Sunday, December 26, 2010

AEK-919 K "Kashtan" submachine gun

AEK-919 submachine gun was developed at the Kovrov Mechanical Plant in the mid-1990s for Russian Army and special law-enforcement forces. Initial design was based on Austrian Steyr MPi-69 submachine gun, and was not withouth a certain flaws. After initial testings design was improved - overall lenght was decreased, cross-bolt safety switch was replaced by the rotating fire selector/safety swithch; ergonomics also was improved. Resulting design was named AEK-919K "Kashtan" and probably is used in small numbers by different special forces of the Russian Army and Law Enforcement units.

AEK-919K, latest version, fitted with the "red dot" sight and a silencer

AEK-919K is a simple blowback operated, selective fire submachine gun. It featured a "sleeved" bolt which, in forward position, encloses the rear part of the barrel. AEK-919K is fired from the open bolt, and fed from the two-column magazines that hold 20 or 30 rounds. Receiver is made from the stamped steel, pistol grip with triggerguard and a heatshield are made from the plastic. Cocking handle is located at the left side of the receiver and does not move when gun is fired. AEK-919K featured an "L"-shaped open rear sights marked for 50 and 100 meters distance, it also can be equipped with laser aiming device and "red dot" sight. Barrel of the AEK-919K featured polygonal rifling and threaded muzzle, so a silencer can be quickly installed if required. Retractable stock is made from the steel, with rubberised buttplate.

AEK-919K, left side view, with stock extended

AEK-919K is a compact and handy firerarm, and the only drawback i found when holding that gun at one of the exhibitions is in the placement of the safety/selector switch. When gun is in the "safe" mode, it is almost impossible to switch the gun into "fire" mode withouth the weak (non-firing) hand or withouth rotating the gun in the palm. In all other respects AEK-919K is reported to be accurate, reliable and comfortable to fire, even from off-hands. A currently advertised along with AEK-919K "red dot" sight is a little bit cumbersome but it allows for much faster target aquisition; any other, more compaqct "red dot" sight also can be installed withouth getting into much (if any) trouble.

AEK-919K, rigjht side view, with stock collapsed

Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov
Weight: 1.65 kg with empty 20 rounds magazine
Lenght (stock closed/open): 325 / 485 mm
Barrel lenght: 167 mm
Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds
Effective range: 100 meters

Monday, December 20, 2010

PP-90 submachine gun

The PP-90 represents the abortive attempt to copy the concept (and probably some design ideas) from unsuccessful American Ares FMG (Folding Machine Gun) weapon, produced by Ares Defense company in mid-1980s. PP-90 had been developed in early 1990s by KBP design bureau in Tula, otherwise known for highly efficient and successful weapons, from submachine guns and up to tank and naval guns. Both Ares FMG and its PP-90 clone were intended for concealed carry, and folded down to relatively compact, plain looking metal box. When needed, these guns were to be unfolded into ready to fire position in 3 - 4 seconds. I'm not sure about Ares FMG, but the PP-90 became a failure - resulting design was somewhat unreliable and totally uncomfortable. Initially issued to some police and security forces in Russia, this gun now destined to collect dust in farthest corners of the armory rooms, due its terrible ergonomics and poor handling characteristics.

PP-90 submachine gun in ready to fire and folded positions

PP-90 submachine gun - unfolding into ready position

Caliber: 9x18mm PM
Weight: 1.83 kg w/o magazine
Length: 485 mm in ready to fire position; folds down to 270 X 90 X 32 mm (length X height X width) box

Rate of fire: 600 - 800 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Effective range: 50 meters

The PP-90 is entirely made from stamped steel, and folds around the point just behind the barrel breech face. PP-90 is a blowback operated, automatic only weapon (selective fired in PP-90M1 version).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kedr PP-91 / Klin PP-9 submachine gun

The Kedr submachine gun had been originally designed by the Evgenij Dragunov (the designer of famous SVD sniper rifle) in the early 1970s as the PP-71, on request from Soviet Army. But then project was shelved and revived only in early 1990s, when Russian police felt the need for increased short-range firepower. PP-71 was slightly modified and then manufactured in limited numbers and issued to various law enforcement forces across the Russia. It was soon discovered that the original 9x18mm Makarov ammunition was not powerful enough, so new type of ammunition had been developed. This new cartridge, 9x18mm PMM, while retaining same dimensions, had slightly lighter bullet and heavier powder charge, which increased its performance. Basic Kedr design was slightly strengthened by 1994 for this new ammunition, and appeared as the Klin submachine gun. Both Kedr and Klin are used in limited numbers by various Russian police and security forces. It must be noted that for safety reasons use of PMM ammunition has almost ceased in Russian law enforcement, and most units are issued standard 9x18 PM ammunition. Therefore, only Kedr version is currently manufactured for police use.

