Russian SF equipment, in the wild

Armament Research Services has a post on their blog, The Hoplite, that is showing a recent video released by the terrorist group Daesh, in which they display the equipment from a fallen Russian Special Operations advisor to the Syrian Army. As far as knowing what kind of equipment the various SF groups in the world are using, it can be difficult to see some of this because of their secretive nature. However in this case, we looking at some interesting trends and equipment that might be prevalent among Russia’s elite. The rifle is a 5.45x39mm AK74M, that has been heavily accessorized, from the CAA forend, to the AR telescoping (and what appears to be folding) stock, to the pistol grip, suppressor, IWT 640 ‘Haron’ thermal weapon sight with what appears to be an image magnifier, but ARES says it is probably a red dot sight. However, if it were a red dot sight, it would have adjustment knobs or screws, and it doesn’t appear to have any.

Notice the heavy use of spray paint on the rifle, and the magazines, something that can be extremely useful in helping to break up the outline of a weapon system. Also notice the helmet, with the Ops Core like helmet rails. Also, if you’re interested in reading more about how Russian SF is being employed in Syria, this is an excellent article explaining their role in the conflict.


This is a product from IWT, different thermal optic from the one on this operators rifle, but pretty advanced compared to similar products in the U.S.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Pete M

    Anything intel on the suppressor manufacturer?

    • whodywei

      It’s standard PBS-1.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        …by Zenith. I spoke to them not too long ago. They can only export with paperwork from the interior minister and for law enforcement. However, they will accept a military ID from any nation.

        • iksnilol

          So a civilian in Norway is out of luck in spite of suppressors being uncontrolled here?

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Yes. I spoke directly to the chief sales manager of Zenith about a different matter. They were actually aware of our (lack of) suppressor regulations and they wished to export, but were denied by the authorities. Norwegian manufacturers A-tec and Hausken are laughing all the way to the bank these days, after Germany deregulated suppressors.

          • iksnilol

            Well, at least A-tec won’t get my money when Ase Utra can 😛

            They are good suppressors both A-tec and Hausken. Just they don’t fit my needs. neither a small suppressor that handles a couple of shots (A-Tec) or what’s basically an exhaust pipe from a tractor (Hausken) fits my needs.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Hehe. Check out the professional line from A-tec. Pretty new. Their Dragon 7 is probably the most robust can you can have these days.

          • iksnilol

            Hmmm, Dragon 5 looks good. Short whilst having good suppression. Will have to look into it.

            Previously I was looking at the Ase Utra, this one seems better than the SL5. Shorter whilst providing better suppression. Had some thoughts about getting one of those Howa Mini action rifles, chopping the barrel under legal limit then pinning a suppressor to get back to legal length. Problem with the modular suppressors is I would probably have to pin the suppressor modules as well?

  • John

    holy smokes! That scope.

    • Squirreltakular

      Right? It’s like he’s describing something out of a movie. All of the want.

    • Gecko9mm

      This thermal scope seems almost too good to be true.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      …that scope makes TrackingPoint look like something out of Toys´ R Us.

      • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

        Seriously? I don’t think so.

    • ColBatguano

      And running Linux, with smartcard, Bluetooth and Wifi. Hah, probably a 4hr battery life and a mean time to software crash of half that long. 🙂

  • Lance

    The 74 looks cool like the stock. Rails are worthless. I also see Russian still use a lot of classic orange Bakelite mags. Awesome gear the 74 solders on!!!

  • Alvar

    That indeed looks like a IWT 640 ‘Haron’ thermal sight, but behind it i believe is an Aimpoint 3XMag magnifying module.

    • It’s not IWT 640 100%, looks like IWT 336, but it shorter than on photo. I think it 3xMag

    • Tritro29

      It is the Charon with a Doctersight 3.

  • SGT Fish

    I guess celox sells to the russians? Hmm.

    • Chris Blow,

      It works very well ,and it is sold on the Internet . Why wouldn’t a spec operations type buy or have some ?

  • I wish they sold scopes like that stateside

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      Looks like you can buy it off the shelf in Moscow, for 37 000 USD.

  • CommonSense23

    Interesting to see no laser on the gun.

    • steveday72

      Didn’t you watch the video? The scope has one built-in.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        Looks like it has… everything built in. Jesus.

        • iksnilol

          But how!?

          I mean, Russians are basically cavemen with automatic rifles.


      • CommonSense23

        Yeah, I saw that, but it doesn’t appear to have a flood function or a pushpad that a PEQ would have.

    • Laionidas

      More interesting: no front grip.

  • Paladin

    That sight sounds a lot like a Russian take on the Tracking Point concept

    • steveday72

      Only much better IMHO.

      • Uniform223

        Is that your “professional” opinion?

      • Paladin

        Maybe, a head to head comparison would be interesting, but I doubt these will be available outside of the Motherland any time soon.

