This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
This year’s IPAS 2017 held in Tehran featured a number of designs seen previously such as Iran’s 7.62x54mm PKM GPMG, and 12.7x108mm Dshk Heavy Machine Gun copies. But of particular interest was what appears to be a shortened PKM with a barrel cut to around 14 inches, a telescoping butt stock based on the AR15, polymer pistol grip, and what appears to be a canvas or polymer assault drum. Also notice the shortened compensator and relatively simple sling attached, especially if the machine gun is designed to be used in an “Assault Phase”. From a cursory glance, it appears that the conventional Iranian Infantry is armed with small arms of local licensed manufacture by the Defense Industries Organization such as MG3s, MP5s, and G3 rifles (currently this appears to be transitioning to Stoner based designs). Whereas the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is equipped with locally produced or imported Soviet bloc weaponry such as PKMs or AKMs. If we were to ever see this PKM variant in use by Iranian security forces, a likely place would probably be with the IRGC in a smaller team or special operations capacity.
The drum attached is either a 100 round drum or a 50-75 round drum of 7.62x54mm non-disintegrating linked belt, judging from the side view of the weapon system. As an example of a 100 round drum, compare the photograph to this 100 round drum attached to a PKP Pecheneg. There is just too little information in the photograph to tell for sure.
These locally produced (Appears to be Defense Industries Organization) DShKs were also on display at the exhibition. Notice the difference in the muzzle brake when compared to a standard Soviet DShK. In fact, it appears that this is very likely a licensed version or at least a complete copy of the Chinese PLA’s W85, which is a Chinese copy of the Soviet DsHK. Notice the similarity of the very distinct three port muzzle brake (initial brake being larger than the other two equally sized ports). Timothy Yang has an excellent write up about the W85 and its use throughout the Syrian conflict.
Standard Soviet brake-
To confuse matters even more, in previous versions of the Iranian DShK, the standard muzzle brake has been mounted-