Infantry Weapons

Zastava Arms develops new modular assault rifle

25 July 2019

Zastava Arms’ modular assault rifle shown chambered for 6.5 mm rounds with a 20-round magazine. Source: Zastava Arms

Serbia's Zastava Arms has developed a new gas-operated modular assault rifle (AR), that has been designated as the M17, that the company said is currently at Technology Readiness Level 6.

Zoran M Susic, marketing and research manager at the company, said, "the base for the modular M17 modular AR is the Zastava M05 in the calibre 7.62×39 mm, the system of the Kalashnikov, which is the standard calibre of the Serbian Army and many other countries". This uses a standard curved plastic magazine that holds 30 rounds of ammunition.

Susic added, however, that the barrel can be "replaced in less than 60 seconds by a new barrel which fires 6.5×38.7 mm rounds using at present a 20-round magazine, but that this is expected to be replaced by a 30-round magazine in the future".

On top of the weapon is a standard Picitanny rail. There is a selector on both sides of the rifle for single shot, fully automatic, or safe modes.

The cover under the forward part of the weapon can be removed to show another Picatinny rail that could mount a single shot grenade launcher, light, or other peripheral. The weapon has a telescopic butt that can be folded alongside to reduce its length.

The 6.5×38.7 mm round, developed by Serbia's Prvi Partizan, leverages work on the company's 6.5×39 mm Grendel cartridge, but it has been optimised to be fired from automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

The 6.5×38.7 mm round is claimed to have better aerodynamic characteristics leading to a slower loss of velocity, flatter trajectory, and more kinetic energy when it hits the target. The round has a range of 800 m, the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at

(304 of 392 words)