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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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