AK47 Assault Rifle

The Soviet AK47 7.62X39 mm assault rifle has a long history in the IDF SF units. From the 1960's up to the mid 1970's the FN FAL was the IDF standard issue assault rifle. While the FAL was a good weapon, many SF units were more impressed by the enemy's AK47, which had an outstanding sand durability, so the AK47 began entering the arsenal of several SF units replacing the FAL.

In the mid 1970's, the Galil became the IDF new standard issue weapon and most units switch to it. However, in most of the IDF elite SF units, the Galil was never a big hit and they used the AK47 instead. Other less independent units like the Infantry Brigades PALSAR also sporadically used the AK47, based on the specific unit's as well as the operator's personal preference.

In the early 1980's the CAR15 began to enter the IDF SF units and became a big hit. All units wanted the new weapon and when possible switched to the CAR15 over the AK47 and the Galil.

By the late 1980's, the IDF elite SF units like Sayeret MATKAL and Shaldag were all armed with the CAR15 on the every man basis. The less elite units used a mixture of CAR15, Galil Short Assault Rifle (SAR) as well as few AK47.

The long due standardization in the IDF SF assault rifles occurred only in the early 1990's when the M16 became the new IDF standard issue assault rifle for all infantry oriented units, including both special and conventional units, and all the SF units immediately and happily switched to the CAR15.

Today, the AK47 is rarely used operationally. However, SF units are trained with it as it is the enemy weapon of choice. The AK47 is also commonly used during training simulations.

Fixed stock AK47, similar to the one used by S'13.

Folding stock AK47, used in the IDF for simulations.

Right - Oketz operator armed with an AK47 and two Dobermans during joint training with Shayetet 13 in 1975. An S'13 operator is seen on the left. Note that the officer is wearing protective to simulate the terrorist.

The three field commanders of Operational Thunderbolt seen here during training for the operation in 1976. Left to right - Yoni Netanyahu (Sayeret MATKAL) armed with a folding stock AK47, Uri Sagi (Golani brigade) and Matan Vilnayee (Tzanhanim  brigade).

SF operator armed with AK47 during deployment in Lebanon in the late 1970's.

PALSAR Golani team during a deployment in Operation Peace of the Galilee in 1982. This photo vividly show the mixture of weapons used in 1980's by the IDF SF. Left to right - Galil SAR, AK47 and CAR15.

Shayetet 13 operator armed with AK47.

Shayetet 13 operator armed with AK47.

Shayetet 13 operator armed with an AK47 fitted with a M203 grenade launcher and a scope. Note that the weapon is secured to the operator's vest with a Para cord to avoid losing the weapon during maritime operations.

Shayetet 13 operators during training armed with (from left to right): a suppressed Mini Uzi fitted with an AN/PEQ-14; an AK47 fitted with a Meprolight MOR, a stock, a rail system, and forward grip; and a suppressed Mini Uzi (photo: IDF).

SF operators simulating terrorists armed with AK47 during training in the IDF Counter Guerrilla School.

Oket’z dog attacking a simulated terrorist armed with an AK47 during CT training.

Weapons Guide