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.

Paki Tape - AK Accessories You Need to Know About
An Afghan soldier with a 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 being carried by regular and irregular forces alike in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. For those who aren’t familiar, this article will explain the story behind one of the most iconic AK accessories there is.

What is Paki Tape?

In the UK, Canada, and some Scandinavian countries, the term “Paki” can be highly offensive. The reason being is that it is primarily used as a racial slur against people of Pakistani decent. However, the term ”Paki tape” stemmed from the U.S. and has a different meaning entirely.

The term “Paki Tape” is one that stemmed 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 from there.

Paki Tape is colorful translucent tape which is primarily 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. Whilst 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 off, 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 pinups girls, wives, or similar for an easily customized, and recognizable AK.

For example, the soldier below is happily showing off how he has wrapped his Kalashnikov in two colors of Paki Tape. Underneath the waterproof tape, he has added photos of either his sweetheart back home or a local pin-up girl.

Paki Tape - AK Accessories You Need to Know About

However, this niche AK accessory isn’t all just about decoration and there are other benefits to the use of Paki Tape. When a firearm is stacked amongst many others together, the tape acts as a quick identifier and gives the owner the ability 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.

Related Articles

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

Whilst this weapon accessory is primarily seen on Kalashnikov-style rifles, there are some examples of it being used on U.S. weapons also. 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. Both of which have been customized with Paki Tape.

Paki Tape - AK Accessories You Need to Know About

Although this phenomenon is largely seen 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 an AK-74 being held by a Ukrainian soldier on the frontlines of the ongoing war in Donbass. In his downtime in the trenches, this soldier has added a colorful paint job to his weapon in the style of Petrykivka which is a style often used to decorate the interior and exterior of Ukrainian homes and everyday household items.

The next two examples of peak AK accessories from conflicts around the world came out of 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.

Paki Tape - AK Accessories You Need to Know About
A Kurdish sweater 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 in the sense that they have a female touch added by the female fighters in the War against ISIS.

Paki Tape - AK Accessories You Need to Know About
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:

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. By using the term ”Paki Tape”, we are referring to the U.S. term and not the racial slur used in countries such as the UK, Canada, and Scandinavia.

Avatar
Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is a security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare.