Today I am joined by Miles Vining from Silah Report to take a look at a selection of Tabuk pattern AKs. Tabuk was the name given to the whole family of domestically-produced Iraqi Kalashnikovs, which harbor a lot more mysteries than one might expect. The basic pattern was licensed from Yugoslavia, and Iraqi production was set up with Yugoslavian technical support. The rifles follow the basic pattern of the Yugoslav M70, but a wide variety of different versions were made between the early 1980s and 2003, with little explanation as to why. This includes standard and. “bulged” RPK-type front trunnions, fixed and underflowing stocks, some with and without rifle grenade gas cutoffs and sights, Yugoslav and Iraqi-made grips, and more. Unique to Iraq is the Tabuk “sniper” model, a 7.62x39mm rifle with a long barrel, distinctive cutout stock, and either PSO or Zrak scope (based on a pattern tested by Yugoslavia but never adopted).
The Tabuk was never the main armament of the Iraqi military. It was only issued to small numbers of troops, often high profile units like the Republican Guard. The vast majority of Iraqi arms were AKs bought elsewhere, including Romanian, Polish, and Hungarian patterns. Total production of Tabuk rifles is unknown. The serial numbers consist of a 3-digit batch code and a 4-digit sequential serial number – which is easily mistaken for a 7-digit sequential number. With Iraqi production records lost or destroyed, the significance of the different batch codes is unknown, but they probably referred to specific combinations of features and intended recipients (both Iraqi military/security forces and foreign export customers).
Many thanks to Two Rivers Arms for loaning use these three Tabuks for filming! They are definitely experts on the subject, and we appreciate their generosity. Further thanks to Miles for joining me on this video! If you are interested in modern small arms of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia you should definitely check out the great work being done by Silah Report.