Iran’s New Arash 20mm Shoulder Fired Anti-Material Rifle (With Barrett BORS Clone)

Iran has developed a new 20mm anti-material rifle called the Arash.  The rifle is fired standing up with the gun resting on the operators shoulder, much like a RPG, and on the forward bipod. The butt stock is position about midway along the length of the gun with the pistol grip and trigger just forward of it.

Arash rifle (20x102) [Iran] (2)

The ammunition appears to be either a 20x102mm HEI (High Explosive Incendiary  round (or a similarly sized 20mm caliber HEI round). The punishing recoil  seems to be mitigated by both a huge barrel shaped muzzle brake and by the odd design of the gun which makes it pivot on the operators shoulder during recoil.



The scope system is particularly interesting. The Iranians, who never let an opportunity to clone a Western military invention go to waste, seem to have produced a clone of the Barrett BORS (Barrett Optical Ranging System) ballistic computer. The Iranian system looks like an almost exact replica, right down to its integration with the scope evaluation knob. The Barrett BORS monitors the evaluation knob and measures air temperature, barometric pressure and rifle tilt in order to calculate the range at which the rifle is set. Presumably the Iranian clone does the same. The position of the scope would make it difficult, if not impossible, for this rifle to be fired from the prone position.

Arash rifle (20x102) [Iran] (3)

Like their MANPADs, Arash is operated by two man motorcycle teams following classic Iranian “shoot and scoot” doctrine.

The video below, which was filmed taken during the recent Islamic Revolution Guards Corps  Payambar-e Azam 8 (The Great Prophet 8) wargames, shows the Arash being fired.

Many thanks to Nic Jenzen-Jones for providing research, photos and videos relating to the Arash.

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.


  • 11b

    How is this combat effective…. lol

    • Steve

      Relative to Iran’s photoshopped weapon system … I would say very effective 😉

    • Gidge

      It’s highly combat effective… for the opposition!

      There’s no way they’re going to get any kind of accuracy from that thing. Anyone within 10 k’s is going to be alerted to the presence of the shooter once they fire (if they weren’t already wondering what that idiot is doing standing up) and is going to start taking pot shots.

      • 11b

        Lol agreed. Now in an urban environment, considering there isnt any crazy over pressure from that thing, it could give a light vehicle a bad day.

    • Nelson Yang

      unlike the RPG type weapon which based on rocket propeller, this traditional powder gun fired weapon under restrict by many factors: diameter, range, accuracy, even the weight. The only advance of this weapon is its range. However, depending on nowadays material technology boom, such kinetic energy anti-armor weapon is gradually obsoleted. The solution is quit simple: just put any type composite add-on armor which designed to defeat EFP and the job done. Or there is a more simpler solution: adjust the geometry shape of LAV like soviet did in WW2 then u can save a lots of weight!

    • Porty1119

      It would punch right through MRAPs and Strykers. Potential for spalling or a small fragmentation charge is rather alarming.

  • Anonymous

    Looks suspiciously like a Nightforce NXS with a BORS…the side cap may have been replaced, but I really wonder if that’s an actual domestically-produced Iranian optic, or if they simply bought some off the internet and smuggled them into Iran, then put new markings on it.

    • mikewest007

      Or worse, that someone bought one off the Internet and smuggled it to China.

      • Anonymoose

        I’d say that’s probably the case.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      This. My guess is this is the only one that has a BORS on it because it’s a real Barrett part. Oh Iran… someday you’ll get there with your propaganda and trolling

  • Dave

    That poor balloon…

  • big daddy

    He is smiling because he survived shooting it.

  • -V-

    Well, on the up side, at least all the “latest” military tech from Iran for the past 5 or so years looks to be variations of half-baked concepts. Flying boats? Toy ‘stealth’ fighters straight from the pages of GI Joe comics? Now this thing? Its harder and harder to take these guys seriously.

  • abc

    This rifle seems like Barrett M82A2…

    • Garrett

      Agreed, it is probably a clone of the system, but in a scaled up caliber.

      • Anonymoose

        You guys give the Iranians too much credit.

  • cant wait till one blows up in there face ….bastards !!!

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Ah, right, and what is it the people of Iran have done to you exactly? Is it that they are brown? Yea, bastards being brown and all, what were they thinking!?

      • schizuki

        Negative 1 million points for playing the “brown people” card.

        I can’t speak for Brandon, but if Iranians were whiter than Pat Boone, I’d still despise them for the Jew-hating, terrorism-exporting, gay-executing, gynophobic death-cultists they are. You need to learn to see past a person’s skin color.

        • Unsooper

          Indeed. Only racists play that card so we all know you now Chump. For those that don’t bother with World affairs, Iran has been directly killing American soldiers for 10 years.

