Russia’s TP-82 Space Gun

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The three-barreled Toz TP-82 was carried into space by Soviet and Russian cosmonauts until 2006 when the ammunition expired and it was replaced with a regular semi-automatic pistol. The top two barrels chambered 12.5x70mm (about 40 gauge) shotshells and the lower barrel chambered 5.45x39mm. A canvas covered machete was designed to be used as the stock.

Max posted this photo of it on his blog

More info and photos here.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Dan Calloway

    What was the idea behind this? Space creatures or mutiny?

  • btr

    Siberian wildlife. Cosmonaunts landed in the wilderness not the ocean.

  • Doug

    Star wars on a budget.

  • Mouldy Squid

    @Dan

    There was once a time when there was a serious concern about war in orbit. There was a legitimate fear that there could be “boarding actions” between orbital craft. It never happened, but it is interesting to see that the Soviets developed a specific firearm on the chance it might actually happen.

  • Tux

    Machete stock? It’s… it’s beautiful. I’m confused by the ammunition expiring part; did they lose the machinery to make more?

  • http://paulinhouston.blogspot.com Paul_In_Houston

    I think btr has it right.

    I have a vague memory of reading (a long time ago) about a cosmonaut having to fight off wolves after he landed in Siberia.
    -

  • http://paulinhouston.blogspot.com Paul_In_Houston

    And that weapon makes me flash on a scene in Arnold’s “Conan the Barbarian” where, after Conan emerges from the cave with the Atlantean sword in hand, facing a wolf pack, the next scene is of him clad in wolf skins with a wolf-skin sheath for that sword. :-)
    -

  • MibZ

    At first I thought this was a joke, but that’s actually a pretty cool concept. Four weapons/tools in one small package.

  • Clodboy

    In all likelihood, this thing was *not* designed for actual combat in space, but as a survival tool for cosmonauts landing somewhere in the Siberian Taiga – small-caliber shotgun barrels for hunting edible birds and varmints, and a centerfire rifle barrel for shooting medium sized game and/or predators.

    Multi-barreled combo guns using different calibers (often combining rifled and smoothbore barrels) are actually pretty common as hunting weapons in Europe (the Germans would refer to the above combo as a “klassischer Drilling” (“classic triplet”))

  • zincorium

    Wouldn’t the 5.45 most likely put a hole in the spacecraft wall, and depressurize the capsule?

    I can see very light shot being used, or something like a Glaser safety round, but a full on rifle bullet just seems dangerously like overkill.

  • Lance

    Seems the Soviets where afraid of Jame Bond coming after there Cosmonauts after watching Moonraker.

  • Mike

    I guess more for bad landings. some big areas of wilderness in the old Soviet Union.

  • http://www.howtogetagun.ca/ HowToGetAGun

    Did Americans splash down with elastic spear guns? Russia probably didn’t want to lose any expensive heroes to bears, America probably didn’t want to lose any to sharks.

  • Jim

    you would think that in a perfect vacuum, a firearm would not work.. most likely this was part of an airman’s survival kit.. for earth-bound survival issues.. as for the ammo expiring, i have no answer for that.. maybe it was sealed, and it has went past it’s “freshness” date, lol..

  • armed_partisan

    Easily one of my favorite Soviet designs. Super, duper cool. I don’t know why they don’t build one with a 18.5″ barrel, with two .410 barrels and either a 5.45 or 5.56 barrel, and sell it to the US! Man, would that ever be a cool truck gun!

  • Brandon

    It wasn’t designed to be fired in space, it’s a survival rifle for when they renter the atmosphere. Rumor was some Soyuz crew had to deal with some hungry wolves in 1965.
    You can’t fire a 5.45x39mm round inside a spacecraft. Shotguns sound like a bad idea too, think of the ricochet!

  • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/ Tony Williams

    btr is right – this was a survival weapon in case the capsule landed in the Siberian wilderness.

    However, the Russians did experiment with automatic cannon installed on spacecraft, for knocking out enemy satellites.

  • dsheks

    Think it’s kind of cool that they integrated a machete into the stock…but I have to question its practicality. (lol I realize I’m talking about a gun designed for space battles and crash landings in the wilderness but whatever) Would it really have been that much more trouble to design a proper stock that won’t cut your face in half trying to get a proper cheekweld and just have them strap a machete to their sides or even just give them one of those nifty HATCHET SHOVELS that they were so fond of using?

  • http://worthwatchingmovie.blog.com/ KPete

    I think the best part of this gun is the ability to remove the stock and blodgeon some poor alien zombie creature to death, thus avoiding burns from the acid blood which no doubt flowing through their extra terrestrial veins.
    Those ruskies… they think of everything, bless em.!

