Iran Minister of Defense Unveils New 7.62×51 Masaf Assault Rifle

During an unveiling ceremony held in Tehran, Iran, Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami proudly unveiled their new Masaf assault rifle. The new rifle is chambered in 7.62x51mm and intended for longer range engagements for both night and day operations.

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Syrian Arab Army Receiving HS .50-Patterned Anti-Materiel Rifles

Russian media has reported on the recent acquisition of .50 BMG HS .50 patterned Anti-Materiel rifles by the Syrian Arab Army in the fight against the ongoing insurgent groups within Syria. The article claims that the rifles are assembled from Iranian components shipped to Assad’s army and are most likely to be used in upcoming offensives. From the three photographs we have available, there appears to be at least 120 within a single frame, taken from inside an armory with the HS .50, or more correctly the Iranian version with the nomenclature of AM50 or Sayyad-2. One item not present with the rifles is a powered optic, which will most likely be added at a later date. What would make this story interesting is if Iran is also supplying RU60G thermal optics to the rifles, enabling Syrian marksmen to make shots out to several hundred meters at night. Although the Iranian version and the original HS .50 are chambered in .50 BMG,12.7x99mm, one of the cases is clearly marked with the Russian 12.7x108mm cartridge, showing a different chambering of the design.

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Some Questioning Goes A Long Way: A Guide to Identifying Arabic Numerical Markings

While completing some research at Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Massachusets, myself and the curators discovered an interesting phenomena when it came to previous curators at Springfield Armory recording their rifles coming into inventory. When we looked up the old records concerning the Turkish, Egyptian, and Iranian rifles we found out that the recorders hadn’t done their due diligence when it came to accurately recording the serial numbers of the rifles in question. Most of them were basic mistakes when interpreting the numerals, but some were downright humorous. Such as the featured image above, which has the record entry superimposed over the receiver of a Peabody-Martini that was made on contract for the Ottoman Empire in the 1870s. The serial number is a very straightforward numerical marking, consisting of the Arabic numbers “344219”. But in the record book, it is officially listed as “TEETIP”! What appears to have happened is that the Springfield Armory recorder looked at the digits, either didn’t realize that these were numbers or didn’t want to bother to look them up, and simply wrote down what the digits most resembled in the English alphabet. Comical at face value indeed, but this could easily lead to some serious cataloging and inventorying issues if something as important as the serial number is recorded incorrectly. As a testament to doing things right, the current curator realized the issue and we got the correct serial numbers recorded in thier database.

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Iranian Army Displaying G3 DMR Variant, Ghadir-4 Scope

Recent photographs have suggested that the Iranian Army (not the Revolutionary Guard Corps) might be introducing a Designated Marksman Rifle variant of the internally manufactured, H&K license produced Defense Industries Organization G3 currently in service with the Iranian Army. The rifle on display was at a demonstration put on by the Iranian 16th Armored Division based in Qazvin province during a visit by Land Forces Commander General Heydari. What appears to be a Weaver inspired rail is bolted to the top of the receiver with H&K patterned scope mounts. Although not actually mounted to the rifle at the display, a scope is mounted to the rifle in the poster photograph included on the table it is being displayed upon.

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MASAF on Display in Iranian Naval Exposition

An Instagram account and an Iranian defense media site have brought to light some new photographs of the Iranian MASAF (اسلحه مصاف) M4 clone that we first reported on in 2016. Along with some detailed photos of the clone are some other small arms on display, all taken at a recent Iranian Naval exposition in Iran. For the most part, it appears that very little has changed on the MASAF. This isn’t surprising due to the rifle along with the Fatah appear to be forgotten projects in Iranian small arms development. Although not completely new, the handguards appear to have an improved version of Iranian M-LOK at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, in addition to diagonal slots around the 2 and 1 o’clock positions on the handguard itself. Again, these aren’t new developments as they were seen on the MASAF over a year ago at a Tehran defense exhibition. These rifles appeared to have both 20 round and 30 round magazines inserted into rifles on display. This is probably owed to the Fatah influence which was seen with 20 round magazines that matched the digital camouflage scheme that the rifle itself was finished in.

