Articles

Here's what embassy guards carry in case things get hot

The upcoming movie "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" highlights the veteran security team who protected the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya during the 2012 attack. Below is a list of weapons the defenders used to valiantly defend the compound:


1. Western assault rifles

A US Navy SEAL aims his SCAR during training. Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Martin L. Carey

Private security contractors who are alums of elite US military units often prefer the same weapons they carried in the service such as the SCAR-L or M4 assault rifles that fire 5.56mm rounds. If they want to up the caliber a little, they can go with the SCAR-H or M14, which both use a 7.62mm round.

2. AKs of varying types

Photo Credit: YouTube/screenshot

Contractors and their companies can't always get the import/export licenses they need to bring weapons into their area of operations, so companies sometimes source weapons from local vendors.

Obviously, this results in a number of contractors carrying Kalashnikovs. This was especially prevalent in the early 2000s in Iraq when the State Department started hiring private companies for overseas security but hadn't yet begun issuing them the needed licenses to import weapons.

3. Grenade launchers

A soldier fires the M320 grenade launcher. The M320 can be slung under an M4 or M16 or carried as a standalone weapon. Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Freeman

While private military contractors are generally associated with lighter weapons, they're sometimes authorized mass-casualty inflicting systems like M203 or M320 grenade launchers. The grenade launcher at Benghazi was one of the defenders' most effective weapons.

4. Shotguns

The Saiga-12 Shotgun. Photo: Wikimedia/SpetsnazAlpha

Shotguns can be loaded with buckshot to cripple all enemies in a confined area or slugs to immediately shutdown a single target. They also allow contractors to quickly "unlock" doors if they need to evacuate their client.

5. Light machine guns

Characters in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi carry modified M249s like their real-world counterparts did. Photo: youtube/Paramount Pictures

When their contract and laws allow, contractors like an automatic weapon as much as any uniformed shooter. Triple Canopy guards in Iraq used the RPK which is similar in appearance to the better known AK-47. At Benghazi, contractors carried a modified version of the M249 known as the Mk 46.

RSVP here to attend a free screening of "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, on Jan. 13.

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