About a year ago we reported about a handgun developed in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. That was a Tokarev based handgun called OPLOT. Recently, a YouTube channel called Daily Storm has published a video telling about a submachine gun developed in this self-proclaimed republic. The new SMG is called … OPLOT!
I have no idea why the pistol and the SMG are namesakes. Maybe they are considered a part of the same weapon kit and the two guns should be distinguished by pointing the type of the firearm after its name – OPLOT Pistol and OPLOT Submachine Gun. We don’t know exactly and I would suggest to leave this model designation mystery for now and see what features the OPLOT SMG has. As soon as we find out the exact reason for such a model designation, we’ll update this article.
In the mentioned video, Vladimir Mishenko, the designer of the OPLOT SMG tells that the reason they started designing this submachine gun was the request from the government of the self-proclaimed republic. They needed a domestically made SMG for arming the special forces and law enforcement forces. The gun was designed in a government organization called “State Innovation Company” (Государственная Инновационная Компания).
Mechanically, this is a simple blowback operated firearm. It is chambered in 9x18mm Makarov and has a rate of fire of 850-900 rpm. According to the designer, the caliber is potent enough for the roles this SMG is supposed to be used in. I assume a key reason for the caliber choice is also the wide availability of the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge in the area. The magazine shown in the images and the video is a double stack double feed one. It has a 25 round capacity. They are also planning to make a shorter magazine of lower capacity for the use with a suppressor. In the video, the designer mentions that they are not too experienced in arms designing and they have a lot of small design issues to fix which are not always obvious and become known only during testing. Considering that they are not too proficient with arms designing and the fact that a properly designed magazine is crucial for having a successful system, I think it could be a wiser decision to build the gun around an existing proven and reliable magazine design such as the 9x18mm Makarov magazines used in the Polish PM-63 RAK or CZ Scorpion submachine guns.
According to the designer, the receiver of the OPLOT SMG is made of “50A” steel. That is a Russian steel type designation which is roughly equal to the 1050 steel. The upper receiver is cylindrical. It has a 12 o’clock ejection port. The charging handle is located at an angle at about 10 o’clock position. The current version of the SMG is equipped with permanently fixed iron sights which represent a rear notch and front hooded blade. The iron sights are factory zeroed to 75-meter distance. According to Mishenko, they may later design adjustable iron sights for the OPLOT submachine gun.
The upper receiver also features a top Picatinny rail section between the ejection port and the front sight. The long vertical front grip is attached to the upper receiver via what looks to be a threaded tube section welded onto the upper receiver. This is a rather weird solution limiting the location of the front grip and probably making the gun more complicated to manufacture. I think a simpler choice could be mounting another rail section at 6 o’clock. Probably, that bottom welded tube is not only a foregrip mount but also houses a barrel retaining mechanism or functions as something else.
The muzzle device of the gun is somewhat similar to the Krinkov muzzle booster. Interestingly, it doesn’t mount onto the muzzle but screws into the receiver. Contrary to that, the suppressor looks to be mounted onto the muzzle. I am not sure why such a dual mounting mechanism is deployed. The suppressor is also designed domestically. It has the same diameter as the receiver and when attached to the latter forms a smooth joint.
The lower receiver contains the fire control group along with the magazine well and the controls of this firearm. The telescoping wire stock is also fixed on the lower receiver. The safety selector is like a miniaturized AK safety. It has the same three positions of safe, single shot and full auto fire. This is a good solution considering that most (if not all) of the users of this SMG will be familiar with the AK platform and the safety selector design will make it much easier for them to get familiar with the OPLOT submachine gun, too.
According to the designer, they are still testing the OPLOT submachine gun and may come up with some final design changes such as a different stock design, adjustable sights, material changes of some of the parts etc.
Lastly, below you can find the above-mentioned video (in Russian) where this SMG was first shown.
Daily Storm. (2018, June 27). “В ДНР впервые продемонстрировали пистолет-пулемет «Оплот»” [Video File]. Retrieved From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK033fuNi9Y