Khaybar: Iran’s 5.56mm Assault Rifle


In 2003, the Iranian Defense Industries Organization of Islamic Republic of Iran introduced a modern-looking bullpup designated the Khaybar KH2002. This new assault rifle features a polymer exterior and is chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. It was heralded as a major achievement of the Iranian defense industry. However, seven years later the Khaybar is still not in service.

In reality, the Iranian Khaybar is nothing more than a bullpup conversion of a Chinese knock-off of the 1960s-vintage American M16A1. The origin of this Iranian piece is actually the Chinese CQ rifle built by Arsenal 356 and marketed by Norinco for export sales. “CQ” is short for Chang Qing, which means Ever Prosperous, the civilian name for Arsenal 356. This model was aimed at the U.S. commercial market until the early 1990s when new importation bans imposed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton effectively eliminated the major

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