What Happened To The Iranian Fateh – It’s An AR-15?

Since we blogged about it a year ago, neither hide nor hair of the Iranian Fateh rifle has been seen, save the images previously released. Now, new photos released by poster ShahryarHedayatiSHBA are reported to be of the rifle – but they depict what appears to be an AR-15 variant, not the Masada-esque weapon previously displayed. The images are displayed below:

3jqx_20150922_081221 bv7zoa7rsjkq90izfgyf bvcpew5fwlzuzwg3w2om fggobaee8uvfkwy4falk l4vrhj129u1nf7dz1v15 lsup7cgsupxe2o6jn7vc pf55b4t510mi2u656ewr rhli929fsftfrltrvx88

The new rifle is pretty modest looking, with upper and lower receivers appearing to be totally bone stock forged units of the M4 type, albeit the upper receiver apparently having its rail segments milled off. The ARMS-esque handguard locks into the rifle’s M4-style front sight block and a positively retro flat delta ring, and the standard buffer tube is mated to a Command Arms buttstock. The only seemingly unique thing is the somewhat strange pistol grip, which may be an original Iranian part.

Questions about this rifle abound – Shahryar claims it is a Fateh, but if that’s the case, what happened to the much more radical indigenous Fateh, which was clearly unrelated to the AR-15? Did the Iranians cease development of that weapon, or is “Fateh” a broader name than we had been previously led to believe, which refers to a whole program, not just a type of rifle? Could this even be a deliberate disinformation campaign by the Iranians? Will we see the “first” Fateh again?


Thanks to Shahryar for the tip!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Whats with the red, white and green booties and gloves?
    Are they celebrating Cinco De Mayo?

    • Rey

      It is the colors of Iran. Just like we wear red, white, and blue.

      • Joshua

        Last I checked we don’t wear red white and blue gloves and booties.

        • Core


      • TheNotoriousIUD


        • Rock or Something

          “You suck McBane!”

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            “Maybe you are all homosexual!”

  • Joshua

    They couldn’t make the ACR work either…so they coppied a weapon that actually functions… XD

  • Joshua

    Wait wait wait…where the hell did they get Matech sights? Those are made by Picatinny.

    • Probably Chinese clones, or clones of Chinese clones.

      Just like the rifle is a clone of a Chinese clone.

  • john huscio

    Looks like it might just be an “evolution” of the Chinese m16 knockoff (the CQ) that norinco sold Iran (who then sold their knockoff of a knockoff to Sudan, who began making their own knockoffs)…..the pistol grip certainly suggests that direction

    • I think you may be right.

    • ostiariusalpha

      That’s the vibe I’m getting off it as well. Those sanctions aren’t going to just up & vanish overnight, seems very probable they had to go with a more off-the-shelf design for budget reasons.

    • Gidge

      You’re right. They’ve just chopped the carry handle, bolted on some rails and painted them up. They set up that production line a long time ago with old manufacture technologies (Norinco probably sold them their outdated equipment).

      So basically you’ve got an old budget AR clone that’s they’ve tried to make look modern and mean

    • Friend of Tibet

      “Chinese m16 knockoff “

      I have a Chinese CQ-A rifle that is as good as any other AR rifle I have owned(DDM4 I am talking to you, your magwell so tight can’t even drop free a pmag). And I notice on wiki they didn’t mention all the updates China did with their AR15, now the version you get in Canada is totally not a knock off, they are just like regular AR15 with a new brand.

      • john huscio

        Well knock off doesn’t necessarily mean “bad”

        • Friend of Tibet

          I respect that. 😛

          But I wonder how you determine what is considered as a “knockoff” and what is considered as “an AR15 variation by a different manufacture” 😛

  • Mr.HappyMeatball

    Magazine: in, Selector: auto, Muzzle: well in hand, sir. It’s things like this that give me the heebie-jeebies. Or am I being to safety conscious? Or maybe it’s a cultural thing …

    • nadnerbus

      Those are all good attributes in people you may have to fight some day. Not so much in your own military.

