The Zastava M21 A assault rifle
|Type||Assault rifle, submachine gun|
|Place of origin||Serbia|
|Used by||See Users|
Conflict in Peru
Syrian Civil War
Iraqi Civil War
|Unit cost||630$ (2016)|
|Weight||4.15 kg (9.1 lb) (M21 A)
4.07 kg (9.0 lb) (M21 S)
3.91 kg (8.6 lb) (M21 C)
|Length||1,000 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 length||460 mm (18 in) (M21 A)
375 mm (14.8 in) (M21 S)
325 mm (12.8 in) (M21 C)
|Action||Gas-operated (rotating bolt)|
|Rate of fire||680 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||925 m/s|
|Effective firing range||450 m (490 yd) with iron sights
600 m (660 yd) with optics
|Feed system||30-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||Adjustable 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. 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. It features a hard chromium-plated, cold forged standard rifled or an optional polygonal rifled barrel, integrated 22mm flash hider grenade launcher, rigid polymer folding stock, heavy-duty synthetic handguard with an additional left hand side fire selector, cover mounted picatinny rail for optical sights. The rifle can also mount a 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher. 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.
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.
The rifle has conventional iron sights that consist of a front post and a flip-up rear sight with 300m and 500m apertures. 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).
- M21 A – Standard baseline assault rifle.
- M21 ABS – Built-in picatinny rail system.
- M21 S – Compact short barrel assault rifle.
- M21 SBS – Built-in picatinny rail system.
- M21 C – Carbine.
- M21 BS – Built-in picatinny rail system.
- Armenia - Used by Armenian special forces
- Azerbaijan - Used by Special Forces 
- Bosnia and Herzegovina - Used by federal (SIPA) and special police units.
- Cameroon - Used by the Special Police Forces.
- Iraq - Used by the Iraqi Armed Forces
- Macedonia - Purchased in 2005.
- "Patente proglasili kopijom" (in Serbian). Glas javnosti.
- "Assault Rifle M21 A". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Welcome to Zastava-arms - Zastava-arms". Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "M21 deo naoružanja Vojske Srbije" (in Serbian). B92. 10 February 2008.
- "Assault Rifle M21 S". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Submachine Gun M21". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Oružari ipak izvoze u Jermeniju" (in Serbian). B92. 29 December 2006.
- "Zastava Arms Signs $30 Million Tech Transfer Deal with Azerbaijan". Balkan Monitor - A Defence & Security Daily. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "SER_08.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Snajperi iz Zastave za Jordan i Indoneziju" (in Serbian). Blic. 12 January 2011.
- "::: ekapija - Iraqi interested in import of M21 rifle :::". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
- "NATO vojnici nose srpske puške" (in Serbian). Blic. 28 February 2008.
- "So lucky to survive bomb horror". Wales Online. 14 September 2008.
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