Burmese MA-Sniper Modified for AARM Marksmanship Competition

    In two previous articles on TFB we looked at the Burmese MA-Sniper in-depth while being used in the field by Tatmadaw Infantrymen. If readers recall there were a number of different variants of the MA-Sniper, to include early attempts at modifying MA-2 Light Machine Guns with optics. An interesting twist in this history is that variants of the MA-Sniper were actually modified to be used in the ASEAN Armies Rifle Match competition that is held annually. These variants have not been seen in service in the field and are very different from what we have seen in service with the Burmese Army’s operational forces. Although there isn’t much information available on these rifles, one of the variants was actually on the logo of the 23rd AARM competition held in Burma in 2013!

    The first variant that was used in the competition appears to be based on an attempt to modernize the MA-2 LMG into a 7.62x51mm caliber design. Some countries such as Turkey have made that switch to a heavier caliber from a 5.56x45mm platform. But in the case of Burma it doesn’t appear that the Tatmadaw is interested in carrying less rounds through the jungle than previously, so a switch to a 7.62x51mm light machine gun or service rifle probably isn’t in the cards (as an example, the Burmese soldier’s combat load is 4 magazines or less, already lower than most infantrymen worldwide).

    Thus, these versions of the MA-Sniper appear to have been purposefully produced for the AARM competition and nothing else. And interestingly enough, at this years Tank Competition in Russia, Burmese soldiers were seen with either the operating forces MA-S, or Russian SVDs that were probably on loan to the marksmen participating.

    Returning to the competition MA-Snipers, the first variant that we’ve encountered is the MA-2 MK II based version with the black stock, cheekpiece, and rear iron sights. The iron sights have sometimes been attached while other times they have been taken off. The receiver appears to be a milled design and there is a scope mount attached to left side of the rifle that an optic can be fitted to. In many cases with both variants, it appears that the Tatmadaw has gotten ahold of some Trijicon ACOG’s from a non-US source, or they could simply be fakes.

    Our next variant is more recent as we can see with it being used by Burmese soldiers wearing the more recent digital camouflage. The largest difference between this one and the previous one is that the stock has a green finish and is complete rifle stock as opposed to a sectioned one. There is no rear or front sight, and the external Kalashnikov-patterned safety has been removed from the right side of the receiver.


    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]