      • slappy white

        Why would I have to fight Iranians- like the Iraqis snd Syrians they have never trsnsgressed against me. Now I could understand the Iranians having a beef with us after Operation Ajax in the 50s and our installation of the murderous Shah as their ruler.

        • nadnerbus

          Because the US is always picking on poor little theocratic dictatorships that never export terror, mine the waterways of the global commons, or threaten the nuclear annihilation of Israel.

          Past sins of US policy aside, any sane person should be concerned with the leadership of Iran. God knows nobody with a brain wants a war, but world events don’t always give you what you want.

        • ostiariusalpha

          The truth is, the overthrow of Mosaddegh was almost entirely instigated and backed by the very same ayatollahs that later drove out the Shah. The CIA saw where the situation was going in 1953 and, with some cleverness & money, managed to convince military leaders more sympathetic to American interests to preemptively coup the prime minister; from that point they were able to install the Shah. This pissed off the ayatollahs, but it took them several decades to build up support again for their dream of a theocratic republic.

  • Rey

    It looks like a A1 upper with the carry handle chopped.

    • Joshua

      Spot on. I downloaded the photos on my phone. They had a resolution of like 3500×2400 or some such and that is def a chopped carry handle with a bolted rail.

    • Now that you mention it, I can’t unsee it. Well done sir. Perhaps this means this is a rifle upgrade measure?

      • Rey

        I don’t think they field any M16A1 or clones. Other people are saying CQ which seems most likely.

        • May

          Their current issue rifle the KH-2002 is based on the m16a1, more specifically some Chinese clones of them they tested as a potential G3 replacement. They might be a bit disappointed with the bullpup conversion job and consequently stepped back to the original format to work with. Certainly explains the grip and forward assist.

      • iksnilol

        Maybe it is a prototype?

    • Lance

      No its a flat top.

      • LCON

        lance get your Mk1’s checked. The Rail is a after market hack job. same kinda thing you saw back in 2003 when M16A2’s started getting converted to flat tops.

    • nadnerbus

      Yeah, forward assist and everything.

      • Otm Shooter

        And no brass deflector.

  • Anonymoose

    Wait, isn’t Command Arms all made in Israel for the most part? wtf?

    • JK

      “If the cash is there, we do not care.”

      • Anonymoose

        Sounds like something from a Ben Garrison or A. Wyatt Mann cartoon.

    • LCON

      Palestinian militants often use Israeli accessories.

      • Anonymoose

        Hmm…I wonder where they’re getting those. They’ve had Israeli FALs and M16s (A1 and A2) all over the ME for decades, but those were all (supposedly) captured by Syrian and other Muslim countries’ forces in the various wars over the years.

        • LCON

          If memory serves, how they get them was covered in previous posting here. More or less boiled down to outside parties buying them off the shelf filing the made in Israel markings off then mailing them in. probably the same deal here

  • Hardwood83

    My guess is they bought these as-is off Gunbroker. Will that rear sight line up with the front sight- sitting on that cobbled rail like that?

    • Joshua

      No. Matechs are designed for the receiver height and front post height of the M16 and M4. That’s probably why it is on the 600M setting.

  • AliceSpeedwagon

    That pistol grip looks like it was from one of those Chinese CQ AR15s.

  • lowell houser

    Makes sense for Iran to do this. Weapons parity with the countries most likely to invade could come in handy for them. But honestly the tech to build AR’s is easily within reach of even third world countries these days. These might even be piston guns, say with a piston out of an AR18?

    • Joshua

      Nope. They have a gas tube. You can see it on the full size photos.

    • Rock or Something

      Although the Finns (largely) adopted Russian weaponry because of the Winter and later Continuation War, most nations, if given a choice, find it in their interest to adopt a caliber and weapons system opposite of the nation you will most likely fight. The only other times you would willfully go with an enemy caliber is if your domestic industry is incapable of meeting the demands of the military.

