Siberian Tiger vs. Submachine Gun?

No, I am not blogging about an idiot shooting an endangered tiger with a submachine gun! This photo was taken during a training exercise designed to simulate Siberian Tigers escaping from their cages at a Chinese zoo.

At this point in the exercise the “tiger” has been shot with a tranquilizer gun. I find it alarming to see a policeman pointing a Type 64 Type 79 submachine gun at the animal. Chambered in the weak 7.62x25mm pistol cartridge, it is just about the worst gun possible to use against a 850 pound beast. There is a reason the British hunted tigers with large-caliber double rifles, along with overpowered pistols for backup.

According to Wikipedia, in both 2010 and 2011 Siberian Tigers killed zoo/tour staff in China.

.58 Caliber Howdah Tiger Pistol (with carbine stock)

[ Many thanks to Alex for emailing us the link. ]

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.


  • NotHisRealName

    How to break the hearts of millions of children world-wide… show them this picture of the bad man shooting Tigger.

    • Bob Z Moose

      To be fair, he always did act like he was on something. When he tried to knock over that Chinese liquor store, he quickly found out that Chinese cops don’t play, yo.

  • Lemming

    When I first saw the picture I though this article would be about some dude in a Tigger costume getting taken down by the police, oh well.

  • Trev

    I would hardly call an 7.62×25 SMG with a 1300 rpm ROF weak. Maybe not ideal, but it’s far from the “worst option.” A a handful of 85 grain FMj’s going 1700 fps is going to ruin your day.

    Do you expect them to be carrying a big game battery?

    It’s not a Type 64 BTW, if anything it’s a Type 79 without the heat shield.

    • Vek

      The Type 79 is limited to 500 RPM. Definitely not ideal, then, for any kind of large animal escape.

      • bbmg

        500 rpm means 8 rounds for a one second squeeze of the trigger, at around 500 ft/lbs each that’s better than buckshot from a shotgun, with each jacketed projectile capable of penetrating much deeper than a lead ball.

        The British might have carried big bore howdah pistols in their day, but if sumbachineguns had been available at the time they probably would have considered them to be a viable alternative.

    • Russell

      The other thing you have to look at is the Taylor Knock Out formula. An 85 grain bullet at 1700fps only gives you a rating of roughly 6.4 which places it between 38 special at 6.2 and 9mm at 7.31. I have a pair of TT33’s and while I will attest to their power, I would definitely rather be carrying something a little more substantial.

  • Rusty Ray

    They’re Grrrrrrrrrrrreat!!

    Cheers- Rusty

  • greasyjohn

    Calvin must be a wreck.

  • the SMG in photo is the Type 79, not Type 64

  • Esh325

    They should pull out their SVD’s instead.

    • charles222

      Suure, pull out the SVDs, and get your head ripped off when the tiger pops into your FOV at 5 meters from around a corner. :p

      • David/Sharpie

        That’s what the bayonets are for!!

  • Murph

    Those guys REALLY hate Mizzou.

  • Kosme

    weak 7.62x25mm ??? ….

    • well, if you consider that adult tiger is an extremely dangerous animal that weights in excess of 500 lbs, you must consider “weak” anything short of .375 H&H magnum or any other .33+ caliber big game cartridge, especially considering short “urban” ranges inherent to “escape from zoo” scenario

      • bbmg

        Wouldn’t a burst dumped into the animal at close range be quite effective though? Certainly thanks to their relatively high velocity the rounds should have no problem penetrating deep enough to reach vital organs, and hit probability is much greater in the hands of an adrenalin driven individual than with a side-by-side big bore.

        Not saying it’s ideal, mind you. A heavier calibre submachinegun or short assault rifle would do a lot more damage, but it’s still not the worst possible gun to have to hand.

      • Tierlieb

        Keep in mind that the requirement is different here than for a big game hunter:
        This is not about one-hit-stops (even a military favourite like .338 Lapua does not guarantee one-hit-stops).
        Or even just one-hit-kills (not what a big game hunter would go for since that means animals have some time left to get really pissed).
        Or keeping the trophy intact.

        For that, the bigger, the better, sure. But protecting people from a diverse set of threats requires a different tool.

        Isn’t the beauty of SMGs that they can work both with precise single shots and with high volume? Remember the cynical saying the the calibre most elephants have been killed with is not .375 H&H but 7.62×39. As poacher would attest if they made such statements, full-auto is not pretty, but it works.

        As it has been pointed out, 7.62×25 is a pretty good penetrator, so with volume making up for the size of the wound, it does not seem too bad. And opposed to a tactical situation against armed shooters, conserving ammo is not an issue here.

