The Weapons of the North Korean Special Forces

Worst Korea has quite the arsenal. From ICBMs to odd AKs, they have a little bit of everything. Over the year, the North Korean Special Forces have launched numerous attacks on South Korea, from attempted assassinations of the President to submarine infiltrations. Through these attempts, we’ve gathered a bird’s eye view of what the special forces of North Korea are wielding, and let’s take a fun look at what the enemies of democracy carry. 

The Main Rifles of North Korean Special Forces 

The current main rifles of the Nork Special Forces are the domestically produced Type 88-2 and the Type 98. They are both very similar rifles derived from the AK-74 series rifles. The Type 98 has a slightly different receiver and a shorter barrel. 

Some of the significant differences include an odd top folding stock. This top folding stock accommodates the massive, likely poorly functional, helical rifle magazines. These massive magazines have been seen in use by the dictator’s armed bodyguards. These helical magazines likely hold anywhere from 75 to 150 rounds of 5.45x39mm ammunition. 

These magazines attach to both the magazine well and the bayonet lug. They can also use standard 30-round magazines, which are likely the choice of the special operation forces. 

The Imitations 

The North Korean Special Forces also take a page out of China and have been caught of seen imitating rifles in other countries. 

M16A1 – Locally produced M16A1 rifles were found with the North Korean Special Forces soldiers during the 1996 Gangneung submarine infiltration incident. At this period of time, the M16A1 was a common rifle among South Korean forces, and their copies allowed the infiltrators to blend in. 

K2 – The South Korean K2 rifles are the main firearm of the South Korean forces. South Korean intel force shave spotted North Korean special operations soldiers carrying K2 rifles and dressed in South Korean camouflage. It’s easy to assume they are infiltration troops training. 

Submachine Guns 

In modern times even North Korea has limited its use of SMGs. They seem to be reserved for deep infiltration troops and spies, not combative personnel

Sterling Submachine Gun – Early North Korean Special Forces wielded the Sterling SMGs, likely left over from the Korean war. 

Vz. 61 – The Vz. 61 Skorpion became the machine pistol of choice of North Korean Special Forces and spies. When a group of spies was caught in North Korea, the men were carrying suppressed .32 ACP VZ. 61s. These ultra-small firearms were designed for that purpose, and they served well in that role. 


Handguns of North Korea are something of an oddity, a mix of Chinese and Soviet designs, but the choice of both generals and North Korean Special forces is a rather interesting pistol. 

Baek Du San – The Baek Du San is a North Korean copy of the CZ 75 pistol. It’s domestically produced, and while generals carry a blinged-out handgun, the Special Forces carry a plain black model with wooden grips. If I was carrying a North Korean pistol, I wouldn’t mind it being a CZ 75 clone. 

The North Korean Special Forces 

North Korea has a very operational special forces unit, but they don’t seem to be very good at their job. In fact, they seem to be caught and observed fairly often. Although I haven’t read a book written by a North Korean Special Forces soldier, so maybe they are true quiet professionals. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.