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Is Iran Copying Glock Handguns Outright?

Since 2007, Iran has attempted numerous indigenous polymer framed, striker fired handgun designs such as a Walter P99 copy known as the M9-02, in addition to a simple attempt at a Glock copy known as the “Raa’d”. However, recent photographs have come to our attention that shows an increased Iranian interest in the Glock platform of handguns. IPAS 2016 had numerous Glock handguns on display, specifically the 17 and 19 models.

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[IPAS 2017] Iran Introduces Semiautomatic "Hoveizeh" Anti-Material Rifle

At this year’s IPAS 2017 held in Tehran, the Iranian state owned Defense Industries Organization unveiled a new anti-material rifle based on the U.S. produced .50 BMG M82 Barrett anti-material rifle. Similar to the U.S. version, the Iranian production variant is chambered in 12.7x99mm, is semi-automatic, feeds from a detachable 5 round polymer (appears to be) magazine, and has a 12 o’clock Picatinny rail to mount optics on. Unlike the original Barrett version, the “Hoveizeh” (هویزه ) has shorter Picatinny rail segments both at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. Apart from a few other smaller differences, it appears that the rifle is an exact copy, especially in terms of functionality of the U.S. M82/M107 operating system. The article even mentions that it is an Iranian reproduction with the one exception (as stated in the article) that DIO claims the rifle is capable of 1.5 MOA accuracy. This is significant because especially in the earlier Barretts, the rifles suffered from precision accuracy. Today the Marine Corps Scout Sniper program still considers the M107 SASR a 3 MOA gun at best.

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[IPAS 2017] Iranian Handguns and Rifle Development

What was most telling about Iran’s Defense Industries Organization’s display at this years IPAS 2017 was what was not present at the show. Previously we’ve reported on Iran’s attempt at an AR15 copy (currently in service with some units, in a digital finish), Iran’s try at a modular service rifle the ‘Fatah’, even an interesting 5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm Stoner/Kalashnikov combination. Of all these developments, only the MASAF, a locally produced, piston operated, Armalite copy that was introduced in October of last year. Along with what appears to be a locally produced copy of the Trijicon RCO, and the rifle appears to even have a 16 inch barrel.

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[IPAS 2017] Iranian Grenade Launchers and Anti-Material Rifles

At IPAS 2017, Iran’s Defense Industries Organization showcased various grenade launchers and anti-material rifles the state owned company is bringing to the Iranian (and possibly Iran’s allied customers) market. Displayed first is almost an exact copy of the South African Milkor M32 six cartridge semi-automatic 40x46mm grenade launcher.

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[IPAS 2017] Iranian Machine Gun Development, Shortened PKM

This year’s IPAS 2017 held in Tehran featured a number of designs seen previously such as Iran’s 7.62x54mm PKM GPMG, and 12.7x108mm Dshk Heavy Machine Gun copies. But of particular interest was what appears to be a shortened PKM with a barrel cut to around 14 inches, a telescoping butt stock based on the AR15, polymer pistol grip, and what appears to be a canvas or polymer assault drum. Also notice the shortened compensator and relatively simple sling attached, especially if the machine gun is designed to be used in an “Assault Phase”. From a cursory glance, it appears that the conventional Iranian Infantry is armed with small arms of local licensed manufacture by the Defense Industries Organization such as MG3s, MP5s, and G3 rifles (currently this appears to be transitioning to Stoner based designs). Whereas the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is equipped with locally produced or imported Soviet bloc weaponry such as PKMs or AKMs. If we were to ever see this PKM variant in use by Iranian security forces, a likely place would probably be with the IRGC in a smaller team or special operations capacity.

