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Breakdown: Tricked Out AK in Kurdistan

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[Updated Information Below Article]

Recently a video was posted on Youtube titled, “Iraq War 2016 – Kurdish Peshmerga Special Forces In Heavy Firefight During ISIS Ambush In Bashir. It has been making the rounds on social media. The original source of the video is from AP TAC

Much of the commentary has been about the high speed AK that's prevalent in the video. Give it a quick watch:

Yes indeed. High speed. Well, higher speed than your average local fighter. I took some time to grab some screenshots as to better help identify exactly how the rifle is outfitted. Even without perfect resolution, some items can be distinguished. Not everything shown would be my first choice, but in that part of the world you just have to go with what's available.

What we have at the base is a short barreled (~12″) stamped AKM, with a European rivet pattern, chambered in 7.62×39. The barrel appears longer than it actually is due to the extended forend.

The buttstock is a Mission First Tactical BMS. Further closeups demonstrated it is likely attached with an adapter previously made by Mako Group. It also has a receiver end plate with integral sling mounts. It appears the castle nut is installed backwards.
kurdish_AK02 kurdish_AK02_c
kurdish_AK04 kurdish_AK04_c

Pistol Grip looks like a Strike Industries AK-EPG (Enhanced Pistol Grip). Note the notch for accessing the storage area, texturing, and the ‘SI' at the back rear.

kurdish_AK05 kurdish_AK06 kurdish_AK06_c

The forend also seems to be by Strike Industries, specifically their AK TRAX (both 1 and 2) system. Note the distinctive profile of the front end and the horizontal slots in the handguard. All Picatinny side rails appear to be mounted, hiding the KeyMod beneath. [TRAX 1 & 2 shown on a fullsize AK in the comparison photo].


The sling sports an HK-style hook, attached to a rail-mounted QD system very similar to a Troy.


Optics are mounted on a Texas Weapons Systems Dog Leg topcover. Primary optic appears to be a Aimpoint Comp M2 or similar in a factory low mount, with an EOtech G23.FTS magnifier behind [magnifier removed in some parts of the video]. The G23 looks to have a slip-on flip-cover installed. It doesn't look like there are any alternative sighting methods beyond the red dot sight.

kurdish_AK07 kurdish_AK08 kurdish_AK08_c

Two different magazines are shown. The Magpul AK PMag is obvious. The waffle-patterned magazine can be harder to properly ID due to the prevalence of clones. However, the base plate matches an actual Bulgarian waffle. If the resolution were better and the magazine not camouflaged, perhaps we'd be able to see a circle-10 proof mark at the bottom-middle of the left side.


Initially I thought the weapon light was in a Daniel Defense 1″ offset, but with further examination it's much closer to something manufactured by NC Star. The light itself is sized consistently with a (1) CR-123 model, but the current make is unknown. It has a pressure switch mounted on the upper left-hand side of the handguard.

kurdish_AK12 kurdish_AK13_c

The VFG could not be readily identified but I suspect Mission First Tactical. If you've watched the video, no doubt you've noticed a plethora of other western gear (like that Garmin Foretrex). What stands out to you?

AP TAC's Facebook can be viewed here.

AP TAC has been in contact and has given us some more information and photos of the updated rifle configuration:

Still with a Mission First Tactical BMS, but the stock is mounted on Tapco AK T6 adapter. The TWS top cover and Aimpoint are gone, instead replaced with a Strike Industries AK rear sight rail and a Docter red dot. The muzzle device is a Primary Weapons Systems JTAC 47. This particular VFG is (or directly pattern after) a Knights Armament. As you can see the weapon mounted light is not longer on the right-side, and is instead run on a left via a push/clicky switch.

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