Small Arms of the 2011 Libyan Conflict – Cataloguing the Weapons of War

As some of my readers know, I have been undertaking a rather large research project over these past few months, inspired by my recent articles on the AK-103 assault rifles that have been seen in Libya. I am endeavouring to build a ‘complete-as-possible’ database of the various small arms used in the recent Libyan conflict. To do this, I am relying on OSINT collected from various media outlets, social media sites, uploaded videos, and so on, as well as NGOs operating in Libya, and local Libyan sources I have developed myself. A full list of sources will be available with the finished product. I have spent a lot of time identifying and, where necessary, researching the various small arms that have been spotted so far, and today began to develop a database for that raw information.

Of course, the photo shown above is a screenshot of a VERY rough and early draft, and does not feature all of the fields to be included in the final product. 

The weapon above is an FN Herstal (Fabrique Nationale) F2000 assault rifle, which were sold by FN to Libya in a 2009 arms deal (delivered 2009-2010). In the detail photo, at bottom, you can see an inscription in Arabic denoting that the weapon belonged to the ’32nd Reinforced Brigade of the Armed People’ – known informally as the ‘Khamis Brigade‘, after Gaddafi’s youngest son who commanded the unit. The unit was also known to have received a number of other weapons from FN Herstal, including Five-SeveN handguns, P90 submachine guns, Minimi machine guns and FN 303 less-lethal crowd control weapons. There is also evidence to suggest they used Heckler & Koch G36E and G36KE assault rifles.

Amongst other interesting small arms, I also have entries for MPi KM and MPi KMmS assault rifles of East German provenance, Sterling and MAT-49 submachine guns, Rashid and Berthier battle rifles, and Barrett M82A1M and Cugir SA PSL sniper rifles.

So, as you can see, there is a lot of interesting information to be collected about the small arms used in Libya. The main hurdle I have hit so far is acquiring detailed photos of weapon receivers (to show serial numbers, manufacturer’s marks, etc.). These are, obviously, rarely available through regular media, and most have come from sources on the ground – both those I have developed, and those posting to social media sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube. If anyone is in a position to help me with acquiring more weapon photos – particularly detail shots although any photos of ‘unusual’ small arms would also be appreciated – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

I’m also considering adding a section to each weapon’s entry detailing accessories seen in use with the system, such as the optics shown in an earlier Rogue Adventurer post. A number of small arms have also been seen with suppressors, underbarrel grenade launchers, and so on. Another idea I am floating around at the moment is adding a link to the relevant ammunition type/s seen for each weapon system.

Any suggestions, additions, alerts to unusual weapons, or ideas for procuring more detailed photos are all appreciated.


  1. […] 13/12/2011: I’m trying a little crowdsourcing of weapons IDs myself! Check out my new post here. Share this:TwitterFacebookRedditLinkedInMoreEmailTumblrDiggStumbleUponPrintLike this:LikeBe the […]

  2. Interesting website, keep it up!

  3. […] conflict photos over the last few days and I’ve found a number of interesting small arms to add to the database. I’ve also come across a few more weapon sights to add to the list that I started […]

  4. You mention PSL rifle but have you seen SVD russian?

    1. I’ve seen people mention them in online and email exchanges, but I haven’t seen any photographic evidence. A few people have pointed to a gold-plated rifle taken from Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound, however I believe that is an Iraqi Al-Qadissiya (AKA ‘Al Kadesiah’) rifle.

  5. […] work continues on the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) database that I am currently compiling, I continue to come across a few interesting optics here and there. You can see my first two posts […]

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