The Guns of Russian Special Forces

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Members of Russia’s special forces groups competed against each other practical shooting competition. It is interesting to see how Russia’s elite choose to customize their AK-74 rifles. Photos by Oswald

I did not recognize this muzzle accessory. The translation indicates it is some type of muzzle tuning device.

[ Many thanks Val for the tip. ]


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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  • Reverend Clint
    • BLG

      I see a lot of commercial parts.

      • Lapkonium

        Most of Russian special forces officers are forced to buy stuff for themselves.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      That looks very simular, thanks.

    • PDXBohica

      The MB looks like a version of the 4-piece Bulgarian MB, so, probably not commercial production. Although the PG in the third photo does look like a CAA piece and there are a handful of items with MARPAT.

    • DashVT

      Interesting that they market it as a “pressure reducer” I have seen similar muzzle devices used on AKS-74U’s to INCREASE back pressure in order to cycle with such a short barrel/gas system.

      Does anyone have experience with they types of muzzle devices, do they in fact reduce back pressure or recoil? They reviews on amazon looked very positive.

      Also, would it possibly reduce noise and blast for the shooter by directing it forward the same way some Noveske and other brakes do? I am considering putting one of these on my recent Saiga 5.45x39mm conversion.

      • PDXbohica

        I’ve got an original Bulgy 4-piece and it definitely reduces flash, noise, not so much… I haven’t noticed a difference in recoil though.

        The ones you mention that are used with the 74Us also taper down towards the front with an inverted cone at the end, from my understanding, this is what helps to increase pressure.

    • clickvk

      It’s an afterburner flash hider copied from Bulgarian (Krinkov) flash hider, there’re a few manufactures in Russia who produce these afterburner flash hiders. As far as I know those are 4 piece design, like the original one.

  • Xavier R Santoni

    Osom!

  • john

    What is the magazine being used on the last photo

    • NI Shooter

      RPK-74M 45 rounder ;)

  • Kyle

    In the last photo he has a foregrip, but still chokes up in the magazine, I never could understand why even OUR soldiers do this

    • atlemt

      Look at how his left elbow is resting on his knee, if he held onto the foregrip it would extend his arm so he cant rest on his knee. thats why i hold an AK that way.

    • Likvid

      Although in this case it’s most likely just mentioned knee technique, common reason for not using fore grip, is forward tilting magazine – you can’t mount grip too close and thus it’s not in perfectly comfortable position for all situations (depends on user of course). It’s not that big problem for AK74, but vz. 58 or AK in 7.62×39 with long curved magazine is another story.

      • Ripley

        I like the sawn off foregrip in the 5th picture. That way it is placed closer to the magazine too.

    • gopack2013

      It may also be partially due to his ruck and other gear. Wearing all that stuff puts a lot of strain and wear on the shoulders, limiting movement for the operator. Even our special forces hold their ARs in that manner because it is difficult for a guy with physically large arms to reach all the way forward through a ballistic vest and the pull of a ruck on his back. If they didn’t have all that gear, I’m sure they would hold their rifle further forward, since they also recognize that position limits swing in side to side movements.

    • Mobious

      Just because Costa says don’t do it cuz it doesn’t look cool doesn’t make that weapon and stance useless.

  • Tony

    They like magpul too.

  • 15yroldgunman

    Remember people saying that rails arent needed well look at russia and every other european country hell even iran put rails on there kh2002 sama rifle

  • Munkfish

    Those ribbed mags look cool, are they available in the US?

    • Nmate

      No, not really. The only 45-round magazines that are really available are bakelite and the Bulgarian polymer (made especially for Arsenal USA). I’ve seen the Russian 45-round black polymer magazines pop up on Gun Broker every once in awhile, but they’re very expensive and more of a collector’s item. I’ve never seen a plum one.

  • Kav

    I just find it interesting that so many Russian soldiers kept the AK74 full stocks on.
    They’re not as bad as people make them out to be.