      • Esh325

        The Iranian military seems to have a mixture of small arms. G3,AKM,cq rifle and their own bullpup design

      • Southpaw89

        Or you intend to invade said nation, hence the STEN gun being capable of accepting MP-40 mags.

        • Not MP40 mags. Bergman MP28 mags. But that’s because the Sten is a simplified, second generation clone o the Bergman MP28…

          And the reason they DD it that way was they *could* copy the Bergman cheaply, at a time when Thompsons cost the British government about 20x as much (and *couldn’t* be just copied). They really would have preferred to issue the Thompsons to every unit, but they couldn’t afford to.

          Having over a million rounds of captured 9x19mm on hand, with literally nothing else to do with it, and it not needing to be paid for while they tooled up for mass SMG ammo productuon, certainly influenced decisions, too.

      • AK

        Finland adopted Russian weaponry because that was what was left in the country after the declaration of independence in 1917. The Grand Duchy of Finland being one of Imperial Russia’s frontiers prior to that, we had a lot of weaponry in stockpiles. For example, it is still quite common to find Arisakas from the Russo-Japanese war in Finland, as well as other remnants of pre-1917 Russian war booty. This is also the reason that most Finnish Mosins wear the old hex receivers. My own M28/30 has a 1900 Tula receiver, for example.

        • Bill

          isn’t Finland sort of a de facto suburb of Russia, at least according to Russia?

          • iksnilol

            According to Russia everything is Russia.

  • Why reinvent the wheel when you can just copy it?

  • Lance

    See alot of the Chinese CQ rifle in the Iranian copy it has a A1 lower receiver with no reinforcements in the front or rear. Seems to have a FF barrel assembly. Over see why Iran wants the rifle of there “Great Satin”. Iaq next door is flooded with M-16s Obama gave the Iraqis when he had the Army flee Iraq. Ammo and parts all over the mid east and with Iran invading Iraq to keep the Shiites in power can see common rifles with the Iraqi Army when fighting ISIS. Though regular Iranian forces still seen on the news with G-3s from the Shahs era and Type-56 AKs.

    • john huscio

      What about the “great lace”?

  • Squirreltakular

    You have to love the drawn-on T markings.

    • nadnerbus

      Yeah I noticed that too. Nothing says quality like hand written markings on a gun.

      • Bill

        There’s worse things. After hassling with buttstock card holders I’ve noted some basic sight dope in Sharpie on my patrol rifle. It’s just a tool.

        • Zebra Dun

          Done world wide no doubt at ranges.

    • whskee

      In english too. The irony.

      • SP mclaughlin

        The irony is that Islam is an Arab construction.
        (not trying to get political though)

        • iksnilol

          Isn’t that kinda a derailment? Imagine this: You have two guys talking about their love of ice cream, then a third guy pops in and starts talking about how Edison stole Tesla’s inventions. Like, what does it have to do with the original topic?

          • Zebra Dun

            The Old Ford vs Blondes moment.
            Could also known as the Chevy vs Brunettes minute.

          • iksnilol

            Never heard of it called that. That’s a nice name for it. I’ll use it in the future. Always nice to have your vocabulary expanded.

          • Zebra Dun

            It stems from every on-line, internet argument/discussion gradually or suddenly drifting off the subject of guns, quantum Physics, what ever the subject was to an argument or discussion over Blondes vs Brunettes, Fords vs Chevy and Mary Anne or Ginger.
            Men being Men and all that.

            I would guess it is the same everywhere there are men.

          • iksnilol

            Eh, it isn’t only men. Women are also somewhat like that. Though being men, women are a mystery.

            I recently asked a girl what was “hot” about a guy. She started giving me the whole “personality, sweetness…” spiel. So I told her: “What is it about a specific guy that makes you want to tear his clothes off faster than a fat kid tears off candy wrapper?”. She then of course mentioned muscles and powerful eyes. Context that makes my story hilarious: She was dating a really skinny, weak guy for almost a year.

