Updated: May 6
The venerable Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles were the backbone of the British Empire and indeed a mainstay of locally produced firearms in the Pak-Afghan region for decades until the advent of more modern firearms, most notably the AK-type self-loading rifle. Even though more relatively modern firearms have knocked these old-timers off their perch, original variations and copies can still be seen throughout the area in use by insurgents, militias, marksmen and occasionally even in armouries of police forces.
Right face: Lee-Enfield No.4. rifles, all made in Darra (FATA)
Right face: Lee-Enfield No.5 MkI rifles, all made in Darra (FATA)
As we know, the tribal areas of Pakistan were once part of the British Raj (The British Empire), so the proliferation of the Lee-Enfield amongst the local people was inevitable. Once the gunsmiths of the area got their hands on these they were copied and brought to market. The old tooling for producing these fine fighting rifles is still kept as the rifle has never fallen out of favour with local people spanning right across the Pak-Afghan region. The rifles are currently produced in a handful of calibres as the .303 British round is increasingly hard to find and expensive, even as locally manufactured rounds or reloads. Popular conversions or builds are chambered for much more common rounds such as 7.92×57mm or 7.62×51mm.
Left face: Lee-Enfield No.4. rifles, all made in Darra (FATA)
Left face: Lee-Enfield No.5 MkI rifles, all made in Darra (FATA)
Not only are the standard variants produced, ‘competition grade’ ones are also made which utilise better barrels, highly stylised bodies similar to some Parker Hale bolt action rifles and fine engravings. Not only that, they also feature models with a picatinny rail along the top of the receiver. These are generally made for competition shooting and hunting along with also being a showpiece.
Lef face: Lee-Enfield action rifles with highly stylised bodies and actions with integrated picatinny rail.
Seeing such old rifles still lining gun-shops walls, you can automatically feel the history pulsing in your hands when you pick one up. Even though these rifles are no longer in production by, the now-long gone British factories such as, RSAF Enfield and RSAF Fazakerley, they can still be bought new locally and used from firearms bazaars and gun shops in the region.