Can a Soldier Use an Enemy’s Weapon?


When we are at a war, we get in a close shave with an enemy. Many times we capture enemy weapons, even Indian army captured Pakistani weapons in Kargil War. However, using them is again a matter of discussion. While someone is fighting a guerrilla war, one might be allowed to use an enemy weapon but for others they are not allowed.

Roland Bartetzko, former Germany army veteran tells about his experience during Kosovo War.

During the Kosovo War, I took an AK-47 Kalashnikov from a dead enemy soldier. We had booby-trapped a little shop in our village and when a group of enemy soldiers entered the building, they activated our device.

We went to check out the place two days after the explosion and aside from ‘my’ Kalashnikov, we found another AK-47, a backpack, a watch and some other military gear.

My standard rifle was an Austrian ‘Sturmgewehr 58’ which was quite big and heavy as it used the more powerful 7.62 X 51 mm NATO cartridge. Therefore, my ‘new’, smaller rifle made for an excellent secondary weapon. Luckily, our unit also used a lot of AK’s and therefore we had plenty of ammunition for it.

When I fought in open terrain or in a defense position, I took the ‘Sturmgewehr’ with me as it was the more accurate weapon, but during night fighting, ambushes or in the forest, the AK proved to be superior.

I was fighting in a guerrilla army and therefore didn’t even have to ask anyone whether I was ‘allowed’ to use my new weapon or not. In a more conventional army, however, you might get into trouble running around with an enemy’s weapon.

Usually, after a few months in combat, many special operations forces and other fighting units with combat experience make their own rules regarding the use of enemy equipment.

One of those rules is that as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on your or your unit’s combat performance, you are free to do whatever you want.