Russian Federal Security Service (FSB (ФСБ)) in cooperation with the Russain Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Guard seized a large cache of illegal firearms that were smuggled from Europe to Russia. When trying to identify these firearms, I was amazed to see that most of them are historical guns many of which are quite rare specimens. Let’s try to identify the most interesting historical firearms seized during this operation.
On the top image of this article, next to the handguns, there is an SMG that I could not identify. It is probably made of parts borrowed from different firearms. If you know what it is, let me know in the comments section. To the right from the mystery gun, there is a United Defense M42 submachine gun with two magazines attached to each other. Next to the UD M42 is a Soviet AVS-36, a select fire rifle chambered in 7.62x54R. Lastly, the far right SMG looks to be a German Maschinenpistole 34 (MP34).
Below I will embed screenshots from the video published by FSB and will try to identify and describe the weapons in the captions to the images. I apologize for the poor quality of the images. As I said, these are screenshots from an FSB video which quality leaves a lot to be desired. You can find that video at the end of this article.
According to the FSB press release, the overall amount of weapons seized during this operation was 380. That includes 25 machine guns, 30 assault rifles, 70 submachine guns, 95 rifles and shotguns, 158 handguns and 2 anti-tank weapons. They also seized one mortar, one AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher, an IED, 15 hand grenades, several suppressors, about 4,500 cartridges of different calibers and a bunch of spare parts for a variety of weapons.
When writing this article, I was thinking what is the reason for smuggling so many historical firearms? They can’t legally sell these weapons to collectors. I guess these are not the most demanded weapons in the black market either. I mean who is going to buy a Hotchkiss machine gun to commit a crime with? Most of the seized firearms are also not the best war weapons and I don’t think they could sell them in the current conflict zones such as Ukrainian or Syrian wars. So I started reading comments in the Russian forums with a hope to find out something. Needless to say that there were all kinds of opinions from reasonable to ones sounding like conspiracy theories. However, I read something that could explain why they are smuggling historical weapons. So according to one of the comments, these weapons might be intended to be deactivated and sold in Russian civilian market. Now I don’t know if someone can just post a deactivated weapon in an online marketplace in Russia and sell it or if they need some documentation showing the origin of the gun. At any rate, the market of deactivated firearms does exist in Russia and some deactivated guns are insanely expensive. For example, they could relatively cheaply acquire an MG 42 in the European black market, deactivate it and sell it in the Russian legal market of deactivated firearms for a metric ton of rubles. Now keep in mind that this is just a speculation and this theory may not be true.
Below you can find the above-mentioned video published by FSB.
As you can see, there were many other firearms shown in the video which were quite hard to precisely identify due to the impossibility of taking a decent quality screenshot. There are Lee-Enfield rifles, Mannlicher rifles, PPSh-41 submachine guns, an SVT, a suppressed Kedr SMG, possibly a Madsen LMG etc. If you spotted something that I missed to identify or noticed a misidentified firearm, please let me know in the comments section.
“ФСБ России совместно с органами МВД России и Росгвардии пресечена деятельность межрегиональной преступной группы из числа жителей г.г. Москвы, Санкт-Петербурга и Ярославля, причастных к организации канала поставок огнестрельного оружия из стран Евросоюза в Российскую ФедерациюЮЗА В РОССИЙСКУЮ ФЕДЕРАЦИЮ”. (018, July 23). Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Retrieved from: http://www.fsb.ru/fsb/press/message/single.htm%21id%3D10438288%40fsbMessage.html