SDF Forces With Modified Zastava M93

The mostly Kurdish composed Syrian Democratic Forces were recently pictured in combat against the so-called Islamic State with a modified Zastava M93 Black Arrow anti-material rifle. The M93 is chambered in either .50 BMG or the Russian 12.7x108mm cartridge. The M93s in use by not only the SDF but also elements of the Kurdish Peshmerga are most likely in 12.7x108mm due to the ample supply of Russian ammunition in the area of operations. Kurdish forces have been known to have been using M93s for some time now

Kurdish forces have been known to have been using M93s for some time now in their fight against the Islamic State, but this recent development shows a particular Zastava M93 that has been modified with a raised picatinny rail and Fab Defense SSR25 buttstock with a raised cheek piece to accommodate for the higher scope mount. The scope is unidentified at this point but appears to have parallax adjustment and an illuminated reticle, in addition to very tall turrets that suit the long range adjustments of the cartridge. It is possibly Russian due to the presence of a number of cheap Russian scopes that have appeared throughout the region. The scope is also completely different than other scopes in use on unmodified M93s in use elsewhere with the Kurds, identified by an orange cap on the windage adjustment turret. At first glance, it would appear that the rail has come off a Remington X2010 but it doesn’t really fit the profile.

Initially, we considered the possibility of the rifle being a modified Aspar Arms M93 copy being produced in Armenia but the direction of the carrying handle doesn’t match that of the Aspar Arms rifle. The presence of these modifications looks to be professionally done and thus begs us to consider the possibility of a number of these modified M93s in service with the SDF. Whether or not the modifications were done by the Kurds or elsewhere is an answer that we are still looking for.

Fab Defense SSR-25

Aspar Arms M93 copy


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


  • VanDiemensLand

    Something about hunting ISIS with an anti-mat rifle appeals to the child in me, and the adult for that matter Mwahahaha

    • Marc

      It’d be even better if they dip the bullets in pork fat.

      • mike

        Being forced to ingest pork will not send them to hell, they have to willingly do it. The pork thing has been played out.

        • seanc

          They’ll burn in hell regardless. It’s the insult that matters. Moor bacon!

        • Anonymoose

          Plus the Kurds are Muslim too, so they would actually be the ones damning themselves by voluntarily handling pig flesh.

      • Could we please stop it with the Islamophobia? Is that possible? Thanks.

        • Swarf

          Bleed over from TTAG.

          • 22winmag

            …or a GlockTalk refugee such as myself.

            Islamophobia is a celebrated tradition over at GT, but downing the cops gets you banned.

        • neckbone

          Some feel it’s not islamophobia when they really are trying to kill groups of innocent people. We need to take this more serious. It’s not a 1 or 2 time event. It’s weekly and monthly.

        • CavScout

          Research the ‘first crusade’ and you’ll never use that term again.

      • Paul Rain

        Boy, stop it with the ‘counter jihad’ crap.

        The vast majority of Kurds are Muslim. The majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims.

        What makes the Kurds a ‘different’ group, generally opposed to the Islamic State, is that the Islamic State is primarily comprised of your standard Arabs of Arabian pennisular origin. These people are heavily inbred (rates of cousin marriage >50%) and only ever organise on tribal or a combination of tribal and religious lines.

        The Kurds are much the same. They are just a different inbred tribe (with considerably more cousin marriage than occurs in Iran or Syria), which has been convenient for anti-Arab nationalist forces (America and Israel) to ally with. They are the enemy of our enemy. That’s fine. That’s good, within limits. But they also become our enemy, when they are allowed into Western countries.

        They are also the enemy of the only functional multiethnic state left in the Middle East, if you consider al-Assad’s attempts to discourage cousin-f**king and force the Sunnis and lower-quality Shia’s to actually send their kids to high school to be something that a working state should be doing.

      • truthsayer

        Who is human? Who is not? judaism DOT is

    • In basic our drill told us that was against the Geneva convention….then reminded us that an LBE is equipment.

  • wetcorps

    Sweet shooting rug.

    • Swarf

      I thought he had a leg-of-lamb suppressor in the first picture.

  • JoelC

    Wow, one of them is wearing ear protection.

  • Gary Kirk

    So this is pretty much.. I’ll see your 7.62 tracers, and raise you a 12.7 AP..

  • Ninoslav Trifunovic

    The old scopes are 8×56 made by company called Zrak-Teslic.

  • Peter Nissen

    Picture two – that’s a lovely tea towel your resting you rifle on. It’s important to keep up appearances for morale’s sake!