Improvised Suppressors Among Syrian Groups

    Recent so-called Islamic State propaganda videos and an individual Twitter account within Syria have posted numerous examples of improvised suppressors in use on a wide variety of precision rifles and anti-material rifles.The Twitter account simply mentions that the rifles belong to “Brothers” and “Sunni” fighters, which could literally be any one of the tens of opposition groups in the conflict. Most of these suppressors or cylindrical flash hiders appear to be made out of pre-constructed materials such as a flashlight or other metal tubes. With the exception of one, they appear to be direct thread as well. Although very simple to employ, direct thread brings with it the possibility of the suppressor unscrewing itself unless there is a method of locking.

    This initial rifle is claimed in the post to be a modified 12.7mm DShK barrel with a fitted single shot bolt action, but comparing the barrel to a disassembled heavy machine gun barrel, there is no way that it could have been mounted on one, with the original factory fins. That the rifle is chambered in 12.7x108mm could very well be true given the size of the massive bolt, receiver, and chamber. However, if that is the case, then the direct thread suppressor will most likely have little more utility than a flash hider. Compare the pictured suppressor with that of Barrett’s design in the Youtube screenshot below. Barrett’s design is a purpose built version for the .50 BMG, a cartridge that is very similar in performance to the 12.7x108mm Russian round, yet is almost three times as large in dimension as this Syrian model. This leads me to believe that this is nothing more than a flash hider disguised as a suppressor.

    Next on the Twitter feed are these two rifles, which the poster insists are the same, with one simply modified in the next photograph. If this is so, there was some very extensive modification involved, in fact turning the7.62x54mmR SVD Dragonav into a bullpup. The transfer trigger bar appears to be running along the left side of the receiver. As for the suppressors, the initial photograph appears to show an adaptor of some sort attached to the silver can, while the bullpup versions appear to show a direct thread version.

    French Syria analyst blog by the name of Historico Blog has some excellent screen shots from a recent so-called Islamic State propaganda video produced by the groups Al Hayat Media Center. The initial rifle is an anti-material rifle that would appear to be chambered in 12.7x108mm. Unlike the earlier rifle, this one looks to be legitimate, however it might not have the suppression effects that the aforementioned Barrett has, as the shooter is still wearing hearing protection.

    Finally, we have another SVD with a direct thread suppressor, this one camouflaged with a similar scheme as the rest of the rifle, leaving us to wonder as to whether the two were paired together and are always that way, or does it come off and on for time to time?







    Notice the laser range finder, which appears to be very close in appearance to the PLRF-10 but has two screws on the front that aren’t present in PLRF-10.

    Thank you very much to Derek S. for contributing to this 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 [email protected]