Paki Tape: an Eye-Catching AK Accessory | Reaper Feed

Afghan soldier carries a rifle decorated with Paki Tape.
January 27, 2023  
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Categories: Gear Curious

Romanian folding stock, Red Star Trigger Kit, Donkey Dong Grip, and the Romanian AK stock: when it comes to the best AK accessories for one of the most iconic assault rifles ever made, there are a few common ones that spring to mind. The AK accessory of Paki Tape, however, is one of the most eye-catching.

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An Afghan soldier holds a decorated rifle.

An Afghan soldier with decorative rifle guards a temporary checkpoint in Logar province on May 2, 2019. (Photo by J.P. Lawrence/Stars & Stripes)

For those of you familiar with Paki Tape, you’re probably all too familiar with the sight of customized, multi-colored guns carried by regular and irregular forces alike in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. For those unfamiliar, this article will explain the story behind one of the most iconic AK accessories of all.

What is Paki Tape?

In the UK, Canada, and some Scandinavian countries, the term “Paki” can be highly offensive because some use it as a racial slur against people of Pakistani descent. However, the term ”Paki tape” stems from the U.S. and has a different meaning entirely.

The term “Paki Tape” arose from the U.S.-led War on Terror. It is used primarily by gun owners in the United States and was brought back by the U.S. troops who came across the phenomena in the mountains of Afghanistan and coined the politically incorrect euphemism in the U.S.

Paki Tape is colorful, translucent tape wrapped around Kalashnikov rifles in South Asia and sometimes the Middle East. Often in red, orange, blue, green, black, or yellow, it’s a non-adhesive PVC tape that provides waterproof qualities. While many assume this AK accessory is simply for decorative purposes, there is more to it than meets the eye!

The Benefits of Paki Tape

First, Paki Tape is one of the best AK accessories for adding a little flair and artistic customization to a Kalashnikov. Across South Asia and the Middle East, it’s often rolled tightly over photos of pin-up girls, wives, or similar for an easily customized and recognizable AK.

For example, the soldier pictured below happily shows off how he has wrapped his Kalashnikov in two colors of Paki Tape. 

Rifle decorated with Paki Tape pictured up close.

Underneath the waterproof tape, he has added photos of either his sweetheart back home or a local pin-up girl.

However, this niche AK accessory isn’t all just about decoration; there are other benefits to the use of Paki Tape. When a firearm is stacked amongst many others, the tape acts as a quick identifier and allows the owner to differentiate one person’s firearm from another.

Some photos of the tape in action appear to show this niche firearm accessory positioned to reinforce areas of the firearm that are often prone to breakage, such as the stock mount.

Some of our Reaper Feed readers from Pakistan have informed us that the tape can also act as a heat insulator, which explains why Kalashnikov-style rifles often have the tape wrapped around the foregrips.

Paki Tape in the U.S.

While this weapon accessory primarily accessorizes Kalashnikov-style rifles, there are some examples of its use on U.S. weapons. This photo, originally shared by the official Twitter for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, shows an Afghan National Army soldier holding an M16 rifle fitted with an M203 grenade launcher. Paki Tape customizes both of these weapons pictured.

Afghan soldier carries a rifle and grenade launcher decorated with Paki Tape.

Afghan soldier carries a rifle and grenade launcher decorated with Paki Tape.

Cultural AK Weapons Decorations

Although this phenomenon occurs largely in South Asia, the practice of decorating weapons of war on the frontline is not. As we reach the end of this article, I want to draw your attention to some other examples of exquisitely decorated Kalashnikov-type rifles found in other conflict zones around the world.

The first photo is of an AK-74 held by a Ukrainian soldier on the frontlines of the ongoing war in Donbas. In his downtime in the trenches, this soldier has added a colorful paint job to his weapon in Petrykivka, a style often used to decorate the interior and exterior of Ukrainian homes and everyday household items.

A Ukranian soldier carries a rifle painted in a colorful pattern.

The next two examples of peak AK accessories come from Iraqi Kurdistan. Originally shared by the team at Kalashnikov Media, the first image shows a Kalashnikov-type rifle customized with a Kurdish flag sweater during downtime in the trenches.

A rifle decorated with portions of a Kurdish sweater.

A Kurdish sweater fashioned into an AK accessory.(Photo credit: Kalashnikov Media)

The second example, also from Iraqi Kurdistan, shows exquisitely decorated Kalashnikov magazines hand painted by the female fighters of the Kurdish YPJ. These AK magazines are unique because they have a feminine touch added by female fighters in the War against ISIS.

Hand painted AK magazines.

Custom YPJ magazines. (photo credit: Kalashnikov Media)

Despite limited resources and painting them on an active frontline, the detail on these custom AK magazines made by the YPJ is absolutely incredible. So much so, that they for sure deserve a second close-up shot:

Mags hand painted by female Kurdish fighters.

Custom YPJ magazines. (photo credit: Kalashnikov Media)

Disclaimer

This article aims to cover the unique phenomenon of this weapon decoration in South Asia and the Middle East. We use the term ”Paki Tape” referring to the U.S. term and not the racial slur used in countries such as the UK, Canada, and Scandinavia.

Read the original article in its entirety at reaperfeed.com.

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