          • Zebra Dun

            There is a graph called the Hot to Crazy zone guide to women.
            I understand there is a Hot to not guide for women about men.

            For men the Ugly but rich man is the hottest, the poor to hand some the lowest.
            In Between is the guy with available money who is not ugly as a pig yet might in bad light be mistaken for Brad Pitt with a bad haircut.

            For women the hotter they are the crazier they are.
            The less hot the less crazy, in between are the women who are not crazy at least three quarters of the month yet are hot enough to be mistaken for Evangeline Lilly in a poorly lite bar and a few beers.

            The difference in men and women is, “All women are somewhat crazy.” and thus here we are on a firearm blog discussing hot or crazy women.
            Ford or Chevy?

          • iksnilol

            That’s a nice explanation, got to write it down.

            Ford or Chevy? I prefer Škoda. So fancy I got to copy paste the name because my keyboard doesn’t have the Š.

          • Zebra Dun

            Skoda! A Yeti! I watched a Top Gear TV show that evaluated the Skoda Yeti and it was impressive.
            Wish I could get one here.
            I have an old Ford Ranger Edge myself. 2004 model V-6 2WD extended cab.
            It gets me around, hauls hay and feed and doesn’t make me look like I’m too much of an old fogy.
            It ain’t a van thank the Horse Goddess!

          • iksnilol

            Hold yer horses, it’s an Octavia. It’s a 2/3 my age, it has windows that you actually *roll* up. It’s black sedan so I win in the style department and it is economical.

            “It ain’t a van thank the Horse Goddess!”

            I take it you have never driven a VW Caravelle?

          • Zebra Dun

            I get excited over the Skoda Yeti LOL NO the only van I’ve ever owned was a Classic VW bus, my knees were the first line of defense in any front end wreck, I froze in the winter and the heater attempted to kill me trying to stay warm with carbon monoxide.
            It was fun to drive though.

            My Ford has roll up windows by choice, I got tired of window failure in the worst weather with the windows stuck down and the expense of fixing them.
            Not to mention the hassle fixing them myself.

            Now pictures of the Octavia seem to make it look good to drive in style.
            When my Chevy S-10 three years ago overheated it’s four cylinder and died I had to ride a bicycle everywhere I wanted to go if the wife wasn’t here in her Ford warning alarm ridden Explorer, Three years of biking gave me good health at least which is another story.

          • iksnilol

            “[a lot of bad stuff about the Caravelle]
            It was fun to drive.”


            We had one that was over 20 years old. Only reason we sold it was because we wanted something newer. It was hilarious selling it, people were thinking it was a scam or something.

            Yeah, roll up windows are the best. Help somebody fix their electric windows once and you’re a believer.

      • jcitizen

        Uh – I thought we used the Arabic numeral system already. There would be no difference there, if that is the case. Maybe Hindu-Arabic, but close enough.

  • Esh325

    it could be a Chinese cq rifle since they’ve bought them in the past.

  • nadnerbus

    It fits the usual Iranian claim of fielding a new weapon system, and then trotting out a cosmetically changed version of fifty year old US tech we sold them pre revolution.

  • Skokie

    Mother of god! They’ve acquired hydro-dip technology!

  • tazman66gt

    Why would they have to build anything, as many M16’s and M4’s we’ve given and left here and there they could just pick em up and start using them.

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    THIS IS NOT A FATEH. More like a Iranian Norinco CQ. Look at the revolver style pistol grip and compare it with Norinco CQ.

    • It is certainly not the same rifle we saw before that was called “Fateh”, but it was sent to me under the name, so who knows?

      • Azril @ Alex Vostox

        Agree with ya. Guess iRan and North Korea is still a mysterious lands of firearms. No one knows what’s going there.

      • Farzam Mir

        That is not ”Fateh”, that is an upgraded variant of Sayyad 5,56 which is a copy of chinese CQ, it is known in Iran as M-16

  • SP mclaughlin

    Still running 20 round magazines?

