Zastava M21

The Zastava M21 is a series of 5.56×45mm NATO firearms developed and manufactured by Zastava Arms in Serbia.[2]

Zastava M21
The Zastava M21 A assault rifle
TypeAssault rifle, submachine gun
Place of originSerbia and Montenegro
Service history
Used bySee Users
WarsIraq War
Conflict in Peru
Syrian Civil War
Iraqi Civil War
Boko Haram insurgency
Production history
DesignerMarinko Petrović[1]
ManufacturerZastava Arms
Unit cost630$ (2016)
No. built50,000+
VariantsSee Variants
Mass4.15 kg (9.1 lb) (M21 A)
4.07 kg (9.0 lb) (M21 S)
3.91 kg (8.6 lb) (M21 C)
Length1,000 mm (39 in) stock extended, 750 mm (30 in) stock folded (M21A)
915 mm (36.0 in) stock extended, 666 mm (26.2 in) stock folded (M21S)
825 mm (32.5 in) stock extended, 575 mm (22.6 in) stock folded (M21C)
Barrel length460 mm (18 in) (M21 A)
375 mm (14.8 in) (M21 S)
325 mm (12.8 in) (M21 C)

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO
ActionGas-operated (rotating bolt)
Rate of fire680 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity925 m/s
Effective firing range450 m (490 yd) with iron sights
600 m (660 yd) with optics
Feed system30-round detachable box magazine
SightsAdjustable iron sights, optional mount required for optical sights


The M21 is based on the AK-47 Kalashnikov principle, chambered in the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge.[3] The current models use a 1.5mm thick stamped receiver, while a future model will feature an improved receiver of 0.9mm thickness to achieve a considerably lighter weight. Like many modern assault rifles, the M21 can incorporate picatinny rails for mounting accessories like optics, vertical grips, bipods, etc.

The Zastava M21 is gas operated with a rotating bolt locking system.[3] It features a hard chromium-plated, cold forged standard rifled or an optional polygonal rifled barrel, integrated 22mm flash hider grenade launcher, and, much like the AK-74M, heavy-duty synthetic furniture with rigid polymer folding stock and side optics rail as standard (optional adapter base for cover mounted picatinny rail also available). The rifle can also mount a 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher.[3] It has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds. The cyclic rate of fire is 680 rounds per minute, and the sustained rate of fire is 120 rounds/min.[3]

The Zastava M21 uses a conventional barrel, while the Zastava M21B uses a polygonal barrel. The regular barrel has six grooves with a right-hand twist. An octagonal polygonal version is also available and has four grooves with a right-hand twist (M21B). Barrels are also hard chrome plated to provide a longer service life.[4]

The rifle has conventional iron sights that consist of a front post and a flip-up rear sight with 300m and 500m apertures. However, much like the RK 62 and IMI Galil, the front and rear sight have been relocated to the gas block and top cover respectably. It also borrowed the Galil's thumb safety. The top cover is hinged like the AKS-74U. A set of picatinny rails on the hand guard can mount various optoelectronic devices. The M21 is a modular weapon, with configuration dependent on the task and mission.

Choices of optical sights include "TELEOPTIK" (ON M04) and "ZRAK" (ON M04A). Optoelectronic devices include a reflex sight ("MARS" M04), two bookmark target lasers ("AIM2000" M04A and "INFIZ" M04), two passive monoculars (M04 MINI N/SEAS and "MARS" M04+MINI N/SEAS), passive sight ("SOVA" PN 3x50).


The M21 comes in several assault rifle and carbine variants:

  • M21 A – Standard baseline assault rifle.[2]
  • M21 S – Compact short barrel assault rifle.[5]
    • M21 SBS – Built-in picatinny rail system.
  • M21 C – Carbine.[6]
    • M21 BS – Built-in picatinny rail system.



See also


  1. "Patente proglasili kopijom" (in Serbian). Glas javnosti.
  2. "Assault Rifle M21 A". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  3. "Welcome to Zastava-arms - Zastava-arms". Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  4. "M21 deo naoružanja Vojske Srbije" (in Serbian). B92. 10 February 2008.
  5. "Assault Rifle M21 S". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  6. "Submachine Gun M21". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  7. "Oružari ipak izvoze u Jermeniju" (in Serbian). B92. 29 December 2006.
  8. "Zastava Arms Signs $30 Million Tech Transfer Deal with Azerbaijan". Balkan Monitor – A Defence & Security Daily. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  9. Higgins, Eliot [@EliotHiggins] (July 13, 2018). "During the @Bellingcat workshop today we confirmed one soldier was carrying a Zastava M21S, used by the Cameroonian military, specifically the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR). The BIR has also been linked to other crimes elsewhere in the country" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  10. "Snajperi iz Zastave za Jordan i Indoneziju" (in Serbian). Blic. 12 January 2011.
  11. Binnie, Jeremy; de Cherisey, Erwan (2017). "New-model African armies" (PDF). Jane's. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2017.
  12. Republic of Serbia: Ministry of Economy and of Regional Development. Annual Report on the Transfers of Controlled Goods in 2008. p. 37. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014 via Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
  13. "Iraqi interested in import of M21 rifle". eKapija. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  14. UNDP Serbia and Montenegro (25 March 2005). Living with the Legacy: Small arms and light weapons survey Republic of Serbia (PDF). Small Arms Survey. p. 24. ISBN 86-7728-002-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007.
  15. "NATO vojnici nose srpske puške" (in Serbian). Blic. 28 February 2008.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.