NEW Rifle by Serbian Zastava Arms called MAR (Modular Automatic Rifle)

Serbian Zastava Arms has introduced a new rifle during the “Partner 2017” International Fair of Armaments and Defense Equipment held in Belgrade, Serbia. The rifle is called MAR which stands for Modular Automatic Rifle.

Images by and

It is easy to notice that this rifle is based on AK-47. However, it has some design differences and improvements. The most significant one is the possibility to quickly change the barrels. The user can change the barrels to switch the calibers from 7.62x39mm to 6.5mm Grendel and vice versa. Earlier, Serbia has adopted the 6.5 Grendel (6.5x39mm) in small scales and looks like they are considering keeping it along with the 7.62x39mm cartridge.

Although the quick change barrel system is a good feature (something that AKs always lacked), I think the Zastava engineers made too bold statements about it. I’ll just quote the

According to Zastava arms engineers, this is the first assault rifle in the world which is designed with the capacity of changeable barrel.

The rifle also features telescoping and folding stocks. Note also the different style safety selectors on different models. The straight magazine is possibly the 6.5mm Grendel one because that cartridge has a minimal case body taper which should allow using those straight magazines. The rifle feeds from either 20 or 30 round magazines. I assume the straight ones are also the 20 rounders because the traditional curved AK magazine is definitely a 30 round one.

The top one-piece Picatinny rail is either removable to allow a classic AK-style disassembly or the gun has a different disassembly way.

Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
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  • USMC03Vet

    I wonder if the plans to sell civilians models with soft metal have already been completed.

  • Just Say’n

    The world needs MAR Grendel.

  • Malthrak

    I’ll never understand the fascination with slapping M4 stocks on everything. They’re hardly the greatest stocks in the world, look especially absurd on AK platform rifles, and generally feel like a hamfisted “me too!” Tacticool bolt-on.

    That said, the rifle looks like it might be interesting.

    • Johnsmyname

      I couldn’t agree more. Also, I’ve found all AK platforms with any kind top rail system and optics to be nearly unusable without an adjustable cheek rest. I had a Polish Mini-Beryl for a while and you literally needed to float behind it to use a red dot.

    • Joe

      Standard M4 stock looks ridiculous on any other platform, and aren’t really that great a stock. If they were, Magpul (and others) wouldn’t be selling replacement stocks hand over fist. I get an argument like “it’s the new standard, you can put any stock you want on the buffer tube!”, but that makes for a very wide folder where it isn’t necessary, like on an AK variant.

      • Jason Culligan

        When designing a military rifle, looks are of little concern. It’s about effectiveness and cost. The M4 stock does the job required of it and the sheer number of them made (plus the availability of equipment to make them) results in a budget friendly and effective enough choice.

    • I think it’s more that everyone has eighty bajillion M4 stocks laying around. Way easier to take your standard buffer tube and slap on a $10 part you have a hundred of already than say “you know, I think for this prototype I’m gonna blow $200 on a UBR2…”

      • Ninoslav Trifunovic

        And You nailed it. It’s exactly what happened here. Btw, they are thinking about putting Zhukov in a future. Plus, this is just a prototype, not finished rifle.

    • gunsandrockets

      IDK. I used to think the same as you.

      But being able to rapidly and easily adjust LOP in the field to accommodate the different rifle shooting positions is awfully nice.

    • LCON

      It’s commonality. The tube adaptor should be able to fit any M4 spec stock that means stuff from makers across the planet.

    • Anon. E Maus

      They are easily adjustable to the Length Of Pull of various people, so it can be appealing from the perspective of logistics and user comfort/handling.

  • Bill Wilson

    Looks like someone found an AK that was left a little too close to Chernobyl and decided to slap some M4 parts on it.

  • RSG

    Italian Military uses the Beretta ARX 200(?) which I believe has easy barrel interchangeability. Also, as far as this Zastava MAR…….where the hell is the Buy It Now button, damn-it?!?!?!?

    • EdgyTrumpet


    • Samuel Millwright

      I have two different quick change bbl AR setups, one of which also has exchangeable magazine wells to boot!

      Also, there’s Steyr AUG, and the johnson semiautomatic rifles / light machine guns had quick change bbl’s and caliber swap capabilities from day one… (Before pearl harbor by a few years)

      Side note:… AR oem’s all y’all should hop in the delorean with doc brown and go back to the future status borrowing some old school Mel Johnson JSAR / JLMG trix for good lil boy n girl muricans! (Hint: qcb setups shouldn’t be so damn hard.. Thibk like a johnson!

