The scourge of pirates off the coast of Africa is a problem as old as the United States.  For historical context, ‚”…to the shores of Tripoli…” in the Marines’ Hymn specifically refers to the Barbary Wars in which the USA went to war against the Barbary pirates off the coast of North Africa.

It is my assertion that the way to end the piracy is to end the pirates themselves.  When the cost of doing business becomes too high, the smarter of the pirates will find some new trade in which to engage.  The less intellectually gifted will feed the fish.

Understand that I do not believe there is a need to send in the Marines to handle this problem, though they could certainly address the issue with their usual panache.  Rather, if the shipping companies merely employed small teams of properly armed security contractors, the issue would sort itself out.

So, if you were putting together a security team to guard a ship moving through the area, with what weapons would to equip them?

The Weapons

Barrett M107A1 Rifle – For the ultimate in long distance engagement, several members of your team should be set up with the Barrett M107A1 .50 BMG rifles.  The Barrett will give your team the ability to reach out and touch one of these would-be pirates at more than 1000 yards.

The M107A1 is an evolution of the model 82A1/M107, and makes the perfect rifle platform for the .50 BMG.  The A1 is four pounds lighter than the original M107, and has been redesigned to take advantage of the Barrett .50 BMG Suppressor.

While no .50 caliber rifle can be completely silenced, the suppressor does an excellent job of masking the rifle’s position, meaning the ruffians will have a hard time pinpointing your team members’ positions.

And lets face it… 15,000 foot pounds of energy heading down range is just plain fun.

AK-47 – The AK-47 is the ubiquitous select fire rifle.  Rugged and dependable, it comes chambered in a .30 caliber cartridge of medium velocity allowing skilled team members to effectively engage pirates beyond 100 yards.  The AK is also good for closer in work, should you allow such a thing to happen.

Magazines, parts and ammo are easy to find in that region of the world, so keeping the guns running should not pose any problems.  Plus, if you get to the region and decide to bring on some additional hired help, the folks you hire are likely to already by proficient with the AK.

Mossberg 590A1 – Nine rounds of 12 gauge makes for an ideal gun for close in work.  Make mine the 590A1 with the Speedfeed stock (four more rounds on tap), ghost ring sights and bayonet.

It is tough to beat a 12 gauge pump for reliability, stopping power or flexibility.  Load the team up with 00-buck with one ounce slugs in reserve.  If any pirate gets close enough to attempt boarding, let the lead fly.

As retired Detroit cop Evan Marshal once said, “Nothing says ‘I hate you‚’ quite like a 12 gauge shotgun.”

Glock 18 – In actual combat a handgun is a pretty poor tool to have to pick up and use, so we better make it a full-auto.  Essentially a Glock 17 with a selector switch, the G18 can burn through 9mm ammo at a rate of about 1200 rounds/minute.

Carried with the 17 round magazine, and backed up by a couple of 33 round mags, the Glock 18 could prove to be critical in getting out of a sticky situation.

M2 Flamethrower – This is one weapon that would do more to prevent future pirate attacks than any other.  The M2 is a backpack sized flamethrower projects a burning stream of fuel and inflicts horrific death and destruction on the enemy.

The range of the M2 is roughly 35 yards, so it is a tool you want to keep ready for when the buggers get close.  More modern versions of the M2 are available, but call me nostalgic… if the M2 was good enough for the Marines clearing Iwo Jima, it’s good enough for me.

Humans have a primal fear of fire and being burned.  A man can see a .50 cal round take his buddy’s head off, and act like it doesn’t bother him.  But let these pirates see a boatload of their buddies burned to death by one of your security team members and they will suddenly find themselves without the same bravado they once had.

What Would You Take?

So, what would you outfit your team with?  There are plenty of alternatives.  For example, a Mosin Nagant 91/30 with a bayonet affixed is about six feet long.  That could make a great weapon to repel boarders as they try to climb up the side of your ship.  Besides, you can’t just walk into Sears and buy a halberd anymore.

Maybe a Mk 19 40mm grenade machine gun?  Nothing beats belt fed grenades, right?

At the end of the day, the tool is largely irrelevant.  It is the willingness to fight.  If every ship these would be pirates tried to capture had armed men aboard, the pirates would move on to something else.  Attacking and securing a waterborne vessel is not easy, and all it takes to repel thuggish boarders is the will and the weapons.

Editor’s note: Like guns? (OK, that’s a silly question) But if you do please visit Richard’s site

~Thanks, Mike P.