Are Kurdish fighters friends or foe? Yes! We support the YPG’s battles against ISIS. No! We reject their claims for independence from Turkey. Unless we get really pissed off at Turkey. Anyway, Uncle Sam is currently arming the Kurds on the DL. But, as Mr. Carp might say, we “never feed them a lot. Never more than a spot! Or something may happen. You never know what.” As airforcetimes.com reports. . .

The equipment provided to YPG is minimal and doled out on an as-needed basis, according to officials at the Pentagon. The weapons include machine guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and some light armored vehicles. The list lacks the sophisticated weapons technology that other allies in the fight against ISIS have. One example would be the weapons Iraqi forces employed in their drive to liberate Mosul.

As a result, the Kurdish fighters have been innovative in their drive to field and develop weapon systems to bridge capability gaps.

One such invention is the homemade Zagros sniper rifle. The rifle provides stand-off distance for Kurdish fighters and is capable of puncturing light armored vehicles like the suicide bombs driven by ISIS fighters or breaking through concrete walls to take out concealed ISIS fighters.

More specifically . . .

Kurdish militants salvage parts from a 12.7 mm DsHK Russian heavy machine gun and use the trigger from an RPG launcher, according to Neçirvan Zirek, the nom de guerre of an international YPG volunteer who served as a sniper with the U.S.-backed fighters.

“The barrel, bolt and receiver are milled down for weight loss and fashioned with some metal to something that resembles a bolt action rifle,” Zirek told Military Times. “The bolt is modified to operate in the same fashion as a regular bolt rifle.”

Because powerful magnification optics for the rifle are hard to come by, the Kurdish militants use whatever they can find, usually Chinese scopes or pilfered optics on the battlefield, he added.

Speaking of equipment “pilfered” on the battlefield, ISIS. Taliban. Just sayin’ . . .

45 Responses to Kurdish People’s Protection Unit’s Homemade Zagros 12.7mm Sniper Rifle Revealed

  1. Heh. Makes me think of that ‘build your town .50 BMG rifle’ book from a while book. Still had to use a barrel blank, but other wise it was just a simple single shot break action rifle like this.

    Once again proving that old line from Firefly/Serenity about tech: ‘you can’t stop the signal’. Yeah, you still need the ammo right now. But it’s only a matter of time before some mad engineer figures out homemade caseless ammo too. XD

    • Making a .50 BMG is mostly about making sure you have a strong enough action. A scaled-up Mauser-style action will work, you just need to do some math to make sure you have enough safety margin on the shear strength of the bolts and the receiver.

      If you choose to copy the Mauser 98 action and scale it up, it would work just fine for a .50 BMG. I’d use 4340 for the receiver, perhaps a tool steel for the bolt, and make sure the lugs are lapped in to evenly bear the load. Have a safety lug on the bolt (per the 98 design) and you’re off and running.

      For the barrel, I’d call Dan Lilja. Since most lathes that gunsmiths use won’t be able to take a .50 barrel through the headstock, you’d probably have to chamber it by working in a steady rest. Don’t use those roller-bearing steady rests – they emboss a groove onto the barrel. Use a steady with the brass rods, and lube the contact point with some grease.

      It looks very “old school” compared to how many ‘smiths chamber rifles today, but it works just fine.

      • “If you choose to copy the Mauser 98 action and scale it up,…”

        Or for simplicity (and we are talking battlefield improvised weapons, here) dismiss with most of the ‘action’ itself.

        Tampa’s SOT weapon-wonder Mark Serbu is teaming up with a budding young gun designer known as ‘Royal Nonesuch’ to produce what he describes as a “Modified break action with threaded breech”:

        https://serbu.com/products/rn-50

        About the only technology you need to make that (besides the battlefield pick-up barrel) is a lathe to cut threads and a block of steel strong enough to serve as a breech-cap.

        EDIT – Is anyone *still* having problems with the name-email field cookie issue? I am…

      • The original Mauser 1917 13mm anti tank rifle was -you guessed it – a heavy duty Mauser action with a .50 barrel shooting some very large jacketed bullets. It worked quite well against the thin armor on the British and French tanks of the day. So well that the U.S. Army asked John Browning to look at scaling up his .30 cal machine guns to fire something like the German 13mm round. The result as they say was history: Ma Deuce, effective against soft skin vehicles, light armor, aircraft, bad guys and just about everything else. So the concept has been around for a hundred years in some form and I’d imagine that those old Mauser anti tank rifles could still give good service if somebody came up with ammunition and decent optics for long range use. Making a heavy caliber single shot rifle isn’t rocket science.

        • Or, simply collect a few thousand Ma Duce’s on the surplus market or from armories spread around the world and give them to the Kurds. Give them enough .50’s and enough ammo and the Kurd’s would take over the entire Middle-East.

          The Kurds are the most culturally modern, the most solidly pro US (although, given our history with them, I have to wonder why) population in the entire region. And, of course, we send TOW missiles to Islamic radical groups but not to them. Typical.

