LTC Arnold is holding what he calls his "AK-48" (a Hungarian AKM). It's equipped with a slant brake, the UltiMAK M1-B optic mount with EOTech HWS (Holographic Weapon Sight), and an American AKBSW(H) synthetic stock. Why, you might ask, are American military and security personnel using AKs? We've asked quite a few of them about that, and we repeatedly get an answer similar to what Mr. Arnold told us;

"When I first learned of our pending deployment, I was the XO for a tank battalion. We all carried M-4s and 9 mms. I was promoted to LTC and therefore transferred out of my XO slot and up to Brigade headquarters. No M-4s there, only M-16s. The M-16/M-4 is an excellent weapon but I wanted something with "punch" to it. Something that left an impression. I went to a shotgun initially, since I assumed we were going to be in an urban setting. Nothing like OO buck or slugs when kicking in a door. As it turned out we ended up here at LSA Anaconda, a more rural setting, requiring longer shots (100-1000 meters). Certainly farther than a 12 gauge was going to shoot. I was also given command of an 896 man Iraqi National Guard Battalion (ING), whose primary weapons are AK-47s. When I attempted to exchange my shotgun for an M-16, I was told there were none remaining. So out of curiosity, I picked up one of the ING AKs and gave it a try. I liked the way it shot, as well as the 7.62 vs. 5.56 round. Initially I disliked the short butt stock, but after a few "encounters" began to appreciate it. Its far easier to shoulder rapidly with all of our gear on. My AK has grown on me as we've fought together over here and I would very much like to take it home with me. I'm not sure if that will be authorized yet but we'll see..."

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