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Insurgency weapon

Insurgency weapon

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An insurgency weapon is a weapon, most often a firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

, intended for use by insurgent
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

s to engage in guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 against an occupier, or for use by rebels against an established government. While the term insurgency weapon is not generally used outside of the Hillberg designs mentioned below, there are a number of documented firearms that share many similar characteristics, and may be classified under the same label. Similar in purpose is a sanitized weapon, which is a weapon of any sort that has had normal markings, such as the manufacturer's name and/or serial number, omitted or obscured in an attempt to hide the origin of the weapon.

Insurgency weapons differ from improvised weapons also commonly used by insurgents in that insurgency weapons are carefully designed and manufactured outside the area of rebellion or insurgency, while improvised weapons are manufactured on the spot. An example of an improvised weapon used by insurgents would be the improvised explosive device
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

s used in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

.

Characteristics


A fairly recent class of firearms, purpose-designed insurgency weapons first appeared during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, in the form of such arms as the FP-45 Liberator
FP-45 Liberator
Not to be confused with the EMD FP45 diesel locomotive.The FP-45 Liberator was a pistol manufactured by the United States military during World War II for use by resistance forces in occupied territories.-History:...

 and the Sten
Sten
The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

 submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

. Designed to be inexpensive, since they were to be airdrop
Airdrop
An airdrop is a type of airlift, developed during World War II to resupply otherwise inaccessible troops, who themselves may have been airborne forces. In some cases, it is used to refer to the airborne assault itself. Early airdrops were conducted by dropping or pushing padded bundles from...

ped or smuggled behind enemy lines, most insurgency weapons are of simple design, typically made of sheet steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 stamping
Stamping (metalworking)
Stamping includes a variety of sheet-metal forming manufacturing processes, such as punching using a machine press or stamping press, blanking, embossing, bending, flanging, and coining. This could be a single stage operation where every stroke of the press produce the desired form on the sheet...

s, which are then folded into shape and welded. Tubular steel in standard sizes is also used when possible, and barrels (one of the few firearm parts that requires fine tolerances and high strength) may be rifled (like the Sten) or left smoothbore
Smoothbore
A smoothbore weapon is one which has a barrel without rifling. Smoothbores range from handheld firearms to powerful tank guns and large artillery mortars.-History of firearms and rifling:...

 (like the FP-45).

The CIA Deer gun
Deer gun
The Deer gun was a successor to the Liberator pistol developed by the CIA. The single-shot Deer gun was intended for distribution to South Vietnamese guerrillas as a weapon against North Vietnamese soldiers.-Design:...

 of the 1960s was similar to the Liberator, but used an aluminum casting for the body of the pistol, and was chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum
9 mm Luger Parabellum
The 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken for their Luger semi-automatic pistol...

, one of the all-time most common handgun cartridges in the world. There is no known explanation for the name "Deer Gun", but the Deer Gun was intended to be smuggled into Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, attested by the instruction sheet printed in Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

. It was produced by the American Machine & Foundry Co., but was a sanitized weapon, meaning it lacked any marking identifying manufacturer or user. Details of the manufacture of insurgency weapons are almost always deliberately obscured by the governments making them, as in the designation of the FP-45 pistol (see below).

Other insurgency weapons may be sanitized versions of traditional infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 or defensive weapons. These may be purpose-made without markings, or they may be standard commercial or military arms that have been altered to remove the manufacturers markings.

Due to the nature of insurgency weapons, documenting their history is often difficult if not impossible. Those that can legally be traded on the civilian market, like the Liberator pistol
FP-45 Liberator
Not to be confused with the EMD FP45 diesel locomotive.The FP-45 Liberator was a pistol manufactured by the United States military during World War II for use by resistance forces in occupied territories.-History:...

, will often command high prices; although millions of the pistols were made, few survived the war.

Examples


These examples are all arms that were either used as insurgency weapons, or designed for such use. Purpose-built weapons were designed from the start to be used primarily for insurgent use, and are fairly crude, very inexpensive, and simple to operate; many were packaged with instructions targeted to speakers of certain languages, or pictorial instructions usable by illiterate users or speakers of any language. Dual-use weapons are those that were designed with special allowances for use by insurgent troops. Sanitized weapons are any arms that have been manufactured or altered to remove markings that indicate point of origin.

