The following article focusing on Slovakian Weapons Found in ISIS Raid in Dagestan is a guest post from the team over at Reaper Feed, the go-to guys on everything, and anything to do with weapons tracking around the world.
When researching the arms used by ISIS insurgents, Slovakian weapons appear to be fairly common. Whether its straight sourced firearms or non-lethal firearms converted to lethal weapons, Slovakia is a hot spot for terrorist arms. In this article, we’re going to look at one of the Slovakian weapons recovered during a Russian Spetsnaz operation against an ISIS cell in Dagestan, Russia.
The prevelance of Slovakian weapons used by terror groups first became apparent during the Charlie Hebdo attacks that took place in Paris during 2015. When French police cornered the attackers in a printing shop, both of the assailants were armed with weapons from Cold War-era Czechoslovakia in the form of Ceska VZ 58 assault rifles.
Following the collapse of communism in Europe and the break up of Czechoslovakia, these dated weapons were sitting in military storage across the newly formed Slovakia. In the economic turmoil of the 1990s, the state of Slovakia started to sell thousands of weapons to companies, who deactivated the guns and turned them into blank firing guns which can be bought by anyone over the age of 18.
However, underworld gunsmiths, criminals, and terrorists soon found a simple process to reactivate the guns back to their deadly capability. According to a ballistics expert from the Paris police, the reactivation process with weapons such as those deactivated by gunsmiths in places like Slovakia is easy. All that it involves is re-engineering the barrel, which can be done by anyone with basic metalworking ability.
The Slovakian Connection to Dagestan
Dagestan is situated within the volatile North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation which is also home to the Muslim-majority republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya. Islamist militants and criminal groups in the region have been known to target Russian military personnel, local officials, moderate Muslims, and foreigners. A significant number of people from the North Caucasus have reportedly traveled to Syria in order to join ISIS.
On Friday the 22nd of May 2020, a counter-terrorism operation was carried out by Russian FSB and Spetsnaz in the Dagestani district of Khasavyurt. The operation was targeting an ISIS cell which was reportedly planning on launching violent attacks against local police forces in the area. The attack left six Islamic State militants dead on Friday, May 22. The militants had reportedly been planning to conduct attacks targeting local police forces.
The dead IS militants were subsequently photographed where they fell. Visible in their hands was the standard Russian weapon of an AK74M with “jungle taped” magazines. According to Calibre Obscura, this is a common technique that allows for fast magazine changes in combat instead of using extended magazines. The use of Jungle Taped magazines has been seen in the hands of insurgents around the world for decades. The use of Jungle Tape tells us that these fighters have likely had some experience with fast-paced combat. ISIS in the North Caucasus is partly made up of former Caucasus Emirate fighters and other militants that have been opposed to the Russian state for a long period of time, so it’s only natural that this practice has been passed on.
Lying next to another of the fighters is a Grand Power K100 pistol. This 9×19mm semi-automatic pistol is made designed and built by Grand Power in Slovakia. In 2007 Grand Power announced a deal to produce 100,000 units for the U.S. market in partnership with Texas-based handgun manufacturer STI International Inc.
It’s possible that the Slovakian handguns being used by this specific terror cell in the North Caucasus were smuggled arms from Slovakia or a deactivated weapon that has legally entered and subsequently been modified back to its lethal capability.