Even among professionals, not much is known about modern Vietnamese small arms. You can seldom see Vietnamese manufacturers at defense exhibitions and every time they make an appearance, there is a lot to talk about. This year, Vietnam had it’s first large international exhibition – DSE Vietnam in Hanoi. And while this particular exhibition did not showcase a lot of firearms, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
In fact, at the entire exhibition, there were only two booths that had any firearms, the first one was a Russian company Rosoboronexport that had a large display of Kalashnikov products, the second one was the booth of People’s Public Security of Vietnam that displayed some police equipment and non-lethal firearms that caught my attention. Perhaps the most notable non-lethal firearm they had on display was SVN 15 pistol chambered for exotic 10x22T round.
10x22T is a non-lethal round that has a rubber bullet with limited velocity. Weapons chambered for this round are popular in Russia, where citizens are not allowed to have real handguns and forced to buy so-called “traumatic” pistols for self-defense.
Another common Russian name for “traumatic” weapons can be roughly translated as “condom-spewer”, which gives you an idea about the perceived effectiveness of those firearms and the amount of respect people have for this class of weaponry.
Until I visited DSE Vietnam I had no idea that ridiculous round has users in other countries, but it seems quite prolific over there, considering how many guns are designed for this ammunition.
Coming back to the SVN 15 pistol, it looks like its design was heavily inspired by H&K USP: similar magazine and slide release and overall “blocky” shape makes SVN 15 look like an early, less refined USP prototype.
Unfortunately, very little information is available about this pistol. I wonder if there is a version of it that fires conventional ammunition, is it really mass-produced or is it simply a prototype?
Hopefully, the Vietnamese gun community will help us to answer these questions. Frankly, meeting Vietnamese gun enthusiasts was the real highlight of the DSE Vietnam exhibition for me, and I am sure that eventually, we will learn more about modern weapons of Vietnam from the gun guys who live there.