  • Major Tom

    Are we sure the scope behind the thermal imager isn’t something like a 1P78-3 “Kashtan”?

  • Justin Roney

    I hope the poor Ruskie was able to rain death on their heads before his untimely demise.

    • Giolli Joker

      I hope all mags were empty at that point.

      • Kivaari

        AND, his knife was blood covered.

  • fjkhoury01

    its an ITW nano not the 640 haron, behind it is an aimpoint 3x.

    • Joshua

      Yep. Amazing how everyone things it’s the 640.

      Guess it’s one of those times zoom capability on a phone comes in handy.

      • Nicks87

        Another website said it was a IWT 336 Tsiklop.

    • Tritro29

      Not the Nano, adding a supplemental system to the Nano makes it way to large for the AK rail.

  • Joshua

    How does this loadout compare to a similar united states s.f. unit? What I mean is, is the gear on par and competitive or quite a ways behind in technological advancement?

    • John

      The Hoplite blog said that the gear resembled what an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician would carry, so that’s probably who ISIS got it off of.

      For the rifle, those are exactly the kind of mods for existing AK-74Ms that TFB reported on months ago.

      • Requiescat in pace

        It definitely looks like he had detector with him, that may not be a standard loadout for a SF operator.

    • Joshua

      It’s pretty far behind if this gear came from the spetznas.

      It’s more on par with what regular Army units are issued on a regular basis, suppressor excluded.

      • Giolli Joker

        Interview with yourself??

  • steveday72

    Wow. TrackingPoint… eat your heart out! You’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

  • Sam Adams

    Everyone is stuck on the rifle…the other gear is just as, if not more, interesting. Note the molle straps on the pouches, the red strap on the first aid kit that’s obviously modeled on what we’re currently using, the ESS googles; and is that a Garmin GPS? The Russians are obviously paying attention to US developments in tactical gear.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      The russians have a pragmatic relationship towards tactical gear. They´ve been seen fielding the HK417 as well. The old myth of how NASA spent a million developing the modern pen, while russian cosmonauts using a pencil comes to mind.

      • CommonSense23

        It’s pragmatic until you realize why you develop a pen that doesn’t have a chance of causing electrical fires in space like a pencil can.

        • sgt fish

          and you realize that is a myth and a civilian company invented that pen and sold it to NASA for an extremely reasonable price

  • Jon

    Didn’t that soldier have any knife in his equipment?

  • avconsumer2

    Heh – was wondering if it might have been that guy. (assuming it’s not just propaganda)

    • politicsbyothermeans

      I think it is almost certainly propaganda. I submit the following:
      -An airstrike that takes out 100 Daesh would have made that kit more than a little banged up
      -That’s an MIB to the right of the radio. That means it is almost certainly GRU GSh kit but the MIB was specifically designed to help bubbas E&E out of exactly the sort of situation our hero was in. Hard to imagine he wouldn’t have deployed the MIB when he ran out of ammo.
      I really hope the story is true. Regardless of what really happened, I hope Sasha rained scunnion all over the Daesh.

      • Prax


        • Tritro29

          It’s Russian for defensive explosive charge. It’s a newer version of the MG2. Optic is an IWT Charon, and the Rifle is an AK74N from 1992 (ribbed dust cover).

      • Laionidas

        If not, I’m sure his buddies will.

        • politicsbyothermeans

          One would hope. Word from Syria is that GRU is getting pretty thin on the ground.

  • Requiescat in pace

    Why the guy was alone?
    Target designation is usually not a one man show.

    • politicsbyothermeans

      He wasn’t. It’s amateur hour at the Office of Agitation and Propaganda.

      • MichaelZWilliamson

        Russian media claims the Syrians he was working with bugged out.
        It’s also possible the Daeshbags put this kit together from other captures/abandoned gear, or similar.

        • politicsbyothermeans

          MadMike, agreed. I just don’t buy that that particular kit belonged to the “Russian Rambo.”

        • Kivaari

          OR, his Syrian troops turned on him. Green on blue attack.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            Also possible.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    A bunch of gauze and celox but no Tq?

  • IndyToddrick

    That is one badass scope for a sniper. A simple red dot would seem far superior for a fighting carbine though. What sniper would be using a suppressor, magnified thermals, and…an AK? (The AK being about the least accurate long gun I know of). Makes me think this is fake propaganda.

    • Core

      It’s a recon setup most likely. Observe and report. Most snipers are forward observers, they pass intel back to the hq.

  • Pranqster

    Any soldier stomping ISIS is okay in my book! RIP Comrade

  • Warhawk1982x

    So daenesh kills one Spetsnaz and they lay his equipment out like a trophy collection? I wonder how many of them he killed.

  • Kivaari

    That sounds like a very innovative device.

  • Mikial

    I spent an entire military career preparing to fight the ‘Soviets.’ And now, I would stand side-by-side with a Russian to kill these Muslim scum.