Updated: May 6
A friend of ours in the Pak-Afghan border regions within Pakistan recently shared a couple of photos with us showcasing a somewhat unique firearm. This was a highly modified SKS-pattern 7.62×39mm self-loading rifle, likely of Russian origin, and probably a left in the region after the Soviet-Afghan War. By now we should all be very familiar with the some of the wackier work coming out of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region and this was an interesting piece to see. It is highly unusual configuration to see an SKS-pattern rifle in and the work done to the weapon makes it quite unique.
As you can see, this is a mashup of various prolific firearm designs. It utilises G3-esque furniture, a 5.56×45mm STANAG magazine and a G3-pattern flash-hider tips the barrel. The SKS’ folding bayonet and all of its furniture has been removed. The work that went into this is impressive, the trigger mechanism had to be lowered and moved forward slightly to accommodate the G3 pistol grip. A new lower assembly appears to have been fabricated and the stock adapted with a unique attachment to allow the buttstock to attach to the receiver. The bolt will have been reworked to allow it to accept the 5.56×45 cartridge, while this rechambering would also entail a change to the barrel. This makes sense looking at its shorter profile, the front end had to be modified to accept the locally made G3-pattern handguards and finally the local manufactured STANAG magazine well had to be made specifically for the firearm and fit to it in the correct way so that the non-standard magazine feeds the rifle correctly.
Something like this is highly labour intensive and requires time, effort and money to accomplish. It may look a little crude in places, however, the end product surely is a sight to behold. This would be a showpiece or even a status symbol as a somewhat unique piece and no doubt highly prized. The rifle needed multiple locally made components such as the furniture, the recover extension and STANAG magazine well and all except the furniture needed to be made specifically for this firearm. A standard SKS-pattern self-loading rifle runs around Rs50,000 (PKR) and work like this can run into the tens of thousands depending on the quality of the work and the use of a renowned gunsmith.
The reasoning behind the calibre change is probably to allow it to be held on an easier to acquire license for .223/5.56×45mm, as the license for the prohibited bore cartridges like 7.62×39mm are extremely difficult to get. As firearms prices continue to increase in Pakistan, you will see less and less modifications like these done to more collectable arms as the value of them can decrease in the long-term.