Modified NSV sold as anti-materiel rifle in Yemen

Jonathan Ferguson

A mystery 12.7 × 108 mm anti-materiel rifle documented for sale in Yemen earlier this summer—described as ‘craft-produced’ by some observers—has been identified by ARES. It is not, in fact, craft-produced but rather an ingenious yet relatively straightforward modification of an NSV-type heavy machine gun (HMG). The gun’s barrelled action has simply been flipped upside down and re-equipped for firing from the shoulder. As well as the obviously locally made and rather blocky buttstock, numerous other additions have been made. A pistol grip, trigger guard and unusually shaped trigger (not the standard NSV assembly as normally found separately on the HMG mount) have been fitted to the rear cover plate in place of the rear sight assembly.

A rock-in style magazine well has been improvised to accept a factory-made 12.7 mm magazine. Fins have also been machined into the barrel in an attempt to cool the gun and/or (given the reported 26 kg weight of the weapon), to lighten it somewhat. A Czech UK vz. 59 machine gun bipod (fixed pattern) has been fitted and the NSV cone-shaped flash-suppressor replaced by an unidentified (possibly craft-produced) bird-cage type. Sighting arrangements have also been changed. The weapon’s standard rear sight has been removed and re-sited on top of the rifle, and the front sight reinstalled upside-down. Finally, an optical sight with brow-pad has been mounted. The NSV selector (safe and fire only) remains intact, and this indicates it is likely that the weapon remains automatic-only in operation, save for judicious trigger control or the more laborious option of loading a single round into the magazine. Despite this, one source claims the rifle is capable of semi-automatic fire.

Technical Specifications

Overall length: 1,400 mm
Barrel length: 600 mm
Weight: 26 kg
Calibre: 12.7 × 108 mm
Feed device: 10-round detachable box magazine

Special thanks to @ArmoryBazaar.


Remember, all arms and munitions are dangerous. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded, and all munitions as if they are live, until you have personally confirmed otherwise. If you do not have specialist knowledge, never assume that arms or munitions are safe to handle until they have been inspected by a subject matter specialist. You should not approach, handle, move, operate, or modify arms and munitions unless explicitly trained to do so. If you encounter any unexploded ordnance (UXO) or explosive remnants of war (ERW), always remember the ‘ARMS’ acronym:

AVOID the area
RECORD all relevant information
MARK the area from a safe distance to warn others
SEEK assistance from the relevant authorities