Kurdish Zagros Gen 2

In 2012 TFB published an extensive post about a homemade rifle being used by the PKK in their fight against Turkey. Recently, a photo has surfaced of the same rifle but with a few upgrades and thus I’m calling it the Gen 2. The additions seem to be the removal of the monopod, more ventilation holes in the handguard, different metals or finishes, an improved compensator, and some other changes. A reader on the previous post left this to say about it-

Its called Zagros, it’s range is 3500 + meters.
Single shots.
Was very effective in the Iran vs pkk war in 2011.
Made from ZPU.

By ZPU I’m assuming the barrel is taken from a 14.5mm ZPU anti aircraft gun.


This is a ZPU 1 14.5mm anti aircraft gun. I’m assuming the barrel is taken off the AA gun and somehow machined into a shoulder fired rifle.


The picture was originally posted on a Kurdish Facebook resistance group page, and the uniform and gear of the woman are consistent with equipment in use by the YPG. Used with permission.



If you have any more ideas, send ’em in!


The photo from the 2012 post.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • Jay

    Thant 14.5x114mm is one mean round. 950gr bullet, going 3300 ftps can do some nasty damage at very long range.
    Shouldn’t be too hard to hit and penetrate a light apc at 1000 meters.

  • Andrew Hobby

    I couldn’t seem to get the FB page to load but a couple questions immediately pop out at me:

    -Some sort of modified AK receiver?
    -It appears to me that the barrel of the ZPU is significantly larger than the barrel shown in the photos of the firearm.

    -the ZPU fires a 14.7 mm (~.57″). If thats the case the barrel looks a bit flimsy for a round that size…

    • Anomanom

      The ZPU barrel has an air cooling jacket. The jacket wouldn’t really be needed for a single shot rifle.

  • iksnilol

    I like 14.5mm, I mean, if I am going to use a big and powerful rifle that is otherwise impractial I might as well do it right. Right? Too bad there isn’t match ammo available in the caliber, at least not easily available.

    • I don’t imagine they’re using it as a sniper weapon.

      • 360AD

        Clearly originally meant as a anti-material/anti-vehicle weapon. But when in war, you use whatever you’ve got against any target of opportunity. If I was in war and find myself wielding one, you can bet your ass I’d be using it to snipe.

      • Dual Sport

        I was thinking anti material as well but something doesn’t seem right about the assumption (I’m assuming your idea is an assumption! Lol.) that the barrel comes from a ZSU. Assuming you want this to have some level of accuracy the barrel has to be okay. If the barrel is okay could one assume the rest of the ZSU is okay? Is the entire ZSU is working properly would a sane leader tear one apart just to turn a barrel into a single shot weapon when they a
        Ready have an extremely effective anti material system in the form of a full auto twin barreled ZSU? You would make the system more portable but so would your rebel fab shop after hijacking a small truck.

        If they have the production capability to turn out a rifle that looks that decent it stands to reason they could find someone with barrels or find a way to manufacture their own.

        I honestly have no idea. I am just throwing that out there.

        • Dual Sport

          I should have said ZPU and single barrel.

        • 360AD

          Just because you use it to snipe doesn’t mean you’re going to be on-target and accurate… but, when necessary, you try. In life and death struggle, you have no choice but to try.

          Even if not an effective sniper weapon, it can have significant contribution to the battlefield—such as slowing enemy movement and providing covering fire.

        • Giolli Joker

          I guess that hauling around a ZPU requires more than a single teenage girl… that “sniper cannon” can be shot from a window and from anywhere a single person can walk to.
          These fighters aren’t an army, high mobility can mean for them more than simple firepower, imho.

      • iksnilol

        True, AMRs (Anti-Materiell Rifles) aren’t really precision weapons. Because an engine is a bit bigger than a human torso.

        Though there have been some long range kills (over 2 km distance) done with 14.5mm. Would be cool to make a lightweight rifle in the caliber. Bullpup, singleshot, aluminum wrapped barrel, titanium telescopic suppressor with muzzle brake. Would be expensive but nice… really nice, and possibly lightweight enough to be somewhat practical.