  • You don’t know much about modern tranqualizers for this type of animal. At that point, that cat is Bombed, border line comatose, and all that would be needed would be a carefully place head shot to kill it… Its NOT going anywhere after the tranq.


  • W

    looks like a type 79 because of the straight, angled magazine and lack of integral suppressor.

  • John Doe

    I don’t know if the 7.62x25mm is ‘weak’. It’s probably not as good as a big old big-bore magnum, but a Type 79 spitting out a few dozen of those a second will put a damper on any large cat’s day.

  • Lance

    Looks more like when Tiggers go bad LOL.

  • AZRon

    I wonder if the guy with the radio is calling in another sub-gun, or a few more blue shirts to poke the “Tiger” with their sticks.

    I’m guessing that China doesn’t have PETA to contend with.

    • FourString

      Lol yea man, if there aren’t any human rights in China, there sure as hell ain’t no PETA

  • Tony

    Chinese army issue 7.62x25mm all have steel cores; a cost saving measure since lead costs more than steel there. A short burst in the upper torso/head area will ruin any predator’s day.

  • Simon_the_Brit

    A real British Gentleman would never use an SMG to hunt big game, It’s just not the done thing.

  • charles222

    FWIW, 3d Marine Force Recon hunted & killed a Bengal tiger in their area of operations after it attacked and killed one of their Marines on patrol. Presumably with M16A1s. :p

    • Nah, 40mm Mk19 😉


  • Charles222

    David/Sharpie: as the great Calvin observed, five of his six points are sharp. I’d give the tiger the advantage :p

  • charles222

    I really am enjoying this thread way too much. :p

    Anyway, about six years ago I was at the Minnesota Zoo in Minneapolis. I was out on the Northern Trail-where they keep musk ox and tigers and so on. When I had about completed the trail I heard a chain-link fence just rattling like crazy, and went to go take a look.

    I found an Asian family baiting the Siberian tigers into charging the damn fence! They were hitting the fence incredibly hard. I stared for awhile and then beat a hasty retreat indoors. Did tell a zoo employee about the people trying to get us all devoured, though.

    • FourString

      Damn, man, screw that Asian family for making other Asian families look screwy -_- .|. this bird is for them -.-

  • mosinman

    right in the childhood!

  • mosinman

    yeah this wouldnt be the most effective weapon agains a tiger (id want something like a m-14 with poly tiped hollow points.. and a bayonet) but the Smg is wayy better than a pointy stick

  • Pete

    I grew up hearing stories of hunting boars in Germany using Thompsons from an L-3 observation plane immediately following WWII.

    That would seem the safest way to handle this escaped tiger problem.

  • Netforce

    Oh, poor Tigger! Watch out, Winnie the Pooh!

  • idcpl

    The police version of AK’s on full auto i also a poor choice:

    • MIchal

      The guy killed was hit in the head by a 9×18 makarow FMJ fired from a P-83 pistol.
      There was serious shit after the accident in Poland debating about police firearms training and use procedures… The guy shooting was in full run and fireing from one hand…

  • I love your blog! i wish i can read more of your blogs in the future!

  • fireboyj

    From what read about the wild animal release in Ohio last year I would at least carry a 40 sw on my cuz one of deputies had put away his ar and came face to face with ahead with charging bear at five yards and dropped him with a head shot. The tigers and lions they killed all had to shot multiple times with 223 and 308 rounds

  • Esh325

    The SVD has iron sights.

  • Baker

    To get a better idea of just what a half-ton of apex predator is capable of, I recommend John Vaillant’s “The Tiger.” A fantastic read.

  • Riceball

    Reading this article makes me wonder if escaped are a big and/or common problem in Chinese zoos. I’m sure that western zoos practice escaped animal drills but seriously, when was the last time you ever heard of a large predator escaping from an American zoo?

  • PanFriedPipeBomb

    Eeny meeny miny moe…

  • The 7.62X25mm isn’t what I would call a weak cartridge. I have two Romanian Tokarevs and the 7.62X25 has punched all the way through a wet full size yellow pages with FMJ. My 1911A1 .45 ACP firing 230 gr FMJ only got to page 365. Ole Painless at TBOT has through and through penetration of a K-Pot and a Steel Pot with the 7.62X25 round, which neither the 9mm nor the .45 ACP did. Granted it is not an ideal self defense cartridge as there are very limited loads for it. But it can get the job done, The PPS and PPSH used by the Soviets during WWII were still in use up to their invasion of Afghanistan. And there are suppressed variants still being used in the Russian Military in Chechnya.