Iraqi Insurgent Improvised M16A1 suppressor (OIF)

This photograph was posted on the U.S. Department of Defense Media Activity’s public domain website DVIDS along with another one that will be featured on Silah Report. Both depict improvised suppressors captured by U.S. Infantrymen while on operations in Iraq.

From the photograph description-

The confiscated items lay on the ground in front of three men arrested as a suspected sniper team in the northeast Baghdad neighborhood of Haay Ur, Jan. 17. The men were arrested by the 3rd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st National Police Division and the 3rd Battalion, 42nd Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division as the men attempted to carry out an attack on American forces in the area.

This first photograph depicts what appears to be a 5.56x45mm NATO M16A1 self-loading rifle due to the lack of a rear sight as a separate unit although the photograph is a little blurry to confirm this. The improvised suppressor appears to be some sort of muffling material wrapped around the standard 18 inch barrel of the M16A1, and then continues past the standard muzzle for about a foot of length. From the bulge just past the chamber, it appears that the standard barrel nut has been retained, and one can notice the taper of the barrel and gas tube in the shape of the suppressor. Mounted atop the carrying handle is a Trijicon 4×32 RCO. The grip is not a standard A2 grip and is most likely of commercial after market manufacture.

If the self-loading rifle is indeed an M16A1, the rifle might be a black-market trade from Lebanon or Israel where the M16A1 has seen extensive use by multiple armed entities. The presence of the pistol grip would support this assertion, as it could have been added along the way. It certainly isn’t from a captured U.S rifle. The chances of a Soldier or Marine mounting an after-market accessory such as a grip are extremely slim, and the chances of it being captured are even slimmer. In addition, the 20 round “Vietnam Era” magazine is further indicative that the rifle was initially fielded in Lebanon or Israel due to the amount of surplus equipment being sold to those countries.  It probably isn’t from a private military company either as M16A1s are rarely seen in use among these entities, 14 or 16 inch barrel length M4s being the preferred AR variant.  The Trijicon however would certainly appear to be a U.S capture or otherwise lost piece of gear, with the scope neoprene cover indicating that it was most likely newly issued or rarely used when acquired.

Construction of the improvised suppressor is harder to identify. It would appear that it is some sort of muffling or noise absorbing material stuffed inside a pipe( possibly metallic) the length of the entire suppressor. There appears to be another pipe, one of larger diameter than the main one, that connects both the main pipe and the barrel nut, thus enabling the contraption to stay in place. The entire pipe further appears to be wrapped in black tape of some sort, possibly to prevent any shine from a position of concealment. Whether or not the suppressor actually works, or how long it can adequately suppress is unknown at this point.

Sealing the deal on this capture is the video camera present, showing that the insurgents captured here were probably using the camera to film their shots on U.S troops for propaganda value, eerily  to the “Jubba” sniper videos that plagued troops based in Baghdad. Unconfirmed rumors about the “Jubba” sniper have stated that the actual shooter was using a Remington 700 shooting out of a loophole of a taxicab. A set up such as this suppressed M16A1 could just have been used in the very same way.

Miles is the founder, editor, and local Khan governing Silah Report. He is quite found of obscure languages, dangerous locales, and fascinating small arms designs and uses.

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