  2. I don’t understand why the US doesn’t support the Kurds more.

    Are our military facilities in Turkey worth so much that we need to turn away those who appears to be true allies and support totalitarian dictators?

    I may not be fully-informed on this issue. Anyone have further insights?

    • Actually we know exactly why the US stopped supporting the Kurds: it’s mostly because the Obama Administration was arming EVERYONE they could take a gun and go to Syria. And even worse there is no unified force against the legitimate government in Syria. It’s every single bandit raider in the middle east regardless of affiliation. And this isn’t to say that it was ONLY Syria where this happened. In fact there’s about 7 nations where the US under Obama send special forces (and their air support) went in to at least try and collapse the government. Syria is just the one that was able to fight back. It was all through out the big Wikileaks dump during the election.

      Ultimately I don’t have an automatic problem with any faction that’s NOT supporting ISIS in the middle east. But the US shouldn’t have been in there to begin, and constantly trying to sort out who is or is not a terrorist is not something the US need to do anymore.

      • ⬆ THIS ⬆, plus I believe it is a crime to “semi-arm” any population who are willing to fight terrorism because it handicaps them from mounting an effective effort – just giving them enough to be an ankle-biting mosquito against a common enemy is so frustratingly manipulative that these Kurds will have future generations of fighters who hold a justifiable grudge against the US.

        It would only take a feather to move such people across the delicate balance of pro- versus anti-US sentiments. This is not the way to build consensus or achieve strategic goals among peoples who have a completely different perspective of local and regional politics, who are essentially just fighting to survive against crazy fanatics without education or guidance who just want to turn everyone into conscripts to be cannon fodder or whores to service their fighters, and turn surviving children into future versions of these slaves.

        We’ve already supplied so much armament and raw cash to anti-US forces and warlords, yet it is rationalized that we must somehow resist giving Kurds anything close to the same capabilities. The Kurds are the only capable fighters whom have been consistently supporting US positions and strategies in the region for over three decades. They deserve to be armed with superior capabilities to fight effectively.

      • Maybe totalitarian dictatorships should be kicked out of NATO.

        Are they spending 2% of their GDP on defense?

      • In addition to Turkey being NATO which brings all of that politics with it, many factions of the Kurds are by and large communists. I don’t think that applies to all of them, but it does to many of the more militant factions and those are likely the ones doing the fighting.

        And yes, the name stuff isn’t working for me either, and I still think this comment section sucks in general. For all it’s faults, Disqus is better in MHO.

    • One thing to consider is that we had nukes in Turkey (and maybe we still do?). This was Russia’s rationale for putting nukes in Cuba.

      I generally agree with your position. The Kurds are brave and deserve our support, if anyone does.

    • Back in the 80’s we felt a need to help these Afghan rebels in their fight against the Godless commies. Whithin 20 years those weapons we gave them were pointed at our boys.

      • ” Whithin 20 years those weapons we gave them were pointed at our boys.”

        Not the MANPADs.

        Remember the shrieks of horror from the Leftists when we supplied Stingers to the Afghan Mujaheddin that American airliners were going to be shot out of the sky left and right?

        Do you know why they weren’t? (Besides the fact a Stinger is only really effective on small military turbine engines, like fighters and choppers. On an airliner, about all you do is turn off the engine.)

        Because we were smart about it. Only a few rebel leaders were selected to be armed with them, and they only got *one* Stinger each. And they only got a replacement if they turned in the empty launcher tube.

        Once they saw what they could do to those Hind helicopter gunships, the Mujahideen guarded those missile teams *carefully*. “We are not afraid of the Russians. But we *are* afraid of their helicopters.” (Reputed Mujahideen saying).

        (The source for that was the guy who ran the program in the CIA, can’t remember the book name…)

        • The battery/coolant unit on a Stinger is rated for 10 years, and some folks speculate that it will work for up to 20 years.

          You can’t just replace it with any old battery. The coolant part is used for temperature control of the sensor. So once the battery/coolant unit degrades, the Stinger is basically worthless.

          The last Stingers went to Afghanistan in 1988. Of all those shipped, approximately 600 were unaccounted for, and most likely made their way to Gulf States and rogue states. But none of those missiles would work today without a new battery/coolant unit. If a state had the resources to reverse engineer such a unit, they could probably just as easily reverse engineer the entire missile system.

    • The answer to your question is “democratic socialism, gender equality, and sustainability.” That’s why the US isn’t going to help the Kurds. Because boomers are still scared of the “C” word. Read up on Rojava.

    • How did it end up when US supported Al Mujaheedeen in Afghanistan against Soviets? US is doing the same mistake with Kurds. It is always better to cooperate with a sovereign state than a group of armed men whose legitimacy is questionable. ( In which case, there is no question, YPG is a branch of PKK terrorist organization) When they are done in Syria and Iraq do you think YPG will continue the cooperation with USA? If you think so, it means you don’t know shit about The Middle East

  3. As I’ve said before: Making guns isn’t difficult.

    Making precision rifles/pistols is difficult. Making revolvers is difficult. Making pretty & precise guns is difficult.

