Steyr AM 50 Being Used in Iran

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In 2005/06 Steyr sold 800 Steyr AM-50 .50 BMG rifles to Iran. This is the first time I have seen footage of the Iranians actually using them.

There was controversy that these rifles had made their way into the hands of Iraqi insurgents, but these rumors were never substantiated and no evidence supporting it has surfaced in the past five years since the allegations.

[ Many thanks to Albi for emailing us the link. ]

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • charles222

    FWIW, not once in three deployments to Iraq (Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Ramadi) did I ever hear about .50-cal sniper rifles being employed by insurgents. Not even in outside-instructor-led countersniper classes.

    • firstblood

      I think that might have something to do with the overall length of typical .50cals rifles. Since insurgents need to be able to conceal their guns they go for modified SVD Dragunov or something similar.

      • Charles222

        The primary sniper weapon when I was there was a long-barreled AK variant.

      • W

        the “snipers” typically employed the Romanian PSL, with a few SVDs, with the occasional Mauser or Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifles thrown in. Since Charles mentioned Kirkuk, I doubt the insurgents would risk driving in a vehicle across Kurdistan with a Iranian 50 cal inside ;)

  • Giolli Joker

    Insurgents don’t need a .50 if they can accurately shoot an AK (or was it a SVD?) @ 800+ meters like the ones in the Hurt Locker movie… (I need a “rolleyes” emoticon for this)

    • higgs

      It was a Romanian PSL.

      • Giolli Joker

        Thanks!

  • Giolli Joker

    BTW, about the video: the one who shoots looks like a civilian (journalist?) and shows pretty poor safety minded behaviour… looking into the muzzle like that… brr… not that the soldier swinging the barrel with the muzzle pointing to the cameran is doing much better…

  • bbmg

    Considering that most of the sniping in Iraq seems to being done from vehicles which drive off as soon as the shot is fired and “Allah hu akbar!” is exclaimed (if the “Juba” videos posted online are any indication) this would seem like an excellent way to draw attention to yourself, for no obvious advantage given the relatively short ranges of urban combat.

    The IRA used Barrets back in the day, and they were found to be useful for dealing with body armour, but then again so is a standard SVD.

    A VSSK would be a much more useful “fifty” for the insurgents to have.

  • http://harqueb.us harqueb.us

    It would have made for a great video if he had shot it while holding it to his shoulder while everyone stood right next to the muzzle break.

  • Gregor

    Every .50 sniper rifle in iranian hands is one less .50 bmg sniper rifle in the hands of some mexico drug dealer gang bangers ;)

    Btw. seems like Iran got some money after all. Schmidt & Bender scope on the HS 50

  • Lance

    I grantee the rifles made into Shiite backed terrorist groups who killed our solders. I also be there supplying Syrian forces with weapon since Assad’s is pro-Iranian.

    Overall our men have the edge better training better rifle (Barrett M-107) beats bolt action single shot any day.

    The frustrating thing is iran has killed americans since 79 when can the US ever wake up and put there foot on this upstart moron nation?

    Do like the old German military music they used for this movie LOL.

    • Charles222

      Right, Lance. Are you posting from that alternate universe where you have the three deployments to Iraq and I’m just some moron who spams defense & firearms websites?

      • Other Steve

        Just ignore him, he trolls here a kitup at least. If you look back, he used to post actual opinions that weren’t retarded. Now it’s just obvious or misinformed one liners or stuff like this to illicit a reaction. Don’t feed trolls :)

    • W

      according to the Telegraph news and Spiegel, many of these rifles have been found by US troops during raids.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1542559/Iraqi-insurgents-using-Austrian-rifles-from-Iran.html

      and another http://www.spiegel.de/international/austrian-weapons-in-iraq-a-smoking-gun-from-the-alps-a-466284.html

      have a fair degree of skepticism and take it for what it is. I sure havent heard of them being used. It could have had something to do with us being more concerned with the EFPs and advisors coming in from the other side than 50 caliber rifles that require a high degree of training to operate effectively.

      • Charles222

        ^This. The insurgents wanted weapons to handle tanks and Bradleys. The overwhelming majority of equipment my platoon found in raids was typically copper wiring, cell or cordless phones, and HME explosive. Small arms were almost a never.

      • Kobnar

        Thanks for the links!

        I served in Sadr City Baghdad back in 2008. Mahdi Army snipers used .50cal BMG rifles from Iran to engage vehicle crews/gunners in passing convoys. They loaded up AP rounds to punch through the ballistic glass on HMMV’s and MRAPS. I’ve had the luxury of seeing a couple vehicles with the bullet holes to prove it. One of our battalions even recovered one of those very rifles during a raid on a small arms cache.

        I can think of a dozen reasons why DOD wouldn’t bother “substantiating” the claim, and just because the pentagon doesn’t bother giving the media proof doesn’t mean something isn’t true. Iran had their fingerprints all over the insurgency in Iraq. Anybody who was there (at least anybody fighting the Mahdi Army) knows that from first hand experience.