  • Squidpuppy

    It has to be a survival tool upon landing. There’s a lot of long standing speculation on whether you can fire a gun in space, or not – and what happens if you do.

    The arguments generally resolve around three things: are there enough oxidizing chemicals in a standard cartridge to set it off; will local mass gravity affect the trajectory of the bullet; won’t Newton’s 1st law of motion send you flying off in the opposite direction once you’ve fired? AFAIK: maybe, probably not, and yes.

    Hence missiles and energy weapons. You can likely shoot a gun in the ISS, but this would be bad. I’d recommend a knife-sized chain saw, or a drill with torque compensation. The machete would suffice nicely.

  • hoodoo operator

    no, btr is right, it was designed as a survival gun if the capsule lands off course. That’s why it combines a small caliber shotgun and rifle. It’s the same principle behind the M6 survival gun the Air Force was using for a while.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M6_Aircrew_Survival_Weapon

  • puke

    Actually btr is exactly correct.

  • Bill Lester

    btr was right about this gun and Tony was correct regarding auto cannon mounted on their Almaz manned spy satellites. It was the same 23mm gun found aboard a/c like the MiG-15 and -17. All the oxygen needed for combustion is found in the cartridge case. The rounds would essentially be 100% flat shooting to any remotely practical distance since there was no drag from atmosphere. No loss of kinetic energy either. Imagine the same muzzle energy at XXX miles!

  • Bill Lester

    I meant to add a couple links for more info on the Almaz program.
    http://www.svengrahn.pp.se/histind/Almprog/almprog.htm
    http://www.russianspaceweb.com/almaz.html

  • Harald Hansen

    Probably a /very/ collectible firearm…

  • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/ Tony Williams

    Bill, the exact nature of the Almaz cannon is not clear. There is a long section on this in Chris Koll’s excellent book “Soviet Cannon” (see: http://russianammo.org/ ) which is the definitive book on its subject.

    Nudelmann himself stated that it was a Rikhter revolver cannon which was used in spacecraft. The only one of those which saw military service was the R-23, a strange front-loading revolver firing unique, tubular ammo which was only fitted in the rear mountings of some Tu-22 bombers.

    However, the known photos of the Almaz cannon seem to show ammo with proportions different from the R-23′s, and there are reports of Rikhter developed a 14.5mm or 15mm version of the gun (although if so nothing is known about it, or its ammunition) which might have been used.

  • Mike Puckett

    “you would think that in a perfect vacuum, a firearm would not work.. ”

    Why not? gunpowder has it’s own chemical oxidizer just like solid rocket fuel does. That and it has been done on the Almaz. A 23mm Nudleman aircraft cannon was fired in vaccum.

  • Dave Bell

    The shotgun option was one reason why the USAF stuck with revolvers for so long. It started with the war in the Pacific–a shot cartridge in a .38 revolver was reckoned more effective against sharks, and a revolver can fire cartridges which would be horrible to feed from a magazine.

    If US astronauts ever did carry a survival weapon, it would plausibly have been a revolver.

  • Distiller

    For a chemical-kinetic space gun there’d be no need to go for a assault rifle cartridge or auto-cannon cartridge. A reduced-load .410 with a spherical ball would do just nicely, no need to go rifled up there. Even a .22 rimfire or a CO2 airgun would be deadly against men in space suits.

    Cooling would be the major concern. It’s not really “cold” up there, as we know it from down here, as everything depends on pure radiation in the EM spectrum, no cooling breeze. In direct line of sight of the sun it’s even hot. A “space gun” would probably have to rely on active gas/evapuration cooling, as with purely passive cooling it would have to grow a whole forrest of cooling fins.

  • Tom Monroe

    You guys are all missing the point entirely; this is purely intended as a survival tool on earth, not to be used in space at all. Just like the US M-6 and M-4 rifles.

    Second, of course it will fire in space just as any firearm will fire under water….

  • http://www.CleaneAir.com Vaughan Pederson

    Ok, what on earth (oops) would you want to shoot in space? Would you shoot – another astronaut? A moon beast? Launching a weapon is expensive because the additional g forces created to get the thing off the ground (along with the rest of the gear) requires extra fuel and all of that extra planning stuff.

    Estimated LEO payload cost per lb (kg) = $4,729 ($10,416) on a USA Space Shuttle Launch.

    add a couple of ammo boxes and now we are talking some real money.

  • BrokenForks

    For those of you who have not bothered to read the above comments, the shotgun was intended for use against aggressive wildlife in the remote areas of Russia in which the Soyuz capsule would touch down. Imaging being a crew member of one of these crafts and being possibly stranded for days in the wilderness before you would be found and rescued. I bet then you’d realize that the use for this shotgun-cum-rifle is not for space combat, but for plugging the hungry creatures circling your capsule, in the hopes of consuming them with your crewmates!