Iraqi Tariq Pistol at RIA

The official issue sidearm for the Iraqi Army (and many of its police agencies) is the Tariq, a domestically-manufactured copy of the Beretta M1951 pistol. The Beretta is a pretty decent pistol, mechanically fine and comfortable to shoot but hampered by an awkwardly-placed magazine release and safety. Copies of it were used by several middle-eastern nations, including Egypt (the Helwan) and Iraq. The Iraqi-made guns are of an impressively low quality, as you’ll see in the video, and apparently an option of last resort for Iraqis able to carry handguns. The same Iraqi factory makes a copy of the Beretta model 70 also called the Tariq (named after a general from the 8th century), but that gun and this one share only the name (and probably manufacturing quality standards).

Tariq pistols have never been commercially imported into the US, and all the ones here (there aren’t very many) were brought back by veterans of the various US military missions in Iraq. The paperwork required to legally bring one back has varied in level of difficulty, and is sometimes outright impossible, and a significant fraction of them were brought back without following those formal procedures (aka, illegally). Still, a neat addition to a collection of enemy sidearms from US military history.


  1. I saw one of these (illegal type) at a gunshow in the WPB area…an Iraqi vet had one he was displaying to vendors and anyone interested…it wasn’t for sale (just for braggin’) just a cool; & very rare memento of his service in the sandbox…and one piece of history preserved at great cost to himself…God Bless him and all his fellow vets

    CB in FL – a VN ERA Cold War vet

  2. That Islamic general is interesting, given these ISIS fucks, the head honcho’s are former Saddam Colonels you know, and with that sectarianism, some will do anything for power.

    Needs a Dresden fire bombing that place, there’s not enough of them killed “horrid as it is” for them to desist, need to make suicide bombing a negative in relation to overall manpower i.e. By killing a whole lot more.

      • After the Gulf war, he started to back these “Islamic” Sunni groups… As nationalism wore off, so that’s a forgotten point in relation to the run up to Iraq i.e. 2003 lark, depressing oil prices or whatever aside.

        Fuck knows, I quite liked him.

        • The ones we are up against now, are really bad. Who’s bright idea was it to kill Osama a traditional wholesome Jihadist who was positively reasonable.

    • Hmmm, let’s follow the logic, shall we?

      WWi made the world safe for what exactly?
      Lenin & Trotsky, Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler and Generalissimo Franco, and the house of Saud, just to name a few.

      WWii made the world safe for?
      Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao and his accolytes (Kim, PolPot etc) Field Marshall Tito, Idi Amin and many others, not least ammongst them the late and much missed Saddam Hussein.

      Both of those wars and their continuations are no small part in making the world safe for the >220,000,000 murders of civillians, by governments, during “peacetime” in the 20th century (as documented by the late Prof Rudy Rummel).

      The first American gulf war made the world safe for whom? the Ayatollahs, the Assads, the house of Saud – again.

      And the 14 years of the second American gulf war has made the world safe for?

      oh yes, that would be the nutters calling themselves ISIS.

      Now, considering the crappy (offensive, even) quality of the Tariq pistol, what do you think the productive capacity of the same population will be following 14 years of having their poductive capital assets trashed by American forces and robbed by American crony crapitalists, then being ordered about by a bunch of thuggish scum like ISIS?

      How many skilled tool makers, tool setters and maintainence engineers do you think they’ll have? how much tool steel, how much steel suitable for barrels etc – let alone materials for missiles, dies, cartridge brass, nitro cellulose making…

      Do you honestly think that such an unproductive situation could support a long term serious threat to anyone outside of the war torn mess that is Iraq and Syria?

      and in the century long process starting with the elimination of the imperial ambitions of the Prussian royal house of Hohenzollern, whom do you expect to emerge from the chaos, the ruins and destruction this time? and at what cost?

