Masking tape on ak47 clips. Why?

Just saw some photos of various Central African guerrillae sporting the usual mangled / customized assault rifles of Third World gunmen. On several of the AKs’ curved clips was lots of masking tape, wound around the clip. Why?

Is it for better grip for when the going gets tough and one needs to reload on the run? Hard to imagine masking tape would help there. Or are the clips somehow prone to break so that they must be field-reinforced by tape? Some other reason?

They used to tape a second magazine onto the one that was in use. You could then quickly flip it over to change magazine.

Sorry, but I can’t find a cite for this. It’s just something in my head from living in various parts of Africa.

I’m pretty sure that masking tape makes for a very cheap magazine clamp (i.e. fixing two magazines of ammo together).


Too late :smack:

They call magazines like that “jungle clipped” together.

As mentioned you use that to be able to reload quickly.

I believe generally regarded by the professionals as terminally stupid. Carting round your spare magazine upside down and open to the elements in combat is an invitation for bent magazine lips and dirt in the feed ie even if you can fit the damn thing there is a fair chance it will jam after a couple of shots.

The OP, unless I am misreading, didn’t ask about magazines taped together. He asked about single magazines with tape wound around them.
I can give several reasons why this might be seen:

  1. In real militaries, magazines are sometimes marked with tape, usually colored, to differentiate between magazines loaded with different types of ammo. When you are dealing with a mix of AK-variants, it might be a way to quickly tell a 7.62 magazine from a 5.45 magazine.
  2. Poorly trained users often use the magazine as a front “pistol grip.” The tape may be an effort to make the magazine less slick when used for that purpose.
  3. Irregulars often have only a single magazine for their weapon. It might be an effort by the owner to mark that magazine as his.
  4. Action movies, over the years, have shown no small number of taped-up guns just because the movie makers thought it looked cool. The guerilla in question might just be emulating something he saw in a movie.
  1. The magazines are so beat up, that tape is only thing that keep them in one piece. I’ve seen photo of one of those central african guerilla, with bottom of his magazine falling off and spring extending downward. I’ll try to find this photo. Meanwhile, here are some other pics of african guerillas with various examples of application of duct tape on their mags (warning - some of them might be disturbing and not quite safe for work).

That is also a possibility. It didn’t occur to me because my experience with AK magazines is that the metal ones are pretty much indestructable. I can’t say too much about the resin models because my experience with them is very limited.

Yeah, I’m familiar with taped-together clips (in guerrilla photos, that is). I was wondering about single clips wound with tape. And not the tape one uses on hockey sticks to increase grip but apparently masking tape. Thanks for the suggestions!

Very powerful photos in puppygod’s link.

That’s definitely the purpose of the tape in Die Hard 2. Distinguishes between blanks and live ammo.

Maybe they want to muffle the metal-on-metal noises the magazines make with the rest of the equipment?

Though that does not seem very likely with the images linked above - I’d imagine poses and outfits like that in a paintball match. :eek: Are these really real? These guys don’t seem to take whatever is happening there very seriously, do we know these pictures aren’t staged?

As stated previously, sometimes old magazines are held together with duct tape (called hundred-mile-an-hour tape by US Army guys).

I’ve used 100 MPH tape with M16/M4 magazines to make them fit more snugly in magazine holders or to make a small tab on the bottom to assist with pulling the magazine from the holder.

In quite a few African wars it has been common for fighters to dress in silly/scary clothing (sometimes womens’ clothing or even naked) to pump themselves up, disguise their identity, and freak out the enemy. Heavy use of drugs and alcohol is also a common factor in a lot of these situations.

WRT taping magazines together: Taping two together with one inverted has been done and can be seen in puppygod’s photos. Check the guy out in photo 9. He’s the guy with the beret pulled over his eyes. He has his magazines taped together in the “improved” way. They are all upright and have spacers between them. When he changes magazines, he releases the catch and just makes a small lateral movement to get to a full magazine.
Commercially-made clamps are available for sale that allow one to do the same thing. As for whether it is professional or not to do this, all I can tell you is that some companies, like Sig for example, sell magazines for their military rifles that are factory-designed to snap together with no clamps or tape needed.
The upside of using “jungle clipped” magazines is that you have a reload right there on the rifle that is quick to deploy. It’s especially popular among irregulars because they, as a group, are chronically short on things like load-bearing gear.
There are several downsides. It changes the balance of the rifle. It adds weight to the rifle. Because it changes the way the magazine “hangs” in the well, it has been known to cause malfunctions. It has been known to break magazine catches due to the extra weight.

Could it be something as simple as trying to keep dust out of the magazine?

He has four magazines taped together. When the second one is finished, he can flip the whole mess around and start on the other two.

You are correct. After enlarging the picture 400%, what appear to be magazine floorplates are visibly the tops of empty magazines. You have sharp eyes…what is that around the gas tube on his rifle? It’s squarish and appears to be made from metal. It doesn’t look like part of any folding stock I’ve ever seen nor any grenade launching sight.

That link comes up as “access denied” on my work PC. I’ll look at it at home, but since I can’t use thread tools at work, either, I’m subscribing.

It’s just the weapon strap that’s wrapped around the gas tube.