    • animalmenace

      I could write a doctoral dissertation in a minimum of three fields of study just correcting this comment.

    • JaKdo

      Uups … and for what it’s worth, Lance: The “the old German military music” in the background is a British march composed by Ron Goodwin for the movie Battle of Britain ;-)

  • Hasan

    Will somebody share info about the rifle??

  • Giolli Joker
    • Hasan

      So AS .50 and HS .50 are two different versions?

      • Hasan

        *AM 50 / HS 50

  • Leif

    Did anyone else notice at the end of the video that the music was that used in the British WW2 movie ‘aces high’/battle of britain?

  • PJ

    Weapons and explosives used by the insurgents?! Try your own government…in fact try a large chunk of Western/NATO governments and secret services. It would be very difficult to justify the presence in Iraq if there wasn’t any violence right? Remember those British commandos that were caught in disguise full of explosives who were going to blow up a Mosque in order to generate sectarian hatred? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    By the way…NATO and several Western governments supported Al-Qaeda (or Al-QaCIA/MI6/Mossad/etc) in Lybia and now Syria right? Shouldn’t you be fighting against them instead of training them and giving them weapons?

    You have taken too many sleeping pills and now “they” are killing you while you are asleep.

    As for Iran, they are fighting for their culture, their soul, their independence. They don’t want a “corporotocracy-meets-marxism” economic system, they don’t want the retarded and corrosive “progressive” (aka regressive) culture, they don’t want LGBT-supremacy-camuflaged-in-equality, they don’t want their old original culture replaced by Justin Bieber, Madonna and Ozzy Osbourne sodomizing bats, etc, etc…

    • Tinkerer

      The Firearm Blog.

      Firearms, not politics.

      • charles222

        The Firearm blog. Firearms, not batshit crazy conspiracy theories.

      • PJ

        And yet this blog-post was full of “politics” (the “Iran supports terrrrrorrrr” crap).

        Never mind that almost all the terrorists come from Western puppet Saudi Arabia…never mind that almost all who did 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia…never mind that the Saudi Royals and the Bush’s are one and only…( i could go on and on).

      • W

        dont re-read the top left part of the blog, youll get accused of trying to play moderator. ;)

    • John Doe

      *Correction, Ozzy Osbourne rips/bites the bats’ heads off, not sodomizes them. Bats are pretty small and I don’t think that would work.

      • animalmenace

        Naw, man, don’t you know the Military-Industrial-Complex, the ancient aliens, Rick Moranis and FEMA worked together on their moonbase to build a shrinking machine that they took back in time and used on Ozzy? You sheeple don’t know nothing…

  • charles222

    Other Steve: Oh yes, I know. It’s fun to dig at a troll sometimes, though.

  • mr_lorenco

    Maybe a Tabuq rifle,or even an m76 ?

    • mr_lorenco

      Sorry,this was meant as a reply not as a separate comment,i hit the wrong link,sorry again.

  • W

    I thought it was the Steyr HS 50??? Im not aware of the “AM” model. Never heard of these weapons crossing into iraq and used against our forces there, though im not saying its impossible however improbable. It would be more worth the time to smuggle a Dshk machine gun across the border.

  • cbgiornesto

    western forces knew the iraqi insurgents had this weapon in use by 2008. there was evidence they used it during some attacks on the temporary u.s. embassy (palace) in the green zone.
    this is not new information.

    • Source

      Source: The Baloney Factory in the Pentagon

  • Charles222

    @PJ: The fuck it was. Steve brought it up in the context of being completely unsubstantiated. Quit posting bullshit.

  • jim

    i don’t understand the uproar about the sale..

  • charles222

    Right, Kohnar. I’m perfectly aware Iran had lots to do with the insurgency. Still never heard of anybody popping people with .50 cal sniper rifles.

  • farmboy7.62

    That’s some nice glass on that big Rifle. Schmidt and Bender?

  • Peter Ball

    Steyr (sigh!).

    Just another Western company from a supposedly modern, European, civilized nation, selling weapons to a gang of thuggish infidels.

    Who needs enemies when you have Europeans behind you, eh?

    • Wall Street

      “Wall Street and FDR”
      “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution”
      “Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler”
      “Best Enemies Money can Buy” (also search the interview on youtube that goes by the same name)
      “America’s Secret Establishment”

      All books made by Antony Sutton all available free online.

      Who needs Satan when you got Wall Street?

  • PLUS

    Is this Steyr HS-50?
    Or a differnt rifle?

    • JaKdo

      Hard to tell from this rather lousy low-res footage. Nonetheless, I dare say the weapon depicted is not a Steyr. First, the grip looks quite different from that of a HS .50 (of course, it could be a minor modification. But why would you whish to modify the grip, as the original one is perfectly fine?). Secondly and more strikingly, Steyr’s HS .50 has a fluted barrel, whilst the gun shown in the clip seems to have a round one, or so it seems (look at 0:02 as well as 2:26 and 2:44). If so, the weapon is likely a cheap clone, with a much shorter barrel life and less reliability than a HS .50.