  3. As probably the only Anglo (or in my case Cherokee Indian) to have ever infiltrated the Arab Nationalist Student Union, an arm of the Islamic Brotherhood, and in my understanding of the Nature of the Beast therefrom, I can attest that you have absolutely no idea what we face with ISIS/ISIL or whatever the Politically Correct term is for this week. You cannot deter them with the threat of death; THEY CAME HERE TO DIE! Their self-comparison to us is that ours is a theology of Life while theirs is a theology of Death. Their goal is to die in service to their beliefs. They seek Death. They worship Death. The goal of their life is Death. Every day they live is spent in their race to meet and embrace Death. On their journey they are dedicated to kill as many “non-believers” as possible in as debasing a manner as possible and this includes those who follow Islam but do not submit themselves to the ISIS/ISIL World View. We are in the midst of what they then (late-1950s/early-1960s) termed “The Revolution” (meaning the war to reform the world in their perverted perception of Perfection). The ritualistic beheadings is a manifestation of this: the victim is placed on their knees while their executioner stands over them in a position of authority and dominance just as is done in the ritualized killing of sheep and goats at formal gatherings. The throat is slashed and the head severed completely from the body and held aloft in a display of the executioner’s position of dominance while the body jerks and thrashes at his feet. The victim is not allowed to stand as an equal. In the case of captured soldiers, they are stripped naked or nearly so and run through the streets before being driven like sheep into mass graves, forced to kneel and either beheaded or shot. Public nakedness is an absolute debasement in their society. The quality of their weapons is not of importance except the local variations in their daggers; these must be prefect or as nearly so as their station in life allows. The poor quality of this pistol demonstrates and reinforces, and doubly so because it was probably an officer’s sidearm. But his personal dagger was a work of art and cost more than a year’s wages. Welcome to their world. Apologies for the rant, but it is VERY frustrating to see our nation following the same path of ignorance we traveled in our perception of the Japanese culture prior to World War II.

  4. What stands out is all the attention to lettering, numbering, and medallions, yet the machining looks like a junior high school metal shop.

  5. “Impressively low quality…” Ian, I like that phrase. I may have to borrow it. Of course, none of that matters because “if Allah wills it to fire, it shall do so.”

    • Ian shows the magazine release at the end of his tour. And what sticks from behind the magazine is just a lanyard loop.

      • Thanks. I noticed the button, but i did not think of a lanyard loop (i would be kind of strange to have to ways to remove the magazine, but i thought it was maybe done for some old training routine or something.)

  6. Wow the serial # is 10 digets long? I hope they are listing the year it was made in that code and other infoin that number. Or did they start each year with the number of Mc Donald hamburgers sold ?

  7. I notice that the Tariq uses the original M951 “crossbolt” safety, rather than the later M1911-type thumb safety. The Beretta M70 uses a 1911 type safety as well, and so does the Iraqi copy in 7.65mm;

    I wonder why they didn’t use the later (and more sensible) safety on the 9x19mm version?

    What I don’t wonder about is how poorly made this pistol is. The Spanish Eibar automatics in 7.65mm from a century ago had better QC, from all indications.

    Were these pistols made on “proper” gunmaking machinery, on an assembly line, or by methods similar to those of the Eibar gunmakers? Which involved a lot of handwork by artisans who were paid on a “piecework” basis.



    • From what I read and examples I have seen or handled, the Eibar/Ruby pistols had a quite variable quality. Many of them were made by experienced gunsmiths and had an accordingly good quality. As the pressure to fill the French order increased, others were made by less skilled workers. Their main problem from a military point of view was lack of interchangeable parts between different manufacturers (of which there was a veritable legion) and sometimes even between early and late production examples from the same manufacturer.

  8. According to this site;

    Here’s the lowdown on the factory where these were made;

    According to a report, these pistols were manufactured by the Al Qadissiya Establishment. The facility was located on the road between Doura and Mussayeb in Diyala Governorate (north of Baghdad). Al Qadissiya Establishment occupied 8 square km and had 3 main entrance gates. The General Manager was General Thafer Sadiq Hussein. Other senior officials were: Brigadier Othman Al Siqar (Deputy General Manager), Brigadier (Engineers Corps) Al Hareth (Production Manager), Major (Intelligence) Mazin (Security Officer).

    The primary function of the establishment were factories connected with weapons of mass destruction. However, three factories (or production lines) were engaged in production of the Tariq pistol. These factories produced 7mm (7.65mm) and 9mm pistols however, engineers converted one factory for the production of a Tariq 13mm. Production started but ceased for lack of spare parts. 1000 9mm and 500 7.65mm pistols were produced daily (this was 50 percent of capacity). There was a separate carpentry factory which specialised in pistol grips and other items.

