Zastava Arms

Zastava Arms (Serbian: Застава oружје, romanized: Zastava oružje) is a Serbian manufacturer of firearms and artillery, based in Kragujevac, Serbia. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannon. It is the leading producer of firearms in Serbia and is a large contributor to the local defense industry. Zastava Arms produces and exports a wide variety of products to over forty countries, including the popular Zastava M70, a Kalashnikov rifle.

Zastava Arms
Native name
Застава oружје
Zastava oružje
Joint-stock company
IndustryArms industry
Founded27 October 1853 (1853-10-27) (Originally founded)
31 December 2000 (2000-12-31) (Current form)
Kosovska 4, Kragujevac
Area served
ProductsFirearms, artillery
Revenue 47.87 million (2018)[1]
(€10.68 million) (2018)[1]
Total assets €131.40 million (2018)[2]
Total equity €0 (2018)[2]
OwnerGovernment of Serbia (48%)
Number of employees
2,506 (2018)
SubsidiariesZastava Arms USA


The successful production of four four-pound cannons and two short howitzers on 27 October 1853 is date of foundation of Zastava Arms in Kragujevac. Between 1856 and 1860, the facilities in Kragujevac received many upgrades to its manufacturing system, eventually allowing the plant to produce weapons with full parts interchangeability. In 1878, one of the main priorities became the modernization of armaments. Serbian rifle „Piboduša“ Model 1870 Peabody became obsolete with their large 14,9mm caliber.[3] After a research project and a competitive tender in 1879, a new model rifle was chosen as the replacement. The first domestic-made repeating rifle, a derivative of the Mauser Model 1871 bolt-action rifle, was designed in 1880 by Kosta Milovanović and was named Mauzer Milovanović M. 1880, known as "Mauser-Koka" or "Koka's Rifle", after its designer. The weapon was first manufactured in Germany and was called the Mauser-Milovanović M1878/80, cal. 10,15mm.[4] In 1924 and 1925, the Ministry of the Interior signed contracts with FN Herstal, Belgium which allowed the production of M24 series bolt-action rifles chambered in 7.92×57mm Mauser. Factory for production of rifles and infantry ammunition was also built. The factory for production of infantry ammunition started to work on 22 March 1928 and the factory for production of rifles and ammunition was put to operation on October 15 (75th anniversary of first casting of cannons in Kragujevac). During 1930, the factory started the production of signal pistols 26 mm M 1929 on the basis of Czechoslovakian licence. In July 1936, the factory got a licence from the Czechoslovakian Zbrojovka Brno to produce light machineguns ZB vz. 26 7.9 mm M 1937.

Zastava Arms was heavily damaged during World War II. When Kragujevac was liberated on 21 October 1944, the weapons factory was put back into working order within months and production began shortly after, with the 9mm M 1944 B2 submachine gun developed during the same year. The next postwar production rifle was the 7.92×57mm Mauser Model 1948 on the basis of Model 24. The production of air rifles and sporting rifles on the basis of rifle M48 started in 1953. In 1954 the Zastava started the production of shotguns and small bore rifles, as well as machine gun 7,9 mm M53 ¨Sarac¨. Batch production of semi-automatic rifle PAP M59 7.62×39mm started in 1964. In the 1964, the factory started the development of automatic rifle, of Kalashnikov system, which was named M67 in 1967. On the basis of rifle M67, the factory developed automatic rifle in caliber 7.62×39mm, which was named Zastava M70 in the following year. Yugoslav People's Army included assault rifle M70 in calibre 7.62×39mm into its armament in 1970. Small arms derivatives of the M70 produced rifles chambered in Western bloc ammunition such as 7.62×51mm NATO and 5.56×45mm NATO. In 1988, the factory developed a compact design pistol in 9 mm Parabellum model M88.

In the 1980s, the plant for action of machine guns M84, M86 in 7.62×54mmR and heavy machine gun in 12.7 NSV M87 was set to operation as well. In July 1989 Zastava started the development of the double-action pistol in calibre 9mm PARA CZ 99. In 1992, the factory finished the development and testing and started batch production of 7.62 mm submachine gun M92, based on submachine gun M85. Using the Mauser mechanism, the factory developed 12.7 mm long range rifle Black Arrow M93.

During the Yugoslav Wars of 1991 to 1995, the United Nations placed economic sanctions on the import and export of weapons from Yugoslavia, production slowed as a result. In 1999 the factory was damaged by NATO bombing.

In 2005, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Remington Arms to export hunting and sporting guns to the United States, Canada and Mexico. From 2005 to 2014, Zastava Arms was in restructuring.

In 2013, the Government of Serbia made a decision to convert debt of defense industry companies to state into shares in a company, with Zastava Arms owing the most, over 80 million euros in taxes.[5] However, the realization of that decision has been postponed indefinitely, making Zastava Arms the most indebted defense industry company in Serbia.[5]

The Government of Serbia invested 9.7 million euros in factory's modernization in 2017, for the needs of defence industry.[6]

In January 2019, the creation of Zastava Arms USA was announced,[7] which would serve as "exclusive importer and distributor" of Zastava Arms products for the US market.[8] As of June 2019, company's debt in taxes increased to 85 million euros, with total debt being at around 145 million euros.[9]


Anti-aircraft autocannons

Name Type Prod. years Cartridge Photo Notes
Zastava M55triple-barreled1978–20 mm[10]
Bofors 40 mm gunanti-aircraft/multi-purpose1978–40 mm L/60–70L70 version with laser-computer group under license from Bofors [10]

See also


  1. "БИЛАНС УСПЕХА (2018) - Застава Оружје". (in Serbian). Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  2. "БИЛАНС СТАЊА (2018) - Застава Оружје". (in Serbian). Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  3. Collection of 19th century weapons until 1918. Archived October 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Military Museum
  4. Viktor Kovačević (August 1998). "KOKA POPRAVLJA MAUZERA". Srpsko nasleđe, Istorijske sveske, broj 8 (in Serbian). NIP "GLAS".
  5. Radovanović, Z. (5 September 2017). "Planina duga Zastave oružja čeka Vladu Srbije". (in Serbian). Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  6. "Vojne fabrike u dugovima, hale i oprema zastareli". (in Serbian). 24 April 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  7. Edger, Chris (24 January 2019). "PAPS, TOKS AND MAUSERS FOR THE MASSES: ZASTAVA LAUNCHES U.S-BASED OPERATION". Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  8. H., Hrachya (2 January 2019). "Zastava Arms USA to Become the Exclusive Zastava Firearms Importer". Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  9. "Poreski dug "Zastava oružja" dostigao 10 MILIJARDI DINARA". Danas. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  10. "1970-1992". Zastava Arms.
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