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Iranian Zulfiqar Modular Rifle, Islamic Republic's SCAR

The Iranian press has released news of the Islamic Republic’s newest rifle design from a recent press conference held on the Zulfiqar modular rifle in Tehran. Milmag has what appears to be an excellent overview of the rifle in Polish, gathering photographs from Alalam news agency. The Farsi name of the rifle, “Zulfiqar” (ذوالفقار) is the name of the sword carried by Imam Ali, an extremely exalted leader among Shi’a the world over. This isn’t the first time a defense article has been designated Zulfiqar, as in the early 1990s the Army came out with a Main Battle Tank of the same designation. One important point to note in this context is that the rifle appears to be intended to either serve as a substitute or entirely replace (pending field trials) currently serving G3A3s and AKMs in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a branch separate from that of the standing military. This purpose might be the reasoning of picking such a term from early Islamic history.

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Iran Announces Nasr Anti-Material Rifle, Kalashnikov Clone

The Iranian Ministry of Defense has revealed a new locally produced semi-automatic, magazine fed, 12.7mm anti-material rifle to the public, dubbed the “Nasr”(نصر). In addition to the Nasr, what appears to be a locally produced 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov “Century Series” clone has also been announced, bearing polymer furniture and with an AK74 muzzle brake. According to some sources, both of these rifles are destined for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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Egyptian Small Arms Cache Uncovered, Further Iranian Connection

Recent news reports have revealed that an arms cache in use by the Muslim Brotherhood was recently uncovered by Egyptian Security Forces in the vicinity of Alexandria. A number of small arms and explosive devices were uncovered, several of which will be noted below due to their peculiarity. However one of the more important finds to Egyptian authorities is the presence of Iranian-made grenades and anti-personal mines. Finding this evidence is hardly surprising due to Iran’s policies of trying to undermine potential enemies by supporting minority groups in such places as Lebanon and Palestine, to include a number of countries in Africa. The article on the topic also specifically mentions the recent video released by the so-called Islamic State that we covered earlier, on taking shots at Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai. In addition, it mentions the Iranian anti-material rifle that is a copy of the HS .50 made by Steyer, labeling it as the “إم 50” or AM50 in English. This rifle was observed to be used by so-called Islamic State sharpshooters in the aforementioned video.

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Iran Introduces Heidar Semi-Auto 50 Caliber Rifle

The Iranian Ground Forces introduced a new .50 caliber self-loading rifle named the Heidar. The Heidar is a .50 caliber five round magazine side-fed, gas operated anti-material rifle with an effective range of 1,600 meters, maximum effective of 2,000 meters, and maximum range of 3,000 meters. It weighs almost 40 pounds loaded and is 53 inches in length. The gas system looks to be direct impingement is mounted on the right side of the rifle. It also sports a massive muzzle brake. Interestingly it utilizes an MG42 inspired pistol grip as well. The magazine is fed from the left side of the rifle but far enough forward that it isn’t quite a bullpup design. Stock is adjustable for length of pull and it has a non-adjustable monopod on the bottom. The rifle sports a picatinny rail at the 12 o’clock position for the mounting of various optics. There isn’t anything specified on whether or not the caliber is .50 BMG or 12.7x108mm but I assume it is the Russian cartridge due to wide Iranian usage of the 12.7x108mm. The rifles name Heidar bears similarity to the Iranian Ground Forces Commander, Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari, with only the Farsi “i” missing from the end. It could be named after the General, or it could be a coincidence.

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Iranian Striker Fired Polymer Handgun Introduced

At a recent display of small arms and light weapons in Tehran, the Iranian defense industry showcased a number of new products, as reported by Fars News. Among the products on display, a certain handgun was shown that hasn’t been reported on previously. From the very little mention of it in the Farsi text, there isn’t much information that can be gathered from the article or elsewhere on the internet about the handgun. The right side appears to have “M9-02”, but that doesn’t tell us very much.

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