    The main product of this facility was centrifuges used in nuclear weapons production. It also contained labs for quality control testing for chemical weapons and a welding factory for missiles. There were plans to construct a factory for producing electronic circuits for missiles, however, building stopped because of a lack of equipment.

    I’m SWAGing that the “13mm” was probably a .45 ACP (11.25 x

    • Wow. I wonder what would have happened had their nukes been of similar quality? Also, I believe the Iraquis issued a domestically-produced version of the SVD (Dragunov) called the Al Quadissiya. IIRC the magazines had a palm-tree embossed on the sides as opposed to the normal cross-hatching on the SVD mags.

  9. To continue after hitting “Post” by accident (Grrrr.)

    I’m SWAGing that the “13mm” was probably a .45 ACP (11.25 x 22.8mm),unless it was a .50 AE (12.7 x 33mm). Neither one would seem to be a good match for even an enlarged M951; it should be noted that Beretta’s .45, the PX4 Storm, uses the rotating-barrel locking system introduced on the “new” Cougar (Model 8000)in 1994.

    I don’t see how the P.38 style lockup of the Tariq would be able to handle heavier loads, especially .50 AE, without a massive increase in the dimensions of the slide and locking system. To say nothing of better QC, especially in the metallurgy department.



    • From the very limited information available, I believe the Iraqi 13mm cartridge was actually a domestic development, which probably fired a sub-sonic bullet in the 200-300 grains range. A very similar cartridge was introduced in 2004 (coincidence?) by Guncrafter Industries, called the .50 GI:

      The pressures involved could probably be handled by the Beretta M51 design without too much difficulty. I suppose the Iraqi military officials, like many American pistol shooters today, believed in the “bigger permanent wound channel is better” philosophy of hand gun cartridge efficiency.

      • Or possibly as an assassination weapon, using a sound suppressor.

        One drawback of the typical suppressed weapons used for wetwork is that they either fire a supersonic bullet that still has a ballistic “crack”, or they lack the power (KE) to put the target down fast enough to avoid them alerting others to the attempt. (“Allah d**n him, he was able to scream after I shot him.”)

        One reason the “two guys on a motorbike with a Vz61 Skorpion” tactic became the trademark style of PLO hitters in France was that it allowed an ambush and a fast getaway.

        While it had a suppressor, the .32 ACP round of the Skorpion wasn’t a reliable “one-shot” killer, and even a burst of low-signature slugs wouldn’t always “shut ’em up and shut ’em down” on the spot. Hence the need for a fast remove.

        A 13mm subsonic load in a pistol would pretty much be the equivalent of a rifled slug from a shotgun. Not much noise with a suppressor, and a hit in the vitals or head will get the job done, allowing the shooter to leave circumspectly.

        Also, while having a “special” round for such things might seem to be advertising, that only holds true if you don’t keep its existence in your toolbox a secret.

        A series of hits using a caliber, bullet, etc., that is not in anyone’s known arsenal would be a serious headache for intel units trying to figure out who was ordering the hits.

        The KGB’s old “glass bullet” electrically-fired pistol from the 1960s was supposedly concocted on the same principle. Then defectors blew the gaff on that one, and it became useful only if the K wanted to sign their name to a kill.

        Or if someone wanted to frame them for one. (GRU comes to mind…)



  10. I was told by a veteran of the Iraq war (also a family member) that the Iraqis were pants-poopingly scared of having a Beretta M9 pointed at them. The Iraqi Republican Guard used to execute people with the Tariq, shooting them in the back of the head. So the shape of the Beretta was burnt into the mind’s eye of the Iraqi people as a sign of imminent death. Soldiers could gain compliance from even the most unruly of Iraqis by unholstering the M9 and pointing it.

    I have not had this info confirmed by anybody, but I thought it was an interesting story told over Thanksgiving one year.

  11. By the way The translation of the arabic words is taric 9 mm made in iraq wich mean the same words on the other side of the pistol that writen in english

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