    What I REALLY want to get ahold of though is one of those selectors from the third photo…

    • Jeff Smith

      @Kav, I believe the same guy that makes the forward charging handle for an AK also makes a selector similar to that. For the life of me, I can’t think of the name of his company.

    • Esh325

      I think a lot of it comes down to personnel preference. I once put a M4 stock on an AK and I absolutely hated the way it felt and went back to the original stock.

  • Lemming

    The reason for all the commercial parts being used is that Russian special forces currently not equipped as well as they should be.

    This forces them to go out and buy some gear and accessories for themselves.

    They make a good amount of money doing what they do, so it’s not a HUGE deal, but it’s definitely not an ideal solution.

    Thankfully with Russia’s armed forces finally getting some funding, the military modernization is starting to gather some speed, and it is likely that in the near future Russia’s Special forces and front line troops will get the gear they need to appropriately do their jobs.

    • Esh325

      This is true. They are working on modernization kits to upgrade every AK-74 right now.

      • Lance

        Some of that video is wishful thinking I do know the M-4 style stock was rejected by Russian Army and a AK-74M style stock is still used. New Optics do give better performance, and suggest the AK-12 may be dead since the Russians are upgrading 74Ms with new rails and optics, some is just show for the TV too. There are too many pistols in Russia now Cops have Glocks Berettas imported. GSH 18 and PYA 9mm is in Spec Ops now only and many many Makarov PMs for all government and military apps in use. be a ammo mans nightmare for officers. Glad to see 5.45 doing well its a good round. More optics rails for the 74 nothing new. Though many older AK-74s remain in service and may be for a while.

    • Partizan1942

      Sure…

  • Michael

    Aren’t a lot of the items they have on their weapons ITAR restricted?

    • Stanislao

      I’m guessing a combination of semi-legal exports, outright illegal smuggling and blatant rip-offs are used

  • six11

    also check ‘bullpup’ PKP Pecheneg (custom made by one of the units), I think its a little more fancy than another bunch of tacticool AK
    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/k_a_r_d_e_n/27475373/849836/849836_original.jpg
    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/k_a_r_d_e_n/27475373/850507/850507_original.jpg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGRYxgsw7O8

    p.s. please stop the ITAR bullsh*t, “Firearms not Politics” as its said in the head of the blog. We have official dealers of major firearms accessories brands here in Russia.

    • Andrew

      Sorry but I don’t see the ITAR question as BS and whilst it may have a political component, it’s very much a legitimate question when items that are restricted from export show up overseas.

      Given you don’t seem them consistently used in some of these types of images, I’ll wager there a good chance some were acquired without the paperwork.

      Personally I believe there are very good reasons why some optics and weapon parts are ITAR

      • vtb

        it takes only 45 days to obtain export licience for almost any kind of item considered to be restricted to export.

        and in 99% of cases ITAR doesn’t mean the best. it just mean “was sold to military”.

      • six11
    • NI Shooter

      I don’t think that’s a bullpup, just a “para” like the M249 Para

      • NI Shooter

        Whoops, definitely a bullpup, couldn’t see the rear grip and trigger on my phone. What an ugly creation :o

    • John Doe

      That is unbelievably cool.

    • bbmg

      Fantastic, nice find!

      I love the angled belt box too.

      One thing they don’t seem to have taken into account is the spent brass which seems to be ejected pretty close to the shooter’s face, some sort of deflector or guard bolted on seems to be in order. Then again, these are Russians we’re talking about, as bent as the Soviet sickle, and as hard as the hammer that crosses it :D

  • gunslinger

    i was also going to comment about the last photo. but i guess it’s been answered

  • techohead

    Interesting to see what look’s like a specter 4x in the third pic. Cool Stuff

    • haxfar

      More specific, it looks like the Specter OS, as it doesn’t look like it have the width the DR use for the rotating prism.

  • mechamaster

    I want to know how they managed to import that Picatiny accesories into mother Russia.

