Suppressed Fal Rifle

Terrorist trainee with Sterling using fabricated packing.

Author with a Sterling 9mm submachine gun using a field expedient suppressor designed for terrorists in the Middle East in the late 1970s.

Expedient 9mm Submachine Gun Image

Author with a Sterling 9mm submachine gun using a field expedient suppressor designed for terrorists in the Middle East in the late 1970s.

hybrid semiautomatic sniper rifle which rates near the top of high-quality match weapons."

An Army Special Forces officer who handled the Dragunov says, "What makes this weapon so deadly is its extreme accuracy at ranges of up to a mile. Plus, it is semiautomatic, which means a sniper can kill several people within a group, just by quickly switching from target to target after each shot.

"The telescopic sight is also automatic. It ranges for the shooter, so that all he has to do is line up the sights and pull the trigger. The gun does the rest.

"Finally, a silencer can be attached to the rifle to make it virtually undetectable at ranges of 200 meters. This makes it one damn fearful weapon."

Even more chilling is a report by the British journalist Otto Oldfield from the Middle East that the PLO has these rifles. "PLO assassins are armed with this high-powered, super-accurate Soviet sniper rifle that can kill at ranges of nearly a mile," Oldfield writes. "This sniper rifle is so well designed that when it is fitted with a silencer, it can be fired without detection at fairly close ranges. Beyond 300 meters it is virtually undetectable."

Oldfield also writes that a silenced Dragunov was used to kill the American consul in Cyprus during the 1974 fighting there. "The word I got was that the Soviets gave out some of these rifles even before a specimen fell into western hands. It is a damned scary business, knowing PLO hitmen have these highly technical sniper weapons," Old-field adds.

"I can't prove it, but I am certain that the Dragunov has been used to eliminate western agents, including Americans. The Agency (CIA) won't confirm it, but I personally know of one American citizen who was killed in the line of duty over there (the Middle East) a year or so ago (1977) by a PLO sniper firing a silenced rifle. The slug the locals took out of his body is that exact same type and caliber used by the Soviets in their Dragunov. Your chap was working as a contract employee for the Agency," Oldfield reveals.

Not to be outdone by their bitter Soviet rivals to the west, the Chinese Communist ordnance

Improvised Modern Firearms

The 9mm Beretu used as principle weapon in the kidnapping of General Dozier in Italy, 1982.

General Dozier Kidnap

This Beretta 92 in 9mm was recovered by the Italian police from the terrorist group that kidnapped U.S. General Dozier. It has reportedly been shipped to the U.S. for test and evaluation as the design is "quite decent for field work," according to a transmittal report.

The 9mm Beretu used as principle weapon in the kidnapping of General Dozier in Italy, 1982.

people have an efficient assassination weapon, too, the Model 67 pistol. According to a recently declassified after-action report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the first of the ChiCom Model 67 pistols showed up in Vietnam in 1968. In addition to reporting this pistol at an NVA encampment, the "unit asset" as the Americans called their agent, also reported that she saw a silencer-equipped Skorpion and some sort of Polish submachine gun with silencer.

Issued only to top agents in 1968, the Model 67 was carefully secured in field use for seven years. American authorities finally secured a specimen during our final days in Vietnam in 1975. Since that time, specimens have found their way into other hands—unfriendly hands with busy trigger fingers.

In 1980, two terrorists tried to cancel the ticket of one candidate in a local election in India using the silenced ChiCom weapon. Alert police wounded one of the assassins, but the man with the weapon escaped. Then, early in 1981, Israeli commandoes recovered another of these silenced ChiCom pistols after a flurried firefight during one of those series of small raids into Lebanon on Operation Strikeback. The Model 67 had been in the possession of a PLO professional who had no further need for it since he was dead.

"This is an assassin's gun-close-in and silenced, a weapon for a professional killer," according to the late Fred Stock. "There is no conventional military use for this weapon. It's for silent murder."

According to one official field test report thought to be CIA in origin, the weapon has about "one-fourth as loud a report as an ordinary .22 cartridge in a rifle and less than a cap pistol." The weapon fires a special round, the 7.65 x 17mm, a rimless cartridge unique to this pistol.

The FSTC evaluated the ChiCom weapon by noting, "The Type 67 silenced pistol appears to be well designed and the materials and workmanship consistent with that of U.S. military weaponry."

