While guided missiles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Anti-Tank (AT) mines, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are the more common, definitive ways to stop a modern battle tank or heavily armored vehicle, the Anti-Tank / Anti-Material Rifle (AMR) is still in play as a lower-cost, man-portable solution. These weapons typically fire a large-caliber round: .50 BMG, 12.7mm, 14.5mm and even 20mm projectiles are used in various designs throughout the world. In 2004, Steyr Mannlicher of Austria introduced the HS.50 series AMR aimed at forces already centered on a Western=minded caliber type - the .50 BMG (Browning Machine Gun).
Unlike other mainstream AMRs, which largely rely on a semi-automatic action feeding cartridges from a detachable box magazine, the HS.50 originally utilized a manual-action bolt system tied to an integral magazine. It has since been marketed with a five-round detachable box magazine feature (through the HS.50 M1 model). All other aspects of the weapon remain traditional - adjustable shoulder stock, folding bipod assembly, oversized slotted muzzle brake, and an over-receiver optics set (Picatinny rail). Overall weight is around 29lb with an overall length of 54 inches, the barrel measuring 33 inches long. The barrel is of cold hammer-forged fabrication and fluted for cooling. Effective firing ranges reach out to 1,500 meters.
Beyond the HS.50 and HS.50 M1 models, the family line also includes the HS.460 which is chambered for the .460 Steyr cartridge. This model is primarily aimed at the civilian gun market where acquiring .50 BMG is unlawful.
The HS.50 series of guns has been taken on by the various forces of Argentina (Army), Cameroon, Palestine (Hamas elements), Iran (also produced locally - and illegally - under the AM-50 "Sayyad" name), Iraq (militia groups), Mexico (special forces), Russia (special forces), and Syria (by way of acquisition of the Iranian AM-50 Sayyad).
The AM-50 has been seen in action during the ongoing Syrian Civil War (2011-Present).