Zastava Arms was established in 1853 and has since made a name for itself as a capable small arms provider supplying to dozens of countries worldwide and dealing in various types of military firearms classes. The Yugoslavian (now Serbian) concern has generally centered on copy or development of Soviet-era equipment as locally-produced forms no doubt to the Soviet influence during the Cold War. As such, Zastava Arms puts forth the M80 series of assault rifles which are nothing more than copies of the Soviet Kalashnikov AKM series of "modernized" AK-47 assault rifles. Due to this pedigree, the M80 series shares much in common with the Soviet design including its ease-of-use, robust in-the-field qualities and reliability. Several versions of the M80 were developed primarily for export and have seen extended use in other parts of the world.
Like the AKM before it, the M80 series is of gas-operation with a rotating bolt feature and selective fire through semi- and full-automatic modes. The gas cylinder sits atop the barrel in true Kalashnikov fashion and wood furniture is readily used as in the original Soviet AK series. The right side of the receiver holds the cocking handle and ejection port while the left side is relatively featureless. The assault rifle sports a running length of 39 inches with a barrel just over 18 inches while, when empty, the M80 exhibits a weight of approximately 7 to 8 lbs. The M80 can be fed by either 20- or 30-round curved detachable box magazines. The series can be chambered for the 5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm or the 7.62x51mm NATO standard cartridge - undoubtedly opening it up for export sale. Rate-of-fire is approximately 600 rounds per minute. While finished with adjustable iron sights, the M80 series can also have optics applied for accurized fire at distance (through use of an added mount). Additionally, as with the AK series, an underslung grenade launcher can be affixed to the lower forward portion of the weapon to broaden the weapon's tactical value. A shoulder strap can be added for improved portability, connecting at slings found near the forend and at the rear of the receiver (left side). The forend is completed with the Kalashnikov-style two-piece wood system over the gas cylinder and the barrel. There is a noticeable forward sight assembly just aft of the muzzle.
The M80 family comes in two distinct "flavors" designated simply as the M80 and M80A. The major difference between the two forms is the stock to which the M80 is the base version with a fixed, solid wooden stock while the M80A is the compact version with the folding metal wire stock. The metal stock folds under the receiver and promotes a much shorter profile, making this model ideal for paratroopers, special forces and vehicle crews.