11, 2018 - 8:43am
I never realized the "arms race" to supply the world was so imbalanced as your numbers show.
FacePalm Added Sep 11, 2018 - 8:52am
TBH-
Anyone know where I can find a stash of old Teller mines? 
 
How about a Penn minesweeper?
 
Here is a link to "teller mine for sale."  It appears you will have to provide your very own boom materiel.
 
i'll expect tanks, you know...
John Minehan Added Sep 14, 2018 - 6:18pm
"the S-2 types didn't like me because I was from California. As I found out, military people seem to have an institutional hatred of people from CA, I guess because we're a bunch of hippies, drug dealers, gangsters, and general free-thinking anarchists, lol."
 
I think it was just the NTC/MEFEX/CAX flashbacks . . . .
John Minehan Added Sep 14, 2018 - 6:21pm
About 15 years ago, I would have directed you to Mogadishu or Yemen . . . .
Michael B. Added Sep 15, 2018 - 12:09am
@ John M. - "I think it was just the NTC/MEFEX/CAX flashbacks . . . ."
 
Nawww...it went much deeper than that, lol.
 
"About 15 years ago, I would have directed you to Mogadishu or Yemen . . . ."
 
I'm not sure how you meant that, but I'll consider it a compliment! John, you're a decent gentleman to the core, and I'm always appreciative of your comments and insights. Next to Bill Kamps and Stephen Hunter, you guys are models of sanity and reason here!