Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Canadian infantry rifles really get around, don't they?

Looking at these two pictures most observers with a cursory interest in military small arms will say that they are looking at American M16 rifles. They might even clarify that by saying that they are looking at an M16A2 and an M4/A1 respectively.


A trained Canadian observer would come up with a different answer. Both weapons are Canadian-made by Colt Canada, (formerly Diemaco) and are the C7A2 C7A1FT and C8 carbine. While they appear identical to their American-made cousins, there are subtle differences.

Why is this of interest?

Well, for one thing they were made exclusively for the Canadian Forces. Diemaco also supplied both variants to the Norwegian, Danish and the Netherlands armies. British SAS members sometimes also carry one or the other of the Canadian rifle. American troops do not carry the Diemaco-made weapon. They have their own stuff.

Now, I'm sure my information on the disbursal of the C7 and C8 is probably a little out of date. I don't generally keep a watch on small arms sales.

So, why then, has there been a report that troops involved in direct combat operations and raids, wearing American uniforms, have been observed carrying Canadian weapons? In Iraq.

There's probably a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Update: And there is a "reasonable" explanation. Thanks to Dana and readers Roman and Foulis for this link.

It appears the new British Special Forces Support Group, operating in Baghdad, is wearing American uniforms and carrying Canadian weapons. As odd as that may sound, it probably makes sense. The Canadian C7 and C8 are the "weapons of choice" for the SAS, so it stands to reason that the SFSG would be outfitted with the same rifle.

The article goes on to explain the "American uniforms".

"They wear US uniforms so they can blend in in Baghdad where a British paratrooper would stick out and draw unwanted attention," an intelligence source said.
Ahem... don't get any of that on your shoe.

I would have a tendency to believe the reason the Brits are wearing American uniforms in Baghdad is so they can avoid getting shot... by their own side.

I wonder. Does Rumsfeld know about this? When you have to bring the SAS and SFSG into town, it doesn't usually mean things are going very well.

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