Mr. Silencer is Back

The solider/militiaman photographed carrying a AR-15 in the Crimea has surfaced again, this time in Eastern Ukraine. Arto Pulkki at Suomen Sotilas writes

Finally, let’s focus to a single individual – the mystery person whom has been seen in photos and videos both in Crimea (18.3.) and in eastern Ukraine (12.4.). Western sources have identified “Mr Silencer” both as Russian SpN and western or Ukrainian PMC. Same sources have identified his weapon as “new Russian sniper rifle” or “M16 or M4 from USA”.

The rifle in question is semi-automatic Z-15 (AR15-clone), as manufactured by Zbroyar in Kiev, Ukraine. It has the following modifications:

  • Adams Arms gas piston conversion (US)
  • Daniel Defence rail system (US)
  • Magpul collapsible stock and fore grip (US)
  • Hogue/RRA grip (US)
  • Tactical Systems silencer (Ukraine).

The one and same weapon has been fitted with different optics in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine:

  • EOTech XPS2-0 (US) w/
  • Vortex VMX3 magnifier (US) in eastern Ukraine
  • Zeiss 6,5-20×50 Conquest (Germany) in Crimea

That is not a rifle of a Russian SpN or hard-core operator, but of a 42-year-old avid firearms (and air gun) enthusiast and hunter from Simferopol.

I think Mr. Pulkki is correct, this person looks to be a firearms enthusiast. I do disagree with Mr. Pulkki’s assertion that the disorganized militias running around Ukraine are all airsoft players. Airsoft teams have not historically decided to switch from plastic air guns into ‘real steel’ military-style weapons and create a militia. They are about as likely to as video game players, paint ball players and probably less likely than European soccer fans.

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.


  • Lionheart

    I love how they have every last detail on this guys weapon of choice. Its everthing i wanted to know reading this article lol! Mystery solved!

  • Jonathan Plus Abby

    I doubt that it is the same militiaman. That setup is very popular among Ukrainians with a little jangle in their pocket. I’ll have to dig it up but there is a picture of 3 Ukrainians with the same Z-15 config in the same picture.

    • jamezb

      You figure they all wear the same clothes and gear too?

      • Jonathan Plus Abby

        There isn’t a lot of choose from, yes. That flight suit/ ghillie looking thing is the common uniform of the Crimean SDF.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Identical clothes in exact same configuration? Custom rifle in same configuration? Seems unlikely.

      • Jonathan Plus Abby

        Every time I have seen the Z-15 in Ukraine it was set up with an Eotech XPS-2 and G23 3x.. As well as a Ukrainian made suppressor. If you look REALLY closely at the pictures, ONE of the Z-15’s (On the left) appears to be a 4-6x DMR scope. The one on the right is a Eotech. I different dude… different weapon. Same LBE and pouches.. Once again, because they are dirt poor and can’t afford a lot of options.

        • vanaheym

          People, who can afford to pay around $3000 for piston driven AR-15 in Ukraine – are not poor guys, so they can afford good list of options. But, this is most common setup for local IPSC shooters.

  • Peter BE

    Arkans militia consisted of soccer fans 😉

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    There is another photo supposedly of him here:
    He has the name clothing, but different weapons and gear though so I am not convinced.

    • James

      Two different guys. the pouches are different on the vests. One appears to have camo pouches. The uniform appears to be a standard style uniform. I wonder if there is a little photo shop going on here also. I am sure Kiev is putting out their own share of propaganda to insure continued support from the west. I am willing to bet they were behind the leaflets being passed out about the Jews. After all the Ultra right in Kiev have roots supporting the Nazi during WW2. This is kind of like Syria and Libya, who do you support the bad guys or the bad guys!!!

    • nanoc

      Funny scroll up and the right hand picture says Sloviansk same picture in your post says Crimea. My two cents both pictures in main post are from Crimea and Mr Mxyzptlk pic is of two different people.

    • Brian
      • jamezb

        but their mag pouches, web gear, and weapons are not the same.

        • James

          Neither are they in the original pics. The guy on the left his jacket ride lower than the one on the right. The rifles have different optics. The guy on the right has a pouch in a position on his left side that does not match up with the pouches on the left side of the guy in the left photo. This was all over ABC news this morning about Russian SF being behind all this. Nothing more than Kiev propaganda to keep the west in their corner after their illegal take over of an elective government. Both side are full of sh!t on all this. Just Let them just kill each other!!

  • SpazC

    They have the same BEADY EYES, they HAVE to be the same guy!!!!!

    I think its possible, but improbable. Then again, I was sure I’d never see any TN based youtube personalities protesting in NV either.

  • Ace

    air guns means precision bb gun, not airsoft.