    • Lapkonium

      they produce it there. http://zenitco.ru/

    • Partizan1942

      Have they figured out the secret of how to make a picatiny rail? How could America let that happen? Now they too are a picatiny rail power! Why, this could trigger another armament race.
      Russians sent up the first satellite into orbit as well as the first man and woman into space. They built the first two space stations… Picatiny? Bro please…

  • Jason H.

    Funny that they are Russian and wear ball caps…
    Do they have baseball in Russia?

    • DC

      Do you have to play tennis to wear tennis shoes?

  • Dean

    Does anyone know more about the selector in the 3rd pic?

  • Lance

    Like the AK-74s good to see the AK-74 still loved in Russia. Like the AK-74M stock the M-4 stock on a AK not as much. Like to know what optics they use.

    I also find it funny Russian troops use German Fletcher and Rain camo now instead of traditional Russian camo funny.

    • Mike Knox

      It’s German Flecktarn actually..

    • Lemming

      Looking at the pictures I see a large majority of the soldiers using Russian “Leto” aka “Digital Flora”.

      I don’t see any Flecktarn. I see a Danish camo knockoff, and a camo to the right of it that that looks similar to Flecktarn, but definitely isn’t.

      • Lance

        No its a more or somewhat digi copy of German camo. AND they adopted a version of East German Rain camo too.

    • Lemming

      If you’re talking about the green, pixelated camo, then no, it’s definitely Russian. It’s called Leto, and it was adopted by the Army back in 2009 or 10

      • Lance

        Might have a new name but its based on German camo might have some minor variations.

      • Lemming

        I know of two Russian camos based off of German ones.

        There’s Partizan, which is based off of the German WWII Oak Leaf pattern, and then there’s Izlom, which is a commercial copy of German flecktarn.

        Leto isn’t based off of any German made camouflages, the pattern itself is completely new, and the colors are the same as those used on Russian “Flora” camo, which Leto is currently replacing.

      • Lance

        I read it based off of German camo, but Russianized.

      • Lemming

        You might have been reading about Partizan, which is basically SS Oak Leaf, just with some changes to make it more suited to Russian environments. Leto is in no way based off of any German camouflages.

      • Lance

        I also know they use Rain camo the east Germans made. And I did not say this was 100% German camo, it is based on it.

      • Lemming

        Are you crazy? The pattern doesn’t even remotely resemble that of Marpat, and the colors are those of Flora, not Flecktar

      • Lance

        I said the digi pattern was from Marpat NOT the colors dork. The colors are from German camo. Im talking about the green camo not the desert anyway your getting nuts over crappy Russian camo anyway. Your too hot headed your no Russian either and know squat about there equipment.

      • W

        The Russian digital camo, which is essentially a digitalized variant of Flora, is not from MARPAT or any other western camo. Russia jumped on the digital camo bandwagon or…back on it sort of speak.

        Yes, like what was said before, the Russian Leto is basically a remastered Waffen SS Oak pattern (which is tragically ironic ill add) and the “Flectar” is a derivative of the Danish M84 pattern. There are different color templates of Flectar too. The commandoes in the 2nd to top picture are wearing these two “Flectar” derivatives with one wearing the new standardized digital pattern.

        The 3rd picture from the top is a commercial digital camo that I first saw on Rusmilitary.com called “SURPAT”.

        And Russian camo is anything but crappy. They were fielding camouflage uniforms when the US was issuing khaki and OD greens and the Nazis were just discovering that disruptive patterns actually reduce casualties. They were far ahead. Hell, they issued a pixilated pattern uniform in fucking 1945!!! http://www.kamouflage.net/camouflage/00070.php

        Still to this day, Russian camo is far superior to NATO counterparts in my opinion. They have a wide variety of environments to operate in and these uniforms focus on function rather than parade/garrison outward appearances. they are loose fitting, ugly, and functional. Hell, even the Flora with the integrated crease in it was still more effective than US woodland in most instances.

      • Lance

        Well said W.