Purpose-built insurgency weapons

More specifically, this invention relates to a four barrel break-open firearm which has a minimum number of working parts, is simple to operate even by inexperienced personnel, and is economical to manufacture.
—Second paragraph of U.S. Patent 3,260,009, by Robert Hillberg granted 1964


The FP-45 Liberator
FP-45 Liberator
Not to be confused with the EMD FP45 diesel locomotive.The FP-45 Liberator was a pistol manufactured by the United States military during World War II for use by resistance forces in occupied territories.-History:...

 was a single shot .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 derringer
Derringer
The term derringer is a genericized misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer, a famous 19th-century maker of small pocket pistols. Many copies of the original Philadelphia Deringer pistol were made by other gun makers worldwide, and the name was often misspelled; this misspelling soon became...

-type pistol, made by the U.S. during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It was made from stamped steel with an unrifled barrel. The designation "FP" stood for "flare projector", which was apparently an attempt to disguise the use of its intended purpose by obscuring the nature of the project. It was packed with ten rounds of ammunition, and was intended to be used for assassinating enemy soldiers so that their weapons could then be captured and used by the insurgents. The instructions were pictorial, so that the gun could be distributed in any theatre of war, and used even by illiterate operators. The country in which the largest quantity was used was the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

The CIA Deer gun
Deer gun
The Deer gun was a successor to the Liberator pistol developed by the CIA. The single-shot Deer gun was intended for distribution to South Vietnamese guerrillas as a weapon against North Vietnamese soldiers.-Design:...

 was a single shot 9×19 mm Parabellum
9 mm Luger Parabellum
The 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken for their Luger semi-automatic pistol...

 pistol, made by the U.S. during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. It was packaged with three rounds of ammunition in the grip, and packed with instructions in a plastic box. If air-dropped into water, the plastic box containing the pistol would float. Like the earlier FP-45 Liberator, it was designed primarily for assassination, and meant to be replaced by an enemy soldier's left-over equipment. The instructions for the Deer Gun were pictorial, with text in Vietnamese.

Although various submachine guns were manufactured in Northern Ireland with "Round Sections" (Round shaped receivers) and "Square Sections" (Square shaped receivers), the Avenger submachine gun
Avenger submachine gun
The Avenger is an SMG of British origin that was made during the 90's in an garage of private individual owning machine shop, somewhere near Belfast...

 which was used by Loyalist Paramilitaries was considered one of the best designs for its type. The bolt is a wrap around barrel type with a forward recoil/return spring with in the rear, a heavy coil spring that acts as a buffer increasing accuracy and recoil handling. The barrels were usually found lacking rifling but this can in some cases possibly increase ballistics at close quarters. It used Sten magazines and had the capabilities of adapting Supressors.

During the 1970s-80s, International Ordnance of San Antonio, Texas released the MP2 machine pistol. It was intended as a more compact, simpler derivative of the British Sten gun to be used in urban guerrilla actions, to be manufactured cheaply and/or in less-than-well-equipped workshops and distributed to "friendly" undercover forces. Much like the previously mentioned FP-45 "Liberator" pistol of World War 2, it could be discarded during an escape with no substantial loss for the force's arsenal. The MP2 is a blowback-operated weapon that fires from an open bolt with an extremely high rate of fire. A similar weapon of Guatemalan origin is the SM-9
SM-9
The SM-9 is a machine pistol of Guatemalan origin and manufactured by Cellini-Dunn. It is blowback operated, firing from an open bolt and can use magazines from Ingram MAC-10 submachine guns inserted into a similar grip. The layout of the receiver is somewhat simpler than that of a Sten with its...

.

Another example is the Métral submachine gun
Métral submachine gun
The Metral submachine gun is a clandestine submachine gun designed by Gerard Metral intended for manufacture during combat circumstances....

 designed by Gerard Métral intended for manufacture during combat circumstances.

A unique example is the Soviet S4M
S4M
The S4M was a Soviet insurgency weapon pistol, designed to be used expressly for the purpose of assassination.It was a simple break-open, two-shot derringer, but the unique features came from its specialized ammunition, designed around a cut-down version of the 7.62mmx39 rounds used in the Soviet...

 pistol, designed to be used expressly for the purpose of assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

. It was a simple break-open, two-shot derringer, but the unique features came from its specialized ammunition, designed around a cut-down version of the 7.62mm rounds used in the Soviet AK-47. The casings of the round contained a piston-like plunger between the bullet and the powder that would move forward inside the casing when fired. The piston would push the round down the barrel and plug the end of the casing, completely sealing off any explosive gases in the casing. This, combined with the inherently low-velocity round resulted in a truly silent pistol. The nature of the gun and ammunition led to it being wildly inaccurate outside of point-blank range. To add further confusion and throw possible suspicion away from the assassin, the barrel rifling was designed to affect the bullet in such a way that ballistics experts would not only conclude that the round was fired from an AK-47, but that the round was fired from several hundred feet away. Due to the politically devastating nature inherent in this design, the S4M was kept highly secret. Information on the pistol was not known by western governments until well after the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.


