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History of the Iraqi Tabuk Rifle

After importing thousands of AK-47 rifles from many countries, Saddam Hussein ordered the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in the late 1970s to pursue a domestically produced copy of the AKM rifle to replace worn out rifles for Iraqi troops in the continuing war with Iran.

Capitalizing on the favorable relationship with Yugoslavia, Iraqi technicians secured cooperation with The Zastava Arms Factory in Kragujevac, near Belgrade. By the 1980, Iraq purchased tooling and machinery to establish its own factory near Baghdad under license from Zastava with aid from Yugoslavian workers and technicians. The main factory opened east of Bi'r Musammad, Babil, Iraq. The result was the introduction of AK-type rifles of excellent quality in a country not previously known for superior domestically produced weapons. The Iraqi produced AKM copies of the Yugoslavian M70B1 and M70AB2 rifles became known as the 'Tabuk.'

Iraq is known to have fielded the first Tabuks by at least 1980, making them a veteran of the Iran - Iraq War, the Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The rifles are currently used by all segments of the new Iraqi Defense Forces and continue to be among the most serviceable and robust weapons among Saddam-era arsenals. Iraq is now replacing it with the imported Colt M-16 Rifle.

    Tabuk Types
    Assault Rifle
Stamped, bulged receiver, wooden stock based on M70B1 in 7.62 x 39mm - SN 1,XXX,XXX
Most Common Type
    Assault Rifle
Stamped, bulged receiver, folding stock based on M70ab2 in 7.62 x 39mm - SN 2,XXX,XXX
Most Common Type
    Light Machine Gun
Light machine gun 'RPK' version 'Al Quds' with fixed barrel, wooden stock - SN 3,XXX,XXX
Most Common Type
    Light Machine Gun
Light machine gun 'RPK' version 'Al Quds' with fixed barrel, folding stock - SN 3,XXX,XXX
    Sniper Rifle
Sniper or Designated Marksman Rifle based on M76 but in 7.62 x 39mm - SN 4,XXX,XXX
Often mistaken as the only 'Tabuk'
    Assault Rifle
Stamped, slab-side receiver, wooden stock based on M80 in 5.45 x 39mm - SN Unknown
Very few produced
    Short Assault Rifle
Stamped, slab-side receiver,rfolding stock based on M92 in 7.62 x 39mm - SN 6,XXX,XXX
Krink Type
    Assault Rifle
Stamped, slab-side receiver, wooden stock based on M70 in 7.62 x 39mm - SN 7,XXX,XXX
    Assault Rifle
Stamped, slab-side receiver, folding stock based on M70A in 7.62 x 39mm - SN 8,XXX,XXX
    General Data
Common Tabuk Assault Rifles

7.62 x 39mm

    Muzzle Velocity 2297 fps
    Cyclic Rate 600-650 rds / min
    Sustained Fire 100 rds / min
    Weight 8.2 lbs (Wood Stock), 7.5 lbs (Folding Stock)
    Length 35.4 inches (Wood Stock), 35.1 to 25.2 inches (Folding Stock)
    Barrel Length 16.2 inches
  All data from Tabuk Production Catalog  
Lion of Babylon before destroyed by insurgents in 2007.
  Actual Tabuk markings on rear sight block

Tabuk AK-style rifles are marked on both the left and right side of the rear sight block that houses the tangent leaf sight. The left side is marked with the Tabuk emblem and Arabic nomenclature.

The emblem is a side view of the icon 'Lion of Babylon' set against a pyramid. This famous ancient statue depicts a lion standing over the human figure.

The lion has a saddle and is supposed to have been ridden by Ishtar, the ancient goddess of fertility, love and war. The actual statue was destroyed by insurgents on July 29th, 2007 in Basra.

Two Rivers Arms Iraqi style markings are of the finest quality
  Two Rivers Arms Tabuk clone rifles

The right side of the sight block is marked in English. It has the word 'Tabuk' on the top row followed by 'Cal. 7.62 x 39 mm' on the bottom row of text. This is the same text that is found in Arabic on either side of the Lion circle emblem on the left side of the block.

Two Rivers Arms uses advanced engraving techniques to replicate the Iraqi sight block markings in every detail. While some homebuilders have replicated the logo, no markings to date compare to the quality of Two Rivers Tabuk TM style rifles.

Two Rivers Arms also replicates the full military appearance of the Iraqi Tabuk style rifle. No synthetics stocks or grooved pistol grips will be found on Two Rivers replica rifles. The magazines are also the correct style with the bolt 'hold open' feature of Zastava and Tabuk manufacture. SEE TABUK ORDERING PAGE HERE