Presidential assassinations always make the news and what shortly follows is an examination of the assassins, their motives, equipment, and tactics. The assassination of Haiti’s president is no different. As the gun and gear guy of SOFREP, I’ve taken a close examination of the assassins’ firearms from the rather limited and grainy footage available. The guns of Haiti are varied but seemingly sourced mostly in-country, if I had to guess. Publicly released footage shows what appears to be a hastily put-together arsenal without rhyme or reason. These were the guns that were available to the assassins and they used what they could.
Winchester Model 12
One of the most prominent and oddly placed weapons is a Winchester Model 12 shotgun. This classic design was one of the most prominent hunting shotguns some 70 years ago. It’s a damn fine shotgun, but the model we are looking at seems to be a sporting configuration. These were made in the millions, and their exportation to Haiti would be an odd route.
This shotgun’s pump-action design utilizes an integral tubular magazine that likely holds six rounds. We can’t see the barrel length, but it’s quite long. One of the advantages of the Model 12 would be its ability to slam fire. Simply said, you could hold the trigger down and work the pump, and it will fire every time it’s pumped.
This does allow the user to empty the gun extremely rapidly. It could be useful for close quarter’s fighting, but the long barrel makes it rather intrusive for close-quarter combat (CQB) work. Of all the guns of Haiti, this is my personal favorite, but easily the most out of place.
Remington 870 (or a Clone)
The pistol-grip-only shotgun appearing on the guns of Haiti table is likely a Remington 870. The lack of a tang safety discounts it as a Mossberg. Also, the rear pistol grip appears to be an old TAC STAR model, which was only made for a few different shotguns. The magazine extension also points to an 870 or a clone inspired by it.
A PGO shotgun is compact but tough to wield. The recoil makes these things hard to control. However, the small size makes them easy to use in and out of vehicles. The aftermarket pistol grip and magazine extension might point to this originally being imported as a sporting gun and converted to its current status.
Haitian police and military also use the Remington 870, so it’s been in the country for decades at this point.
On the guns of Haiti table also sits an AR-15 variant. It’s a plain Jane flat top model with an added rear sight carry handle. We see a standard front sight base and plastic handguard with the typical M4 stock. Nothing fancy. It’s impossible to tell the manufacturer from the footage provided.
The Haitian military and police have issued the M4 and various AR-type rifles in the past, and again it’s completely possible that the one the assassins used is a stolen, domestically sourced rifle. As we all know, this is one of the most popular rifles on the planet, and it’s no surprise criminal elements got their hands on one.
Besides the AR 15 sits a Galil ACE. The Galil ACE is the latest model of the Israeli rifle, and at first, I was a bit stunned by its presence. However, after some digging, I saw that the Haitian military and federal police have purchased Galil ACE assault rifles and issued them out to soldiers and law enforcement.
Again, it’s not hard to imagine it’ll be traced by government armories. This rifle’s chance of making it from Israel to Haiti illegally seems slim.
The Galil itself is a fine rifle that took the AK-47 platform and pushed it further. The original Galil served Israeli well, and the latest ACE models offer the same reliability, accuracy, and control with more modern ergonomics and modular options.
Another Israeli superstar, the Uzi, served everywhere someone needed an SMG in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It found widespread use with secret services, special operation forces, and tons of counter-terrorism forces. The Uzi was also adopted by Haitian police and military forces.
It’s a lightweight, reliable SMG that’s relatively compact and easy to use. It’s the AK of SMGs and proved itself over and over again. It might be outdated by today’s standard, but it’s still a brutally effective weapon.
In all honesty, for a mission like this, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the Uzi and Galil for fighting my way through Haiti. Of all the guns of Haiti on the table, I’m surprised to see an Uzi pop up.
Although I am not positive, it seems that the Taurus PT809 is the handgun of choice when I look at the guns of Haiti. I browsed through dozens of handguns and stared intently at the guns in that grainy footage. From examining the guns in the available photographs I can tell that they have the following: ramp style sights, distinctive circular magazine release, no replaceable backstraps, picatinny rails, manual safety, and a polymer frame.
The Taurus PT809 fits the bill. The safety and magazine releases match up perfectly when you look closely at the guns of Haiti and the PT809 pictures. Further, judging from the firearm’s damaged grip, it’s obvious that it has a polymer frame. I looked at Glocks, FNs, S&Ws, EAA, Masadas, and dozens of discontinued pistols and saw none that matched the gun.
How the PT809 got there is a mystery. I don’t see any police issuance, but Taurus exports pistols worldwide, so maybe some just washed up in Haiti. Smuggling pistols is much easier than smuggling machine guns.
The Melee Option
Among the guns of Haiti, we also saw plenty of machetes, knives, and sledgehammers. Sledgehammers are great breaching tools, but the presence of so many machetes for urban ops clearly screams murder plot by untrained mall ninjas. Clearly, the assassins didn’t foresee that they would be captured and a number of them killed. This is likely due to a lack of training, preparation, and planning. Everyone’s gangster until it’s time to do gangster shit.
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