  • tazman66gt

    the piece of tape over the manufacturer stamping on the left side of the rifle makes me wonder if its not something they bought.

  • Evan

    I noticed that their cammies are a ripoff of MARPAT too.

    • Zebra Dun

      Loved the leggings in multi colors!
      Is this their form of reflector belts?

  • dshield55

    LOL, all this is is a butchered CQ. Litterally butchered. I think you guys got pranked. It’s not a Fateh, it’s just a lone/crafty Iranian who made their own mods to a CQ. But thanks for posting anyway, it’s pretty neat to look at.

    They milled off the carry handle and drilled and tapped the remaining top part of the recever to screw in a picatinny rail. You can still see the nubs of where the carry handle used to be. It’s got the CQ grip and the CQ forward assist, and possibly the CQ front sight block. All they did extra was paint it, throw on a non-free floated quad rail and replace the stock and buffer setup with an M4 style one.

    • dshield55

      Maybe this is the new new Fateh though because in the last picture you can see three more soldiers with them as well. So this isn’t a one off. Maybe they gave up on the original Fateh and decided to modify existing Iranian stocks of CQs and call them Fatehs anyway.

  • Mongfish

    For sure a A1 upper with the handle chopped , look at the first pic and the one showing the rail, clearly showing the bolts holding it on.

  • Andrew Benton

    I know a bit about this rifle. It has 300% more Inshallah than any other AR-variant, making it far superior.

    • Al

      It has more derka derka too.

  • Zebra Dun

    Well…it is Tacti-cooled out!
    What was that old saw, the sincerest form of flattery?

  • Core

    Yes, this is the American Stoner design. Designed to smite all evil and free the oppressed. Best run routinely stripped and wet: rack, tap, and bang! It’s more Merican that cheese burgers and American fries.. lol

  • Steve_7

    The pistol grip looks like the old Norinco CQ grip.

  • TJbrena

    The previous intended replacement for the G3s and other rifles used by Iran was the KH-2002. That was a bullpup conversion of the Iranian DIO S 5.56, itself a licensed production of the Norinco CQ, a Chinese clone of the AR. In other words, it was a bullpup-ified knockoff of a knockoff.

    So it’s possible this may be a modernization of the DIO S 5.56, not the Fateh rifle, assuming “Fateh” is a rifle and not a replacement program, which is also possible.

    However, since Defense Industries Organization is a defense conglomerate owned by Iran, any “competition” would likely be won by DIO and one (or more) of its rifles. More likely that DIO would just provide weapons for testing, and they pass or don’t. Those that pass might get mass-produced from there, though in what quantity is hard to say.

    And given the quality Iranian military hardware seems to have, I’m not exactly worried about indigenous designs they produce.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    My Wishlist

    KAC SR-15 E3 MOD 2 16″
    Lancer L5 AWMs
    Aimpoint Micro T-2
    KDG Sidelok mount
    Surefire M300 Mini Scout Light w/ KAC mount
    VCAS sling
    Lanco Tactical Grip Stop
    KAC thumb rest
    Magpul MOE-SL grip

  • All the Raindrops

    What an ugly bubba dissy.

    And lol @ the Israeli furniture. Way to innovate, Iran.

  • SD

    Is that a Matech buis? Blasphemy.

  • Madcap_Magician

    Probably the same thing happened to it that happened to that Iranian stealth fighter that was mostly paper mache.

  • Donald Darr

    The pistol grip looks like the one that the Chinese had on their copy of our M-16 / AR-15 (Norinco Type CQ). Maybe the Chinese are supplying these to Iran?

  • Bdpenn

    I think the colorful leggings are cooler than the Mattel Johnny West rifle. Must be a Iranian gay rights parade.
    I had a cool Mattel “Combat” Sargents (Vic Morrow)Thompson when I was a kid in training. My brother had Little Johns BAR.