Inside the PP-19-01 “Vityaz” 9mm Kalashnikov SMG

Gun guru and MVD agent KardeN gets to play with all the best toys – this time, it’s the 9mm Kalashnikov-based submachine gun, the PP-19-01 “Vityaz”. Designed to handle high pressure 9x19mm Russian ammunition, the Vityaz is a more elegant weapon than its predecessor, the PP-19 “Bizon”. In KardeN’s photos below you can see the steel-cased and steel-cored 9x19mm 7N31 ammunition with polymer coated cases. This ammunition is extremely high pressure and powerful, flinging its 63gr armor-piercing bullet to nearly 2,000 ft/s, while the cartridges themselves are about a third lighter than standard 9x19mm ball rounds.

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The chief difference between the two weapons lies in the magazine: The Bizon utilized a novel but troublesome helical magazine that doubled as a forend, while the Vityaz utilizes a more conventional stick magazine. This change from high capacity rotary magazine to standard capacity stick magazine echoes a similar change made decades earlier to the PPSh-41 submachine gun that served the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War on the Eastern Front of World War II. Russian engineers, like those worldwide, seek the holy grail of high capacity magazines, but so far it has eluded them.

Be sure to click through the link and take a look at all the pictures KardeN took of the PP-19-01 “Vityaz”, and all the other cool guns he’s photographed!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Drunk Possum

    Daddy. Likey. Nom nom nom. Do want. Any chance we’ll see it stateside?

    • Giolli Joker

      The Saiga 9, its civilian version, would be available, if there weren’t international bans…

    • Alexandru Ianu

      KUSA is going to make an exact clone (judging by their booth at Shot Show).

    • politicsbyothermeans

      “Any chance we’ll see it stateside?”
      If so, WOLVERINES!

  • Giolli Joker

    This is blow-back, right?
    The rod connected to the bolt just solves the function of adding mass to it in a balanced, unobtrusive way, right?
    It looks pretty cool with this furniture.

    • mechamaster

      Yeah, Zenit PT-1 furniture is look great. ( Didn’t know how much weight it is )

      • Giolli Joker

        I have no idea how it is in real life, but it looks sturdy, efficient and original compared to the variations of AR-15 styled tubular designs.
        On the weight, quoting an online shop:
        “Butt Weight – 540g. Made by Zenitco”

      • Tritro29

        Weight will make you a bodybuilder.

    • ColonelColt


  • DIR911911 .

    would love to see what that ammo would do to a block of gell

    • Giolli Joker

      Go through it.

  • Big Daddy

    That’s a sexy gun. I like…I had a few 9mm AR pistols. Great guns but you waste a lot of ammo having way too much fun and at the end wished it were FA. I had a Timney trigger in it and just wow at how fast it shot. On a range you could not really let it fly, you need a private range and a lot of ammo to really get the full effect of these guns. Man you can just tear things up even on semi.

    I see that QC10 might come out with a AR lower that takes MP5 mags…hmmmm.

    • Wetcoaster

      Someone in the US should rip off the design of the 9mm version of the QCW-05. It’d look more balanced with a 16 in barrel (and that could be hidden with a fake suppressor anyway) and it takes MP5 mags to boot.

  • Max Popenker

    small note: ammo in the photo is 7N21, standard issue “improved penetration” 9×19 ammo for Russian army and MVD. Still hot as hell, though.

    • It looks more like 7N31 to me, what makes you think it’s 7N21?

      • Blake

        The ammo in the mags does have two black paint rings like 7N31, but the shape does look more like 7N21 if you look closely:
        Seriously impressive that Max picked up on that. I guess if anyone would’ve noticed the shape vs. the paint it would’ve been him…

        • Giolli Joker

          It resembles the “??” model… ?

        • Max Popenker

          yes, according to Karden himself he was issued 7N31 only for his GSh-18 pistol.

      • Max Popenker

        1st, it’s bullet shape
        2nd, I asked Karden and he confirmed that it’s 7N21 😉

  • Lance

    Cool SMG, making a AK into a SMG is cool. But I do say Both this and the PP-19 Bison are still in service in Russia and both have good reviews by Special operators who use them. So id say there both respected in Russia.

  • Darren Hruska

    The PP-19-01 has always been pretty sexy, and that furniture seems pretty slick! I still would have liked to see the Gepard “kick off,” however. It’s probably a more advanced and innovative design.

    • Giolli Joker

      Took me a while to get that the magazine goes through the handle… like I had never seen such a thing.?
      Very cool.

