Even though the charging handle is on the left side, it doesn’t get in the way if you’re forced to switch the reliable Kalashnikov to your left shoulder.

My profession and my contacts allow me the opportunity to speak with those that go into harm’s way, both in America and abroad. Real-life counterparts to those portrayed in books, movies, and video games—their choices for equipment are critical. Changing guns, reloading, or resupply requires more than the push of a button, so gear is a serious business. Some missions preclude the use of anything other than what is in hand or on hand. Not surprisingly, their real-life experience with weapon systems is often different than what is “most popular.” A recent conversation with one of the more experienced of these operators shed some light on these systems.

Right-handed operators will be comfortable with left-side charging handle, and its large, knurled knob speeds up contact in all conditions.

Weapon Of Choice
This particular operator can choose to use whatever he wants. No large unit regulations here—the mission dictates the weapon, and he can use anything he likes. Given his 20 years or so as an actual trigger-puller, it was time to ask, listen, and learn. It begged the question, which do you prefer? His simple answer, “The one that ensures the mission is completed and his team makes it back home.” It is a tool to him—no sentimental ties to one system or another, just a tool for survival.

The Kalashnikov system has been battle proven, and may be the most proven rifle system ever created. Mini Red Dot Sight have become commonplace because of how quickly you can acquire your target. The Midwest Industries forend makes adding the Insight Technology’s MRDS simple.

If the mission dictates he will only need what is in-hand, he uses his preferred system. If the area requires the use of what is on-hand, especially when things don’t go as planned, he uses the weapon most prevalent in that area. Essentially, he needs to be able to grab what is there to complete the mission—and that may not be standard issue. As a practical matter, namely that means an AK system. Given the move to 5.56mm by many of the NATO countries, it could be in a couple of calibers, but it will be AK-based.

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Even though the charging handle is on the left side, it doesn’t get in…