The Winchester
Winchester Repeating Arms Company
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a prominent American maker of repeating firearms, located in New Haven, Connecticut. The Winchester brand is today used under license by two subsidiaries of the Herstal Group, Fabrique Nationale of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

 Liberator is a 16-gauge, four-barrelled shotgun
Shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

, similar to a scaled up four-shot double action derringer
Derringer
The term derringer is a genericized misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer, a famous 19th-century maker of small pocket pistols. Many copies of the original Philadelphia Deringer pistol were made by other gun makers worldwide, and the name was often misspelled; this misspelling soon became...

. It was an implementation of the Hillberg Insurgency Weapon design. Robert Hillberg
Robert Hillberg
Robert Hillberg is a firearm designer. He was the former head of High Standard Manufacturing Company. His designs included the folding shotgun stock, the Whitney Wolverine, the Wildey .45 gas-operated pistol, and the four-shot COP 357 Derringer...

, the designer, envisioned a weapon that was cheap to manufacture, easy to use, and provided a significant chance of being effective in the hands of someone who had never handled a firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 before. Pistols and submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

s were eliminated from consideration due to the training required to use them effectively. The shotgun was chosen because it provided a very high volume of fire with a high hit probability. Both Winchester and Colt built prototypes, although the Colt eight-shot design came late in the war and was adapted for the civilian law enforcement market. No known samples were ever produced for military use.

Dual-use weapons


The Welrod
Welrod
The Welrod was a British bolt action, magazine fed, suppressed pistol devised during World War II at the Inter-Services Research Bureau , based near Welwyn Garden City, UK, for use by irregular forces and resistance groups...

 pistol was a simple, bolt action pistol developed by the SOE
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

 for use in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It was designed as much for use by covert British forces as foreign insurgents. The pistol designed with an integral sound suppressor
Suppressor
A suppressor, sound suppressor, sound moderator, or silencer, is a device attached to or part of the barrel of a firearm which reduces the amount of noise and flash generated by firing the weapon....

, and was ideal for disabling sentries and other covert work; the bolt-operated action meant that cocking the gun produced almost no noise, and the bulky but efficient suppressor eliminated nearly all of the muzzle blast. Welrod pistols included a magazine that doubled as a hand-grip, and were originally produced with no markings save a serial number.

The Sten
Sten
The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

 was a 9×19 mm Parabellum
9 mm Luger Parabellum
The 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken for their Luger semi-automatic pistol...

 submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

 manufactured by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Intended for use by both British troops and resistance forces, the Sten was made in the 9 mm calibre to allow the use of captured German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 ammunition by resistance troops who had no line of supply. It also proved popular with some British troops, and one was even carried by King George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 for self-defence during the war.

Sanitized arms


The Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

n Mauser
Mauser
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 M-48
M48 Mauser
The M48 Mauser is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale designed Mauser Model 1924 short rifle which was produced under contract by the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" beginning in 1928 and ending with the Nazi occupation in 1941. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took...

BO (for bez oznake, 'without markings') rifle was manufactured (or remanufactured by refurbishing German World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 rifles) with no markings save for a serial number. These were made in Yugoslavia for delivery to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 prior to the Suez crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 of 1956. Yugoslavia was technically a neutral country, and by sanitizing the rifles sold to the Egyptians, it hoped to distance itself from the conflict between Egypt and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Only a few hundred of the few thousand made were delivered to Egypt, the rest remaining in storage in Yugoslavia until recently rediscovered. They are currently being sold to civilian collectors.

See also

  • Improvised firearm
    Improvised firearm
    An improvised firearm is a firearm manufactured by someone who is not a regular maker of firearms , and is typically constructed by adapting existing materials to the purpose...

  • Molotov cocktail
    Molotov cocktail
    The Molotov cocktail, also known as the petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, Molotov bomb, fire bottle, fire bomb, or simply Molotov, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons...

  • KIS (weapon)
    KIS (weapon)
    Kis was the name of a Polish machine pistol from the time of the Second World War. It was designed and manufactured by engineers in Jan Piwnik's "Ponury" guerrilla unit that was operating in Holy Cross Mountains region...

  • Błyskawica submachine gun
  • Bechowiec-1
    Bechowiec-1
    Bechowiec-1 was a Polish World War II machine pistol developed and produced by the underground Armia Krajowa resistance organisation. It was designed in 1943 by Henryk Strąpoć and was being produced in several underground facilities, mostly in the area of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski and Opatów Kielecki...


External links