      • Darren Hruska

        Exactly. For a modern PDW/SMG, the whole traditional magazine and magazine well seems kind of archaic. Like, as if it’ll snag onto way too many things (clearance may be an issue). The helical magazine of the original PP-19 kind of conforms to the gun better. Although, with it being potentially problematic and kind of blocking the possibility of adding foregrips, I can see why it was dropped for the PP-19-01.

        However, otherwise, look at other PDW designs. The P90 has a unique and weird sort of magazine, but it’s out of the way and conforms VERY well to the gun. The QCW-05/QCQ-05/JS 9mm are bullpup and thus have the magazine behind the trigger assembly. Most other PDWs have the pistol grip magazine well. The advantage of this is that one’s brain is hardwired to instinctively allow both hands to find each other. What this means is that such a gun is much easier and faster to reload in the dark or in high-stress situations.

        • iksnilol

          There’s also a Chinese SMG with a Bizon style magazine mounted on the top of the gun. Think Bizon mag in P90 basically.

          • Mazryonh

            You mean like the older Calico M950, which had a top-mounted helical magazine?

          • iksnilol

            Yup, tho the Chinese SMG did it a bit better IMO. Like more ergonomically.

          • Mazryonh

            I take it the Chinese SMG model you’re referring to is the Type 06 chambered in 9mm Para or 5.8x21mm.

          • iksnilol

            Yup, AKA Chang Feng.

          • Mazryonh

            It reminds me of an MP5 with the magazine placed along the top of the handguard, kind of like the AR57 conversion.

    • BearSlayer338

      Pretty sure that is just a good photoshop job not a real weapon,what really gives it away is the glock style trigger,the Russians would never use the glock trigger safety on a handgun especially not on an smg. Basically the whole lower screams fake.

      • SP mclaughlin

        It was a real concept, the image could be photoshopped though.

      • How would you describe the trigger safeties on the SR1 Gyurza and GSh18?

        If I remember correctly, the Russian gunwriter Valery Shilin had his article on the Gepard published in several magazines during the late 1990s. The Gepard was a modular weapon, allowing for conversion between multiple calibers: 9x17mm, 9x18mm, 9x19mm, 9x21mm, and 9x30mm Grom. More importantly, the caliber conversions used different operating systems tailored to the cartridge. Conversions for weaker cartridges like the 9x17mm were straight blowback. Rounds like the 9x21mm used a delayed blowback mechanism. And finally, the 9x30mm Grom conversion was gas-operated.

      • Darren Hruska

        It’s a real gun. It’s just more-so that most images of it aren’t of a good resolution, and bakelite, quite frankly, makes everything look fake.

        About 9x30mm GROM, from the little I can find, it seems to propel standard military 9x19mm Parabellum and 9x21mm Gyurza bullets with about 40% more muzzle velocity (or about twice the muzzle energy). Also, due to the dimensions, I have a feeling that the case may be formed from a 5.45x39mm case that has been cut down to the shoulder, and then it would be fitted with 9mm bullets. That’d be a pretty economically-friendly proprietary round, and it’d allow the use of AK-74-style bolts. After all, the gun apparently shares about two-thirds of its parts with the AKS-74u.

  • Kyle

    So when can I buy one and some of that ammo?

  • SP mclaughlin

    Are we sure this KardeN isn’t in Rainbow 6: Siege?

    • iksnilol

      He isn’t in Siege, he is the Siege 😛

  • Does anyone know what the PSI is for the 7N31? I wonder if it really is that much hotter than +p+.

    • Max Popenker

      7N21 produces about 2500-2800 kg/cm2; 7N31 produces more, but can’t remember exactly how much
      From what I heard, 7N21 wears down Glocks in no time, in part due to exposed bullet tip scratching on the feed ramp, and in part due to high pressures and increased slide recoil impulse

      • Mazryonh

        Do you know which Russian agencies issue the Vityaz?

  • Tritro29

    Maah Gopnik!

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Excellent article and interesting technical discussion. The PP-19-01 is, for me, just about the perfect SMG, and is yet another truly compelling reason to repeal the NFA.Thank you for sharing this with us, Nathan. It’s always great to hear from Max Popenker and Blake too.

  • Mazryonh

    So is this SMG called the “MP5ski” in some circles given its appearance and caliber, just like the Russian R-77 “Vympel” AA missile was named “AMRAAMski” in the west due to its similar capabilities to the AMRAAM AA missile?

    And how exactly is the Vityaz “more elegant” than the Bizon? The Vityaz’s magazines look more conventional and easier to put into and out of tactical vest pockets, but the Bizon can still use the same 9mm AP ammunition and can carry 53 rounds of 9x19mm, and the ones used by the Vityaz look like 30-round ones.