June 16, 2009: Iraq is buying 33 million rounds of ammo for Russian weapons from an American manufacturer. While Iraq is switching to American small arms (M-16 assault rifles and NATO standard machine-guns), it still has thousands of troops and security personnel armed with Russian weapons (AK-47s, Dragunov sniper rifles and PKM light machine-guns).
Iraq is paying more than twice as much for this ammo, compared to what it costs from Russia, or other manufacturers (like China, or even Iran.) Why buy the higher priced stuff? Because it's higher quality. While the AK-47 is a reliable weapon, that can keep operating even if poorly trained users don't clean it much, these weapons still jam or misfire because of the low quality (and very cheap) ammo that's normally available for them. The U.S. Special Forces has long bought more expensive (and more reliable) Russian type ammo made in the United States (as the Special Forces often use Russian weapons where it is convenient.). So have some other nations, that like the reliability and ruggedness of Russian rifles and machine-guns, but want their troops, or at least the presidential bodyguard, to avoid having their weapons jam or misfire at an inopportune moment.