        + it is a nice cartridge for long range support especially the high explosive incendiary variant.

        • Giolli Joker

          14.5X114mm is a formidable cartridge, with serious performance.
          We don’t see commercial offerings in it basically because of the DD limitation that it has in the US.
          However for military use there are quite a few examples of sniper rifles that chamber it (the website of M. Popenker probably has them all).
          But that performance and lightweight platform don’t go well together… the only way to keep both a light gun and a functional shoulder after a shot, would be to employ a system like the Croatian Rucni-Top RT-20.
          What is quite commonly used to make guns in 14.5mm relatively easy to transport (by 2 people) is a take down system.
          Other obstacle to its diffusion as a sniping caliber is that the available rounds aren’t designed for accuracy and, unlike the .50BMG, there are no match/sniper variants.

          • iksnilol

            I should probably have put lightweight in quotes. By lightweight I meant that the weight could probably be knocked down to 10-13 kg or something. For recoil, the suppressor+muzzle brake combo would help, for additional “shoulder survivability” you could have a recoil reducing stock. Something with an inline design, a good butt pad and possibly some shock absorbing mechanism or something.

            For added portability make the barrel easy to detach. Best comparison to what I am thinking about would be a scaled up Barret M99, made out of lighter materials + a quick detachable barrel.

            I thought 14.5mm has the sporting excemption, for long range competition and stuff? Quality ammo can probably be made, it is just that not many have done that due to its anti-materiell role.

          • Giolli Joker

            I got that you were meaning “lightweight”, problem is that, for such a round you’re falling in the realm of “unfeasible-crazy light”; you’re below half of the average current weight of these guns.
            I won’t post links that would require moderator approval of the post, but I’ll give you some easy to find data:
            -Azerbaijan: Istiglal AMR – 28kg – 1300mm barrel length
            -Hungary: Gepard M3 – 21kg – 1600mm barrel length
            -South Africa: Denel NTW 14.5 – 34kg – 1220mm barrel length
            -South Africa: Truvelo SR 14.5 – 22kg – 1000mm barrel length
            All but the last one, semiautomatic, the two heaviest featuring hydraulic recoil dampeners, ALL of them featuring highly efficient, artillery style, muzzle brakes.
            A suppressor wouldn’t affect felt recoil more than the brake and it would have to be pretty hefty to survive more than 1 shot.
            You have roughly 40% more bullet weight than a .50BMG @ about 20% more velocity…
            Anything below 20kg would probably make the shooter think twice about firing a second shot.
            No Sporting Device exemption for 14.5… where the Destructive Device definition actually is, for once, quite accurate.
            However JDJ (SSK Industries) makes custom rifles in 14.5 JDJ, about 1000grs VLD match bullets in a necked up .50BMG; that is classified Sporting Device surely it’s pretty neutered compared to the soviet round.

          • iksnilol

            Eh, the PTRD-41 is “only” 17 kg. The reason those rifles are so heavy is exactly because they are semi-auto. The PTRS-41 weighs 20 kg (semi auto) the PTRD-41 weighs 17 kg (bolt action, single shot). Suppressors for bigger things have been made with no problem.

            Besides, it is not like you are going to be firing many shots with these. They don’t need to have so soft recoil that you can shoot hundreds of rounds in a hour.

            The primary place to reduce weight would be the barrel. Make a thin aluminum wrapped barrel (like Lothar Walther’s “ultralightweight” barrels) and you can shave of a couple of kilograms at those barrel lengths without issue. The receiver could be made out of titanium to further reduce weight.

            Suppressor is preferable over brake because of less concussion for the user and harder to spot when used. + the weight up front might help with recoil more than the muzzle brake alone would.

            And finally, there are recoil dampening tripods if recoil is such a big issue (is more likely an issue with 20mm).

          • Giolli Joker

            OK… you can contact Anzio Ironworks and get your dream cannon done, I see they can actually chamber their big boy in 14.5…

          • iksnilol

            I was surprised to see how lightweight their 20mm is, only 17.5 kg (39 lbs). I probably can’t get the dream cannon done because of economics and legality

            “yes, kind lady at the police office, I want a 14.5mm portable cannon to hunt moose. It should be okay, it is a bolt action. It isn’t a scary semi auto or anything.”