          • Socius

            And the United States supported Saddam in its 8 year war against Iran which cost the lives of nearly 1 million people. But of course…a few thousand American Lives are worth far more that.

        • And you need to see past a person goverment, because the US goverment has exported plenty of terrorism too. The great thing about being libertarian is the realizantion of how politics is bullshit that only breeds violence and loss of freedom, no matter if american, israeli, saudi, russian, iranian.

          • Cameron

            Firearms not politics!

  • Spencedaddy

    what…..the hell are they smoking over there…

    • Anonymoose

      No.3 Heroin.

  • AK™

    I wonder if I could take a charging Kodiak grizzly with it..before I defecated myself.

  • Man pippy

    Iran couldn’t figure out how to fire the 20mm rifle without hurting their shoulder, so they made this.

  • S O

    I wonder why the arms developers of today don’t simply solve the 20 mm recoil and complexity issues by following the Swedish 20 mm Carl Gustav M/42 (recoilless).

    I suppose there should be some suitable low flash/low smoke propellant by now.

    • bbmg

      The Croatians tried it in a limited manner with the RT-20 , didn’t catch on.

      If you have to throw enough hot gas fast enough to equal the energy of a heavy shell at high velocity, basic physics means that it will always be a high signature weapon that is not suitable for firing from enclosed spaces.

      • S O

        Basic physics also say you don’t need to vent gasses only.
        There are plenty “CS” (confined spaces) versions of recoilless weapons. Some of them use a counterweight which dissolves when shot to the rear.

        Improved combustion of the propellant could also lead to less flash AND less smoke even with the doubled charge strength.

        By the way; it’s not the energy, but the impulse that’s of interest.
        It doesn’t even need to be equal, for some recoil is acceptable. An 80% recoil mitigation including the muzzle brake would easily suffice and allow to ditch the heavy and complicated recoil distribution mechanics of modern big calibre rifles.

        • bbmg

          Granted, there are certain systems like the Armbrust that fire countershot, indeed the original Davis recoilless gun used the same system. You have to consider however that while you might save weight on the gun itself, the weight of the ammunition is greatly increased so the all up weight of the gun plus a given number of rounds would probably be the same. I was unable to find weight data for the M/42 round but looking at dimesions alone it would seem to weigh at least four times as much as a conventional 20mm round.

          • S O

            Keep in mind the brass case and propellant often weigh very little in comparison to the projectile.

            Second, 20 mm rifles aren’t meant to shoot many rounds. Separating weight between weapon and ammo is also more practical than a very heavy weapon with lighter ammo with the same overall weight.

  • Wow this is one of the most silly weapons i have seen in a while

  • tincankilla

    once again demonstrating why Iran’s military capacity is overstated by hawks and also why they are so desperate to get their hands on a nuke or two.

  • noob

    i wonder if air bursting 20mm or 25mm ammo being lobbed downrange from such a system could make an interesting weapon.

    a sniper rifle that can kill a man sitting at the bottom of a trench at 1000m and then jump into a hilux and disappear.

    • Ares4991
    • bbmg

      Given the fact that guidance systems are getting smaller and cheaper with the progress of technology, I think it is conceivable that such high power systems could be replaced by a larger calibre round fired at lower velocity, lobbed at a high angle, that would need less energy to achieve similar range and could therefore use a much smaller and simpler launcher. Indeed it could possible be launched from a simple tube-mortar like device pointed in the general direction of the target while a laser designator would take care of aiming.

  • Black_Viper

    Fienstien better write this one into her bill quick or we could see massive problems like we do with the .50bmg and rocket launcher attachments.

  • ThomasD

    An updated version of the Boys rifle. The pivot approach to mitigating recoil is interesting, but eliminates firing from a prone position. It doesn’t look any smaller or more man portable than a Lahti, so other than the upgraded aiming system I really don’t see the niche I wonder if they tried building one in 30mm? That would make it more appropriate for use against today’s armored vehicles.

    • Ares4991

      It’s meant for use against elicopters, which would make 20mm ”good enough”.
      Then again, effective range is about 1400meters, and you can google how for a hellfire missile will go…

      • ThomasD

        Agreed. Effectively any 20 mm round is no match for a hellfire, or AT4, or pretty much any guided shoulder/pod fired weapon. I can also google how much a hellfire costs…

        A 30mm DU sabot could potentially disable almost any armored vehicle with proper engagement angle and shot placement.

        Not something I’d want to try in an open desert environment, but a few dozen of those scattered in an urban environment could make combined forces operations much more difficult.

    • bbmg

      Maadi Griffin supposedly made a rifle chambered for the same 30mm round fired by the A-10:

      Not sure if this is genuine and in any case, nothing seems to have come of it.

      • n0truscotsman


        That think is incredible!

        With the weight of that thing, its worth it just to carry a carl gustav or AT4!

