Before we talk about SMAR-100BPM in detail, we need to understand the circumstances that led to the creation of the modern Belarussian small arms industry.
In recent years, Belarus has been putting a lot of effort into building its military-industrial complex. Historically, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country was at the forefront of the Cold War, having an enormous amount of troops, tanks, and other armaments on its territory.
But at the same time, they didn’t have any small arms industry, since there was no point in producing firearms in the place that would become the main potential battlefield of WW3. Now, the old supplies of Soviet armament are running thin and do not really adhere to modern requirements, so the Belarussian government decided to build its own firearms industry, starting with the assembly of AK rifles.
The first Belarussian bullpup AK variant was presented in 2019 under the name VSK-100BP. SMAR-100BPM is essentially an improved version of the same rifle.
A quick glance at both rifles reveals that they are assembled primarily from imported components made at the Russian Molot factory, famous for their “Vepr” rifles and shotguns. The cooperation between Belorussian BSVT and Molot was announced in 2019 and seems to be expanding every year.
There is no official explanation of what the name SMAR-100BPM exactly stands for, but the best guess I heard was Special Mission Automatic Rifle Bull Pup. Please correct me in the comments if I am wrong.
Essentially, the rifle is based on an AK receiver with an RPK-style reinforced front trunnion that has a long M-LOK handguard, which works as an optic mount and housing for the new pistol grip. Since the weapon uses an RPK receiver, the weight is 4.3 kg (9.5 pounds). The rifle is equipped with a suppressor called “Plamya-M” (which means “Flame” in Russian).
At the moment, the rifle is undergoing testing in select Belorussian units, and so far it isn’t clear whether it will replace standard AK rifles within Belorussian military forces or will be offered strictly for export.