    Making workaday guns? Not that difficult.

  4. The “wisdom” of US foreign relations:
    Try to align with strong nations/groups who aren’t friendly towards you, don’t help friendly nations/groups become stronger.

  5. Since we actually started ISIS by arming friendlies(then), we should stand down and let what happens, happen. Trying for more friendlies just backfires after they see the real reason we used them.

    We do not need to send foriegn aid to any more countries.

    • total agreement here, Let them build their own country. Every time we “help” some country we end up aiding some future terrorist enemy.

  6. The Turkey of today is not what it was, even 10 years ago. Turkey is not our friend, and Erdogan is a lunatic. He is holding Europe hostage with threats of allowing migrants to further infest Europe. So even he knows the migrants is a form of weaponization and their passage is a form of “violence”.

    • All depends on how good you are. In terms of raw technical sophistication of it’s production there’s nothing special about a firearm. Sometimes you find a especially skilled gunsmith that can churn out production quality guns from scratch.

  7. *checks 1st picture*

    Good luck firing your boomstick from that stance, mate. Hope you’ve got a bunch of pillows stashed behind ya.

    • “Good luck firing your boomstick from that stance, mate. Hope you’ve got a bunch of pillows stashed behind ya.”

      Front-line fighters in an insurgency are rarely lacking in testicular fortitude.

      It’s a big part of what makes them effective combatants… 🙂

  8. How do they get guns with nary an FFL in sight? Where’s the paperwork. (I’m told that you *can’t* get a gun without the right incantation & scroll — er — I mean paperwork.)

  9. Nice, now TTAG’s ads feature the face of Hitler…meaning it is no longer safe to view this site in a public place lest some tard be enraged; kudos.

  10. Syrian Kurdistan, Rojava, is organized after the ideas of Murray Bookchin, a guy who grew up around Communists in the 1940s and rejected them in favor of a decentralized, stateless, anti-authoritarian network of individual communities.

    It’s similar to all the “small government” constitutionalism you know and love, but with a focus on people and the environment instead of private property.

    So that’s why we’re going to be cowards and betray the Kurds after they defeat ISIS. Because communism is a big scary word, even when it’s written with a lowercase c.

    • If it’s not organized around a big, all-powerful state that totally controls the very lives of its subjects, it ain’t communism.

      • Actually it’s more communist than Communism. With libertarian communism there are no lies about the “dictatorship of the proletariat” to trick people into accepting some purgatory totalitarian state. Bakhunin was calling Marx out on his bullshit way back during the 1st international.

        Now Syrian Kurdistan is the result. It’s still a bit creepy with all the photos of Abdullah Ocalan nailed to the walls, but there’s no centralized leadership, and that’s what’s important. Ocalan can’t get on some radio and tell anybody to do anything. Like Bookchin, Ocalan also left Marxism behind in favor of decentralization.

        They have armed women operating out of conservative arab villages. That’s why Kurds have been sneaking into ISIS territory to rescue Yazidis, even when they don’t share the same religion or culture.

        It’s a modern day version of what Orwell witnessed in Spain. The trouble with these principles is that people act as individuals, so they aren’t as effective in combat as conventional armies. People like the Syrian Kurds have been betrayed by the Soviets and crushed by the Fascists before, because they refuse to centralize their power into a nation state.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Hope that ain’t a long range shot that his life depends upon. Or maybe he’s having such a hard time looking through crappy Chinese glass (although Primary Arms isn’t half bad) that he forgot about everything else.

  11. I support an kurdish state and hate dictator erdogan (same for free tibet, taiwan and palaestina state)
    Live free ore die no compromisse !!

    • Palestine was a province of the Ottoman Empire. It wasn’t it’s own nation. It, like Syria, Egypt, and Iraq was occupied by the British and French. The British then offered Israel up for movement of the Jews there post WW2. As to who really deserves control of the region, you could make arguments going back past Babylon. Today rightful claim pretty much comes down to might makes right.

  12. What is interesting is that the Syrian Kurds have raised all female units that are actively engaged in fighting and have taken casualties
    They even have an all female tank unit!
    They are mostly using old Soviet stuff
    They do have some modern Russian and American vehicles they acquired as battlefield pick ups from defeating Isis
    Very recently we have given them a few .5o cal machine guns and mortars mounted on trucks
    Go to “Kurdistanskyscapers.com” Kurdish military section and see exactly what we and the Germans have given them
    America should support bothe the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds as they have fought valiantly against Isis while the Iraqi army fled from them
    The Kurds are secular and have shown that they support women’s rights, minorities rights, and like America
    It is interesting to note that not one American died in the Kurdish zone during the entire 10 year American occupation of Iraq

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *