Tearing it Up Like a Storm Trooper


Our boy Eric Daniel who runs the Kit Up! section of Military.com posted a pretty cool entry the other day on a favorite little piece of war bootie he seized while on duty in Iraq.

I know everyone at Defense Tech seems to get a kick out of Soldiers using non-issued weaponry, so I figured Id throw out some red meat into the ring for all you contraband lovers.

Eric writes

One of the byproducts of conducting security operations in Iraq is you end up with a lot of confiscated weapons, and over the years, quite a respectable collection had been assembled by the various units rotating through the IA mission on our FOB. Naturally we had such staples as the AK-47, AKM, RPK, RPD, and PKM, but we also had some pretty cool specimens as well, like Dragunov SVD sniper rifles, a working DShK, RPGs, even such oldies but goodies as a couple of Mosin-Nagant M1891bolt action rifles and a PPSh-41 sub-machine gun (non-functional unfortunately, otherwise this thing would have been a blast.)

The piece dresistance, though was a brand-new, never been fired, fully functional German MG3.

We came about this little gem after detaining a collection of Iraqi oil and pipeline security folk who were conducting illegal shakedown checkpoints out in the hinterlands. In the process of cataloguing their equipment the scribing NCO described the MG3 as some sort of Star Wars blaster rifle, and so its true nature went undiscovered until I happened to see it propped up against the wall in the supply room, whereupon I discerned the true nature of this fine piece of warmongery.

The machinegun itself was in a sorry state. It was bone dry (a blessing as it would turn out), packed with dust, and had never been fired. Since it had never been lubricated (that I could tell), cleaning it up was simply a matter of field stripping it, blowing the majority of the dust out and then giving it a good bath and scrub in solvent. Once clean, dry, lubricated, and reassembled, my MG3 and me went out to the range to convert some linked 7.62 NATO into heat and noise.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity to fire an MG3, it is quite possibly the finest, single barreled medium machinegun ever built. Based on the German MG42 of WWII fame, the MG3 is essentially the MG3 rechambered from 7.92mm Mauser to 7.62mm NATO. Its ROF is 1,200 rounds per minute and it is an absolute dream to shoot.

Had we simply found the weapon in a raid I would have ditched my M16 and hauled that sucker with me everywhere, but alas and alack, I had to give it back when we eventually released the Iraqis we had detained. I shudder to think now what state my MG3 is in, but for the week or so we were together, and the thousands of rounds we fired together, I was in absolute heaven.

— Eric Daniel

  • Nicholas Weaver

    The gun was captured from an illegal shakedown checkpoint and the US military had to give it BACK!?!
    Just because the F@#$)*(heads running an illegal shakedown checkpoint also were supposed to be doing legitimate things?

  • Eric Daniel

    Yup…. we had to give it back.
    Ranks right up there with releasing an IP we cought in a raid with a quarter million in cash who also tested positive for bomb residue. We knew he was dirty, but following Abu Grab we could only hold on to folk for 72 hours….

  • Sven Ortmann

    It was likely an Iraqi booty from the war in teh 80’s - the Iranians used many German weapons (G3, MG3, MP5) in their regular military and imitated other German military stuff as well (at least until the Ayatollah decapitated the Shah’s military).
    I shot it in the Bundeswehr and was mildly impressed. MG and ammo are too heavy for two per squad on any other mission than defense. The high ROF demands different style of firing than young conscripts know from war movies (only short bursts of fire to save ammo).
    It’s difficult to mount a scope on it that holds zero because of the layout of the upper cover.
    By the way; the Bundeswehr reduces the MG3 to a vehicle-borne and possibly installation defense role. The squads receive new MG4, which are comparable to Amelis aka M249. Two per squad afaik.

  • Foreign.Boy

    Too bad he has to give it back. My money is he has to give it back cause it’s an antique.

  • Grandjester

    Damn, that looks like fun.

  • Steve

    “Blaster rifle?” Art imitates life imitates art, or something.
    A slightly modified MG34 was used as one of the “Sandtrooper” weapons in Star Wars - perhaps that NCO saw it in the movie while growing up?

  • BWJones

    Oh man, the MG3! We had a familiarization with that weapon a lifetime ago now that was one of the most memorable of all. That thing sounds like a rabid dog when you open it up. ROWROWROWROWROWROW…….
    Thanks for the memories.

  • Eric Daniel

    Actually, I had to give it back because it was legal property of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi

  • Billy Big Spuds

    Looks like something i would use for squirrel hunting. :P

  • Grandjester

    REGIMENTS of squirrels.

  • Misereor

    Funny fact about the MG3.
    My kid brother used to haul around one of these when he served in the Danish Army. His company actually changed the way they carried the things after seeing on Discovery Channel how German troops in WW2 used to carry the MG42. Much better balance.

  • Siconik

    I pray to God that this now finely fixed-up machinegun doesn’t end up spraying bullets at our boys after being “accidently forgotten” at one of the insurgent safe houses.

  • R.Riordan

    In my day, I’d much rather have an MG42 than the junk M60’s we used to have on my boats in Vietnam-Hue’ and Dong Ha It would have served well mounted on River boats than hand carry.

  • Chris

    ahhh///You guys shoul dhave just doen the old Vietnam routine and just diassembled that piece
    AND MEAN PIECE BY PIECE…I would have done that in a minute -very few civilians or even special police have that weapon. Still plenty of them in Germany as most were retained by German Government after WWII..Luck y you but next time you find something keep it..Spoils of War..

  • Chris

    I meant disassemble and ship you know where..I would have done it..Hell thats worht about $10,000 dollars- I am positive. See that figure again GIs? not bad for finders keepers.