        Maadi Griffin 30mm: 47 lbs

        AT4: 14 lbs

        Carl Guzzie: 20 lbs

        RPG7: 15 lbs

        RPG29: 41 lbs.

        The RPG29, which can penetrate the frontal armor of a Abrams!

        • bbmg

          In terms of accurate range, a streamlined projectile fired at several times the speed of sound is going to have a much flatter trajectory and therefore can be shot to a greater distance than an RPG type weapon.

          It is definitely overkill though, something like the Steyr AMR can achieve effective armour penetration without an excessively oversized round:

          • n0truscotsman

            thats a really good point and the Army keeps re-learning again just how useful anti-material rifles really are.

  • CHARLIE!!!!!!

    This is obviously a joke…right?

  • Criticalthinkingiscritical

    Why am I not surprised that in Iran’s demonstration/propaganda video the “expert” showing off the gun displays terrible trigger discipline and even casually points it directly at the cameraman (seemingly on accident as he clearly isn’t paying any attention to where it’s pointing).

    My three year old nephew has better gun handling skills.

    • TDog

      If you watch the video, his finger is actually off the trigger when he’s not firing the weapon. He’s using his lower three fingers to cradle the trigger guard to support the weight of the weapon, but when he turns to reveal his trigger finger, it is off the trigger. His trigger discipline, the one thing most Internet observers invariably comment on as lacking in foreign militaries, is actually pretty decent and far and above what most 3-year olds would practice.

      • Criticalthinkingiscritical

        Curling his fingers around the trigger by cradling the trigger guard with them is in no way good trigger discipline.

  • Alpa Chino

    significantly more Bull than Pup in this configuration…

    PS: “Elevation” spell check is not always the writer’s friend 😉

  • what’a DUMB’ASS gun… better buy RPG’S instead…same concept of using HEI round , and a RPG, same bang!!! they ENJOY getting bruised up from the recoil

  • NickB

    I hear they are israli airstrike proof as well

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    I’d gladly shoot that rifle for a Klondike bar.

  • mannys9130

    They should strap a few of these on their new snazzy submarines! That would make for the UGLIEST sub in history, and might just allow them to threaten to shut down the Harmuz again. Yeah, remembet that? Never happened, did it? Not after we sent a naval task force in for some war games! They should just try to buy weapons from somebody who actually KNOWS how to construct a weapon, and does it well. This is just an embarassment!

    • Sleipnir

      Do you mean the much hyped mine hunting exercise that turned into a miserable failure with only around half the 50 or so targets found,I wonder how they`d go with irans 5000+ stock of sea mines?.I wouldn`t knock the iranian naval forces if they shut down the straights they stay shut

  • mosinman

    Ww1 sent a telegram….. they want their AT rifle back..

    • iranian

      2014 sent a wechat massage ……… Down with Israel

      • Kiarash Jalili

        دمت گرم !

  • MrSatyre

    I love how they rarely miss the opportunity to work in some groovy music and singing. It’s like Bollywood, with a Persian twist.

  • mosinman

    Cant wait till this shows up in the next call of duty! Im gunna get no scope headshots across the map!

  • big daddy

    All joking aside I tried to think of a good tactical use for this weapon. I am no expert but did serve in a CAV unit and know something about light armor plus I have seen how they operate in Afghanistan. If I had use of this weapon I think it would work better than any RPG or even small guided missile like Spike or Javelin on lighter armored vehicles like up-armored Humvees, Supacats and even MRAPs. They are cheaper and you can carry more ammo, much more. Here’s a scenario, you set off an IED, it goes off at the first vehicle, your second IED goes off near the end of the armored column. You open up with 7.62mm GPMGs 12.7mm HMG and 50 cal sniper fire and these all at a range of over 500 meters, even more like 800-1000. This is beyond the RPG’s range and the time it takes for these rounds to hit is much shorter than the guided missile. Also some of these vehicles might have self protection and destroy some of the incoming missiles. They cannot do that with a 20mm round. The snipers are going after specific targets like the vehicle commanders(they should have been zeroed in) the 7.62mm and 12.7mm HMGs are raking the vehicles and these 20mm rifles which are able to fire quickly(although not as fast as a 20mm auto cannon) are going after specific vehicles in their most vulnerable places like their turrets which have light armor and/or semi exposed gunners. Before these positions are identified and fired upon they are breaking down and running. After a few of these attacks the air assets used for other needs are now going to be used for ANY vehicle column. These helicopters or aircraft will have to have FLIR. Now when then air assets are used they open up with MANPADS and even these 20mm rifles, which can knock out helicopters. So what I am saying if used correctly it could add to an already pretty good arsenal to create real problems for an army trying to operate in that territory as long as they have the high ground. It gives more of a reach out and touch you from longer distances. It out guns the 50cal M2 and MK19s in terms of getting the first shot in accurately. I do not know if the people using these weapons are tactically sophisticated enough to do this but some of the more experienced fighters may be. We laugh but the idea of a 20mm round hitting any light aromored vehicle I am in doesn’t sound very good. I know it would have cut through the M113s I used to drive.