  • Giolli Joker

    Look like they made it of Lego bricks… and that would be awesomely modular.

  • Vhyrus

    Can’t wait til century starts importing these.

  • micmac80

    Syria and Iraq wars have been great for business at Zastava as they are one of the prime supliers to uncle Sam’s approved jihadis and ‘moderate terrorists’ groups, now they can do some new stuff

  • Samuel Millwright

    So, the upper is aluminum and a single monolithic piece… Kinda unsure how it comes on and off though. It has passed 25,000 rounds of reliability etc testing already, and has steel where you’d expect it as well as a new buffer. The steel reinforcements, bcg guide rails, and buffer form a skeleton inside the lower drastically reducing the stress put on the AL upper. The handguard apparently will sport Mlok slots on the sides and possibly bottom too.

    They’ve almost got drums and quad stack grendel mags done or nearly so too.

    It’s kinda interesting and exciting, especially the qcb, but I’ll hold out for a 5.45 conversion.

    • Chris22lr

      It’s not an upper, it’s simply a top cover which extends to the front and thus acts also like a sort of typical AK upper handguard/gas tube cover. You can see that it is attached via two pins, one in the rear (where on typical AK a push button is located), and on on the front.

      • Samuel Millwright

        I’m perfectly aware of what it is… And i referred to it as the upper because the guy i got my information on it from calls it that…

        And seeing as how he lives in the region, is fully fluent and literate in the language the zastava people and Serbian military use to communicate, has some level of involvement himself and or close associates involved in the development process, and uses the term upper for it exclusively…

        He’s also mentioned that an aluminum shelled LOWER may also be used on the series production finished products provided the steel reinforced aluminum LOWER meets durability requirements etc!

      • Samuel Millwright

        Well,…. No … It’s an upper… Like the m&m upper

        • Chris22lr

          No it isn’t.

          In M+M (M&M is a brand of sweets BTW) there is indeed separate upper receiver (see the word receiver? that’s the key) and lower receiver. Lower contains fire control group, while upper contains bolt carrier group, rails on which the BCG travels during firing cycle, and also barrel trunnion.

          In Zastava MAR, all these elements are located in your typical AK-style receiver. No lower, no upper – AK receiver is monolithic. The top cover is top cover and nothing else. In fact, extended top covers on AK are nothing new – Russians tried that in 2015 version of AK-12. Once again – take a look on the background photo. Rifle shown there is earlier version of MAR, and have the same receiver as the newer gun. You can even see (on both MAR and it’s prototype) rivets with which barrel trunnion is attached to receiver. It’s made just like any other stamped Zastava AK, or any RPK.

      • BK

        It can be called upper as it (is supposed to) incorporates gas tube into it, so it is not a simple cover.

    • BK

      ATM it is development model so some off the shelf components are used for proof of concept.
      Lower is supposed to be skeletonized steel encased in polymer.

      BTW, 9x39mm is also considered for replacing MP-5s.

      • BK

        For disassembly you pull back whole upper to the rear, it is mounted on “rails” on the lower.

        • Samuel Millwright

          Like M&m m10x… NICE

      • Samuel Millwright

        I heard aluminum lower but poly makes perfect sense too…

        The Iranian FAJR rifle design does something like this…

        • BK

          Skeletonized steel can be encased in either poly or aluminium. Zastava recently acquired new aluminium forge, so my guess is we will first see aluminium one.
          For polymer, it will probably have to wait, considering Zastava’s polymer framed pistol is also on hold due the lack of polymer casting equipment for mass production.
          PS. If your info comes from TN, that is me.

    • noob

      I think I can see a takedown pin going crosswise at the stock trunion and another silvery crosswise takedown pin where the old ak rear leaf sight would have been.

      I really hope that there is no mid-rail hinge tomfoolery but instead you can pop the front take down pin and lever the whole top rail backwards like a suitcase lid to get to the guts. Actually maybe that’s a bad idea. better pop both pins and take the entire top off rather than tempt me to turn the “suitcase lid” arrangement to face me…

      • Samuel Millwright

        Totally! Like the good early versions of AK12 which was open from ass to adams apple up top LOL.

        There’s a few other of the AK12 early version features which need to be made into aftermarket addon’s etc…

        I have to say though that the saiga mk107 actually makes the ak with AR buffer tube and stock thing look badass! (It’s the way it’s interface adapter with rear of receiver is setup. It actually makes the geometry and sighting angles work right, plus it has the sling attachment point sorta like the early AK12 one with it’s near 360 loop around stock wrist.