A U.S. Army ordnance officer added, "This pistol is solid and well made, contrary to our usual propaganda about their ordnance and equipment. It's produced from machined-steel components and plastics. The silencer is a modification of the original Hiram Maxim design mounted concentric to the vented barrel.

"The guts of the silencer are a steel tube partially filled with a roll of copper mesh screening fitted over the barrel. The rest of the silencer housing is filled with steel baffles and rubber washers to form a series of small expansion chambers. It's a damn fine design.

"Firing from a nine-round magazine, this pistol is selective fire. You can switch from regular semiautomatic to the really silent mode of a locked bolt, in which single-shot, silenced gunfire is possible. This manual operation shuts down all the bolt noise and the loud escape of residual gases caused by the cartridge explosion."

Tested against one of the finest silenced combat weapons in the free world, the British Welrod of WWII fame, the ChiCom Type 67 did well. "It was much more accurate than the British assassination pistol and very nearly as quiet, based on the extensive tests run by the Army," noted the Army ordnance officer, who added that the silenced Welrod test-fired at an average sound level of 117.4 dB, while the Chinese pistol registered 122.5 dB.

The two giants, China and the USSR, don't own the total market on quality silenced weapons, though. The third partner in this deadly Communist trio is one of the more esoteric weapons favored by our terrorist opponents-the Czech M61 submachine pistol, better known as the Skorpion. This 7.65mm weapon can be used as a pistol or as a mini-submachine gun in either semi- or full auto mode. It comes with a very effective silencer as an accessory, and many experts consider it the ideal weapon for the terrorist who wants something small with both full auto and sound suppression capability.

According to the late Fred Stock, some of these quieted killers from Eastern Europe showed up in both South and Central America. He told me, "A few specialists have been sighted with silenced Skorpions. I would guess they are coming in from Cuba."

In addition, according to William Chapman of the Washington Post foreign service desk. South Korean officials have interdicted several "terrorists and agents" in and near their coastal waters. The agents, presumed to be North Koreans according to Chapman, were armed with the silenced M61 weapons.

No respecter of age, rank, or retirement, the ubiquitous silenced Skorpion was used to murder Aldo Moro, the ex-premier of Italy in May of 1978. His Red Brigade assassins used a silenced Skorpion to kill Moro after holding him captive for fifty-four days. One of his killers was a woman terrorist.

In a dawn raid on an apartment near the Vatican in Rome, police rousted a Red Brigades couple, named them as Moro's assassins, then displayed a veritable arsenal of ammo, explosives, fake IDs, as well as weapons, including several silenced Skorpions and five semiautomatic pistols equipped with silencers.

Police said that after killing Moro this couple had raided a central Rome office of the Christian Democratic Party, shooting up the place and killing two policemen in the getaway. Witnesses said that the silenced Skorpions were used in the attack.

In one terrorist training camp observed by an agent working deep cover for a NATO country in 1980, selected Arab gunmen and women were learning how to use the silenced Skorpion for

I quick, quiet, and messy assassination hits. By the way, the camp was personally hosted by the charming Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, according to

Ithe NATO report I saw.

According to Mike Browning, a former State Department employee, a lethal gimmick reported in one of my earlier books was utilized by Edwin Wilson, an ex-CIA op who later became a Boswell to Qaddafi, the Libyan dictator. Browning says that Wilson saw my reportage of the silenced gun-in-a-camera assassination device and sought a contractor to build the device. He ordered 300 of the weapons, specified as two-shot .22 caliber firing devices with suppressors, the entire apparatus being built into the bodies of 35mm cameras equipped with telephoto lenses.

"Wilson got the devices, and they worked," Browning told me. "They were amazingly accurate for their size and very quiet. Each camera gun was a very lethal assassination device."

There is no way of knowing where any of the devices might be now, except that according to a published report by columnist Jack Anderson late in 1982, all of them were delivered to Qaddafi. Anderson writes, "There could be upwards of 300 of these assassination cameras currently in the hands of terrorists around the world."

The complexity of our modern society fits right in with terrorist battle plans. As the terrorism scholar Walter Laqueur puts it, "One hundred fifty years ago if someone wanted to put out all the lights in a village, he had to go from house to house to do it. Now, he blows up one generator and all the lights in the city go out."

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