      • Lemming

        I agree with you on most parts W, but Leto isn’t based off of the SS Oak Leaf pattern, Partizan is :)

      • Lemming

        @Lance

        If you actually read my comment you’d see that I said the PATTERN isn’t anything like Marpat, not the colors. Being pixelated doesn’t make the pattern like Marpat.

        The colors are those of Flora, not Flecktarn. That’s why it has the nickname “Digital Flora”

        Anyways, if you’re going to resort to childish insults I’m not going to waste my time discussing this with you.

      • W

        lemming, dont fret dear sir, the uniform is called “partizan” and the pattern is called SS-Leto (its actually SS-лето). I think the pattern is best known as Partizan. Ill tell you one thing, the Partizan camo set is a excellent system.

      • Lance

        W is right slightly digi old German style camo.

      • Lemming

        When I say Leto, I’m referring to the green digital pattern. I’ll just refer to it as digital flora instead, as their seems to be some confusion.

        http://www.google.com/imgres?num=10&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1170&bih=620&tbm=isch&tbnid=lTyrzWQPwSqa1M:&imgrefurl=http://www.uak-airsoft.com/articulos/uniformes/spetsnazrusia/index.html&docid=9MOWrMTa4dhGbM&imgurl=http://www.uak-airsoft.com/images/spez7.jpg&w=260&h=591&ei=v0VuUITwG8_piQKi5oGwBQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=109&vpy=135&dur=782&hovh=340&hovw=150&tx=71&ty=161&sig=106051146661057272627&page=1&tbnh=129&tbnw=57&start=0&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:77

        That’s Partizan (Sorry for the huge link.)
        It’s the one based off of SS Oak Leaf.

        Digital Flora is a completely original camo scheme, not based off of any German camo. Or Marpat.

      • W

        yeah based off of my research, it is best known as “digital flora” or simply “Russian digital woodland camo”.

        SS-лето means SS-Summer, or what the Russians refer to as their copy of the old SS-oak leaf camo. Of course, there are more variations of the “partizan” camo type. I mostly see to it referred to as Partizan.

        lance, isn’t it amazing how far ahead the SS Oakleaf was for its era? it was the basis for the modern flecktarn pattern still in service (with a multi-cam colored variant rumored to be under development) and is still used by many elite Russian units. If you guys think that uniform’s camo is unique, you should check out its mosquito net.

    • Lemming

      Which camo do you believe it’s based off of?

      • Lance

        A mixture or MARpat and German Fleckar camo. Not just one by itself but a strange marriage of the two.

      • Lemming

        Are you crazy? The pattern doesn’t even remotely resemble that of Marpat, and the colors are those of Flora, not Flecktar

    • Jussi

      Actually, the pattern used by the Russians is a copy of Finnish m/05. The incident was widely covered by media in Finland. And comparing the patterns, you definetly can see reminiscence.

      • Lemming

        There is a commercial made copy of Finnish camo made by a Russian company, but it’s not Leto. The only similarity between the Finnish camo and Leto is they both have green on them.

  • mattd

    I have a question – what would you use rails on the side of the receiver for? I understand top and bottom and side rails that are farther foward but I can’t figure out a use for them.

    • jdun1911

      If you mean the Soviet style rail that is part of the receiver. It’s for optics. You attach the mount on the side rail and the optic on the mount. Some optics and mounts is one piece. It is left canted.

      AK receiver cover is not stable enough to mount optics. Lots of play, ie won’t hold zero.

      For the mount that has the side rail. I don’t know. They put whatever extra they want there. Extra mag, light, go pro video recorder, etc.

      • Lance

        Your right outside of FSB and some Spec Ops most AKs in Russia have Soviet side rails and they can attack rails with extra rails for other accessories.

    • Thomas

      You could use it for a IrNV aiming laser. You cant put one on a plastic rail.

  • Lance

    though W sad to see no AN-94..

    • W

      haha i agree. i have a fascination with that ugly, unorthodox devise.

  • Sam Reven

    Interesting to see a mounted Fenix tac light

  • Steve Truffer

    The device is a gas booster/ flash hider combo, as the successor to the traditional AKs74u booster.