  • Troy

    That guy showed up outside a Ukrainian military base minutes after a Ukrainian military officer was head shot from range. The victim happened to be one of the few high level Ukrainian naval officers that was resisting in any meaningful way. Coincidence? airsoft player? really?? More like Russian planted GRU sleeper but whatever, anything that keeps up the charade I guess. The Ukrainian ARs are built from Czech, Chinese, and Oberland parts. Kind of a midlevel AR by our standards.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      No, they are a legit manufacturer of AR-15. Making your own receiver it about as hard as downloading a cnc blueprint file and emailing it to a CNC machinist.

      Maybe they are using Chinese parts, I would not know,

      Chinese AR-15s I have seen have not impressed me. Badly finished like many of the export guns China makes.

      • Troy

        They make (made) some parts of the firearm but not much, at least as of 2010-11 anyway, things may have changed though. I know I lived there for a long time and shot a lot of their guns. The Ukrainian made tavor’s were just assembled parts guns. I never saw any legal US made optics either. Russia on the other hand had a lot of Eotechs. I guess that is a recent change or lends credence to Russian influence there. Eotechs are common in Russian and lately Ukrainian special forces. Forte is their big gun manufacturer and they put pressure on other companies to keep them out of the industry, The police strictly control permitting there. Forte did have a lot of machining capabilities and they definitely have the tech know how to produce anything they want.

        • vanaheym

          Zbroyar start their production with Rock River Arms parts, but, currenty, they make all gun parts locally. Only in case of custom precision rifles they use Shilen and Bartlein blanks.

      • Tim

        Then tell me why Chinese Type 56’s are some of the most popular in the world and have still been functioning after 5 decades in warzones all across the globe? Chinese make some of the most durable and reliable rifles in the world, not surprising since they made the first firearm (practically a hand cannon) and have roots to Soviet designs. Up in Canada their AR-15’s (a.k.a Norinco CQA) are one of the most reliable and are very popular. There was even a guy on youtube by the name of Civil Advantage where he stated that it run flawlessly while his American Stag Arms counterpart failed several times(look it up, if you don’t believe me). Really, almost every firearm that the Chinese made are of very good quality and only cost a fraction of their counterparts or the originals that they are cloned from. Admittedly, there are some cheap knock-offs which are not terribly good, but what do you expect, you get what you paid for, but that being said, they make some very high quality ones too if you know what to look for. The Chinese exported millions of rifles not just because they are cheaper than the competition, but also because they are tried and tested and will undoubtedly last for decades to come. So tell me how are Chinese firearms badly finished if they are one of the largest arms exporters in the world and they already churned out millions of rifles which continue to be used until today? I am amazed at how a lot of people still think that commercial Chinese quality is the same as military grade. They are completely different animals. Military equipment cannot be of the same quality as normal commercial things they produce, it must be very durable and reliable to function even in the most adverse conditions.

        • Kivaari

          China can make firearms to any level of desire to the customer. I’ve seen PAVN M20 (T33) and PM pistols with as fine of finish as any quality commercial pistol made anywhere. Then you find crude workmanship. Nothing stops China from doing a good job, except the customer.

  • dan citizen

    it has to be the same guy because they only made one Z-15 rifle and all of his accessories and gear is one off custom stuff right?

  • Dan

    i wonder if mr. russian firearms enthusiast knows that the very first thing that happens when they join russia is that they will lose their fancy guns.

  • gwhysow

    He must be quite the enthusiast to be running that kit. The optics change, and Gorka suit come up as somewhat suspect, but not impossible. Overall, I find it quite interesting that he seems to be leading the charge. Be interested in some ‘action’ shots, like those Spetz agent provocateurs photographed last month.

  • Jonathan Plus Abby

    Different people, different weapon. The Z-15 on the left has a DMR setup with a 4x-6x scope. The one on the right has an Eotech XPS-2 with a G23 Magnifier. Z-15’s becoming fairly common in the eastern part of the country. Spetz Alpha Groups have also imported Z-15’s and use them quite a bit. Alpha groups like our CAG and DevGru enjoy a little more liberty with their choices of kit.

  • Yellow Devil

    Mr. Concerned Citizen… 🙂

  • J.T.

    Honestly. I think most of these guys are ex-military and ex-special forces types from around the former Soviet Bloc that have been hired as mercenaries by the Russians so they can deny they are helping the local militias. Some are providing their own gear and the rest are probably getting their guns from the Russians. There was definitely active duty Russian military in Crimea due to their bases there and it was pretty obvious due to their equiptment, but I am not seeing any in the eastern parts of Ukraine.

  • JeSyme

    It’s so easy to copy gear anymore. Has Big Bird always been the same person inside forever? are you sure? How about compare same relative size, weight, eye color, position in a militia, duties etc… always check his watch at the bottom of the hour. etc. Why would he have the exact same load-out for a different MOS? Doesn’t gear wear out? hmm

  • snmp

    Uniform is Gorka Suit from SPOSN