Bullpup Kalashnikov Variations in Syria

    The Twitter analyst Everest65 has shared photographs of some bullpup Kalashnikov experimentation within the arms trade social media groups in Syria. There are a couple of iterations of the design, some appear to be more experimental and might be low in production while others are more standard in their craft method of production. Craft-produced bullpups are no stranger to the region with the experimentation in bullpup PKM GPMGs appearing within the past couple of years from Libya to Syria. Although innovative and certainly an attempt to improve upon the design, the problems of a bullpup are most likely magnified in a craft-produced one. Namely the horrendous trigger pull and especially with the “tilt, lock, and rock” method of inserting most any Kalashnikov platform magazine.

    The perforated forward handguards follow a similar construction as these Black Storm BS-4 examples or even a Century Arms attempt that we covered earlier. This variant appears to be built on a 7.62x39mm base rifle (possibly an AK103 if the magazine is original to the rifle) with a bakelite magazine inserted. It has a center sling mount point that reconnects at the buttstock. Although not the same, the pistol grip would appear to be from a Zastava M70 variant or derivative due to the black polymer and the parallel indentations on it.

    More Puzzling than any of the previous points is the handguard extrusion that has been fitted in place of the original handguard. How it connects to the rifle isn’t clear, although it is possible that it is welded or otherwise connected to the receiver top cover in a fashion imitating the Ukrainian Malyuk bullpup Kalashnikov where the handguard and receiver cover are actually a single part.

    Our next examples appear to be 5.45x39mm base builds that at least one of them has a direct thread suppressor attached to it. These rifles differ from the previous one in that they have an exposed gas tube, possibly to simplify manufacture and disassembly/maintenance.

    Note the center M1913 Picatinny Rail. These next two examples show the rail connected to the rear sight base, replacing the previous rear sight. Also observe the similarity between the folded piece of sheet metal supporting the buttpad. This was previously seen in the initial design, indicating that the craft source might be the same. These rifles appear to be 7.62x39mm base rifles.

    Although the construction appears to be the same as the previous example, this variant has an added compensator, chambered in 5.45x39mm, a much better-supported buttpad, and Picatinny Rail mounted to the left side of the receiver instead of into the rear sight base.

    Much thanks to Twitter Analyst Everst65 for pointing these rifles out! Also see his article on suppressor use among insurgent groups in the MENA region.

    Miles

    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]


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