Al Kadesiah Sniper

Middle East Action

PSLs in Action


Tabuk Info

Iraqi Tabuk Sniper Rifle 7,62x39mm

Tabuk sniper rifle

Iraqi Tabuk sniper in 7.62x39. Uses standard Kalashnikov magazines. Not much is known about the Tabuk rifle in the US. It appears to be based on a Zastava factory design made in Serbia.

This was found on

"Yugoslavia provided the know-how to set up arms production at Al Khalis back in the 1980s. I don't know if they built their rifles from the ground up or just assembled Yugoslavian supplied parts.The Tabuk shows many similarities in construction and style to the Yugoslavian Zastava M70 series. Most notable are the receiver construction, hand guards, pistol grips and even the receiver cover lock notch. The M70 series can launch grenades. The receiver cover lock prevents the guide rod and cover from unseating themselves when grenades are used. In these pics the lock itself is not evident as this rifle is not used for grenadelLaunching. Every good pic of a Tabuk I've seen shows this notch. If not mistaken, the Tabuk uses the Yugoslavian syle mag with the simple hold-open flat on the follower as well. I have also seen pics of what appears to be a 20 rd mag for the Tabuk."

Tabuk rifle

The arsenal marking is right below the rear sight and is a lion with a triangle behind it. This is also known as the Lion of Babylon marking.

This Iraqi AK clone was designated the Tabuk, after a battle the Persians won in 630 C.E.

Tabuk rifle

Right side of rear sight block. Name and caliber written in English.

Iraqi Tabuk Sniper Rifle

This version has a longer barrel and a slotted muzzle brake similar to the design of the Romanian PSL.

Iraq Tabuk

The Iraqis claim the sniper version of the Tubuk is accurate out to 800 meters though it is not known if a special cartridge was intended for use at long range.

"I examined the barrel fairly close looking for proofs or marks of any type, and could not find any."

Tabuk is actually the collective name for all Iraqi license-produced 7.62x39mm AK rifle variants; the Iraqis never made the 5.45mm caliber switch. For example, the Tabuk Assault Rifle is the Iraqi locally produced AKM, with some external differences. There is also a short carbine version. The "Al Quds" is a locally produced heavy-barrelled automatic rifle, like the RPK (which is also in Iraqi service) but unlike the RPK it cannot use the 75 round drum magazine.

The Tabuk Sniper, like the SVD, is more of a squad/platoon-level designated marksman weapon designed to slightly extend the effective range of the rifle squad/platoon. The caliber is for logistical reasons; it uses the same magazine as the regular Tabuk AK.

The Tabuk Sniper also has 15 and 20 round proprietary mags. The 15 round magazine would make prone shooting much easier.

The Tabuk is designed as a semi-auto only. You can see there are only 2 selector notches on the receiver.

However there are three cross pins which is normally indicative of a full auto AK.

Field strips like a typical Kalashnikov rifle. The black pistol grip is the only plastic part on the rifle.

Three vent holes are typical of Zastava rifles. Most AKs have two vents and shorter handguards.

Rear sight leaf is adjustable for windage, just like on the RPK light machinegun.

Selector has two settings, Safe and Semi only.

Hollowed out butt stock has built-in "hump" that keeps the removable cheek pad from unintended movement under recoil. The comb of the stock is higher than typical Kalashnikovs to provide easier sighting with a scope if the cheek pad gets lost (common problem duing battle).

Removable flash hider. A very similar design to the Russian SVD.

This lug (seen under the gas port) is too far back on the barrel to be used with a bayonet. It is probably for mounting a grenade launcher.

Aug 10, 2004 Najaf, Iraq

The rubber buttpad is a leftover from the original Serbian design which also had a built-in grenade launcher. When the Iraqis adopted the design they left the launcher off their rifles but kept the rubber pad.

CAI Romanian AES-10 rifle

Egyptian Maadi RML

An interesting home project would be to make a replica Tabuk using either the recently imported Century Int'l Arms/Romanian AES-10.

Or the Eqyptian Maadi RML rifle as a donor.

Here are some Tabuk projects built by some skilled guys:
Project #1
Project #2
Project #3

Tabuk captured in Iraq.

The buttstock is a hollowed out Yugo style stock with a cheek rest similar to the SVD's.

The flash hider is the same one used on the Al-Kadesiah sniper rifle.

Rubber buttpad adds length and shooting comfort.

This one has a Romanian LPS 4 power scope mounted.

Serbian Zastava M-70B1 in 7.62x39. This is the rifle that the Iraqi Tabuk is based on. Note the addition of the grenade launcher on the end of the barrel and flip-up grenade sight leaf on the gas block. This Serbian design has the unique 3 slotted air vents on the handguards. All other AK's have 2 vent slots.

Iraqi Police officer with Tabuk May 18, 2006 Iraq.

Iraqi Tabuk

04 Mar 2004, BAGHDAD, Iraq --- A Shi'ite militiaman holds a sniper rifle as he guards Baghdad's Immam Kadem mosque, March 4, 2004. Image by © CEERWAN AZIZ/Reuters/Corbis

19 Apr 2004, NAJAF, Iraq --- An Iraqi militiaman holds a Tabuk sniper rifle near the shrine of Imam Ali in the Holy city of Najaf April 19, 2004. Image by © Ali Abu Shish/Reuters/Corbis

Tabuk with RPG scope

RPG optic used as ersatz sniper scope.

Tabuk with RPG scope

He is using the scope for observation not to shoot as evidenced by the unusual position he is holding the rifle. Plus you can clearly see the selector is set on "Safe" not fire.