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5 Deadly Afghan War Guns That Will Amaze You!

In this article we will talk about couple of weapons that made the most significant impact on the Soviet-Afghan War. Stay tuned - these played role for both sides and are not as obvious as one might thin!

Afghan War Guns

Lee-Enfield rifle

The Lee-Enfield rifle is a well known and great piece of equipment. For Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan it also became one of the most feared weapons in enemies arsenal. There were a lot of myth and overexaggerating about its characteristics and ballistic abilities.

Afghan War Guns
Afghan fighter

The main reason to fear this weapon by the Soviets was for the fact that it was, essentially, the only capable weapon in the Mujahideen arsenal in the early days of the invasion. Initially, Mujahedeen did not have almost any even semi-modern weapons. They had to fight with muskets, old hunting rifles and very crude self exploding devices. Quoting a Soviet officer, who did two tours to Afghanistan:

"If our invading force has faced Mujahideens of late 80s, we would be completely decimated"

Afghan War Guns
Afghan Mujahadeen

In such conditions, the Lee-Enfield, or, in fact, any magazine-loading military grade rifle seemed like a significant threat to the invading Army. It was precise, powerful and had respectable range of up to 1000 meters. Soldiers often claimed that it was even capable of shooting through the BTR armor, but this is unlikely to be true. As long as no special ammunition was used, the BTR hull would hold any rifle round.


The DShK, or Degtyaryov-Shpagin Krupnokalibernyi, was a highly effective and dangerous weapon in Afghanistan for several reasons. The DShK fires a 12.7mm (.50 caliber) round, which is significantly larger and more powerful than standard rifle ammunition. This high caliber gives the weapon tremendous stopping power and the ability to penetrate light armored vehicles, buildings, and fortifications. With an effective range of up to 2,000 meters against ground targets and even longer against aerial targets, the DShK could engage enemies at a considerable distance. This range allowed Afghan fighters to strike from positions of relative safety, making it difficult for opposing forces to retaliate effectively.

Afghan War Guns

Afghan insurgents used the DShK to great effect by employing hit-and-run tactics, ambushing convoys, and defending strategic positions. Its ability to quickly deliver a high volume of fire made it a formidable defensive and offensive weapon. The 12.7mm rounds fired by the DShK are capable of piercing armor, making it effective against lightly armored vehicles and aircraft. This capability was particularly useful in targeting Soviet helicopters and supply vehicles, which were crucial to their operations in Afghanistan.

Afghan War Guns
Captured technical


The RPG-7 is relatively simple to operate and requires minimal training, making it accessible to a wide range of combatants, including those with little military experience. This simplicity allowed Afghan insurgents to quickly adopt and effectively use the weapon against their adversaries. The RPG-7 is lightweight and portable, allowing fighters to easily carry it across the difficult and rugged terrain of Afghanistan. This portability made it ideal for the guerrilla warfare tactics employed by Afghan fighters, enabling them to launch quick attacks and then disappear into the landscape.

Afghan War Guns
Afghani with Chinese RPG-7

The RPG-7's primary function is to destroy armored vehicles. Its warheads are designed to penetrate thick armor, making it a formidable threat to Soviet and later coalition tanks and armored personnel carriers. The shaped charge of the warhead can defeat reactive and composite armor, causing significant damage. The RPG-7 has been produced in large numbers and distributed widely across the globe. During the Soviet-Afghan War and subsequent conflicts, large quantities of RPG-7s were smuggled into Afghanistan from various sources, ensuring a steady supply for insurgent forces.

Afghan War Guns
RPG-7 from our book Soviet Weapons of Afghan War


The KPVT is a 14.5mm heavy machine gun, which means it fires a much larger and more powerful round than standard infantry weapons. This high caliber allows the KPVT to penetrate thick armor and fortifications, making it a formidable threat to vehicles and structures. The 14.5mm rounds fired by the KPVT are capable of penetrating light and some medium armored vehicles. This penetration capability made it a significant threat to Soviet and later coalition armored personnel carriers, trucks, and other vehicles.

Afghan War Guns
KPVT was installed on all Soviet BTR and BRDM vehicles

The KPVT's loud report and visible destructive effect had a significant psychological impact on enemy troops. The knowledge that such a powerful weapon was in play could instill fear and hesitation, reducing the effectiveness and morale of opposing forces. During the Soviet-Afghan War, a significant number of KPVTs were either captured from Soviet forces or supplied by external supporters of the Afghan mujahideen. This ensured a steady supply of the weapon, allowing its widespread use throughout the conflict.

Afghan War Guns
Soviets with KPVT auto-cannon

In summary, the KPVT was such a deadly weapon due to two main factors - availability and high caliber. Every Soviet section had one to rely on and could, pretty much, make a safe zone of 2000 meter around itself. Those KPV machine guns which were supplied to Mujahadeen were also used to great extent - shooting down Soviet aircraft or pinning down the infantry.

Avtomat Kalashnikova - AK

The AK itself is not some magical weapon - just a regular assault rifle. What makes it the deadliest weapon in Afghan and, frankly, elsewhere is the availability. Just couple month into the war, the Afghanistan was flooded with AK rifles from all over the world - from Egypt to China. The Soviets were all armed with different version of these rifles themselves, so they brough quite some death and destruction as well.

Afghan War Guns
Modern day Taliban

The distinctive sound of the AK-47's firing became a symbol of the conflict. Its prevalence and effectiveness made it a weapon to be both feared and respected by combatants on all sides. The psychological impact of facing an adversary armed with such a reliable and deadly weapon was significant, especially on new recruits.

Afghan War Guns
AK-74 from our book Soviet Weapons of the Afghan War

The AK-47 was ideally suited to the guerrilla tactics employed by the both sides. Its portability, ease of concealment, and effectiveness in ambushes and hit-and-run attacks made it a perfect fit for the irregular warfare that characterized much of the conflict.

In summary, the AK-47 was the deadliest gun in the Soviet-Afghan War due to its cost-effectiveness, availiability, cultural symbolism, and its suitability for guerrilla tactics. These attributes made it the weapon of choice for both Soviet forces and Afghan fighters, ensuring its prominent role in the conflict.

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