  • Vitor Roma

    So the guys never heard about the Aug and Arx?

    • JSmath

      It was probably a translation mistake, some cheeky wording where they actually said their equivalent phrase for AK that was localized into Assault Rifle, then spat back out as the first quick-change barrel AK to the translators confusion.

      • Sermon 7.62

        The first quick-change barrel AK is RPK-16.

  • 🦑 🐙

    I’m really digging Zastava lately. Definitely want an npap pistol!

    • Ragged Hole

      The M92 PAP pistol is cool but with only 10″ non-chrome barrel, it clocks in at a heavy 7lbs. The Draco pistol comes in at 5.5lbs, 12.5″ chrome-lined barrel, takes standard AKM furniture, and being made by Cugir is a a bit more polished than the Zastava products than can vary a bit when it comes to quality control. I have both of them and they are both a lot of fun but if I was going to get another it would be the Draco.

  • Smelost

    I’ve always liked Zastava and Serbians. Kosovo je Srbija! Nice to see someone bringing the AK to the next generation. Add a 9×39 option to the 7.62 and grendel and I’m sold.

    • iksnilol

      Then why is Kosovo independent if it is Serbia? Get bent you commie.

      • I wunder

        Nato duh. Surely wasn’t because the Albanians (or you Bosnians for that matter) was handling the Serbs. Serb hater much? You are not even Albanian or Serbian, why do you care what goes on in Kosovo?

        • iksnilol

          If it annoys the serbs, then I like it 🙂

          • I wunder

            Nato attacked the wrong side. Nato should have helped the Serbs and Croats rid Bosnia and greater Yugoslavia of all the hold overs of Ottoman brainwashing.

          • iksnilol

            But they didn’t.

            So suck on that.

        • Sermon 7.62

          I spoke once with a Bosnian Croat, and from that conversation I concluded that nationalist and religious propaganda made them all hate each other.

      • Ninoslav Trifunovic

        And get bent you too. You know very well why, but you know deep inside that it will be again. You aren’t Siptar so it’s not your problem.

        • I wunder

          There are many who support Serbia, no matter the positions of our government towards Serbia. Forgive our Ottoman friend who seems to love “Bosnia” so much that he has moved to Norway.

  • MrBrassporkchop

    Now they need an MSAR to sell us.

  • Matt Taylor

    Did the Serbians just troll the American gun industry? “It’s not an ASSAULT rifle, it is ackshyually called Armalite Rifle.” “There is no such thing as an ASSAULT rifle.”

    Well, Serbia just invented it 😛

    (Don’t let the sarcasm trigger you now :P)

    • Stephen Paraski

      Germany coined the term in 1940’s.

      • Matt Taylor

        Indeed. That’s why I said the American gun industry. We are quick to act like there is no such thing as an “assault rifle.” Hence the trolling on my behalf.

  • ClintTorres

    Not that I wish conflict upon anyone but I’d be interested to read reports describing the combat effectiveness of 6.5×39.

    • Paul Epstein

      It’s effectiveness in combat should be very close to 6.5 Arisaka doing an apples to apples comparison (bullet weight, barrel length, etc.). And I don’t think any GI’s in the Pacific theater felt those bullets were insufficiently dangerous. Very little is new under the sun when it comes to cartridge design.

    • klaus.ramelow

      What are the correct dimensions of the 6,5 Grendel ?
      6,5 x 39 or 6,5 x 38 ?

  • Sermon 7.62

    It looks uglier than Galil.

  • CJS3

    Interesting concept, but that rifle looks like it might still be a work in progress.

    • Sermon 7.62

      It looks like Zastava is out of gas.

  • Dude

    kind of looks like the prototype ak-12

  • gunsandrockets

    20 round, optically sighted, 6.5mm Grendel, Kalashnikov?


  • Ninoslav Trifunovic

    Yep, it’s not made to change hot barrel with cold one. It’s all about changing caliber. They use system originally used in PKM / M-84 machine gun.

  • RazorHawk

    This, is the future of the AK platform.

    • Sermon 7.62


  • Markius Fox

    Looks like the top cover has two HK style pins, one at the rear trunnion and one at where one would typically find the rear sight block.

  • Tormund Giantsbane

    Look guys we took a trim design and added 3 pounds of rails onto it! You’ll never be able to carry THIS AK around!

  • Alahahahah

    Moderately interesting but no cannoli

  • Budi Utomo

    Clever move. We purchase the Zastava M93- it is excellent weapon.

  • Rebellivesmatter

    The Sig Sauer MCX has a changeable barrel. Sorry Zastava Arms.