Guns of the Dictators, Terrorists, and Bad Guys Worldwide

I wanted to name this “guns of a$$h&(#@,” but apparently, people searching for that term are looking for something very specific that we don’t provide. Today we are going to look at history’s dictators, terrorists, and general bad guys, and the weapons they carried. For these men, the firearm is often a status symbol.

Saddam Hussein with a rifle in the Iraq War.

Dictators, terrorists and the world’s strongmen aren’t really tough guys, but they sure like to look like it. Their firearms often tell a story reflecting some form of narcissism or their need to be ‘respected’, especially by the United States and western Europe. This article is a gathering of the bad guy’s firearms—not to glorify them but to better understand them. If that doesn’t make sense right now, I think it will by the end of the article.

Let’s dive in.

Dictators, Terrorists, and Their Guns

Hitler and His Walther PP

One of history’s biggest monsters and leading coward carried a Walther PP that was presented to him in 1939 at his birthday party. It was gold-plated and adorned with his initials on the grip. The gun is pure cheeseball and gaudy to the extreme. It’s well suited for the narcissistic, drug-addicted coward who ruled Nazi Germany and saw himself as so superior to the rest of the world. Superior enough to die in a hole like a coward.

Adolph Hitler's Walther PP
Hitler’s Walther PP was quite gaudy.

Hitler reportedly owned many Walther pistols and likely killed himself with one. However, this particular pistol was left in his apartment in Berlin. A soldier name Ira Palm was hunting Hitler and found the gun in his apartment and took it home. Since then, it has traded hands numerous times, often selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stalin and His Makarov

Stalin likely owned several weapons, and most of them were probably gifts. According to the Twitter account Soviet Visuals, this Makarov was presented to Stalin from the Tula arms factory. It’s a fair bit less fancy than Hitler’s PP, but there is some fancy scrollwork across the slide and on the frame. It’s clearly in a presentation case.

Stalin's Makarov
The Makarov represents Soviet weaponry well.

The Makarov was a Russian-designed pistol that is exactly what you expect it to be. It’s arguably a clone of the Walther series but worse in every way. The trigger is obnoxious, the gun’s heavy, and the recoil is snappy, but man, they are reliable.

While the pistol may feel more practical than most, it’s still just a gift in a box. Stalin was one of those dictators who wiped people out with pen and paper. That being said, unlike most others on this list, Stalin could likely use a gun. In his younger days, he robbed banks and shot it out with the police numerous times.

Osama bin Laden and his AKS-74U

Bin Laden was that rich kid who liked to pretend to be one of the freedom fighters. He certainly posed like one, and while he seemed to have the ability to plan, his use of guns was all show. Osama also had tens of millions of dollars to fund these ventures. He didn’t make the ranks of dictators, but he was quite the accomplished bad guy before SEAL Team 6 turned his lights off.

Osama Bin Laden with AKS 74U
Osama liked to pose with an AKS-74U but I doubt he ever had to use it.

The gun most commonly associated with Osama bin Laden is the AKS-74U. This short carbine variant of the AKS-74 entered Afghanistan via the Soviet invasion. Afghans often viewed the Krink as a trophy because to get one, you had to kill an armored vehicle or take down a helicopter. That’s the exact reason why Osama posed with the gun so often. It made him look like an accomplished and therefore respected fighter.

He wasn’t the type of leader who led from the front. He was more of the type to hide in a cave and throw money at it. I think his use of a Krink is very telling about the type of man he is…or well, was since he’s fish food now.

Carlos the Jackal and his TT-33

Carlos the Jackal gets a sweet name for such a cowardly terrorist. Attacking unarmed offices, murdering Jewish people, and generally being a bad communist across Europe. He was a hands-on assassin and more of a practical user of firearms, and in the 1970s and 80s, that meant Soviet Small arms and the TT-33 were plenty common.

Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who is also known as Carlos the Jackal.
Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who is also known as Carlos the Jackal.

This single-action only pistol borrowed a bit from the classic Colt 1903 in its design. It chambered the potent and powerful 7.62 Tokarev round. It’s a little rougher than any Colt but a fairly well-made and reliable pistol.

Carlos used one to murder two unarmed French officers and a Lebanese informant in Paris in 1975. Carlos got lucky enough to be arrested in France, where he will waste away for the rest of his life in prison instead of at the end of a rope.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and his Walther G22

Yeah, I can’t pronounce the name of the dictator of Turkmenistan. I do know he was a DJ and dentist prior to being a dictator, so he’s both multi-talented and likes jobs with a D in the title. The man loves imprisoning people and showing his serious ‘military’ skills.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and his Walther G22
The Walther G22 sure looks cool, but its still just a 22 WMR

He released a video in 2017 showing that he’s a total badass. Well, no, not really. He’s far from a badass. The video is something a 12-year-old would make to look cool and eventually cringe over. In that same video, we see him firing a number of guns, including a Walther G22 which is a 22 Magnum bullpup rifle.

I’m betting Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov chose the weapon because it certainly looks high speed. He probably thought it would grant him some kind of respect and make his country appear to be armed with the most modern of weaponry, even if that weaponry is a rimfire rifle.

Saddam Hussein and His Glock 18

I can’t say I supported the war in Iraq, but the world was a better place when Saddam met the end of a rope. Saddam ruled Iraq with an iron fist. He learned from dictators of old on how to rule and then tried his hardest to upstage them. He tortured, murdered, and raped his way across Iraq.

At his end, he hid in a hole, begging to negotiate. Dozens of firearms are credited to being owned by Saddam, including a Winchester rifle, a gold MP5 clone, plenty of gold AKs, and of yeah, a Glock 18. The Glock 18 is famously a full auto machine pistol that’s exceedingly rare.

Saddam Hussein's Glock 18
Saddam had taste in cool guns.

It’s a testament to a man who liked rare things. He certainly seemed to appreciate the finer things in life as his people suffered. That Glock 18 was brought back to the states and presented to George Bush, apparently. How that gets around war trophy rules, the GCA, and Hughes Amendment is beyond me.

Tito and His Mauser 66

Last is Josip Broz Tito or just Tito. He’s last because while he ranks among dictators, he’s often referred to as a benevolent dictator. I won’t go as far as to say he was a good man, but compared to the monsters on this, he seems meek. He repressed enemies of the government, stomped on democracy, and didn’t exactly embrace human rights.

That being said, he was a fighter. Of all the men on this list, he was likely the best with a gun. He fought in WW1, was a sword fighting champ, fought in WW2, and became an accomplished hunter. As a hunter, his rifle of choice was a Mauser rifle, likely a model 66 in 8mm Mauser. He also owned a Mosin, but photos show him with the Mauser fairly often. It was a much better rifle and is worth comparing to the Pre 64 Model 70s.

Tito with Mauser 66
Tito might have been a bastard but he had good taste in rifles.

Tito’s rifle of choice certainly shows that he preferred finely-made working weapons. That suits a man who likely used them extensively. Also, it’s worth noting a letter he sent Stalin after Stalin tried to have him killed.

“Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle. […] If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.”

Dictators Suck

The first thing dictators do is disarm the populace. Without a monopoly on force, dictators can’t act without resistance. It’s because of these men we should hold onto our gun rights and resist any action to restrict them. If the dictators have their guns, we should have ours.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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