    • Adam Pearlman

      I think that it would be a very effective weapon under certain circumstances.

  • n0truscotsman

    you guys can be skeptical all you want.

    But Iran is actually a unified, powerful, territorial country. Irans borders have been around since Xerxes, unlike Iraqs which were drawn on a pen and paper by Churchill reorganizing the dying British Empire. The Iranian population is reproductively healthy, conservative, and very patriotic, something the western powers dislike very much. They also buy gold and sell their oil from gold. Not exactly traits that mark it as a friend of the West again.

    Not to dig into political things (subjects such as firearms and Iranian anti material rifles are ALWAYS POLITICAL SUBJECTS!), but such weapons are not to be laughed or scoffed at. They can still penetrate a up-armored humvee or Striker or a hovering helo of any type. No doubt the Iranians will employ them asymmetrically in the event of a war.

    You guys can scoff at Iran all you want. That is a country I would not want to go to war with.

    • Sleipnir

      I think a lot of it just comes down to good old fashioned western ignorance and prejudice,a lot of westerners think that iran is sort of like iraq ie an “arab” oil state with little industry or natural resources run by a crazy dictatorship with a decrepit military machine that supports terrorism and hates the west,one that boasts and blusters but we`d easily wipe the floor with them in a fight,ironically this picture is far closer to americas good friend saudi arabia than it is to iran.In many ways the wests attitude towards iran reminds me of a quote by gandhi

      First they ignore you

      Then they mock you

      Then they fight you

      Then you win

      at the moment we seem to be at the mocking stage certainly judging from the vast majority of the comments here,hopefully we can avoid the fighting stage as that would be a disaster for both sides,however in this I am somewhat pessimistic

      • n0truscotsman

        No youre not being pessimistic, you’re right.

        The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are the only force opposed to the American-Anglo Empire. If the US enters a war with Iran (and they will), it will result in WWIII and the US will quickly learn that Iran is no banana republic.

        • Nelson Yang

          You apparently have no idea what are those BRICS stand for.
          BRICS, most of them are new economy boomed developing country(except Russian is heavily rely on its military power and oil resources). However, they all have different ideology and their own political interesting. For example: China has become more closed to US for foreign investment and technology import; Brazil is a new enormous cheap labour force market which become a strong competitor to China. South Africa, as a member of African Union and Common Wealth country will maintain a good relationship with western. BTW, its ambition to become the leader of the Southern Africa also need the support from western country especially the US. In summary, the political relationship is far complicate than those economic organization and facial hand shaking u saw on the TV.

  • Lance

    With crappy Iranian engineering hate to see on of those blow up YEOW!!!

  • Well it will kill a Stryker and LAVs and maybe a Bradley. It will kill MRAPs as well I am sure. Good luck not getting spotted in the desert firing that thing.

  • Jeff

    What am I seeing? Allah’s holy fighters using rifle parts made by dirty corrupted imperialist pigs? I’m shocked!

  • Much of Iran is populated by people under thirty with some access to the internet. Many of them are fascinated with American and European culture, if the regime of Iran which relies on harsh measures to keep such a population under control would dare attack any neighboring countries under the veil of Islamic revolution no amount of anti- material rifles are going to keep the regime intact. I would like to see one of these puppies take a mullahs head off though!

  • Ryan

    Seems like in the right hands these could be pretty bloody effective.

  • This revival of the category of anti-material weapons, which date to late WWI, began with the Barret a few decades ago. The Barret is a few decades old already? Wow, time flies! It was only a matter of time before someone went from the 50cal Barret to a 20mm version. WWII AT rifles ranged from about 50cal to about 20mm as well.

  • zeraa777

    “20mm shoulder-fired anti-materiel rifle”
    Or as I like to call it, 20mm Shoulder-Dislocator.

  • Haha. Time to take them out. US arsenal = 1,000x better. Goodnight.

  • that looks like the stupidest thing ever why would you want to be standing to fire a weapon you leave your self open to attack.

  • uranium enriched tip ammo?i hear they`re making tons of it!when will it be time to get rid of all these idiots?

  • Dan

    I personally would be quite concerned using this type of weapon in certain types of combat situations! I can see that it could be quite effective in some scenarios, i.e. vehicle mounted or urban theatres…..but in the open desert…no thanks! I don’t think they are onto anything special thats for sure! Standing up firing is a definite no go! So unless the enemy is being suppressed with a high rate of fire, then I certainly wouldn’t be offering to stand up and fire!

  • iranian

    God bless iran.