Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Weapons of African Firestorm --- Pt 1: Assault Rifles and Machine Guns

I decided that it would be a good thing if I gave some background on some of the weapons the characters used in Africa Firestorm, which will make it easier for you the reader to visualize when you read the novel. Today, it'll be the assault rifles and submachine guns. Before we start, a quick explanation of the difference between assault rifles and submachine guns.

The US Army Army intelligence document FSTC-CW-07-03-70 (November 1970) states: "Assault rifles are short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges." (page 67)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a submachine gun as : "A portable automatic firearm that uses pistol-type ammunition and is fired from the shoulder or hip."

Assault rifles generally have larger bullets and longer range than a submachine gun, while submachines use pistol-caliber ammo.

Now, to the weapons:

Heckler and Koch MP5

"Heckler Koch MP5" by Daviddegelin at Dutch Wikipedia - Transferred from nl.wikipedia to Commons.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
Country of origin: Germany
Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum
Rate of fire: 700 rounds/min (MP5SD series)
Magazine: 15- or 30- round detachable box magazine

The Heckler and Koch MP5 series of machine guns are used by a large number of special forces and police SWAT units. First designed and built in the mid 1960's, the MP5 has nearly thirty variants, depending on the stock type (fixed stock, retractable stock, no stock), barrel length, type of trigger setting (allowing the shooter to shoot either short bursts or go full auto), and caliber (there are a couple of models that are chambered for rounds other than 9mm. The MP5/10 is chambered for the 10mm rounds, while the MP5/40 is chambered for .40 S&W round).

The Outcast team uses the MP5SD3 version at the novel's climax, with a retractable buttstock, a "SEF" trigger group (Safe, semi-automatic and full automatic), and an integrated suppressor.

FN P90

"P90--" by - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

Country of origin: Belgium
Caliber: 5.7x28mm
Rate of fire: 900 rounds/min
Magazine: 50- round detachable box magazine

Any fan of the TV show Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis will recognize this weapon as the one used by the main characters in their adventures. Originally designated as a PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) for use by NATO crew-served weapons operators, support personnel, vehicle crews, special forces and counter-terrorist groups.It is now in use with over 40 countries, including the USA.

Considered a "Bullpup" design (The magazine is located behind the trigger housing), I chose this weapon for the team when three of them have to sneak into a warehouse to access a computer system. It's compact and easier to conceal than and MP5.


"АК-47" by Allatur. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Country of origin: Russia
Caliber: 7.62x39mm
Rate of fire: 600 rounds/min
Magazine: 30- round detachable box magazine

Anyone who has watched a movie with a lot of gunfire has seen this weapon, usually in the hands of a bad guy. Created by Mikhail Kalashnikov, this weapon, also known as a Kalashnikov, is in use in over a hundred countries and by countless terrorist and rebel groups. In addition,over thirty countries manufacture their own version of this rifle, including China (Type 56) Bulgaria (Multiple variants) Finland ( Valmet M76), and Israel (Galil). Despite being superseded by more advanced Russian rifles (AK-74, AK-101/103), the AK-47's ruggedness has made it a staple all over the world.

One of the Places AK-47s can be found in abundance is in Africa. Somali pirates are usually armed with them.


"SAR 21 RCF module" by Dave1185 at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Country of origin: Singapore
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
Rate of fire: 450-650 rounds/min
Magazine: 30- round detachable box magazine

This is African Firestorm's main bad guy's weapon. He doesn't actually use it, but he is carrying it through the novel as a symbol as his authority. Designed and built in Singapore for it's military, the SAR-21 is a bullpup design. In addition to Singapore, the SAR is being used by several other countries, mostly East Asian countries.


"VektorR4" by User:Katangais - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -

Country of origin: South Africa
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
Rate of fire: 600-750 rounds/min
Magazine: 35- round detachable box magazine

There are few things new under the sun. The R-4 is a licensed copy of the Israeli Galil Assault Rifle, which itself is a variant of the AK-47. the R-4 is the main long arm of the South African Defense Force, while the R-5 (carbine version of the R-4) is popular with police and special response units.

This was the weapon of a minor bad guy group in the novel.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading abut these weapons and hope the pictures help give you the right mental image of them when you read the novel. Next week, a look at the pistols in Africa Firestorm. If you want the E-book, the Kindle version is here: African Firestorm For the Nook version, go here: African Firestorm for the Nook.


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