Debunking the myths against INSAS
In this post I will try to debunk some of the well-known myths against INSAS Assault Rifle ranging from the remarks that it is known to possess less reliability to the fact that it is quite costly for average Indian trooper.
The Insas Assault Rifle is the standard infantry weapon of the Indian Armed Forces.
Now when people talk about INSAS many of the people don’t refer to versions of INSAS which has been dually upgraded with new features. For example INSAS Mk.1C the latest INSAS present in service with law-enforcement agencies in Kashmir and others
I will present the whole matter in well-directed points and will try to tackle some of the criticism of this firearm.
INSAS is a low quality rifle :
NO. INSAS is not a low quality rifle but possess very high quality standards since OFB uses cold swaging technique for manufacture and also uses Chrome plating giving the weapon a longer life. It also uses magazines made of made of transparent plastic (UV stabilised pre-coloured poly carbonate Resin) and is robust and can withstand rough handling.
Indian Army currently operates three versions of INSAS – INSAS B, INSAS 1B , INSAS 1B1 .
Simplicity of INSAS is a fact that it can be updated with a modern buttstock and Grips with P-rail in few hours.
INSAS has been used with ease in various places of India be it at Siachen at -50 degree celsius or at deserts in 50 degrees and in moist conditions of North East India and Central India in mud and water. This is called RELIABILITY where INSAS has excelled.
INSAS has got some well-founded criticism due to many features with it like its Semi-Auto and 3-round burst mode which has been found inadequate by modern standards. Note that , INSAS was developed in 1980s and 1990s when most armies around the world used Battle Rifles as standard issue and which used only semi-auto mode. This was done due to the fact that soldiers cannot fire such powerful rifles at full auto mode and it would also decrease ammo consumption on battlefield. Obviously limitation of such doctrine came to India during Operation Pawan , and a conventional weapon system was started to be developed which had semi-auto and three round burst mode but it omitted the full-auto mode for same old reason.
High Cost :-
INSAS costs $450 which is well higher than AKMs or its knock-offs. However the cost of an AK varies from place-to-place ranging between $30 and $125 per weapon at black market while in Afghanistan, the gun could cost as little as $600 while on Mexico’s northern border with the U.S., the price would increase to $1,200. INSAS however is more powerful rifle , more accurate , and has much longer rifle than AKs.
Oil Spillage :-
During the 1999 Kargil War there was a problem of oil being sprayed into the eye of the operator . This was mainly due to the fact that Indian Soldiers were no adept to the rifle . The earlier rifle they used : SLRs used much more oil than INSAS , a practice which was inherited by Indian troopers onto INSAS which did not need that much oiling. That is why oil was sprayed sometimes into the operator eyes while firing.
INSAS is re-marked to be an un-reliable weapon frequent to jammings and others. This is a wrong conception. INSAS 1B1 fires 120 rounds continuously without oil spilling out or jamming / over heating up. The earlier problems with the rifle which were shown with the 1A variant at the Kargil were rectified in the later variants with INSAS 1b1 and Mk.1C.
High quality standards were used for rifle manufacturing like cold swaging technique and Chrome plating. Even the older magazine-crack issues were resolved with transparent plastic (UV stabilised pre-coloured poly carbonate Resin) made magazines who are tough to crack and are quite resistant to extremes.
AKMs used by Indian Army weigh near about 3.7 kg with scopes and magazines. INSAS 1b1 on the other hand weighs less than 3 kgs without scopes and magazines. This was an advantage for the infantry soldier.
Unlike SLRs and AKM used by Indian Army , INSAS don’t make mush flash even at night and it don’t make lots of smoke either.
It also work in mud and water so does over sand without proper cleaning.
INSAS 1b1 has also significant features like :
INSAS 1B1 use iron sights with duel flip up sights for short ( 200 metres) and long range ( 400 metres ). Its precision & Accuracy ( Grouping ) is good from average solider.
INSAS 1B1 work in mud and water so does over sand without proper cleaning. INSAS 1B1 fires 120 rounds continuously without oil spilling out or jamming / over heating up.INSAS 1B1 don’t make mush flash even at night.
INSAS 1B1 don’t make lots of smoke either.INSAS 1B1 empty weight is less than 3 kilograms. An advantage for infantry soldiers.
INSAS can also accomodate several accessories like Under barrel grenade launchers and Sights.
Many people consider AKM as a substitute for INSAS on a battlefield.
However it is not.
AKM with 7.62x39mm ammo is a short-ranged , inaccurate weapon compared to INSAS. It has a shorter life and is off course cheaper. It can provide a spread of fire at short range which made it a trust-worthy rifle in CI/CT operations. One rifle cannot do different jobs in all conditions. That is why Kalashnikov is not a substitute for INSAS.
Both rifles have served best in their roles : one as a battlefield weapon and the other as a close-encounter weapon.
INSAS was the butt of many complaints even by CAG and other media reports. A weapon matures over times but it is never flaw-less . M4 Carbine , was derived from M16A2 however , it also showed reliability problems. This is to show that even after a long time the improvement to weapons remains a constant feature and nothing is ever perfect. Perhaps the modern iteration to INSAS : Mk.1C can duly silence all the critics with its features and aesthetics . The Rifle 5.56mm Mk 1C is superior to INSAS in terms of weight, reliability, and compactness and has a provision for mounting of accessories like Reflex sights / optical sights, etc. OFB can manufacture such rifles at the rate of 1,00,000 nos. per annum
So on my basis INSAS certainly isn’t the best,but its good. Many people who speak rubbish about INSAS have never fired INSAS in their life and base their ideas on biased media reports.