Zastava M93 Black Arrow in .50 BMG at the Range

Today we have the M93 “Black Arrow” out at the range. I made an attempt to get the scope zeroed enough to be on paper, but was unable to get it there within a few rounds, so most of this video is shot using the rifle’s backup iron sights. Perhaps others will have more recoil tolerance to properly dial in one of these.

Overall, the M93 is definitely a military-spec heavy rifle, not a commercial precision rifle. All of its elements are functional, but they all leave something to be desired. The grip and stock are a bit uncomfortable, the iron sights are a bit crude, the trigger is heavy and squishy, and the recoil is more brutal than I am used to, even considering that it’s chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge. That said, I got a remarkable 3-round group, at least by my estimation.


  1. It’s not the recoil from the .50 BMG I find objectionable – it’s the concussion. That can’t be good for your brain.

    Thank you for taking the hit for us, Ian. Please don’t beat up your brain or shoulder for us again.

      • You are right; in English it means the muzzle break effectiveness is 62%. With that comes a penalty as Ian dully noted. I would not be waiting in line to pull trigger on it.

    • backbencher: … it’s the concussion.
      Blast-induced TBI is not to be trifled with. Even being Omega 3 replete (3g DHA+EPA per day) can only do so much.
      Also, if you “see stars”. That’s your retina thinking about detaching.
      I gave up on .44 Mag just due to needing double ear pro.

  2. Amazing, you see Ian’s eardrums bounce off each other in the center of his skull!

    And Ian, if you want blast, try touching off a 105mm M68 tank gun. As a TC, I was supposed to have my head out of the hatch, observing with impact of the round with binoculars. Between the flash and blast, you were were punched in the face by a hot fist which uncaged your eyeballs and while you rezeroed them, your deafened ears heard a particular tinny ringing sound as the cartride case was ejected from the breech and hit the turret floor. Great fun! “If you’ve never felt invincible, you’ve never ridden a tank”

    Second, what is the significance of “Black Arrow” to Serbians? I understand Black Hand

    But “Black Arrow’ is the title of an English novel I read in Junior High and, later, a missile

    • No special significance, it probably just sounded cool at the moment. Zastava at that moment had few more “Black” weapons, like “Black lady”, .25 ACP pocket pistol and few more that I can not remember ATM.

      • Black Arrow sounds kinda cool, reminiscent of popular Cowboys and Indians and there is nothing wrong with that,
        but Black Spear (Crno koplje) is not a greatest naming choice as “koplje” in serbian (and other exYu languages) could also euphemistically allude at male sex organ,
        giving a laughable and cringy impression to listener, like if you were in US and come up with rifle called “Black schlong” 🙂

          • Its a stupid and redundant linguistical construct, but never ever did I heard it used in euphemistic way you suggested, in both published media or local “hood” talk.
            Most people here, and 99% of all people under age 25, would not even know what it means.

          • I did not know it either, but some people from Zagreb did. Local “Purger” thing apparently. Hard to say if it predated or postdated “samokres” as a term for a pistol. AFAIK most people in Croatia use term “pistolj” right. At least that was my impression talking with some weapon developers from Croatia?

          • Yep.
            There is also a constructed translated term “samovoz” that should mean automobile, in literal sense, though it has some logic, much more than samokres (samo=by it own means, automatically, voz= driving, mobility)

  3. You really should be doubled up on the ear pro shooting .50 bmg. Especially with a brake like that. There are small bones in the ear that are not protected from harsh concussion with just plugs. Adding phones make a difference.

  4. Wow! I am very impressed by Ian’s ability to avoid flinching when shooting this monster. Unless this is way less expensive than other choices, it looks like a market failure.

    • The market isn’t people looking for a fun rifle to shoot, it’s organizations looking to buy a hundred of them for their soldiers to bust up as much enemy stuff as possible. And the Black Arrow seems like it would be quite good at busting stuff up across a wide range of combat environments.

      • This rifle has been adopted by 14 countries plus the YPG army. It is apparently successful. This is not a hand tuned McMillan with a 15.000$ scope on it. But with a fixed 8x scope, it is not too expensive and a good addition to a units armament.

  5. Always glad to watch somebody else fire those monsters. Why not devise a shooting vest especially for such trials? Even just slip a couple of folds of foam inside your current vest?

    And yes, you should have been wearing top of the line muffs years ago. We all should have. Speak up, I can’t hear you.

  6. Poor Ian…
    In order not to suffer from recoil so much, you should put a sheet of plywood or plastic under the rug.

  7. Wow the only thing I can say from the looks of it, this rifle physically reminds you that you are firing a very large cartridge, unlike say an M107 which deceives you into thinking you aren’t shooting such a big rifle!
    Thank you sir for taking the “hit” for all of us!

  8. Ian,
    Please take better care of yourself.
    Protect your brain, eyes and ears.
    Avoid concussive traumatic brain injuries and detached retinas.
    Life is too short.

  9. Putting a silencer on the muzzle instead of the brake seems mandatory after this skull shaking presentation.

  10. There is a good reason the M2HB is the size it is.
    Concerning concussion, as I recall a klaxon went off before the BB’s fired their guns. Nobody wanted to be on deck when they touched off a salvo.

  11. Zastave offers an upgraded version of the M93. It addresses some of the issues Ian mentioned. The M12 has a redesigned, adjustable trigger, a different grip and stock. Also a larger muzzle break and allows the use of standard bipods.

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