    • n0truscotsman

      I’ve always felt the west needed their version of the 14.5mm. It provides a good balance between 12.7mm and cannons.

      • iksnilol

        True, especially considering that many armored vehicles are proofed/made resistant spesifically against 50 bmg/12.7x108mm. No need to reinvent the wheel, just use the 14.5mm as is, that way you can also use captured ammo.

        I like 14.5mm, I really like it.

  • Vitsaus

    I love how teenage Kurdish girls have seen more combat that 90% of most internet experts.

    • 360AD

      And far more beautiful too.

    • lurpy

      “That fleece is ridiculous, there’s no way anyone in a combat zone would ever wear something like that!”

      –Some guy on Reddit with 14 full sets of ACUs, 35 AR15 variants, 26 modified Glocks, 12 books on asymmetrical warfare, 3 years worth of survival supplies, and the ability to jog nearly 50 meters before collapsing into a sweaty, crying heap.

    • n0truscotsman

      Very true. This was even the case when we were in Kurdistan during OIF.

    • Nicks87

      You could probably say 90% of the US military as well.

    • dan citizen

      You are discounting video game experience. I’d like to see her 360-no-scope with that beast, she should really have a full auto rocket launcher.

  • Lance

    Small and deadly is the word.

    But I doubt she is the shooter may be getting weapons ready for a operation. Ha Ha looks like the rifle’s recoil could send her airborne.

  • Brandon Davis

    14.5 Soviet is an incredible round for ELR, with ballistics far superior to .50BMG. I’ve always wanted to build a wildcat off of that one!

  • Don Ward

    I hope she is still alive. And shooting ISIS.

    • John Yossarian

      And I hope that ISIS and PKK wipe each other out.

  • Dis

    Dude, know this.. The Brits are polite to a fault. They will throw you under a bus and you will never see it coming because you thought you were friends, polite backstab. Good to party with, watch your girl though because they respect nothing. Just saying..

    • phuzz

      Glad we’re keeping our reputation up abroad, but this article doesn’t mention Brits in any way at all.

    • FourString

      All my British mates have been incredibly loyal. You’ve got to be enormously insecure to write such a sweeping generalization as yours.

    • iksnilol

      Look, I don’t mind you not liking Brits, I am not a too big fan myself, but I don’t judge individuals just because I dislike their government.

      Which sorta brings me to my point; what does Britain have to do with a Kurdish 14.5mm rifle and a Kurdish girl using it?

    • Nigel

      U wot m8? Im gunna break a mug on yer hed swear on me mum.

    • Sledgecrowbar

      I feel like this was supposed to be a text message.

  • The fluted barrel certainly is similar.

  • MountainKelly


  • Not So Russian

    Does someone know the girl’s facebook page? I think I fell in love… Какая же она красавица.

  • MountainKelly

    Also sort if smacks of ptrs41 haha

  • Iblis

    Even a near miss with that beast will kill you.

    • iksnilol

      No, no it wont. The whole “shockwave ripping off an arm” thing has been busted a long time ago… + you wouldn’t believe the myth if you had some understanding of physics.

      PS: interesting username. Do you know what it means?

  • UB

    she is italian, and was abducted some months ago!

  • Casey Craig

    Wow! I want a cute Kurdish Girl for my rifle! Would that particular upgrade make it an assault weapon in New York?

  • Wetcoaster

    I wonder if they’ve had issues with extracting the fired rounds. Those bolt handles look quite long compared to the PTRD. (And those rifles still look better finished than the PTRD)

  • ghost

    Too late, she already knows there are bigger guns.

  • dan citizen


  • Mr Evilwrench

    She is cute as absolute HELL, and firing a rifle like that, I would be inspired to RUIN her. I’d spot for her until her side won, then bring her to IN and spoil her utterly, as long as she’d spoil me too.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    10/10 would bang. Why is there not a calendar of these women yet? Every gunsmithing bench needs that calendar.

  • shadow

    Nice rifle, get in the truck.