Kedr submachine gun, right side, with 20-round magazine and butt folded

Klin submachine gun, with butt opened

Kedr PP-91 submachine gun is blowback operated, selective-fired weapon. It fires from closed bolt for enchanced accuracy, and features traditional hammer unit. Safety / fire mode selector lever is located on the right side of the stamped-steel receiver and permits for single shots and full automatic fire. The only difference between Klin and Kedr is that Klin is slightly strenghtened and has radial grooves in the chamber, to slow down wxtraction of the more powerful 9x18 PMM ammo. Kedr PP-91 submachine gun is fitted with top-folding steel butt, and can be equipped with detachable silencer. Standard sights are of open type, with L-shaped rear blade that automaticaly flips over to "short range" setting when butt is closed and to "long range" setting when butt is opened. Feed is from detachable box magazines holding 20 or 30 rounds.

Klin submachine gun, partially disassembled

Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov (9x18mm PMM - Makarov Modernized for Klin)
Weight: 1.55 kg empty
Length: 539 / 305 mm (butt open / folded)
Barrel length: 120 mm
Rate of fire: 800 rounds per minute (1050-1200 rounds per minute for Klin with PMM ammo)
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds box
Effective range: about 50-100 meters for Kedr; up to 150 meters for Klin with PMM ammo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AT-4 (Spigot) / 9M111 Fagot Anti-Tank Guided Missile

The AT-4 Spigot wire-guided anti-tank missile system has been improved over the years since its initial introduction in 1970.

The AT-4 Spigot anti-tank wire-guided missile system is similar to the French-made MILAN system, though smaller in size. It fires the wire-guided SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command to Line-of-Sight) anti-tank missile. The system was designed in 1962 by the Tula Machinery Design Bureau and entered production in 1970.

The AT-4 was developed as an infantry and vehicle-mounted tank killer, making up a pivotal component of Soviet anti-tank crews. The weapon system weighs in at just over 25lbs. The initial muzzle velocity at launch is 80 meters per second while this increased to 186 meters per second in flight. Since this is a wire-guided system, the operator has to continually point the sighting device at his target.

Launchers for the 9M111, 9M111-2 and 9M111M missile are the 9P135 (base launcher), 9P135M (Spigot and Spandrel missile systems), 9P135M1 (updated/improved 9P135 system), 9P135M2 (updated/improved 9P135 system)), 9P135M3 (with thermal imaging night sight) and the 9S451M2 (with night sight).

The AT-4 is in service with a myriad of countries world wide - many being former Soviet-friendly states and nations.

The AT-5 "Spandrel" is a similar weapon system developed alongside the AT-4.

Specifications for the AT-4 (Spigot) / 9M111 Fagot
Action: Semi-Automatic
Cartridge: 120mm
Feed System: 1
Muzzle Velocity: 610ft/sec (186m/sec)
Maximum / Effective Range: 6,562ft (2,000m; 2,187yds)
Sights: Scope

Overall Length: 1200mm (47.24in)
Barrel Length: 875.00 (34.45in)
Empty Weight: 11.50kg (25.35lbs)

Monday, December 13, 2010

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun

The OTs-02 Kiparis (Cypress) submachine gun had been developed by designer Afanasiev during the 1970s on request from Soviet army at the Tula Central Sporting and Hunting Arms Design Bureau (TSKIB SOO). However, at the time the gun was not adopted, and design laid idle until early 1990s, when it was resurrected on request of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry, as a possible special purpose police weapon. It is adopted in 1995 by MVD and Russian police and issued to various special troops, including OMON and SOBR groups.

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun, fitted with optional silencer and laser aiming module

Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov
Weight: 1.57 kg empty
Length: 590 / 317 mm (butt open / folded)
Barrel length: 156 mm
Rate of fire: 600 - 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds box
Effective range: 100 meters

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun with butt folded; note different color of the plastic grip (early production model)

The OTs-02 is a blowback operated weapon of conventional design. It fires from closed bolt for enhanced accuracy, and thus has a conventional hammer unit. Safety / fire mode selector is located on the left side of the gun and permits for single shots and full automatic fire. Receiver is made from stamped steel, magazines are inserted at the front of the triggerguard. OTs-02 is fed using straight box magazines of 20 or 30 rounds capacity, steel butt folds up at to the front when not in use. OTs-02 can be fitted with detachable silencer and laser pointer. Despite the relatively high rate of fire, OTs-2 is claimed to be rather accurate in full automatic fire, and even more so in semi-automatic mode.

OTs-02 Kiparis submachine gun partially disassembled

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sudaev PPS-43 submachine gun

The PPS-43 (Pistolet-Pulemet Sudaeva, model of 1943 = Sudaev SMG) was born as an answer to the need for weapon that is more compact and mobile than PPSh-41, then in use by Soviet Army. PPSh-41 was somewhat too long to be used by tank crews and mobile recon groups and paratroopers, so lae in 1941 Red Army issued a request for new, more compact SMG. Designer Sudaev initially designed his new SMG in 1942, and it was adopted under the designation of PPS-42. Next year he refined the design and thus final model was designated as PPS-43. This SMG was manufactured in significant numbers (nearly 2 millions of PPS-43 weapons were manufactured between 1943 and 1946). PPS-43 is sometimes referred to as the best SMG of World War 2. After WW2, it was widely exported to pro-Soviet regimes around the world and widely copied.

Sudaev PPS-43 submachine gun

Caliber: 7,62x25 mm TT
Weight: 3,67 kg loaded, 3,04 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open): 615 / 831 mm
Barrel length: 250 mm
Rate of fire: 500-600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 35 rounds
Effective range: 200 meters

Technically, the PPS is a full-automatic only weapon, based on simple blowback principle, and is fired from the open bolt. The safety is located at the front of the triggerguard. The receiver and barrel shroud are made from stamped steel. Rear sight is L-shaped flip type and is marked for 100 and 200 meters distance, front sight is fixed blade type. The barrel is equipped with simple muzzle brake. The folding stock is made from steel and folds up and over the top of the receiver. Barrel was chrome-lined and thus very durable - average barrel life was 20,000 rounds.

PPS-43 used only one type of magazines - curved box magazines, which held 35 rounds. These magazines were externally similar to, but not compatible with box magazines of PPSh-41.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun

Early production Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun, with drum magazine and tangent-type rear sight

Caliber: 7,62x25 mm TT
Weight: 5,45 kg loaded with full 71 rds drum; 4,3 kg with full 35 rds magazine; 3,63 kg without magazine
Length: 843 mm
Barrel length: 269 mm
Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 71 rounds in drum magazine or 35 rounds in curved box magazine
Effective range: meters

Late production Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun, with box magazine and flip-up rear sight

The PPSh-41 (Pistolet Pulemjot Shpagina model of 1941 = Shpagin submachine gun) was one of major infantry weapons of the Soviet troops during the World war 2. Total number of PPSh's manufactured during WW2 estimates to more than 6 millions. The gun became one of the symbols of the Great Patriotic War. Retired from Soviet Army service soon after the WW2, the PPSh was widely exported to some pro-Soviet countries around the world, including China, Vietnam and many African countries.

It was effective, but somewhat crude weapon, reliable in combat but not without certain flaws. It has somewhat excessive rate of fire, and its drums were uncomfortable to carry and prone to feed problems once spring is weaken.

Shpagin PPSh-41 submachine gun partially disassembled

The PPSch-41 was designed as a cheap and simple but effective war-time weapon. It featured simple blowback operated action, and fired from open bolt. To decrease the recoil stress, gun was fitted with bolt buffer at the rear of receiver. The buffer was made from fiber and was attached to the return spring guide rod. The striker was permanently fixed to the bolt face. PPSh-41 was a select-fire weapon, with fire selector switch located inside the triggerguard, ahead of trigger. The safety was integrated into the charging handle and locked the bolt in forward or rearward position. The receiver and the barrel shroud was made from stamped steel. The front part of the barrel shroud extends beyond the muzzle and acted as a muzzle brake / muzzle flip compensator. Early PPSch-41's were issued with drum magazines with capacity of 71 round, similar to ones used in PPD-40.

Such high capacity increased the firepower but the magazines were too slow to refill and not too reliable, so in 1942 a curved box magazine was developed. This magazine held 35 rounds and was much more comfortable to carry in pouches. Early magazines were made from 0,5 mm sheet steel and were somewhat unreliable. Later magazines were made from 1 mm steel and were completely satisfactory. Usually, infantrymen carried one drum in the gun and some box magazines in the pouches or pockets.

Early guns featured elevation-adjustable rear sights, marked up to 500 meters; late production guns had flip-type "L"-shaped rear sights marked for 100 and 200 meters range.


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